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Posts Tagged ‘Yuletide Ball’

This post is not about spells involving candles and pendants.  Perhaps I’ll write about those someday.  No, this post is to show off, and thank people, for these lovely treasures!

First off, a trio of votive candles I won from Witchcrafts Artisan Alchemy  during the Witches’ Yuletide Ball!  I was so excited to hear that I won and even more thrilled to find the package on my doorstep after my first day back to work.  What a great thing to come home to!  I’m already plotting how to put them to magical use! They’re handmade using soy. Do check out her Etsy!

From Misc Pagan Photos

I received these beautiful, handmade soy candles from a dear friend. They are huge, smell amazing, and look beautiful!  I keep telling her she should sell candles online or at craft fairs.

From Misc Pagan Photos
From Misc Pagan Photos
From Misc Pagan Photos
From Misc Pagan Photos

Another wonderful and talented friend made this pendant for my birthday!  How incredible is that awen?!  I plan to consecrate and wear it for Imbolc.  I interpret the awen as a symbol of inspiration which is very appropriate on Brighid’s feast day.

From Misc Pagan Photos

Thank you to all the people who gifted me with such thoughtful, well-crafted treasures!

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A vintage Krampus card.
As part of the Witches Yuletide Ball, fellow blogger Aine of “The Deepest Well” posted about the darker aspects of Yule.
When we think of Yule, most of us think happy thoughts, such as trees sparkling with lights, friends and family get-togethers, singing, gifts and warm fireplaces.  For our ancestors, however, this time of year was dark and cold.  All the food they had harvested and stored away was all the food that was to be had until the Spring.  During these long winters, tales were told of the faeries and malevolent spirits who were waiting in the dark night for a wandering human to cross their paths.
 One of my favorite “dark aspects” of the Yuletide season is Krampus.  He basically does Santa’s dirty work and punishes naughty children.  Of course, by today’s standards, what Krampus does seems extreme, but when you consider what slacking or goofing off could mean to our ancestors…  If a child routinely refused to do his or her chores, it could have meant a harder than usual winter.  It could have meant death.  Figures like Krampus were necessary to keep kids in order while St. Nick rewarded those who did their jobs well.  I’m having trouble finding any online sources about possible pre-Christian Krampus traditions, but it’s hard to deny he represents the life or death realities of pre-industrial societies.
Since learning of Krampus, I’ve been fascinated with him.  I was delighted to hear a segment about him on NPR yesterday.  In particular, it examines how Krampus traditions are coming to America!  I would love to go and even take part in a Krampus parade.  I enjoy lights and joy just as much as the next person, but this season can become too sugary sweet at times.  It is nice to take a step back and face the harsher realities of winter but have fun while doing it.
I’ll end this post with what is becoming a yearly tradition for me – sharing this corny Krampus video.

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Despite family and college-related stress, I’ve finally managed to take part in the ball!  I had grand schemes but, because of everything going on, I will just share what I did today.

After a long morning and afternoon of class and meetings, I spent a majority of my evening prepping for the Winter Solstice celebrations.  The meeting, especially, stressed me out so I started by taking a walk in the forest.  I made offerings to the local spirits and collected fallen evergreen boughs (with permission, of course).  There was an energetic buzz in the forest…  In the distance, a hunter’s gun went off every so often.  It was as if the forest were on edge.  The drips from melting snow made me uneasy.  Was that a drip or a footstep?  At times, the forest seemed to go out of focus.  I thought I saw someone walk right out in front of me, but he or she vanished back into thin air…  Despite the oddness, it was good to clear my head and gather evergreens.  On my way out of the forest, I sung a wassailing tune to thank the trees and comfort myself.

Once inside, it was back to work!  I’ve been very busy crafting gifts and decor.

A felt sun ornament.  Since we celebrate the returning strength of the sun, it seemed fitting to have
a representation on the tree – so voila!  It was very easy to make – just two tones of felt, stuffing, and yarn!
My “Yule log.”  Breaking from tradition, this guy doesn’t go in a fireplace.  Part of the reason
is that we just don’t have one.  I also place a lot of sentimental value on this log.  It’s from
the forest outside my parents’ home, thus the forest I grew up with.  It’s followed me from Utica
to the North Country!  It’s a favorite decoration.
This evergreen decoration was made with gathered balsam branches, birch twigs, and
a red ribbon.  It’s very easy to make and, together, symbolizes eternal life as well as new life.
I looked for mistletoe as some lucky Pagans have been sighting it recently.  No such luck
for me.  In the past I’ve made faux mistletoe using felt.  That works really well, especially in a
home with cats.  This year I decided to take a chance with some more poisonous greenery and
made  a kissing ball.  It’s hard to see the ball shape in this photo, but trust me, it’s there.  I used
rafia-wrapped florist wire, green florist wire, gathered balsam branches, a few pine cones, red ribbon,
and a few twigs of holy which I gathered from my garden.  The kissing ball is hung up high and I’m hoping everything
is secure enough to keep it  away from the cats.  This was made with magical intent: it’s a charm for peace and love within
the house.
I hung our stockings up and wrapped some prezzies!  All of these
gifts were wrapped in handmade fabric bags or  the paper and
bags my family used last year.
I ended my day baking cookies.  I know it’s a bit early, but I felt like it.  After a stressful
day, I deserved them!  One cookie is a snowflake to represent the beauty and hardships
of the season.  The other is, of course, the sun.  I used a basic sugar cookie recipe along with
an equally basic frosting recipe for these.
I’m going to eat some now…

I’ve truly enjoyed seeing what other Pagans are doing to celebrate the Winter Solstice. It’s been fun – I hope to join you next year!

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