The Looky-Loos

Christmas Everywhere

Sunday, December 21, 2008

 


Today is the Winter Solstice. This solstice marks the longest night of the year. I have a few things to post today. I wanted to start with information on the Druid celebration of the Winter Solstice. I follow a Celtic Druidic path. Following is a bit of information on Druidry.

Druidism, or Druidry as it is often called, is for some a spiritual path, for others a religion, and for others a cultural activity.

One of the most striking characteristics of Druidism is the degree to which it is free of dogma and any fixed set of beliefs or practices. In this way it manages to offer a spiritual path, and a way of being in the world that avoids many of the problems of intolerance and sectarianism that the established religions have encountered.There is no ‘sacred text’ or the equivalent of a bible in Druidism and there is no universally agreed set of beliefs amongst Druids. Despite this, there are a number of ideas and beliefs that most Druids hold in common, and that help to define the nature of Druidism today:

When preparing for the Yule holiday ... or 'Sabbat' I do the following:

I set up my Yule altar facing north. (This is the direction that aligns with the season of Winter.) The table is draped with an altar cloth. (I found a cute holiday table cloth that I use and consecrated)

I set a small bowl in the center of the altar and place a pillar candle in that. (Red, Gold, Yellow, or Orange to represent the sun.) The bowl is representative of rebirth, and the candle represents the 'Sun God' being reborn, I usually scribe some solar symbols on the candle I'm using. Finally, I rub a little cinnamon oil on the candle and leave it unlit until I begin my ritual observance.

I place evergreens on the altar, usually branches cut from a christmas tree, or a small potted evergreen. I then arrange my chalice, boline, and athame on the altar. Some other items I scatter about the table would be: A bowl of fruit, pine nuts, pine coans, acorns, holly, and clear quartz crystals.

Symbols of forest animal are also placed around the altar. I generally cut out pictures of woodland animals, stags and such to place around the candles. Finally, I have small cakes (I usually do cupcakes) and wine.

Once all that is in place I cast my circle, light the candles and begin:

Statement of Intent

Since the beginning of time we have gathered in this season
To celebrate the rebirth of the Sun.
On the Winter Solstice - the darkest of nights
The Goddess becomes the Great Mother
And once again gives birth to the Sun
Beginning the yearly cycle anew
Bringing new light and hope to all the World.
On the longest night of winter
Flares the spark of hope
The Sacred Fire,
The Light of the World,
We gather here to welcome the new light.
As we join the Goddess in greeting the new Sun
We also welcome the new light within ourselves.

Calling the Quarters and Casting the Circle

Hail guardians of the east, spirits of Air, powers of Thought
I call you to lend your essence to this rite and protect us from
all negativity from the east.

Hail guardians of the south, spirits of Fire, powers of Will
I call you to lend your essence to this rite and protect us from
all negativity from the south.

Hail guardians of the west, spirits of Water, powers of Emotion
I call you to lend your essence to this rite and protect us from
all negativity from the west.

Hail guardians of the north, spirits of Earth, powers of Stability
I call you to lend your essence to this rite and protect us from
all negativity from the north.

I conjure ye O Circle of Light to be a temple between the worlds
In the name of the Silver Lady and the Golden Lord.
Wherefore do I bless and consecrate thee, So Will It Be

Invocation

Lady, you who are the beauty of the snowy earth
and the white moon among the stars
the mystery of the waters
the desire in the heart of humanity
We invite to you to come among us and attend this rite, for you are the soul of nature that gives life to the universe.

Lord, You who are the freedom of the wild things
the bright sun that lights the day
the mystery of the forest
The resolve in the heart of humanity
We invite you to come among us and attend this rite, for you are the body of nature who gives life to the universe.

Meditation

The old solar year has run its course and completed its cycle.
So to have some of our habits or traits completed their cycles
and outlived their usefulness.
This is a time for shedding that which is no longer needed.
Take a few moments now to consider which things you would leave behind as you go into the coming year.
(pause)
As the old year dies away so to will these old ways will fade into memory.

In the beginning we came from the darkness of the womb. There we were created, nourished and prepared for our birth into the light. Within us, we still carry that fertile darkness. there we hold the seeds of hopes and dreams to come. There we nourish are hopes for love, joy and peace for all. We shield these tender roots until they are strong enough to come forth and flourish in the light. Spend a little time now tending these creations to come. Name them, nurture them for they will grow with you and bloom in the coming year.
(pause)
As the sun strengthens above, so will our new ways grow.

Reading

We light this candle for the infant Solstice Sun
One small flame to pierce the darkness
A ray of hope
A symbol of the Light within us all
Light that can never be extinguished
Light that will grow in glory
Waxing strong, despite the cold to come
Light that dispels despair and resignation
Giving us a glimpse of golden days ahead

Behold the light that can never die
Reborn anew in the Solstice Sky!

Chant

I think of those who I am sending positive energy to: Loved ones perhaps, those in need of healing or added strength, people who are living with war or hunger. I also focus on that which important to me, my values, the earth itself, or the animals who we share it with, whatever it is I wish to send my healing energy to.

When I stop the chant, I visualize the positive energy bursting forth, like the sun coming out from behind a thick cloud, and imagine strong rays of streaking out, empowering my wishes, and carrying my healing thoughts to their targets.

Hoof and horn, hoof and horn
All that dies will be reborn
Corn and grain, corn and grain
All that falls will rise again


Blessing of Cakes and Wine


This food and wine is the blessing of the Goddess and God to our bodies. Let us partake in it freely. As we share, let us remember to share what we have with those who have nothing.

Releasing

Thank you, Goddess of the Moon for attending these rites in your honor, and for sharing with us your gifts of compassion and wit. Hail, and farewell.

Thank you, God of the Sun for attending these rites in your honor, and for sharing with us your gifts of freedom and rejuvenation. Hail, and farewell.

Guardians of the north, we thank you for your presence here and for your gift of stability. Hail and farewell

Guardians of the west, we thank you for your presence here and for your gift of empathy. Hail and farewell

Guardians of the south, we thank you for your presence here and for your gift of purity. Hail and farewell

Guardians of the east, we thank you for your presence here and for your gift of clarity. Hail and farewell

The circle is open, yet never broken, merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again.

So ... That's the ritual ... Then I close the circle and I'm all finished.
I was going to also post a funny, but I think I'll save that for tomorrow ... since this has gotten so long.


ஜ~§Quote of the Day§~ஜ

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is society, where none intrudes, By the deep Sea, and music in its roar I love not Man the less, but Nature more.
Lord Byron

ஜ~§The Question Of The Day§~ஜ


It's the winter solstice in the Northern hemisphere, summer solstice in the Southern hemisphere, and Haiku Day in the U.S. Does that inspire you to write a three-line poem with five syllables in the first and last lines and seven in the middle line?

ஜ~§The Word Of The Day§~ஜ


Calico

PRONUNCIATION:
(KAL-i-co)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A brightly printed coarse cotton cloth.
2. (Mainly British) A plain white cotton cloth.
3. An animal having a spotted coat, especially with red and black patches.
adjective:
1. Made from such a cloth.
2. Having a spotted pattern.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Calicut, former name of Kozhikode, a city in southern India from where this cloth was exported. Other words for clothes with Indian origins are bandana, cashmere, chintz, dungarees, jodhpurs, khakis, madras, pajamas, and seersucker (not all are toponyms).

USAGE:
"Before Mr. Homer's barefoot urchins and little girls in calico sun-bonnets, straddling beneath a cloudless sky upon the national rail fence, the whole effort of the critic is instinctively to contract himself."

ஜ~§What I'm Reading§~ஜ


I'm about halfway through Salvation in Death.


ஜ~§What I'm Watching§~ஜ


It looks as though everything is on hiatus or done for a while. Midseason shows don't start up until the end of January. Soooo I guess I'll just have to jones for a bit of TV for a while. Although, there are some decent movies on HBO this month. (smiles)

ஜ~§Poem Of The Day§~ஜ

Christmas Everywhere

EVERYWHERE, everywhere, Christmas tonight!
Christmas in lands of the fir-tree and pine,
Christmas in lands of the palm-tree and vine,
Christmas where snow peaks stand solemn and white,
Christmas where cornfields stand sunny and bright.
Christmas where children are hopeful and gay,
Christmas where old men are patient and gray,
Christmas where peace, like a dove in his flight,
Broods o're brave men in the thick of the fight;
Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!
For the Christ-child who comes is the Master of all;
No palace too great, no cottage too small.

Phillips Brooks

ஜ~§Recipe of the Day§~ஜ




Bleu Cheese, Bacon and Chive Stuffed Pork Chops


Ingredients:
4 boneless pork loin chops, butterflied
8 ounces crumbled blue cheese
4 slices bacon - cooked and crumbled
4 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
garlic salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a shallow baking dish.

In a small bowl, mix together the blue cheese, bacon and chives. Divide into halves, and pack each half into a loose ball. Place each one into a pocket of a butterflied pork chop, close, and secure with toothpicks. Season each chop with garlic salt and pepper. Keep in mind that the blue cheese will be salty. Place in the prepared baking dish.

Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or it may take longer if your chops are thicker. Cook until the stuffing is hot, and chops are to your desired degree of doneness. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.

Yield: 4 servings


Brightest Blessings,
~S~



5 Things people say ...:

High Desert Diva said...

A few days ago, I spent quite a bit of time on the internet searching for info on Winter Solstice celebrations. And here you are...

Paul Pincus said...

what an amazing post!

happy christmas : )

Andrea said...

Great post....thanks for sharing information on some of those wonderful, spiritual traditions. It was such an interesting read! :)

Pam said...

This is so interesting! Were your parents Druids?

SweetPeaSurry said...

No Pam, they weren't Druids. Actually, I went through a crisis of faith for a while. I was originally raised in the Mormon faith. Wonderful faith, but it didn't really fit my spirit. So I studied all kinds of religions, Eastern Religions, Pagan Paths, Western Religions ... Druidry seemed to fit me the best.