Welcome to You, Old One.
Welcome to the snow & ice,
Welcome You in, this Winter day.
Old One, Cold One,
Though we fear Your storms,
Yet we welcome You
Into our winter hearts,
With Your cleansing breath...
- John Matthews, from Invocation to the Old One -
When darkest winter draweth near,
The light is kindled without fear;
Love sparks at Midwinter so deep,
This blessed time in our hearts keep...
- Caitlin Matthews, from The Winter Wedding -
Yes, friends, the darkness wins,
but these short days so celebrate the light:
Among us, too, let's sing what winter forces us to know:
Joy & color bloom despite the night.
We measure warmth by love, not by degrees.
- Patricia Monaghan -
December is here and the holidays, however one celebrates them, are coming on fast. For me, December continues that journey inward and the internal work that involves. Meditation, journey work and celebrating the darkness of the year are all part of what I do at this time. Of course there is a great deal of celebration as well. I have begun decorating my home for the Winter Solstice, baking and gift making. I immerse myself in the season of winter and its holidays, celebrating winter goddesses as well as those I am dedicated to.
In my baking I like to use plenty of spices, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg. Did you know that nutmeg, according to medieval herbalist Hildegard von Bingen, when eaten, opens the heart and puts one in a good state of mind (Physica, 1, 21)? She recommends taking some nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves, grinding them up and adding to flour and water to make little tarts. "Eat these often and it will lower the bitterness of your heart and your mind and open your heart and numbed senses. It will make your spirit happy, purify and cleanse your mind, lower all bad fluids in you, give your blood a good tonic, and make you strong (Physica, 1, 21). Well!!! Now I know why I love to put these spices in so many foods I eat and the tea I drink. I also love the scent of these spices and use them and their essential oils to scent Toadstool Condo.
In addition to these spices, I love the scent of evergreens, pine, balsam, fir with just a touch of clove. Lovely! Debbie, at www.Aromathyme.com, has some wonderful blends: Evergreen and Holiday Spice which I like to use in a diffuser, four parts Evergreen and one part Holiday Spice. I also add some other secret things as well for magical purposes which keeps everyone happy when they visit Toadstool Condo.
The turkey from Thanksgiving is just about used up, just some leftover turkey casserole and some turkey mushroom barley soup - very delicious! That will feed us on Tuesday and Wednesday and I can focus on finishing the decorating and stitching some ornaments.
In addition to the usual December holidays, it is a busy goddess month!
Dec. 1 - Day of Pallas Athena
Dec. 2 - Full Moon, 2:32 AM EST, Festival of Broken Needles, Japanese festival of craftswomen
Dec. 3 - Festival of Bona Dea, The Good Goddess
Dec. 5 - Day of Lucina, pagan goddess of light & childbirth
Dec. 7 - Haloia of Demeter, She wanders in sadness, bringing Winter to the Earth.
Dec. 11 - Arainrhod, Welsh goddess of stars & reincarnation
Day of Bruma, Roman goddess of the Winter Season
Dec. 13 - Little Yule, a festival of lights
Dec. 15 - Alcyone, Halcyon Days, the 7 days before and 7 days after the Winter Solstice, a time of peace.
Hekate's Deipnon (leave offerings at a crossroads)
Dec. 16 - New Moon, 7:03 AM
Sapientia, Roman goddess of wisdom
Dec. 20 - Mother Night, Odinist festival of midwinter, dreams on this night are said to foretell the future.
Dec. 21 - Winter Solstice, 12:47 PM EST
Dec. 22 - Birth of the Goddess Rhiannon
Dec. 23 - Festival of Acca Larentis, sacred to the Roman goddess Laurentina, an earth goddess who guards the dead and the seed corn, also mother of the Lares, guardian spirits of the home.
Dec. 27 - Birth of Freya
Dec. 29 - Festival of the Nymphs
Dec. 31 - Roman Night of Hekate, Full Blue Moon, 2:14 PM
Jan. 1 - The Morrigan, The Fates, Celebration of Fortuna, Bertha
Jan. 2 - Birth of Inanna, Sacred Day of Isis,
Jan. 3 - The Deer Mothers (Native American)
Jan. 5 - Feast of Befana
Jan. 6 - Twelfth Night, Day of the Triple Goddess