Personal Year In Review

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I wish I had fabulous things to share here as I look back on 2016, the year itself as a complete “body of work”, as opposed to how I genuinely feel about it.

Here’s the unadulterated truth; I’m filled with mixed emotions, anger, pain, and the more I think about it, additional anger on top of the original anger, which is never a good sign. I make no apologies for my honesty. I’m many things in my imperfect human way, but dishonest isn’t on the list.

I take no issue with the company in my life, or lack thereof. I am a firm believer that we all go through hard times and that hard work, love, and prayer will get us through it. I take no issue with surviving (Life should be more than that though, right?) and having a few good days here and there (Though I am determined to not allow people to ruin my days when I’m feeling good and their moods aren’t meant for me. However, this is a process. It will not happen instantaneously.), but I do take issue with things outside my control.

I am a self-admitted control freak when it pertains to a lot of things in my life, and with other things, not so much. Overall, I’m tired of my best not being good enough, and having people remind me of my failures. Never look down upon someone unless you’re helping them up. Asking for help through tough times is not a grave sin. It’s honest, it’s real, and it’s admitting something vulnerable and scary is occurring that you cannot figure out how to face on your own. Why do we diminish that?!

I was raised to believe that as long as I do my best, it is always “good enough”, because it shows effort. And then I moved to another state where I know very few people, where “my best” is NEVER “good enough” because some unattainable level of perfection is expected at all times. It makes me feel like a bad Stepford Wife. 😦 I would not know what happiness was if a radioactive spider bit my ass. I haven’t known happiness in so long, it scares me. I feel emotions, yes, but happiness is almost never among them. How’s that for honest?

My brother has been through a torturous, evil kind of hell this year. I highly suspect that whatever was done to his heart set off a myriad of other health issues because I cannot recall a time when he wasn’t under the age of ten and on antibiotics as often as he’s been this year. He has been in and out of the hospital so many times that I’ve damn near had a multitude of nervous breakdowns every single time. I am currently waiting to hear back from a surgeon as he embarks on surgery number five in just slightly over a year; which is more surgery than he’s ever had in his entire life. It worries me on such a deep level, it’s difficult to convey.

I am immensely disheartened by how uncaring and unkind people are being towards him. At the beginning and end of each day, we only have so many family members in life, and as we’ve established, life is as short as it is long. My brother & I don’t have a lot of family, so we’ve had to rally around each other and be each other’s biggest support system through what has been, in essence, the gates of Hell. I may yell at him and get frustrated, I may say nasty things to him in the heat of the moment because he pushes my buttons, but ultimately, I’m not ignoring him or pretending he doesn’t exist in the hopes he’ll simply go away. I might not respond to a phone call or a text message when I’m sleeping, and sometimes I am guilty of ignoring him for a full twenty-four hours because I can’t handle the stress, but I do speak to my brother. I might not admit this to him, but he’s one of my best friends.

I say a painful goodbye to 2016, a year that has made me suffer in ways I can’t discuss; physically, mentally, and emotionally. I hope and pray that 2017 offers me more opportunities, better work, better pay, the same high-quality friendships I’ve maintained since day one (I’ve gotta say it; my friends are the BEST friends. They’re the first people to ask if I’m okay, to see through answers when I’m 100% NOT okay, and be as supportive as they can through crises. I would not have made it through parts of this year if it weren’t for the relationships in my life, both old and new, that have helped reinforce who I am as a person.), a real directional shift that leads me exactly where I need to be lead, and a year that allows me to achieve goals I have set for myself. The big goals, because at the moment, small goals aren’t cutting it.

I’d like to see some medical breakthroughs to help me better manage my pain and overall health. I was hit in the back with a shopping cart today at a local grocery store. This woman was on her cell phone and obviously thought she had enough room and/or didn’t even see me. I swear I am invisible to 99% of the “human race”. Initially my response was “Excuse YOU!”, but the lunatic just kept on walking, loudly debating stupidity on her phone. I did not feel it was worth pursuing in the moment, but now I am sorry I didn’t. I’m not sure if she did any real damage that wasn’t already there, but the level of pain I’m in is not something I want to take with me into the coming year, or any other year. I truly think CBD oil is in my future, as the “war on opiates” in this state is far too ridiculous to pursue with a doctor. I will, but I, like so many others, need a backup plan to help manage the pain in my life. No one should ever have to live like this.

Blessings to you all, as we say goodbye to 2016 and welcome in what will hopefully a bright New Year! 

copyright © 2016 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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New Moon In Capricorn

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Tonight is the final New Moon of the year. A New Moon, a new year, and a new you. This is the time to cast off 2016 once and for all, and begin your journey into 2017.

The Capricorn New Moon represents freedom and liberation. Liberate your mind first, and your freedom will follow. Capricorn reminds you to follow the beat of your own drum. Be unique. Be original. Be who you really are. Take a walk on the weird side of life. You may find a part of yourself that has been begging for expression. This is the Capricorn New Moon’s message.

A new cycle is beginning for you. This New Moon can empower you to move in a bold direction. You may break free from bad habits and relationships. You are no longer distracted by fear and doubt. You are ready to be who you were born to be. This is a time of great luck, so go out and try new things. Use this lucky time to grow businesses, start new jobs, go to interviews, find a new love.

Change your mind; change your life. See challenges from a different perspective, see challenges as opportunities for growth, they help keep your life fresh and lively. Your life can be freer than you may have realized. In this way, new opportunities will emerge for you. Believe in your dreams coming true. Believe when you wish upon a star, your dreams will come true. The star is shining on you now. The New Moon is opening up a new pathway for you. Perhaps it was there all along and now your eyes are open.

This New Moon will strengthen the impact for change. This is setting the tone for the New Year. Get out of your own way. Move out of your comfort zone. Make bold beginnings. Uranus is encouraging you to have a fresh start. Be innovative. Don’t allow the negative ego to hold back your dreams. Listen to your intuition. You intuition is your inner knowledge. Allow your Higher Self to guide you to new and exciting goals. Sudden unexpected opportunities can come to you from out of the blue.

There are new perspectives to be enjoyed now and this Moon reminds us that no matter how far we may have strayed from where we want to be we can always get back there as long as there is hope and the will to move and grow yourself.

Capricorn is ruled by the element of Earth; this is all about grounding yourself and making solid foundations on which to grow. This New Moon asks us to put emotions aside and look at ourselves and our lives with our head, not with the heart. We will be able to see things in a clear way now and look at ourselves and other aspects of our lives in a more honest and critical way. The new energy of the New Moon brings with it a visionary outlook, courage in the face of the unknown and a willingness to persevere as we step boldly and consciously into the new.

Have a Blessed New Moon and may the Goddess watch over you.

Written credit goes to: Wicca Teachings

Photo Credit: Wicca Teachings

Edited by: Lisa Marino

Blessings For A Happy Yule

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Today is Yule. It is celebrated on the Winter Solstice, which is the longest night of the year. After this night, the nights will start to get shorter and the days with grow longer. It is the rebirth of the Sun.

Ancient people were hunters and farmers and spent most of their time outdoors. The seasons and weather played a very important role in their lives. Because of this, many ancient people had a great reverence for, and worshiped the Sun. The Norsemen saw the sun as a wheel that changed the seasons. It was from the word for the wheel, houl, or jol, that the word Yule is thought to have come.

Every six months there is a Solstice. On the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year and shortest night, the Waning Sun takes control of the skies and the days get shorter and nights get longer, the cold starts to set in and vegetation on the earth begins to die. On the Winter Solstice, the Waxing Sun takes over and the nights start to get shorter and the days longer. It is a sign that Spring is only a few months away, where life will begin anew and the earth will start to blossom and bloom.

On Yule we celebrate the return of the Waxing Sun. In Wicca it is the birth of the Sun God who has many names; Cernunnos, Pan, The Oak King, Apollo, Sol, Freyr, Horus, Mithras, The Horned God, The Green Man, Lord Of Light, and more. The Goddess gives birth to him on this night. She sacrifices herself to give life to the Lord Of Light to ensure the earths survival.

In ancient tradition, Yule was celebrated with a large fire where townsfolk and villagers would dedicate it to the Sun God. They would fill their home with evergreens and an evergreen tree to show that even though the land was barren and dead; life is still flourishing, They would decorate the tree and their home with shiny objects to encourage the Sun God to shine.

We use Holly and Mistletoe on Yule as symbols of the fertility of the God and Goddess as they grow in the Winter. The red berries of the Holly represent the blood of the Goddess and the white berries of Mistletoe represent the semen of the God to ensure a healthy Spring and harvest to come.

Fill your Yule altar with fruit, nuts, and winter seasonal fare such as fallen leaves, fallen tree branches, acorns, evergreens, and anything bright and shining. Light yellow, green, red, white, or orange candles to ensure a good year and honor the season. Make an offering of wine, grapes, juniper berries, apples, nutmeg, cinnamon, or cloves to the Gods to honor them and wish for a happy new year.

The Winter Solstice has been celebrated by many ancient cultures, one of the most famous being Saturnalia. The ancient Romans held a festival to celebrate the rebirth of the year. Saturnalia ran for seven days from the 17th-23rd of December. It was a time when the ordinary rules were turned upside down. Men dressed as women and masters dressed as servants, the servants were given lavish gifts and their masters made them a big feast. The festival also involved decorating houses with greenery, lighting candles, holding processions, and giving presents. A Saturnalia Tree would be the centerpiece of every home.

Yule is a celebration of light and the Sun, and its life-giving properties upon the earth. It is a time to rejoice and to be thankful for all we have, and to gather strength for the new year. It is a time to contemplate on the year that has gone and look to the future.

The Winter Solstice falls on the longest night of the year (this can fall anywhere between the 20th-23rd of December) and was celebrated in Britain long before the arrival of Christianity. The Druids (Celtic priests) would cut the mistletoe that grew on the oak tree and give it up as a blessing. Oaks were seen as sacred and the winter fruit of the mistletoe was a symbol of life in the dark winter months.

It was also the Druids who began the tradition of the yule log. The Celts thought that the sun stood still for twelve days in the middle of winter and during this time a log was lit to conquer the darkness, banish evil spirits, and bring luck for the coming year. To make a Yule log, cut a log into twelve pieces and burn a piece every day for twelve days. With each piece burned, make a wish for the coming new year.

Today we welcome back the Lord of Light. Blessed Yule to all.

Written credit goes to: Wicca Teachings

Edited by: Lisa Marino

Photo: Various

Here’s What I’ve Learned

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2015 has been many things for me, but it’s hard, at the moment, to say it’s been kind. That would be a lie. Granted, there are pluses and minuses to every day, week, month, and year. It hasn’t all been bad, but it’s been hard times a million. We’ve all experienced this in some capacity or another, and if you haven’t, I assure you that you will, because that’s life.

This year my faith in people has been shattered. It wasn’t completely in tact to begin with, so you can only imagine what I’ve been through to say that and feel so strongly about it.

I’m done with people in the sense that they say one thing, do another, and lack the ability of being reliable and genuine. Not all people, but enough that I am disgusted on an incredibly large scale. I have a life to live. I have no time for ignorance, lack of empathy/compassion, and those who are intentionally uneducated in the sense of “Have you met my new friend, Google?” (Have Internet access? Good, then don’t be an asshole.) If you’re unsure of something and can research it, then I highly recommend doing so. If you’re simply being a vile person because you are ignorant of the world and the people around you, simply move out of my way. I have no time for crap, and I will roll over you. I might do it twice, to ensure my point has been made.

Sometimes bad things happen to extraordinarily wonderful people, and other times good things take the place of the bad. I have yet to see truly evil people get what they deserve, but I was always taught that I don’t need to focus on that because G-d has a plan for all of us that we simply do not see, or need to be witness to. If this is indeed the case, I’d like to get a move on because I no longer want to feel stuck, trapped, or tied to the wrong people in any aspect of my life.

This month alone I have experienced unparalleled tragedy, viciousness, & evil, of which I may never be able to speak of out loud, or in any capacity. These are things I would not wish on an enemy, and as far as I’m concerned, I don’t have any that I am aware of. People can think and say what they like; I don’t live my life perceiving others as “the enemy” or as competition. I stay in my lane.

I am exhausted (migraines & Fibro pain will do that to you), stressed, quietly introspective, and have been in so much pain that I’ve been at an absolute loss as to what to do about it. I can’t remember the last time I felt like a worthless rag, but it’s important to be honest when I do.

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Things are slow as I integrate Cat & Kitten. They’re doing so well together, back to being cuddle buddies, but OGK’s sugars are up, not good for a diabetic, be it a cat or a person, so I am trying to monitor him and his reactions without stressing all three of them out in the process. I want to see progress though, not setbacks. I want to see my brave, strong, smart girls thrive while we are here. Normally they are with me 24 hours a day, Kitten is often my writing companion, and that really helps me emotionally because they’re such good-hearted loves. For the past few weeks, I’ve maybe spent 15-45 minutes a day with them for a multitude of reasons. This weekend I am going to be organizing my clothes, so if nothing else, they will have more “Mommy time”. They’re always so happy to see me and I’m grateful that the diffuser worked for them because the move was a lot more traumatic than I thought it would be. I am very proud of them for traveling well and I’ve promised them that long trips are over for the near future. When I inevitably move again, I am not going more than an hour and a half away. My health simply isn’t that kind, and I physically cannot handle the stress or the emotion that comes with trekking around to that extent. I liked my life in the last state I called home. I loved the area and a lot of what kept me sane there are definitely things I miss, but I did not like these last few years, which took an immense toll on me in every imaginable way. I cannot allow that type of pain to re-enter my life ever again.

At the start of my move, Patient X went into arrhythmia three times and was rushed to the hospital. After 2 1/2 days, he was discharged with a lot more medication than he was given originally, medication I felt was crucial to his recovery, but man is that surgeon’s office fucked up! 😦 He’s healing. The surgical wounds are 90% healed, but all the other wounds he carries with him cannot be my responsibility any more. He visited for about ten days post-move, driving me absolutely insane. We fought more than anything else, enjoying maybe one or two good days the entire visit. The fact that he doesn’t seem to appreciate anything makes me feel as though I am dealing with an ungrateful, spoiled teenager. Neither of us was raised to behave in the manner in which he has been behaving, so as sad as it was, I was relieved when he left. Of course now, I’m worried. I said I wouldn’t be, but it just plain makes me sick to my stomach. Apparently he did not inherit the gene for common sense, so yeah, I’m going to worry. I wish he were 75% more like me and 95% less of an asshole. That is, indeed, a large request, I know, but one can still hope & pray that someone makes a drastic change in their lives and begins to see the error of nearly all of their ways.

I wish there was some kind of reassurance for me, but at the moment, I am doing my best to get through each day without focusing on anything too deep. Keeping my mind focused on the incredibly mundane is about all I can handle now.

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My goals for 2016 involve intense creativity & being selfish where certain things are concerned. I’ve never been selfish, but I’m making a list of “No’s”. Normally my “No’s” are: “No doing dishes, no washing windows, no dating actors, musicians, athletes, or anyone in the military.” (Yes, I have legitimate reasons for all that.), but I’ve expanded on the original list. Perhaps I’ll write about it up the road.

Another important goal is to completely regroup. I am unbelievably tired of being in so much pain. Here’s hoping & praying that quality health care and proper treatment is in my future so that I may avoid permanent damage. I want to be able to function at a higher level and I’d appreciate not feeling like a prisoner in my body. It’s bad enough that I do feel like a prisoner. My cell is roughly 5.4″, and I cannot seem to break free. 😦

If I am able to feel like a human-being on December 31st, 2016, then I will have achieved something great, though for now, my expectations are lower than dirt.

I want to explore this new town as soon as the ice melts. I would hate to slip and fall and have to call someone to meet me at the nearest emergency room because I don’t have a single pair of boots here. Sometimes a walk can do so much in terms of clearing your head and heart of negative thoughts, but since 20 degree temperatures and I don’t exactly mesh, I might have to wait for it to warm up a bit. I’m hoping people will be patient with me and understand that while I do have my priorities straight (Believe me, I wish I didn’t.), I’m not willing to sacrifice anything more that helps keep me sane. I don’t care how ridiculous it seems to you; let me live.

It is difficult not to feel damaged, bruised, and broken. I am reminded that I am strong, yes, but every woman reaches a point when she’d simply like to sit in a corner and cry. Not because she’s weak, but because she needs to get the rage out of her system. It’s healthy, cleansing, and allows you to move forward. I detest weakness in myself, so it’s either have a good cry or trial by fire. (I’m kidding…slightly.)

Whatever 2015 has or hasn’t given you, maybe you be blessed moving forward. If it was a painful year, much like mine, cleanse yourself now and don’t carry the bitterness with you any longer than is necessary. Set a goal, however little or much, and do your best. If anyone has anything snarky to say about your goal(s), by all means, tell them to bite you. That’s about as inoffensive as I get for now.

Whatever you plan to do in terms of celebration tonight, please be safe. If you’re going to be drinking, be certain you have a designated driver or plan to take a cab home. It is better to be safe than sorry. Also, put your phone away. Do NOT text and drive. (It’s one of my biggest pet peeves, but it is also incredibly dangerous.)

Wishing you all a fantastic, happy, and safe New Year! 🙂 Let the blessings commence. So mote it be!

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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One Of Those Moods

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We’ve all, at one point or another during the course of our lives, been in “one of those moods”. No one on this planet is ecstatic in their happiness at all times. If they were, there would be no such thing as mental illness or anti-depressants. There would be no practical need for such medication, and psychiatrists would all have to retire or find another form of medicine in which to work. Since we do not live in any kind of euphoric utopia where all is right in the world, we all tend to have moments where we hit walls, patches that derail us, and/or get into a “funk” from time-to-time.

For some, these things go on for years before something happens to change those feelings, whether it be medical intervention or something more. It’s human and normal. There’s no such thing as perfect happiness 24/7, and anyone that tries to feed you that line is likely selling something, or trying to convert you to Scientology (It had to be said.).

It bothers people who I am not this warm, welcoming, smiling, blissfully happy idiot. But it doesn’t bother me. I prefer to be warm and welcoming to those I genuinely like. I prefer to laugh with people when something is truly funny, and I choose to be happy during times of real happiness. I accept life, to a degree, on a day-to-day basis. Maybe I’d be happier if I didn’t suffer from so much pain, who knows? But on a realistic level, I have always known I am “other”, that I don’t blend in to the woodwork, and I learned to be okay with that. Acceptance of others begins with acceptance of self. I live with me every single day and ultimately, I have to like who I am as a person, live fully in my skin, and be content in my company. I’m not responsible for how anyone else perceives me.

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I’ve never pretended that the holidays are an easy time for me. They’re not, and I’m quite open about that fact. This year though, I’ve had bigger fish to fry and it wasn’t weighing heavy on my mind or heart.

Christmas Eve was spent recovering from a migraine (I’ve been dealing with a lot of them.), and later on in the day, enjoying time with my family. Being Jewish, Christmas itself is just another day on the calendar, but I do try to make a nice meal and do something quiet and enjoyable for those I may be with. Normally it’s a movie and a really awesome home-cooked meal, even if it’s a DVD/Blu-Ray at home, it’s still something oriented around being together. This year, I focused mainly on cooking, which is something I absolutely love doing. Cooking solely for myself isn’t always fun, but cooking for a few people (or more) makes me happy. I did want to take photos of the table and the meal itself, but I got distracted, so maybe next year? 😉

This week I will be busy with as much writing as I can cram into my days. There’s so much going on in my head, and the best therapy in the world is getting it written. I also have to get caught up on all the book and beauty reviews I have committed to.

I think as I write, my mood will shift into one of focus, and I’ll be able to purge some of what I am feeling. Moving into 2016 has all kinds of positive potential for me, and the best thing for me to do is think ahead, look forward, and don’t turn around. In a way, my mind is already shielding me from the trauma I have endured, and there’s simply so much of it at the moment. A lot of it is old, some of it is brand new, but I need to focus and let it go. I need to be healthier for myself. Perhaps I’ll take up yoga or something that allows me to be calm and collected. Who knows.

I hope everyone was able to spend their respective holidays in a manner that made them happy.

Being able to write this without interruption has shifted my mood quite a bit. After all, tomorrow is a brand new day. 🙂

Live your life the way you choose, and follow your passions, or misery will accompany far too many days.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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I’ve been in such horrible pain for the past ten days or so, and there is snow in the forecast starting Monday night, so I am more than a little hesitant to get too excited about my pain levels tapering off. I truly hate this disease!

Full Cold Moon In Cancer

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Tonight is The Full Cold Moon, named because after tonight the temperature will start to drop rapidly. It is also known as The Oak Moon and Yule Moon, This is an especially special Full Moon because it is the final one of this year. This will be one of the biggest. brightest Moons of the year.

Tonight’s Full Moon is rising in the sign of Cancer. It will be an intense, highly charged Moon filled with strong emotions coming to the surface. Don’t hold them back; let them out. This is a time of release, of letting go, and being our authentic selves. Let the world see the real you. Something has been building inside of us, and now is the time when the energy of the cosmos demands that we let it out.

This is a particularly lucky Full Moon, so don’t be afraid to go for the things you want. Lady luck is shining on you now, so be ready for all that the universe is ready to gift you. Open your hands and your heart and accept your universal gifts. Don’t be scared to dream big and ask for more. Be positive and open yourself up to allow the good to come in to your life. Be ambitious, go for what you want, or put plans in place to achieve what you want in the future. You will have inner strength now that will pull you through anything that comes up against you.

This is a time to look back on the year passed and reflect on all the lessons we have learned, and the people who have come and gone in our lives. As we come to the end of this year we should use the energy of this Full Moon to energize ourselves for the coming new year. All the inner work you have focused on this year will now be the foundation for bringing more power, love, and energy into your life in this creative, forward-moving period. On this Full Moon we can truly bring in change, and transform ourselves to be who we want to be. We will feel braver and more confident than usual. Luck will be on your side. Let your thoughts and desires manifest into something real.

This Full Moon brings light to whatever was hidden in the darkness or buried within the subconscious, such as emotional pain or our deepest desires, but once awareness happens, you are able to make realistic changes. Our emotional levels move like strong turbulent waves in the ocean during high tide during this Full Moon in Cancer. Emotional reactions may be strong, energies may feel irritable or uptight, but don’t worry, as this will pass. We are amidst great times of transformation which are heralding major new beginnings. Change isn’t always easy or comfortable and it’s constant, so we must strive to keep our balance during these changing tides. Embrace the changes coming and steer them in a positive direction.

Let the Cancer energy of this Full Moon wash over you and cleanse your spirit, use it to heal you both emotionally and physically. Let the moonlight bathe and soothe you, body and soul. Seek a balance of light and dark and see the truth in your life, however much it may hurt. Only then can we do something about it. Now is a time of reaping the rewards of all the hard work we have put in this year, and try to relax a little and let the current take you to a new and exciting year.

Have a blessed Full Moon & may the Goddess watch over you.

Written credit goes to Wicca Teachings.

Edited by Lisa Marino.

Photo credit: Various

Blessed Yule

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Today is Yule. It is celebrated on the Winter Solstice which is the longest night of the year. After this night, the nights will start to get shorter and the days will get longer. It is the rebirth of the Sun.

Ancient people were hunters and farmers and spent most of their time outdoors. The seasons and weather played a very important part in their lives. Because of this, many ancient people had a great reverence for, and worshiped the Sun. The Norsemen saw the sun as a wheel that changed the seasons. It was from the word for the wheel, houl or jol, that the word Yule is thought to have come.

Every 6 months there is a Solstice. On the Summer Solstice the longest day of the year and shortest night, the Waning Sun takes control of the skies and the days get shorter and nights get longer, the cold starts to set in and vegetation on the earth begins to die. On the Winter Solstice the Waxing Sun takes over and the nights start to get shorter and the days longer, it is a sign that Spring is only a few months away, where life will begin anew and the earth will start to blossom and bloom.

On Yule we celebrate the return of the Waxing Sun. In Wicca it is birth of the Sun God who has many names: Cernunnos, The Oak King, Apollo, Sol, Freyr, Horus, Mithras, The Horned God, The Green Man, Lord Of Light, and more. The Goddess gives birth to him on this night, she sacrifices herself to give life to the Lord Of Light to ensure the earth’s survival.

In ancient tradition, Yule was celebrated with a large fire where the townsfolk and villagers would dedicate it to the Sun God. They would fill their homes with evergreens and an evergreen tree to show that even though the land is barren and dead, life is still flourishing. They would decorate the tree and their home with shiny objects to encourage The Sun God to shine.

We use Holly and Mistletoe on Yule as symbols of the fertility of the God and Goddess as they grow in the Winter. The red berries of the Holly represent the blood of the Goddess and the white berries of Mistletoe represent the semen of the God to ensure a healthy Spring and harvest to come.

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Fill your Yule altar with fruit, nuts, and seasonal winter fare such as fallen leaves, fallen tree branches, acorns, evergreens, and anything bright and shining. Light yellow, green, red, white, or orange candles to ensure a good year and honor the season. Make an offering of wine, grapes, juniper berries, apples, nutmeg, cinnamon, or cloves to the Gods to honor them and wish for a happy new year.

The Winter Solstice has been celebrated by many ancient cultures, one of the most famous being Saturnalia.The ancient Romans held a festival to celebrate the rebirth of the year. Saturnalia ran for seven days from the 17th-23rd of December. It was a time when the ordinary rules were turned upside down. Men dressed as women and masters dressed as servants, the servants were given lavish gifts and their masters made them a big feast. The festival also involved decorating houses with greenery, lighting candles, holding processions, and giving presents. A Saturnalia Tree would be the center piece of every home.

Yule is a celebration of light and of the Sun and its life-giving properties upon the earth. It is a time to rejoice and be thankful for all we have and to gather strength for the new year. It is a time to contemplate on the year that has gone and look to the future.

The Winter Solstice falls on the longest night of the year (this can fall anywhere between the 20th-23rd of December) and was celebrated in Britain long before the arrival of Christianity. The Druids (Celtic priests) would cut the mistletoe that grew on the oak tree and give it as a blessing. Oaks were seen as sacred and the winter fruit of the mistletoe was a symbol of life in the dark winter months.

It was also the Druids who began the tradition of the yule log. The Celts thought that the sun stood still for twelve days in the middle of winter and during this time a log was lit to conquer the darkness, banish evil spirits, and bring luck for the coming year. To make a Yule log, cut a log into 12 pieces and burn a piece every day for 12 days, with each piece burned make a wish for the coming new year.

Today we welcome back the Lord of Light. Blessed Yule to all.

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Full Written Credit: Mystical Tymes

Edited by Lisa Marino

Photo Credit: Various