Animus Soul Age TestI‘m a Star Soul
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Baby you're a Star! With zero lifetimes lived, throughout history, Star Souls have been the rarest of all souls on earth and highly critical to the survival of humankind. As you may have suspected, you're really not 'of this world.' You've never been here, and may never be again. Your Animus Test shows zero lifetimes. You're here on a divine mission and must cultivate a deep fearlessness as soon as you can. You may already have the sense that you've got one shot and you've got to make it count. And it's true. But don't let this make you anxious Star Soul. You know how to be your own refuge, use this skill everyday, it's critical to you. As you walk through life, your experience isn't like other people's, you see everything taking place through fresh eyes. You see things others around you don't. This is because you lack the attachments brought by lifetimes spent learning the ways of earth. Abraham Lincoln is an example of a Star Soul, and how might humanity look today without him? Like Tesla, Oprah, Steve Jobs, and Malala Yousafzai, you have come in to this life, at this exact time, to bring revolutionary change to the world as we know it—relax, this can take time, but listen, no one said it was going to be easy! Your job is to see things for what they are and to speak truth wherever life takes you. Star Souls always change the world, always over the course of just a single life. We're all lucky you're here!!
Do You Know What is Skyclad?
I recently received a question that I would like to clarify. Two well-informed individuals were very interested in joining a Coven, or otherwise partaking in group Ritual, but were concerned that they would need to expose themselves in order to do so. They asked me if it was mandatory for all Wiccans to practice while in the nude. The brief answer to this question is by and large ‘no’ as the Faith is not one which coerces somebody to do something that they do not want to do. Instead, Wicca gives general guidelines for practice and finding a path to spirituality. However, there are certain sects and individual Covens with more stringent standards which do require participants to be in the nude, or Skyclad, during Rituals. I would like to elucidate the reasoning behind this.
The Wiccan Rede, the statement in which all Wiccans live by regardless of sect or other beliefs, does after all state, “An ye harm none do what ye will.” If an individual feels uncomfortable when unclothed in front of others or by themselves, would it not harm that individual to compel somebody to do so? To begin to answer this question, we must differentiate the Faith from a Coven. While Wicca is all-inclusive, willing to accept anybody to live by the Rede, as we have often mentioned, a Coven is not necessarily open to everybody who wishes to join. Rather, it is a group of individuals who share a common ideology about Wicca and the practice of Magick, and may choose to impose rules, including Skyclad, that others do not choose to follow. This is their prerogative.
But why do these Covens choose to practice in the nude? The intent behind this custom is not perverse by any means. It instead entails a logic concerning the combination of energy flow and the reverence of nature.
Ritual nudity has been observed since the days of ancient paganism. The Practitioners of old believed that clothing limited the maximum flow of energy exerted from an individual, and thus it would help them achieve their Magickal goals by removing their clothing. This idea was reinforced by the fact that Rituals were a form of worship of the Divine and her natural beauty, and it should follow that all participants be in their most natural form. These people thought nothing of it at the time.
However, Skyclad of modern times has generated much more controversy. Perhaps this notion is more controversial today due to the emphasis that we place upon clothing, or because society’s collective conception of ‘decency’ has changed. Even so, it seems as if the scrutiny that Covens practicing Skyclad grows each day.
In his ethnography of Tuscan Practitioners of the Craft at the turn of the 20th Century, Charles Leland wrote in Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches, that they practiced naked. There have been disagreements as to whether Leland actually witnessed this, or had heard the Practitioners speaking of being uncovered in the metaphorical sense, but nonetheless Gerald Gardner took this as a literal instruction. Gardner himself had been initiated Skyclad into the New Forest Coven, and deemed this nudity as an important facet of neopaganism. As influential as he was, many Wiccans believed Skyclad to be a mandatory part of the Faith.
Certain sects to this day, namely Gardnerian and Aradian, often continue the practice of Skyclad. Further, the ancient belief that nudity maximized the results of a Ritual has recently been substantiated through empirical studies. However, as mentioned at the outset, this is not a requirement found in Wicca. If there needs to be a message behind this discussion it is that if you are uncomfortable with nudity, simply do not choose to join a Coven which expects it during Rituals. However, it does not seem quite fair to judge a Coven that elects Ritual nudity as they are doing this out of respect for the divine.
" And the Yule-log cracked in the chimney,
And the Abbot bowed his head,
And the flamelets flapped and flickered,
But the Abbot was stark and dead."
H.W. Longfellow 'King Witlaf's Drinking Horn (1848)
Played an important role in the celebrations of the winter solstice and later Christmas, a large oak log was ceremoniously brought into the house and kindled at dusk, using a brand from the previous year’s Yule Log. It was deemed essential that the log, once lit, should burn until it was deliberately extinguished. The length of time, varied from region to region, from 12 hours to several days and it was considered ill-omened if the fire burnt itself out. It was never allowed to burn away completely, as some would be needed for the following year.
In England, it was considered unlucky for the Yule log to be bought, and had to be acquired using other means, as long as no money changed hands. Often it was given as a gift by landowners, and sometimes decorated with evergreens. In Cornwall a figure of a man was sometimes chalked on the surface of the log, mock or block. In Provence, where it was called the tréfoire, carols were sung invoking blessings upon the women that they might bear children and upon the crops, herds and flocks that they might also increase.
The ashes from the Yule log were often used to make protective, healing or fertilizing charms, or scattered over the fields. In Brittany, the ashes were thrown into wells to purify the water, and in Italy as charms against hailstones.
In some parts of the Scottish Highlands, a variation of the Yule log was observed, here a figure of an old woman, the Cailleach Nollaich, was carved from a withered tree stump. At dusk, the figure was brought into the house and laid upon the burning peat of the house fire. The family would gather round the hearth and watch the figure consumed into ashes, the rest of the evening was spent in games and merriment. The figure, represented, not fertility and life but of the evils of winter and death, the figure had to be totally consumed if misfortune and death were to be averted in the coming year.
Mistletoe, from the Old English misteltãn, is a parasitic plant that grows on various trees, particularly the apple tree, it is held in great veneration when found on Oak trees. The winter solstice, called 'Alban Arthan' by the Druids, was according to Bardic Tradition, the time when the Chief Druid would cut the sacred mistletoe from the Oak. The mistletoe is cut using a golden sickle on the sixth day of the moon. It is often associated with thunder, and regarded as a protection against fire and lighting. In Scandinavian mythology, Balder the Beautiful was killed from an arrow made of mistletoe and wielded by the blind god Hoder. Shakespeare, in Titus Andronicus II calls it 'the baleful mistletoe'.
It is interesting to note that mistletoe was excluded from church decorations, probably due to its connection with the Druids and pagan and magickal associations. This ancient ban on mistletoe is still widely observed.
This was an ornamental candle of great size, once widely used at Yule throughout Britain, Ireland and Scandinavia. It was often coloured red, green or blue and decorated with sprigs of holly or some other evergreen. The candle was lit either on Christmas Eve, its light shedding on the festival supper and left to burn throughout the night or early Christmas morning, to burn throughout the day. It was rekindled on each successive night of the twelve-day festival, and finally extinguished on the Twelfth Night.
While the candle burnt, it was believed to shed a blessing on the household, it was considered a sign of ill omen or misfortune for the candle to go out or blown out. It was also considered unlucky to move it, or blow out the flame, when the time came to extinguish it, it was done by pressing the wick with a pair of tongs. In some households only the head of the family could perform this task, it being considered unlucky for anyone else to touch it whilst alight.
Up until the middle of the last century, chandlers used to present regular customers, with Yule Candles of various sizes, as a gift.
Ritual for Yule
SUPPLIES: Yule log (oak or pine) with white, red and black candles on it (set it in the fireplace), chalice of wine, small piece of paper and pencil for each person.
The altar is adorned with evergreens such as pine, rosemary, bay, juniper and cedar, and the same can be laid to mark the Circle.
After casting the circle, the (Covenshead) should say:
"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 and the new yearly cycle,
Bringing new light and hope to all on Earth.
On the longest night of winter,
and the dark night of our souls,
there springs the new spark of hope,
the Sacred Fire,
the Light of the World.
We gather tonight to await the new light.
On this night, the Maiden, who is also Mother
and Crone, prepares to welcome the Sun.
Let's now prepare to welcome the new light within."
~Invocation to the Goddess and God:
(Male) "I light this fire in your honour Mother Goddess
You have created life from death, warmth from cold
The Sun lives once again, the time of light is waxing.
We invite you, Great Mother, to our circle
Bring us new light, the light of your glorious Son."
(Female light the white candle on the Yule log and say):
"I come to you as Maiden
Young and free, fresh as springtime
Yet within me a yearning stirs to create and share
and so I become...
(Light the red candle) The Mother
I bring forth the fruit of my creativity
Yet an ancient prophet once told me, as I stood with my son,
A sword shall pierce through thy own heart also
And I knew that I must become...
(Light the black candle) The Crone
The ancient wise one, Lady of Darkness
We three - in - one who brought forth that special child
as long ago, also anointed him for burial-
A bright light that grew and was sacrificed to be reborn
as a new light."
(Male) "Ancient God of the forest, we welcome you
Return from the shadows, O Lord of Light.
The wheel has turned. We call you back to warm us.
Great God of the Sun
I welcome your return
May you shine brightly upon the Earth."
~Consecration of the Yule Log
(Female) "Yule is the end of the old solar year and the beginning
of the new one. Traditionally, the end of the year is a time
to look back and reflect. It is a time to look ahead
to the future, to make plans and set goals."
On your piece of paper, write something you hope to accomplish during the coming year. When you are finished, attach the slip of paper to the Yule Log.
(Male) picks up the chalice and says:
"We toast the new year (sprinkles wine on the log) and in token
of its promise, we consecrate this sacred wood as a focus for the
energies through which we accomplish our tasks and manifest our
desires during the coming cycle."
~All drink from the chalice.
(Female) "You who have died are now reborn. Lend us your light through
the winter months as we await the spring. Let us now light the Yule Log.
Once having burned with the Yule fire, these candles will contain the luck
of the log throughout the coming year."
(remember to save a small piece of the log for next Yule or save the ashes or the candles.)
~Male and Female light the Yule log together.
(Female - extinguishing the God taper)
"Thank you Bright Lord
for the light you have brought to us this night
May we carry it within us throughout the coming year."
(Male - extinguishing the Goddess taper)
"Thank you most gracious Lady
for your freshness of spirit, your nurturing care
your infinite wisdom
Live within us throughout the coming year.
So mote it be."
~Close the circle the way you usually do.
Wassail, is derived from the Anglo-Saxon wes hál, meaning 'be whole', or 'be of good health', or Old Norse ves heill, and was a salutation use at Yule, when the wassail bowl was passed around with toasts and singing. Wassail carols would be sung as people would travel from house to house in the village bringing good wishes in return for a small gratuity. The Apple Tree Wassail, sung in hopes of a good crop of cider the following year, other such as the Gower Wassail carol still survive today.
Recipe for Yule Wassail
3 red apples
3 oz. brown sugar
2 pints brown ale, apple cider, or hard cider
1/2 pint dry sherry or dry white wine
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger strips or lemon peel
Core and heat apples with brown sugar and some of the ale or cider in an oven for 30 minutes. Put in large pan and add rest of spices and lemon peel, simmer on stove top of 5 minutes. Add most of the alcohol at the last minute so it heats up but does not evaporate. Burgundy and brandy can be substituted to the ale and sherry. White sugar and halved oranges may also be added to taste. Makes enough for eight. Wassail!
Witch Mountain WolfRun Coven
The date varies from December 20 to December 23 depending on the year in the Gregorian calendar. Yule is also known as the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere due to the seasonal differences.
Yule, (pronounced EWE-elle) is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day. Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, the sun's "rebirth" was celebrated with much joy. On this night, our ancestors celebrated the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth. From this day forward, the days would become longer.
Bonfires were lit in the fields, and crops and trees were "wassailed" with toasts of spiced cider. Children were escorted from house to house with gifts of clove spiked apples and oranges which were laid in baskets of evergreen boughs and wheat stalks dusted with flour. The apples and oranges represented the sun. The boughs were symbolic of immortality (evergreens were sacred to the Celts because they did not "die" thereby representing the eternal aspect of the Divine). The wheat stalks portrayed the harvest, and the flour was accomplishment of triumph, light, and life. Holly and ivy not only decorated the outside, but also the inside of homes, in hopes Nature Sprites would come and join the celebration. A sprig of Holly was kept near the door all year long as a constant invitation for good fortune to visit tthe residents. Mistletoe was also hung as decoration. It represented the seed of the Divine, and at Midwinter, the Druids would travel deep into the forest to harvest it.
The ceremonial Yule log was the highlight of the Solstice festival. In accordance to tradition, the log must either have been harvested from the householder's land, or given as a gift... it must never have been bought. Once dragged into the house and placed in the fireplace it was decorated in seasonal greenery, doused with cider or ale, and dusted with flour before set ablaze by a piece of last years log, (held onto for just this purpose). The log would burn throughout the night, then smolder for 12 days after before being ceremonially put out. Ash is the traditional wood of the Yule log. It is the sacred world tree of the Teutons, known as Yggdrasil. An herb of the Sun, Ash brings light into the hearth at the Solstice.
A different type of Yule log, and perhaps one more suitable for modern practitioners would be the type that is used as a base to hold three candles. Find a smaller branch of oak or pine, and flatten one side so it sets upright. Drill three holes in the top side to hold red, green, and white (season), green, gold, and black (the Sun God), or white, red, and black (the Great Goddess). Continue to decorate with greenery, red and gold bows, rosebuds, cloves, and dust with flour.
Many customs created around Yule are identified with Christmas today. If you decorate your home with a Yule tree, holly or candles, you are following some of these old traditions. The Yule log, (usually made from a piece of wood saved from the previous year) is burned in the fire to symbolize the Newborn Sun/Son.
Deities of Yule: All Newborn Gods, Sun Gods, Mother Goddesses, and Triple Goddesses. The best known would be the Dagda, and Brighid, the daughter of the Dagda. Brighid taught the smiths the arts of fire tending and the secrets of metal work. Brighid's flame, like the flame of the new light, pierces the darkness of the spirit and mind, while the Dagda's cauldron assures that Nature will always provide for all the children.
Symbolism of Yule:
Rebirth of the Sun, The longest night of the year, The Winter Solstice, Introspect, Planning for the Future.
Symbols of Yule:
Yule log, or small Yule log with 3 candles, evergreen boughs or wreaths, holly, mistletoe hung in doorways, gold pillar candles, baskets of clove studded fruit, a simmering pot of wassail, poinsettias, christmas cactus.
Herbs of Yule:
Bayberry, blessed thistle, evergreen, frankincense holly, laurel, mistletoe, oak, pine, sage, yellow cedar.
Foods of Yule:
Cookies and caraway cakes soaked in cider, fruits, nuts, pork dishes, turkey, eggnog, ginger tea, spiced cider, wassail, or lamb's wool (ale, sugar, nutmeg, roasted apples).
Incense of Yule:
Pine, cedar, bayberry, cinnamon.
Colors of Yule:
Red, green, gold, white, silver, yellow, orange.
Stones of Yule:
Rubies, bloodstones, garnets, emeralds, diamonds.
Activities of Yule:
Caroling, wassailing the trees, burning the Yule log, decorating the Yule tree, exchanging of presents, kissing under the mistletoe, honoring Kriss Kringle the Germanic Pagan God of Yule
Spellworkings of Yule:
Peace, harmony, love, and increased happiness.
Deities of Yule:
Goddesses-Brighid, Isis, Demeter, Gaea, Diana, The Great Mother. Gods-Apollo, Ra, Odin, Lugh, The Oak King, The Horned One, The Green Man, The Divine Child, Mabon.