It's December in West Texas. It's pretty chilly at night, but I hear it will be a sunny 70 degree weekend ahead. We hope you enjoy this issue. Let us know what you did like or if you'd like to see something else.
Let's Call this our Schedule
“Hoped-for” publication dates for West Texas Pagan Times newsletter:
Yule issue/December 2 (this was Dec. 1.... until yesterday!)
Imbolc issue/January 15
Ostara issue/March 1
Beltane issue/April 15
Litha issue/June 1
Lammas issue/July 15
Mabon issue/September 1
Samhain issue/October 15
HarvestFest was held recently in Amarillo; this was the 21st year! That is quite a feat! Your editor was too ill to attend, but I heard it was a smashing success and everyone had such a good time. I am so sorry I missed it! It was not to be, for me. But there’s always next year!
Bouncing Baby Boy
Tommy & Mary Jeffers had a baby boy on Nov 9th: Evan Andrew. Welcome, Evan and many happy wishes and peaceful sleep-filled nights to the new parents.
Susan and Dean Goodman were married on September 11 in Roswell. Congratulations, you two! May you enjoy many happy years together, ever in newlywed bliss!
Dec. 5 - BlogTalkRadio program, “Coffee with Oly” topic - Entities
Dec. 10 - Magick Coffee at Schlotzky’s on 19th, topic: Yule Love It
Dec. 12 - BlogTalkRadio program, “Coffee with Oly” topic - Interview with Raven Sexton, an Elder Goth & Vampire - http://www.blogtalkradio.com/olympias
Dec. 18 - Elder Grove Yule Celebration
Dec. 18 - Earth Circle's Yule Ritual
Dec. 19 - BlogTalkRadio program, “Coffee with Oly” topic - Winter Solstice - How Will You Celebrate? - http://www.blogtalkradio.com/olympias
Dec. 21, 12:33 a.m. (Note: this means the night of Dec. 20) - Total Eclipse of the Moon
Dec. 26 - BlogTalkRadio program, “Coffee with Oly” topic - Sound Off Sunday and Readings for the New Year! - http://www.blogtalkradio.com/olympias
Jan. 14 - Magick Coffee
I think we’re pretty much in agreement when I say that what began as a Pagan celebration has been totally taken over by Christianity. How many times have you heard “Jesus is the reason for the season?” Have you ever been chastised for saying Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas?
I’m not saying that we can’t all celebrate - for whatever reason - at the same time of year.
Instead, I am asking, what does Yule mean to you? And if you celebrate it, how?
Nothing is a certainty. (Except death and taxes, of course.) Sure, you’d win the bet on whether the sun would rise tomorrow - if you could find such a foolish bookie. But you can’t know if the sun will rise on YOU!
Christians commemorate the birth of the Son, while we Pagans see the rebirth of the Sun. While this time of year marks the days getting shorter, I can’t relate to a people that were afraid this meant the sun was dying or going away. But given that there’s no guarantee on how many times the sun will rise on me - I choose Yule time to celebrate life’s cyclical nature.
The birth of a baby is so exciting - the potential for that life unlimited. The baby could well be the next savior of the world! Death, as we’ve agreed upon, is really just another chapter in that life. Which brings us to rebirth. All these themes can be seen at Yule time. The magic of that is what I relate to.
My celebrations include food (of course), and yes, some gifting is involved. I like to find children to gift, because what child doesn't need a Yule Gift?! There's also a Yule log and some sympathetic-type magic in the form of lights and/or flames from a warm fire. Being with loved ones and drinking mulled wine - all these things just go together.
I would really like to hear from you, what are your Yule traditions? What does Yule mean to you?
Kitchen Witch Korner
Yule Correspondences to follow!
Sugar Cookies and Hot Wassail. This is what comes to mind when I think of Yule. For me, this is a season of love; love for your family, your lover, your friends. What’s the best way to share that love? Why putting that love into your baking and cooking of course! I’m a kitchen witch by nature. I have always instilled healing or comfort or love into everything I prepare. I like to call on a hearth Goddess to watch over my kitchen and any chance that I will enchant an item, such as a wooden spoon, I do. I like to stir things in deosil (clockwise) to infuse and widdershins (counterclockwise) to banish. Today I am sharing two of my favorite Yule recipes, so please give them a try and learn what works best for you. There’s a little kitchen witch in everyone!
1 stick margarine (generic)
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
Cream margarine and sugar well. Add eggs, milk and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.
Sift dry ingredients together and slowly add to the wet mixture.
Chill batter 2-3 hours or overnight.
Roll out on floured board approx ¼ inch thick.
Cut with cookie cutters.
Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until golden.
Remove to cooling racks.
May decorate before baking with sugars and candies ~or~
you can bake the cookies, allow them to cool and then ice them.
2 quarts apple cider
1 cup honey
2 oranges studded with cloves
4 cinnamon stick
1 apple cored and sliced
1 tsp nutmeg
Add all to a large crock pot and allow to simmer for at least 2 hours, more if you can. Strain and serve hot.
Yule, usually celebrated on the Winter solstice/December 21st, is a time of the Goddess of the Cold Darkness and the birth of the Divine Child, the reborn Sun God. It is a time of renewal and rebirth during Winter, and the turning of the Earth force tides. Correspondences include:
Rituals: personal renewal, world peace, honoring family and friends, Festival of light, meditation
Incense: bayberry, cedar, ginger, cinnamon, pine, rosemary, frankincense, myrrh, nutmeg, wintergreen, saffron
Herbs/Plants: blessed thistle, evergreen, moss, oak, sage, bay, bayberry, cedar, pine, frankincense, ginger, holly, ivy, juniper, mistletoe, myrrh, pinecones, rosemary, chamomile, cinnamon, valerian, yarrow
Stones/Gems: cat’s ere, ruby, diamond, garnet, bloodstone
Colors: gold, silver, red, green, white
Symbols/Decorations: bayberry candles, evergreens, holly, mistletoe, poinsettia, mistletoe, lights, gifts, Yule log, Yule tree, spinning wheels, wreaths, bells, mother and child images
Foods: nuts, apples, pears, caraway cakes soaked with cinder, pork, orange, hibiscus or ginger tea, roasted turkey, fruitcake, dried fruit, cookies, eggnog, mulled wine
Goddesses: Great Mother, Befana (strega), Rhea (Greek), Holda (Teutonic), Isis (Egyptian), Lucina (Roman), Dona Dea (Fauna/Roman), Mother Earth, Ops (Roman Earth Mother), Hertha (german) Freya(norse), Call leach (celtic)
Gods: Sun child, Saturn (Rome) Cronos (greek) Horus/Ra (Egyptian) Mithras (Persian) Balder (norse), Santa Claus/ Odin (teutonic) Holly King, Old Man Winter
Animals: reindeer stag, phoenix, squirrels, cardinal, sacred white buffalo, kallikantzaros - ugly chaos monsters (greek), Yule goat (Nordic) Yule cat, trolls, Yule elf, jule gnome, wren, robin
Essence: honor, rebirth, transformation, light out of darkness, creative inspiration, the mysteries, new life, regeneration, inner renewal, reflection/introspection
For its supposedly mystical power mistletoe has long been at the center of many folklore. One is associated with the Goddess Frigga. The story goes that Mistletoe was the sacred plant of Frigga, goddess of love and the mother of Balder, the god of the summer sun. Balder had a dream of death which greatly alarmed his mother, for should he die, all life on earth would end. In an attempt to keep this from happening, Frigga went at once to air, fire, water, earth, and every animal and plant seeking a promise that no harm would come to her son. Balder now could not be hurt by anything on earth or under the earth. But Balder had one enemy, Loki, god of evil and he knew of one plant that Frigga had overlooked in her quest to keep her son safe. It grew neither on the earth nor under the earth, but on apple and oak trees. It was lowly mistletoe. So Loki made an arrow tip of the mistletoe, gave to the blind god of winter, Hoder, who shot it , striking Balder dead. The sky paled and all things in earth and heaven wept for the sun god. For three days each element tried to bring Balder back to life. He was finally restored by Frigga, the goddess and his mother. It is said the tears she shed for her son turned into the pearly white berries on the mistletoe plant and in her joy Frigga kissed everyone who passed beneath the tree on which it grew. The story ends with a decree that who should ever stand under the humble mistletoe, no harm should befall them, only a kiss, a token of love.
Gaia In Colorado
I have witnessed Gaia in all of her glory:
Basking and shimmering in the light of her lover, Sun.
The swell of her bosom and her hips rising above the plane of her thigh.
Her scent is jasper and aspen, cedar and pine, lavender and sage.
No other beauty compares to that of my mother, Earth.
But what terrible children she has borne!
They who would have her spread-eagled on their greed!
I have seen her stripped naked and forced open for all to see.
I am forced to watch as she is repeatedly raped.
Her golden hymen all but obliterated: she bleeds oil into her oceans.
But I have also seen her exact her revenge!
She hurls her stone judgements at the dwelling places of her defilers!*
Her lover, Sun, also avenges her: beating relentlessly down upon all who tread her mesa pathways.
Colorado evokes every emotion simultaneously.
~Written By TammyLynnClason;19July2010; MesaVerde,CO~
by Momma Witche
Movie review—“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1” rated PG-13 (2010)
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1” is the much anticipated seventh movie in the Harry Potter saga. This one finds Harry, Hermione, and Ron outside of Hogwarts in a race to find the “Deathly Hallows” in order to stop He-who-must-not-be-named, who has taken over both Malfoy Manor and the Ministry of Magic. Many people have gone into hiding and almost everyone has lost hope of ever being free from the tyranny of the Death Eaters. Some old friends die and others are maimed. I won’t give too much of the story away, but if you have read the book you know what is going to happen. It is a darker film than the previous ones, but they have been getting darker for some time now. Be prepared for some tears if you are at all involved with these characters. Lil’ Witche was especially upset with two of the deaths, and any of you who know her will know which two.
I went into this movie with extremely high hopes. The other movies were wonderful, but a lot of information from the books was left out. I understand why, because otherwise the movies would be extremely long. I came out of this one extremely pleased. It’s not so much that things are left out, but rather that a lot of description from the book is done in one or two shots. The chapters concerning the trio’s journey up and down the countryside is shown rather quickly, but does not detract from the story.
The familiar faces have all returned along with a few new ones. You finally get to meet Bill Weasley(you met Charlie briefly in “The Goblet of Fire.”) and Luna Lovegood’s father. And having watched these kids grow up on the screen, I am impressed with the acting talent. I know a lot of it is the fact that these movies have been a great acting school for them, and the adult actors they have had a chance to work with is simply incredible. But the first casting directors should be given a big hand for taking a risk with these young men and women. I mean, they could have turned out to be mediocre, or even down right bad. I think you will understand what I am saying when you see the look on Draco Malfoy’s face during any of the scenes in Malfoy Manor. You can see the revulsion and fear he is feeling, and not a word is said.
We give “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1” 5 owls. I’d give it more but I’m on a 1 through 5 owl scale. Go see this one. The second half comes out next July.
DVD review—“How to Train Your Dragon” rated PG (2010)
This is the story of a young Viking who does not fit in with the rest of the Vikings in his hometown. He is short, scrawny, and does not want to kill dragons. Instead, he befriends a Night Fury, the most deadly of all the dragons. In the process he discovers that the dragons and the Vikings have a lot in common and don’t have to kill each other if they can get rid of the dragon that is controlling the other dragons. It is just as good in 2D as it was in 3D. The DVD has some interesting segments on how the film was made and the cast. We got the edition with the second disk which is a continuation of the story in “The Legend of the Boneknapper.” We give it 5 owls.
Thanksgiving has once again come and gone. I had the wonderful treat of spending some time with a very good friend whom I hadn’t seen in 4 years! I first met Hana in the late 90’s when she was a student at TTU. She was a member of the former CUUPS group (which eventually became the Lubbock Seeker’s Society) and later, the High Priestess of the Serpents of the Vine, my old coven. After her appearance at the first Pagan Pride Day in Lubbock as the “woman with the baby and the knife!” Hana and her family moved to Washington state. However, they have recently relocated to Albuquerque so Hana can attend the University of New Mexico.
|Hana and baby Alex in San Diego|
Magickal name and why you chose it.
Briony, it is the name of a plant that only has magical uses, not healing or cooking. I wanted it to differentiate my magical life from my mundane one. It's numerology also matches my given name.
Brief bio/history of religion and religious practices:
Like many of today's modern neo-pagan practitioners, I was raised Christian. However, I was also lucky enough to have parents that thought camping and being outdoors were very important activities. Mountains and rocky beaches have always been my true cathedrals. Also like many people, I began to feel something was wrong spiritually in my teens, and started seeking a new path then.
How long have you been practicing and what is your chosen path?
I settled on Wicca during the summer of 1998, and declared myself so on the top of Glastonbury Tor.
Why did you choose that path?
It provided both a framework and a means to be flexible, and it is what felt most like home.
How do you celebrate Yule?
I celebrate Yule with most of the trappings of a modern American Christmas, only changed slightly to fit my beliefs. But I like presents, good food, and family and feel like most symbols of Yuletide have either lost their Christian symbolism or never had it to begin with.
You used to be a nurse; how did you bring witchcraft into your nursing practice?
As a nurse I worked in intensive care units, which was often very stressful. I's use simple techniques like grounding to help get through my shifts. However, I'd also do things like take the little pink squirts of saline that we had (for cleaning out suction lines) and sprinkle the salt water around a room after one patient died and before the next one arrived to remove any lingering energy.
What are you doing now, and do you use witchcraft in (geology - or whatever it is you do do .... )
Right now I'm studying for a Masters degree in Planetary Science at the university of New Mexico. This means I am working with stones and minerals all the time. As a witch I can often tell if there is quartz in any rock just by briefly picking it up and looking at it, because quartz feels like such an old friend! Sometimes there's such a small amount that we can't confirm it until we put a sample into the scanning electron microscope- but I'm always right!
Tell us a bit about being a Pagan parent and what practices you bring into parenting.
My son is a very busy four year old red-head, born on a full moon. I read him myths from different cultures, but he's not ready yet to be in rituals. What I do do with him is teach him ways he can ground. For example, if I have to take him to class with me he knows to run and hug every tree we pass on campus before going into the earth sciences building!
|Same Winter as Ever|
First of all, I am probably the least qualified to review music of anyone. I have never learned to play a musical instrument, and I have no voice for singing. That being said, I do like to listen to music and I have my opinions about what is good music and what is crap.
Speaking of crap, I am sad to say that I did not enjoy this CD at all! I was so disappointed, because I love Enya! Or, I thought I did. Until I listened to this CD. EVERY song, save for one, sounds like every other Enya song I think I've heard. I didn't realize it until I put this CD on and heard what sounded like Watermark... or Memory of Trees.... The different song wasn't even that good.
Don't buy this CD. You can have mine.