Greetings Magi Folk, I hope you're all keeping warm and staying well.
I wanted to do a few posts on Midwinter Solstice and share how I make this time of year joyful and magickal.
This time of year may be dark, cold and gloomy, but it needn't be this in our home space of magick and creation. Decorating our homes is a beautiful way to honour our temple and the turning of the great wheel. Our home is an extension of ourselves, it is a place where we come to rest, celebrate, create and dream, it is a place where our magick resides. It holds the three liminal spaces of the world tree - the floor is the underworld, the walls are our world of creation and duality and the roof is the place of spirits and ancestors. It is important to keep our spaces clean, tidy and organised, where the energy of all three worlds can flow, where it can allow the messages of our ancestors and spirit guides to reach us. Where us witches can manifest clearly our intentions, create sorcery and manipulate the reality of our experience in this existence. It is a place that we share with spirits like the house spirit Domovoi, the water spirit in our flowing water taps, the fire spirit of our hearth, cooking and heating, nature spirits that are in the building material of our homes, etc. You wouldn't invite these beneficial spirits into your home and expect them to be happy, feel welcome and stay around if your home is unclean and in disarray; this leads to unclean forces finding their way in, creating mischief, it creates an unhappy home and encourages negative thinking and anxiety.
The turning of the great wheel is a portal, Solstices and Equinoxes are of great importance as the thinning of the veil is stronger, all of these spirits both malefic and benefic are much more active during these times.
Like all sabbats, Yule is a portal: a sacred moment when we step from one energetic phase into another. When we are empowered to let go of the old and welcome in the new. It's a powerful symbolic ritual to physically and energetically cleanse your entry. After all, your front door is a point of power: it’s the point where the energy of the world outside becomes the unique energy that swirls around and defines your personal realm, it's where we can harness all of that good energy and repel the negative. This by extension, affects your life experience and your magickal creation. Our front door is the opening into this realm, and I find that if I have things cluttering the front door - like winter boots, firewood, mud and dirt, dirty mats, boxes or bags from my shopping, things the kids have dragged home - I tend to get very upset, anxious and my creative energy doesn't flow and inspiration is blocked.
Yule is a great time to get your front porch and door spick and span ready for the rebirth and the return of the Sun King. Remove clutter or organise this space. Dust the cobwebs, give your doormat a good shake, sweep from the door outwards, wash the door and any windows you may have, scrub the threshhold and clean with a herbal cleansing wash. Add cleansing and protective herbs and/or oils like Rosemary, Mullein, Wormwood, Basil, Stinging Nettle, Pine, Witches Black Salt or herbal hydrosols to your wash, and wash from the doorway outwards.
In ancient times my Slavic Ancestors would bury their dead at the front door under the threshhold in order to keep the house guarded from malevolent spirits, unwanted guests and enemies. It is important to keep this area clean and never sit on the threshhold or talk to anyone over a threshhold as it is a crossing of the liminal spaces and considered disrespectful to the dead.
Next I like to encourage benefic energy into my front entry by making a wash containing herbs that encourage protection, prosperity, good luck, love and health like basil, Rosemary, Bay Leaves, Peppermint, Chamomile, Bay Leaf. My new herbal incense "Silent Night" Midwinter Blend contains a blend of hersb, spices and resins that does all of those things and can be added to floor and door wash. I wash from the outside coming into the door, then the door, the doorframe and threshhold.
The tradition of hanging a Christmas wreath at this time represents the turning of the wheel of the year, an eternal circle turning through the darkness to the light.
The circular wreaths are an old Pagan tradition that originated with the ancient Slavic, Celtic and people of Scandinavia. We worshipped the rhythms of the earth with the sun being central in importance to them. During the Winter Solstice our ancient people prayed for the sun's return and the reassurance that spring was coming. The center of these rituals was a living wreath. The wreath was traditionally formed with evergreens. It symbolized the unending circle of life and rotation of the seasons. The evergreen was used as it's part of the earth that survives winters cold weather and darkness. Traditionally candles were lit and set within the wreath bringing light to the darkness. Ceremonial fires and candles plays a big part in rituals.
The wreath was displayed indoors. Either hung like a chandelier or on top of a table or altar. Later on in history the tradition was modified to include hanging the wreath on walls and doors. I make a fresh wreath every year from evergreens in my local vicinity, dressed with red ribbon, bells, bows, dried orange wheels and LED lights. These are available from my shop too!
We love to cheer up our space with edible decorations and dried Orange wheels are a favourite! Dried Orange wheels not only look like wheels, but they also look like little stained glass window suns - they have such a joyful look about them when it's so dark and wintery outside. We all love eating them too! Eat the rind too as that is where the you find the most Vit C in an orange - just making sure it's organic and not sprayed. I find I have to dry at least 4 bags of Oranges before the kids stop eating them and they be left to make decorations! We have made Orange wheel garlands, buntings and Yule tree decorations out of them, it's super easy. Slice them up into 5mm slices place them evenly on your oven racks, making sure they don't overlap, put the oven on the lowest setting you can with the door slightly ajar using a spoon. They will take a few hours but the house smells glorious and fill the atmosphere with healing energy and joy!
Another way to decorate your temple for midwinter and at the same time provide protection at this darkest time, is with a Witches Bauble. Witch balls have been around for hundreds of years. They probably would have been where the Christmas bauble originated. Traditionally made of glass, they were hung in windows to ward off evil spirits, evil witches and malefic entities. It was thought that the evil spirits were attracted to the contents of the ball and would be trapped inside therefore protecting the home. Modern witch balls can be glass or plastic and filled with many wonderful herbs, crystals, oils, and amulets. My DIY Kit is a really fun way to make your own home decor and add your own element of protection and well wishes for the new Solar Year.
Well, I think that's enough Yule activity ideas for one week. I hope you enjoy my posts, thank you for reading and being part of this little community - I truly appreciate all of you. Please, so I know you're out there - leave a comment, share, like and subscribe to the website and I may continue with another Midwinter Solstice Post early next week.
In other news, I now have AfterPay!
Many warm blessings, Zofia.