Archive | December 12, 2014

O My Goddess! I wrote the Yule Ritual

I’m having fun, for the first time I wrote our TOILA Yule ritual.  No one had volunteered to do it and I had a minor brain storm. Rituals are not usually my thing. I lead the carols every year and take the pictures but this year my inner Arch Druidess wanted to run around and play.

It’s nothing elaborate, in fact it speaks to the simplicity that is forgotten this time of year but is the root of the story of the season. It isn’t about the gifts or worrying you are going to forget something. It’s about sharing the light of love that is in all our hearts and that sometimes we forget.

Last night at about 3 in the morning when we were being hit with 60 mph winds (that denuded one of the big palm trees up the street) and it was pouring buckets (A nice bright red on the Doppler radar) I had the words come to a carol that I have been trying to re-write for years. I love plain chant and Gregorian chant and I love the carol, O come, O come Emmanuel, and try as I might over the years I haven’t found the right words. They came last night in the storm.

“O come, O come, O Solstice Light

And shine upon our hearts so bright

The light of love that echoes here

And shines out to all who love us here

Rejoice, Rejoice, and listen to your heart

A single light that brightens the dark

Rejoice, Rejoice and listen to your heart

And share the spark of love in every heart.”

And the ritual starts like this:

A Light enters the darkened room and moves to the center

A voice in the darkness says

Priestess 1 “Love is the beacon we are all drawn to.”

A voice from a different place around the room

Priestess 2 “We are love and we are drawn to each other.”

Two people from different places repeat.

Priestess 3 & 4 “Love is the beacon we are all drawn to.”

Priestesses light candles around the room

All Priestesses Present “Love is life, love is light, love is the beacon we are all drawn to.”

And it goes on, the rest you will have to wait for. 😉

Three more Winter Goddesses in my life

reblogged from last year but the way this year is going…

Uranata, Rudolpha and Digita Frigida.

We have three new Goddesses in Southern California courteous of Climate change. The average low temperature for Los Angeles is 49.7 and for the last 2 weeks it’s been in the high 20’s and the low 30’s in the San Fernando Valley. Last night was a low record of 34 in downtown. It’s time we got to know the goddesses from other parts of the word.

Uranata is the goddess associated with dead runs to the toilet to pee induced by sudden exposure to cold. She is friendly with a previously mentioned goddess Sonambula. She can be invoked by sticking a foot out from under the blanket if a hot flash hits, stepping onto a kitchen’s tile floor, walking to the bus in the morning and out of work at night and drinking tea or hot chocolate before bed. Her sacrifices are the noise made when hitting cold bathroom tile in the night and the involuntary exhalation when hitting a frigid toilet seat and the freezing of the hands washing up afterwards. She has a wicked sense of humour as does Rudolpha.

Rudolpha is the goddess of red noses, chapped cheeks and reddened lips and ears. Her dedicants are popular on travel posters of Sweden , Scotland and other northern climes but she is steadily working her way south to Southern California like every other snowbird. She is invoked by quick walks to the bus or train, checking for mail or the newspaper and any other outside venture in cold temperatures. Her sacrifices are the flaking skin from chapped skin and the surface of your tongue if you are stupid enough to lick something metal when it’s freezing.

Digita Frigida is the goddess of cold hands and feet. The easiest of the goddess to propitiate via a pair of gloves or mittens or warm socks and if necessary sticking your hands in your armpits. Or if she follows you to bed, under the dog or cat or if necessary the back of anyone you share a bed with. This last one can get you summarly dumped out of the afore mentioned bed. If not propitiated correctly she delights in stiffening your hands and sometimes causing pain in the fingers and toes. Her sacrifices are the stinging sensation as the fingers and toes warm up and in extreme cases the loss of said digits. She is the most cruel of the winter goddesses.

Yuletide cookie – Walnut Crispies

2 Squares bitter chocolate
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sifted flour
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

Melt chocolate in heavy saucepan
Add all other ingredients except nuts
Beat well by hand
Spread mixture in greased jelly roll pan or 3 (8×8 inch pans)
Sprinkle with nuts

Bake in  400 degree oven for 15 minutes
While warm cut with cutter into bars or squares
Break apart when cool.

Makes 4 dozen

Bella the Bear goes dancing – a story for bedtime

There once was a bear named Bella. She lived in the woods of the National Forest and she was very content except for one thing, she wanted to learn to dance.

Bella lived near a large campground. She watched large groups of people come and go all the time but one group came every year and this group intrigued Bella. The people there sang and danced all weekend. They sang to the trees and they sang to the sky. They sang to the animals of the woods. They sang and drummed at night to the stars and they sang to each other and they danced…

Bella loved to watch the dancing and she loved to watch the groups of women who danced wearing beautiful colours and sparkly gold discs and she wanted to be like them. The other bears near her thought she was nuts. They caught her deep in the woods trying to sway and move like those women and no matter how hard she tried she couldn’t do it. And they made fun of her which made Bella sad.

She decided it was because she didn’t have the pretty clothes like the women so she did something naughty. One of the groups of women liked to hang some of their brilliantly coloured clothing around their camp site so she took some.

She watched them from behind the trees and decided she wanted a bright yellow and maybe the blue one that was like the mountain sky. She snuck into the campsite while they were out on a hike but she got scared and ended up just grabbing a bunch from the lines and lumbering back to her den.

When she got there she spread them out to see what she had. She had one of those funny things the women wore on top but she couldn’t put it on. So she put it around her neck instead. It was covered in gold round things and made a tinkling noise. She found a pair of filmy bright red pants that were very stretchy and she did manage to pull those on and she was excited to find a pair of the chimey things the women used when they danced in the pockets.

She had grabbed several large scarves and she tied those around her. She went to the nearby pond to look at herself and she thought she looked just like them.

She tried to dance again but it still wasn’t any use. She couldn’t do it. She tried and tried. She was trying to dance long after that group of campers had gone home. They had come the first week of summer and Bella was still trying to dance when fall came and it was time for her to sleep. This made Bella very sad.

She dreamed of dancing all winter long in her den surrounded by the beautifully coloured clothes. They now were a bit tattered and torn but still beautiful in Bella’s eyes. She knew if she watched enough she would be able to do it and she vowed next summer she would watch some more when they came again so Bella waited.

She waited through the long groups of loud kids that made her hide. She waited through the bird watching group. She waited through another group that sang to the sky and talked a lot about a book but they weren’t near as happy as “her” group for she now was thinking that the group was hers. She waited until the first week of summer and she was so scared. She was afraid they wouldn’t come but they did. They came with their laughing and singing and their happy children and set up their camps and Bella was overjoyed to see that the dancing women had come again and set up their area with their sparkly shiny clothes and their drums and other mysterious objects. Bella put on the clothes she had taken, now a lot worse for the wearing and hid in the woods near by. Every time the women got up to practice Bella would try to imitate them. She finally sat down with a thump. She just couldn’t do it. And she put her head down and she cried.

What Bella didn’t know because she was normally very quiet was that the women had heard her trying to dance in the woods and a couple of them had been watching her try to dance. They hurried back to the other dancers and whispered what they had seen to the other women.

Now these women were very special women and some of them worshipped bear goddesses and they loved anyone who wanted to dance and it had made them sad that Bella was trying so hard. Some of them were scared and didn’t want to be near a bear so they moved but the other women went to Bella where she was crying.

“Mistress Bear. Mistress Bear,” they whispered. “Are you alright?”

Bella looked up and saw all the beautiful dancers around her. She noticed some of them were shaking like they might be scared and she felt sad. She shook her great brown head and looked at these lovely women. She saw that they loved each other and that they were looking at her they same way they looked at each other. They were all different shades, some were her rich brown colour, some were pale like the morning sky before it turns blue, some were somewhere in between but they all looked kind.

They noticed she was wearing their clothes that they had missed the year before and they realized she wanted to be a dancer like them and it moved them.

One dancer spoke up, “Mistress Bear, would you like to dance with us?” This made the bear cry because she had tried and it hadn’t worked. She put her head down again and wailed. She felt gentle tugging then and she raised her head. The women gently pulled her to her feet and pulled her to their camp circle. A couple of them went to get their drums and started drumming softly. Some of the others went to the clothes lines and got new pieces of cloth and wound them around Bella. Bella stood shyly not moving and some of the women started to sway to the music and motioned for Bella to join them. Bella’s eyes grew round. They wanted her to dance with them! She didn’t know what to do so she stood there. Two of the women grabbed her paws and drew her into their circle. They were all swaying back and forth. She could do that! So she did.

One of the women bravely moved behind her and held her big waist and started showing her how she could move it. She couldn’t move it like them but she could move it like she was able to. So she shyly started to dance with the women. This brought huge smiles to the dancing women and they motioned to the drummers to speed up and they did. This frightened Bella but she was so happy and joyful she kept dancing. She even tried some turns with the women. Soon the women had her weaving in and out with them and dancing as best as she could. Finally she was so tired she stopped and dropped to all four feet and women stood around her clapping and cheering for her. Bella was happy.

The women told her to come again the next night and she surprised herself and did. The women brought their new dancing partner to the main circle which made some people run in terror but the rest joined in the dancing with Bella and the women and all their beautiful colours and shiny golden, gleaming jewelry and decorations and Bella too. Everyone danced and Bella was filled with joy. She could DANCE! When the dance was over the women led Bella back to their campsite.

She knew it was time for them to go to bed and time for her to go back into the woods. The women crowded around her and hugged and patted her. “Would you come dance with us again next summer?” Bella nodded eagerly.

“The women smiled at her. One laughed, “But you have to practice every day just like we do.” Bella nodded again.

“We’ll miss you until we will see you again! Merry Meet, Mistress Bear!” and Bella went to her den. She was so happy. She could Dance! She had made friends and she could keep dancing until it was time for the women to come dance again with her. She was going to practice every day to make them proud of her. Bella was happy.