Once upon a time in the dark of a mid-winter night a star fell to earth. BunniHoTep heard a loud thump and rushed out of her cozy nest. She really hated to leave it. It was nice and snug and soft and a chilly mid-winter night all together a lovely place to sleep.
But she knew a noise that loud probably wasn’t a good thing and she was the Finder of Lost Objects so she had better go.
She got to the steps of her Temple and a bright light met her eyes. She threw a paw in front of her eyes and drew her soft shawl closer around her and hurried towards the light.
The light was quite a distance away from the street of Temples out in the desert. And as she got nearer she could hear it making strange noises like laughing. So she hurried across the sand as well as she could. She didn’t know where the other gods and goddesses were. It had been quite a loud noise but she seemed to be the only one who had wakened.
As she got nearer she noticed the light was human shaped but also was very like the Sun. The shape kept changing colour. First it looked like an Egyptian, then it looked like the pale men that came from the North in ships, then it was dark as beautiful polished ebony like her friend Yemaya. Next it was golden as cream and very small. Then it was a reddish bronze. BunniHoTep was very curious and as she got close to it for it was changing from boy to girl with each change colour she stopped and asked, “Who are you? Do you need help?”
A laugh rang out that sounded like the sweetest of the Temple bells. “Oh, no, I’m fine. I lost my bearings for a while. I’m Love and I’m here because you called me.”
BunniHoTep sat down with a thump. “I called You? How on earth did I do that?”
“Remember when you wished on a star awhile ago for people to get along and be nicer? We, the stars heard you. So we decided I’d come for a while to see if just for a while, all the people would be kinder to each other. I can only come for a small time. You see all the people all over the world will see me born this night in their likeness. Some people will call me Saturn, some will call me Mithras, some will call me Jesus, to others I will just be the light of Love, but all will see me as their symbol of Love and as the Sun who is born in mid-winter. And maybe for a while the world will be a magickal place of kindness and peace.”
BunniHoTep was quiet for a bit thinking. “You aren’t a god?”
“Oh no!” the Child of Light laughed again. “I’m much bigger and smaller than a god or goddess. Love has all kinds of shapes. I’m just here to remind the people and you of that.”
“Every year I will come again at this time and maybe sometime in the future all people will be kind and loving to each other and I won’t need to come, and if they don’t remember you will have to help me.”
“How do I do that?” BunniHoTep asked.
“By being yourself, BunniHoTep and as a symbol and to guide me here will you do something for me?” Love asked. “Would you light candles and lanterns in the trees around your Temple?”
“Oh yes,” BunniHotep agreed.
And that is why people all over the world are reminded to be kind and loving at mid–winter. And why people light the way for Love to return all over the world. So when you light the tree you brought inside remember to guide Love back to your heart.
Out Yule Ritual Saturday – Prayers by me
Set up large altar in center 2 long tables?
Hand out glow in the dark goodies Kris and Kat
Carols before Ritual
We hear a voice or two:
Tune is O come O come, Emmanuel (plain chant) reworked by ElfKat
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.
A Light enters the darkened room and moves to the center
A voice in the darkness says
ElfKat “Love is the beacon we are all drawn to.”
A voice from a different place around the room
Kris “We are love and we are drawn to each other.”
Two people from different places repeat.
Anniitra & Pat “Love is the beacon we are all drawn to.”
Priestess light candles around the room
All Priestesses Present “Love is life, love is light, love is the beacon we are all drawn to.”
People should bring their elemental offerings up after each elemental invitation and place on altar
Pat Call in Earth and our love for Mother Gaia and her creatures
Bring things to an empty table that symbolize our love of Earth. Priestess speaks about how we can care for the Earth
Kris Call in Air and our love for the stars and the moon and all that fly over head
Bring things to the table that symbolize our love for Air. A priestess speaks about love and its relationship to Air, How it carries words and music?
Anniitra – Call in Fire and the desires we have and the fires of earth that warm us and our hearts
Bring things to the altar symbolizing Fire in our lives. A priestess speaks about Fire and our desires?
Callista! Call in Water and the waters within us and the ones without and all that swell therein
Bring things to the table of Water. A priestess speaks about the Water within us and outside us?
Joanne – Call in our spirits and all spirits of friends and family, past and present to celebrate our love
Bring things to the table of our spirit. A priestess speaks about the Spirit within us and how we share it and ourselves with others?
Joanne speaks about love and light
Sing “It’s in every one of us”
Everyone holds a candle and passes the love, ie: the light, from one to another around the circle.
ElfKat We share love in this season dedicated to the light and love’s return to our lives and seek to remember that is always there even when we forget. All we have to do is open our eyes and ask that it be shown to us.
Kris Love is the look in a friend’s eyes
Callista Love is a cat’s purr
Diana Love is helping another without being asked
Pat Love is in the sunlight on our faces
Anniitra Love is the warmth in the darkness
Joanne Love is the colour in a bird’s wing
ElfKat Love is the flash of a disappearing squirrel’s tail
Priestesses Love is all around us
Help us to see it.
Callista talks about St Lucy/Lucina and other gift giving traditions
Turn the lights on in the room and share the token gifts
Pass plates of cookies our food so that all may be without hunger
The night was silent, not even the owl was calling. The tomte looked up at the night sky. Oh, so many stars flew in flocks overhead. The tomte trudged through the snow that was so deep he kept disappearing into deep holes and he was getting wet from climbing out of snowdrifts.
The tomte was looking for a new home. Tomtes had to have homes with families to look after and his family had left their house and moved far away. Tomtes belong on farms and not in the city so he was looking for a new home and some big people who would appreciate him and of course, didn’t already have their own tomte. The tomte sighed, as he made his way through the snow, he really wanted a home for Yule. He wanted children to bring gifts to and a farmer to bless with help on his farm. That is what tomtes did and he didn’t feel right not helping people.
He straightened his tall red pointed cap and tugged his beard straight and climbed out of yet another snow drift when he saw a light in the distance. He was so tired and wet. There was no point in using a drying spell if he was just going to get wet again. He trudged toward the light and came to a large new barn and peered inside. No other tomte was in sight. That was a good sign. He went in and found two cows drowsing in their stalls.
“Cows?” He whispered quietly, “Does a tomte live here?”
The first cow who was a beautiful light brown, looked down at the tomte. “No, we haven’t got a tomte and the family really needs one. This is a brand new farm and my name is Elsie”
“Hello Elsie, very pleased to meet you, my name is Karl, do you think they would mind a little help? Are they the kind of people who would be good to help? ”
The second cow lowed and said, “I’m Delsie and they have never been farmers before and they do need help and they have been very kind to us. I think we are their only wealth and they take very good care of us. I heard them say to the children that they might not get very much for Jul but that that wasn’t what was important. Being together was important.”
This made the tomte think. These might be the people he needed. The cows were beautiful and healthy and that was a very good thing since they hadn’t had a tomte to help them. He thought he’d go watch the family quietly if he could just to make sure they were his people.
The tomte trudged through the snow following some big people footprints back to the house. That made moving through the fresh snow a little easier. He followed the light falling through the window onto the snow and peered into the house from behind the new shutters. The tomte was impressed with how they had been sanded to a shiny soft shine and stained. These people took good care of what they had and had been doing it without a tomte!
In the main room stood a small tree that had been brought into the house in a pot. It’s branches had been hung with strands of popped corn and red berries. There were handmade ornaments of paper that had been obviously done by the children and he could see the mother cutting carefully into paper to make more snowflakes to hang on the tree. The two children were lying on the rug in front of the fire listening to a story that the grandmother was telling. It looked like she was knitting good wool socks as she spoke. The father was sitting smoking his pipe and listening and looking at the family with love and pride in his eyes. The tomte saw that there were no gifts under the Jul tree. He also saw that their clothes had been carefully mended but showed signs of hard wear. The tomte straightened his red hat and thought, “these people look like they could use a tomte like me! I need to help them!”
The tomte made his way over to the door and was about to go through as all tomtes can when the door swung open and the father came out to get more firewood. “That was easier!” thought the tomte as he quickly went to the house and hid behind the hanging brooms in the kitchen.
He waited into the father came in, stamping his feet to get the rest of the snow off and removing his boots. The father then piled the load carefully in the rack and went to hurry everyone to bed. It was Solstice Eve and farmwork and cows still had to be tended to in the early morning. The tomte watched as the family went to bed. The children went to the loft and the parents and grandmother to their rooms downstairs. The house settled down and it became very quiet with only the sound of snow falling off the trees and the slight sigh of the wind.
The tomte went to the mud room first. He cleaned the farmer’s boots and added a waterproofing spell. He then cleaned all the family’s clogs and shoes that were there and waterproofed them too. He went into the kitchen and charmed the pots so they wouldn’t burn the food and he had fun helping the yeast to grow in the bread and Jul rolls rising on the counter above the old wood burning stove. He polished the iron stove and charmed it too so the wood would burn evenly and there would be even heating.
He moved into the main room and stood looking at the lovingly decorated tree. It wasn’t very big but it was still lovely. He liked that the family had carefully dug up a live tree and were obviously going to put it outside again when they could. He liked that they hadn’t killed a tree for the holiday. The tomte decided to make the tree shine. He charmed the red berries to gleam and shine and he made the wooden ornaments glow just a little. He changed the paper snowflakes into flakes of shiny crystal that gleamed in the dimness. He put a spell on the candles that were on the tree to never cause harm and to go out when they burned down. He stood back and looked at his tree. It looked magical. What else could he do?
Tomtes give gifts but he didn’t know what this family wanted. What would be good? What would really help? Meanwhile while he thought, he very quietly left piles of nuts and fruit and candy in the slippers by each bed. The family all looked so peaceful and he felt so good to help. This is what a tomte did best but what would be the biggest help. He decided to go ask Elsie and Delsie what to do.
He hurried through the snow and back to that mostly empty barn to his new friends. “Elsie! Delsie! Your family is so wonderful and they love each other so much. I want to do something wonderful for them this Jul! Do you know anything they want or need?”
Elsie thought carefully, “They have love in plenty and isn’t that the greatest gift?” Delsie nodded her big head.
Delsie said quietly, “If you are helping them, they will have prosperity. What else do they need? Besides don’t tomtes all have goats? Where’s your goat?”
The tomte knew they were right but he still wanted to do something special. And then he knew what he was going to do and found a place in the hay and went quickly to sleep.
Early the next morning, the tomte woke up and cleaned the hay off. He peeked out. The farmer must not be up yet. He couldn’t see any lights in the kitchen. So he crept in the house and unbanked the fire in the stove and set the table. He went back outside and sent a call out to anyone that was listening.
“I’m a tomte and I need a goat? Is there anyone who needs a tomte and a place?” The tomte counted to himself, 1….2…..3……. and there was a small flash and a very young black and white goat was looking shyly at the tomte.
“You asked for a goat? I’m ready! The goat said eagerly.
The tomte looked at the tiny goat, “what’s your name?”
“Flicka” said the goat shyly.
Suddenly the door opened behind the tomte. He froze in place holding the goats mane.
And the farmer came out with his newly clean boots on.
The farmer smiled down at the tomte. “Are you the one that cleaned my boots?” the big man roared out.
The tomte shivered a little. He wasn’t supposed to be caught by the big people. “yes” he said very quietly.
The farmer got down to the tomte’s level and looked in his eyes. He held out his big hand to the tomte. By now the tomte was thoroughly confused. Big people coming down to his size? That hadn’t ever happened before.
“Thank you” the farmer said. “They look cleaner than when I bought them. “Thank you very much!” The tomte started to shake. The farmer was really big up close. “How can I help a tomte today?”
The tomte was now even more confused. “But I need to help you not you help me.” The tomte stammered out. “I need to know if you need anything.”
The farmer looked into the deep blue eyes of the tomte. The tomte noticed the whole family had come to the door and was listening. This was sooo not how it was supposed to work.
The farmer looked at the tomte kindly and back at his family. “All we need this Jul is a good friend. Are you a good friend, Sir Tomte?”
“I think so, I try to be.”
“Well”, said the farmer. Welcome to the house, Sir Tomte and please come in.” The farmer stood up and walked back in the house.
Karl, the tomte followed and when they were inside. He looked up at the farmer and around to the smiling family. “Could I be your Tomte?” he asked quietly.
The farmer looked at the tomte, “I thought you already were. Welcome to our house.” The whole family cheered and the tomte looked at his family and sighed. It was good to be home.
Make a pie crust or use one of the ones available at your grocer
Filling for a 9″ pie
Beat together with a rotary beater:
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 Tsp salt
1/3 cup butter
melted 1 cup dark corn syrup
Filling for an 8″ pie shell:
2 Large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cups dark corn syrup
Mix in 1 cup pecan halves / 3/4 cup pecan halves
Pour into pastry lined pie pan
Bake until set and the pastry is slightly browned in a 375 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes
Serve cold or slightly warm
This from Mom’s really old Betty Crocker Cookbook from the 1950’s with the cool photos.
Melt in the Mouth
½ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup sifted flour
1 Teaspoon baking powder
½ Teaspoon salt
½ cup finely chopped nuts
Cream butter, add sugar, vanilla & egg
Beat until light
Add sifted dry ingredients and nuts
Drop by scant teaspoons onto cookie sheets
Bake in hot oven
400 degrees for about 5 minutes Cool for ½ minute
Remove to wire rack
May you be protected and blessed from the sun’s rising
Through the twilight and the dark of night and the moon’s rising
Blessings of the sun on the last of the yellow leaves of the cottonwood
The sweet calls of the black crests of the towhee
The gentle morning breeze
The early warmth of the coming day
The half moon gleaming high overhead
The soft patter of the water in a fountain
The greeting of a raven
The smile in people’s eyes
The shine of the decorations
May that blessing stay with you this day
This night, this evening of wonder