|The Yule Log |
Perhaps one of the oldest of all Pagan Yuletide traditions is the burning of the Yule log. At this, the coldest and darkest time of the year, the burning of the Yule log, expressed in the simplest magickal terms what was needed most: warmth and light. The power of the Yule log
gave its strength to the new born Sun when another solar year was born.
Today not everyone has a fireplace in which to burn the Yule lot, but the ancient ritual can still be performed.
Small logs, particularly of birch, have been especially prepared and decorated and called Yule logs.
To prepare such a log, obtain a length of natural log with the bark left on. The log will then need to be split so that it can rest on the flat side, or flattened just enough on one side to keep it from rolling.
A third method is to nail two flat strips of wood to the base. Once the log is steady and secure, drill two or three 3/4 inch holes in the top of the log to receive candles. (Sometimes a florist will sell them with the holes drilled in).
Prior to your Sabbat Ritual, add the candles to the log (red or white anointed with Yule type of oil), and decorate with fresh holly, fir, pine & yew. At the appropriate point in the Ritual, light the candles and say your prayer.
Herbal Tree Ornaments
Miniature Lace Wreaths
Form a 1 1/2–2-inch diameter circle using white florist wire. For ease, form the circle around a bottle or other round object of the desired size. Do not fasten the wire ends, but allow them to overlap about 1 inch.
Using one end of the wire as though it were a needle (you may have to smooth "the needle" slightly with steel wool), thread 1/2–3/4-inch wide ecru or white lace onto the circle. Use about 1/2 yard of lace, or enough to form a full, gathered circle. Loop the ends of the wire together, and trim off excess. If the lace is not fairly stiff, give the wreath a quick spray of starch and allow it to dry thoroughly.
Decorate by gluing on tiny dried herb blossoms, such as individual chive blossom florets, little clusters of marjoram flowers, tansy or costmary buttons, feverfew, leaves of thyme, germander, boxwood, and seeds or berries such as bay and coriander. Finish by attaching a loop for hanging and a bow of 1/8-inch satin ribbon in a complementary color.
Tiny Tussies for the Tree
Miniature tussie mussies make elegant Yule ornaments and are easily made from tiny, dried rosebuds, little sprigs of baby's breath, pieces of statice, and other dried flowers. This is a perfect way to use the pieces that have broken off in the process of making herbal wreaths.
Cut a piece of sheet Styrofoam (well-washed meat trays work perfectly) about the size of a nickel. Push a 4-inch length of doubled florist's wire through it to make a handle in the center. Push the stems of the herbs into the Styrofoam, using a single little rosebud in the center and other rosebuds or tiny sprigs around it.
Use single florets of statice, tansy, and others to make a tiny bouquet, and then fill in the spaces with little whole cloves, tiny sprigs of baby's breath, leaves of boxwood, or other tiny blossoms.
Glue these in place with tacky glue.
When the bouquet is dry, you can glue around the edge a small piece of narrow, gathered lace or little ruffles, cut from paper doilies. Cover the back with a circle of white Styrofoam. Wrap the florist's wire stem with florist's tape, and finish off with a tiny bow of G-inch wide, satin picot ribbon, in a complementary or matching color. Add a loop of nylon thread for a hanger.
If you don't have rosebuds, you can use a very small strawflower for your center or you can simply
group your other flowers. If the flowers have stems H inch or longer, you can bundle your blossoms into a bouquet, tie with heavy thread, and wrap with florist's tape.
To the base of the stem, glue a ruffle of slightly wider lace or eyelet gathered into a circle. Although
full-sized tussie mussies can be used on the tree, these miniature ones are so delicate and dainty that
they are certain to steal the show.
You will need:
A clear plastic ornament with a hole at the top, that can be opened and filled
Ribbon of your choice
1. Fill the plastic ornament with potpourri.
2. Glue the plastic ornament together.
3. Glue the ribbon over the seam of the ornament.
4. Make a loop out of the ribbon.
5. Loop the ribbon through the top of the ornament.
6.design the ornament on the outside how you want.
7. Hang it on your tree.
An amulet made for protection that uses eye symbolism to represent the Sun is the South American God's Eye, which has its origins with the native people of that continent. These amulets are made from two sticks placed across each other to form an equilateral cross.
Colored yard is then wound around them to form the body of the Eye. By alternating the colors of yarn the finished product looks like a stylized eye, and its four points symbolize the four directions. The Native South Americans used them both for decoration and as protective talismans.
To make your own God's eye, you will need:
a quarter-inch dowel available at craft and hardwarestores (popsicle sticks work well too)
a pair of scissors
a collection of colored yarns
Cut the dowel into lengths approximately ten inches long. Holding the dowels together at their centers so that they form and equal length cross, begin wrapping your first yarn color around the center in an "X" pattern to stabilize the dowels. Now begin slowly working your design outward. Wrap the yarn completely around one point of the dowel and then move on to the next point.
Periodically stop and push the yarn down against the center so that you have a tight weave. When you have wrapped the yarn within half an inch of the dowels, stop and wrap the yarn several times tightly around one point. You can then tie it off, leaving a loop from which it can be hung.
God's Eyes can be made of any size, depending on how you want to use them. Larger ones can be used for protection like a Native North American medicine shield, and smaller ones in Yule colors make excellent Yule tree decorations and can symbolize the return of the Sun. If they are decorative items to honor the Sun, then your work is done. If they are to function as protective talismans, then you should be visualizing their purpose as you weave them and consecrate them to their purpose later on.
Note: These are NOT edible! But they make wonderful gifts. They also would make your home smell wonderful if you make these for your tree.
Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
1 c Applesauce
1 oz Cinnamon
1 oz Ground cloves
1 oz Ground nutmeg
1 oz Ground ginger
Cinnamon for cutting board
Combine ingredients to make a stiff dough. Roll out on board dusted with ground cinnamon. Cut with
cookie cutters of your choice. Put hole in top for string. Lay out flat to dry. Turn over every 12 hours until completely dry.