by Dorothy Morrison
Yule - a variation of the Scandinavian word Jul, meaning wheel, is observed on the first day of winter, the shortest day of the year. One of the common themes during this celebration comes from the Celts. It's the battle between the aging Holly King (representing the darkness of the old year) and the young Oak King (symbolizing the light of the new year). Sometimes the battle is reenacted during ritual. More often than not, though, the tale is simply told while lighting
the Yule log in an effort to welcome the Sun, to encourage its easy birth, and to persuade it to cast its warming, healing rays upon our bodies, hearts, and spirits.
Although Solstice traditions vary around the world, all of them include light and fire. In Iran, for example, a Solstice celebration called Yalda or Sada involves keeping vigils through the night as seaside fires burn to encourage the Sun to defeat its alter ego, Darkness. Some Germanic peoples still light a fire on this night to honor Bertha - sometimes called "Hertha" - a Sun goddess who tends to home and hearth.
If you refuse to eat mincemeat pie on Christmas, you will have bad luck in the coming year?
If your friends are important to you, you must eat plum pudding during the holiday season; otherwise, you will lose a friend before Christmas.
To ensure good fortune in the coming year, Christmas cakes must remain uncut until December 24th; even then, one piece must remain uneaten until after Christmas Day.
Metal ring (the desired size of the wreath)
Sprigs of pine, spruce, fir, cedar, or holly
Pine codes, berries, and assorted nuts (optional)
Thin floral wire
Hot glue gun
Separate the evergreen snippets into tiny bunches of three or four sprigs. Then wrap the bottom of each bundle with a 6 -to-8-inch piece of floral wire (wrap from the center of the wire so the ends are left loose).
Place one bunch on the ring, and secure it by wrapping the wire ends tightly around the ring. Place the head of the next bunch over the bottom of the first and wind its wire around the ring. Continue in this fashion until the entire ring is covered. While you work, chant something like:
Leaves of everlasting life
Leaves that know no stress and strife
Protect us with your perfect ring
Until the Sun this season brings
Arrange pine cones and nuts in bunches around the wreath and hot glue them in place. Cut another 8-inch length of wire for a hanger, fold it in half, and twist the ends around the top of the wreath. Cover the wire with the ribbon and tie the ends to form a bow. Hang it on the front door or in a prominent spot in your home.
by Dorothy Morrison
Aunt Wanda's Turkey Carcass Soup
Submitted By: Michael Deborah
Eat to your heart's content the day after and/or freeze in several units. Take out of the freezer and heat in the zapper or in a double boiler. Enjoy that T-Day turkey until New Year's. Despite the name it is a really great soup that my sister's friend shared with me. This recipe is meant to use up any leftover vegetables and other ingredients; leftover green beans would make a great addition. Celery, onions, spinach and cabbage are tasty, too!
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Ready In: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
Makes: 8 servings
1 picked over turkey carcass
3 large carrots, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can cut green beans, drained
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
1 cup chopped cabbage
2 cups white rice
5 cups water
1. Pick your Thanksgiving turkey nearly clean. (Turkey salad is great for a few days, or even turkey pot pies.) We are not real concerned about the choice meat here. Dump the turkey and all of its debris, including the juices, into a large pot. Add green beans, celery, spinach, cabbage, and white rice. Pour in enough water to cover everything.
2. Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for an hour or so.
3. Remove all turkey bones and unwanted debris (i.e. skin cartilage, etc.). There you have it. It's kind of a culinary scrapbook of your Turkey Day.
Small dish of water
Pet repellant (optional)
Once the tree is placed and ready for decorating, light the incense and the candle. Hold the incense and, beginning in the east, walk around the tree clockwise and chant something like:
With Air, I bless this tree of life
And blow away all stress and strife
Hold the candle and, beginning in the south, walk around the tree and say something like:
I bless this tree by warmth of Fire
From which passion flows, and heart's desire
Hold the water dish and, beginning in the west, walk around the tree and sprinkle it while you say something like:
A gift of Water now I give
The cleansing flow by which we live
Take a handful of salt and, beginning in the north, circle the tree and sprinkle it while you say something like:
I give you now the gift of Earth
The grounding force of love and mirth
Finally, circle the tree once more and say:
I cast this loving blessing fast
So peace and goodwill here shall last
I honor you, my friend, the tree
And bring you thanks now - blessed be
If you have indoor pets, finish the ritual by spraying the tree liberally with a pet repellant. Both the tree and your pet will be very grateful!