As many herbal witches may know, our special recipes, whether passed down, or handcrafted, can require certain types of herbs. Many of these herbs are common kitchen ingredients, but there are some that do need special plants for the occasion.
However, there is always the issue that we may just never encounter such an herb, because of location, price, time of year. So, what do we do in such a situation? We substitute!
Below you will find a two part list of common herbs that have other herbs to use if you don’t have the necessary ingredient.
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Here is where you may find these herb ingredients. Follow their links for guidance:
We all celebrate the coming of the winter season in one form or another. Through different cultures, in many religions, traditions are upheld to bring cheer and joy into our hearts and homes. I find this definitely true in my household. We celebrate the season through natural traditions. I consider it as mixing both magick and paganism, as well as a sprinkle of my own way of honoring the coming winter.
Below, I will share a detailed list of the 12 activities that I do in my home. Hopefully this will help inspire anyone to create their own traditions, the way their hearts see fit.
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«First Day Towards the Winter Solstice»
Candle Light Ritual
Begins with turning off all lights in the home. Lighting one candle, walk through the house, beginning at the front door. Chant:
Within the dark, the candle shall light the way. For though winter is cold, it shall not reign. Within the dark, our hope shall not die. For soon the Sun will rise in the sky. Within the dark, there is no despair. For our shining souls will renew and repair. So sing songs into the Winter night, For soon the winds shall bring Spring light.
This is a beautiful ceremony, that blesses the long cold dark nights to come. You will notice a significant difference within the home once it’s been cast. Filled with warmth and hope. Either do this alone or with the family. It’s a nice way to do something together, and you can let the little ones hum lovely harmonies in the background. Or carry their own candles. Have fun with this!
As in all traditions, especially in America, neighborhoods everywhere are decorating their homes with merry lights and jingling wreaths. Solstice trees are being put up, covered in bright and glittering ornaments. Burning logs and long boughs of pine or holly are being placed over hearths. And for this household, that is exactly what is occurring as well.
Not only is it a tradition for most families, the glowing lights of winter symbolize hope that lives on in the darkest of nights. It is a manifestation of miracles, of positive magick, and of strength that lives within us even when the cold spirit of winter tries to steep into our bones.
So take the time, and decorate your home with holiday lights and decor. It’s fun to do alone, with holiday music blaring, and a glass of wine. Or get the friends or family together to make memorable moments, with hot chocolate and sugar cookies!
Make A Wish Ornament
Exactly how it sounds, this is a powerful time to work wishing spells. How so? As the holidays are getting closer, people everywhere are growing excited to reunite with family, to give and receive gifts, or to begin a new year. Energy is rising, and the air is being charged for magick. That is why this is a perfect time to create wishing ornaments.
This enjoyable DIY craft is easy to do, and about anyone can do this. You can find any of the supplies at a Hobby Lobby, Walmart, Target, even the 99 store. You’ll need:
Choose your wish carefully, and write it down on the strip of paper. Decide on the proper glitter color that coordinates with your wish. Green for luck/money. Red for love/passion. Blue for health/peace. Yellow for creativity/success. Purple for power/spiritual assistance. Silver for earthly affairs. Gold for new beginnings. White for personal affairs. Mix of colors for a miracle.
Match your string color with your glitter color or mix match, depending on the wish. Roll up the strip of paper with your wish on it, tie it with string, then slide it into the ornament. Sprinkle however much of glitter over it, then place the top back on.
Hang this on your tree, or wherever you’ll like. There are some that hang it outdoors, over their hearth, or in nature. I like to keep mine. Every year, when I redecorate, I like to look upon my old wishes and see how they had came to be. It’s a great memento, and leaves me feeling thankful.
So wish wisely, and may your dreams come to be.
Make a 12 Herb Sachet
This is a brilliant gift to give to friends or family. Having one for yourself is especially potent as well. Consider this recipe a magickal potpourri. A gift that promotes health, love, and protection. You’ll need:
Tie in a green or red cloth. Decorate it with symbols or jewels. Have fun with it. And give it to friends or family. You can substitute any of the ingredients with oils as well.
Make a Yule Log
A popular pagan tradition is the Yule log. In essence, it is bringing in the spirit of nature, honoring them into your home to protect and nurture your own. I’ve seen many beautifully decorated Yule logs. They have been painted, glittered, wood carved, wood burned, wreathed, placed candles upon. There are so many different ways. Get creative in your own way of honoring the spirit of nature.
By the time of Yule, you either have the option to burn the whole log in ritual, or to light the candles.
Create a Winter Spiral
This may be a different sort of tradition for most, but I found in the past few years, that this has become an enlightening experience at every new season for me. Otherwise known as a meditation labyrinth, these are walked upon to center one’s spirit and used to meditate on our paths of self realization.
There are some new age centers, universal spiritual churches that do have these meditation labyrinths, but if you don’t have any near by then I highly recommend building one yourself. Doesn’t have to be permanent, but it is a great path to have when you are in need for some deep meditation.
The path is simple. The rest of the journey is up to you. At the entrance, take a pause to breathe deeply for a few moments to clear your mind. Begin the first step, with not a question on where your going, but with whom you will find at the end? Then simply walk the spiral with a clear mind, and see what comes. If a thought or emotion emerges, mull over that and find its center meaning as you reach the center yourself. Take your time, nothing may come right away, and that is alright. The spiral is a place of peace and balance.
Walk back from the center in tranquility, all the while breathing deeply. When you are done, go in peace.
Honor The Spirits
Everyone deserves a good merry cheer for the holidays, and that includes the spirits of the dear departed as well. The cold dark nights often leave us feeling nostalgic and alone. Remembering those that have left us. This is why I decided to dedicate a special day just for our loved ones. I begin by setting up a special altar for them. Pictures, personal items, winter flowers, candles, incense, letters written for them, can all be placed on this altar.
The rest is up to you. Either a special ritual, or prayer is how you feel is right, then by all means. No matter what, they will hear you.
Warm Tea and Tarot
Every new season I like to do a fresh tarot reading to prepare and grow ever wiser of what is to come for the new season. What better way than to pair this together with a delicious warm cup of tea. Inspired by the winter season, I blended together a tea recipe that helps balance and induce mental and psychic powers. Grants wisdom and courage to face the unknown.
Together, with a deck of tarot cards makes for the best pairing. Be brave and lay out your tarot spread. And see what the future, or the present, may reveal.
Random Acts of Kindness
The title for this day alone explains it all. Though the winter season shouldn’t be the only excuse to be kind to strangers, it is a season for giving and to spread cheer. Whether to do acts of kindness in secret, or known, the moment we should all be looking for is the smile that brightens the day for a stranger. The fun part is thinking of way to surprise someone, because that’s really what it’s all about.
Help the need. Donate. Volunteer for charity. Pay for someone’s tab. Be kind is the saying. Speak it. Mean it. Do it. Be the example.
Bake Magickal Recipes
The days are ticking down, and now is the time to start prepping for the festivities. Everyone will be expecting those sweet delectable desserts. The sort that fills the belly with warmth and happiness. In every soft pastry there is a magick from people all over the world. As most have heard the saying, we put love in the foods we cook. The same goes for baking during the holidays. Although for some, they know all about the magickal meaning in the ingredients they mix together.
Whether it be cookies, pies, breads, or puddings, look up the magickal properties that each ingredient holds. You never know that you may be baking a pie for love. Or cookies for luck. Or a fruit salad for health. Know what you baking, so you can spread the magick into the lives you love.
Give Gifts and Feast
Now is the eve of the Winter Solstice, and often times friends and family gather to enjoy a meal and give gifts! Then again, its up to everyone to decide when they would like to do this. Some choose to do this on Solstice day. So all could enjoy the symbolic fires of the yule log at sunset, and the rebirth of the Sun. So whichever you choose, this is still a wonderful time to gather together and be merry with one another.
Just as you would for Christmas, Hanukkah, etc, a beautiful feast is made for all to eat. Games are played. Carols are sung. New hope is wished upon. And gifts are exchanged. The thought alone brings me joy, and I look forward to this day with friends and family.
In fact, I would love to share a new type of carol song that has been modified for pagans. Growing up, I always enjoyed the tune for Silent Night. But when this new song A Pagan Silent Night was created, my heart fell in love. Now I always sing this song for the Solstice. May you and your family enjoy it as well.
Burn The Yule Log and Celebrate
The day has come! All must celebrate. The new season is awakened, and the Sun shall be reborn when the new sunrise touches the sky! On this day, my husband and I like to begin with a beautiful breakfast, where then I can dedicate it to the sleeping Goddess, and to the new birth of the Sun. I gather together incense and candles. The blend I use is:
Grind together and burn over charcoal, light the candles and say together.
“We give honor and thanks to the sun for it’s sustenance, warmth, and light”
*Novae diluculo saluto* (say together)
And as our blessed mother earth is rebirth in the spring
So time is rebirth in the morning.
*Novae diluculo saluto*
*Blessed be the Goddess*
Enjoy the blessed morning meal.
Now once the day passes, and we are met with the longest night of the year, it is time to burn the yule log. Some simply light candles on the log, which is convenient for those that cannot enjoy a bonfire. But for those that can burn outdoors, it is quite an event. Tradition calls for waiting just before the sun rises. But often that isn’t the case for some that cannot stay up that long. So burn at your own time.
It is tradition in my home to usher in the new winter season. Therefore, I will share my personal ritual right below.
Ushering in the Winter
To prepare the Yule Log in the pit, set it up like you would for ritual. Stones, jewels, foods, offerings. Then chant:
The Goddess sleeps and is tucked away in the warmth of Earth.
She dreams and smiles of hope for the living.
Her heart is comforted by the rebirth of the Sun. Her spirit lives within the dormant seeds.
Today, She slumbers for Winter. Warmed by the fires of Yule.
Igniting the Flame
Flames of Winter warm Her bed. Snowfall be Her tears of joy. Mother Goddess, rest and claim the season! Let us be as one and embrace the spirit of peace.
Our mother is the Winter.
*We live because She lives*
Our mother is the Goddess.
*She lives freely within us*
Diana, Brigid, Hecate
*We celebrate Her*
We celebrate the tranquility of Mother Earth. She nourishes us with her bountiful love.
*Blessed be the Goddess*
Ashes of Log
We are now at the center of darkness. May the flame of the Sun illuminate from our hearts.
Collect the ashes and keep near, or use for power spells. Or save the ashes for the Summer Solstice.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this full detailed account of the traditions of my home. Are they similar to your own? Feel free to comment and share your story! Would love to hear it.
Sweet Winter Blessings!
Have a happy and festive Solstice!
*Pictures sourced from Pinterest*
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