In keeping with our mission to provide products that are as all natural as possible we have now eliminated the coloring agents that we add to our essential oils. The only color you will see now in our Magickal Oils is the innate color of the essential oils we buy to create our hand-blended products.
Imbolc or Imbolg, is a Gaelic festival marking the beginning of spring. Most commonly it is held between January 31st and February 2nd, or halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. It is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals, along with Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain. This holiday is also known as Candlemas, or Brighid’s (pronounced BREED) Day. It commemorates the changing of the Goddess from the Crone to the Maiden and celebrates the first signs of Spring.
Traditionally, the holiday was a festival of the hearth and home, and a celebration of the lengthening days and the early signs of spring. Celebrations often involved hearthfires, special foods (butter, milk, and bannocks, for example), divination or watching for omens, candles or a bonfire if the weather permitted. Fire and purification were an important part of the festival. The lighting of candles and fires represented the return of warmth and the increasing power of the Sun over the coming months. It is traditional upon Imbolc, at sunset or just after ritual, to light every lamp in the house – if only for a few moments. Or, light candles in each room in honor of the Sun’s rebirth.
If snow lies on the ground outside, walk in it for a moment, recalling the warmth of summer. With your projective hand, trace an image of the Sun on the snow.
Foods appropriate to eat on this day include those from the dairy, since Imbolc marks the festival of calving. Sour cream dishes are fine. Spicy and full-bodied foods in honor of the Sun are equally attuned. Curries and all dishes made with peppers, onions, leeks, shallots, garlic or chives are appropriate. Spiced wines and dishes containing raisins – all foods symbolic of the Sun – are also traditional.
Deities of Imbolc:
All Virgin/Maiden Goddesses, Brighid, Aradia, Athena, Inanna, Gaia, and Februa, and Gods of Love and Fertility, Aengus Og, Eros, and Februus.
Symbols of Imbolc:
Brideo’gas, Besoms, White Flowers, Candle Wheels, Brighid’s Crosses, Priapic Wands (acorn-tipped) – shown right, and Ploughs.
Herbs of Imbolc:
Angelica, Basil, Bay Laurel, Blackberry, Celandine, Coltsfoot, Heather, Iris, Myrrh, Tansy, Violets and all white or yellow flowers.
Trees of Imbolc: Luis, or the Rowan, is the tree usually assigned to this time of year in the Celtic (Ogham) Tree Alphabet. It has long associations with the Maiden aspect of the Triple Goddess. It is also known as the ‘Quickening Tree’ and is associated with serpents. Traditionally it protects and wards of evil. A sprig of Rowan can be put near the door of your home (we have a whole tree), or a sprig worn for protection. Rowan berries have a tiny five-pointed star on the bottom reminiscent of the pentagram.
Come celebrate the season at Rifka’s Curiosity Shop at 120 Sullivan Street in Wurtsboro, NY during the the 2015 Wurtsboro Winterfest! Jessica from Salem’s Moon will be demonstrating how to carve and decorate our Wyscan Candles. It’s also a great time to purchase your Salem’s Moon Spell Kits while they are still on sale at Rifka’s – Buy Any 3 Spell Kits and Receive an Oil or Incense of Your Choice – FREE! Rifka is also participating in the Winterfest 2015 Treasure Hunt – so stop by and say hello.
“The Celtic Tree Calendar is a calendar with thirteen lunar divisions. Most contemporary Pagans use fixed dates for each “month”, rather than following the waxing and waning lunar cycle. If this was done, eventually the calendar would fall out of sync with the Gregorian year, because some calendar years have 12 full moons and others have 13. The modern tree calendar is based on a concept that letters in the ancient Celtic Ogham alphabet corresponded to a tree.
Although you don’t have to follow a Celtic path to celebrate the Celtic tree calendar months, you’ll find that each of the themes in the Celtic tree months ties strongly to Celtic culture and mythology.
The Birch Moon is a time of rebirth and regeneration. As the Solstice passes, it is time to look towards the light once more. When a forested area burns, Birch is the first tree to grow back. The Celtic name for this month is Beth, pronounced beh. Workings done in this month add momentum and a bit of extra “oomph” to new endeavors. The Birch is also associated with magic done for creativity and fertility, as well as healing and protection. Tie a red ribbon around the trunk of a Birch tree to ward off negative energy. Hang Birch twigs over a cradle to protect a newborn from psychic harm. Use Birch bark as magical parchment to keep writings safe.
The Rowan Moon is associated with Brighid, the Celtic goddess of hearth and home. Honored on February 1, at Imbolc, Brighid is a fire goddess who offers protection to mothers and families, as well as watching over the hearthfires. This is a good time of year to perform initiations (or, if you’re not part of a group, do a self-dedication). Known by the Celts as Luis (pronounced loush), the Rowan is associated with astral travel, personal power, and success. A charm carved into a bit of a Rowan twig will protect the wearer from harm. The Norsemen were known to have used Rowan branches as rune staves of protection. In some countries, Rowan is planted in graveyards to prevent the dead from lingering around too long.” – Read more – http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/moonphasemagic/ss/Celtic-Tree-Months.htm
Rifka’s Curiosity Shop at 120 Sullivan Street in Wurtsboro, NY carries the full line of Salem’s Moon hand-crafted Incenses, Oils, Spell Kits and Wȳscan Candel Kits.
To learn more about Rifka’s visit their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rifkas-Curiosity-Shop/190207681067347
In Celtic tradition, Yule is the time when the Oak King triumphs over the Holly King. The Holly King represents the death and darkness that has ruled since the onset of Samhain. At Winter Solstice, the Oak King brings the opportunity to be reborn and begin new life. The Yule Season raises one’s spirit and brings tidings of comfort and joy as the carol goes… It is a period of reflection. During Samhain, one has recognized the lessons given in past experience and now Yule brings the opportunity to be reborn with new light. The customs created at this time are what are now identified with Christmas. A Yule tree is decorated and the house is adorned with holly, ivy and candles to represent the approaching light. Father Winter, complete with a white beard and red coat trimmed with fur, visits each home bringing gifts. The Yule log, which is made of oak from the previous year is burned into the fire to symbolize the Newborn Sun/Son.
Yule was not celebrated in early Celtic traditions. It was brought to Britain by the invading Saxons who viewed Yule as the “turning time”. Yule literally means “wheel” in Old Norse. Because the symbolism of the wheel was so important to this Sabbat, it became a day sacred to Goddesses of the spinning wheel. Wreaths were a popular representation of the endless cycle…the Wheel of the Year.
Evergreens were sacred to the Celts because they did not “die” thereby representing the eternal aspect of the goddess. Mistletoe represented the seed of the God, and at Midwinter, the Druids are said to have gone deep into the forest to harvest the mistletoe. They cut the mistletoe with a golden sickle and caught it in a white cloth for it was not to touch the ground in deference of its sacredness. –http://www.angelfire.com/wa3/angelline/yule_lore.htm
Yule, (pronounced EWE-elle) is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day. Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, the sun’s “rebirth” was celebrated with much joy. On this night, our ancestors celebrated the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth. From this day forward, the days would become longer.
Bonfires were lit in the fields, and crops and trees were “wassailed” with toasts of spiced cider. Children were escorted from house to house with gifts of clove spiked apples and oranges which were laid in baskets of evergreen boughs and wheat stalks dusted with flour. The apples and oranges represented the sun. The boughs were symbolic of immortality (evergreens were sacred to the Celts because they did not “die” thereby representing the eternal aspect of the Divine). The wheat stalks portrayed the harvest, and the flour was accomplishment of triumph, light, and life. Holly and ivy not only decorated the outside, but also the inside of homes, in hopes Nature Sprites would come and join the celebration. A sprig of Holly was kept near the door all year long as a constant invitation for good fortune to visit the residents. Mistletoe was also hung as decoration. It represented the seed of the Divine, and at Midwinter, the Druids would travel deep into the forest to harvest it.
The ceremonial Yule log was the highlight of the Solstice festival. In accordance to tradition, the log must either have been harvested from the householder’s land, or given as a gift… it must never have been bought. Once dragged into the house and placed in the fireplace it was decorated in seasonal greenery, doused with cider or ale, and dusted with flour before set ablaze by a piece of last years log, (held onto for just this purpose). The log would burn throughout the night, then smolder for 12 days after before being ceremonially put out. Ash is the traditional wood of the Yule log. It is the sacred world tree of the Teutons, known as Yggdrasil. An herb of the Sun, Ash brings light into the hearth at the Solstice.
A different type of Yule log, and perhaps one more suitable for modern practitioners would be the type that is used as a base to hold three candles. Find a smaller branch of oak or pine, and flatten one side so it sets upright. Drill three holes in the top side to hold red, green, and white (season), green, gold, and black (the Sun God), or white, red, and black (the Great Goddess). Continue to decorate with greenery, red and gold bows, rosebuds, cloves, and dust with flour.
Many customs created around Yule are identified with Christmas today. If you decorate your home with a Yule tree, holly or candles, you are following some of these old traditions. The Yule log, (usually made from a piece of wood saved from the previous year) is burned in the fire to symbolize the Newborn Sun/Son.
Deities of Yule: All Newborn Gods, Sun Gods, Mother Goddesses, and Triple Goddesses. The best known would be the Dagda, and Brighid, the daughter of the Dagda. Brighid taught the smiths the arts of fire tending and the secrets of metal work. Brighid’s flame, like the flame of the new light, pierces the darkness of the spirit and mind, while the Dagda’s cauldron assures that Nature will always provide for all the children.
Symbolism of Yule:
Rebirth of the Sun, The longest night of the year, The Winter Solstice, Introspect, Planning for the Future.
Symbols of Yule:
Yule log, or small Yule log with 3 candles, evergreen boughs or wreaths, holly, mistletoe hung in doorways, gold pillar candles, baskets of clove studded fruit, a simmering pot of wassail, poinsettias, Christmas cactus.
Herbs of Yule:
Bayberry, blessed thistle, evergreen, frankincense holly, laurel, mistletoe, oak, pine, sage, yellow cedar.
Foods of Yule:
Cookies and caraway cakes soaked in cider, fruits, nuts, pork dishes, turkey, eggnog, ginger tea, spiced cider, wassail, or lamb’s wool (ale, sugar, nutmeg, roasted apples).
Incense of Yule:
Pine, cedar, bayberry, cinnamon.
Colors of Yule:
Red, green, gold, white, silver, yellow, orange.
Stones of Yule:
Rubies, bloodstones, garnets, emeralds, diamonds.
Activities of Yule:
Caroling, wassailing the trees, burning the Yule log, decorating the Yule tree, exchanging of presents, kissing under the mistletoe, honoring Kriss Kringle the Germanic Pagan God of Yule
Spell workings of Yule:
Peace, harmony, love, and increased happiness.
Deities of Yule:
Goddesses-Brighid, Isis, Demeter, Gaea, Diana, The Great Mother. Gods-Apollo, Ra, Odin, Lugh, The Oak King, The Horned One, The Green Man, The Divine Child, Mabon. – http://wicca.com
“The altar is adorned with evergreens such as pine, rosemary, bay, juniper and cedar, and the same can be laid to mark the circle of stones. Dried leaves can also be placed on the altar.
The cauldron, resting on the altar on a heat-proof surface (or placed before it if it is too large), should be filled with ignitable spirit (alcohol or Florida Water), or a red candle can be placed within in. At outdoor rites, lay a fire within the cauldron to be lit during ritual.
Arrange the altar, light the candles and incense and cast the circle. Recite the Blessing Chant:
“May the powers of The One, the source of all creation: all pervasive, omnipotent, eternal; may the Goddess, the lady of the moon; and the God, horned hunter of the sun; may the powers of the spirits of the stones, rulers of the elemental realms, and the powers of the stars above and the earth below, bless this place, and this time, and I who am with you.”
Invoke the Goddess and God. Stand before the cauldron and gaze within it. Say these or similar words:
“I sorrow not, though the world is wrapped in sleep. I sorry not, though the icy winds blast. I sorrow not, though the snow falls hard and deep. I sorrow not; this too shall soon be past.”
Ignite the cauldron (or candle), using long matches or a taper. As the flame(s) leap up say:
“I light this fire in your honor, Mother Goddess. You have created life from death; warmth from cold; the sun lives once again; the time of light is waxing. Welcome, ever-returning God of the sun! Hail Mother of all!”
Circle the altar and cauldron slowly, clockwise, watching the flames. Say the following chant for some time:
“The wheel turns; the power burns.”
Meditate upon the sun, on the hidden energies lying dormant in winter, not only in the earth but within ourselves. Think of birth not as the start of life but as its continuance. Welcome the return of the God. After a time cease and stance once again before the altar and flaming cauldron. Say:
“Great God the the sun, I welcome your return. May you shine brightly upon the Goddess; may you shine brightly upon the earth, scattering seeds and fertilizing the land. All blessings upon you, reborn one of the sun!”
Celebrate the Simple Feast. The circle is released.
One traditional Yuletide practice is the creation of a Yule tree. This can be a living, potted tree that can later be planted in the ground, or a cut one. The choice is yours.
Appropriate Wiccan decorations are fun to make, from strings of dried rosebuds and cinnamon sticks (or popcorn and cranberries) for garlands, to bags of fragrant spices that are hung from boughs. Quartz crystals can be wrapped with shiny wire and suspended from sturdy branches to resemble icicles. Apples, oranges, and lemons hanging from boughs are strikingly beautiful, natural decorations, and were customary in ancient times.
Many enjoy the custom of lighting the Yule log. This is a graphic representation of the rebirth of the God within the sacred fire of the Mother Goddess. If you choose to burn one, select a proper log (traditionally of oak or pine). Carve or chalk a figure of the sun (such as a rayed disc) or the God (a horned circle or figure of a man) upon it with a while-handled knife, and set it alight in the fireplace at dusk on Yule. As the log burns, visualize the sun shining within it and think of the coming warmer days.
As to food, nuts, fruits such as apples and pears, cakes of caraways soaked in cider, and (for non vegetarians) pork are traditional fare. Wassail, lambs wool, hibiscus, or ginger tea are fine drinks for The Simple Feast or Yule meals.” – Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham
Salem’s Moon Yule Oil, Incense & Spell Kits…
To help you celebrate the season, Salem’s Moon offers Yule Oil, Incense and Spell Kits. You may purchase the oil and incense separately at $6.95 or buy the combo-pak for $10.95. Take advantage of our 10% Off Sale and the savings just grow. Online Only! Just visit our Square Store and type code YULE at the checkout for your 10% savings.
If you are in the Catskill Mountain region of New York give Rifka’s Curiosity Shop in Wurtsboro a call. Rifka stocks a full line of our Oils, Incenses and Spell Kits, as well as our Wyscan Candel Kits. Please call ahead – the weather can be changeful this time of year. (Please note – our 10% discount only applies to online sales.)