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Winter Solstice Camp: Yule in our Hearts - Page 3

post #41 of 295
InannaMama --

Absolutely! Our family loves the pitch darkness of this time. It's more important to us that the blazing heat of summer. For me this time of the year has a light in the darkness that is still very tiny and not very warm. It really isn't until March or so that we feel the return of the sun, anyway. Definitely acknowledge that darkness.

GreenMagick --

You are absolutely right.
post #42 of 295
Our rituals and traditions:

Solstice Feast - try to buy local organic meat and veggies that are in season. This is a special meal for us and we try to go all out.

Yule Log - Some one mentioned last year that they take the trunk of their christmas tree from the year before and use it as the yule log. We're planning on doing that also and decorating the log with symbols. Here is a lot of info on Yule Logs.

Yula Alter- I knitted a yule altar cloth last year and it turned out just beautiful. Here's last years altar and a close up of just the altar cloth

Baking - We also do a lot of baking for the Solstice

Stories and Songs - Last year I read a few yule stories (which I'll share during the history and stories week). This year we're hoping to add some songs or at least a music CD

Honoring the Dark - Once the meal is prepared and the table set and the fire readied. We turn off all the lights in the house and eat by candle light to honor the darkest day and to full appreciate what it was like for our ancestors. We spend the rest of the evening with no lights.

Smudging - I smudge my house at the solstices and equinox's. We'll discuss the history of what was called smudging nights, also during the history and stories week.
post #43 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by BurtsGirl View Post
Honoring the Dark - Once the meal is prepared and the table set and the fire readied. We turn off all the lights in the house and eat by candle light to honor the darkest day and to full appreciate what it was like for our ancestors. We spend the rest of the evening with no lights.
we do that, too-- only i cook by candle light too. i really try not to use anything but candlelight all day and night. love it. if it were up to me, i'd do that for the whole month, but that might get a bit $$ as i love $$ candles... lol.


one thing i just thought of, before i forget....
we talked about this at fall equinox. the ten or so days around the equinoxes and solstices, our bodies tend to want to de-tox. maybe there's a week of camp more appropriate for this (i am not sure what the final decision was?)... but maybe adding some de-tox-assist rituals would be a nice idea.... i know i'll be sure i'm drinking a lot of water taking lots of epsom salt baths!
post #44 of 295
I wanted to mention that walmart (sorry, it is our only store that carries undies and socks) has some nice crystals, muchrooms, acorns and such for pretty cheap tree decorating.

o.k. now back to reading
post #45 of 295
can anyone point me in the direction of symbols that can be carved on the yule log or used in decorations? we have decided to be more formal in our celebration of the solstice and you all have inspired me already. we are fairly new to the actual observance of the holidays, although we have both studied the historical aspects. any suggestions, help, etc., are truly appreciated.. thank you in advance!
post #46 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by catballou24 View Post
can anyone point me in the direction of symbols that can be carved on the yule log or used in decorations?
You can use rune symbols or you may also wish to decorate the log with greenery, flowers, ribbons and herbs for magickal intent.

Carnations-protection, courage, strength, healing, increases magickal power, vitality
Cedar-wealth, protection, purification, healing, promotes spirituality
Holly-dreams, protection
Juniper- Exorcism, protection, healing, love
Mistletoe-a catalyst, fertility, health, success, protection, banishing evil
Pine-healing, wealth, protection, purification, exorcism, exorcism, fertility, wealth
Rosemary-health, love, protection, exorcism, purification, increase intellectual powers, peace, blessing, consecration, very powerful cleansing and purifying
Roses-love, courage, luck, health, protection, beauty

Ribbons can be used according to their color magick correspondences. Be creative and have fun! Decorate with whatever feels right to you.
Source
post #47 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inanna_Mama View Post
I know I'm supposed to be joyfully greeting the Sun at Yule, but I just can't bring myself to do it (see my latest blog post for further details). Am I just out of it, or do people tend to celebrate Summer at Lithia, instead of happily welcoming the Dark that will come over the upcoming months?

So, would it be terribly wrong to focus on the Dark time we're entering? Instead of waking to greet the Sun, I think I'll make my house as close to a cave as possible (for as long as DS will tolerate it). And, presuming it will be cold enough by them, spend the day inside by fire and candle light to welcome King Winter
Cool, Inanna Mama- I've been thinking/wondering along these lines. I live in the Pacific NW so there is not too much sun, but being in the dark, I am drawn to celebrate the dark. Sun symbols never come to me this time of year. Yes, I need to light candles every night- and perhaps that this the spark of the sun I keep alive. Hmmm, I'll be thinking about this....
post #48 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by simplespirit View Post
Okay... now your just bragging!
: I would never do such a thing... If I mentioned the seafood feast from last year, that we plan to repeat this year, which consisted of prawns, crab, a couple of western australia lobster (not huge but delightful) and smoked salmon now that might be bragging lol. That is somewhat traditional for a Queensland christmas

Quote:
Originally Posted by saphire View Post
Day 2

Greeting the new sun
Staying awake all night to greet the dawning sun is a bit too much to ask of me. Getting up before dawn to greet the sun is possible though.
lol either one is a bit much for me Since it's summer solstice here, I just make sure we plan to have dinner outside on the veranda so we can say goodbye to the sun as it starts the journey to winter (a loooong, sloooow journey it is here lol it's still quite warm here at the end of march even!)

Quote:
Yule Trees
This is my family's favorite part. We do blue, silver and white decorations, and lots of Snowflakes.
That is my favorite combination of colours for Yule, I plan to start bringing them out at the end of may to decorate our twig tree. For THIS solstice tree though, I'm actually purchasing a new tree (fake) that is BLACK just to be completely different! I'm going with gold & purple decorations on it.. gold for the sun and purple is sorta like the bougainvillea & tibouchina that bloom here : Hoping to make some sun themed ornaments too.

I sincerely hope that by the solstice we get SOMETHING out of our garden edible, even if it's just salad greens and a tomato or two.

Alters
My alters’ change with the seasons, but for the solstice I’ll add some special touches. [/QUOTE]We do the same thing with our altars... I'm getting ready to set up our Summer altar soon (dec 1 is the first day of summer.. allegedly lol) and I'm thinking sunflowers, and lots of em! and possibly a bowl to put little selections of our (hopeful) summer garden bounty. Or if not, I might have to make some out of felt lol. I really want a big fat yellow candle.. so I might have to go shopping for that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inanna_Mama View Post
So, would it be terribly wrong to focus on the Dark time we're entering? Instead of waking to greet the Sun, I think I'll make my house as close to a cave as possible (for as long as DS will tolerate it). And, presuming it will be cold enough by them, spend the day inside by fire and candle light to welcome King Winter
I say go for it! I'm the same way when our winter solstice arrives.. our summers are SO long and unbearable that I'm in no hurry to welcome it back too quickly! Cave like with lots of stews & soups and hot cocoa's sounds like just the plan to me!

Quote:
Originally Posted by brendon View Post
I wanted to mention that walmart (sorry, it is our only store that carries undies and socks) has some nice crystals, muchrooms, acorns and such for pretty cheap tree decorating.

o.k. now back to reading
*sigh* I was just in our version of wally world yesterday and they had nothing like that! But I did find my purple & gold stuff :
post #49 of 295

look at me multi quoting...since I'm not on my blackberry...

Quote:
Originally Posted by AstridS View Post
We are going to do a totally traditional solstice: Eat 'till we drop : and light a lot of candles and have a bonfire. I was researching and found out that pork is the traditional solstice meal in this area, so I think I'll make that.
Last year I planned a big meal and presents for the kids and then DH and the girls were sick so I ended up serving toasted bread and lemoncurd while they were laying in bed. I hope it'll be better this year.

We will do a totally non-religious xmas with the IL's on the 24th-25th.

I'm totally jelous of the bonfire idea. It sounds just wonderful. (talking to self) someday, Chrystie, someday you'll be able to have the space of your very own to do one...... (yes, sometimes I do talk to myself)
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyLittleWonders View Post
Well, I just ordered The Advent Sunwheel. I wasn't sure if I should get that one or the Midwinter Packet, so I went with Advent and plan on adding the Midwinter one if I like the Advent one. I'm excited to read through it.

Dh and I are planning on something small with just us and the boys for Yule - I would love to have our fireplace cleaned and inspected by then so we could actually light a Yule log. Last year at our old house, we had a fire and read winter stories together. Christmas is totally secular around here, and usually spans at least 3 days, and usually more (when my dad was alive, we'd get together on his side of the family the Saturday before; my aunt and I are still keeping that tradition; then my mom's is the 24th; I have my mom and step-dad over for breakfast the morning of the 25th, and then dh's family the evening of the 25th). So, I think this year, we'll have celebrations on the 20th, 21st, 24th, and 25th.

This sounds great too! I want to incorperate some yule traditional stories in our celebrations as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BurtsGirl View Post
Here is our Yule Tree from last year. We don't top our tree with anything. This pic was also taken before we added the popcorn garland.
Your tree looks lovely
Quote:
Originally Posted by saphire View Post
Day 2

Yule Rituals and Traditions
I'll highlight some traditions, and talk about what I like to do, then I'd like to hear about you.

Greeting the new sun
Staying awake all night to greet the dawning sun is a bit too much to ask of me. Getting up before dawn to greet the sun is possible though. I’ll just set my alarm. My older dd will want to be up with me, too.This is my family's favorite part. We do blue, silver and white decorations, and lots of Snowflakes. Other traditional decorations are the sun, moon and stars. Cranberry and popcorn garlands are fun and easy to make. Or you could get your whole home cozy with Yuletide themes like suns, moons, stars, goddesses, earth globes, pentacles, pomegranates, apples, holly, acorns, snowflakes, Yule trees, reindeer, spirals, and Holly Kings.
A Yule Log
The burning of the Yule log is something I’d like to do, but have had to settle for burning candles on the log, lol. I decorate it with symbols, holly, suns, and whatever else my creativity dictates, lol.Rebirth and Renewal
With rebirth and renewal being a focus at this time, I will consider what emotional baggage I can leave behind, and create a ritual for myself.My alters’ change with the seasons, but for the solstice I’ll add some special touches. I cover the table top with grey and white playsilks, add holly and evergreens, acorns, candles, sometimes salt or a dish of water. I think I need a new sun symbol. Maybe a salt dough one.

crap! I need to change our altar....(adds to to do list) Pictures to come linked later!:


Yule Meditation http://www.ladyoftheearth.com/medita...ritual-med.txt
http://crossquarters.org/Yule%2007/yuldiv.html

Just for fun http://www.olum.org/yduj/solstice/

* I'm going to be out all day, dh and I are working on the house. I'll check back in tonight.

We did this with my former coven. We would stay awake all night and have a very silly slumber party of sorts. I have lots of good memories of this time of the year with them. Haven't been able to stay up all night since having kids though. ha ha ha!

Yule Trees


Like some of the other sisters here, we cut off the trunk of our yule tree and keep it on our altar as a yule log for the next year. We don't have a fireplace to burn it in, and even if we did, I kind of like having the piece of last years tree to remind us of the fun we had. I guess that is one of the benifits of having a real tree huh? But one could always do something similar and crafty if one had a fake tree. : I think too much!




We do yule trees. We are always conflicted on whether or not to do real or fake. We've been doing real, but in our defense, we buy them from the tree farms. What is everyone elses take on real vs fake trees?




after staying awake all night we would drive to the beach and watch the sun rise singing yule carols and such. Then when the sun was up we would run into the freezing cold ocean. It was ice cold, but it felt good to jump in and have the water over take you...it was a very rebirthing kind of experience...silly and fun too! :

Alters





ok have to change a diaper now!
post #50 of 295
Trees - I have always loved a tacky white tree festooned with pink flamingoes and the like. I have never had a cut tree since I was little when we brought home one and when it started to open in the warmth of the house there were a bunch of shed snake skins in it. That has forever creeped me out. This year I would like to get a live tree that we can actually plant when the time comes. Anyone else do that?
post #51 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by motherearthdancer View Post


We do yule trees. We are always conflicted on whether or not to do real or fake. We've been doing real, but in our defense, we buy them from the tree farms. What is everyone elses take on real vs fake trees?
I did real trees growing up, and I loved the scent and the whole ritual of going to the tree farm to pick JUST the right tree. I have since moved to Australia though.. and living in the tropics christmas type trees just don't do so well here So we do a fake tree. I figure the fact that it's being reused for many many years and each year it will be infused with the : of our holiday celebrations balances out the non renewable resources that it's made with

I think there are upsides to both honestly.. and the best choice is a potted tree that you can move indoors & decorate for a short amount of time, then put back outside to recover Next year I am thinking seriously about getting a potted Wollemi pine as an additional small tree to decorate : Apparently there are only about 100 trees in the wild and buying one supports the conservation of native flora here in Aussie.
post #52 of 295
Sorry I haven't been posting, I am still reading, just been really busy...this is our first Yule, so I thank you all in advance as I "steal" your wonderful ideas.
There are some really great things here I am hoping to incorporate.
post #53 of 295
We do real trees. We have eight trees in the yard. a one year old, a two year old and so on. When a tree is eight years old, we cut it and plant a new little tree in it's place. We plan on doing this every year so we will be able to supply ourselves with organic yule trees :
post #54 of 295
I have a black foil christmas tree! But my mum cant be bothered taking out out of storage so next year
post #55 of 295
Tree- We have had a fake when we lived in small spaces and for the last two years we go to a nice farm (no pesticides or anything) where they have an old Herschel Carousel the girls ride and then we get our tree. It's lots of fun!

I like the story idea- maybe the girls could write their own version of something.
post #56 of 295
Thread Starter 
We have a fake tree. It's about 8 years old, and still in really good shape. We like to have a tree up from the weekend after Thanksgiving until New Year's- so a real tree wouldn't last that long w/o being all dried out. Plus we like the big, full, tall tree's that would be $$$ to buy fresh each year.
Sadly though my girls have never had a real tree, and have missed out on the special fun of a tree farm, and the real pine scent and needles. Since we are in a small rental this year and our fake tree would take up a lot of space, I would like to get a small potted tree. (the girls are not hot on this idea, and want our regular tree.)
I've also always wanted to do a totally natural & homemade holiday. Where all the decorations and gifts fall into one of those categories.
post #57 of 295
We always had real trees, but then after ds#2 was born, we decided to get a fake tree. But, last year we decided to go back to real trees - it has been quite a decision for us, but ultimately, having a real tree won out over the chemicals in the fake tree (especially since the boys and I all seem to be chemical-sensitive, I just didn't want to expose us to any more than what's already in the air). We do not have tree farms here (it'd be quite a drive - 90 minutes plus), but the trees we buy are still grown on a farm, just driven to us. I would love to take the boys to a tree farm, but I'd be afraid the poor tree wouldn't survive the drive home unless wrapped up really, really well. We tend to get our tree just a week or so before Christmas because they dry out quickly here.
post #58 of 295
Thread Starter 
Day 3 Yule in our Hearts

Giving and generosity are important values that have special consideration this time of year. Volunteering time, money, food, or packages help to nourish feelings of good will and hope.
I feel very grateful to lead the life I have. I am blessed to have the things money can’t buy, and enough “stuff” to be happy and comfortable. It is very important to me that my children acquire similar values. I try to accomplish this by not putting too much emphasis on receiving gifts, and involving them in giving to others, selecting items for charity, and volunteering time for others.

Some ideas for giving this year and including the kids are:

MDC’s Holiday Helper http://www.mothering.com/discussions...holiday+helper
1. Host a Coat or Food Party
For a coat party, have guests bring coats that are used but still in good condition. Put younger kids to work cleaning out pockets and using masking tape to mark areas that need to be mended or buttons that are missing. Monitor and help older kids sew buttons and do simple mending. Other kids can decide which coats might need dry cleaning and which are ready to go and separate them into piles. It'll be a celebration sure to give everyone a warm feeling. If you want to have a food party, ask for canned and dried food and have kids help pack it up for food banks and shelters. You can also host toy or book parties!
2. Sing and Dance for Joy
If your child is the type to surprise you with impromptu puppet shows or sings from dawn to dusk, consider harnessing that energy to put on a play (or other performance) at a nursing home or community center.
If your family isn't up to the responsibility of being the sole form of entertainment, consider becoming part of the festivities at a community center holiday party by putting on a skit or a few musical numbers. This is also a good option if your family can't agree on a single performance piece and everyone wants to put on their own show.
3. Help Furry Friends
For animal lovers, helping out at a pet shelter is an easy choice. Donate a few days or just an afternoon to give the regular staff a break and fill in for vacationers. Even during the holidays, dogs need to be walked, cats need petting, and all animals need to be played with, fed, and have their cages cleaned. If you have young or sensitive children, a no-kill shelter is a good option (especially if you don't want to come home with a new pet!). You can also help out an animal shelter by collecting always-needed supplies such as cat litter, pet food of every variety, dog leashes, animal carriers, collars, and household goods such as paper towels and garbage bags.
4. Serve a Senior Citizen
If your child is unable to spend time with her grandparents this season, consider reaching out to an elderly person. The winter and holiday months are often the hardest on the elderly and a little help will be much appreciated. Or bond with older neighbors by arranging to have your child help with their shopping or bringing them along for trips to the mall. Your child can also shovel the snow off a senior citizen's walkway through the winter as a holiday gift.
5. Feed the Needy
The most familiar way to volunteer is still a perfect one: Help out at soup kitchen or food bank. The holidays are the busiest time at shelters and they need help setting up, serving, and cleaning up. If your older child is interested in cooking, he can don an apron and help prepare food in the kitchen. Not interested in food but want to help the hungry? Consider sorting the donated goods or helping with office tasks like answering the phone.

6. Give While Spending
Even the busiest families can make a difference by deciding to spend their holiday (and regular) dollars in a way that benefits others. Sit down together in front of the computer and join iGive, a free service that donates a portion of every purchase you make at hundreds of popular online stores to a charity of your choice. Another option is to visit a real or virtual charity auction (there's a whole section devoted to this on eBay) with your child to complete your holiday shopping. Or let your child help you pick out holiday cards that benefit a charity such as the ones from Unicef or charitycards.com and send goodwill to all your loved ones.

(from http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=1320)

Good habits start young, and showing appreciation is no exception. Try these simple strategies for increasing your child’s awareness of the importance of being thankful.

Practicing Giving Thanks

Many families have a Thanksgiving tradition that involves each person announcing what they are thankful for. Why limit this lovely practice to one day a year? Try incorporating this into your family routine daily, perhaps at the dinner table. Young children can certainly benefit from the opportunity to take the time to reflect on their day and announce to their family what they are thankful for. Whether they are thankful for their dog, a trip to the park, or their milk, they are learning how to recognize the things in their life, both big and small, that they appreciate.
Pointing Out the Positive
Model for kids a positive and appreciative attitude by verbally noticing the small but nice moments that happen throughout your day together. Statements like, “it was nice of that lady to hold to door open for us,” or “we sure are lucky we got such a nice day for our picnic,” helps kids learn how to recognize and acknowledge when good things are happening.
Modeling Thankfulness
Make sure kids see you thanking others, and thanking them, often. When kids hear comments like, “I really appreciate that,” or “that was really helpful,” they are more likely to use such statements themselves. Plus, it's a real boost to their confidence and self-esteem.
Helping Kids Be Givers
Letting kids participate in small acts of service can expose them to situations where adults are thanking them. For example: let your child be the one to put the money in the Salvation Army pail, or help hold a door open for someone, or help a younger child at the park.
Thanking for Gifts
Get kids involved in making thank you cards for gifts as early as possible. Even if their participation is little more than putting some stickers on a thank you cards or “writing” their names with a crayon, they benefit from practicing the process. Explain what you are doing and why, and gradually kids will assume more of the responsibility for the process as they get older.
Finding small ways to show thanks every day sets a great example for small children. Helping kids show and practice their thankfulness beyond the holiday season will also build their character and help them develop a more positive attitude.
(from http://early-childhood-development.s...to_be_thankful)
post #59 of 295
Fake or Real - well we flip flop, we have this ancient fake tree that gets pulled out every couple of years. We've even gone the no tree root. But I am pretty sure we are going to do a real tree this year, if we can figure out where to put it. All the "good" places are in front of radiators.

I am trying to come up with a yule log alternative for our apartment. I've seen the log shaped candle holders and have been giving that some thought, if I can find one I like that doesn't cost a bazillion dollars.
post #60 of 295
Fantastic post, saphire- thank you!
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