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Spring Equinox

When do you decide Spring has sprung ?

Is it 1st March (by the Meteorological calendar) or Spring Equinox (by Astronomical calendar)? Or just when you feel the shift in the season and witness the trees budding and notice the light?

This year the Vernal/ Spring Equinox falls on Friday 20th March 2020  in the Northern Hemisphere (Autumnal Equinox for our wild ones in the Southern Hemisphere).  The actual time of the Equinox is 3.50am GMT.

The Equinox is a time of balance. We have 12 hours of day light and 12 hours of darkness a the sun rises due East and sets due West; equal amounts of light and dark before we head on towards the solstice, the light ever growing.

This is the period of fertility; animals, nature, ideas and projects. Imagery of rabbits, hares, chickens and eggs symbolising fertility. The rabbits and hares reputed for breeding and eggs, and chicks who lay eggs, represent the hatching of new life, birth (never wondered what bunnies and chicks had to do with Christ’s resurrection?). The period of rebirth and new beginnings, as Spring follows the symbolic death and hibernation of Winter. 

This season and festival celebrates the Maiden aspect of the Goddess. Ostara or Eostre in particular, who carried a basket of brightly coloured eggs and was accompanied by her pet hare. As they travelled they brought forth new life and regeneration to the land scattering her coloured eggs amongst the flowers in the meadows.

The Spring Equinox mirrors a women’s inner world in its Inner Spring season, where everything is new and fresh, preparing the fertile landscape, the pre-ovulation. It is also the waxing crescent moon phase. See how we are all connected ~ woman, nature, moon, our own inner cycles. All one.

The previous festival of Imbolg was embracing the last of Winter, and planning what was to come in the year ahead. This festival now calls upon us to put these plans into action. We got rid of the old and expired habits, practices and burdens and are now ready to give new life to who and what we are to be, to what we have created, to what we are to birth. The energy is one of excitement, optimism and anticipation. As the year waxes, so too does our enthusiasm.

Do you do anything special to acknowledge this Sabbat; the precursor to Easter?

Ways to celebrate Spring Equinox:

  • Rise early and watch the sunrise – then close the day witnessing the sunset. This is a beautiful ritual to do outside, weather permitting
  • Decorate your home with fresh flowers from your garden such as daffodils, primroses, hyacinths and tulips
  • Enjoy an eggy breakfast
  • Paint or decorate boiled eggs
  • Organise an egg hunt in the garden or local park with your decorated eggs – if it’s a nice day bring a picnic
  • Give a gift of a chocolate egg (instead of waiting until Easter)
  • Get into your Spring cleaning in earnest – throw the windows open wide and allow the old air to leave and the welcome in the fresh
  • Create a joyful happy play list on Spotify and get your groove on as you clean or make dinner. A kitchen disco is a great disco.
  • Charge some fresh water with Equinox energy by leaving a dish of water on the window sill from sunrise to sunset then use it to water your plants or make flower essence tincture.
  • Reset your altar or shrine to reflect the change in season.
  • Spend some time in meditation and contemplate balance, rebirth and what spring means to you.


While it’s not been a particularly cold winter here in the UK it has been a blustery and stormy one, and with the arrival of Coronavirus / Covid-19, and I for one am ready for Spring and all that she brings forth.

With blessings

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Ash

The third moon of the Ogham Celtic Calendar is Ash (Nuin), symbolising influence and light of the World Tree, which is where we now find ourselves.
Of course depending on which calendar you follow this month will be Ash or February, and this new moon will be the second new moon (of 2020), the third new moon (of the Ogham calendar) or the forth moon (if following the year from the old pagan ways which Samahin/Samhuinn being the new year marker.)

Ash Moon ~ 18th February – 17th March

In Celtic mythology, the Ash is also known as the tree of enchantment and transformation. It is also associated with healing, prophesy, divination and intuition.

The correspondances associated with Ash are:

The deities Minerva, Oestre, Frigg, Nemesis

The number 3

The colours pale blue and white

Turquoise and Lepidolite

The letter N

Healing energy

Animals : Unicorn

Balanced in both the Feminine & Masculine

The Elements of Fire and Water

What to do in the month (moonth) of Ash :

Make broom/besom – the handle is made from Ash wood

Use the tender tops of Ash leaves to make a detox tea to cleanse the liver and spleen and strengthen the immune system.

Deepen your Spring cleaning – get really thorough!

Consider your personal transformation of self or space, physically or spiritually

Spend time outside

Make a healing wand from an Ash branch/twig

Perfect time to work personal magic focussing on your inner self.

Place an Ash leaf under your pillow to induce prophetic dreams

Make a talisman or charm to keep about your person from a twig from an Ash tree to repel toxic people

Create a stave or Ogham stick from an Ash twig

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Rowan

Are you familiar with the Ogham Celtic Calendar? (Pronounced Oh-am) It is a much debated, debunked and reproven calendar system that may or may not have preceded the Julian variety in Celtic lands. The year is broken down into 13 months/moons each named after an indigenous tree, the first being Birch, symbolising new beginnings. The second moon is Rowan, symbolising the strengthening of your resolve and nurturing those dreams, which is where we now find ourselves.


Rowan Moon ~ 21st January – 17th February.

In Celtic mythology, the Rowan is also known as Mountain Ash or Witchwood and is the tree of wisdom and protection. It is also associated with personal power, dreams, vision, mystery, magic, tenacity, healing, astral travel, perseverance and transformation.The correspondances associated with Rowan are:

  • The Triple Goddess Brigid
  • The number 2
  • The colour white
  • Protection against unwanted spirits
  • Personal growth; tapping into your intuition to create your desired dreams
  • The pentacle – the bottom of each red berry takes the form of the pentacle
  • Peridot and smokey quartz
  • The letter L
  • Quickening energy
  • Flower : Snowdrop
  • Animals : Duck, Unicorn, Bear
  • Feminine
  • Dragons and Elves
  • The Elements of Earth and Fire
  • Unlucky to chop down a Rowan

What to do in the month (moonth) of Rowan :

  • Celebrate the cross quarter fire festival of Imbolc
  • Begin your Spring cleaning
  • Dedicate/ rededicate yourself or be initiated in to your chosen path, under a Rowan tree
  • Make a wish when you spot a snowdrop
  • Make your own butter and bake scones with the butter milk (and of course spread he butter on the warm scones with jam – rowan berry jam is delish!)
  • Enjoy the Rowan berry wine made from the berries in the previous Autumn
  • Make a talisman or charm to keep about your person from a twig from a Rowan Tree
  • Create a stave or Ogham stick from a Rowan twig
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Morning Ritual

Do you have a morning routine? A ritual, a practice, a rhythm? A way to set yourself up for the day ahead?

Or are you more of a fly by the seat of your breeks kinda gal?

Morning routines are very trendy right now, YouTube has millions of videos demonstrating such (I would possibly record one too but that level of videoing, faffing and editing goes way beyond my capabilities!).

Perhaps you have a pattern you flow through daily but never thought to call it a “morning routine” because it’s just life and has no need for a label.

Personally, I do have a morning ritual, and it is sacred (and is so, because I said so). I need this time because it gives me time to think, to prepare myself mentally for the day ahead and just give me space before the chaos that is my life commences. I am very much a morning person but absolutely NOT a morning people person. We live in a multi generational household with a distinct lack of inner monologues and filters, that the need for my ritual is a very deliberate act of self care.

Why do I refer to my morning tasks as a ritual rather than routine? Because it is a conscious and deliberate practice. It is carried out with intention and focus. I sometimes mix it up depending on how I’m feeling or whether my husband is at home or still at work (he works nights shift). It is not done out of duty or on auto pilot or without careful consideration. I am not wish washy or half arsed. Having a shower then brushing my teeth and getting dressed is routine. Prepping the coffee machine and organising my vitamins is routine. Getting down to the actuals of what forms my daily practice is ritual. This time is personal, private and unapologetically mine.

So what does it look like?

My routine begins the evening before, prepping the coffee machine to come on 5 mins before my alarm is due to go off means that I won’t hit the snooze button – I can’t/won’t waste coffee plus it smells glorious. I also take a flask of warm water upstairs to my room with a glass and my vitamins for the morning. (This is routine, over ritual. I’m not the person who finds peace, calm and gratitude in doing the menial and mundane.)

Before bed I check my planner for tomorrow’s To-Do List, add to or make changes to it as necessary, and review my oracle pull from the morning.

When the alarm goes off (more often than not I’m awake before it rings), I light the candle beside my bed, fill my glass with the water from the flask and pop in the soluble vitamin. While its fizzing I’ll go and pour my coffee and head back to bed. From there I have my Travellers Notebook housing different journals, the first being my menstrual tracker (in here I note where I am in my cycle, my sleep, feelings, and any other pertinent information) next is my morning pages journal ( free flow stream of consciousness writing – a brain dump for everything in my head, from the drivel to the inspired and general day to day goings-ins in between; everything goes in here and nothing is censored.) From there I will draw my daily tarot card and note it, an oracle card and note it, meditate and more recently started incorporating EFT (tapping). Once all this is done, my coffee is done and so too the vitamins. All in, takes about and hour to an hour and a half.

Next up I would love to say is yoga or stretching, but no, it is breakfast. My breakfast doesn’t differ, it’s always porridge, topped with fruit, seeds, nuts and berries, a fully loaded bowl, practically a meal! The yoga is one of those things I would love to incorporate into my morning, but in all honesty, it’s not going to happen, despite having saved (more than I care to admit) videos on YouTube of Yoga with Adriene. I’ve watched the videos just not physically followed along… During breakfast, I light a candle and sit and enjoy the peace and stillness of each nourishing spoonful. I turn on my laptop and usually watch Youtube. Today, I took to the couch, porridge bowl in hand and devoured the first episode of Series 5 of Outlander. Droughtlander be gone!!! This is still ritual rather than routine as I don’t watch any random videos, but choose specific ones and relevant to my ongoing learning and growth.

Then the morning routine kicks in: breakfast dishes cleared, first load (or only load) of washing in the machine and the airer striped of yesterdays clean clothes and put away, shower and I’m ready to face the family.

As you can see, my pattern is part ritual part routine and together they form the rhythm of my morning. This is how the vast majority of my mornings go, but sometimes I have to adapt and sometimes I miss out everything altogether, but when I do, I feel a bit discombobulated and on a back foot for the whole day. I miss the clarity and the breathing space on my own. As an introvert (yes an introvert, I’m a gobby introvert!) I need this to recharge, to be able to give the best of me to me, my family, to their needs and to live this life the best I can.

Maybe a morning routine/ritual doesn’t work with your current situation and the evening is more appropriate (especially if got young children), or perhaps life is generally busy with balancing 2 jobs, or work and college or caring for elderly relations, or in poor health yourself, physically or mentally. We all have different circumstance and responsibilities that dictate what time we have to take to give to ourselves. But I will say, please try to carve out a space in your schedule that is just for you to do what you need to do to get some head space and clarity for what you want and how you can achieve it. I know you have goals and dreams, and you deserve to make them your reality, no matter how small or grand they may be.

All life is a cycle of phases, moving from one to next to the next. Mornings suit me perfectly just now, and I cant see that changing in the near future, but if and when the time comes that mornings don’t work, my ritual will evolve to accommodate the new circumstance. Also the content of my ritual time has changed and evolved over time, adjusting to what it is I need and and want from it. I have been making my ritual practice such a priority in my life for so long now that to let it go would be detrimental to my mental health and well being.

The solitude and me-time is compulsory and non-negotiable. It is self care, practice and sacred. . . and very much a ritual.

Do you have daily ritual(s)?

Lx

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Deep in the Womb of Winter

Deep in the womb of winter; this is where I find myself.

January, with its icy, howling wind blowing in a damp, raw air that chills me to the bone. The dark, heavy skies give an ominous air that draws me to surrender to its presence, while patiently I wait for snow. For when it snows, the air is milder, the energy lighter and the noise is muffled under the Cailleach’s cloak in a metaphorical coziness that invites both childlike fun outdoors and coorying in indoors.

In these dark days and weeks of winter, I relish the time to just be. I don’t bounce straight into New Year New Me; that’s just not my style. Instead, I light more candles and embrace the slow pace, the space and the very deliberate lack of routine, for as long as I can. A big fat pause on life to properly rest and reset. This year, more so than ever before, I feel the need to withdraw and sit in the stillness by myself. And for once, I’m listening and paying attention. I want no company, no distraction ( I see you and hear you social media and you know exactly how to draw me in! You are my WIP!), to be able to eat, sleep and walk in the woods as I please, no timescales, no expectation, just my simple rituals, pencil and fire (and soup!!). But of course, I live in the real 21st century world with a family, home and business, so while I can dream of this existence, the reality is more the taking of little bits of it at a time and make the ideal come true in the inbetween spaces of everyday living. Baby steps.

This is my time for planning and dreaming. My head is burlin’ with ideas and wants and desires for the coming year but none of them are yet in action or even anything other than a list on paper or swimming in my imagination. I have not the energy nor the strength to even attempt to put into action currently. Perish the thought!

We are approaching the first full moon of 2020 (7.21pm GMT Friday 10th January), also known as the Wolf Moon, Snow Moon, Cold Moon or Birch Moon, alongside the lunar eclipse. The energy is rising as the moon waxes to her full size and strength, yet for me, my cycle is in direct contrast. My energy is waning and am drawing inwards towards my dark moon phase, my inner winter. My mood and my energy perfectly in sync with the season and myself, with where I need to be.

How are you feeling this winter?

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Hearth: Word of the Year 2020

Do you choose a Word of the Year? Or do you prefer resolutions? Or both?

I’ve consciously selected a Word of the Year for the past 5 years, with words such as “Simplicity”, “Joy”, 2018’s was “Change” and 2019’s was “Depth”. 2018 lived up to its word that year, and while it wasn’t an awful year, it wasn’t truthfully, all that great. Many but not all “changes” and situations that came up could be considered #firstworldproblems however I refuse to diminish them in this way as each has been equally valid in shaping that year gone.

Knowing what was to come, in part in 2019, I prepared for another challenging year ahead. With the foresight and the lived experience of 2018, my choice of “Depth” was perfectly suited to the work I needed to do. It was time to get out the shallows and go deep; to face what lurked below the surface in whatever form that took.

There was a lot of toxicity in my surroundings and negativity was strong. Death was also waiting close at hand; too close.

2019 has taught me to grieve and to look at death in a different light; not to fear it but to accept it as part of the whole experience. Regardless of how painful and ugly the reality is. It has also forced me to confront parts of my personality I’d rather not, such as dealing with confrontation and toxic situations. Being able to accept personal responsibility for my own actions and see the greater picture and to view this from a place of knowing my values and what is important, where my boundaries are and respecting said boundaries.

A major lesson I have learned has been a rather surprising one that made me re-evaluate a relationship and see to understand why a particular person is the way they are (or at least my interpretation of their why). This has made significant inroads into repairing a damaged relationship that was spiraling in the negative funk that enveloped it in an ever increasing dense fog – I have been shown a mirror and the projections I put out were reflecting back at me and I did not like what I saw for what my potential future could look like!

Descending to the depths to get real and raw and truthful with myself has been an awakening of sorts, awakening to who I am and who I want to be, what I value, who I value and my why. It has been emotional, eye opening, exciting, exhilirating and soul destroying; what I previously thought or expected was not at all the reality. But that is a good thing because now I know where I am and where I’m going and with whom.

I’ve not gone into specifics as the details are irrelevant, but the process and the work done was necessary and I want to share that. The woman that walked into the murkiness that was 2019 is not the woman who is walking out the other side. I’m casting off and shedding this year, this decade, like a skin. A symbolic death of what has gone before, consigned to my herstory, ready for the next phase, next decade, 2020.

My Word Of The Year for 2020 is Hearth.

What does that mean? Well, to me, Hearth is 3-fold. The actual hearth of my home, my travelling hearth of my business and my internal hearth of my soul.

This year I am turning my attention and focus on our home. The house we live in doesn’t feel like home, it’s merely bricks ‘n’ mortar and central heating, where I make the tea and sleep. That needs to, has to, change. And it changes with me – only I can affect the changes necessary to make our house our home; a cozy, safe, sanctuary that nourishes and enriches our well being and the relationships under this roof.

My travelling hearth with its rituals and community is a sacred space for me. I welcome those called to share it with me and celebrate what it means to be authentic, sovereign women, rising to our greatest potential. Last year saw my blog evolve further into creating a proper community and connecting with beautiful souls who are also feeling the pull of the global awakening; our time is now and for some it is scary but it doesn’t have to be. We are in this together, helping and supporting one another. The tag line of Wild Sister Rising has been “Awaken your Wild You” since I birthed WSR into being almost 3 years ago – 2020 is the year to step into this fully and embody it!

The inner hearth, where my inner cauldron is held. The source of my power, wisdom, intuition, knowing, creativity and blood. I am tending to myself. I am a priority; I cannot give to my family the home the deserve, or to my clients the service and support they deserve, if I don’t give to myself. My focus here is on my spiritual practice and craft, properly devoting my time to doing the work, knowing that not only will I reap the benefits, but so too will those who depend on me. I start my Priestess training in February which I am enormously excited for (especially as it means I will be able to officiate at weddings, baby blessings and funerals once I have completed the work) and again, welcome this at my hearth, knowing it will deepen my practice and what I offer to others.

The hearth holds the fire, the fire burns with heat, with passion, with ferocity, with light, with power to transform (or destroy), it dances, it glows, it is contained in the solid and safe structure of the hearth and held with love.

If you are looking for me, you’ll find me hearthside, come join me and share a pot of tea.

Lissa xx

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What Do You Seek?

When you are on Facebook and go to my page, or on Instagram and are curious to see my grid, or arrive at this website via a blog post, what it is you are seeking?

When you see one of my circles or workshops advertised, what draws you into find out more or book your space?

What do you get or hope to get from Wild Sister Rising?

So many question so early in the morning!

I have spent a fair wee bit of time recently offline and reconnecting with myself and my needs and what I can offer and what I want to be able to offer to you. And to make it work I need to know that we are in alignment.

So if it is ok with your good self, I have a few more questions… and would be enormously grateful for your thoughts on what it is you seek when you arrive at one of my pages, online spaces or in-person events around my travelling hearth.

Firstly, is blogging dead? I personally love a good blog post that I sit, read and digest with a cuppa, not dissimilar to sitting down to read a chapter in a book, but in the busyness of modern day living and the fast pacing of everything, memes and a pithy comment seem to be more attractive. Do you still read blogs?

Social Media interactions – are Facebook groups worth your time and if so, what keeps you coming back or leaving? How can you get more more from private groups? Are live videos or videos in general more engaging that the written word?

Circles – how often do you think you would attend a circle, or can you not get to a circle but would like to? Would live circles work better, where you can participate from the comfort and ease of your home? (I mean specific live circles, NOT recording the in person ones).

Workshops – are there any specific workshops you would like to see happen or are interested in finding out more about?

In a rather large nutshell, I basically am asking how I can serve you better and provide what it is you seek.

2020 is going to be a big year, I can feel it, lots of shifting energies and awakenings happening. If we work together and help each other to rise and be /do our best with and for each other, beautiful and seismic changes cannot help but to come to fruition.

Thank you for your time and thoughts on my wonderings.

Love and blessings

Lissa xx

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What is Yule?

What is Yule? Are you familiar with the word but unsure of it’s meaning? Or know a bit about Yule but unsure as to how to celebrate the festival or of the meaning behind the celebration?

Yule is the time in the calendar also known as Winter Solstice or Midwinter. It is the pre-christian, pagan celebration of the return of the sun. The precursor to the modern day, christian celebration of Christmas. It was honoured and celebrated across much of northern Europe, particularly in Celtic, Scandinavian/Nordic and Germanic cultures (known as Jul).

Here in the northern hemisphere, this time of year is very dark with only a little sun light each day, but on the Solstice, the shortest day of the year, some places see no sun light at all. To get through these dark times, people came together to feast and make merry; to make offerings to the Great Mother (Mother Nature/Gaia/Goddess / local deities) and to honour the sun to ensure its return once more. With the sun’s rebirth comes lighter and warmer weather to farm, grow food and livestock thus enabling their very survival. The welcome and vital sunrise was celebrated as a festival as it was believed to truly be a miracle and people rejoiced that they had been blessed by the light once more. The festivities lasted many days and more recently have been referred to as the 12 days or nights of Yule/Yuletide which gave forth to the 12 days of Christmas.

Living in tune with nature, the cycles of the earth and seasons of the land, the people of the day were at the mercy of the weather and of the Great Mother and would ensure they pleased Her with their offerings, in both thanks for what they harvested and in hope for success for the next year coming. The best of the produce would be served at these revelries and the rest would have to keep families going throughout the winter, lest they starve until the new crops began to grow and the new animals were of an age for slaughter. Spring was a lean season for eating, but a good successful harvest secured a hearty and abundant winter and a pleased Mother.

As well as a time of celebration, Yule was also a time of peace and quiet contemplation of the lessons learned. Gratitude and joy was shared for the year just gone and hope was encouraged for the year to come. The festivities were steeped in observed rituals and reverence as well as helping lift the communities through the bleak midwinter lull in work and idle hands. Instead of working the land, evergreens were gathered and brought inside, the branches, boughs and trees or bushes (Christmas tress and garlands by today’s understanding) were adorned with candles, lit to to give encouragement to the vegetation to grow and thrive in the coming year, and remind the sun to grow bright and strong, as well as to keep any fae, housed in the boughs, warm during this cold dark time.

Many traditions from the ancient ways are still in practice today, some have been modified to accommodate modern living but the essence remains true. This is not a commercial festival, with the business of busyness, but rather a meaningful time to make like nature and find the stillness in the dark to turn inwards in contemplation of what has gone before; give thanks and release what no longer serves or has expired, to say farewell to those souls who have departed this earthly plane in the past solar cycle and to also create, plan and make space for what is to come in the following cycle. It’s cold outside so connecting with kith and kin hearthside, round the Yule log, sharing in communal ritual and togetherness, gift giving and feasting is as important today as it was way back when.

So how do modern day pagans celebrate this important time in our Wheel of the Year (calendar)?

I can’t speak for anyone else but thought I would give you an insight into what yule looks like rounds at mine. A quick pinterest search will open to millions of pins of ways people across the globe are honouring the sun’s return. In the Northern hemisphere, December 21st (approx) is Winter Solstice, but in the Southern hemisphere, it is Summer Solstice that parties with Christmas, while their Winter festival is in June.

Our Yuletide celebrations begin at sunset of the evening of December 20th, Mother’s Night (Modranecht ). I say “our” celebrations, but I really mean mine! I’m the only pagan in the house, but my family share in some of the celebrations with me which is beautiful and has become traditional in our own wee family. All work must be complete by this evening, there is no “work” during Yuletide. This night is not too dissimilar to Samhuinn in that it is time for me to acknowledge and honour the Mothers who have come before me, my motherline ancestral thread. I have names for these women now, but in years gone by I didn’t so my ritual was more a prayer/blessing to all Mothers, and Mother-like women I know, knew and respected. I like to take time for myself and dedicate this time to meditation and a small ritual involving naming my ancestors and giving thanks.

The day of Solstice or Yule will fall on 20th or 21st or 22nd December. This year our shortest day is 22nd and the light will be reborn at sunrise on 23rd. We have a special meal – ALWAYS Nigella’s Christmas Ham (her Christmas cook book is the only bible I ever owned – it comes out every year without fail since I bought it in 2008) eaten by candle light, we have a small gift exchange – the gift has to be crafted (usually food! Once again thanking the Goddess that is Nigella) or be a second hand purchase or books – books are the best gift in my opinion, and if second hand then even better, especially if they are old and have an inscription in the inside cover. My copy of Little Women that my husband gave me for yule about 10 years ago, has an inscription from Elsie to Alice in pencil from April 1911 – who were Elsie and Alice?? Anyways, I digress. We watch the sunset into the longest night of the year, exchange a small gift and give thanks for the year gone and make a wish for the year to come. It’s such a cozy evening with just the twinkly tree lights and candles. This year, weather depending we are hoping to get the fire going and can sit outside for a bit as the sun goes down and burn our wishes and a makeshift yule log (as well as enjoying the chocolate variety for pudding). In ancestral times, the fires were extinguished and hearths were cleaned out. The communal village Yule log was lit from a taper saved from the previous year’s log to continue the luck and good fortune into the new year, and then each household’s new fire was lit from a flame from the blazing communal log. The following morning I will witness the sunrise, as it returns in welcome to join it as we dance its next dance.

A traditional Scottish Blessing for Solstice’s returning sun :

I welcome you,

sun of the seasons,

as you travel the skies aloft;

your steps are strong

on the wing of the heavens,

you are the glorious

mother of the stars.

A modern twist on the rejoicing the light is when my son and I jump in the car (usually the evening of 22nd or 23rd) and drive round all the local villages and look at all the lights people have decorated their homes and garden with, and bring along hot chocolate for our nighttime road trip. Over the course of the next couple of days, including Christmas day, the time is spent with family and friends celebrating the season, eating and feasting and laughing and enjoying (and stressing and arguing and eye rolling but there is always mulled wine and/or rum!) which is tempered by quiet moments of time to myself each evening (sometimes, especially on 24th or the 4th night of Yuletide, that quiet time is literally 5 mins before bed!).

But it’s the betwixt days between Christmas and New Year that are my favourite; lots of time for contemplation, working out the kinks and plans for next year, eating leftovers and rich foods, sleeping and resting, not keeping any routine or “normal hours”, seeing friends, getting outside into nature and cleansing (redding) the house ready for 12th Night, Hogmanay. The festivities all leading up to “The Bells” and steak pie and the traditions that come with this night. I prefer to have the tree down and the decorations away before The Bells, so as to welcome the new year in fresh and clean but I know I am in the minority for that.

Some other ways to honour the 12 nights of Yuletide could be to spend each of the 12 nights reflecting on a month of the year just gone i.e. first night, what lessons did January hold, 2nd night for February so on and so forth. Welcoming the sunrise with yoga sun salutation. Baking and sharing sun bread. Having a potted tree or an evergreen tree in your garden that you can decorate with birdseed, nuts and berry garlands and icicles for our feathered friends. I’m sure you have plenty of ideas that suit your needs/beliefs/wishes.

I love Yule and actually would happily fore-go Christmas in favour of yule but that would take some explaining to the family and result in hurt feelings and misunderstandings that quite frankly just aren’t worth the hassle – who needs more stress in December? So I will continue to celebrate both and maybe my 9yo will develop my same love for a low key Yule over the extravagant Xmas as he grows up but for now he is still all about Santa and the excess of the season. To him it’s magical and when I was his age, it was pure magic for me too.

Solstice Blessings to you

Lissa xx

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12 Nights of Yuletide

On the first night of Yuletide Great Mother gave to me, my Motherline ancestry.

On the second night of Yuletide Great Mother gave to me, evergreen trees and my Motherline ancestry.

On the third night of Yuletide Great Mother gave to me, the returning sun, evergreen trees and my Motherline ancestry.

On the fourth night of Yuletide Great Mother gave to me a flaming log, the returning sun …

On the fifth night on Yuletide Great Mother gave to me, time with family …

On the sixth night of Yuletide Great Mother gave to me, feasting and laughter …

On the seventh night of Yuletide Great Mother gave to me, a bunch of mistletoe …

On the eighth night of Yuletide Great Mother gave to me, quiet contemplation …

On the ninth night of Yuletide Great Mother gave to me, sacred solitude …

On the tenth night of Yuletide Great Mother gave to me, cleansing energy …

On the eleventh night of Yuletide Great Mother gave to me, love in abundance …

On the twelveth night of Yuletide Great Mother gave to me, the turning of the wheel, love in abundance, cleansing energy, sacred solitude, quiet contemplation, a bunch of mistletoe, feasting and laughter, time with family, a flaming log, the returning sun, evergreen trees and my Motherline ancestry.

Sing along to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas. These are the 12 nights that best suit and reflect MY yuletide – what would yours look like?

With love & blessings

Lissa xx

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Dear Winter

Every year I look forward to your dark embrace.

Your stark, barren chill brings a wild clarity where the shadow is invited into the light, hearth side.

As I await the Cailleach’s freshly laundered cloak of white to spread out across these lands, I quietly settle into slowing down and coorying in, into your season.

While I eagerly anticipate you annual arrival, I am well aware of the sense of dread your appearance brings to others. Those without shelter, food, comfort, their health or the love of kith or kin. You make their very existence a challenge for survival.

In contrast to the poverty lived by many, the polar opposite also bears witness to showcase wealth, abundance and for some, greed; much of which will lead to the aforementioned poverty in the spirit of keeping up appearances.

There is no hiding in your season, where everything is raw and exposed; branches bare and wind unforgiving. You are relentless in your pursuit of truth, forcing the pause of hibernation to turn inwards to seek our heart’s desire or assess our current situaion, for good or othewise; mentally and physically clearing the path of the old to make way for the new growth.

I crave the simplicity of life that you so beautifully demonstrate in the earth around me. Peaceful, resting, hibernating, going deep to renew once again in Spring. To appreciate what has gone before and to prepare for what is to come with a healthy dose of self care and preservation, feeding my body simple but nourishing foods and loving those around me hard.

Thank you for this time of quiet and slow reflection.

With love, blessings and gratitude

Lissa

xx

(Inspired to write this by Carrie-Anne Moss, of Annapurnaliving.com and her book Fierce Grace)