Friday, December 20, 2019

Christmas Traditions

As a Christian, and a reader of Celtic/ Pagan traditions of which in a time before Christianity came to the British Isles, many of these have carried over because it's a significance of our historical heritage. It's the joining of Christianity as the sole faith/ belief that Jesus is our Savior.

Of course we have connections to the old faiths, because they were carried over. The Gaelic traditions are still evident in small pockets of Ireland because they carried it over into Christianity. God is good, God is wonderful. Once we were one with Nature/ God. At this time, we are one with God, and his extension of love through the baby. Why is Jesus different? Because he came across space & time to our Earth home. Supernatural exists. We should always try to be one with Nature, thank God for the bountiful crops and such etc.
Let God into your house, read a script of the Bible...let your heart be warm.
Merry Christmas!

Traditions and Symbols of Yule

yule traditions and symbolsWhen the days grew colder and the nights grew longer, people of ancient times would light candles and gather round fires to lure back the sun. They would bring out their stores of food and enjoy feasting and festivities. Dances were danced and songs were sung and all would delight in decorating their homes.

Evergreens for Yule

Evergreens were cut and brought indoors to symbolize life, rebirth and renewal. They were thought to have power over death because their green never faded, and they were used to defeat winter demons and hold back death and destruction. Because of their strength and tenacity, they were also believed to encourage the Sun’s return.

Christmas Holly

Holly, which represents the masculine element, was often used to decorate doors, windows and fireplaces. Because of its prickliness it was thought to capture or ward off evil spirits before they could enter a home and cause harm. The holly leaves, symbolic of the Holly King, represent hope, and the red berries represent potency.

Holiday Traditions: Mistletoe

Mistletoe, which represents the female element, also holds much importance as it was used by Druid priests in special ceremonies during the Winter Solstice. They believed that its green leaves represented the fertility of the Mother Goddess, and its white berries, the seed of the Forest God or Oak King. Druids would harvest the mistletoe from sacred oak trees with golden scythes and maidens would gather underneath the trees to catch the falling branches, preventing them from falling to the ground; for if this happened, it was believed that all sacred energy in the plant would pour back into the earth. The branches and sprigs were then divided and distributed to be hung over doorways as protection against thunder, lightning and other evils. Mistletoe was also worn as an amulet for fertility, or hung above the headboard.

Yule Tree: An Important Pagan Symbol

The Yule Tree was also another important symbol in pagan tradition. Originally, it represented the Tree of Life or the World Tree among early pagans. In ancient times it was decorated with gifts people wanted to receive from the gods. It was adorned with natural ornaments such as pinecones, berries and other fruit, as well as symbols sacred to the gods and goddess. In some holiday traditions, garlands of popcorn and berries were strung around the tree so that visiting birds could feed off the tree as well.

To Honour and Protect: The Yule Log

The custom of burning the Yule Log began with the ancient Scandinavians who burned a huge log, felled from and Ash tree, to honour their god Thor. In the Celtic tradition, a continual hearth fire was kept to prevent spirits from entering the home. In order for the fire to keep burning, a large Oak tree was felled and brought into the home where the tree was placed trunk first into the hearth, with the last remnants set aside to burn with next year’s fire. It was also believed that the longer the Yule log burned, the faster the sun would come to warm the earth.

Other Yule Traditions and Symbols

Candles were another way to have an eternal flame within the home. They symbolized the light and warmth of the sun and were used to chase away evils and lure back the returning sun/son.
Wreaths were also traditional in ancient times for they symbolized the wheel of the year and the completion of another cycle. They were made of evergreens and adorned with cones and berries and hung as decoration throughout the home. They were also given as gifts to symbolize the infinity of goodwill, friendship and joyfulness.
Bells were often rung during the Winter Solstice to drive away demons that surfaced during the dark time of the year. They were rung in the morning as everyone began to wake to chase away the dark days and herald in the warmer, brighter days following the solstice.
Elves first became associated with Yule because the ancients knew that the Spirits that created the Sun inhabited the land of Elves. By including elves in the Yule celebrations, the ancients believed they were assuring the elves assistance in the coercion of the Sun to return.
Gingerbread was considered to be a specialty bread during this time since ginger had not been available until the Crusaders brought it back in the 11th century. There were strict laws regarding specialty breads in that time, so gingerbread was only allowed to be produced during the holidays and thus, it became associated with winter and Yule.
Wassail derives from the Old English words waes hael, which means “be well”, “be hale” or “good health”. It is a strong drink, usually a mixture of ale, honey and spices or mulled apple cider. When pagans went into the forest to fell the great oak for the Yule log, they would anoint the tree with wassail and bedeck them with wassail-soaked cakes, thus the ritual of wassailing was born. At home, the wassail would be poured into a large bowl during feast time and the host, when greeting his or her guests, would lift a drink and wish them “waes hael”, to which they would reply “drinc hael”, which meant “drink and be well”.
Carolling was also a popular Yule tradition when young children honoured the Winter Solstice with song. They would go through the villages, singing door to door. The villagers, in return, would reward them with tokens and sweets and small gifts which symbolized the food and prosperity given by the Mother Goddess to all her Earthly children.
Nature Symbols of Yule: Holly, Oak, Mistletoe, Ivy, Evergreens, Laurel, Bayberry, Blessed Thistle, Frankincense, Pine, Sage, Yellow Cedar.
Food and Drink of Yule: Yule Log Cake, Gingerbread, Fruits, Berries, Nuts, Pork dishes, Turkey, Eggnog, Ginger Tea, Spiced Cider, Wassail
Colours of Yule: Red, Green, White, Silver, Gold
Red represents the waning Holly King. Green represents the waxing Oak King. White represents the purity and hope of new Light. Silver represents the Moon. Gold represents the Sun/Son.
Stones of Yule: Rubies, Bloodstones, Garnets, Emeralds, Diamonds
Activities of Yule: Carolling ~ Wassailing the Trees ~ Burning the Yule Log ~ Decorating the Yule Tree ~ Exchanging Gifts ~ Kissing under the Mistletoe
Deities of Yule:
Goddesses: The Great Mother and Earth Goddess, Freyja, Gaia, Diana, Bona-Dea, Isis, Demeter
Gods: Mabon, The Sun God, The Star (Divine) Child, The Oak King, The Holly King, The Green Man, The Red Man, The Horned One, Odin, Lugh, Apollo, Ra
What Yule traditions and symbols still appear in your Holiday celebrations? Did you know the origin of some of these Yule traditions or did they surprise you? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
~ Daniela Masaro and Sacred Earth Journeys

Friday Night Frights Presents: Tankerman

For those of us who labor in unsatisfying jobs, there's always the option of higher education or trade school. For a misfit pipe fitter like Mort, it's easier just to stew in righteous indignation. Lady Luck has served him ill in landing him in construction work, where it's cold in winter and hot in summer. He'd much rather be in a cozy indoor job like so many born under a lucky star. But rather than avail himself of said options for improvement, Mort finds it easier to languish in bitterness and resentment. . . .in The Twilight Zone.

Mort finished his biscuit and coffee, his breath steaming where he sat against a keel stiffener. The oiler's empty tank still had a petrol smell, though not so noticeable in this kind of cold. The shipyard's seven o'clock whistle wailed its distant summons. Teddy Jones--the pipe fitter Mort was helper to--would clamber down the ladder any minute now, so it was time to make with the artwork.

White chalk, in Mort's guiding hand, began to sketch a sinister figure on the rusted aft bulkhead. Tankerman had a tall hat with one side of the wide brim turned up in classic villain style. His Dracula-type cape was pulled across his body, framing the skull face between the high collars. The last touch was red chalk for the eyes. Mort's own hatred for his miserable lot blazed out of them.

High above at the forward end, grayish dawn light dimmed as someone came down, tool bag slung over a shoulder. Teddy reached bottom and dropped the bag with a grunt. "Mornin', mornin'. Heard the news?"

"About what?" Mort had come forward between risers, leaving his latest creation behind in the gloom.

The tall bro rubbed at his gray-flecked goatee. "Some welder got 'lectrocuted over on the carrier last night."

The Navy carrier under construction had been Mort's home base for months. He'd left behind any number of Tankermen in deep, isolated holds. One had even been sprayed over with brick-red paint in one of the aviation fuel tanks, destined to sail with the ship until the end of its days. But a shortage of men down at the ship repair end of the yard had gotten Mort and Teddy a week in the cold; this tanker was a bid job, and had to be out of here on schedule.

"How'd it happen?" Mort had gloved hands in pockets.

"Freak accident," Teddy said. "Friction tape came off a bare spot on his weldin' line. Somehow he got tangled in it on the way down. They found 'im hangin' there."

In an adjacent tank, the rapid chatter of an impact wrench started up. It was almost loud enough to cover the warning tone of the gantry crane as it moved on its tracks. Annoyed, Mort screwed in his ear plugs. "Where was this?"

"Up fo'ward, where we was workin' in the chain locker---down in the bulb space."

That gave Mort pause. He had taken advantage of Teddy having gone for a blueprint, making his way down to the cavernous nose bulb. These were designed to prevent ships from plunging too deep at the bow in heavy seas. Mort's quick sketch had graced it with a leering Tankerman.

"Funny thing," Teddy added, unrolling a print. "Ol' Doctuh Death was down there too."

". . .Doctor Death?" Mort's marrow chilled.

"You know--them drawins of that dude that looks like Oil Can Harry, 'cept for the skull face."

Was it Mort's imagination, or did he hear a sepulchral sigh, see a shadow pass across the aft stiffeners?

"Damn," Teddy swore. "I forgot the emery cloth. Run over to the tool room and get some." In addition to its abrasive use, emery cloth made a handy wrap for drawing cut lines around pipe.

Mort demurred. "You know. . . .one of those 'Doctor Deaths' is back there on the bulkhead. You wanna be alone down here?"

Teddy made a gold-tooth grin. "Go 'head on, man!"

Given little choice, Mort hustled up the ladder, bent on completing the task pronto. Naturally the tool room was busy. He was better than ten minutes getting the roll of cloth. The round trip took over twenty minutes.

Upon return to the pier, Mort was horrified at sight of an ambulance just pulling away. A fellow fitter named Shaffer sidled up to him.

"Your boy Teddy done had chest pains," he said.

"Did he. . . .see anything?"

Shaffer's mustache twitched. "See what? When his chest hurt, he hauled freight up the ladder and called for help. They'll check 'im out at the clinic and send 'im home. Nothin' to worry about."

"I'll get his tool bag." Mort used the excuse to hurry aboard ship and climb down into the holding tank. He made his way aft, past a few lights strung on a temporary line. Tankerman was no longer there. Only his outline remained, a lighter area against the bulkhead.

Mort clenched fists against his newfound power. "Death!--" His challenge echoed, directed at the more fitting name of the doctor. "This isn't how it works!"

He plopped onto a stiffener, head in hands. He'd have to find the foreman and get assigned to another mechanic. Then he'd scrap around and try to look busy, which made for a long day. Suddenly he straightened. Tankerman, aka Doctor Death, shouldn't be afflicting Mort and his fellow slobs out here on the waterfront. No--the problem lay with those office types in their cushy jobs, looking down with contempt at the hard hats. It was just a mater of getting into an office for a little wall art.

But first, Mort had to rein in this freak. He began to sketch with white chalk around the newly-vacated outline. When the line rapidly filled itself in, a stunned Mort dropped his chalk. The completed drawing filled in with black, and red eyes glinted in the grinning skull face. Mort backed away, tripped, his hard hat bouncing on the deck. This was a level of art beyond his ability, almost photographic.

The eyes looked down at him. Was it just that weird illusion of all pictures?--or did Doctor Death just make a dire promise?--that the ultimate price of infernal power would be Mort's soul.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Dusty-file Poetry

Definition: gripman — a cable car operator


My father's father was a gripman
My father wore a helmet
And I lovebeads

My father's father went to and fro
My father left campaigning
And I was lost

Barn In The Clearing

The acrylic in this 6x9 is used thinly. That allows planks and roof slats to take up the texture of the canvas for a rough look. It's more opaque in areas where shrub overlaps the structure.  With a little
imagination, this small magazine photo takes on the aura of a lonely, simmering day in the country. The tin roof reflects the sky, with its grayish color slanting blue more toward mauve. For me, the openings invite exploring the musty old relic, with bird calls echoing in the distance.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

At the Bromius

Ok I am posting for a possibly new author. Let's give this one a good review etc.   Thanks for your support for the new blogs!

Lennox: Ah oh, what a dream I had.
Porter: Let me help you up. Put your arm around my shoulder. Careful now.
Lennox: What happened here? Everything looks wrecked.
Porter: There was a storm last night; the chimney was blown down, and windows broken.
Lennox: And the rest?
Porter: Well sir, the laws of nature are altered. It cannot be helped.
Lennox: Laws...nature?
Porter: Our land suffers. When the king is near women forsake their children and home, and run through fields and forest. It is heard throughout.
Lennox: Oh, the dream, nightmare, whatever it was—
Macduff (entering): You are up. Look at this place. I thought it was the storm.
Lennox: Was it a dream I had?
Macduff: More than a dream it seems. We'll have to pay for the damage. Drinks too. But the dream?
Porter: No payment is required sir, this is common nowadays.
Lennox: The dream, the storm.... The women running through the woods.... I joining them....  Rather, they joined me. This is not my habit. Then in the morning, the women attacked the herders' sheep and cattle, and beat up the herders who tried to stop them. Women defeating men! Then Sheriff Pentheus, that's what he called himself, came with men to arrest me and the women. His own mother was involved. When the sheriff and his men came to the spot and saw the carnage, the men deserted. The women attacked Pentheus and tore him to pieces. His mother came to me holding what she said was the head of a mountain lion; in her ecstasy could not see she carried her son's head. When I enlightened her she was horrified, sobbed.
Macduff: Dreadful dream, but we have to call on Duncan.
Lennox: When I got here a battle was raging and the king was at camp. He never did lead. With the treaty there was little to defend, but now that we are attacked, he stays behind while others fight.
Macduff: The Norwegian king fought! But you say Duncan would not show himself on the battlefield. He passes himself off as an old man who's not expected to go into battle. Let's go before the sun rises.
Porter: When you get to the castle, knock hard. My brother is porter there, and he often empties bottles.
Lennox: Something new with him since, you said, nature's turned upside down?
Porter: No, sir, he is constant. The king too.
Macduff: A good thing sometimes. Duncan commanded I wake him in early morning. Macbeth received the title due me. I should have come up here myself and told Duncan to his face what I did. I expect bounty for defeating the Norwegian king and the tribute I exacted. Never would I step foot in Macbeth's castle but for the king's command. Let's go. led women? Were you Duncan?