Use Yule Bells For Positive Energy

Clearing negative energy from your home is a basic housekeeping duty of any witch, particularly of the hearth witch variety. Smudging with sage, sprinkling salt and burning clearing incenses are all great ways to “clean up” the energy in your home.

But sometimes people forget that that’s just the first step. Once you’ve cleared the air, so to speak, you have a clean energetic slate. And naturally, you’ll want to fill that up with something positive.

This season gives you the perfect tool for that: jingle bells!

You can use any bells you can get your hands on; even a single bell will do, but I think more is more in this case. You can string a few on a brightly colored ribbon, maybe in a color to represent your intention. I have a long strand of extra large, rustic bells on twine and tied with rag ribbon that I use both as holiday decoration around this time and the perfect tool to ring in the energy I want.

Here are some basic steps to follow, but as always, you should let the energy guide you.

  • Take a cleansing bath, or at the very least, wash your hands to get ready for the clearing. Call in your spirit guides and helpers, or say a prayer to the deity of your choice.
  • Focus on the intention you want for your home: Peace, Joy, Abundance, Friendship…whatever positive energy you wish to attract.
  • Use whatever clearing method you prefer, though smudging with sage is tradition. Don’t forget to smudge yourself!
  • After the space is clear, start at the entrance to the room, with the bells in your right hand.
  • Move slowly around the room in a clockwise motion, ringing the bells in a light but quick rhythm, allowing them to sound as they will. At the same time, voice your intention loudly, joyously, or however the bells and your guides lead you.

You’ll find the energy changes dramatically as the bells lead you around the house, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly they can not only change the way the home feels but how they seem to help manifest your intention.

Obviously, this technique can be used anytime, but what better time than now?

Freeze Out Charm Using Yule Ornaments

I’ve posted this before, but this is a good time of year to dust off this great little charm for “freezing out” someone who is giving you grief. I like to collect shiny ornaments at this time of year (especially toward the end of the season, when they’re on sale!) for use in this charm all year round.

I learned this charm when I was going through a tough time with a former friend who was making my life miserable. I didn’t want to hurt them, but I wanted to end the relationship clean, so I could get on with my life. Another friend taught me this:

You start with a simple holiday ball ornament meant for your tree. The color doesn’t matter (though you could probably use green for healing, or red for protection), as long as the interior of the ball is “mirrored”.

  • Remove the hanger.
  • Focus your intention on separating yourself from the person involved, without wishing them harm. You simply want to “freeze them out” of your life so you can move on.
  • Write their name on a thin slip of paper in red ink. Roll the paper up and put it inside the mirrored ball and replace the hanger.
  • Say a prayer of thanks for the good things in the relationship, but state – out loud – that you’re no longer affected by this person.
  • Put the ball in the freezer, and walk away.

The freezer will help to “freeze them out” of your life. The mirrored ball will reflect back on them any negativity they send out to you without it hitting you. This will not harm them (unless they mean real harm to you), but it will protect you and allow you to move on.

As with all charms of this nature, it doesn’t work if you’re doing it to be vindictive (in that case, it might come back to haunt you) or if you obsess over the ball in the freezer.

Let go.

Walk away.

Move on.

Winter Solstice Brew

Infused liquors are great around the holidays, and require basically nothing more rigorous than a bit of chopping and some pouring.

This vanilla and citrus infused brandy will be perfect around the Yule fire, and will also make a killer sidecar.

Now, truth be told, I may have left this a bit too late this year. It needs 2 weeks of brewing, and then 1-3 weeks of mellowing after it’s strained. So, if you start now, it will be just about ready for Yule. But then again, it’s not like you won’t want to drink it after the holiday, because you will.

And did I mention how easy it is?

The ingredients

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You’ll need a bottle of decent brandy. Don’t feel like you need to go crazy (probably won’t want to use a bottle of $80 cognac), but you’ll want something that’s fairly good quality because this isn’t like cooking. You’ll definitely taste a poor brandy in this. I used Courvoisier, because you can’t really go wrong.

You’ll also want an orange, two vanilla beans, some star anise, half a cinnamon stick and a clean quart mason jar.

Making the brew

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Cut the orange into fourths and drop it into the jar. Add your cinnamon and anise, then slice open the vanilla beans and   pour in the brandy. Yeah. It’s that easy.

One important note, though: Make sure you pour enough brandy to cover every bit of the fruit and spices, particularly the ends of the vanilla beans. Exposed spices might mold.

Let it mellow

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Once you have it all put together, cap the jar tightly and put it in a cool, dry, dark place. I put it in my pantry. For the next two weeks, take it out and shake it once a day.

At the end of the two weeks, strain out the fruit and spices, and then return it to the jar and back into the pantry (or wherever) to mellow for 1-3 weeks.

Enjoy on Yule, New Year’s Eve and whenever you need a nice pick me up.

Holiday Simmer Pot

There is no better time of the year for simmering up some magic – and some great scents – on the stove.

This holiday simmer pot not only smells heavenly, but is chock full of all kinds of good stuff that you want to draw in at this time of year (or any time of year, really).

As always, keep safety in mind and don’t let your simmer pot go unattended or let the water get too low.

You can get creative with what you use in your simmer pot, depending on what you’re trying to manifest.

Here is what I used for this pot:

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Orange – Used for drawing and attracting, it’s also a symbol of abundance. I cut up a whole orange for this pot.

Cranberries – The quintessential American holiday fruit, cranberry doesn’t have a huge history of magical properties, but as a water fruit, it’s considered to have some of the same feminine properties of assisting with communication and emotions. It’s also considered protective. I tossed in a handful of fresh cranberries.

Cloves – Since I made this pot right after a thorough space clearing, I tossed in some cloves for not only banishing negativity but attracting what I want to bring in. It’s got a bit of protection, too, so that’s always good.

Rosemary – I added a sprig of fresh rosemary from my garden for remembrance, as a reminder of those who aren’t with me at the holidays anymore.

Cinnamon – Since I’m looking for a bit of luck and prosperity, I tossed in a stick of cinnamon. Cinnamon is also activating, helping all the other fruits and herbs to do their jobs.

Vanilla – I always add a glug of my homemade vanilla extract to a simmer pot, because I like having something that I made myself as a part of the spell. Plus, it smells yummy.

Sea Salt – This is another usual ingredient in my magical simmer pots, adding a grounding element.

25 Traditional Holiday Songs for Pagans

Nothing quite gets me in the holiday spirit the way music does. And while I love and support pagan musicians, around this time of year I really want to hear those traditional songs of my youth.

Unfortunately, traditional “Christmas music” is just chock full of Emmanuels and hallelujahs and other things that – as a pagan – kind of skeev me out. Even lists of “secular” holiday songs tend to center heavily on Christmas itself.

So the last couple of seasons, I’ve been looking for recognizable, fun and memorable songs for the Yule season that don’t feel so Jesus- or Christmas-focused, and there are more than you think!

Here’s a handy list of 25 songs I’ve found to help you build your own Yuletide playlist.

Secular Classics
There are plenty of songs, particularly from the 40s and 50s, that are very familiar as holiday songs, but have no mention of Christmas at all. 

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Sleigh Ride

Let it Snow

Deck the Halls

Jingle Bells

Jingle Bell Rock

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Happy Holiday

Fun Songs

These songs don’t take Yule too seriously. Though still pretty agnostic, the last three refer to Christmas or take place Christmas Eve, so you’ll have to decide how much Christmas reference you can handle!

Frosty the Snowman

You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

Because nothing says “the holidays” like spiders in your soul…

Santa Baby

Santa never sounded so sexy…

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer

Miss Fogarty’s Christmas Cake

Instrumental Pieces
Some songs may have Christian lyrics, but are just as recognizable – or more so – in their instrumental form.

Christmas Eve/Sarajevo (The Carol of the Bells)

While I can’t recommend The Carol of the Bells with lyrics for a pagan household, the instrumental versions are classic and none more so than this striking rock version by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Fur Elise

If you grew up with Charlie Brown, this Beethoven classic just screams “the holidays.”

The Nutcracker March

 

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies

Honorable Mention

 Here are a few that are on the cusp, mostly because they either reference  Christmas or God, have Christian undertones (though with pagan messages) or they’re just a little unusual. Still, these make the cut for my Yule playlist, and might for yours, too.

Good King Wenceslas 

There’re a lot saints here, true, but the message of compassion and kindness is pretty universal.

Here We Come a Wassailing

This old carol does ask God to bless you, but otherwise it’s very pagan. I personally adore Kate Rusby, and think she does this one better than anyone.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Just one mention of Christmas in this one!

Louisiana Christmas Day

Now, this Aaron Neville song may not be all that familiar to some of you, but as a Louisiana girl far from home, it’s a perennial favorite of mine, so I thought I’d include it.

Such a Night

Another not-particularly-Christmasy Christmas song from Aaron Neville.

And last but not least…
Dar Williams’ anthem to tolerance should be on every pagan’s Yuletime playlist.

The Christians and the Pagans

If you download all of these songs, you’ll have over an hour of Jesus-free holiday tunes!

Note: If you have Amazon prime music, nearly all of these are free. (I think I paid about $3 total for the whole list.

Do you have a favorite that should be here? Let me know!

 

Yule-Time Playlist

Sometimes, life needs a soundtrack.

Yule is definitely one of those times. So, as I was wrapping presents and drinking eggnog, I fired up the “holiday channel” on Pandora.

It was kind of depressing. There was a lot of Emmanuel this and holy that. Even the songs that didn’t hit you over the head with “JESUS IS LORD” weren’t very pagan-friendly.

I even found a list of “secular” holiday songs on the web, and all of them had “Christmas” in the title.

Which is okay unless you, you know…don’t celebrate Christmas.

So, I put together my own playlist of easily accessible, well-known and well-loved songs that are (for the most part) Christmas-free yet will still get you in the holiday spirit.

Jingle Bells – Originally a Thanksgiving tune (and don’t you love those), there’s not a ‘Merry Christmas’ in sight. I like Sammy Davis Jr.’s version.

Deck the Halls – If you find an original version of this (like Katherine Jenkins’), your fa-la-las will be all about Yuletide, not Christmas.

Let it Snow – Another classic winter holiday song that has no Christmas or Baby Jesus anywhere to be found.

Winter Wonderland – Frank Sinatra does this best, and while it does have a parson in it, it’s pretty secular otherwise.

Sleigh Ride – Who doesn’t like a good Bing Crosby tune?

Frosty the Snowman – Bring back your childhood with nary a mention of Christmas.

Jingle Bell Rock – It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it…but no Christmas.

Nutcracker Suite, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy – Orchestral songs like this one may be “cheating” a bit, but it’s classic holiday cheer.

Beethoven: Fur Elise – You might not think of this as a typical holiday song….unless you grew up watching Charlie Brown. You’ll know it when you hear it. (Hint: It’s what Schroeder plays for Lucy.)

Carol of the Bells – Another classic when you stick to the orchestral version. (Or the Muppets.)

Christmas Eve/Sarajevo – It’s easy to overlook the “Christmas” in the name of this pulsing rock orchestral version of Carol of the Bells.

Here We Go a Wassailing – This is a borderline one. There is a mention of God, but the theme and words are so old-fashioned Yule that they have more to do with pagan traditions than Christian.

Good King Wenceslas – Like ‘Here We Go a Wassailing’, there are Christian overtones to this (Wenceslas is a “saint” and the story takes place “on the feast of Stephen”) but the overall message is a good one, and the language and imagery are very pagan.

The Christians and the Pagans – I love Dar Williams’ anthem to tolerance, with the story of a couple of lesbian witches visiting their very Christian relatives on Christmas Eve.

And last, but certainly not least:

You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch – Because nothing says ‘the holidays’ like spiders in your soul…

Got a great, pagan-friendly holiday song? Share it in the comments!