Strega Jewellry's Blog

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Wheel of the Year: Yule


wheelyule

We are here on the Wheel.  Again and yet again, it is pointed out that Yule is a lesser “holiday” for pagans and not such a huge deal as the Christian Christmas has become.   There are many websites which will explain all the ways in which pagan traditions were taken to make up the traditions that manifest at Christmas, the tree, the Holly King, the sweets, the mistletoe and more.  I’m not one to repeat all that here.

Yule is important because it marks the longest night of the year.  The days have gradually become shorter until winter arrives and while Winter is nowhere near done, Yule marks the promise that Light will reign again.  From this day forward, each day will become a bit longer, the light will last longer.  It’s  a promise of Spring and Summer that seem so far away.

These days, it’s easy to forget that.  We have electricity and furnaces and food in plenty.  At this time of year, I am always amazed that in older times, people would have such faith in the turning of the seasons that they would feast on the darkest of days. Think about it.

Their homes were drafty and cold.  Even when the harvests were good, they didn’t have the means to store food like we do.  Their lives depended on what they had stored from the harvest and what the men could hunt.  On December 21st, they still had the coldest months of January and February to depend upon their food stores then March before they saw a hint of fresh herbs growing wild.  Game was scarce.  Animals stuck close to their dens and men close to their fires.  Yet, every year, from the humblest of towns

Yulevillage

to the high halls of the lords

yulecastle

(photo from Dreamstime.com)

the lady of the house would take stock of her stores and lay out a feast for Yule.   What faith that must have taken!  To use the best of what you had to celebrate the coming of Light when you could not know if you would have enough to last through the coldest months!

yulefeast

That is the magic of Yule for me, that incredibly enduring Faith.  I am always mindful of it as this season comes.  I wonder that it does not get “lost” in our mad scramble for gifts and decorations.  I try to take time to reflect on what really matters, not what gifts I can buy but what gifts I can give, of my time, my love, stories, food and just sharing good energy.  Call  old friends, forgive someone, laugh with children, share joy and light, the riches you have and have faith that these are things you will not run out of.

Send a card:  If you are looking for pagan cards, I know the perfect place to find them.   Moondragon Cards is based in the UK and has some gorgeous cards for all seasons AND calandars!   Find them on Facebook

Celebrate the birth of the child of Light

 

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December 17, 2015 Posted by | folklore, holidays, pagan, wiccan | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Twice as Nice Bloghop


Welcome! It’s the 14th Bead Soup Café blogger/non blogger challenge and the first one I’ve joined. this one is sponsored by Toltec Jewels. We’ve got 2 palettes to design from for a not so typical Christmas in July hop.   Check them out.  I love both of them!

twiceasnicehop

I’m not crazy about Christmas.  As a pagan, YULE is my winter celebration.   For pagans, Yule is one of the lesser holidays, not at all like Christmas which is a HUGE deal!   Even so, it has a lot of meaning.   Yule celebrates the longest night of the year, a turning point.   We know that even though the coldest part of the winter is yet to come, after Yule, the Long Night,  the nights begin to get shorter and the days begin to get longer, a few minutes every day.  It marks the beginning of the end of the “dark season” and it’s a time of great hope and the promise of spring to come.

In older times, the choicest of the winter stores would be taken out and used for the winter feast as a token of faith that the Lord and Lady would see you through the lean times ahead, a symbol of your belief in the promise of the spring and summer to come, when once again fresh food would be in abundance for all.  Even though your winter stores were getting lower and the game animals were finding it hard to feed themselves and becoming scarcer, that feast would happen.   These days, we don’t have to worry about such things but we still celebrate Yule.  It marks our faith that through any dark times, we will be sustained.   Yule is a happy festival and besides having good food and gathering with good friends, you want to give a special gift to those you care about…….one gift, not a shower of presents like Christmas…..one gift that means something.

First, how about a little mood music?   Here’s a tune that has been used hundreds of times to represent witchery in all kinds of movies and television scores……Carmina Burana.   The video is pretty cool also.  If you have time to watch and not just listen while you scroll.   It has a joy about it that reflects the season.  It’s a beautiful rendition of Carmina Burana and by far my favorite “Flashmob” video!

 

I really was drawn to that first palette.   I like that nature theme and while I like the colors in both palettes, the nature theme seems more wintery to me.  I pulled some colors from that first picture for most of my pieces.   I like the fact that is not all red and green like the usual Christmas colors.  There are browns and greys and blues and lots of white/silver for the snow.  And the red and green are more natural, not the glaring brights of the ho ho ho Christmas.   I did take that red color a couple of shades darker but I still think it works.   If you don’t agree…………well there’s plenty of snow to pelt me with a few snowballs.

First up, I made this locker hook bracelet  cuff.   I do love a cuff and the sari silk I had on hand seemed a good match.  I sewed on a a copper filigree then attached a piece of dichroic glass that I made way back when I first learned to make dichroics.  The gold in the sari silk is a bit festive and the copper has an earthy look I love.

 

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Now for a necklace to go with that sari silk.   I had fallen in love with Badger Beads on Artfire.    The artist, Jayne LaRette is a fabulous and friendly lady of great talent.   This beautiful focal bead is the perfect match to the green in that palette AND, it came with 2 matching beads that would give me a pair of earrings.  Woot woot!   I made a faux four-in-one chain, used a copper  disc I hammered out and a bit of sari silk.   The bead can stand alone, it’s so pretty.   I makes a happy little tinkle sound against the disc.

 

copper necklace

copper necklace

 

I have to show you the bead up close

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and the chain with the sari silk

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and let’s not forget the earrings……

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I was so excited about the beads I saw in Jayne’s shop, I wrote her a note with the order.  We are guild sisters on Artfire and I like to share my guild sister’s work.   I told her in the note that the bead was going to be my focal and I was so excited about this hop and blabbered on.  I guess I got her excited also because she sent me another bead as a gift and told me to play with it.   PLAY with it!   My favorite words!  And gift!   What a wonderful gesture!   If you get a chance, check out her studio on Artfire or visit her Facebook page and say hello.

This focal bead is such a deep beautiful midnight blue, its perfect to symbolize the Long Night.  I do hope you can see the swirls of antique gold in   I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it until I was listening to some Celtic music that just happened to have a lot of bagpipes.  Well, what is a festival without music and bagpipes?   EH?  (that’s the cue for some more mood music folks, get ready!)

 

While the colors in this piece are not in this palette, I still needed a Yule gift, so thought I was justified in digressing just a little.   I used antique brwass wire.   Trying to get over my Fear of Fiber, I thought I would add some plaid fabric for a woodsy tartan………just a bit.  This called for a some simple work to really focus on the beauty of the bead.   I almost think this could be a unisex piece with the leather cord.

bagpipe necklace

bagpipe necklace

 

and let’s take a closer look at that bead with its gorgeous deep blue and swirls of gold and iridescence……woooooot  I’m having fun now!!!

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Okay, I’m back to the palette on this next piece.   I pulled out the grey and blue from the wolves and shadows, used a bit of silver for the sparkle of the snow and that woodsy reddish brown.   My little goddess is the focal.   She is Sister Red Star, made from red tiger’s eye and red jasper.   Jasper is a protective and nurturing stone and tiger’s eye helps you make right decisions.   Her energy is the sparkle of a red star in the dark night sky…..a beacon, urging you to forge ahead, the Road is clear.  Trust in the protection of your guides and your instincts.  Her beads are pietersite, a playful stone that helps you pull a childlike quality from deep within.  The energy of the piece is perfect to see you through the rest of a dark cold winter or the dark cold times of your life.

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that is a lousy picture of those beautiful beads of brown and bluish grey but it’s too late now…..sigh……

Oh, I’m getting way too deep here, let’s lighten up a bit.    I did want to make something in the second palette with all those beautiful colors.   I found some perfect beads from Spawn of Flame on Artfire.   Look at these beauties!   They are lampwork in that beautiful watery blue green with rivers of silver running through them.   Rosemarie calls them Little Sirona.  Sirona was a Celtic goddess of healing springs who had numerous shrines around sulphur springs and wells .  I thought she would be a perfect “woodsy” goddess for this palette so I created these little “rain chain” earrings.  What a perfect gift for someone in need of healing energy or who wants some bubbly energy from flowing springs.

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I think I like the shorter pair the best

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Almost as an afterthought, I made these wreaths, pulling only the green and red from the first palette.   They are traditional Christmasy, yes?

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Okay, that’s all for me today.   Please stop by and see Rita from Toltec Jewels who is our hostess for this hop!  Thanks Rita fir such a fun challenge!

 

  1. Toltec Jewels
  2. Renetha Stanziano – www.lamplightcrafts.blogspot.com
  3. Dini Bruinsma –  http://angazabychanges.blogspot.nl
  4. Tammy Adams – http://www.paisleylizard.com/blog.html
  5. Blanca Medina – http://www.peru-medesigns.com
  6. Chris Eisenberg – www.wanderware.blogspot.com
  7. Krafty Max – http://kraftymax.blogspot.com
  8. Robin Kae Reed www.willowdragon.blogspot.com
  9. Kathy Lindemer  – Bay Moon Design
  10. Marde Lowe – www.fancimardesigns.blogspot.com
  11. Andrea Glick- http://zenithjade.blogspot.com/
  12. Lee Koopman  http://stregajewlley.wordpress.com
  13. Natalie Davidson — NorthShoreDays.com
  14. LiliKrist – http://pcbylik.blogspot.com/
  15. Lori Anderson  www.PrettyThings.com
  16. Tami Norris
  17. Klaudete Koon
  18. Ginger Hammond www.facebook.com/lynnleighdesigns
  19. Kathleen A Breeding http://99bobotw.blogspot.com/
  20. Veralynne Malone www.veradesigns.blogspot.com
  21. Shalini Austin – http://jewellerybyshalini.co.uk
  22. Sheila Prose-http://catswithbeads.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 17, 2014 Posted by | challenges, fashion, Jewelry, metaphysical, New Age | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

ABS Ornament Blog Hop


Art Bead Scene hosts an annual ornament blog hop and I joined the party this year. Art Bead Scene is a blog for jewelry makers who use a lot of “art beads”, hand made beads, that is and there are some fabulous artists who create gorgeous beads of all kinds. Rules of the  hop: create an ornament for Christmas, Kwanza, whatever holiday you celebrate and use either a handmade component or hand made bead.

I’ve been disabled for over a year now and money is tight so I have been experimenting with making my own beads and components. This will be my very first polymer clay bead. eeeeks! But, nobody said the bead had to be perfect.

I’m not a big fan of Christmas and do not do a lot of decorating myself. I’m pagan and frankly, YULE is our holiday and it is one of the lesser celebrations of the year, not the biggest and grandest that Christmas has come to be. Many pagans have Christian family members. In fact, all of my children are Christian and celebrate Christmas. Only my grand daughter Jessie and her husband, Nick, are pagan and celebrate Yule with me. So, I do the gift thing like the rest of the world, for the kids and grands who are Christian,  but I do not get caught up in the madness of shoppin.

I’ll tell you about the reason for celebrating YULE. It’s the Winter Solstice. Most people do not notice, because it marks the season of snow and icy cold, but December 21/23 is the longest night of the year. The days have been progressively longer since the summer solstice and the dark time has taken precedence over the light. Ancient peoples noted this and Yule became a time of hope and promise. They got out the best of their winter stores and had a big feast because after the Solstice, the light would gradually reclaim the daytime hours. Yule was a promise of the return of the sun and after that the spring with its new shoots and new life.  It became a symbol of returning life of rebirth. Special gifts were given and the halls were filled with evergreens (also a symbol of eternal life) and holly and mistletoe with its sacred berries. One gift was given in honor of this birth/rebirth of the Oak King. It was always a special gift.  The lords and ladies of the land feasted the poor. I kept the tradition as my children grew. Their Yule gift was the one gift that would have meaning to them, not just a commercial gift, but one that showed I knew their heart.

Done with the preaching and teaching. On to my ornament experiments. I’ve been working with my grandsons on some clay ornaments that we are giving as gifts for Yule.,

I wanted a special pagan ornament for Nick and Jessie. I used one of the clay snowflake beads I made from polymer, a light blue, dusted with shiny white, and used only two sparkling Swarovski crystals because hope and promises sparkle and shine and drive back the dark.  The bead is not perfect, but  I learned a lot from making it.   I also made a pentagram out of wire. One of the legs is a little shaky but that makes it more dear because my little 3 year old,  Nicholas wanted to “help with the pliers” so there is lots of love there.   For a detailed meaning of the Pentagram, both pagan and Christian (NO, it is NOT a satanic symbol), check out this page.

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snowflake bead

snowflake bead

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I’ve also made a special ornament for my daughter, Dawn, who loves to feed the birds even more than I do.   She takes great joy in their antics and that of her favorite squirrel.  Her ornament is a spoon filled with resin. I’m not sure if this fits the criteria because the whole ornament IS the component!    The background is a bird picture and there are letters that say “share with friends”.   There is a bit of bird seed embedded in the resin and a bird charm on the top.   To me, this embodies the true spirit of this season, whether you call it Christmas or Yule.   Sharing your bounty without fear  of the remaining dark days is BELIEF, that the bounty will continue and that your god/goddess  will provide all your sustenance no matter how dark the days to come.  She loves it and I think I will be making some more of them!

bird ornament

bird ornament

I sure had some fun with my “guys”,  making ornaments and thank Art Bead Scene for sponsoring this hop.   Now, I”m going to enjoy myself  even more and visit the other blogs.   I just know I’m going to see some beautiful ornaments.  So, grab a cup of hot chocolate with me and lets go see what the others have made. 

December 12, 2013 Posted by | Jewelry, Kid Stuff, metaphysical, New Age | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments