Fantastic article by River Enodian from the Tea-Addicted Witch blog.
Explains how eclectic Wicca and initiatory Wicca are two different things; discusses cultural appropriation in Wicca; looks at the Wiccan Rede and the Threefold Law; and explains Wicca’s relationship with Crowley, Thelema, and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. I’ve tackled some of these topics myself but this is an excellent overview.
It’s the time of year for Wassailing in the apple-growing regions of England (Herefordshire, Somerset, Worcestershire, etc), and places where the weather is warm enough that fruit trees can blossom. (In Ontario, Canada, we wait until February to do the Wassailing.)
Happy New Year and Kalends of January. The Kalends of January are associated with three deities in Roman lore:
Pagan version by Yvonne Aburrow, 2022
The holly and the ivy
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown
Chorus: O, the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The bright fire on the hilltop
At the turning of the year.
This year, for the second year running, we will celebrate Mōdraniht, the Night of the Mothers.
This is a quieter and simpler practice than Yule, which is all about feasting and the drama of the light’s returning and liminality.
Yule is a turning point in the year. In a way, this is true of every festival in the Pagan wheel of the year, but it is said that the word Yule means a turning point.
There are many facets of Yule. There is the anarchic element of mumming, Saturnalia, the bean king, boy bishops, the lord of misrule, the inversion of the usual order of things. This aspect seems to be inspired by the concept of turning, and of liminality: being on the threshold, being neither one thing nor the other.
Yule is a distinct festival, often overshadowed by its younger sibling, Christmas. If you’re a Pagan or have Pagan leanings, the chances are that everything you love about Christmas is actually because it’s a Yule thing. If you love the tree, the holly, the greenery being brought into the house, the feasting, and the reciprocity of thoughtful gift giving (as opposed to obligatory gift giving dictated by social norms), then you love Yule. Yule is not “Christmas with the serial numbers filed off”, and Christmas isn’t “Yule with added Baby Jesus”, Yule is far more exciting and wild and numinous than that.
The breakdown of the Canadian census results is frustrating because it does not show Heathens, Druids, or polytheists; and the Pagan category includes Wicca. So it’s hard to compare with the UK data.