Sunday, December 25, 2011

Nollaig Shona!

Merry Christmas!
 Wishing you and yours the safest, warmest and brightest of holidays this season. Enjoy your family and friends and prepare for all the great things that 2012 will bring!

"Every year at just this time,
In cold and dark December,
Families around the world
All gather to remember,
With presents and with parties,
With feasting and with fun,
Customs and traditions
for people old and young."

- Helen H. Moore

Christmas Magic

Are we too grownup to feel a thrill
As we light the Christmas tree?
Are we immune to cookies,
Christmas cards and Christmas glee?

Are we too adult to "Ooh" and "Aah"
At the Christmas candle's glow?
Are we blasé about our gifts;
Do we shun the mistletoe?

Are we too mature for carols,
For merry or for jolly?
Do the decorations leave us cold,
The ornaments and holly?

Fat chance! We'll never grow too old
To love the Christmas magic.
A year without a Christmas
Would be boring, even tragic.

So bring it on! The candy canes,
The feasting and good cheer;
O Christmas, lovely Christmas,
You're the highlight of the year!

By Joanna Fuchs

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Junk Mail Christmas Wreath

   While making my rounds yesterday for the Yule Magic Blog Party I came across the blog Magpie's Baubles and a really creative Christmas wreath idea.

     It's done using junk mail of all things but I'm sure you could also use left over pieces of paper, construction paper or even wrapping tissue paper you didn't use on your Christmas gifts. Here's the picture of her wreath:

     Cute, isn't it? I am definitely going to try this this season. Click HERE for the tutorial on it.

     I also found directions on how to make your own "Merry Christmas" sign out of white felt. It's very simple, but very beautiful.  Click HERE for that tutorial and enjoy!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Yule Magic Blog Party 2011

   Hello and Welcome all who are joining in the Yule Magic Blog Party hosted by The Village Witch.

     My Yule gift to everyone this season is simple: inspiration. Whether you create things with your hands, pour your heart and thoughts down on paper, or bring stories to life through film, I hope that everyone is inspired this holiday season and through the New Year.

     But I don't only wish it for those who create art because inspiration doesn't just stop at art. You can inspire people you know to be better people, your children to treat others well, a close friend to follow their dream. BE the inspiration yourself and watch what great things can happen.

   As for the rest of my post I wanted to share a few drawings and stills from one of my favorite films ever, "Harry Potter". Truly a film inspired by so many things but also an example of just what can be done when you let your creativity flow!

Nollaig Shona Dhuit!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dickens in Ireland

   Did you know the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come were in Ireland? That's right, dear old Charles Dickens made a trip to Ireland in 1858. Read all about it here from Discover Ireland's website:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Yuletide Blessings Blog Party!

      Happy Saturday dear readers and welcome everyone who found their way here from Astraea Sapphire's Yuletide Blessings Blog Party!

   This blog party is all about Yule-time traditions that reader's families hold.

   Many Blessings and Enjoy!

   **Note: These are not my personal pictures as I'm not a great picture taker.  :) **

 Starting November 30th, my family and I unpack our Christmas tree and let the decorating begin! We actually just bought a new tree last year so I'm excited to put it up and see how big it is! Usually we have blue and silver christmas ornaments as well as garland that wraps around with clear lights in between.

I have boxes and BOXES of Christmas decorations that come out this time of year. (My husband keeps saying we should get rid of some... BLASPHEMY!)
These boxes include our stockings, little christmas trees I decorate, LOTS of garland and little figurines from our favorite Christmas specials like "Santa Clause is Coming to Town" and "The Year Without a Santa Clause"

My husband and I have been together 5 years, married for about 1 1/2, and we have gotten a Christmas ornament for every year we've been together and plan on doing this for every year to come. Last year was really special with the birth of our daughter so her First Christmas Ornament was the one we bought. Here's a picture of the exact one (her name isn't Erika though):

The Christmas lights are next. Not too many people put lights up on their houses anymore which is a shame because their beautiful at night and we love to see them!

Every year I try to make our Christmas cards but sometimes there's just not enough time so I have a back up box full to send out!

When Christmas Eve finally arrives we do the usual opening up of one gift the night before. For dinner we usually have something simple at home or we might venture out to a nice restaurant. But right after we always drive around town to look at all the house that are decorated with lights. Like I said, it's not too many anymore so seeing them is always great!

This year, we're really excited because we get to play Santa for the first time for our daughter. It's the small things that really make the holidays!

Christmas morning always starts out with a batch of warm cinnamon rolls followed by the opening of presents. There's really no rhyme or reason to how we do it, we just dive in!
And of course, the day wouldn't be complete until you've had Christmas Dinner!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Taking the "Christ" out of Christmas

   This is actually something that has been bothering me for a few weeks now but I couldn't find any words eloquent enough to express how I felt about it.

  For you fellow Facebookers out there, I'm pretty sure you've come across this little gem as of late:

I am sick and tired of every year when CHRISTMAS comes around, there are people who want to take CHRIST out of CHRISTMAS. It might offend someone. Well how about all of the CHRISTIANS? What about offending us because you are taking our CHRIST out of CHRISTMAS!?!? CHRIST IS CHRISTMAS!!! If you aren't celebrating CHRIST then why are you celebrating? CHRISTMAS is about the birth of our SAVIOR! CHRISTMAS is one of a few holidays left that celebrate my CHRIST! Leave my holiday alone!!! And tell everyone MERRY CHRISTMAS, not Happy Holidays! Repost if your not ashamed.

Oh yes...

   This little declaration caused quite a stir on the wall of a "friend" mine, resulting in 42 comments and a lot of tension.

   My response? Christ is not the "reason for the season" and Christians do not "own" Christmas as a holiday. Plain and simple. Whether it be "Merry Christmas", "Happy Holidays" or "Happy Winter" - say what you want and everyone else can get the hell over it.

   However for a better put together response to both this and another situation, take a stop by The Whimsical Cottage and The Secret Life of the American Working Witch to read their excellent thoughts!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Witches Yule Tide Ball

Nollaig Shona Dhuit! (Merry Christmas in Irish Gaelic) Welcome to all those stopping by for the Witches Yule Tide Ball! For my post today I am sharing some Irish Christmas Traditions, many of which we do here in the states. So enjoy and Happy Holidays!

   Christmas in Ireland is a traditional holiday in both parts of the island, and very much a family and religious celebration! As in French Canada, Roman Catholic families attend Midnight Mass together on Christmas Eve. Christmas is the important celebration, rather than the New Year, which has more emphasis in Scotland. The festivities last from Christmas Eve until January 6th, when decorations are put away.

   Most homes have fireplaces and mantlepieces that are decorated with holly and ornaments. People also clean their houses thoroughly, and in the past it was whitewashed as well as a means of purification.

   In many areas on Christmas Eve a lit candle is placed in the window, though nowadays an electric one is usually the case. This goes back to traditions of hospitality in ancient times.

   In terms of other decorations, usually the most elaborate kind is found in shops, restaurants and hotels around towns. In residential areas, the spirit of Christmas is felt more than the glitz and glitter.

   In Ireland, Santa Clause or Father Christmas leaves gifts for children at the foot of their bed rather than under the tree. The tree is where you may find gifts from friends and family.

   Another common tradition is that of mistletoe. Since Victorian times, it has been a cherished Christmas decoration. Kissing under the mistletoe is as much an Irish Christmas tradition as it is anywhere else. But for centuries before that custom came into practice, this custom was actually banned in Christian Ireland...anything held so dear by the "pagans" (Druids) was thought to be evil.

   Although most people think that the 12 days of Christmas end with Christmas Day, they actually begin with Christmas Day Mass.
   Legend has it that the "12 Days of Christmas" carol was sung as a way to remember the tenets of the Catholic faith in secret.
   Christmas Day, like in America, is a time for feasting, celebrating, and exchanging gifts with friends and family. But as American life gets back to business the day after Christmas, Christmas in Ireland is far from over. The day after Christmas is celebrated as well.
According to Irish Christmas traditions, December 26 is also an official public holiday...St. Stephen's Day. It is so named in honor of the first Christian martyr, Stephen. Remember the "feast of Stephen" in the traditional Christmas carol "Good King Wenceslas"? That is a reference to this Irish Christmas tradition. Another Christmas Carol mystery solved...they are referring to St. Stephen's Day. The day for feasting and celebrating with family and friends.

Irish Christmas traditions draw to an end on January 6. The 12 days of an Irish Christmas mark the twelve days between the birth of Christ and the arrival of the "Three Wise Men". January 6 is called "Little Christmas" in Ireland, Nollaig Bheag in Gaelic. It is observed as the last day of the holiday season. It is the last day of the children's winter school break, and the last day for displaying holiday decorations. In fact, it's very bad luck in Ireland to take down Christmas decorations before Little Christmas.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Edible Gift No. 6 & 7

Edible Gift No. 6

Sugar Plums
           Finely chop 1/4 cups toasted almonds in a fod processor with 1 1/2 cups each prunes and dried apricots, 3 tablespoons of honey, 1 teaspoon of orange zest, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/3 teaspoon of nutmeg. Roll into balls, then roll in course sugar.

Edible Gift No. 7

Nut Clusters
        Cook 1 1/2 cups sugar over medium heat, swirling the pan but not stirring until dark amber, about  10 minutes. Off the heat, stir in 2 tablespoons of butter and 3 cups salted mixed nuts. Pour onto an oiled baking sheet; seperate into clusters and let harden.

Monday, December 5, 2011

   Today I wanted to share a website for a company I discovered through a friend of mine on Facebook. The name is Ogham Art and they make, you guessed it, pieces of art using the written language of Ogham. Some of you may remember that for my online Etsy shop I created some Ogham signs out of felt to be hung up, so it's awesome to see other pieces. Their work includes cards, jewelry, ornaments and more. Check out both their company website and Facebook page below!

   Edible Gift No. 4

   Minty Marshmallows
                Drizzle marshmallows with melted chocolate and press in crushed peppermint candies. Chill until firm. Float in a cup of hot cocoa.

   Edible Gift No. 5

   Salted Caramel Sauce
               Simmer 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/3 cup water in a saucepan over medium high heat, swirling the pan but not stirring until dark amber, about 12 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in 1 cup cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Let cool, then divide among jars and chill.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

25 Days of Edible Gifts

   I've been trying to think of something to do for Yule like the "Month of Pumpkin" back in October and I believe I've found it.

   Once again, it's from the Food Network magazine which, for anyone who hasn't read it, should pick up a copy because it's really good! For December, I'll be sharing 25 of their 50 Edible Gift ideas for the holidays. Don't know what to give this year? You can never go wrong with food!  (**I'll include the first 3 gifts in this post since I'm late in starting**)

   Also, just a reminder, there are a few blog tours and parties going on this Yule so take a look at the left side bar and join in the fun!

   Edible Gift No. 1

   Chocolate Fudge
                    Melt 1/2 stick butter, 4 cups marshmellows, 1 cup ice cream, 2 cups sugar and a pinch of salt in a saucepan. Simmer, stirring, for 5 minutes. Off the heat, stir in 3 cups of chocolate chips until smooth. Spread in a foil lined 9-by-13-inch pan. Let cool and cut into squares.

   Edible Gift No. 2

   Peanute Butter Fudge
                     Melt 2 sticks of butter in a saucepan with 1 cup creamy peanut butter. Off the heat, stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla and a sifted 1-pound box of confectioners' sugar. Spread in a foil lined 8-inch square pan. Press 1/2 cup chopped peanuts on top. Chill until firm and cut into squares.

   Edible Gift No. 3

   Chocolate Truffles

                    Bring 1 cup cream and 1/2 stick butter to a boil in a saucepan, pour over 1 pound finely chopped chocolate in a bowl. When melted, add 1 teaspoon vanilla and stir until smooth. Chill until firm. Scoop with a spoon and roll into balls, then roll into crushed peppermint candies, chopped nuts or cocoa powder. Chill.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Still here....

   I promise! My family and I have had alot of personal things going on and plus my work hours are a bit all over the place but I'm still here! Look for posts to start back up this week!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Divine Friday

Cu Chulainn

     Pronounced Koo-hoo-lin, Cu Chulainn is a semi-divine figure born to the god Lugh and mortal mother Deichtine. He is the husband to Emer though he was said to have a number of wives.

     Also known as the Hound of Ulster, he is arguably the greatest warrior of all Celtic lore. Born as Setanta, which means the knower of ways, his mother fosters him to the king of  Ulster. Some traditions suggest that the boy had seven foster fathers who provided for him in a variety of ways, not only in material comfort but by giving him training in poetry eloquence and other skills. When he was 7 years old he arrived late to a feast being held by the smith Culann and found the smith's hound standing guard. When the dog attacked him he promptly killed it. Although unharmed, Culann was distressed since his guard dog was now dead. The young Setanta gallantly offered to raise another hound and train it, but until then would serve as Culann's "hound'. This is how he got his adult name Cu Chulainn meaning "hound of Culann" and may also be the source of his most important geis, or sacred injunction, never to eat the flesh of a dog.

     He is also known for his battle frenzy. While striving to win Emer's hand, he fought and killed three hostile warriors known as the Sons of Nechtan. During this battle, he experienced the terrifying shift in both his consciousness and physical appearance called the riastradh - the battle frenzy. The description of it is quite amazing: his body twisted about within his skin, his lips peeled back from his mouth revealing the bone around the teeth, one eye sank deep within his skull while the other fell out of its socket, his heart boomed as loud as a kettledrum and a spout of blood gushed geyserlike from a hole in the crown of his head. Once in this state, he could kill 40 people with a single blow. It was apparently so dangerous that once he entered it no one, not even friends or comrades, were safe. One story tells of him approaching Emain Macha in this state and the alarmed king sent the women of Ulster out to greet him - naked. This is what it took to startle and distract him enough that the Ulstermen could grab him. However still his rage continued and they had to dump him in three vats of cold water, the first of which exploded and the second boiled over, before he finally snapped out of it.

     So what spiritual lesson can be learned from Cu Chulainn? It may be related to Theodore Roosevelt's advice: "Speak softly and carry a big stick". A warrior achieves nothing by being only somewhat frightening. It is often difficult to integrate the spirit of a warrior with the path of inner wisdom, but in truth we cannot be just peacemakers without also bieng capable of defending our boundaries and fighting for what is right.

     Cu Chulainn reminds us of all that is great and noble about the warrior's ideal, but also stands as a warning of the consequences of that ideal taken to an extreme out-of-balance. We definitely honor him when we take a stand or fight for what's right but we also honor him when we lay down our weapons or when we choose to make love, not war. He reminds us that the line that seperates "pushing the limits" from "going over the edge" is very thin. When you choose to work with his energy, always be mindful of that line.

     The best time of year for honoring this great and tragic hero would be either Lughnasadh, a day sacred to his father, or Samhain.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Holiday Blog Tours and Parties

   So, Halloween/Samhain is over as well as all the blog tours and parties that went along with it. I am still new to blogging, as I've only had this one for a few months now, but immensely enjoyed participating in all the parties and tours that took place during the month of October. I would like to say Thank You to all the blog hostesses (Is that even spelled right?) and a huge Welcome! to all my new readers and friends that have joined since then. May you find enjoyment and maybe a little bit of something you didn't know before as I continue on my journey as well!

"One Hundred Thousand Welcomes" in Irish

   However, this doesn't mean the fun has stopped! With the Holiday Season upon us, MORE parties and tours are popping up around the web again with even more opportunities to share and make e-friends. Interested? I knew you would be! Once again, check the links in my left side bar under "Holiday Blog Tours and Parties" to find a list of hosting blogs and where to go to sign up and participate. I will be adding to this list of course as more things are created so be on the lookout and join in the fun!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Get Off Your Broom Fitness Challenge - Weeks 5 & 6


                     Lots of epic fail these past two weeks.

   The only good thing I can think of is I drank more water than normal but other than that, my eating is horrible and I stopped exercising. There was just WAY too much stress going on with my family to really deal with anything else on top of it all. I didn't even have time to blog like normal. Hopefully week 7 will be an improvement and I can figure things out. Wish me luck!

Luibh and Seoid

Tiger’s Eye
          Originating from Austria, Australia and Southwest Africa, Tiger’s Eye is a lustrous yellow to brown gem. As a talisman it brings inner calm and stability to the wearer and protects from the “evil eye”, sorcery, nightmares and malignant manipulations. It also offers protection during travel, strengthens convictions and confidence.
          Due to its warm, earthy color it has the ability to “warm” and help against depression. It has also been helpful in cases of schizophrenia, various mental disorders and impulsive obsession. It alleviates headaches and migraines caused by stress and converts anxiety, fear and obsessiveness into practicality and logic. A rough piece placed at the entrance of a house keeps out negativity.

          Tiger’s Eye promotes wealth and money. One of these stones stone’s especially programmed for money magic and kept in your wallet will make sure that you always have enough change on you. A simple money spell includes empowering several Tiger’s Eye’s with your need for money. Use them to surround a green candle. Light the candle and then visualize.

          Called “thymos” by the Greeks, which meant “fumigate” or “smoke”, they associated it with valor in battle and restoration of physical power. The Sumerians used it as an antiseptic and Egyptians used it in the mummification process. In some cultures it’s associated with the land of the fae – supposedly they like to hide in the plant’s leafy branches.

          Thyme can be used in healing rituals or to bring about restful sleep, believed to guard against nightmares and can be used in pillows for this purpose. Taking a warm bath in thyme can help relieve insomnia and slow hair loss when used as a hair rinse after shampooing. Add to a bath for purifying and mental clarity. Put a handful in cheesecloth and hang it form the faucet while the water is running.
          Thyme is also known as a stimulant. It stimulates the circulatory system and can help raise low blood pressure. It has also been found helpful for those who are fatigued, lethargic or depressed.
          When carried it is thought to inspire courage, attract good health and protect from negativity.
          Create a magical broom using thyme to banish  negativity or burn to boost your confidence and courage before confrontations.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Divine Friday


   According to the ancient skalds, the storytellers among the Vikings, the world was shared by many different races. There were men and women, but there were also dwarves that dwelled in the secret places of the earth, and the Alfar (similar to the Fair Folk of the Tuatha De Danann). Among the stronger races there were the Aesir and the Vanir, the two races of gods, and then there were the giants. There were fire giants who lived in the Earth and who caused fire to erupt, and there were frost giants who were the bringers of winter and darkness. It was the frost giants that the Aesir most fought with in the heathen myths, and as the story of Skadi shows just because a battle was over didn't mean that a war was won.
   A giantess, called the 'snow-shoe goddess', she is the wife of the god Njord. When her father Thiazi was slain by the gods, Skadi wanted to take revenge. Thiazi had stolen the golden apples of youth in an attempt to rob the Aesir of their immortality, and the Aesir had reacted in a predictably violent manner with Thor dealing a death blow with the great treasure the war hammer Mjollnir. The gods thought it wiser to reconciliate and offered her a marriage with one of them. She was free to marry any god, but while she made her choice she was only allowed to see the feet of the potential candidates. She noticed a very elegant pair and, convinced that their owner was the fair god Balder, she chose them. Unfortunately for her, those feet belonged to the older god Njord.

   Their marriage was not a happy one.  She wanted to live where her father had lived, in Thrymheim in the mountains, and Njord wanted to live in Noatun, his palace by the sea. So they agreed to spend the first nine days in the mountains and the following nine days by the sea. This arrangement did not work out very well, and they separated.

   Her name means Shadow or Harm and she is associated with mountains, winter, hunting, revenge and dark magic. She is also associated with Death. She is the goddess who after the capture of Loki, fastened the snake above his head in revenge for Loki's part in killing her father.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Blog Giveaway Winner!

   Hello dear readers! I hope your Halloween/Samhain eve was wonderful and for those of you with kids that they got a lot of loot! My daughter just turned a year old in September so we didn't take her around this year, but next year it's on! I can't wait to make her a Halloween outfit and take her trick or treating!

   Yesterday was also the big day for my very first blog giveaway! Thank you to everyone who stopped by and participated - I really appreciate it. :)  All the names were written down on cards and tossed in my husband's hat and with the help of my daughter, Rayne, we drew the name....

Lori D.


 I will send an e-mail out to make sure the winner is notified. Once again, thank you to everyone who participated and be on the lookout for more giveaways in the future!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Samhain 2011!

  Put a plate of food on your porch and a candle in the window, it's the Celtic New Year!

Happy Samhain/ Halloween!

Witchy Fitness Challenge - Week 4

   The Insanity has begun - and it was only the fit test today!

   That's right, I finally started the Insanity work outs today and it begun with a fit test to see where we were starting out in terms of fitness. It was rough! Lots of reps, just a little rest in between and man am I out of shape! It felt great once we were done, though, and I'm excited to see how these work outs help. The fit test will be done every two weeks to show you how much you've improved. Below are my results for today and I'll update them in two weeks:

Fit Test Results - Week One

Switch Kicks - 43
Power Jacks - 32
Power Knees - 66
Power Jumps - 20
Globe Jumps - 4
Suicide Jumps - 9
Push-Up Jacks - 16
Low Plank Oblique - 23

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Samhain Crafts

      I'm a crafter and sewer and love home-made decorations. In fact, my daughter just turned one at the end of September and I can't wait until next year to make a costume for her!

      For today's post I'm sharing some ideas for Samhain/Halloween crafts for use in your own house during the season. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Witches Tea Party

    Well today is the day for the Witches Tea party that is being hosted by the Frosted Petunias blog and I'm putting up my post early so I don't forget! My post for this year's event is a collection of Halloween prose from around the 'net. Enjoy!

   ~*~Note!! Only 2 more days left to enter the Deity Diva giveaway. Click HERE for details! ~*~

Month of Pumpkin:
   Get in the Halloween spirit with breakfast: Make French toast with pumpkin bread and top with hulled pumpkin seeds.

Have some cookies and get comfortable!

It's Halloween
It's Halloween! It's Halloween!
The moon is full and bright
And we shall see what can't be seen
On any other night.

Skeletons and ghosts and ghouls,
Grinning goblins fighting duels,
Werewolves rising from their tombs,
Witches on their magic brooms.

In masks and gowns
We haunt the street
And knock on doors
For trick or treat.

Tonight we are
The king and queen,
For oh tonight
It's Halloween!


Pixie, kobold, elf, and sprite
All are on their rounds to-night,-
In the wan moon's silver ray
Thrives their helter-skelter play.

Fond of cellar, barn,or stack,
True unto the almanac,
They present to credulous eyes
Strange hobgoblin mysteries.

Cabbage-stomps-straws wet with dew-
Apple-skins, and chestnuts too,
And a mirror for some lass,
Show what wonders come to pass.

Doors they move, and gates they hide,
Mischiefs that on moon-beams ride
Are their deeds, and, by their spells,
Love records its oracles.

Don't we all, of long ago,
By the ruddy fireplace glow,
In the kitchen and the hall,
Those queer, coofllke pranks recall?

Eery shadows were they then-
But to-night they come again;
Were we once more but sixteen,
Precious would be Halloween.

-Joel Benton

October's Party

October gave a party
The leaves by hundreds came
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.

-George Cooper

"There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on
the feelings, as now in October."

- Nathaniel Hawthorne

I wouldn't change places
With anyone tonight
We'll carve pumpkin faces
And watch the witches flight
Every human heart will shudder
Every soul will shake with fear
Tonight, the creepiest
Tonight, the scariest
Tonight, the most wonderful night
Anything can happen on Halloween
Your dog could turn into a cat
There may be a toad in your bass guitar
Or your sister could turn into a bat
Christmas time brings the snow
Summer time brings the sun
But on Halloween your blood begins to run
Something's moving going down now
Anything can happen on Halloween
It's better than a video
Gremlins gonna mess up every cassette
From London to Idaho
April first can be fun
New Year's Eve is a ball
But on Halloween your flesh begins to crawl
Oh, I'm losing control
Anything can happen on Halloween
Your toenails grow long and your hair turns green
Your teacher could become a sardine
Your dentist could turn into a queen.
Has anybody seen my tambourine
I may start playing
Begin the begin
The craziest night you've ever seen
This hairy, scary, creepy, crawly,
-Grand Wizard song from "The Worst Witch"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Celtic Handfasting & My Irish Wedding

   Happy Wednesday dear readers and Welcome to all those who have stopped by from Witch Blog's Real Witches of Halloween Tour! Today I'm doing a special post that is close to my heart, because not only is my blog being featured today but it is also the anniversary of my husband and I being together. Five, short years ago I began dating the most amazing, supportive and wonderful man I have ever known and last July 23, we married in a beautiful handfasting ceremony. The history of this ceremony is what I'd like to share with you all. (As well as some pictures from our ceremony)

   Also, I have my very first giveaway going on currently until October 31. Go HERE to check it out and enter!!  

Today's Month of Pumpkin:

 For a quick sugar fix, spread pumpkin ice cream between; oatmeal cookies or gingersnaps


   Handfasting is a late medieval term to describe making a marriage contract. It is actually comes from Old Norse: Hand-festa, which means to strike a bargain by joining hands. The original practice derived from Scotland, from the middle ages to the early 17th century, when people married by consent, without the church.  A cloth or ribbon is bound around the bride and grooms hands. It is a mutually agreed upon act that has signified, over the years, betrothal or even actual marriage, depending upon the context.

The last cord being tied around mine and my husband's hands

    Originally it was a betrothal or a promise of marriage between two people who would then spend a traditional term of a year and day together to see if they were compatible. After this time, and if they were in agreement the vows could be taken again and they would be considered married. The Handfasting ritual takes its name from the joining and tying of the hands of the couple to be wed, usually with cords. This is where the term "tying the knot" comes from today in reference to getting married. The Handfasting ritual would have been performed by an important member of the community - chieftain, Priest, Priestess, Shaman or Elder, who would have guided the couple through the ritual and presided over them as they exchanged vows in front of witnesses, probably the whole community. The witnessing of the ritual by friends and the community would make it law in the eyes of the community as no official records would have been kept until the introduction of a "Church based" wedding.

Our handfasting cords, made by me, and my bouquet

Our rings were bought from and had
engravings from the Book of Kells

Traditional Celtic Wedding Vow
(We also used this in our wedding)

I vow you the first cut of my meat, the first sip of my wine,
from this day it shall only your name I cry out in the night
and into your eyes that I smile each morning;
I shall be a shield for you back as you are for mine,
no shall a grievous word be spoken about us,
for our marriage is sacred between us and no stranger shall hear my grievance.
Above and beyond this, I will cherish and honor you through this life
and into the next.

Tying the first cord

I was 7 months pregnant at our wedding so belly shots were
a must!

Irish Wedding Blessing

May the light of friendship guide your paths together.
 May the laughter of children grace the halls of your home.
 May the joy of living for one another trip a smile from your lips,
A twinkle from your eye.
 May the Spirit of Love find a dwelling place in your hearts

The Claddagh; a symbol of Friendship, Love and Loyalty.
We used this symbol on our wedding invitation

You may now kiss your bride

Irish Wedding Traditions

It's good luck if it rains on your wedding

A man should be the first to congratulate the bride. It's bad luck if a woman gets there first.

It's good luck to rise with to the song of birds on your wedding day.

It's bad luck to put on your own veil; have a well-married woman do the honors.

The bride shouldn't take both feet off the floor when dancing with her new husband. It gives the fairies an edge.

Marry in white, everything's right
Marry in blue, lover be true
Marry in pink, spirits will sink
Marry in grey, live far away
Marry in brown, live out of town
Marry in green, ashamed to be seen
Marry in yellow, ashamed of your fellow
Marry in black, wish you were back
Marry in red, wish you were dead
Marry in tan, he'll be a loved man
Marry in pearl, you'll live in a whirl
The chime of bells reminds a couple of their wedding vows. That's why giving a bell as a gift has become an Irish tradition.
(Our wedding favors were small silver bells with a blessing on the card)

Many Irish brides carry a small porcelain horseshoe in their wedding bouquets for good luck

The wearing of Claddaugh rings are probably the most popular Irish wedding rituals. When worn on the right hand, the ring indicates that love is "being considered." When the ring is placed on the left hand the wearer is married or has been handfasted.