Blessed Yule, to one and all!
Introducing our holiday syrup ‘Mulled Pear Spice’ a delicious sweet and warming infusion to gift your loved ones with or to add into any of your cozy recipes. The image on the front of the bottle is of the Holly King and celebrates the Winter Solstice, or Yule.
In Celtic Paganism the Oak King and the Holly King were twins, pitted against each other in a never-ending fight for supremacy. Oak Trees, sacred to the Celts, lose their leaves, while the Yuletide holly trees are evergreen.
As cold weather approached, the Celts marveled at how the evergreen Christmas holly trees, hidden amongst the leafy oaks the rest of the year, now stood out prominently on an otherwise barren landscape. The Holly King had won out, as it were, as the incarnations of his twin brother had shed all their leaves and stood naked in defeat.
Every year at the Winter and Summer Solstices, these two fight for dominance. In actuality, these brothers are two parts of the same thing, the waxing and waning of the yearly cycles of the Earth.
The Holly King rules the waning year, from Midsummer to Yule, and the Oak King rules the waxing year from Yule to Midsummer.
The Holly King represents darkness, decay and destruction, however, also represents inner knowledge and mysteries. The Oak King, on the other hand, represents light, growth and expansion.
These two mighty kings fight a symbolic battle to win the Crown of the year, at Yule when the Oak King wins, and at Mid-summer when the Holly King wins.
The first and most important thing on these cold and dark winter nights is to build a fire on your hearth and add the Yule log. Not part of the ritual itself, but very much an age old tradition. Get your family and loved ones in the home, all nice and snug and make merriment. Tell jokes, share stories from the waning year and make gifts for one another (don't just buy them, thats easy!). Nothing beats a team effort on an evergreen wreath to adorn the entrance and the fireplace. Make it a competition if you will! This season is all about getting together ( when it’s not Covid) celebrating the end of the year and having fun. Make sure you play plenty of games and put the new age tech in a cupboard. It's time for being personal. Have some fun in the kitchen too, making food and drink together. Maybe you're going to knock up a quick batch or mulled wine or maybe you've become quite the expert at producing your own Mead!
For Rituals, Rites and Spell work,
First and foremost, create your Yule Altar (outside is best). A candle holder shaped like a Yule Log is excellent as it represent the year just passed. It was thrown on the fire and burnt to signify that the old year was over and all give off warmth and light in welcoming the lighter days again. Your alter should also include solar-related botanicals such as cinnamon sticks, citrus fruits, star anise, and cloves.
For divine and magical beings associated with the Winter Solstice, consider statues or other imagery of the Green Man, Befana the Yule Witch, Land Spirits (Landvættir), The Holly King & Oak King, Bacchus and/or Odin (many believe the Allfather was the precursor to Santa Claus).
Bring an evergreen tree into the home and decorate it as you feel is right. Make sure that the lights are on so the land spirits (Norse) or the Fair Folk (Celtic) stay around and bring you their blessings. Make sure you welcome them and leave out milk and cookies (best homemade with people you love, the sacrifice of giving them up will mean so much more!) This is where our Yule Syrup can be offered as libation. As part of the recipe, drizzled over or stirred into warm oat milk. Right out you intentions and place in an envelope, this, the milk and the cookies will be sacrificed later by way of libation for the food and burning the letter.
Once your alter is set up, create the sacred space. Make yourself an incense stick with fir, silver wormwood, sagebrush, dried apples, rosemary, dried oranges and cinnamon sticks. Light the stick and walk in a circle. Depending on your faith, call to what you know, the cardinal directions, the elements, your ancestors, the local spirits or the Gods and ask them to hallow the space and make it sacred & holy. Form your circle and protect yourself from malicious & malevolent spirits from entering.
Now's the time to offer your sacrifice in order to obtain your 'gifts' this year. Speak about what the past year has held, tell your story and each person attending should speak their own stories. It should be a release, how you 'cast off' all the dark things that happened the past 12 months and the good things you intend to manifest towards the coming of the summer. Remember to feel nostalgia, childlike and happy. Theatrics are key to a successful Yule ritual. With all the candles surrounding you, it should be easy to focus on one and meditate. Remember, in the circle are not only you and your fellow humans but also every aspect you asked to be present, take the time to sit together and become familiar with one another.
Once you feel your intentions have collected in the circle, take the items that you offer up and sacrifice them to earth and the fire. This signifies your commitment to manifest your aspirations, want and needs, and most of all - what you asked Santa for :-)
As the offerings are made, thank the participants of the ritual, corporeal and incorporeal alike. Bring the ceremony to a gentle end by lowering the circles seal and dismissing the energy, the spirits, the ancestors and the gods. Tell them to go about their usual business and ensure them that they are "not trapped here". Good entities can turn to bad entities quickly if not released, ensure that they go merrily on their way.
Once the ritual is over, time to join in fun with the family again.
For the Kitchen Witch,
This 8.45oz bottle of Pure Vermont Maple Syrup blended with pear and mulling spices is perfect ingredient for any sweet treat, from waffles, to ice cream and even drizzled into hot drinks like hot toddy’s or apple ciders. This infusion is sweet and warming, perfect for those winter nights. It is pure indulgence for the Yule feast!