Share
 
In Wales and Cornwall and other parts of Britain, January 6th (Twelfth Night) was the time to go wassailing.

Wassail comes from the Old English, was hel, Be whole, and was a very old drinking toast. A wassail bowl is made from warmed spiced ale or cider, with roasted apples floating in it, and was often served in a special ornately decorated bowl.

In Cornwall, the farmer and his workers took the bowl to the orchard and sang a toast to each of the trees in turn. After the bowl was enthusiastically passed around, they poured the rest of its contents over the roots of the tree as a libation. This was done to ensure a bumper crop of apples next autumn.
 
Old Apple Tree, Old Apple Tree,
We wassail thee
and hope that thou wilt bear;
For the Lord doth know where we shall be
Till apples come another year.
For to bear well and to bloom well,
So merry let us be;
Let every man take off his hat
and shout to thee,
Old Apple Tree, Old Apple Tree,
We wassail thee
and hope that thou wilt bear
Hat fulls, Cap fulls, Three bushel bag fulls,
And a little heap under the stairs.
 
 
 
Hail reign a fair maid with gold upon her chin,
Open up the East Gate and let the New Year in! - Welsh carol
 
 
The month that ushers in the New Year is a time to make a fresh start and what better place to begin than at home?

In Scottish tradition, the family came together to sain (ritually cleanse and bless) their house with holy water and incense. You can sain your home with water from a natural source. Collect this from a local spring or pool between midnight and dawn, preferably toward the end of the first quarter of the moon. If you live near a sacred spring or holy well, that of course is ideal. Don't forget to leave offerings in return to the Well Guardians. If this is impossible, use bottled spring water from a pure source.

If you live with other people, form a circle around your fireplace or a large candle. Pass the water in a sunwise (clockwise) direction for everyone to drink, then take it around the house and sprinkle some in the four corners of each room.

A saining can be done by water alone. But you can also use juniper incense, as was the custom in Scotland. This shouldn't be too hard to find, being a popular garden plant as well as one that grows wild in many parts of the world. Cut a few sprigs the night before and put them on the hearth or other warm place to dry out a little. (For a better burn, dry it by the hearth, on layers of newspaper or hang it in a dry place for a few days or weeks.) When you light them, have a small bowl or shell to catch any ash or sparks that might fall. Using either your hand or a long feather, fan the smoke around each member of the household in turn, then take it to each room and blow some into the four corners.

For an even simpler house blessing, light a white candle and slowly carry the flame sunwise (clockwise) around the threshold, the hearth and four corners of each room while reciting this blessing from the Hebrides, which invokes the goddess and saint, Bridget of the Hearthfire:

May Bridget give blessing
To the house that is here
From crest and frame,
Both stone and beam;

Both clay and wattle;
Both roof and foundation;
Both window and timber;
Both foot and head;

Both man and woman;
Both wife and children;
Both young and old;
Both maiden and youth

Plenty of laughter,
Plenty of wealth,
Plenty of people,
Plenty of health,
Be always here.

(slightly adapted from the collection: Carmina Gadelica by Alexander Carmichael)
 
 
JANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBER
 
Call for details:
From USA: (free) 1 800 657 1520
Worldwide: (+44)1239 858 830
From UK: 01239 858 830
MaraFreeman@chalicecentre.net
© 2013 The Chalice Centre
Western Esoteric Wisdom
Celtic Magical Traditions

The website of Mara Freeman