Circle Etiquette

Circle Etiquette

At some point in our paths we have the opportunity to be a part of either public or privately held circles. Being a part of a circle is a powerful experience, builds community, cohesion, and helps to deepen our spiritual path. I have always held the best way to teach our path is to be an active part of the path, not only by books alone but by experience.

Most of us started our spiritual path in some form of Christianity with a regular church attendance. With this in mind, there were certain observations one had to make so the service was not disturbed and everyone could benefit from the experience. While Pagan circles are not usually as formal as Southern church services, there is still a certain amount of etiquette one should observe when attending either public and privately held circles. Generally, it’s just common sense and common courtesy.

13. With social media making it very easy to locate and attend circles knowing when to RSVP and when not to can be tricky. Generally if it is a public circle and it states specifically to RSVP, do. The coordinator will probably want to know how many to expect for refreshments or other post ritual arrangements, the amount of supplies necessary, space, and parking. If you are planning to bring a guest please have them RSVP also, or RSVP for them.

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Tools of the Craft : The Besom

Brooms are everywhere this time of the year. Black ones. Orange ones. Black and orange. Brooms with lightening bolts on the handle. You name it and you can likely find it on a besom. Other than the pointy hat, few other things identify witches as well, witches other than this universal accessory. Brooms have played an integral part in modern witchcraft and occult history. In fact, it would be hard to locate a circle anywhere this time of the year where a broom wasn’t somewhere to be found. It’s not just for sweeping the front porch anymore, at least not these.
As I said, brooms come in all sizes, shapes, textures, and patterns. Traditionally brooms were created from an ash or hazel (depending upon which was readily available in the area), sometimes willow, and birch branches or an herb called…you guessed it!….broom. Broom in it’s natural habitat of England, Scotland, parts of Asia, and warmer climates of Europe, has many uses, making brooms is just one. This bitter tasting herb grows as a shrub and can be used as both a toxin and a medicine. As an herbal treatment for bladder and kidney problems, and as a diuretic broom is used in conjunction with other herbs usually as an infusion over the course of a week or two until it is ready to be mixed into a potion. Unlike most herbs, this one is better taken with alcohol as it is very bitter and has an unpleasant scent after it dries and is boiled down.
The herb itself is very tall almost three feet high, woody with long tangling twig like stems, and grows in unlikely places. The rougher the terrain the happier this particular herb is. In fact, it will grow on rocky mountains in poor soil with little rainfall. This made it ideal for using as a tool or utensil for cleaning as well as magick.
Constructing brooms (besom) is pretty simple really. All that is needed is a long stave of either hazel, ash, or willow, willow twine, and long twiggy broom. The broom is connected to the stave with the willow twine and voila a besom is born! Of course the use of said besom isn’t always so simple.
Besoms were used, and still are, to clean the space for circle, to sweep away stagnant energy, as a protective barrier, to welcome guests, as a marital fertility aid (jumping the broom), and in some cases as a form of circle casting itself. Besoms placed near doorways welcome guests and ward away negative spirits. Sweeping the doorway, porch, and front of the home prevented energy from gathering and remaining there to cause problems later. In some cultures, sweeping of one’s feet meant the person in question would either get pregnant, go to jail, or get married. In other cultures it’s a way of removing the last bits of energy after shaking it loose with the besom.

Other lore regarding the besom include never sweeping with a broom while a deceased family member is in the home. A broom that suddenly falls from a door way announces company on the way. Brooms placed over the door protects against fairies and imps. Never bring old brooms into a new home and never burn a broom. Both are very bad luck.

 

The Welsh gypsy practice of jumping the broom is said to bring the newly wedded couple good fortune and many children. In parts of Africa sweeping over a man’s feet is said to bring on impotence. Of course, one can’t mention brooms without the practice of riding one.

 

The Dark Ages brought mountains of superstition regarding witches and devils. One is said to be the consort of the other and riding a broom was a reward for carrying out the devil’s work on Earth. I strongly suspect that should a Witch be able to actually get a broom to sweep his or her floor on its own, much less fly, there would be mass conversions. Certainly modern television witches have no problem twinkling their noses to a spotless home. However, Dark Age witches probably used a salve called flying ointment which was used to dress the broom for ritual use. This ointment consisted of a fatty base in which essential oils and herbs were mixed and then used to dress the broom from tip of the stave to the joining of the herb. Herbs such as wolfsbane, hemlock, henbane, and Nightshade were used and still are as a basis for charging these brooms. Charging is the practice of imparting energy onto an object so it become personal and receptive to the individual’s will. The first mention of flying ointments in conjunction with brooms and their use could be as early as the mid 1400’s.
The besom itself is a work of symbolism. It represents the union of the God and Goddess, a holy marriage, that revitalizes the Earth. Brooms may be created on May Day (Beltane, Belteanne, Beltaine, Cetsamhain), but not purchased on this day. To do so is said to sweep away friends and family and prevent visitors from returning.
Today modern witches still use the besom as an altar adornment, to sweep away negative or stale energy, and to recharge the energy in a space. They are used to cast circle, to mark the barriers of a circle, cleanse and consecrate the circle, and to prepare for smudging. Non-witches also use the broom to scent their homes, adorn their doors, and decorate their homes. It’s unlikely any of us witchy folk will be saving gas and riding our brooms any time soon, but the tradition and lore still live on.

Book Review – The Good Witch’s Guide: A Modern Day Wiccapedia of Magickal Ingredients and Spells by Shawn Robbins and Charity Bedell

 

 

Available at Amazon.com

The Good Witch’s Guide is truly what it sets out to be: an excellent reference guide for skilled practitioners, novices or those just beginning to take interest in the magickal arts. The book is well-organized, insightful and provides explanatory summaries within each section that provides clarification of purpose.

The Good Witch’s Guide is broken into three parts, the first of which is Ye Olde Witch’s Wisdom, Rituals and Formula’s. This part of the book gives a brief history of the folklore, aromatherapy, and use of crystals and gemstones. I like that this part of the book explained the “doctrine of signature” which is thematic in traditional folklore. I found the essential oil list comprehensive; the chapter provides a list of common ailments, points of improvement and essential oils that are recommended to provide relief. The essential oil section is also divided into healing and magickal and provides several recipes for each. Required items that many of these recipes call for are easy to locate.

The chapter, Crystal Power, provides information on charms, elixirs, and explains chakra balancing in a concise manner. The chapter also provides a list of crystals and gemstones and their applications as well as recipes for healing and magickal applications. The list provides a great number of commonly utilized crystals and gems.

The second part of the book, Spirit Spells and Spirituality, outlines the importance of well-being and visualization. I absolutely love the spells for well-being and self-love. The focus segues into spells that can be utilized to heal others such as the Healing Poppet Spell. The section then transitions to cleansing, protection and magical spells. Chapter 5 covers candles, their colors and uses.

Chapter 6 has spells for health and also some for removing fears and phobias. The section is rounded out with a section that defines types of spirituality and philosophies. I like that it gives a brief summary of those listed without a bias toward one or another. “A Good Witch’s Guide” encourages and promotes self healing in daily life and encouraging use of healing of others and then extend it outwards to include wildlife and the environment. It contains a gentle reminder to be kind, be mindful and act with love.

The third part of the book, DIY Brews and Potions, continues to remind the reader to look in your kitchen and your yard for sources for herbs and plants. As well as defining animism, this section contains a terminology of infusions, decoctions and tinctures. A list of common herbs and uses for them includes information on possible prescription drug interactions, information that is vital to all practitioners. As a kitchen witch, I really appreciated Chapter 8, Kitchen Witchware: Cooking up Magick. There are several recipes that are definitely going to be incorporated into my repertoire!

The A to Z of Health Remedies is a nice addition to the appendix. I enjoyed seeing remedies from other practitioners. The Good Witch’s Guide also provides a great resource list for supplies and also a recommended reading and reference material list.

I enjoyed The Good Witch’s Guide. It is a good read. The book provides a summary explanation, directions for self use, healing, magick and then encourages focus outward to use the knowledge to benefit others and the environment around us. Throughout the book there is significant emphasis on cleansing the items you work with of residual energy as well as a focus on energy, mood and intent. These things are very important to keep in mind whether you are creating an essential oil for a ritual bath or baking a loaf of bread for a family dinner.

I appreciated the liked that the format of the book was user-friendly. Each of the three sections is broken down into healing and magickal applications and each of these sections lists herbs, spices, plants, supplies uses in either application. I also liked that the authors encourage the practice of “look in your spice cabinet” and also to look for plants, herbs in your environment.

I recommend The Good Witch’s Guide: A Modern-Day Wiccapedia of Magickal Ingredients and Spells to anyone who is interested in learning or continuing to seek knowledge with healing lore or has an interest in the arts. Rating: 5 stars

 

Lenore Sagaskie is a writer and artist living in self-imposed exile in Michigan.

You can follow Lenore on Facebook and on Twitter @Lenorewrites

Book Review: The Good Witch’s Guide : A Modern Day Wiccapedia of Magickal Ingredients and spells

Written by: Shawn Robbins and Charity Bedell, pub 2017 Sterling Publishing Co. 305pp

The Good Witch’s Guide is not your average, everyday introductory or advanced peep into the Craft. To be honest, owning quite a few of these guides, myself, I was used to the standard Wiccan/Witchcraft encyclopedia reference materials. Most of them, I find, are stuffy, and to be clear, I’m not a huge fan. When I cracked open this book, I was expecting this to be just another reference guide, however; I found myself pleasantly surprised. This book is a real page turner.

The Good Witch’s guide is full of wonderful spells, incantations.

There is a guide to crafting your own personal Magick and yes, stones, essential oils, colors and herbs.

It has everything from Witchy Wisdom, rituals and formulas, spirituality, folklore, health and health remedies.

Of course, there are sections dedicated to candle Magick, brewing your own potions, tinctures and salves.

This book is jam packed with all kinds of recipes for Sabbats and special occasions.

Want to know how other Witches are casting their own versions of these spells? There’s even a section dedicated to that!

There are tons of traditional spells that are tried and true and all of the “how-to’s” that go along with them.

In this authors humble opinion, this may very well become the definitive guide for all who take the time to read it. The Good Witch’s Guide is a pleasure to read for the Beginner in the Craft all the way to your most Adept Student. It can be used strictly as a reference manual or can be read cover to cover without the monotony of other reference guides.

On a more personal note, this is one book is one that I will cherish and read again and again!

Laurie Bates
Falcon Lunafyre

https://www.amazon.com/Good-Witchs-Guide-Modern-Day-Ingredients/dp/1454919523/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1495484984&sr=8-1&keywords=A+Good+Witch%27s+Guide

Fun things to do to celebrate Winter Solstice in Michigan

Merry Solstice!!

This year, I have decided to look toward the fun celebrations that can bring cheer during the days surrounding the Winter Solstice. I usually cover all the traditional rites and gatherings, but … naaah.
I do what I want this year. So here are some things you can do now that the Battle of the Kings will take place tonight, and we turn the Wheel.

REJOICE!!! IT’S THE RETURN OF THE SUN AFTER TONIGHT.

  • Wednesday, December 21 -6:00 pm – 11:00 pm, Solstice Celebration & Seed Sowing Party, “You don’t have to wait until spring to start your summer garden. Come learn about winter sowing & the magic microclimates that you can create in the snow … Bring your favorite perennial or biennial seeds to share and a washed milk jug or similar recyclable. Supplies will be on hand for those who do not have them and come ready to plant for 2017.”,
    Cultivate Coffee & TapHouse, 307 N River St, Ypsilanti, MI

     

  • Wednesday, December 21 -8:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Winter Solstice, “Join us as we celebrate the return of the Sun this Winter Solstice, also known as Yule! There will be a brief discussion on what Winter Solstice/Yule is as well as a simple ritual to honor this occasion.  This is a wonderful time to manifest what you would like for the coming New Year as well as giving thanks and gratitude for the passing year. There will be munchies and drink. If you would like to bring something to share with others please do”, Ingress Yugen, G3467 Flushing Rd, Flint, MI
  • Wednesday, December 21 -5:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Winter Solstice Celebration,This year’s feast will feature foods grown in the AIHFS garden. There will also be a giveaway. Everyone is welcome to bring a new, homemade or gently used item to contribute! Donations are welcome to help cover event. Please bring your feast bundles! (plate, bowl, cup, utensils) …  for more info, call Nickole Fox 313-846-3718 x1400“, University of Michigan-Dearborn Campus. 

    The address for the University is 4901 Evergreen Rd, Dearborn, MI 48128. The Building info is: University Center, Kochoff Hall, 1133 University Center, Dearborn, Michigan. (once you get on campus you can look for signs to the University Center/Kochoff Hall)

  • Wednesday, December 21 -6:30 pm – 8:00 pm,Winter Solstice Charity Event, “Free Charity Event! Join us as we honor the longest night of year, giving way to the ever lengthening days. We will celebrate the sun with 108 sun salutations, followed by light snacks and beverages. Brand new coats and boots will be collected for the Light House Mission of Pontiac. The Light House Mission helps homeless mothers and children get back on their feet. Help keep a child warm, and feel the heat of the sun. No yoga experience is necessary. Space is limited. Please register online or in studio.”,Empower Yoga,41620 6 Mile Rd, Northville, Mzi
  • Wednesday, December 21 -7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Winter Solstice Celebration, “Join us for a beautiful celebration of light. We will meditate in a darkness, sing and dance… pray together and eat afterwords. Please bring a dish to share.”, The Coptic Center, 381 Lake Michigan Dr NW, Grand Rapids, MI
  • Thursday, December 22 – 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm, Champagne! And All That Sparkles, “Indulge in an All-Sparkling tasting in the heart of the holidays …We’ll serve crunchy munchies ideal with crisp bubbles – white pizza and popcorn for sure.” Plum Market, 6565 Orchard Lake Road, West Bloomfield, MI $20
  •  Thursday, December 22 -7:00 pm, Beginning Salsa and Foxtrot, “These are great classes for beginners!”, Loretta’s Boutique and Ballroom,  
  •  Thursday, December 22 – 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm, Winter Solstice Celebration,
    The service will be a time to allow peace and calm within as we celebrate the earth’s turning with poetry and music. You are invited to bring a small item from the natural world as an offering for the focal table.”, Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 4230 Livernois Rd, Troy, MI
  • Thursday, December 23 -12:00 pm – 2:00 pm, Free Christmas Dinner sponsored by Detroit Helping Detroit,We are happy to provide a Holiday Dinner for our cities less fortunate. Several hot Turkeys and Glazed Hams will be on hand with all of the fixings. Everyone is welcome to attend. We will also give out Christmas gifts and hygiene kits and clothing items … could use some extra donations. Call 313-784-2842 to arrange a pick up. thanks!” ,Tumaini Center, 3430 Third St., Detroit, MI

There are a lot of events going on, but these are a few that you might not know about. Some are just for fun, some are charitable, and many are about holidays. There is even a Christmas one that is such a good cause that it was listed here. After all, the Solstice is the Solstice.

Conjure for the Holidays

Ah the holidays.  Its a time for joy and love.  Its a time that is meant to be full of happiness and good will towards others.  This time of year is as full of goodwill and love towards your fellow man as it is jealousy and fear.  From neighbors who are jealous of you to those troubling family issues that seem to come up around the holidays energy of jealousy and anger spread as rapidly as love and joy. A lot of the jealousy issues raised during this time are unconscious so it is important to keep up your protections.

In addition to what ever protections you typically have around your home this time of year you can add extra protections through your holiday decorations.  That’s right your wreaths, the bells, and the crystal balls on your holiday tree can be protections.  These protections are excellent in that they can be hidden in plain sight which makes them even more effective.  So lets take a look at a few of these decorations.

Lets start with the wreath.  Wreaths are in a circle which is unbroken.    Most wreaths are made out of evergreens.  Most evergreen trees have symbolism of prosperity and wealth or succsess.  So the wreath itself represents unbroken prosperity and succsess.  Many wreaths have tinsel or glittering ribbon as decorations.  Those glimmering ribbons distract any ill intent or spirit that is sent your way.  Add a pair of nails in a cross buried in the center of the wreath and you have excellent protection.

Christmas and Yule trees are very popular.  Tinsel is a common decoration like with wreaths the tinsel distracts the ill intent of any spirits that could be sent your way.  Many craft stores sell clear glass balls that can be decorated with symbols of protection (depending on your path which symbols are important to you) and filled with herbs protection, luck, prosperity, etc.  Adding bells to your tree will invite positive spirits and blessings and warn you if there are negative spirits or energy it will banish them from the area.

Finally cinnamon brooms can be hung to invite prosperity and succsess.  If you add red ribbons it will bring protection your way as well.  Hang it over your door or the door to your business or office to bring succsess and prosperity through the new year. Adding bells or chimes will add additional protection and blessings.

I hope that you will take this article and use it to spark some Yule or Christmas holiday traditions.  Let the decoration for the holiday and the setting of the decorations with the protections and blessings become a ritual in and out of itself.  By letting your family join in the setting of the decorations everyone adds their energy, their desires, and their will to the home.  The decorations and the magic within them will truly reflect the whole home.  Brining the whole family together is really what the holidays are all about.

May you have a blessed Holiday!

Happy Yule

Merry Christmas

~Loona Wynd~

The return of the Sun – winter fun for winter children

It’s the time of year when we are fast looking toward the days shortening and the awaiting the Winter Solstice. Cold noses and toes thaw out inside to the tune of yarn scarves sluicing off melting snows onto tile floors. Chubby little hands reach for cookies and carry sugar crumbs all throughout the house.

As the days grow darker, it is a great time to start the tale of the Sun King. There are many versions, but the one found on the Completely Pagan Facebook page is especially adorable. It is a precious moment between a grandfather and his grandchildren.

In a small voice, the child said “Grandfather can you tell me of the story of the first Yule? I always liked that one the best.”

With a clearing of his throat and another puff on his pipe, the Grandfather started to spin the tale of the first Yule.

Telling stories is thirst work, you know. A lovely activity that you and the children can take part in to celebrate the sunshine days that will come after Solstice would be to make Winter Solstice Tea. Here an easy peasey recipe by Charming Pixie Flora, aka Flora Sage.

She gives her recipe as

Winter Solstice Tea (aka Russian tea)

1 jar of Tang (or 566 g sweetened orange drink mix)
2/3 cup Instant tea (unsweetened)
1 package Lemonade mix (unsweetened)
1/2 cup Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
3/4 tsp Cloves

Mix and store in a glass jar.

Use 2 teapoons (sic) of mixture in a mug with hot water.

However, I really like to add a burst of vitamin C and get that citric acid into the body during this time of year. So I suggest adding some sliced fruits to the mix. Lemons, limes, grapefruits, and even tangelos make fun additions, and serve as reminders of the Wheel of the Year.

Image by Scott Bauer

If you have a mind to, industrious folks can reserve a few of the fruits for peeling. They can be eaten with the tea, while the peels can be dehydrated for use. These can them be used in potpourri blends, incenses, or in other creative ways. Good times.

Cocoa caribou and indoor bowling – winter fun for winter children

Whether you celebrate Yule, Solstice, or even have blended interfaith celebrations this season, there is always a place for ornaments. Large, small, glittery or plain, making them is half the fun of the season for many children. Salt dough is the standard, but new innovations from new generations have made their marks.

Cocoa Caribou

Glitter added to basic shapes have created masterpieces on the trees. Textures and surface enhancements like salt or mosaic tiles can really appeal to the more tactile focused children. Adding yarn wraps also provide sensory experiences.

 

But add into this equation this year something different. Asia Citro of funathomewithkids.com  has given us a great idea with her Chocolate Salt Dough Recipe for Ornaments. How fun! Sounds like a certain personification of the Divine Masculine energy would approve.

Picture it: You, friends, family, chocolate, and cookie cutters in the shape of caribou or reindeer.

Each of the ornaments, of course, can be unique. How about a blue one? Glitter can help with that. SO SHINY!!!

Yarn Bowling

Everything does not have to be a sitting activity. This time of year sees a lot of cabin fever as we approach the longer nights. So moving around is very desirable. It also is a way to recycle some everyday items that you probably have in your kitchen now.

Know what it is?

By saw2th (http://www.flickr.com/photos/saw2th/411691526/) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Yes, that is right. The common water bottle. These magical items can become something truly fun in the right hands. With a little work, they become bowling pins.

What you will need:

A couple skeins of yarn, preferable multicolored.

Ten water bottles.

Glue

Optional: Ten metal washers or 3 containers common table salt

This is pretty simple. Open your empty bottle, insert the end of a piece of yarn, and close the bottle back. Now wrap the yarn down the length of the bottle until you reach the bottom. Once there. put in a dab of glue to secure it to the outside. Repeat with the nine other bottles.

They will be unstable, of course, since they are so light, so if you want to give them some help, either glue a washer to the bottom of each bottle OR add two fingers of salt to the bottom of each inside before you wrap.

Now, make a yarn ball. This will be your bowling ball. Set up your lane and bowl away.

WARNING: This activity will not be proof against the attack of house cats. You have been warned. Keep a camera ready.

After you have finished, they can be put away for later. OR you can hang them as ornaments  by the string. OR you can give them as a gift. Make several sets and have a tournament when having the seasonal get-togethers. It will keep the kids occupied.

Here is hoping you have a great time.

https://videos.pexels.com/videos/lights-blur-christmas-549

Solstice lights and Philosopher’s stones – winter fun for winter children

The darkness continues to lengthen as the Winter deepens. We turn the Wheel and await the solstice. But while we do, there is a fun activity that we can do with our lovely Littles that allows them to bring a bit of light to the nights.

 

Solstice Lights

Did you ever really think about how much fun it can be to go rummaging down the aisles of your local dollar store and contemplate all the fun ideas you could explore with mason style jars?

They sit there, waiting for someone to take them home. Glass testimony to the ingenuity and practicality of our ancestors. Utterly versatile, yet common enough to not even be thought about until needed.

This one is pretty simple. You and your helper will choose three or four mason jars with wide mouths. To these, you will add small colorful votive candles. A drop of white clue on the bottom will secure them into place inside the jars.

You can place these along the porch mantle in your home, or on the walkway. For those who cannot use either option due to living circumstance, like apartments, then it is a lovely display to have them clustered together on the kitchen table. The lights are cozy and inviting. Just the thing to keep away the Cailleach, while you tell her story.

Adding a ribbon to the outside of the jar with a bow adds a homey touch. You could also color the outsides with glass paint. Honestly, you can use the fancy schmancy jelly jars, too. And, of course……GLITTER!!!!

Philosopher’s Stones

Gift giving is going on at this time of year and what better gift could there be than that of transformation? This craft is really fun and makes a great gift. Best of all, it is easy and very sparkly.

Now, time to head to the dollar store again. Buy a bag of large clear flat stones. Now buy some nail polish. Really pretty nail polish. Bold, of glittery, or hologram, it doesn’t matter. Just make sure it pops. Get a few.

To do this activity, you will need to sit down and give some thought to the qualities or virtues that you would like to see people develop over the year. Once you have it down, make a list and decide a color for each of them. You can do as few or as many as you wish.

You are going to paint the bottoms of the glass stones with the polishes and seal with the top coat. This will give them an amazing look. Now you can keep them in a mason jar (yep, we are still using those). When guests come by for the solstice, or just dinner during this season, you can invite them to pull a stone from the jar. They can check your chart to see what quality they have drawn for the year. It is a cute and inexpensive keepsake.

Here is a quick video to show you how.

I hope you are enjoying this series. Give us some feedback below. We would love to share your ideas with everyone who reads our columns.

 

 

Winter crafts for winter children – snowflake fun

There is nothing quite like the enjoyment that can come from creating crafts together during the winter. Families and friends can enjoy the Yule season with an inexpensive activity that features that cold visitor, the snowflake. This part of the Wheel of the Year usually brings many of those for most areas in the Western hemisphere above here in the United States, and especially in my own great state of Michigan. Here are some fun ways that you can get together with children, or friends, of both, and make some memories.

pexels-photo-57812

 

Paper Snowflake Runner

This idea comes from  Bar Rucci., a graphic designer, art teacher, and mom. The idea is simple. Take some time out of the day and sit down and cut some paper snowflakes. There is no right way or wrong way to schedule this activity. It can be during, before, or after Yule.

By IlexSythe (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Gather together your paper, scissors, some cellophane tape, and maybe some cocoa on a flat space. Fold your papers, and cut your snowflakes. Once everyone has made their desired masterpieces, spread them all out atop the table you want to cover to make the design you like. Now, tape all the flakes together, linking them on the bottom, arm to arm.

To jazz it up a bit, you could start off with scrapbook paper. Or if you are willing to deal with the legion of sparkles invading your space like a fey squadron, use some glue and glitter. Sequins are also a fabulous way to bring some zing.

For those of us who do public and private rituals, altar coverings made this way are a great way to include the younger members of the community or family to be a part of the solstice gatherings and festivals. Giant flakes can also be cut to use as a banner, if made with thicker paper products. There is no limit to how this activity can be scaled to suit the occasion. The only limit is the time and imaginations of those who are involved in the craft.

 

Thimble Babies

The thimble is one of those items that it seems that everyone knows about, but no one really notices anymore. They are found in dollar store sewing kits, in collections made of porcelain, and at holiday craft shows. But there is another use they can have for fun. You can make Thimble Babies.

pexels-photo-60229

For this to work, you will need to find a short and simple story that features at least two characters. You will also need a willing performer. Oh, and some other supplies:

A label sticker, or masking tape (plain)

A pom pom about the diameter of a dime.

Some washable markers, in different colors, with fine tips

Some glue

Thimbles

You are going to perform a quick finger play with your babies, so hopefully you have some stories that you enjoy. If not, then there are great sources at Songs for Teaching. They have some really fun ones.

For our example, we are going to choose “3 Blue Pigeons”.  Using the glue, attach the pom poms to three thimbles. You can, of course, color coordinate them if you wish. They should look like tiny towers with fuzzy balls on top. If you had four they could be itsy bitsty Watchtowers in a Circle teaching…..but I digress. (winks)

Now, attach the labels or masking tape to the front of the thimble. Draw little faces with the markers onto these. Have fun with it. For added character, consider gluing millet, or carrot, seeds as eyes. Adding some tiny blue tinsel would be great.

Once you have finished this, it is time to put them on your fingers. This is where the fun really begins, as each person can take turns being the story teller. Make as many as you like. It is simple and easy and they can be transported to Grandmother’s house with a minimum of fuss.

The story of the return of the Sun King would be fun, too. Yellow pom poms  are easy to find. You could even enact your own battle of the Oak and Holly kings. Just remember to make it fun.

Special note: I am not responsible if younger boys decide that Thimble Babies make armor for thumb warriors in the back seat of the Chevy while you are driving and one flies into the dashboard.