Monthly Archives: December 2008

Yule 2008

Most people (even non-pagan people) have heard of Yule, or at least something associated with Yule.  Like the Yule Log, or that song that sings: “Spread the Yuletide Cheer….”  but most people don’t know exactly what, or when, Yule is.

Yule is another name for the Winter Solstice, which is the day with the shortest amount of sunlight of the year.  Yule doesn’t have an exact date, it’s whenever the actual solstice falls, but it tends to be between the 19th and 23rd of December.  This year it is on the 21st.

Yule is the origin of alot of our current christmas traditions.  Like decorating, a christmas tree, and even presents.  Those are all Yule traditions that christianity stole to try to “combine” the two holidays.  (they did the same with easter, but that’s different story for another day)

The christmas tree began as a pagan tradition.  Pagans would decorate an outdoor tree with food for the animals.  Some even used shiny or scented objects to attract the animals.  It was a time of giving back.  Not by giving to other people, but giving back to the animals we share our planet with, during the time when food is hard to come by.  They recognized the necessity of everything in nature, and this was their way of trying to help that balance.
In our current times we cut down trees made of pine and spruce and bring them in our houses to decorate them.  Some people still use edible things like candy canes, gingerbread men and popcorn.
Few christians know how this tradition started, and most would be outraged if they knew that their christmas tree was actually a pagan tradition, and has nothing to do with the birth of christ.

Yule (along with the summer solstice Litha) is a big turning point in the year.  Even though it is the beginning of winter weather-wise, it actually is the turning point to getting warmer.  From here on out the days start getting longer and that eventually heats up the atmosphere and brings spring.
That phrase “it’s darkest before dawn” is kind of parallel.  Even though you would think that it would be darkest (and coldest) when the sun is shining on the exact opposite side of the planet (the mid-point between our sunset and sunrise), it doesn’t actually work that way.  The darkness and coldness of the night has an accumulative affect, which leaves us in the darkest and coldest time right before the sun rises.
Our seasons work the same way.  The Winter Solstice (Yule) is the point where the northern hemisphere is tilted in it’s furthest position away from the sun.  But even though from this point on our north pole starts tilting back toward the sun, our coldest weather isn’t until right before the “dawn” of spring.

I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel better!

So have a happy holiday, and go spread some of that Yuletide cheer!

Blessed Be!

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Posted by on December 21, 2008 in Pagan, Sabbats



Catnip Experiment – Week 10

Preparation:   I made up a batch of Baking Soda (2 TB in 2 cups of warm water)  and a double batch of Catnip (2 tsp in 2 cups of boiling water).  I made up the catnip an hour or two before my shower and then strained it and split it into two parts, one to use right away and one I put in the fridge.  It was still warm when I used it.

Routine:   I poured the BS on my hair and massaged it around for a few seconds and then rinsed it out.  Then I poured the catnip on my hair and left it in for a few minutes and then rinsed it.

Results:   Pretty good hair.  It isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty good!  It’s still a little on the dry side, but only slightly.  And my hair is normally a little dry in the winter anyway.  And it was much better once I used Coconut Oil.

Comments:   I’ve been trying to duplicate the great results I got several weeks ago.  After last week I thought that the cause was leaving it in the fridge.  But I didn’t do that this week (even though I ment to) and it still turned out nice.  So I’m thinking that maybe it does better warm.  I believe I warmed up the good batch after I took it out of the fridge.  It could be that I’ll get the best results when it has been in the fridge for a couple days and then warmed up before I use it.
So next week I’ll take the second half of this week’s batch and warm it up first.  If I get awesome results then I’ll know that I need to make it several days ahead and then heat it up before I use it.

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Posted by on December 8, 2008 in Catnip for Hair


Lola – Weeks 2 & 3

Things aren’t going as well as I had hoped.  Over all Lola is still a pretty good dog, and she has definately improved, but she is really used to getting away with stuff and she is constantly trying to push my limits and see if I will catch her in it.  Like jumping and pulling on the leash and “little” stuff like that.  At one point this week I really wanted to get my hands on her previous owners and just strangle them.  It is obvious that she is smart, and that she learns pretty quick, but she does need a firm hand.  Otherwise she will just run all over you and do whatever she wants.  But if someone had taken the time when she was young to teach her she wouldn’t have all these bad habits.

Part of the problem is that it is so cold out that she isn’t able to go outside and play like that first week.  This morning it was in the single digits.  So we’ve pretty much been just going out for potty breaks and a really quick walk at night.

I think I’m going to have to find something to do inside to get all of that energy out.  I’ve heard that training tires them out almost as much as “physical” exercise.  So maybe I need to just do something like that.

I’ve come to the realization that I really need to use treats as rewards more often.  Even though she showed initial response with just a vocal command, she now tends to ignore them if she wants to.  It’s been frustrating because she knows what I want, but she just doesn’t want to do it.  Like she knows how to sit on command, but now she’ll only do it when she wants to or with a reward (although I don’t even have to tell her to sit when it’s time to go outside, she just does it automatically).

So for the time being I think I need to carry treats around and use them every time I want her to do something.  Because until she understands that when I tell her to do something, sit for example, that she needs to do it when I ask, not the tenth time or when I force her to.  Until then I’ll need to bribe her to do it.  And I’ll have to do it every single time.
I can understand some of it, like when we are outside and she doesn’t want to sit on the cold ground or snow.  I get that, and I’m not asking her to put her butt all the way on the ground, but she needs to at least attempt to do what I ask.

Dealing with all of those little things is really tiring.  More mentally tiring then anything physical.  The good thing is that she falls asleep at about 7 or 8 at night, but by that time I’m just totally exhausted from continually telling her “off!” or “no don’t do that” or “stop pulling!”.

I think in eventually she’ll be a great dog, once she learns that I won’t let her get away with bad behaviour and she gets over all this puppy energy, but until then I think I’ll be pulling my hair out on a daily basis.


Sebastian has been doing better.  He still won’t come out by himself when Lola is out, but if I bring him out and put him on the back of the couch (his favorite spot to hang out) then he is fine.  Some times he will even stay out when I take Lola outside rather then making a mad dash for the bedroom right away.  He’s even taken to stretching out and falling asleep on the back of the couch.  So that tells you how relaxed he is, or how trusting he is that I will protect him.  He is still sometimes scared if Lola is running around or doing something active, but he doesn’t run he just watches with wide eyes.

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Posted by on December 5, 2008 in Cats, Dogs, Pets


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Catnip Experiment – Week 9

Preparation:   I made up a batch of Baking Soda (2 tsp in 2 cups of warm water) and a single-use batch of catnip (1 tsp in 300ml of hot water).  The Baking Soda basically looks like cloudy water, but it seems to work at this concentration.

Routine:   I poured the BS on my hair starting at the back, and massaged it around until I was sure I had gotten everywhere (maybe 30 seconds?) and then I rinsed it out.  Then I poured the catnip on, again starting in the back, and left that on for maybe 5 minutes and then rinsed it out.

Results:   Icky.  My hair is dry (but not overly so) and has lots of fly-aways.

Comments:   The only difference between last week’s great results and this week’s bad ones was that I made up the catnip the day that I used it this time.  Last week I made it up wednesday and kept it in the fridge until I used it on sunday.
So I’m going to make up the catnip ahead of time and keep it in the fridge.  Hopefully that’s all I’ll need to do to get consistantly good results.

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Posted by on December 5, 2008 in Catnip for Hair