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The Artistry of Herbcrafting: Traditional Winter Herbs

I’m making Elderberry Syrup (with Reishi Mushroom and Ginger) and Thieves Spray ’cause SOME bug has decided my body is a good place to be right now.  I normally take 1 oz of this daily and am never sick, but I ran out. Lesson learned.🤨😕

Soooo…  shifting my artist hat a bit to that of the wise woman herbalist and the sacred wildness of natural alchemy, I thought I’d share a few recipes and traditions for winter cold/flu season.  I always imagine my ancestral mothers painting with these natural elements and creating the artistry of recipes and natural remedies.

The Elderberry Syrup is my own recipe created and transformed through my 20+ years of herbcraft.  The Thieves and Fire Cider are traditional recipes and I’ve provided links to the ones I like below.  I hope you enjoy them!

Elderberry Syrup Elixir

3 Cups Elderberries (Sambucus nigra)
1 Cup Reishi Mushroom (dried) – broken into small pieces
¼ cup Rosehips (lends a tart taste to your brew and rosehips have the highest concentration of Vitamin C in the plant world)
¼-1 cup finely chopped Ginger (adds a spicy to fiery component so add to taste; also good for the immune system)
12 Cups Water (if on city water, use bottled spring water)
½ – 1Cup RAW Honey*(add to taste)
½ – 1 Cup Brandy – Optional (alcohol works as a stabilizer to give a longer shelf life)

Combine elderberries, etc. and water and decoct for 1 hour or until liquid has reduced by ¼ to ½. Strain and add honey. If using Brandy, add last. This Syrup is considered a 4:1 extraction (water to herb).  (See images below.)

Non-alcoholic preparation keeps in refrigerator 2-4 weeks. Alcoholic preparation keeps in refrigerator 3-4 months. Both keep in freezer up to one year.

NOTE: There are many varieties of Elderberry. It is important to ensure you are getting Black Elderberry or Sambucus nigra.

 

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Decoction

 

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How to Use to Prevent Colds and Flu (See Disclaimer Below)

 ~Tonic – Use daily. Dosage is 2-4 tablespoons (or about 1 ounce) daily
~Acute – Use every 1-2 hours first 24 hours, then 4-6 hours for next 4 days or until all symptoms are gone. Then resume Tonic Dosage.

*Honey is preferable to sugar because it contains immune boosting components. However, DO NOT use honey for children under the age of 2 years. If preparing for a young child, use natural sugar – do not use white sugar which research shows actually depletes the immune response. Note: You also could possibly use Agave or Coconut Nectar, but check with your pediatrician first.

While you can find Elderberry products in many stores, you normally can’t buy bulk berries except from a supplier of bulk herbs.

Mountain Rose Herbs is my supplier of choice –  www.mountainroseherbs.com

I prefer Mountain Rose because you don’t have to order a whole pound of Elderberries if you don’t want to and they are cheaper. I also really like their ethics and practices. You can also get your Reishi and Rosehips through Mountain Rose and possibly Frontier and/or Starwest Botanical.  Both Amazon and Vitacost carry products from these last two companies and they are good too.

 

Thieves Spray and Fire Cider 

Both of these winter herbal remedies are ancient, traditional brews and there are as many recipes as there are people concocting them.  I like the ones I found on Mountain Rose Herbs so sharing those links.

Thieves is a great hand sanitizer and also house spray.  Do not diffuse or use closely to cats as their immune system does not tolerate most essential oils.

https://blog.mountainroseherbs.com/thieves-oil

Fire Cider – an adjunct therapy to the Elderberry Elixir.  Where the Elixir is sweet and earthy, Fire Cider is well, fiery.  It will however burn out most anything.

https://blog.mountainroseherbs.com/fire-cider

 

Peer Reviewed Studies
(For those who want science and tradition)

NIH, German Commission E (the leader in botanical medicine research) and other agencies (both foreign and domestic) are currently doing research on Elderberries (Sambucas nigra and other varieties) for everything from influenza and colds to inflammation/arthritis to diabetes and more. However, most of the research is in databases where you have to pay to see and/or on foreign websites in another language. Here’s what I do have:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19682714

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21352539

http://www.blackelderberry.info/clinical-summary/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11399518

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?cmd=Retrieve&list_uids=15080016&.dopt=Abstract

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23193534

Wishing all of you a healthy journey through this winter season.

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Medical Disclaimer:  Other than the information provided in the Peer Reviewed Studies, ALL suggestions for use and efficacy are based on personal experience and traditional usage and is not meant to be construed as medical advice.  Please consult your physician or natural practitioner for medical advice.

No compensation is received from Mountain Rose Herbs.  This suggestion is based on personal preference and experience only.

 

The Ritual of Samhain… A Remembering

Today is Samhain (Sow-win), the Celtic HolyDay that celebrates the Ancestors, our Beloved Dead. I wrote the following in 2017, though nothing much has or will change in how I approach this day.  While I didn’t get to walk out to our Sacred Grove yesterday (it was raining), I didn’t need to in order to feel the presence of the Ancestors.  In truth, they have been here for weeks, their presence very palpable this year.

I hope you will take a moment to speak the names of your Ancestors, for that which is spoken is remembered. Blessed Samhain!

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Late yesterday afternoon, close to dusk, after a very busy day of pouring candles and making winter herbal remedies, I made a cup of tea and walked out to my swing to try and regain some sense of the sacred. The minute I entered the Grove I knew something was different. It was an overwhelming feeling of different, as though the woods had completely changed from earlier in the morning. It felt SO otherworldly – so thin and light. I remember turning around looking at everything, trying to figure it out and, for a minute or two, I felt completely disoriented, confused, as though I’d stepped into a different place, a different time. Then I knew. I remembered.

They were here. It was Samhain Eve, the Veil had thinned, and the Ancestors had come. I sat down on my swing – I was a bit light-headed by this point – closed my eyes and just sat with this energy. Breathing in. Breathing out. Then tears came, but not tears of fear, tears of gratitude and understanding. I was completely overwhelmed at the vast implication of it all and even more humbled by my place in this dance.

Today is Samhain. In a bit I will go out to the Grove and place a vase of red carnations and blooming rosemary on our Ancestor altar. Then I will build a fire in my cauldron and create the larger sacred container that will hold us on this day. As I prepare favorite foods of my ancestors and those of my partner, the Samhain fire will burn. Then tonight, a few friends will join us for a ritual honoring and blessing of this sacred portal.

At the liminal point of dusk, we will gather around the Cauldron, building up the fire, and invite all the ancestors in – both human and those from our respective animal tribes – and we will tell stories, say prayers, laugh, cry, and we will feed them and thank them. We will also honor the Dark Goddess of this season – the Crone – and remember those who died during the times of the European and American inquisitions. We will then divine and later dream, leaving offerings for the fairies, devas, elementals and all the others that will walk this night.  We will give thanks for the past year and welcome the new one.

The veil has thinned. The Wheel has turned. This is such an incredibly magical time of the Ancestors and a portal to other worlds.  I love that this turning of the Wheel also ushers in the season of the Crone – the teacher and guide into the depths of the Inner Mysteries offering deep calls to the deep as we sink into the coming inner cycle.

I am so very honored to walk this path of the Mystery made manifest… a path of ancient lineages and deepening into the inner time… a path that brings me cycles and empowers me with rich and raw magical authenticity…a path that teaches me death and life are two parts of the whole… a path of liminal numinosity.

Blessings on this day of Remembering.

 

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The Ritual of Samhain…A Remembering by Arlene Bailey ©2017, ©2019

Image found on Pinterest (no credit found)

 

The Call of the Inner Mysteries: Season of the Dark Goddess

Oh my, yes… This Scorpio New Moon is indeed a powerful one that will take us to our depths… willingly or unwillingly… it does not matter, for Scorpio is Hecate – the Dark Goddess of this season – and she has come to take us deeper as she has much to teach us about the inner mysteries.  She is Inanna and Ishtar, Isis and Persephone.  This journey is Never easy, but always profound and deeply transformative.

My midheaven (our life path) is in Scorpio and in Shamanic Astrology, for me, this translates to the idea that I am the sorceress witch who takes you to the deepest, most mystical places in order to effect deep, regenerative transformation. Never, never easy, but I have learned to go for the teachings are food for my soul.  I go because this is my life path and the wisdom gained is profound.  I go for what I learn is my medicine and my work in the world.

Forget Pluto.  Does the Dark Goddess call to you during this season of turning inward and going downward?

Is She Who Stirs the Cauldron beckoning you come and release so that you may become an empty chalice, a vessel to be refilled by the things that truly fill your soul?

There’s no sense in resisting if you are called for you will go one way or the other.

This New Moon in watery Scorpio portends a deeply spiritual and shamanic journey, so best to settle in, buckle up and hang on for life-changing AND life-affirming transitions and transformations.  Best to find that place that allows you to sink in, breathing deeply and opening to all the possibilities held in the Universe just for you.  First, though, you must identify and let go of all the trappings of the material world that hold you back.

You must Release

Release…

Release.

Shed those outworn skins just as the serpent does… transform… becoming Lilith who gives up all she is told she is supposed to be to step fully and completely into her authentic power.

Be as Inanna who, at each of the seven gates, gives up something precious to her as she searches for deeper meaning and a more authentic existence.

Embody Isis who searches the universe for her beloved, re-uniting each part of Osiris until he is whole.  Find those lost parts of yourself, re-uniting them and integrating them  into the amazing and cohesive whole that is your own beloved authentic self.

Become Persephone who – rather than being raped and dragged down to the Underworld by Pluto in the old patriarchal myth – revisions her role to go willingly into the deep and dark to learn the inner mysteries of life… death… re-birth from her Grandmother, the Dark Goddess, Hecate.  She revisions her life to follow her own authentic path.

Are you sensing a theme here?  Authenticity.  It is the elixir of woman’s innate beauty and power.  It is the manna that sustains us when patriarchy would have us be other than our deepest soul knowing.

Go willingly into the depths and there you will find your own personal alchemy.  Go willingly into the arms of this Dark Mother and she will strip away the dross to reveal your shining gold.

I leave you with a writing that came a few years back during an especially difficult Scorpio New Moon.  I have come to love these words and the idea they paint.  May they bring magic as you open to the greatest mystery of all…You.

Dancing with the Dark Goddess
by Arlene Bailey ©2014

Not all are called to dance with the Dark Goddess.  Not all are called to walk the edge between the worlds.  For those who are, who dare to risk, magic awaits.  Not easy wave-your-pretty-wand magic, but magic that is deep and rough, pulling and tugging at your very existence, plunging you into the deep, dark murky waters of all feelings from all times, until finally demanding you be willing to stand in the fires of transformation, insisting you be willing to be the dark matter that is alchemically transmuted into gold.

Not everyone will understand or feel comfortable around you.  They are not meant to.  The Dance of the Dark Goddess is for those who are willing to die and die and die again, knowing that with each death a new dance is being born, a new being is being formed, for it is in darkness that creation begins.

Not all are called to dance with the Dark Goddess but for those who are, those who have been given eyes to see in the dark and wings to fly, those that understand alchemy is born of fire, a day will come when travelling between the worlds of dark and light will be a profoundly juicy journey of depth-diving into the shadowy recesses in order to purify, mature, and perfect that which is the deepest of all mysteries… the soul of a woman.

Blessed Scorpio New Moon Alchemy, Sisters.

 

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Dancing with the Dark Goddess by Arlene Bailey, ©2014,
The Call of the Inner Mysteries:  Season of the Dark Goddess by Arlene Bailey, ©2019

Art, Astarte* by Susan Seddon Boulet

Astarte* was a Semitic goddess and a counterpart of the Akkadian goddess, Ishtar, and the Sumerian goddess, Inanna.

 

 

 

Season of Scorpio

I never enter November or the Season of Scorpio without thinking of Owl.  I remember one Scorpio Season that was simultaneously profound and traumatic and would turn out to be the key to me understanding the necessity of surrendering to this yearly time of deep transformation.  It was a rainy evening and I was driving home.  Suddenly out of the corner of my eye, all I could see were wings and then the sound of something hitting the left front of my car.  I was actually at my exit so I took it, but instead of turning toward home, I turned around so I could go back to see what I’d hit.  I thought it was a hawk (not thinking that it was dark) and it wasn’t until I got home (yes, I put it in my trunk) that I realized it was an owl.  I was devastated.

Over the coming days and weeks, conversations with trusted friends and many hours of silence tuned into this beautiful creature and the why of our meeting, I began to understand more of why Owl had come to me.  I had been deep in the Lower World and deep in transformation and the mystery teachings for months.  While not really comfortable, this world… the Dark… the place of the Inner Mysteries… was somehow – in a weird sort of way – becoming exactly that… comfortable… and while it was time for me to return to the world of my normal existence, I had no way to get there.  Though I’d learned much, I did not yet have the knowing of how to integrate the mystery teachings and bring them to the surface.

Enter Owl…

 

Forest spirit by GaudiBuendia on DeviantArt

 

For it is Owl that stands as the Guardian to the Doors of our Soul.  It is Owl that brings us those challenging experiences that guide us to our deepest wisdom.  It is Owl that holds space as we learn to navigate these Inner Mysteries.

After sitting with this magnificent creature for days, I knew I had to make a decision around her body.  Yes, it was a she.  Again, after more conversations with those more knowledgeable than me and sitting with her and listening, I knew she wanted to be returned to the Mother but not before gifting me with her wings and talons.  I was hesitant at first… Ohhhh, so very hesitant… so again I sat for days and listened, feeling into this idea, asking her what she wanted just to be sure.

Finally, I realized to refuse her gifts was to dishonor her.  She’d given her life to bring me wisdom and the opportunity to stretch my own wings with regard to how I connected to her.  With the help of one trained in sacred ceremony and indigenous ways, I accepted her offering.  Saying goodbye was the hardest part, really, but I finally placed her in the arms of the Great Mother to rest in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of NC where she would once again fly.

 

Hope's Wing

 

It took me many months to know her name and the full reason for her coming to me… many months to understand the why of the events of that dark, rainy Scorpio night in November.  Finally it hit me!  Owl had come to give me the eyes to see in the dark and the wings to fly up to the light.  While the Mystery Teachings and this Inner Time were necessary, it was not a place to live.  Owl was my way out of the Dark and back into the Light.  The name she told me?  Her name was Hope and she was a Great Horned Owl.

Then… A few weeks after my encounter with Hope, I was driving through the winding and hilly backroads of the Uwharrie National Forest near my home when I came upon something in the road.  It was very early in the morning and there – seemingly unharmed and directly in my path – was an owl.  Another owl!!!  This was a juvenile Barred Owl with no marks at all on it, though sadly its neck was broken and it’s eyes closed.  So I did what any ?sane? person like me would do… I put her in my trunk.

Sitting again with the magnificence of this beautiful creature she eventually told me she too was sent.  Her name?  Athena.

Four years ago, on November 6, 2014 I first met Hope.  A few weeks later, Athena.  There has never been a day since that these two have not traveled with me giving me Eyes to see and Wings to fly and Wisdom for the journey.  Whenever I am called to the Dark… the Underworld and place of deep Mystery and Transformation… Hope and Athena travel with me.
owlmoon

Hope and Athena.

Potential and Wisdom.

Darkness and the Depths of the most mysterious of the Mystery.

Transformation and Integration.

Ancient Ways and Watery Births.

Guardians and Guides for these teachings of the Inner Mysteries.

This is the Season of Scorpio.

 

 

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Words by Arlene Bailey, ©2019, Updated from previous versions.

Images:

Photograph of Wing by Arlene Bailey
Pathways by Susan Seddon Boulet
Doorway by GaudiBuendia on DeviantArt
Owl with Orb, Artist Unknown

 

 

Once Again the Great Wheel Turns

I wrote the following a couple of years ago, during a beautiful, colorful and cool Autumn season. This year, while much of what I wrote is still true, a more disturbing truth is that with Climate Change our trees are shedding leaves, not naturally and colorfully, but because we are in a severe drought and the trees are in deep distress. Leaves are just dead with no color.  The temperature is still at summer level in the 80’s and 90’s and the ground is parched and cracked. Animals are in desperate search for water in this season of transition and, sadly, there is little left to harvest this late for the same reason.  My attention is less on the norm this year as I find myself already turning inward and contemplating the coming of Samhain.  I am in dire need and desire of Ancestral Wisdom and the comfort and nurturing of my Cave.

Much has changed since I wrote the words below, but what has not (at least not yet) are Gaia’s Cycles and the truth of the Life, Death, Rebirth play that has informed our cultural practices for thousands of years. At least for now, the Great Wheel still turns.  

And Once Again, The Wheel is Turning
© Arlene Bailey 2017

It’s that time of year when my herb garden is not looking so good. I’ve harvested lots of herbs to use for both magickal and medicinal purposes, but now the Grandmother plants and Her children are weary from the intensity of the growing season. Their foliage and flowers are waning and their energies are being directed downward. The outward time of beauty is over and it’s time for them to turn inward and direct all their resources to their roots – that life-sustaining, grounded-ness that is the darkness that will see them through the inner time.

But all is not yet below ground – not yet in darkness. Activity is still going on above ground and yet stirrings begin within. This is the time of balance…the time of transition – not only for the plants, but for me as well. Despite the outward greenness, I can feel the shift in my soul. With the increasingly shorter days, darkness weighs just a little heavier. The need for retreat and time out for spiritual things grows stronger, along with a personal need for community and warmth. A meditative moment grasped from the jaws of manic daily life…a respite from the intensity and abundance of summer and outwardness…a time to celebrate our harvests, but with awareness of moving inward. The Wheel is turning…

Summer is gone. I am gathering the last of the fruits and vegetables and herbs from my garden. In the early morning, the fall air is brisk and the greens give ways to vibrant reds and oranges and yellows. Everything turns with the season. I am reminded that Autumn Equinox is a time of balance and equilibrium, of repose and resting after the labors of planting and harvesting. It is when I give thanks, gather and store. I compost and mulch my gardens, returning to the earth in thankfulness what She has given me. I recycle and review, enjoy the fruits of my labors, appreciating a time of plenty in preparation for a time of scarcity.

It is also the beginning of the season of death. Although I still can feel the warm presence of the sun, it is waning – there is a restlessness in the air – the mood is becoming more solemn. As I see the intensity of the flaming colors, I am reminded that life burns most intensely just before it dies. Now is the time to reap what was sown at Imbolc and Spring Equinox, but it is also the time to begin to prepare for winter. Moving to the soft darkness that beckons and draws us in again…towards that part that lives in shadow…out of focus…moving from logic to intuition…activity is suspended and the inner time begins. With the death of the plants is the birth and mystery of the seed. All growth is held in suspension and silence within until spring when the cycle repeats and, once again, the Wheel turns… Just as the plants energetic focus goes underground (or inward), so our focus shifts inward. The Wheel is turning…

In the past, when I’ve thought about Fall Equinox, I’ve focused on the harvest aspects – Thanksgiving…Abundance…Fruition. It has been a celebration of the Mother Earth as giver of life. This year, I’m taking time to remember my own inner dead. While acknowledging the thanksgiving part of the season, I celebrate the descent. There are dark parts on this journey and somehow they must become part of my ritual in a way that is real and helpful. Just as plants need both light and dark to complete their cycles, so it is with me. I know that in order to be complete, to plant, to grow, to harvest, I too must die. For me that means honoring the balance of light and dark, of honoring the descent, of honoring the abundance of the harvest but with the knowledge that there comes a time when I must shift towards the inner time.  For me that means ritual and giving over to something bigger and more ancient as I begin my descent into a deeper connection with animal and nature spirits.

Final 9-13-wm

It is September and today/tomorrow (depending on where you are*) is Autumn Equinox – the time of perfect balance and yet also of transition. It is now that we look into ourselves and assess who we are and where we are going while we also work on completing our preparation for the physical and spiritual survival of winter. Fall and Autumn Equinox is the time of turning leaves and turning inward… a point of balance—balancing out all the internal debris, keeping some and letting some go. We embrace the richness, the abundance, and find our own inner darkness.

I am a Wise Woman in the tradition of the village wise elder woman who was both green witch and kitchen witch, a Priestess intimately connected to the ancient ways of women and the Cosmos. Intimate with the cycles of nature, with Goddess and Her medicines and magick, I live by the Wheel of the Year and honor HER turning through ritual and through my daily activities. For me the Wheel is more than just a metaphor for the seasons or planting or a backdrop for the agricultural myths. It is a spiritual psychology and what directs me – not a separate entity that I view from outside, but an internal mechanism that takes me through the cycles of the year… through the cycles of my life.

Once again, the Wheel has turned and today I light a candle and build an altar to this point in the cycle.

*Autumnal Equinox occurs on September 23rd at 3:50 a.m. East Coast USA, 12:50 a.m. West Coast USA

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Blessings also to my Sisters in the Southern Hemisphere who today celebrate the Spring Equinox.  May the seeds they planted at Imbolc begin to grow and nourish their dreams for this turning of the Wheel in this their outward cycle.

 

 

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Writing by Arlene Bailey, © 2017, 2019
Art – Autumn Goddess by Arlene Bailey,  ©2018
Art – Autumn Equinox Blessings by Wendy Andrews

An Unexpected Messenger

When this beauty first came through, she came fast and furious and when I asked her name she said Erzuli.  I was quite taken aback as I knew this name and it comes from the Vodoun* tradition.  At first I rejected that this was who she was as Vodou is not my spiritual tradition and I didn’t want to go anywhere near the realm of cultural appropriation.  I thought I had to have misunderstood.

She has repeatedly insisted, however, that she is Erzuli and her message is indeed for me.  She also reminded me that Gaia has many daughters and many traditions depending on the land we call home.  However, the essence of her messages are the same even if the visage and spiritual tradition of the messenger changes.  I also had a conversation with a good friend of mine who is a Vodoun Manbo (Priestess).  She told me that learning from a Lwa/Loa (a Spirit or Goddess) and embracing their wisdom is not the same as taking on as our own the spiritual tradition from which they come.

So she is Erzuli, a Vodoun Lwa – a type of Spirit or Goddess – with many different faces each with slightly different characteristics.  Overall, however, she is the Lwa of Women (as a fierce protector), Passion and Beauty (especially luxury and sumptuousness) and reigns over Elemental Forces, specifically water.  She is also the only Lwa who has the ability to both conceptualize and dream along with the ability of artistic expression, especially dance.  Because she appears to be so uniquely human, there is the belief that she bridges the gap between humans and the gods and is seen as an oracle, a seer, a mystic bringer of messages.  She is both dark and light and also aligns with both Kali and Nuit.

With every painting, there are always things we learn.  Artistically, painting this canvas stretched me.  It was a small, 9×12, canvas with crackle paste.  Painting a face in a small space and with the texture was a challenge and, yet, she came through quickly and was a lot of fun to bring forward.

However, as for her messages I am at a loss.  Beyond knowing her name and the attributes above, she has told me nothing specific of the why of why she has come to me.

So, I lean in, I listen, I allow.

I accept her as she has come, honoring the rich lineage from which she births while staying very clear around the ideas of cultural appropriation.  She does not come from my lineage, but she has come with a message for me and I honor that Spirit takes many forms and comes to us in the way(s) we need at any given time.

I must admit I am in LOVE with her and find myself just sitting and staring at her.  I feel that Erzuli has much to say and I look forward to having many conversations with her.

Already she has taught me not to question who comes through the portal.

 

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Erzulie, Art and Words by Arlene Bailey, ©2019

*The religion of Vodoun/Voudon/Vodou/Vaudou is not the same as Voodoo (a Hollywood construction) nor is it Hoodoo (Southern Folk Magic and not a religion).

 

 

 

Mother Christmas, a Female Santa and Antlered Female Reindeer

There are many myths around the holy days of this time of year, but recently new discoveries of ancient stories have come to light.  According to Judith Shaw (see link below), many of the elements associated with Christmas have their origins in our Goddess worshipping past:  evergreen trees, holly, mistletoe, the wreath, lighting candles, and yes even our favorite Santa Claus and his* reindeer who both have their origins in Northern European Sun Goddesses.  (*or was it her?)

As the world has become smaller and more information has filtered out into wider circles about the Sami and other reindeer-herding peoples of Siberia and the Nordic lands, their mythology around this time of year and flying reindeer has also brought new ideas.

Did you know…

That only the female reindeer retain their antlers past the mating season which ends in early December?  Science proves Santa’s reindeer could not have been male.

or…

That the myth of flying reindeer comes from the fact that a favorite food of reindeer is the Amanita muscaria (the Holy Mushroom), a hallucinogenic also favored by the Shamans who worked closely with the deer?

or…

That deer were the spirit animals of the Shamans… a spirit you can journey with in your vision quest and… these shamans also have a tradition of dressing up like the [mushroom] … they dress up in red suits with white spots.  (Carl Ruck – see reference #4 below) and… in these early cultures shamans were mostly women

or…

That in these early cultures, shamans were most likely women?  (

As an anthropologist I am always interested in cultures and their beliefs and how that translates into their mythology, traditions and material culture.  As a goddess-affirming woman, I am especially intrigued and thrilled when older, more ancient myths come forward to show us that the ways of earlier peoples were very different than those brought forward by the modern patriarchal mindset.

As opposed to today’s mythology that has been altered and carefully re-constructed to fit a particular cultural mindset, earlier mythologies were born out of the observance of the patterns and cycles of nature and how the lives of humans were intricately and intimately interwoven with both.

If you want to know more about these ideas and earlier versions of our favorite winter holiday stories, visit the links below.  Perhaps you’ll find new ways of celebrating this very special season.

Seasonal Blessings!

 

Article – Arlene Bailey, ©2018

Art – Saule, Sun Goddess by Judith Shaw

Links to Seasonal Stories:

https://feminismandreligion.com/2016/12/18/the-reindeer-goddess-by-judith-shaw/

https://gathervictoria.com/2014/12/04/doe-a-deer-a-female-deer-the-spirit-of-mother-christmas/

https://www.livescience.com/32149-are-santas-reindeer-males.html

https://www.livescience.com/42077-8-ways-mushrooms-explain-santa.html

References in addition to links above:
The Woman in the Shaman’s body, Barbara Tedlock, Ph.D. (2005)

Max Dashu,  Suppressed History Archives – https://www.suppressedhistories.net/articles/womanshaman.html