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How To Welcome Back the Sun for Yule

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Winter solstice (Photo credit: Wikipedia ) How To Welcome Back the Sun for Yule There are a lot of different celebrations going on at this time of the year for many different reasons. Hanukkah, Ramadan, Christmas, Kwanzaa etc and, of course, the  Winter Solstice , or  Yule . At the heart of this is a celebration of the change of the season.  Due to the  rotation and tilt of the earth the days shorten and our part of the world goes dark. So on the 21st of December, the shortest day we celebrate in good faith that the sun will return.   The ancients knew that the Winter Solstice was the longest night of the year -- and that meant that the sun was beginning its long journey back towards earth. It was a time of celebration, and for rejoicing in the knowledge that soon, the warm days of spring would return, and the dormant earth would come back to life. Because this is a celebration of thanks for light, it is a time for fires and candles as symbols of the sun. It is a time for b

June and it is time for Elderflower Champagne

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The Elder Tree is a powerful symbol of life energy and creativity. The Elder has been honoured for a very long time and megalithic long barrows were sometimes elder leaf shaped. It is also called the "witch's tree". Certainly the village hedge-witch would have used the elder extensively, as herbally it is wonderfully rich and potent in all its parts - leaves, flowers, berries and bark.  The presence of the Old Mother energy of the tree probably also accounts for the association with wise women. It is said in Irish folklore that it is the elder stick and not ashen ones which are used by witches for their magic horses. The earliest folk tales praise elder's ability to ward off evil or malevolent spirits and to undo evil magic.  There are very strong superstitions about not cutting down the elder. In ancient time, at Samhain, the last of the elderberries were picked with solemn rites. The wine made from these berries was considered the last sacred gift