Over the past year I’ve softened a lot on the blending of pagan Yule traditions and Christian/secular Christmas traditions. One of my personal favorite traditions growing up was an advent calendar; probably because I got a present every day. Regardless of my dubious childhood motivations, below are some ideas of how to adapt an advent calendar to a pagan tradition that I call a Yule Countdown Calendar. I hope your family enjoys it. (And yes, I know it’s November, I’m just excited about the upcoming holiday season.)
What’s a Yule Countdown Calendar?
The word “advent” is a play on the Latin word for “coming” because, I guess, Christmas is coming and everyone is excited. This Yule Countdown Calendar works the same way, Yule is coming to let’s get excited about it. Traditionally, an advent calendar has 24-25 days, depending on whether there’s an extra gift on Christmas. The Yule Countdown Calendar should have 19-23 days, depending on a number of factors. If you want a box on the day of Yule, that day will be included, if not, the last box should be the day before. If you celebrate Yule on December 21st, that’s either 21 boxes (day of Yule included), or 20 boxes (last box on Yule eve). If you celebrate Yule as the Winter Solstice, the date will change from year to year, and you can adapt the Yule Countdown Calendar accordingly.
How Does it Work?
Every morning up to and/or including Yule, one item on the Countdown Calendar is opened, but only one a day. On December 1st item #1 is opened, on December 2nd item #2 is opened, and so on. If your calendar stops on Yule Eve, that gift is usually a bit fancier. I suggest making the last day Yule Eve since the gifts will steal the show on Yule. However, if the Yule Countdown Calendar is the whole gift, then Yule day should be included, and it should be the ‘big’ gift. If you have multiple witchlings, you know they count gifts and compare; giving everyone a Yule Countdown Calendar shuts down the fairness-based whining pretty effectively. Continue reading →
I’m a Hello Kitty junkie, so this mini review of the Hello Kitty major arcana tarot deck is going to be biased by my undying love of all things HK. Last year I was on an intense divination deck buying kick: tarot, oracle cards, indie, well known, I needed them all! Happily I’ve chilled out a tiny bit since, but I have some pretty neat decks in my little collection, including two Sanrio major arcana decks: Hello Kitty and Little Twin Stars.
I think the Hello Kitty tarot might make a perfect starter deck for a witchling who you don’t want to overwhelm with a full deck. It’s cute, kid-friendly, and even the ‘scary’ cards have been made somehow adorable.
There are multiple Sanrio and Hello Kitty Tarot Decks, but this one – to the best of my knowledge – is the only official deck. It was made in 2009 and it comes in a slipcase that includes a full color book on one side and the cards on the other. The cards are a slightly different size than standard tarot cards, just a touch shorter, but the same width. The deck also comes with two blank cards, which I thought was a neat touch. A gallery of the cards can be found at the bottom of the post.
“The Magickal Family: Pagan Living in Harmony with Nature” by Monica Crosson was published in early October 2017. It caught my eye, but I didn’t read it for a new months because I assumed there wasn’t much that I would be able to get from it. We have a teenager who is magick-curious, but that’s it. However, my coven mate will be having a witchling soon, so I decided to get her this book for Yule. Of course, book nerd that I am, I couldn’t just wrap it without looking through it first, and before you know it I had read the whole thing. Even though this book does have a lot to do with raising Pagan children, an opportunity that our magickal household has missed out on, I still found myself getting a lot out of this book. It’s an excellent read, both informative and extremely engaging, and full of good ideas. While a lot of it works for families with witchlings, this book could also easily be used by adult witches without children, since there are a lot of ceremonies and magick for adult life events too (handfasting, recipes, cottage witchery).
The book is organized into two parts and has a total of fourteen chapters. Part 1: “Family Magick” has six chapters and is more general, while Part 2: “Family Sabbat Celebrations” covers the eight Sabbats in the Wheel of the Year.