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A Little Witch Ball History
Around this time of the year as we decorate our trees, you may see from time to time a witch ball hanging as an ornament. However, these ornaments were originally meant to be used all year long. It is said that the modern Christmas ornament may have descended from Pagan witch balls and other tree decorating practices of early peoples which have been around for centuries.
Since the 17th century witch balls have been hung in entryways and windows to ward off bad spirits and ill fortune. The beauty of the witch ball would entice the evil spirits and upon touching the ornament they would become trapped inside. This is why these should be cleansed often. Also, the shine of a witch ball could cause an evil witch's spell to backfire onto themself instead.
Over time the philosophy of what a Witch Ball is has changed and over the years many have made their own versions that include vibrant colors, strands, twisting patterns and more. Nowadays, some people put a blown glass version in their gardens and call them garden globes or gazing balls.
Activity: DIY Yule Ball
Supplies you will need:
Clear fillable ornaments.
Something to make the tie: string, rope, ribbon, twine, etc.
Blessing bells or charms.
Whatever you want to include inside! Here are some ideas:
Anything you feel called to add!
Making a Yule ball of your own is a great way to add your own intentions and creativity to it, making it as unique as you are. When gathering your supplies, keep in mind the intentions you have for your ball, and lean into ingredients that represent that to you. There are no set rules to what you must include but for mine, I really leaned into themes of joy and wanderlust and items that remind me of the warmer months. I choses to use plastic ornaments because I have a toddler, but feel free to use glass if you would like. After I gathered my supplies together, I set up my space, set my intentions and lit an incense that I used to cleanse my balls, and each ingredient as it was added to the ornament.
Once I cleansed them in the smoke, I started to fill them with my chosen ingredients. I started with moss, to fill it out, and add a bit of cushion for my other items. Some of my ornaments opened in half, and I was able to fill them easily, while some of them only opened at the top and I had to use tweezers to get some of the larger items in. I filled them with cinnamon sticks, anise stars, bright colorful bells, bay leaves on which I included some of my intentions, flowers, selenite, and shells.
After they were filled, I closed them up and added a bit of twine, and an extra bell on the outside, which makes it easy to cleanse with the sound of the bells. If you don’t want to use twine for your string, feel free to use ribbon, rope, yarn or whatever you would like to hang up your ornament on your tree, or around your home. Keep it up just for Yule, or leave it up year-round, to ward off evil and bring more joy to your home.
I hope you enjoyed learning about Yule balls, please share your photos if you decide to make one of your own!
If you are interested in watching Marilyn, Suzie and I construct our balls, you can watch that here on our YouTube channel or listen to our Yule Ball BONUSODE on major podcasting platforms. You can also purchase one of the balls we made during the recording of our episode in here in our Etsy shop!
Shadow work prompt: Rest Ye Merry Pagan Folk
Let’s talk about rest. The cold of winter has many of us spending more time indoors and generally expending less energy. What are your personal philosophies on rest and where do they come from? Are you averse to rest or hold guilt when you rest? Do you have a healthy balance of rest in your life? What does healthy mean to you (based on our personal mental/physical health/physicality of our jobs, etc. everyone is going to have different needs and ideas - use this space to flesh your own ideas/wants/needs out as it relates to healthy amounts of rest). Was this philosophy modeled (or scolded) into you when you were young, or something that has grown with time based on your circumstances and trial and error?
Southern Hemisphere Shoutout
Blessed Litha to our friends in the southern hemisphere. May you enjoy the remaining warmth during midsummer as the wheel begins to turn and beckon the colder months. For activities and information about Litha, feel free to check out our newsletter from Litha’s pass in the Northern hemisphere.
What Happened to RedBubble?!? Any news on Etsy?
Thank you to everyone who checked out our RedBubble designs. We know that YOU ALL know that we struggled to get things up and running, but we finally did it. Unfortunately, we recently received an email notice from RedBubble that our shop was suspended. The email does not shed much light on the exact reason our shop was shuttered, but does provide some possible reasons - none of which seem to apply to our shop. We have appealed the decision and hope the shop will be reinstated in due course. We will keep you all apprised as we hear more. In the meantime, we are exploring alternate (or perhaps additional) outlets for our designs - we will also let you know if we land in other online venues soon!
That said, our Etsy shop is currently up. The coven has even added a couple of LIMITED release Yule Witch balls - a couple from each of us. If you watched our YouTube video above, you will see us make the balls! You can find our Etsy shop HERE if you would like to own one of these witch balls and support our podcast and creative endeavors!
December 21 Yule Begins
MCC S3 - BONUSODE - “Witch Balls”
December 22 Put out new moon water
December 23 New moon (4:16 am CST)
WR Season 3, Episode 19
January 1 New Year’s Day
January 6 Full Wolf Moon (5:07 pm CST)
WR Season 3, Episode 20
January 20 WR Season 3, Episode 21
January 21 New Moon (2:53 pm CST)
February 1 Imbolc begins