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Newsletter: Yule 2023


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An Education

Since its inception, Midwest Coven Cast has often opened our newsletters with a section that educates or explains some piece of pagan or witch practice, history, origin, etc. Though I would like to continue with the theme of something educational, I wanted to give this section a bit of a twist. As many of our readers, TikTok followers, and especially listeners of our podcast know, I am someone who is a large advocate of education and a big reader as well. Moving forward, starting from this newsletter, I am going to update this section. Although you may still see some of our usual educational articles, you may also now find slight iterations on the theme – perhaps a review of a book; recommendations for further education on particular topics; and an array of other educationally centered themes – though I do intend to keep all articles pagan or witch adjacent. 


To start this new theme on a lite note, I thought it might be fun to provide a short listicle of great fields of study for pagans, witches, and similar practitioners. 


GREEN PRACTITIONERS

If you consider yourself a green witch, plant girlie, or a plain old nature lover, a degree in something like BOTANY could take your practice to the next level. Taking in a deep understanding of the building blocks of plant life, understanding how they function, how they react with stimuli, and more can help you get a sense of how to best care for and work with plant-life. If you don’t have access to a local school with an undergraduate degree in BOTANY available, you might consider a degree in BIOLOGY or perhaps ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES.

 

If you’d like to dip your toes into BOTANY or BIOLOGY at no cost (before making any big life decisions about a college degree), check out Crash Course Botany and/or Crash Course Biology.


COSMIC PRACTITIONER

If the stars and universe are what call to you, then consider a degree in something like Astronomy and/or Astrophysics. Astronomists seek to understand the happenings occurring outside the realm of the earth. Having knowledge of the outer universe(s) could bring your practice to a whole new level!


See if this might be the path for you! Check out Crash Course Astronomy or Crash Course Physics.


CRYSTAL WITCH

If you consider yourself a crystal witch, you might consider pursuing a degree in Geology. Geologists attempt to study the composition and history of the earth. Given crystals tend to form as a result of earth’s processes, a degree that helps you understand geological processes can help you understand your crystals and their composition on a much deeper level.


If this sounds like something that would interest you, you can give it a try by checking out Professor Dave Explains Geology play list.


I am sure there are a variety of other good “college majors” for other witch types. Would you like to hear more? Leave a comment below and perhaps we will continue this series.


Yule Magic: Child-Friendly Garland Making Ritual

This child-friendly Yule garland-making ritual fosters creativity, teaches about nature's cycles, and encourages a sense of connection to the Pagan traditions in a way that is accessible and enjoyable for young participants.


Materials Needed:

  • Evergreen branches (pine, fir, or other non-toxic varieties)

  • Twine or string (child-safe)

  • Decorative elements (such as colorful ribbons, bells, paper cutouts, dried fruits, or berries)

  • Scissors (child-safe)

  • Crafting materials like glue, glitter, and markers (optional)


Steps:

  • Introduction to Yule:

    • Begin the ritual by explaining the significance of Yule to the children in simple terms. Discuss the themes of light, darkness, nature, and the celebration of the winter solstice.

  • Materials Gathering:

    • Assist the children in gathering evergreen branches and various decorative items from nature, as well as safe crafting materials.

  • Setting Up the Crafting Space:

    • Create a designated crafting area with a table or workspace where children can comfortably sit and create their garlands.

    • Lay out the materials and encourage creativity by displaying the decorative elements attractively.

  • Crafting the Garland:

    • Show the children how to form the base of the garland using evergreen branches and tying them securely with the twine or string.

    • Let the children express their creativity by adding decorative elements. They can tie on ribbons, attach bells, or string berries and dried fruits onto the garland.

  • Crafting Symbols and Intentions (Optional):

    • For older children, discuss the symbols associated with Yule, like the sun, evergreen trees, or the wheel of the year. Encourage them to create simple paper cutouts or drawings of these symbols to add to their garlands.

    • If desired, have the children write intentions or wishes for the upcoming year on small paper tags or cutouts to add to their garlands.

  • Creative Expression:

    • Allow the children to express themselves freely by decorating the garlands with safe crafting materials like glue, glitter, or markers (if using child-safe options).

  • Blessing and Hanging the Garlands:

    • Once the garlands are complete, gather together in a circle and offer blessings to the garlands. Encourage each child to say a few words about their creation.

    • Help the children find a suitable place to hang their garlands, such as near a window, on a door, or around a fireplace.

  • Celebration and Treats:

    • Celebrate the completion of the garlands with a simple feast or treats. You can serve cookies, hot chocolate, or seasonal fruits, allowing the children to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

  • Closing:

    • Close the activity by expressing gratitude for the creativity, nature, and the joy of celebrating Yule together. Clean up the crafting area while acknowledging the festive spirit.


Yule Shadow Work

Yule is a time of celebration during the winter solstice, marking the return of the sun and the lengthening of days. The decorating of trees and the burning of Yule logs are rich traditions that symbolize various aspects of the season.


Reflect on the symbolism of Yule. Yule is a time of renewal, the return of light, and the promise of new beginnings. Consider the following questions:

  • How do you feel about the concept of renewal and the return of light? Are there areas of your life where you are seeking a fresh start or a renewed sense of purpose?

  • Reflect on the symbolism of light in your life. Where do you find illumination, and where are there shadows that need to be explored?

Explore the tradition of decorating trees. The evergreen tree is a symbol of life and continuity during the winter months. Consider the following:

  • The ornaments on a Yule tree often represent different aspects of life. What ornaments would you use to symbolize key elements of your life? Are there areas that are underrepresented or overlooked?

  • Reflect on the idea of continuity and stability represented by the evergreen. Are there areas of your life where you seek more stability or a sense of grounding

Reflect on the burning of Yule logs. Burning a Yule log is a symbolic act representing the return of the sun's warmth. Consider the following:

  • The Yule log is often burned as a representation of letting go of the old and welcoming the new. Are there aspects of your life that you need to release or transform to make space for new growth?

  • Fire is a purifying element. What in your life needs purification or transformation? What old patterns or thought processes are ready to be released?

Explore any resistance or emotions that arise during this reflection. Consider the following:

  • Are there aspects of the winter season or these traditions that bring up feelings of isolation or melancholy? How do you typically navigate these emotions?

  • Reflect on any resistance or discomfort related to the symbolism of light and renewal. Are there areas of your life where you resist change or shy away from exploring the shadows?

Take time to journal, meditate, or engage in other introspective practices to explore these questions. Embrace the symbolism of Yule, tree decorating, and Yule logs as a way to connect with the seasonal energies and explore the themes of renewal, continuity, and transformation in your own life. Use this shadow work prompt as an opportunity to embrace the lessons of winter and find the warmth within your own being.


Looking to 2024

We at Midwest Coven Cast have been working on a number of projects that we are hoping to release in 2024.


Marilyn has started plans for Season 4 of Weekend Reads and is looking forward to sharing more with you about that in the near future. The second half of the flagship podcast (Midwest Coven Cast) will also be coming your way in 2024.


In 2023, we started our publishing journey with the intention of sharing modern fairy tales with positive messaging and representation for the witchy community and also focus on practical magic. As children, Marilyn and Suzie both enjoyed picturebooks with realistic illustrations. With these aims and inspirations both of the first of our Witch Tales series were born with The Magic of Bread: A Kitchen Witch Tale and The Magic Garden: A Green Witch Tale. Our next books will be a read-along version of Marilyn's "Witch Shanty" song and a continuation of our Witch Tales series with an ancestral witch tale (title forthcoming).


The coven is also working on a few other super secret projects that we hope to share with all of you very soon!


If you are interested in supporting our work, please consider supporting the coven on Patreon. Our patreons help us keep our podcasts on the air, our website alive, ensure quality publications, and so much more! If you would like to provide more direct support you can donate to the coven on Venmo, CashApp, and PayPal. That said, your support does not have to be monetary, it can be sharing links to our newsletters on your socials, reposting our TikToks, liking on Facebook, etc. We appreciate whatever support you can offer.


COVEN COLORING SERIES

Looking for another fun activity for you and the littles in your life? You can downloand and print our Yule coloring sheet (or upload it to your favorite creative/coloring app) for a fun, creative, low key activity that is fun for the whole family.


Let us see what colorful goodies you all produce. Share your coloring page on social media and tag us (@midwestcovencast). We are excited to see your beautiful works!


Yule tree
.pdf
Download PDF • 5.55MB

Southern Hemisphere Shout Out: Litha

Blessed Litha to all of our pagan and witchy friends in the Southern Hemisphere. We hope your summer blooms are aplenty and that you savor the sun as the shorter days of light come nearer. Blessed be! If you'd lik, you can revisit our Litha newsletter from our turn aroudn the wheel.


Special Thanks

A special thanks to our biggest patreon coven members, Steve D. and Anonymous! This passion project is made largely possible because of your ongoing support. We appreciate you more than we can truly express. Blessed Yule to you!




CALENDAR

21 December Yule begins

Winter Solstice

26 December Full Cold Moon (6:33pm CST)

31 December New Year's Eve

01 January New Year's Day

Yule Ends

11 January New Moon (5:47am)

25 January Full Wolf Moon (11:54am)

01 February Imbolc



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