Welcome to the 2018 Missing Witches Yuletide Special!! In which we send a shout-out and hallelujah to the goddesses of winter, of death, and of the distant coming spring. And to trickster wives and to their daughters, to the oracles and the mediums and the muses, to the snow spiders and the storm hags. To all of you – identities erased or denied – who have been part of it always.
"In some traditions the women and girls of a village would craft a lifesize doll out of wheat and reeds and flowers and hold hands with this figure of the snow queen, walking her through town, singing songs at the doorways where girls lived, until they walked her to the river. And drowned her. In other traditions they burned her and warmed their hands by her fire, to call forth the end of winter with her death, and to celebrate her rebirth as the goddess of spring.
Because the Winter goddess of quiet and death and storms and raging is also the Spring Queen bursting through the other side adorned with flowers and steeled by the souls she brings with her from the dark. She is the macrocosm, all of the consciousness of the natural worlds becoming.
This is part of what I like about winter. It is the death and holds secrets to new life. On the longest night of the year, we sit at the crux with the crone. We are with her in the underworld and we burn the Yule log and bake up the last of our stores and huddle together singing, hoping to make it through to the other side."
Thanks to our guests Sue: https://www.instagram.com/liliumorientalis/
And Beisha: https://www.instagram.com/ayurvedabeisha/
Yule Special 2018
You aren't doing a proper woman, therefore you must be a witch. You must be a witch. It's the Missing Witches Yuletide Special. Merry Yule! Hi witches. Welcome to our Yuletide Special. That's Amy. And I'm Risa. Um, we're super excited, the emails we've gotten from you guys are the sweetest, and um, yeah, we're, we thank you for nominating us, whoever did that, for Discover Pals.
Oh right, who was that? Let us know. Who are you? That was unexpected. We also didn't expect anyone to really listen to the song. So welcome, thank you. Thanks, new best friends, we love you. We definitely couldn't let the holidays pass without... Talking to you guys one more time before the end of the year. We wish we could have done a winter season to the people who are writing us that we abandoned them in the winter.
We feel you. We are also lying in the dark listening to podcasts. Taking our vitamin D when we can. Yeah, maybe next time. We'll do a winter one, but we did want to give you guys, um, a little hello and some love now. And then we're working on one that we're so excited about for Imbolc. We met some fucking crazy bad ass witches that you're going to love.
Yeah, so you don't have to wait too terribly long for that. Imbolc is the beginning of February. And then we've been mapping, um, a second season for, for weeks and weeks. So we are, we are officially doing a second season if we didn't tell you that we are. And that's all about that. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, one of the things that I really wanted to talk about during this special before we get to all the fun stuff and the history stuff and the astrology stuff, um, is how stressful this time of year can be and the kind of unnecessary shame.
I mean, I'll get into it, but I really wanted to ask you guys how you're combating these It's like consumerist, capitalist messages that the media pumps and pumps and pumps at us this time of year. So, um, Risa, do you want to like choose one of your favourite responses and maybe shout it out? Um, Sure, I, I mean, I let people are knitting gifts with stash yarn or baking cookies for everyone on their list I also just loves it.
Some people were like, I just don't do it. Yes Deal with it. I'm not playing that fucking game anymore. I'm not sure if I'm pronouncing this right but booty Jedi B U T I underscore She was straight up like, my family doesn't have a choice in the matter because some of us are like, how could you be so bold, you know?
Like, the idea of disappointing someone is like, it'll drive us batty. Like, it put us into debt. Like, make us stress when we should be just like, holding each other. That's it. So, thank you all, like, we got a lot of responses that were like, um, um, making things, buying things from artisans, obviously these are all great ideas, but uh, the Birch Trail in particular said that she makes it more about, um, the, the traditions, about spending time with each other and acknowledging what's happening in nature.
So here's, here's something that I wrote, um, about all of that. It's the holiday season. And I don't want to bum you out, so I won't get into the terrifying debt and suicide statistics, or the heartbreaking stories of grannies being caught shoplifting toys for their families, or the pleas of un or underemployed parents struggling to feed their children, asking how they can afford the gifts the media has trained their kids to want.
The pressure that we put on ourselves and each other breaks us, both emotionally and financially. It is toxic. And this toxic pressure starts to boil up long before the partridge lands in the pear tree. I mean, if you think about it, even if you strip away the underlying narrative of horrific... colonial violence.
Thanksgiving was the one holiday that was strictly about eating food with your chosen family. And it's almost as if the heads of capitalist culture, whoever and wherever they may be, had a meeting one day and said, this cannot stand. And so they came up with Black Friday, took the one holiday that wasn't about buying things to show your love and turned it into a Caligulan orgy of like aggressive, even violent consumerism.
Deep breath, Amy. But again, my children, it's the holiday season, and I want to make you feel better, not worse. So let's talk about how we can resist the commodification of our time and ourselves and of our love for each other. This Yuletide season, please know that the people who love you don't want things.
They want to know that you care, that you're thinking of them. They want your time. An ideal gift for a friend might be to buy him a coffee, and just let him talk about himself for an hour. Or help writing an email she's been putting off, or that mountain of laundry they can't seem to conquer. You see these things when you interact on the daily with your loved ones.
You see the gaps. Notice them. Most people need help more than they need things. I've bought, literally, into the hype in the past. There is a thrill that comes from the aesthetic of a big pile of brightly coloured boxes and ribbons spilling out from under a glowing tree. It's hard to resist wanting to make everything perfect for your family or your chosen family.
But let me tell you, I have only one early childhood Christmas memory that's as clear in my head as it was when I was six. We couldn't get the tree to stand up and it kept falling over until finally we resorted to hammering a nail into the wall and lassoing the tree in place with binder twine. It was pure slapstick comedy and we all Belly laugh about it to this day.
So witches, listen. You don't have to be perfect. You don't even have to try to be perfect. The memories will mostly come from the things that went wrong anyway. I mean, don't get me wrong, I still looooove giving presents, and getting them isn't bad either, but the most successful gifts I've given and received have never been the ones I spent the most money on.
They've been gifts triggered by off handed comments of needs or wants that have been stored away in the memory until the time was right. For my mother, for example, it was a few thrift store photo albums for the box of old pictures she'd been meaning to organize. And we spent Christmas Day putting photos into albums, and telling stories, and reminiscing.
We treasure that memory. It cost me five bucks. Those times when I did go off, maniacally stacking and restacking an ever expanding monolith of presents, I found myself... Later, standing in a heap of crumpled paper, wondering why I bothered. If you can't think of something your friend needs, start by thinking about what you already have to offer.
A card with a voucher for an hour of help, valid for any task. If you have a car, one free no questions asked ride. If you're strong, yard work. Are you a neat freak? Organize a closet. Scrub their floor. That little leg up you give someone will never end up in a landfill. And honestly, a lot of people are just waiting for a safe space to be vulnerable and to be asked, how can I help?
Let me help you. Like Phoenix said in one of our Witches Found episodes, we need to think more about what we can give. And less about what we can take. For sure the goddess would rather you stare up at the moon and whisper thank you, and mean it, than spend money on a triple moon pendant. And I'd be willing to bet that most of your loved ones would prefer a genuine, well thought out thank you to most things that come from a store.
Offerings are symbols of love, but they are not love itself. Let me say that one more time. Offerings are symbols of love, but they are not love itself. But a lot of us are contending with heavy expectations from others that make it just seem easier to bend than to try to break the habit or tradition. We feel that too.
And if you follow us on Facebook, you know our motto is if you must shop, try to shop with a conscience. Try to purchase gifts from ethical sources and ethical artisans. If you can't afford that, and let's face it, artisanal and inexpensive don't often come in one place, then just do what you can. It's swell for me to sit here and tell you how to spend your money, but what if you don't have any money?
There is a profound and trust, profoundly unnecessary shame that can come from not being able to buy things. A secret shame. A shame you don't want to admit. A shame that a mother feels when she tells her kid that maybe Santa isn't coming this year. The shame that same kid feels when he wonders if it's because he wasn't good, or good enough.
A shame that will turn your cheeks red when you hand someone that homemade voucher. You'll say, sorry, it's not much, and smile weakly, listen, I feel you, I got you. Missing Witches have your back. Just tell everyone you're doing this for environmental or philosophical reasons. Say Missing Witches told you to.
Blame us! We can take the heat. And if that is all still too heavy of a burden, just think of one small shift you can make. One new tradition that doesn't cost any money or wreck any land. Baby steps. Draw Holly on newspaper instead of buying wrapping paper. Find a baby step you can take and take it. I like celebrating solstice because it is 100 percent non denominational.
Whether you are pagan, or Christian, or Jewish, or Muslim, or atheist, or Hindu, or Buddhist, or Satanic, or you make up your own belief system as you go along, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, this will be the longest night of your year. We are truly all in this together. And we gather at this darkest time of the year because we need each other.
Maybe no longer for daily survival, but to be reminded on that longest night that we are connected. That we are one. That we are safe. That we have each other's backs. Providing warmth, physically, emotionally, spiritually. And this cannot be bought. If you are alone, we are with you. All this talk about gift giving doesn't mean that much to you.
And maybe you're a solitary witch who normally likes the hermit life, but this time of year it kind of gets to you. Maybe you are lonely. If this is the case, please consider finding a place to be of service. A soup kitchen will cure your loneliness, and you can be guaranteed that your efforts will be appreciated.
Not always the case with friends and family, right? But listen, if you can't conjure the energy for that, but you can hear my voice now, listen closely. You are loved, and worthy, and worthy of love. If you don't believe me, email me at missingwitchesatgmail. com or DM me on Instagram, and I will be happy to remind you that it's true.
You are a part of this great universe for a reason, and we need you. Just existing is all the resistance work you need to do. So in the spirit of Christmas, Yuletide, Eid, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Saturnalia, Winter Solstice, or just another long dark night of the soul, think first of what you can share, then of what you can give.
And think very, very, very last of what you can take. Not just off of store shelves, but from other cultures, other people, energy, the community, this earth. Demonstrate your holiday spirit and loving devotion with your actions and your words, not your credit card. Be free in every sense of the word. Be free.
I've thought of myself as a witch for my whole life, and that witchiness has manifested itself in more ways than I could have imagined. And now with Missing Witches, I get to see the countless other ways that you all are making your magic. It is your Yuletide and year round gift to me. May you all unleash your magic, whatever kind, at full volume on the earth in this coming year.
Goddess rest you merry witches. Let nothing you dismay. Blessed be. At its root, um, Yuletide is solstice based, which makes it a celestial event. Um, Risa and I, of course, have never claimed to be extrovert astrologers or astronomers. I don't think we really claim to be anything. We don't claim to be anything.
I just don't know anything. We claim to be students, and that's about the only line that will... But I'm tired. I claim to be tired. Tired. Tired. Um, you know, witches, I guess we're claiming not. Um, but beyond that, you know, there are, we say this all the time, there are so many ways to be a witch. So many different ways to be a witch.
For some people it's a political act, and for some people it's a spiritual act. And for others it's a very scientific act. And, um, but, as we said. At its heart, it's a celestial event. It's the winter solstice. So we thought it would be cool to bring a couple people who know a lot more about this than we do, to sort of go over the...
And these are more friend witches of ours. I think they would also insist on being introduced as students. Yes. Not experts, just people who love and are curious. And you know, we also We're proud of y'all for just, just loving things and being curious. Yes, please, yes. Just be, be respectful and full of love and curiosity and let's figure out where that goes.
That's it. But we're all trying to navigate this world together, so let's throw to Beysha, whom you've met before in our first season, and a new Coven member, old friend but new Coven member, Sue. So let's throw it over to Sue and Beysha. Okay, hey there! I'm Sue. And this is Beysha. And we're just gonna talk a little bit about the astrology happening around Yule and what we can expect from the sky.
So I think first things first that that we should talk about is the solstice which is happening on the 21st of January. December at, uh, 5 23 p. m. exactly here in Montreal. So that's anyone who's, uh, around this area. It'll be around that time, but that'll vary, of course, depending on how north or south you are.
The solstice is, of course, the shortest day of the year and the longest night here in the Northern Hemisphere. And our friends to the south are going to be having the opposite. They're going to be having their longest day, which is a totally different vibe and super interesting when you think about it.
But. Sometimes I can't think about it too much because it just, it's just too many things to think about, right? So it's the shortest day, it's the longest night. Uh, generally this is, I mean it's officially the first day of winter, although if you're around here it's been winter for freaking months already.
I don't know, how long has it been? 10 years so far? I think it's been at least like three or four weeks where it's felt like proper winter up around here. But this is the first official day of the winter. And, uh, the, um, the solstice is actually when the sun makes its first ingress into Capricorn. So, at 523 here, we're going to be seeing that move into, um, into zero degrees of Capricorn.
So we're making this big transition right now between Sagittarius energy and Capricorn energy. So, Sagittarius, if you don't know a ton about it, is this really expansive sign. And it's ruled by Jupiter, and it's very outward moving. And it's... It's big and it's jolly. Like it's actually jolly, right? And it wants everyone to feel included.
And so we see this a lot in December where folks are going to be having holiday parties. And I'm not talking about like the, you know, sit down dinner kind of thing with your family. No, no, no. I'm talking about like the let's invite all of our friends and have a freaking party and sing songs. And, you know.
Drink weird milky concoctions. Like why do we drink that stuff? Anyway, um, so that's when you kind of get that party energy. Whereas Capricorn, when we move into that, it's a much more sober energy, right? And where Sagittarius wants to have a party, uh, Capricorn wants to make a tradition. Right? It really rules this idea of traditions, and you'll see that a lot in folks who are, uh, celebrating various holidays around here.
You see it a lot with people who celebrate Christmas. They get really hung up on these traditions, right? Like, oh, well, we always did that when I was a kid, and so it's really important to me that we do it now. I think that's awesome. Like I really love the way that we, you know, connect to our lineage and connect to our ancestors in some of those ways, and that's super, super cool.
I just want to have like one little shout out to traditions that are like not serving you anymore. So when you feel that compulsion to like, well, we've always done it this way. So we should, we should do it that way. Like maybe ask yourself, like, but do I want to, like, is this fun for me? Is this, is this nourishing or does this feel like a bummer?
Right. Because at the end of the day, we, we can kind of get stuck in like, what feels like an obligation or what feels like a duty. So I would just say like, yeah, tradition. Cool. Awesome. Beautiful stuff. And, um, wonderful. But like, if it's something that you still feel really connected to and really nourished by, um, so that's like a really big shift in energy that we're going to see there right there on the 21st, the darkest night, the longest night.
We'll be moving from that ebullient kind of party vibe into a darker, quieter, a little bit more like hunkered down. That's how I see Capricorn. Capricorn is like, it has things to do. Like Capricorn, like wants to build an empire and a legacy and like. You got to kind of sit and be quiet and hunker down and make your plans, right?
So that's kind of that switch into there. Yeah, I'm a Capricorn. I hear ya. Yeah. I'm looking forward to it and I really want to think about next year, what I want to do, and I want to reflect. Totally, totally. Yeah, no, Capricorn. Like they wanna plan, you wanna plan everything. You're like, yeah, yeah. I got, I can do all the things.
I just gotta like plan it properly. Um, it's, it's like a, it's like a war room in your head, you know, , it's like, you're just like, okay, let's get serious. Let's do this. Buckle down. Yeah. I, I have a few dear friends here are Capricorns and, and I'm just like, you guys do not stop. Do you ? I I love them. We need them.
They, they make, they make things happen. Um. So that's, yeah, that's that long night that we're going to have. And then the very next day we have this super beautiful full moon happening in Cancer. So of course the full moon happens when the moon and the sun are on opposite sides of the Zodiac and they're looking at each other from across the way.
Um, so they, they're in opposite signs. So Capricorn and Cancer are opposite of each other in a lot of ways. Completely the opposite. Capricorn is traditionally the sign of the father, whereas Cancer is the sign of the great mother. So it's this kind of oppositional thing, but it's gonna be this big bright full moon on this super long night, and I really really love that.
The full moon is actually exact in Montreal, um, at around noon on Friday. So technically, that's when the full moon is happening, but we probably won't see it. So you'll be able to see like a very nearly full moon, um, In the very last degrees of Gemini, the night before, and you'll see a almost full moon, but kind of starting to wane just the tiniest bit, uh, on the night of the 22nd, and that will be in Cancer.
So, um, that, uh, Cut around that. I think that, uh, Yeah, yeah, great. Um, so, uh, I gotta find my spot.
So because the full moon is going to be happening midday, you can pick either of those nights if you wanted to do a ritual, or if you wanted to do something, uh, surrounding that cancer full moon. That can be a really juicy and beautiful moon to work with. And a full moon is, Often, like it's super high energy.
So it's like when the people, when people in the world will most feel the moon, you know, people are like, oh, must be a full moon. Like, you know, people know when it's a full moon, you can feel it. And this time, because the moon is in cancer, that's her home sign. So this is kind of where the moon tends to be the moonest, right?
Mm-Hmm. , it's, she is most herself because this is where she lives. So this is like a big. Watery, juicy, lovely moon. Um, cancer is the sign of the mother, like I said. So it speaks a lot to the ideas of nurturance, connection and bonding. And what I think is interesting is in the body, cancer, uh, rules, uh, the breasts as well as breast milk.
And there's an astrologer who I admire very much. Her name is Renee. So she often talks about how cancer. actually rules oxytocin. So that's that neurotransmitter that helps us bond with each other, right? So this is a hormone that's released during childbirth. Uh, it's released during breastfeeding and it, it helps to forge that bond between parent and child, but it's also something that is released even when people are hugging.
Can I interrupt you one second? Did you say Renee Sills? Yeah. Yeah. So she used to live in Montreal. Yeah, she's super cool. Uh, no, Renee, definitely Google her and we'll put her She is seriously an amazing astrologer and she's wicked smart. And a great person, so we'll put her name and her everything in the notes.
Please carry on. Totally. Okay. Um, so yeah, it's, it's also a hormone that is secreted when we're hugging our friends. And, uh, definitely during orgasm, right? So these are all things that ask us to just connect with each other. And it, it, what it does is it reminds us that we actually do need each other to survive and to thrive.
So the Cancer Moon is going to be shining a big, bright light on all of these relationships that we have in our lives. And, and it's going to urge you to connect and make those bonds and really support each other and find each other and build these networks. So I really like that. As the moon happening right around this time, where we traditionally spend a lot of time with loved ones.
Um, so any holiday parties that are happening around this weekend, those are going to be a really nice time to connect deeply with the folks that we care about. So, you know, we talked a little bit about Sagittarius and these big parties like everybody's invited and we're gonna have a really good time.
This is more the like, let's get together with like our Super inner circle and like let's just get deep about things and let's really like love the hell out of each other I have to say it's just so fitting and perfect It's my birthday on the 23rd and my sister is planning a girls get together and we're gonna have a group session from this into town, just my mom and sisters and I, and I'm like, Oh my gosh, this is going to exactly with everything you're saying.
And that's perfect. I'm so looking forward to it, especially more now. I think that sounds like the actual perfect thing to do. Um, yeah. So, I mean, this is, like I said, this is urging us to connect. And I know that, uh, a lot of times. The holidays can be super fraught for people, um, relations might be strained or non existent with families of origin.
So you know, sometimes that can feel super draining and triggering and sometimes it's downright impossible to spend time with these people. So I'm certainly not suggesting that you should spend time with these people if the emotional cost is really high for you. It's imperative that you protect yourself, protect your energy, protect your magic, seriously, like, don't let anybody else drag you down.
If, if that is not a safe place for you to be with your family of origin, don't do it. Spend time with your chosen family, like, find your people, you know, these are the people who love you and see you for exactly who you are. And, I think, I think the same thing can go for, um, folks who live far away from their families, and, you know, travel at this time of year can be super stressful, it's prohibitively expensive.
So, you know, don't be sad about it, just find your people, like I, I promise that your people are around, like this is a really important weekend for just, you know, being with your people. Um, and you know, if you, if you don't have a place to be for the holidays, like... Ask some friends. I'm sure they would totally open up their home to you and, and, you know, if you are a person who's hosting a gathering, you might think to like extend an invite to somebody who might be at a loose end for plans.
Um, you know, not everybody is celebrating Christmas. Not everybody is celebrating at all, but like, it's nice to be invited, you know, even if you think they might turn you down. Um, and I think, you know, another thing to talk about is like, if none of those things sound good or if none of those options are open to you, then I think it's a really great idea to see about just spending that time in service.
To other people. This is like another way how we can like, you know, bond with our community and like make everyone stronger so, you know if there's a community organization where you can help make meals or deliver meals or if you have a driver's permit you could see about volunteering to make sure that folks get home from parties safe because you know These are important things.
So, you know, if you're feeling super lonely or you're feeling really down I think that But trying to be of service is probably the most beneficial. So yeah, I mean, I mean, we talked about like the, the full moon and the ingress into cap. And there's a, there's a solar eclipse in January. Yeah. Right, right off.
Yeah. Cause I was going to talk about the, the nodes moving and so that, that can lead into an eclipse. Exactly right. And Mars is changing signs and. So what does that mean to those of us who don't know what that means? So, um, Mars is kind of like your, the fire under your bed? Oh, are you already? Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Okay, okay. Into the wet. Alright, uh, so, Something that is going to be happening, um, on New Year's Eve, actually, is that Mars is finally going to be moving into Aries. Now, um, Mars has had a bit of a time this year. Like, he's had a bit of a time. So Mars is, uh, It's often like your motivation, right? This is kind of the fire under your butt.
It's like you're okay. Let's get things done serious, dude Yeah, it's like it's it's the go button in a lot of ways, right? and so Mars spent about four or five months now in Aquarius this year doing a whole retrograde cycle and For people who have like a lot of Aquarius placements that might have felt like a hell of a slog And then, right now it's just kind of finishing its way through Pisces.
Mars doesn't do super well in Pisces. Pisces really wants to like, like, yeah. Like, it wants everybody to like, just love each other. And like, we're all one, and you know, and all that stuff. But Mars is like, I have things to do. Like, I don't have time to sit and chant with you. Like, I got... Things to do, so Mars can get like a little confused in Pisces.
So New Year's Eve, it's going to move into Aries. That's his home sign. It's his home turf. He does super well in Aries. And so for, if you're like a person who likes to make New Year's resolutions, this is going to be, you're going to have all of the motivations. So harness it, use it, uh, don't, don't let it run away on you.
Like this is your, this is going to be your get stuff done. Finally. Like if you felt like you've been spinning your wheels, this is going to be your, you got traction, like let's go. So that's, that's going to be pretty cool. And, um. Um, the nodes of the moon actually moved in November out of Leo and Aquarius and they're moving into Cancer and Capricorn.
So the nodes, if you don't know, they're not actually stars or planets, they're just these points in the sky. And that's where eclipses will happen. And these are. are special in that they move backwards through the zodiac. Um, so they just spent like about two years in Leo and Aquarius and that was the time.
And uh, they'll be moving into Cancer and Capricorn. Uh, or they have already done in November. Uh, so we're actually going to have an eclipse in early November. January, uh, new moon in Capricorn and that's going to be an eclipse. So that's going to be interesting. That's going to be like a good jumpstart to this whole new kind of Cancer Capricorn.
Um. And that's going to be going until 2020. So that's going to give you a little bit of a taste of sort of maybe what's to come and how that is operating in your own chart. So pay attention around that new moon in January and, and see what comes through and maybe even take a note of it and you can like circle back and revisit and be like.
Am I, you know, am I seeing these themes pop up again? That's right. I made that plan, this long term plan back then and of course Capricorn. Totally. Yeah. So yeah, check, check back in with that. I think it's going to be interesting. And how do we feel about those plans with cancer? Not just through that series Capricorn, but no, check in with your feelings about those plans.
Absolutely. Yeah. You have, you definitely have to do a check in and see, you know, if it's still serving you. Exactly. Yeah. Um, so those are kind of the, the nice things that have been happening. Oh, and Venus is finally free of her. Long. Ass. God, kill me now, retrograde. I don't know if anybody else has been just, like, absolutely butt kicked by this, but It started in September, she moved into her shadow, and then, uh, she, she did the whole retrograde back through September.
Scorpio and back into Libra and then back through Scorpio. She will finally be leaving her shadow on the 17th of December. So by the time you're hearing this, she will be out of her shadow. So you can maybe think of, um, seeing like, Hey, what's wrapped up for you? What was there something that was going down in like the Venusy themes in your life?
So that's like relationships and self esteem and it can be related to some money things. So like. Hey, what did I learn from September until now? Like, and you might feel like something just kind of got closed up or like, so not finished. So that's going to be, Oh, it's, it's, it's going to be nice. It's going to be so nice.
Yeah. Okay. So we talked about that, uh, Capricorn, like let's hunker down, let's make. plans that you're super stoked about, uh, and, and I am too. Oh my God. I'm so stoked about this. Uh, you know, during the holidays, people sometimes just go, go, go. And there's so many distractions and there's, you know, there's lights and there's parties and the, and, and I just don't want to do any of that this year.
I just want to like hunker down. I want to like have a book. This journaling and, you know, kind of reflect on the year that's. past and what's, you know, maybe what do you want to do in the next one? Cause I think it's really important to say like, okay, what have, what's this year been about for me before you start making your plans for next year?
Right. And that's the thing with Capricorn. It's so, it's like linked to the oldest tree in the forest, like wisdom. So like going into the Capricorn, it's like, let's already even think about the wisest self. What did exactly, what did we learn this year? You know, thinking from that perspective of wisdom, you know, what was the soul deep wrenching like lessons that, that you're, you know, you can really reflect on before going forward totally before making that next plan.
Uh, so there's going to be a moon in Virgo, uh, starting on boxing 26th and that's it. Moon spends about two and a half days in every sign. So that's gonna be like peak peak plan making, you know And I do this thing during the holidays where like I want to I'll just get an urge to like reorganize Thing like I'm gonna reorganize my whole bookshelf, you know, this is gonna take two days.
It's gonna be great alphabetical order Whatever, you know Virgo loves system. Virgo wants to make things tidy. Virgo wants to like, just manage all of these things. Let's make it just perfect. So if you're a person who likes to do that, like this is your moon. And it's moon. You're going to love it. Yeah, that's right.
My moon is in Virgo. Oh, well then you're just going to be, you're going to be. I'm going to like, and my emotions are going to be organized. Oh yeah. No, and you know what? That is, this is the time to organize your feelings. I'm not even joking. You know, we so often just, like. Yeah. Yeah. You know, okay, that was the feeling, mm, whatever.
No, organize your feelings. Organize them, like, journal about them. Like, hey, what was I feeling? What was going on? Because until you start actually, like, and this is gonna sound so frickin type A of me, but like, until you organize your feelings, what are you going to do with them? You have to. Feelings are things too, like a lamp, like a word, like a name, like quantum physics.
It is a thing. You can organize them. Don't be afraid. I think it's really important. I'm excited. So yeah, please visit. In this time, like, resist the urge to just, you know, party all the time. Party a bit if that's a thing you like doing, but like, take some time to really reflect and journal and, you know, recharge your batteries, man.
Like, that's what this time is for. That's what these long nights are for. Get some sleep. Just... Go for a walk do something nice for yourself Like you you have to recharge your batteries if you are going to be epic the rest of the year Yeah, like take moments for yourself during the Christmas break instead of being with everybody all the time take moments At night to go and stand alone and look at the moon and see that beauty just just you Totally.
That's what the long night's for. It's for going out and like connecting with that mystery, right? It's there like this is the time you have some time make that time for yourself. Yeah It's gonna be nice. This is gonna be a beautiful holiday. So be well Enjoy it be with people who care about you and who you care about and be good to yourself Totally.
We wish you a very merry Yule. Merry Yule! Happy holidays and we'll see you in the new year. Bisous! Um, I'm so happy to have, um, Sue here and Amy and Baisha to fill the sort of the rooms filling up with witches around us, um, and sort of to be awkwardly claiming that title. Mostly I wanted to Um, you know, women and magic and, and wanted to understand more about this movement of magic and started finding more and more history paths to go down.
I think, um, one, you know, I want to come back to this person who said we left them alone in the dark when they wanted to listen to podcasts and, and send a shout out to one podcast that I think is weirdly related to the ways I've been thinking about consumerism. I want to recommend you guys to listen to The Dream.
Um, it's not witchy, but you may recognize some people who are in your sphere around this and some of the problems and the questions. It's about, um, direct marketing and multi level marketing and the ways that that's prayed, especially. on vulnerable people and often on women, um, and as, as, as marketed to us as a way of building community and is marketed to us as a way of building independence and freedom and self worth.
Um, just listen to episode two. It's so touching as someone whose family members have gotten tangled up in this shit before and. to heartbreaking ends. Um, I just want to reassert Amy's message of anti consumerism to reach out to each other in the time to support and share meals and don't fucking sell each other bullshit pyramid schemes.
Let's try to be there for each other for more than this, you know. Ideally, we can build community not just through an exchange of goods, but through an exchange of ideas. And I mean, support each other in goods, but just. Just try to notice when the oils or the candles you're being sold are actually bad for you and are just sending money up a pipe to that top 1%.
Let's, let's try to resist that stuff. Um, the piece that I wrote for you guys today is, is a little bit of nerdy history and a bit of an incantation about winter gods and goddesses. Um, that's all. Love you guys. Be play safe. Yes. Marzana Marna Morna Morena Mara Mora Marmora by all her names. She is an ancient Slavic, pagan, winter goddess who embodies winter's death and rebirth and dreams.
In some traditions, the women and girls of a village would craft a life sized doll out of wheat and reeds and flowers and hold hands with this figure of the Snow Queen, walking her through town, singing songs at the doorways where girls lived, until they walked her to the river and drowned her. In other traditions, they burned her and warmed their hands by her fire to call forth the end of winter with her death and to celebrate her rebirth as the Goddess of Spring.
Because the winter goddess of quiet and death and storms and raging is also the spring queen, bursting through the other side adorned with flowers and steeled by the souls she brings with her from the dark. She is the macrocosm, all of consciousness of the natural world's becoming. This is part of what I like about winter.
It is the death and holds secrets to new life. On the longest night of the year, we sit at the crux with the crone. We are with her in the underworld and we burn the yule log and bake up the last of our stores and huddle together singing, hoping to make it through to the other side. Knowing that rebirth is inevitable.
If you live in a place where you see racism and fascism around you, we want to whisper to you, witches and other bad bitches are with you. Working alongside you in the fertile dark, even on the coldest nights. If you live somewhere that is not covered in snow, I want to send you some of the magic from this place that is.
Where I live we've been under a coat of thick white snow since the dawn of the new moon at the beginning of November. The lake first froze November 10th when my daughter was one month old. Since then the trees hang heavy, and our road in, and usual paths, are cluttered daily with downed branches. Some ravaged trees hang caught in the forest's arms, breathing danger over our heads in the seemingly peaceful quiet.
On our walks, I keep seeing spiders in the snow. They're still there, though all is frozen, stitching webs across the paths, walking slow. Spiders up here make a kind of antifreeze in their bodies and go weaving their way through the trees and deep down, within the snow, in the subnivean zone. Because the coat of silent death is an illusion.
There is an underworld right here, below a foot of hard ice cupped against the warm black earth where small animals tunnel hiding out from hungry foxes and birds of prey. They remind me of Anansi and of Pixie Coleman Smith bringing the African spider goddess into the drawing rooms of Bohemian London and with her a thread of African power, queer power, resistance and independence.
Stitching. The Caelic is the personification of winter in Gaelic mythology. She herds deer, she fights spring, and her staff freezes the ground. She rules this time we're in now, the winter months between Samhain and Beltane, while Brigid rules the summer months between Beltane and Samhain. Kalec and Bridget are two faces of the same power, the same goddess, the same queen of earth and weather.
Sometimes she is a great bird. Sometimes she is multiple and known as the Storm Hags. And that's a free band name for those who want one. The voice of windstorms and the righteous fury behind great waves. Sometimes she is the stone the storm beats herself against. We have stories of the goddess because people saved them.
As DinÃ© and European author and activist Lila June wrote in a piece called Reclaiming Our Indigenous European Roots, which you can find along with every other reference in our show notes and on our website. I have been called a half breed. I have been called a mutt, impure. I have been told my mixed blood is my bane, that I am cursed to have an Indian for a mother and a cowboy for a father.
But one day, as I sat in the ceremonial house of my mother's people, a wondrous revelation landed delicately inside of my soul. It sang within me a song I can still hear today. This song was woven from the voices of my European grandmothers and grandfathers. Their songs were made of love. They sang to me of their life before witch trials and before crusades.
They spoke to me of a time before serfdoms and before Roman tithes. They spoke to me of a time before the plague, before the Medici, before the guillotine. A time before their people were extinguished or enslaved by dark forces. They spoke to me of a time before the English language existed. A time most of us have forgotten.
These grandmothers and grandfathers set the ancient medicine of Welsh blue stone upon my aching heart. Their chants danced like the flickering light of Tuscan cave fires. Their joyous laughter echoed on and on like Baltic waves against Scandinavian shores. They blew worlds through my mind like windswept snow over alpine mountain crests.
They showed to me the vast and beautiful world of indigenous Europe. This precious world can scarcely be found in any literature. but lives quietly within us, like a dream we can't quite remember. One of the great saviors, oracles, historians, transmitters of Irish magic, stories, religion, and wisdom, which became an important influence on the modern Wiccan movement, was a woman named Lady Augusta Gregory, who among many other things wrote Visions and Beliefs in the West of Ireland with William Butler Yeats.
Yates came up in our podcast before as a friend and magical collaborator to Pixie Coleman Smith. And in teasing out the webs around them, I started to see more important witches in his lovers and close friends. People I'd never heard of when studying him in lit courses. So, as a gift to my mother and Amy's mother, both lovers of Yates and poetry and a good mystery.
In this episode, I want to go under the snow and offer up a few quick tributes to Crone historians, haunted muses and muse mothers, and trickster oracles. The preface to Visions and Beliefs goes, There's no doubt at all that there's the same sort of things in other countries, but you hear more about them in these parts because the Irish do be more familiar in talking of them.
And it begins with this. The Siddhi cannot make themselves visible at all. They are shape changers. They can grow small or grow large. They can take what shape they choose. They appear as men or women, wearing clothes of many colors, of today or of some old forgotten fashion. They are seen as bird or beast or as a barrel or a flock of wool.
They go by us in a cloud of dust. They are as many as the blades of grass. They are everywhere. Their home is in the fourths, the lisses, the ancient round grass grown mounds. There are thorn bushes they gather near and protect. If they have a mind for a house like our own, they will build it up in a moment.
They will remake a stone castle battered by Cromwell's men if it takes their fancy, filling it with noise and lights. Their own country is Tir nan og, the country of the young. It is under the ground or under the sea, or it may not be far from any of us. Michelle McDonough for The Independent writes that Yeats great friendship with Lady Augusta Gregory sustained him through years of turmoil, and with her he embarked upon the great enterprise of a national theatre, an emblem of Irish culture, a forum where a mob would become a people.
Together, they made that specific kind of magic that is theatre. Words enacted and reenacted to form ritual. Powerful enough to call forth the Siddhi to help birth or rebirth a nation and awaken a people. Yeats described Lady Augusta in a letter as, the only person I could tell every thought, and said she was more than a mother, friend, sister, or brother to him.
She gathered folktales and she gathered modern Irish writers, explicitly making a safe space for queer writers, and gathered about her the waves and winds of the mounting Gaelic revival and of Irish independence. Maude Gunn was another heroine of the Irish independence and is often called the great love or great muse of Yeats life.
Maud was a fierce activist and also a tortured witch. Her first experience of craft was traumatic. She found a book of occult knowledge in her father's papers, and she used it to make a pact with the devil, offering her own soul in exchange for her financial independence. Not the first or last time this deal has made sense to a girl imprisoned by the realities of systemic patriarchy, obviously.
Weeks later, her father died. Leaving her an inheritance that granted her wish and scared the shit out of her. But she got over it. She became an activist for Irish independence. In part galvanized by her relationship with French fascist and right wing anti British activist, Lucien Mulvoy. Let's stop and note here how easily a passion for independence and the work of valuing a national history and culture can become racist as fuck.
And let's celebrate our cultures and embrace our ancestors without all this shit, okay? Maude and Lucian had a child together who died at just one year old. The fact that the childhood mortality was a hundred times more common than it is now didn't reduce the psychological devastation it wrought on Maude.
According to a BBC article, over the next two years in Dublin, London and Paris, a grief stricken Gunn was drawn into the occultist and spiritual worlds that were already of deep importance to Yeats. In his memoirs, Yeats recalled that Gunn repeatedly asked his circle of friends about the reality of reincarnation.
One friend, writer and mystic George Russell, assured her it was possible to recreate a dead child's soul if the parents went about it in the right way. And so, in late 1893, Gunn recontacted Lucienne Milvoy. They had separated after the baby's death. She asked him to meet in Saint Moi sur Seine, where, at night, in a crypt, beneath a large memorial chapel, where the child's coffin lay, the couple entered the small chapel, opened the metal doors, leading down to the crypt, descended a small metal ladder, and then, next to the dead baby's coffin.
Modgun had sex, hoping that the process of metempsychosis, the transmigration of the soul, would be made easier. In August 1894, Modgun had another baby. This was her daughter, Iseult. Modgun brought up the child without Milvoy, and their relationship was odd. She refused to call her daughter, instead describing her as kinswoman or cousin.
The article from the BBC continues that as an adult, Isolt had an affair with Ezra Pound and married controversial Irish Australian novelist and Nazi sympathizer Francis Stewart. Maud converted to Catholicism, much to Yeats dismay, and in 1903 married the Irish soldier and Republican John McBride. Yates spent a lot of time obsessing over Maud and Iseult, and academics have written a great deal about their role as muse and spiritual partners in the creation of great poetry from the fact of unrequited longing.
Let's pause for a minute and send a spell or prayer or memory for women too often remembered as a side note for their beauty, for who proposed to them, for who they gave birth to, who they slept with, and the works they inspired. Ezolt studied Bengali after meeting the nation shaping poet and novelist, and the first non European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, Rabindranath Tagore, and she worked to translate his poems to French.
Tagore left it up to Yeats to decide if Ezolt's translations were worthy, but Yeats claimed he didn't have strong enough French to decide, and Ezolt's translations were never published. Iseult rejected Yeats as well. He was apparently relieved when the wild gusts of feeling provoked by the gun subsided in favor of a new life of work and common interest with his wife to be, George Hyde Lees, who reminded him of Lady Augusta Gregory.
George was a witch as well. She was a fellow student of the occult, and Yates sponsored her membership in the Golden Dawn in 1915, and they married in 1917, after her 25th birthday, when Yates was 52. When it became obvious on their honeymoon that Yates was unhappy, George shocked her husband by taking up automatic writing.
Which, coincidentally, involved an unknown spirit telling Yeats he had made great choices in marriage and in leaving the guns alone. Yeats won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923, but the two collections of poetry that are generally considered to be his best and most impactful came after. Yeats said, My poetry has gained in self possession and power.
I owe this change to an incredible experience. Referring to his communication and communion with the unknown via George. The project of automatic writing consumed them for five years and resulted in the prose book, A Vision, which hasn't been very popular with Yeats scholars, but the poems and plays that resulted from this project include some of my favorite poems and pieces that are considered masterpieces of literary modernism, like, uh, Michael Robarts and the Dancer.
Easter 1916, the second coming, sailing to Byzantium, meditations in a time of civil war, Leda and the Swan, and among school children. George admitted later that when she began the automatic writing that forms the original material of a vision, she was totally faking it. It was a trick to keep her husband's attention.
She didn't want him to regret their marriage, so she pulled down inspiration with the age old witchcraft of a cunning bride staining the sheets. But then she says something happened. An unknown interlocutor, either a spirit of the earth or of her own unconscious shadow mind, took over. Yeah. Together, Yates and George and the unknown would craft a work that haunted and irritated biographers of the poet for decades.
Only in recent years is the work, getting some more open-minded attention. You can find a incredible mapping of this firstname.lastname@example.org. At its core, a vision is a song of interconnection, a song of the earth and of death and rebirth. And maybe a step along the road to the kinds of knowledge that can emerge from collaboration between women, men, and an openness to all that is unknown.
Together they wrote, Yesterday when I saw the dry and leafless vineyards at the very edge of the motionless sea, or lifting their brown stems from almost inaccessible patches of earth high up on the cliff side. Or met at the turn of the path the orange and lemon trees in full fruit, Or the crimson cactus flower, Or felt the warm sunlight falling between blue and blue, I murmured, as I have countless times, I have been a part of it always.
And there is maybe no escape. Forgetting and returning, life after life, Like an insect in the roots of the grass. But murmured it without terror. In exaltation almost. All this to say, on this Mother's Night, first night of Yule, longest night of the year, I want to send a shout out and hallelujah to the goddesses of winter, of death, and of the distant coming spring.
And to trickster wives, and to their daughters. To the oracles and the mediums and the muses who have been part of it always. Part of us always. To all of you out there singing along the webs, holding in your hearts the great power of the longest nights and the coming morning. To all of you gathering your stories, gathering your people, gathering the wind about you, gathering your strength.
And to the dark. Thank you. We love you. We are with you. We'll see you on the other side. We're gonna leave you with a song that we recorded that I wrote that is a new holiday anthem for witches everywhere. Um, we put the lyrics and the chords. Yeah, the lyrics and the chords that Amy wrote. And made into a Christmas tree image for you.
She got full on. Um, they'll be up on our website. Um, along with the recording of this podcast. And maybe some other pictures and fun stuff we can find for you. And all the references. And we also left one verse blank. We would love for you to write your own words. And sing them in there. And send them to us.
And, Merry Yule! That's it, we love you. We love you!
Time, oh solstice, oh longest night of the year. We gather together to share our hope and our fear. Cause we are witches in the night. We are witches, we are witches. Morrow to the solstice and yuletide On the longest night of the year Please bring us together To share our warmth and our cheer Cause we are witches of the night We are
We are witches. We make our own light. We are
We are witches. Marry you up! That's it, we love you. We love you! Sources at your time. On the longest night of the year. Please bring us together To share our warmth and our cheer. Cause we are witches of the night. We are witches. We break. Ah, Yeah.