Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fiery Herbs for Yuletime

Yule marks a time of transition from revelry, marked by Jupiter (Sagittarius), to responsibility, marked by Saturn (Capricorn). It is at Yule that we light great fires against the cold and dark, dancing, laughing and storytelling through the Longest Night. We are called to balance: light and dark, inside and out. It is up to us to light our fires and keep them tended, yet at the same time to pause for inner reflection and stillness.

Many of the herbs associated with this time of year are about fire and protection. Holly, juniper, pine, mistletoe and rosemary are all associated with the element of fire. Their essences burn away that which is unwanted: viruses, fear, old habits, poverty, loneliness. These herbs purify and protect. Using them throughout your home, in cooking, and in ritual will help you burn away the cold while protecting inner calm and quiet. You might put rosemary in your bread, hang up a mistletoe branch, or rub pine-scented oil into aching muscles.

One specific way to use these herbs is while cleaning. While mopping your kitchen in preparation for Yule, light a pine-scented candle. Put a few drops of rosemary, juniper, or cypress essential oil in your mop water. Burn a little cedar incense, and sprinkle a pinch of salt on the floor. While you mop and scrub, chant the following:

With fire, water, air, and earth,
I bless my home,
My heart and hearth.

Visualize what you want to bring into your home. See your family and your guests happy, healthy, and whole. Feel the inner peace that comes from the fiery protection of winter herbs as it soaks into your spirit, home, and heart.

Yule blessings to you and yours.

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