holidays

Frau Holle

Pixabay

Pixabay

Mid and I had a conversation the other day on the way home from work.

The end result  is that with the way that I’m shaped like a beach ball and going gray young…I’m eventually going to end up Mrs. Santa Clause.

With that in mind, I thought I would touch on one of the happier, feminine Christmas and Yule legends-Frau Holle.

Depending on source, who Frau Holle (also called Frau Holda) actually is varies. Some suggest that she is an aspect of Frigga, the Norse goddess of the hearth. In some  regions of Europe she falls closer to Baba Yaga,  with a decidedly hag influence. In other areas, she is her own entity in and of herself. She -may- have originally been a dual natured entity, taking on either the hag or the maiden depending on story or region. Regardless of who she is, Frau Holle is a spirit who gifts the community in the winter.

She is often associate with women specifically, or by extension, the areas controlled by women-the hearth and children. However her influence also extends into the winter forest. This connection to the woodlands is extended to her symbols- Frau Holle, perhaps not surprisingly, is associated with holly and other plants that are still green in winter like pines and evergreens. Frau Holle is also associated with snow.

Interestingly, though the citations are vague, she may have been linked to the Wild Hunt. This would be one of the few leaders who were actually seen as being heavily benevolent instead of just morally gray. However, this might also just be an extension of her roles as a winter, forest guardian into similarly themed folklore. It does need to be noted however that when in connection to the hunt, she is connected primarily to the spirits of mothers and children, therefore maintaining her already established folkloric roles. Even though that source had little citations noted, the source list does heavily pull from academic sources, so maybe there is something to it.

The Legend of Frau Holle

Mother Hulda

Holda

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The Most Uncomfortable Conversation that You Absolutely Need to Have

toilet-paper-313822_1280

Oh, hi, it’s me again, the blogger with the sociology degrees that really wants to get eventually get into death studies and the end of life industry.

Nothing says ‘happy holidays!’ like a blog post that tells you that you should probably have a conversation about what you want to have happen at your funeral.

Though it doesn’t have to be about your funeral, directly, and it actually started with a conversation about toilet paper.

Yep, death and toilet paper, I mean, doesn’t everyone think that this is a natural flow of events?

The conversation, which took place on Facebook went something like this: I want to bring something to my neighbors next door. Someone just died and I don’t know what would be most helpful.

Most people were supportive, with the normal ‘funeral casseroles’ comments, and suggestions to bring paper goods that no one thinks about like dish soap and toilet paper.

But there was a group of people that were almost  offended that someone use the ‘d’ word. Like, apparently, if we just ignore the fact that we are a mortal species, we just won’t die.

I’m not saying that you should be talking about this over your turkey dinner-but hey, in my social circle, we’ve had weirder conversations at group meals. But does your family know whether or not you have a DNR? Is your living will in order? Does your partner or children know how to settle your financial obligations if you were to suddenly pass? And people really do just suddenly pass. That’s the fact that people don’t seem to take into account-there is a strong possibility that you’re not going to have a slow, peaceful, lingering death well into old age with plenty of time to get your ducks into a nice, neat row.

If you have a mixed faith family, would they know how to appropriately bury you? Do they know if you should be cremated or buried? Do they know not to bury you in blue or you promise to come back and flip tables at Christmas dinner until the family line has been forgotten?

There is another side to the coin as well-there may be people in your family that are now facing their first holidays alone. Maybe if we were more comfortable with death, we’d be more comfortable with mourning. Pick up the phone and talk to the people left behind. Ask them what they need, try to connect. The pain doesn’t go away just because it’s been a few months and people want the holidays to be ‘happy’.

So yes, bring over some toilet paper, and tell your partner how to pay the light bill.

Holiday Ribbon Art

I’m absolutely terrible with paper art. If there’s no sheep involved, I’m probably mediocre at best.

I’m also a terrible photographer-and my hand tremors combined with an energy drink doesn’t help.

When I get my tree up and my apartment decorated, I’ll get the Nikon out and take better photos. Or have Mid do it for me.

But for all the flaws and all the terrible photos, I really, really love how this came out.

This is also a fairly inexpensive holiday craft that’s very kid-friendly. Just have an adult cut out the shape and the ribbon. I got all of the materials at the dollar store, with the exception of the ribbon-that came from Walmart. I’m sure you could do this as a complete dollar store craft though. Just get the heaviest paper you can. I used photo paper because that’s what they had, but use card stock if you can find it. Stiffer paper makes it easier to cut out.

I got the idea for this craft from According to Matt, who did this in summer colors but I knew I wanted to do this as a winter/Yule/Christmas decoration in my tree colors.

Holiday Ribbon Art

2 (or more) pieces very heavy paper (photo paper, card stock, etc)

Glue Sticks

Cutter Cutter in Christmas theme (I used a star)

1 8.5 x 11 frame, or sized to your paper

Ribbon, assorted colors. Any width is fine

Scissors

 

On the back of one of your pieces of paper, trace your cookie cutter. Carefully cut out your shape (I wasn’t as careful as I should have been, but I have this weird superstition about leaving flaws in my work. You may want to have extra paper on hand if you’re more detail oriented than I am).

Place your cut paper over your bottom piece of paper, and mark the edges of the cut out. Your ribbon needs to cover to at least those marks. You can ribbon the entire paper if you want, but for the sake of speed and materials, I just covered a rectangle slightly larger than my star. Tack the ribbon down the the glue stick. The frame will help hold the paper together, but it needs to be down enough that the ribbon won’t move while framing.

You cut the shape out on the back so that the ink marks won’t show. Run the glue stick around that side of the paper and glue the cut sheet to the ribboned sheet so the ribbon shows through.

 

Place your shape into the frame, and hang. I used a piece of ribbon tied through metal hanger on the back to hang the art. The ribbon colors match my tree.

 

Bloggers-I have started a new group board on Pinterest. Open to all DIY, craft, food, or other creative blogs, I would love to have you join. Joining instructions are posted on the board-join here.

Please, stop by this week’s Inspired Weekends (Friday)  and  Fall into the Holidays (Tuesdays)

Linked to-

a pinch of joy

the chicken chick     the prairie homestead

clairejustine

i should be mopping the floor

jembellish

sew can do

frugal by choice

vmg206

Jack Frost

I should admit up front I had no interest in watching this film. I don’t really like this type of horror, my love of Thankskilling aside. But there’s not that many holiday horror films on the market, so I can’t be too picky.

One of the questions that I’ve always wanted to ask horror producers (and producers in general if I’m being fair) is why kids never sound like kids. No one’s children actually squeak like the way they do in movies.

Jack Frost is sort of a goofy film, with a lot of ‘zany’ shots and weird effects. The acting isn’t anything to get excited about, but the cast acts like they had a fun time with the movie which sometimes makes up for stilted delivery. The storyline is pretty thin, but I’m not sure this falls into a part of genre where the depth of plot is what propels a movie along. If you have a thing for slasher films or a love of holiday horror, I would recommend this one but otherwise I’m not sure you’re missing much by avoiding it.

Happy Lammas!

pumpkin
John Barleycorn Must Die

There was three kings unto the east,
Three kings both great and high,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn should die.

They took a plough and plough’d him down,
Put clods upon his head,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn was dead.

But the cheerful Spring came kindly on,
And show’rs began to fall;
John Barleycorn got up again,
And sore surpris’d them all.

The sultry suns of Summer came,
And he grew thick and strong;
His head weel arm’d wi’ pointed spears,
That no one should him wrong.

The sober Autumn enter’d mild,
When he grew wan and pale;
His bending joints and drooping head
Show’d he bagan to fail.

His colour sicken’d more and more,
He faded into age;
And then his enemies began
To show their deadly rage.

They’ve taen a weapon, long and sharp,
And cut him by the knee;
Then tied him fast upon a cart,
Like a rogue for forgerie.

They laid him down upon his back,
And cudgell’d him full sore;
They hung him up before the storm,
And turn’d him o’er and o’er.

They filled up a darksome pit
With water to the brim;
They heaved in John Barleycorn,
There let him sink or swim.

They laid him out upon the floor,
To work him further woe;
And still, as signs of life appear’d,
They toss’d him to and fro.

They wasted, o’er a scorching flame,
The marrow of his bones;
But a miller us’d him worst of all,
For he crush’d him between two stones.

And they hae taen his very heart’s blood,
And drank it round and round;
And still the more and more they drank,
Their joy did more abound.

John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
Of noble enterprise;
For if you do but taste his blood,
‘Twill make your courage rise.

‘Twill make a man forget his woe;
‘Twill heighten all his joy;
‘Twill make the widow’s heart to sing,
Tho’ the tear were in her eye.

Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
Each man a glass in hand;
And may his great posterity
Ne’er fail in old Scotland!

Robert Burns

And so we’re officially in the harvest!

O is for (Growing) Older

I shall not fear. Fear is the mindkiller. Fear is the small death that leads to total obliteration.

-Frank Hubert

Most people run their wheel from Samhain to Samhain. I run mine from Beltaine to Beltaine, because most years that’s when my sacred space opens and my social life takes an upturn again.

But last year was about healing, and healing isn’t always a pleasant experience. Last year was a brutal, nasty year full of stuff that I leave off of this blog because hey, this isn’t Livejournal and I don’t pretend to think that people care enough to come here and read about it. But let’s just say that I felt like a lot of nasty things got cut (or torn) out of my life. So we spent Beltaine in Buffalo this year.

HOWEVER. I do want to say that it wasn’t us just hiding in a corner, or refusing to face our issues (I shall not fear…). We had an invitation to have Beltaine with a part of my social circle that I do enjoy dearly (even if I do my normal I don’t know you well yet so I’m going to sit in the corner and knit by the firelight of poi dancers-did I mention we were on a corner lot in the middle of Elmwood Village?). It ended up being a wonderful weekend-and I don’t think that it would have been that way had we loaded up Seamus and headed into the Southern Tier.

Growing older for me is turning out to be as much about openess as it is anything else. I’m not going to pretend that I’m not smack dab in the middle of my mother stage still. It’s an odd stage, since I can’t have kids (…sorry for that huge admission, but there’s a reason that this blog is me and Mid and maybe a Betta fish.) but I’m certainly no maiden anymore and my croning is still a long way off. But it’s odd, I can feel the crone lurking somewhere in the back and on the edges, and She’s telling me to stop being so damn scared all the time.

I guess I could go all New Agey and talk about how the fear is the path way to maturity blah blah blah or talk about the Mother goddess protecting me blah blah blah. But frankly I’m not that type of blogger. That’s for other people to tackle, not me. But I saw a post on Something Oddly about using Dune in her path, it clicked, and being the sponge that I am, I ran with it. I still have no idea where this path is leading me, and knowing myself large sections of it are going to be very, very dark indeed, but I’m going to walk it anway thinking “I shall not fear. Fear is the mindkiller…”

(And this will be my final admission-other than maybe a turn or two with henna, I have no intention of dyeing my hair when I go gray. I will be a wild haired Crone. This is my promise.)