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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Mothers' Night, the Night before Yule

Since I am still counting days as starting with sunrise, rather than sunset, Today was the day before Yule, for me; traditionally Mothers' Night (Mōdraniht) and a night to honor the disir, All-Mother Frigga, our female ancestors and even the landwights. It is also the day that I renew the protective talismans that I place to surround our land. 
Six little talismans all in a row.

This year, I also had been moved to collect some of the altar items that are no longer in my regular rotation, to populate elemental altars on the appropriate sides of our acreage. I felt that today was the day to do this, also. 

It has been a while since I had to break trail on snow shoes to do this ritual, and using only one walking pole so my other hand could pull the sled full of materials made it awkward. Even worse, I lost one of the 'shoes along the way and did not notice it until I had likely walked most of the length of the east side of the land. Breaking trail is hard, walking unevenly as I was made it harder, so I chose to not go back in search. I will get out there in the next couple of days to track it down. 

North Altar
I started out walking North, making my way through the electric fence (turned off before I started) and set up my altar for the North/Earth near the boundary of the field.
After placing the North altar I turned East, greeted the little young grove in the north-east corner and tied the first talisman to a birch tree growing there. 
Crab apples
against the
cloudy sky

Talisman in place in the NE corner
Then I headed south, along the east boundary. I greeted the neighbors' horses and said hello to the volunteer crab apple tree that we discovered and identified a year ago last summer. 

East/air altar

The east/air altar came next with feathers from our turkey and a bird's nest with a pecan in its shell standing in for an egg. As I continued, I saw issues with the electric fence, and began working on them as I went along...until I found a place where the lines were broken and I had taken up too much slack as I worked my way along to be able to reconnect them...even if they had not been totally encased in ice! So I proceeded just on the ritual path, making a mental note to tend the fence later. 

South-east talisman.
When I placed the south-east talisman in the evergreen, I noted a faded bit of ribbon hanging just left of center near the bottom of the photo...a left over from last year's ritual. As I turned and continued west along the front and road-side of our land, I took in several of the trees I have planted as a visual screen, and several more places that the fence needed attention. 

I hung talismans on both sides of the drive, and placed the
One of two talismans
beside the driveway.
south/fire altar there. It is small and sparse, with just a bit of charcoal and some twigs to represent the fuel for the fire and I forgot to take a picture of it. 

Along the south-west boundary I greeted more of the young trees, ending up in the southwest corner, where the bush that I
Talisman in baby oak tree.
had been using to support the talisman had gone, so the young oak tree, one of many I planted a few years ago, stepped up to the task. 

As I turned north again, along the west boundary, I found many things of interest!
icy pine tree
Two of the pine trees from my earlier planting had been blown/bowed over the fence and were still encrusted with ice and snow! I gently whacked the branches to remove most of the ice and made a mental note that I will need to look at

them early in the spring.  I also found what appear to be buds on
witch hazel
my witch hazel shrub! I will have to keep an eye on this and catch it in bloom!

The west/water altar and the north-west talismans were next, but I cannot up load any more pictures for this post, so you will just have to imagine them.

All in all, it was a good working, though my body is -- and will likely continue to -- offer complaints from the workout. 

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