Light & Shadows of Chalandor Book of Shadows
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Title: "Celebrating the Seasons"
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Registered: 11/21/2008

(Date Posted:02/19/2009 06:16 AM)
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"Celebrating the Seasons"



What is Wassailing?

It is an Anglo-Saxon word meaning to "hail" or "salute" Wassailing is a ritual or rite through which apple and other orchard trees were hailed and made hale or healthy for the coming year!

The Wassail Circle

Wassailing, as we know, is an ancient custom of blessing orchards with fertility for the coming year. Not all of us are looking for physical fertility, of course, but most of us are happy to be creative in other ways. To make this ritual part of your Yule Sabbat, you need a bit of winter greenery, one small evergreen branch for every participant. If you don’t live near a source of evergreen branches, you ca usually get leftovers at most tree lots, sometimes just for the asking, otherwise, a wreath split among several witches is very helpful. You can use the same "ale" you have for Cakes and Ale, but its equally appropriate to prepare a special wassail drink for this rite; and you may wish to do this short ritual at another time or place than your Sabbat. Traditional Wassail is a wine based drink, but any festive drink will do. Invite the children to participate, and feel free to use alcohol if you choose to. Everyone does need a glass or cup, use festive paper cups or individual chalices, drinking horns or wine glasses. The hems of your robes might be splashed, so hike them up a bit if you can, if you can go barefoot, do so, it is the best way to do this.

Stand in a circle, it can be a formally cast circle or a small casual one to share with non- pagan, with the supply of "ale" on a table at the North or at the center. A solitary witch can stand at the center of their altar, facing south to begin with and including all the direction in everything he or she does. It is the host or the Priest’s job to fill everyone’s cup. All lift their cups and the Priest and Priestess make the toast, which everyone repeats in unison:

Hail and Wassail to everyone here

May our blessings increase as waxes the year!

Everyone now raises his or her greenery to shoulder level or higher. The following lines can be memorized, or they can be read by the Priest or Priestess and repeated by everyone:

We grow like the trees, and our labors bear fruits; like trees we are grounded, like trees we have roots. We can shade one another and shelter from storm; we bend to each other, by passions keep warm. Like the trees may we blossom, and keep safe the vale. As an orchard we thrive, now hail and Wassail!

As the last line is spoken or repeated, everyone simultaneously lowers the greenery and pours out the contents of their cups on the green branch. The blessing goes deosil around the circle.

In performing this rite, we acknowledge our connection to the God in His vegetable aspect, for He is the evergreen as well as the deciduous trees that take the form of death every Yuletide, and are reborn to leaf, flower and fruit again. We express our understanding that none of us can get by without a little help from our friends, even if we’re not with them at the moment. We’re part of the cycle, and we must nurture each other to survive ourselves. This ritual also creates for us a new connection with those who did and those who still tend to the orchards.

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