The Magic of Christmas

The Magic of Christmas
-By Debbi Decker

The Christmas season is officially here. Though you would have thought it had actually arrived back in September. It seems that the stores are filling their shelves with holiday cheer earlier and earlier each year. Halloween and Thanksgiving seem to have taken a back seat to this day of all days. In my town, Halloween and Thanksgiving are given a shelf or two, while Christmas takes over the entirety of the rest of the space.

Christmas is a hard season at times for those who walk the Pagan road. Though I was raised in a religious home, Christmas does not resonate with me. The modern version of it anyway. Oh, don’t get me wrong. As a child, I did indeed embrace the belief in the Child born on this day. But I also embraced the magic of the season. Waiting for those hoof beats on the roof, hoping to get a glimpse of Santa. We had no chimney so I knew he had to use the door. And every year, we would gather round and listen to the reading of “The Night Before Christmas”. My head was full of babes in mangers, angels, elves, flying deer, sparkling snow, and Ho Ho Ho’s. Then, I grew up. And learned that there is no “real” Santa. That the Child was probably not really born on this day but rather in a warmer month earlier in the year. Christmas lost its magic for me and that is the most important word here. Magic. I lost the magic. And it made me sad. Without the magic it was just another day, though for some it is the highest of all holy days. To be honest, there were times I did envy others for the beliefs that I just could not wrap my soul around.

Years went by and as I became more grounded in my beliefs, I realized that I could indeed still find the magic of the season. So many traditions that we all follow are of ancient origin, created to honor the divinity in all of us. I began to light the candles for my ancestors. Burn a Yule log for protection and warmth. When I decorate a tree, adorn the house in greenery, and hang the new mistletoe (and burn the bunch from the prior year), it is to honor Mother Earth for gifts she gives us through all of the seasons. The ornaments are full of symbolism, creating a magical space. Stars, moons, suns, fruits and musical instruments. Just to name a few. A tiny elf or Santa will peek out among the branches to remind me of the magic of my childhood but also to symbolize the idea that we can all give something (no matter how big or small) to others. I can sign a carol and feel the joy of releasing those notes to the universe and let my voice be carried upon the wind.

I cook food for my loved ones, making sure that I stir clockwise rather than widdershins, while chanting the word “love” in whispery breaths. Make gifts to give to others, each one of a theme chosen to honor that person. I take the early darkness of the days into myself and use this energy to plant the seeds of what I want for the year to come. When my family gathers, we share our food, our memories, and our hopes and dreams. Sometimes we still read “The Night Before Christmas” to our little ones. We will nurture the idea of Santa and the magic of it all for as long as possible. And when the little ones grow up, we give them the ability to grasp the magic of another “age” and our hopes that our traditions will be carried forward.

My ways are not your ways perhaps. They may not resonate with you. We do, however, all of us have a common theme that we can all recognize and hope for…. Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All Mankind.

Bright blessings on you and yours on this day and all of the days of the year.

Debbi Decker is proprietor of Crazed Poppet Creations Art & Assemblage Emporium. Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next month for the telling of hauntings and ghostly tales by Debbi Decker.

The Appearance of Leprechauns

The Appearance of Leprechauns
-By Angelique Duncan

In March the Leprechauns begin to appear. They are often the ambassadors of Irish mythology and a modern symbol of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. In early history they are described as short statured around three feet tall with red hair and often bearded, wearing red topcoats and always in a hat. Their coats were said to have rows of seven brass buttons. Their appearance was generally tidy and dapper with a stoic demeanor.

It is believed that the Leprechauns were the cobblers and bankers for the faeries and mystical folk. Legend has it that they would hold coins and shiny objects of value for the fairy clans in crocks that they would store in burrows and under mounds. To keep the wealth safe from humans, the Leprechauns were the only ones who knew where it was buried. They carry two pouches, one with silver coins that will magically reappear in the pouch once paid. In the other pouch they carry magical gold coins that they reserve for when they are in a tight spot and need to bribe or distract to get out of a situation. The gold coins are said to turn to ash once handed out and the Leprechaun has escaped out of sight.

In many legends the Leprechauns are deemed generally cranky, serious, hard working creatures, with strong ethics and are mostly solitary. Other than their shoemaking and bank dealings with the various faerie races, they prefer the company of other Leprechauns. They have earned the reputation of being miserly and tricksters. The reputation as mischievous tricksters is garnished by the great lengths and persistent measures they will go to evade humans.

Their aversion to humans stems from ancient history of Ireland, as it is believed that they were descended from the Tuatha de Danann. After being defeated in a series of power struggles, the Leprechauns, along with the other mystical tribes where driven under ground to live in caves and mounds. It is said that the Leprechauns were charged with the duty of protecting the riches of the ancients when they went into hiding.

A common theory is that later in history when Christianity took hold across Europe the followers of the ancient religions were eradicated and the remnants of the magical faeries and Leprechauns were driven further into hiding. Legends of the hidden treasures surfaced among humans and it was believed that if one could capture a Leprechaun, they could be forced to lead humans to the pots of hidden gold. It was thought that if one could follow a Leprechaun to the “end of a rainbow” the treasure would be found. It was once held that rainbows were markers to the buried ancient wealth and acted as portal openings to the enchanted underworld. To cross paths with a Leprechaun is said to be a rare occurrence and usually ends in frustration for the human who tries to capture and extract the location of the treasure from the Leprechaun.

The modern incarnation of Leprechauns are depicted as wearing all green, presumably to emphasize the wearing of the green and Irish pride for St Patrick’s Day. They are often described as unruly, prone to drunkenness, random mischief and vandalism. One explanation for the personality change in Leprechauns from their past reserved countenance is that what is being described in modern times is not actually Leprechauns, but Cluricans who are part of a different race that is related to Leprechauns. Although similar in physical appearance and possibly related to the Leprecaun, Cluricans are a separate race in the order of magical folk. Cluricans are noted for a love of harsh drink, rabble rousing and terrorizing livestock and crops to spite humans. They are said to be short in stature and untidy in appearance.

The practical explanation of the Leprechauns modern appearance and demeanor is that over time the folklore associated with the magical folk is mostly moot and forgotten. The modern Leprechaun that is associated with St. Patrick’s Day is an amalgamation of descriptions from fictional literature, film and early American stereotypes of the Irish.

St Patrick’s Day originated as a Christian holiday celebrating the victory of St. Patrick driving the “snakes” out of Ireland. The “snakes” are metaphorical for St. Patrick eradicating the non-Christians from Ireland. It was a celebration that the Pagan gods and myth had been muffled. Although regionally some do still celebrate March seventeenth as a holy religious day, in the modern United States it is marked as a day of Irish Pride for the obstacles overcome by immigrants in the new world. It is celebrated with merriment, wearing of green, exaggerated claims to Irish heritage, much drinking and the appearance of Leprechauns.

If there are still Leprechauns left in the world, they must get quite a chuckle at the irony that a holiday that once was created to celebrate their extinction, now celebrates their image as the quintessential Irish icon. Should you have the good fortune to glimpse a Leprechaun crossing your path raise a glass to honor him and his kind, he’s had a rough history and has managed to endure the test of time. Word of advice, don’t bother to try and follow him. He won’t tell you where the crock of gold is buried.

Angelique Duncan is proprietor of Twilight Faerie Nostalgic and Capricious Objects. Check out her artist page to find links to her shops and vintage inspired traditional holiday art. Visit again next month for more traditions and folklore.

Winter Holiday Give Away 2013

The Winter Holiday Give Away has concluded!

Warm Winter Greetings!

A winner has been chosen. The winner will be contacted via email. Thank you to everyone who entered the contest and for spreading holiday cheer.

To all our friends and followers warmest regards for a bright and happy Winter season!

How To Enter:

Step 1: Visit one of the contributing HAB artist from the list below Etsy or Zibbet store or website and contact them through their shop or email. Leave them a message that that spreads Winter Holiday cheer, in the form of your own holiday salutation whatever that means to you.
Step 2: Visit our Facebook page and “Like” us and comment your salutation spreading Winter Holiday cheer on our wall.
Step 3: Fill out the official Winter Holiday entry form below.

Official Rules

Entry deadline is Midnight on December 19th 2013. The Winner will be chosen at random. One entry per person. Winner will be notified via email. The prize will ship on December 20th 2013. The winners name will be posted on the Halloween Artist Bazaar website and Facebook page. Members of Halloween Artist Bazaar are not qualified for entry. Contest open internationally, however please note that prize may not arrive before December 25th due to international shipping delays.*your countries custom charges may apply.* Information collected for the Winter Holiday Give Away will not be sold or shared. Phone number asked for in the event problems arise with shipping and only used for that purpose.

Contributing Halloween Artist Bazaar Artists:(check back as the list grows and photo’s of the winnings are posted!)

Art Enxebre
Chaos In Color
Jan’s Beads
Art By Sarada
Sauvage Raven Creations
Jynxx Designs Eclectic Arm Candy
Lttle Shop of Horrors
Wicked Alterations
Cards For A Gloomy Day
Twilight Faerie

May Day Celebration of the Faeries and the Witches

May Day; Celebration of the Faeries and the Witches-By Angelique Duncan

May Day; Celebration of the Faeries and the Witches

May 1st, associated with colorful flowers, Maypoles and the celebration of spring warmth and the pending arrival of summer. The origins of May Day go back far into history and have a presence in some form in most European and North American cultures having similar meanings attached to the day. However if one digs deep they find buried under all the flora and ribbons a history associated with the enchantment of fae folk, witches and Halloween.

Up until the 1950’s May Day was part of popular American culture with picnics, May pole dances and crowning of May Day Queens. In most European and Nordic countries some incarnation of May Day celebrations exist till this day. Many historians trace the holiday back to the Roman Empire and the Festival of Flora. The Gaelic cultures of Ireland and Scotland celebrated Beltane. The Welsh celebrate Calan Mai. In Germany and Sweden Walpurgis is celebrated.

The themes are common in each of these celebrations. An emphasis on flowers, fertility, protection and often include outdoor picnics, parades, May pole dances, crowning of May Queens and symbolic cleansing bon fires. Another common theme is the belief that other worldly entities are at their most prevalent at this time.

Ancient religions believed that there were certain times of the year, usually corresponding with the change of seasons and phases of the moon in which magical creatures could pass through a thin veil that separated their enchanted plane with the human physical plane. May Day or May first is one such occasion. It also is the antithesis holiday to Halloween, or what was once commonly known as Samhain.

Many early cultures believed that on the return of summer the faeries returned as well. They like their human counterparts had hibernated through the long dark winter months. When the warmth and flowers returned, so did the magical folk. It was believed that one of the most powerful crossovers for the magical creatures known as faeries, gnomes, pookas and other sprites was on the eve of May Day. They returned through the veil during the night to roam the earth in celebration.

Mythology tells that the spring celebrations of the faeries were not that dissimilar to that of the humans. Some cultures believed that, much like candy for trick or treaters at Halloween, that gifts of sweets, flowers and shiny things should be left at ones door in small baskets to appease the faerie revelers. If one did not leave gifts for the faeries, it was believed that they would reek havoc on ones crops, livestock and bring misfortune to ones home through out the summer season. During the Victorian era it was popular, especially among children and young girls to leave offerings of trinkets, cookies and cakes for “faerie picnics” or “faerie parties” to draw the faeries to their gardens and also guarantee the safety of ones flowers from faerie mischief.

Legend states after their night of merriment that magic folk would return to their prospective faerie mounds, woods and gardens until October 31st, the night of Samhain. This would mark the return of autumn, and the pending dark of winter. At which point the faeries would hold another night of celebration before passing back through the veil to their enchanted world to hibernate again until the return of the sun the following cycle.

It is not only the faerie folks that have had a place in May Day, but the day has a history with the Witches too. Many European countries believed that May Day was a night for witchcraft. Many, following the same theory of faerie legend that the veil between two worlds was lifted on the 1st of May, believed that witches would prevail on May Eve or Walpurgis night. There are many associations with May bon fires and witches through out Europe, Norwegian and former Soviet countries. It was believed that this was a time of Sabbath for the witches. Some cultures believed that the witches would hex or curse their crops and live stock and spread disease and misfortune to homes so bonfires would be burned to purify and scare away the witches or any passing evil spirits.

Others believed that witches would hold grand gatherings at significant geographical locations on Walpurgis Night. Some countries still carry on festivities to emulate and celebrate the meeting of the witches with costumed bon fires, extravagant costumed parades and merry celebrations. Other countries hold bon fires to burn straw or cloth effigies of witches to symbolically ward off evil from their lives and celebrate the arrival of summer.

In modern times most of what is celebrated is of a symbolic celebratory nature and less religious or meaningful ritual. However the symbols are mostly still in tact and the spirit of the celebration is the same. Given the folklore and widespread belief that a veil separating the human plane and the mystical lifts in the beginning of May, one might do well to leave a little something sweet or shiny in the garden, and maybe light a small fire in the ol’ Barbeque pit out side…just to be safe.

Angelique Duncan is proprietor of Twilight Faerie Nostalgic and Capricious Objects. Check out her artist page to find links to her shops and vintage inspired traditional holiday art. Visit again next month for more traditions and folklore.