Super Blood Wolf Moon

Happy New Year! Exciting times ahead especially on January 20th when a Super Blood Wolf Moon with an eclipse will be viewed by folks in Europe, West Africa, Northern Russia and the Americas North, Central and South.

This extraordinary moon with its’ dark reddish hue will look larger than life contrasting in the dark sky. What is a lunar eclipse you ask? A lunar eclipse happens when our planet Earth travels between our Moon and Sun and aligns with them to block the Sun’s light that normally would reflect off our Moon.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, “There are three types of lunar eclipses: total, partial, and penumbral, with the most dramatic being a total lunar eclipse—when the Earth’s shadow totally covers the Moon. A lunar eclipse can occur only when there is a full Moon: January’s Wolf Moon turns 100% full on the 21st at 12:16 a.m. EST.”

NASA explains the red blood hue of the super moon. “During a total lunar eclipse, white sunlight hitting the atmosphere on the sides of the Earth gets absorbed and then radiated out (scattered). Blue-colored light is most affected,” NASA officials wrote online. “That is, the atmosphere filters out (scatters away) most of the blue-colored light. What’s left over is the orange- and red-colored light.”

Some call it a Super Blood Blue Moon while the indigenous people of North America call it a Super Blood Wolf Moon. This term predates the Super Blood Blue Moon phrase.

The indigenous people or First Nations people named the Super Blood Wolf Moon to reflect the hungry wolves that would gather and howl with hunger at the January full moon outside the villages. The climate was harsh and cold and many creatures would perish or nearly starve to death during these severe winters.

The Super Blood Wolf Moon will definitely be a Werewolf motivator! 

The Werewolf Myth may have originated from a disease called Hypertrichosis occurs when one’s body grows an unusual amount of hair which may occur at birth or happens later in an adult’s life. 

450px-joris_hoefnagel_-_animalia_rationalia_et_insecta_(ignis)-_plate_i (1)

Above picture: Petrus Gonsalvus, “The Hairy Man” by Joris Hoefnagelfrom his “Elementa Depicta” in Public Domain.

Belief in werewolves developed in parallel to the belief in witches, in the course of the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern period. Similar to the witchcraft trials as a whole, the trial of supposed werewolves emerged in what is now Switzerland (especially the Valais and Vaud) in the early 15th century and spread throughout Europe in the 16th, peaking in the 17th and subsiding by the 18th century.

 In folklore, Werewolves are famous wedding crashers and will easily rush into a wedding snatch the bride and scurry into the night. The bride was never seen again. Folklore cites that Werewolves do not change under a full moon they transform through black magic. The full moon morphing was introduced by Hollywood movie scripts. To kill a werewolf it is best to shoot it with a silver bullet.

werewolf by nifty buckles

Illustration of Werewolf by Nifty Bryn Buckles

Enjoy the Super Blood Wolf Moon January 20th.



Sources & References:

*Farmers’ Almanac, https://www.farmersalmanac.com/january-2019-lunar-eclipse-33826

*NASA https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/edu/events/2019/1/21/total-lunar-eclipse-and-supermoon/

*Google books: squochee kesos The New England historical & genealogical register and antiquarian journal: v. 10

*James, William; Berger, Timothy; Elston, Dirk (2005). Andrews Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology (10 ed.). Saunders. p. 769. ISBN 0-7216-2921-0

*Rose, C. (2000). Giants, Monsters & Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend and Myth. New York: Norton. p. 230. ISBN 0-393-32211-4.





The Tiny Finish Tonttu of Yule

WinterFolklore ❄🌲

The Tiny Finish Tonttu of Yule

Nisse (Norway) or Tonttu (Finland) is a tiny elf identified with the winter solstice & Yule season. Nisse have four fingers, has pointed ears with eyes reflecting light in the dark, like those of a cat. Nisse may accompany the Júlbock/Yule goat.

Source & References:

*German and Scandinavian Legendary Creatures: Elf, Troll, Tomte, Jörmungandr, etc.

LLC Books 2010


Vasilisa and The Fiery Skull

Vasalisa and The Fiery Skull is a heroine in Russian Folklore.

A merchant and his first wife had a single daughter, who was known as Vasalisa the Beautiful. Vasilisa’s mother died when Vasilisa turned eight years old. Her mother on her deathbed, gave Vasalisa a small, wooden doll with instructions to give it a bit to eat and a bit to drink if she were in need, and then it would help her.

When her mother died, Vasalisa gave it a bit to drink and a bit to eat, and it comforted her. Over time, her father remarried; his second wife was a woman with two daughters. Vasilisa’s stepmother was mean and vicious towards her, with her doll’s aid, she was able to perform all the tasks forced upon her. When young males came courting, the stepmother dismissed them all because it was not proper for the younger to marry before the older, and none of the suitors wished to marry Vasilisa’s stepsisters.

The merchant one day, had to set out on a journey. His wife sold the house and moved them all to a dreary hut by the forest. One time she gave each of the girls a task and extinguished all the fires except a single candle. Her older daughter then extinguished the candle, whereupon they sent Vasalisa to fetch fire from Baba Yaga’s hut.


Above Illustration: Baba Yaga in her mortar, by Ivan Bilibin. (Public domain)

The doll advised her to go, and she went. While she was sauntering down a dark path, a mysterious man rode by her in the hours before dawn, dressed in white, riding a white horse whose equipment was all white; then a similar rider in red.She came to a house that stood on chicken legs and was walled by a fence made of skeleton bones. A black rider, like the white and red riders, galloped past her, and night fell, whereupon the eye sockets of the skulls began to glow. Vasilisa was too frightened to run away, and so Baba Yaga found her when she arrived in her mortar. Baba Yaga said that Vasilisa must perform tasks successfully, in order to earn the fire, or be killed. Her list of chores consisted of cleaning the house and yard, wash Baba Yaga’s laundry, and cook her a meal.

Vasilisa’s other tasks were to separate grains of rotten corn from sound corn, and separate poppy seeds from grains of soil. Baba Yaga left, and Vasilisa’s heart grew heavy, as she worked herself into exhaustion. When all hope of completing the tasks seemed lost, the doll whispered that she would complete the tasks for Vasilisa, and that the girl should sleep.

At dawn, the white rider passed; at or before noon, the red. As the black rider rode past, Baba Yaga returned and could complain of nothing. She bade three pairs of disembodied hands seize the corn to squeeze the oil from it, then asked Vasilisa if she had any questions. Vasilisa asked about the rider’s identities and was told that the white one was Day, the red one the Sun, and the black one Night.

When Vasilisa thought of asking about the disembodied hands, the doll quivered in her pocket. Vasilisa realized she should not ask, and told Baba Yaga she had no further questions. In return, Baba Yaga inquired as to the cause of Vasilisa’s success. On hearing the answer “by my mother’s blessing,” Baba Yaga, who wanted nobody with any kind of blessing in her presence, threw Vasilisa out of her house, and sent her home with a skull-lantern full of burning coals, to provide light for her step-family. Upon her return, Vasilisa found that, since sending her out on her task, her step-family had been unable to light any candles or fire in their home. Even lamps and candles that might be brought in from outside were useless for the purpose, as all were snuffed out the second they were carried over the threshold. The coals brought in the skull-lantern burned Vasilisa’s stepmother and stepsisters to ashes, and Vasilisa buried the skull according to its instructions, so no person would ever be harmed by it.

Later, Vasilisa became an assistant to a maker of cloth in Russia’s capital city, where she became so skilled at her work that the Tsar himself noticed her skill; he later married Vasilisa.


Above Illustration: Vasilisa at the Hut of Baba Yaga, by Ivan Bilibin (Public Domain)


Satran, Paula Redmond, and Rosenkrantz, Linda (2007). Baby Name Bible. St. Martin’s Griffin. ISBN 978-0-312-35220-2

Tatar, Maria (2002). The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales. W.W. Norton and Company.


Witchy Folklore

Witches in folklore are interesting, colorful and magical such as Cerridwen a Welsh enchantress, shape-shifting herbalist and witch. She was known as the keeper of The Cauldron of Knowledge and Insight and The White Sow. Welsh magical practitioners considered, Cerridwen as a symbol of wisdom and power. Today she is still revered in the Wicca religion as The Goddess of the Pair.

Below Painting of Ceridwen by Christopher Williams (1910)

(c) The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

The 13th century Tale of Taliesin, was named after the 6th century poet who is the focus of the legend. Cerridwen is married to a giant named Tegidfoel. She births two children, a daughter named Crearwy, which means ” Light.” Cerridwen’s son is named Afagddu which means “Dark.” These Celtic children repesent the Gaelic force of Yin and Yang much like the ancient Taoist symbol. Cerridwen desires the best for her children, especially her son Afagddu who she sees him lacking specific gifts such as being attractive. She doesn’t worry about her daughter as she is equipped with all the desired gifts and skills for life.

Cerridwen uses her superior magic to concoct a potion to enhance his powers of intellect, supernatural, fortune telling, botanical knowledge. While Cerridwen collects the herbs and recites her ritual for the potion someone must keep stirring the cauldron and keep it boiling for a year plus one day. A blind man tends to its fire and the cauldron is stirred by an ignorant boy named Gwion Bach who eventually becomes the Future Taliesin.

One day while stirring the pot, three drops splash on his thumb. The splashed potion was scalding hot that Gwion sucks on his thumb to soothe the pain unknowingly tasting the potion. The potion is effective with the first three drops after that it turns into poison.

Gwion suddenly realizes his error of tasting the potion so he flees from the scene trying to escape Cerridwen’s anger. She tracks Gwion across the countryside transforming herself into several different creatures. Gwion has these same morphing powers too. He first transforms into a hare in order to escape the infuriated witch. Cerridwen morphs into a greyhound in order to catch the fast moving hare. Gwion next becomes a fish, the clever witch transforms into an otter to counter his move. The Gwion morphs into a bird yet Cerridwen turns into a Hawk that flys faster than a small bird. Lastly, Gwion changes into a single corn kernel, only to be eaten by the crafty witch disguised as a hen. However, the tale does not end there. The very fact that the boy had swallowed the potion protected him from being completely destroyed. Once Cerridwen was pregnant she was very insightful and knew the infant would be Gwion once he was born. She plotted to kill him upon his birth. She hadn’t planned for the baby boy to be so handsome that she could not go ahead to kill him. Cerridwen sewed a bag placing the baby into it and threw it into the ocean. The boy didn’t drown but was rescued near Aberdyfi a Welsh shore. The Prince who rescued him was named Elffin ap Gwyddno; the reborn baby grew to become a man known as the legendary bard Taliesin.


Above Illustration of the skilled witch Cerridwen, the blind man and the boy Gwion stirring the Cauldron (Public Domain.)

Another famous witch who was connected to the Fae is the powerful Irish Queen Morrighan, a goddess of war and battle. According to  Irish folklore, this role would be assigned to the bain sidhe, who managed the death of an associate linked to a particular family or clan. Morrighan may have been the same witch Morgan le Fay mentioned in the Arthurian legends. Her first debut in literature is in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s The Life of Merlin, written in the first half of the twelfth century. Morgan has become known as a Femme Fatale, who bewitches men and then creates all types of magical chaos.

Below Picture of  Merlin presenting the future King Arthur, 1873. Private Collection. Artist: Lauffer, Emil Johann (1837-1909).  Public Domain


Another one was Danu, a witchy Celtic mother. Her name is The Queen of Elphame, and she turns up in the folk tradition of Lowland Scotland. The Queen of Elphame is most notable for her role in the medieval ballad and later fairy tale called “Thomas the Rhymer.” Danu was linked with the Tuatha Dé Danann (“People of the Goddess Danu”).

According to Scottish Folklore the Queen of Elphame, is the fairy ruler of Elphame (Elf-home; compare Norse Álfheimr), the underworld Scottish fairyland is linked to the Celtic witch Nicnevin. She appears in a number of conventional mystical ballads, including Thomas the Rhymer and Tam Lin. She also appears in a number of accounts from witchcraft trials and confessions, including the confession of Isobel Gowdie.

Alexander Montgomerie, in his Flyting, described her as:

Nicnevin with her nymphes, in number anew
With charms from Caitness and Chanrie of Ross
Whose cunning consists in casting a clew.



The Arrival of the King & Queen of Fairies  – E Stuart Hardy.


Speaking of Nicnevin, besides being the famous Queen of Elphame, Queen of the Fairies of Fife. She is also called Gyre Carlin, the Bone mother.

Witch Gaelic

Witch Illustration by Arthur Rackham

Nicnevin name evolved from the Gaelic Nic an Neamhain, meaning “Daughter of Flap,” spirit-woman or witch/goddess who personifies the frenzied havoc of war. She is symbolized by flying geese similar to the symbols of the Roman goddess Juno. Succeeding the chaotic Christian witch trials, she was then categorized as a Seelie (benevolent fairy)  Queen of Elphame and Unseelie (malevolent fairy) Nicnevin goddess of Witches. She represents both sides of the divine feminine.

Nicnevin is associated with the deceased riders of the night in German folklore of the Wild Hunt. She is a shape-shifter representing once more the divine feminine. She can morph into an old crone or a beautiful young woman dependant upon her situation. Nicnevin is also known as the goddess of witches, magic, crossroads and the dark moon.



Queen of the Unseelie by the talented Brian Froud

Nicnevin is revered by witches on Samhain, the Celtic New Year, here she is celebrated with prayers and feasts in her name. The Rites of Nicnevin are practiced on November 1st. During this seasonal celebration, she is known to grant wishes and answer pagan’s thoughtful prayers. Nicnevin is the legendary mother witch, Hecate, or Habundia figure of Scottish fairy lore.

Fairies have existed according to fairy-lore for a very long time. They are well known in many cultures and in different regions around the earth.

Many tales speak of the Fae’s special leader, a mystical queen who governed Fairyland.


Not all witches represent the Crone phase, such as the maiden witch named Grimhild or Grímhildr in Scandinavian Folklore. According to Norse legends in the 13th century Völsunga Saga she was quite attractive yet nefarious. She was described as a “Fierce-Hearted Woman.”The Saga mentions that Grimhild married King Gjúki of Burgundy and birthed three children.


She was bored to death at times, no mobile phones back then, so she gave the hero Sigurðr a magic potion that made him forgetful. He forgot that he had married his wife Brynhildr so he in his confused state of mind would marry Gudrun, her daughter. Grimhildr even desired for her one son Gunnar to marry Brynhildr who would have nothing to do with this awful set up except for the fact she had promised Grimhildr that she would do it. 

Brynhildr would only marry the man who could cross the ring of flames she placed around her. Grimhildr convinced Sigurðr into aiding Gunarr marry Brynhildr. Sigurðr was the only one who could cross the ring of fire that encircled Brynhildr, so he and Gunnar switched bodies so Gunnar’s body could cross the flames. The brave Brynhildr wed Gunnar after she had made a promise to Grimhildr. When Brybhildr heard that Sigurðr had betrayed her with another woman named Gudron, unaware that he had been bewitched by Grimhildr in marrying her daughter Gudrun, she became very angry and vengeful towards Grimhildr. Brynhildr killed Sigurðr and herself. Next, Grimhildr forced Gudrun to marry Bryhilr’s brother Atli. Gudrun didn’t want to marry Atli since she knew he would kill her brothers.

That is the last we hear of Grimhildr in the Völsunga saga, some folks believe that the actual ring of fire that Brynhildr encircled herself with, may have brought misfortune even death upon the attractive, mischievous Grimhildr.

Last but never least is the powerful Hecate also known in Ancient Greek as  Ἑκάτη or Hekátē) Queen goddess of Witchcraft, Queen of the Crossroads and the Night. Her name in Greek, means “influence from afar.” She is often depicted as the triple-headed Hound of the Moon, and at times symbolized rotating a spinning wheel.

Mighty Hecate governs the realm between life and death. She serves as an emissary between people and spirits. The Greeks knew her as a Titan’s daughter and as the handmaiden to the goddess Persephone, Queen of the Dead. She is a skilled herbalist and botanist. Hecate may have originated on the Black Sea, home to Medea her most trusted servant and priestess. In Caria  now modern day Western Turkey, she was worshiped as their Supreme goddess at her cult site of Lagina. She owns the real Skeleton Key that unlocks the gates to all other realms.  

According to the poet Hesiod, Hecate was the only daughter of Asteria, a star goddess who was the aunt of Artemis and Apollo. The celebration of Hecate’s birth was connected to Phoebe’s return during the darkest stage of the moon as a lunar goddess. 



 In the Theogony of Hesiod depicts Hecate as a Titan who aligned herself with Zeus and cites in Theogony,

Hesiod describes Hecate in her role as one of the Titans who allied herself with Zeus, and says in Theogony,

 ” Hekate whom Zeus the son of Kronos honored above all. He gave her splendid gifts, to have a share of the earth and the unfruitful sea. She received honor also in starry heaven, and is honored exceedingly by the deathless gods…For as many as were born of Gaia and Ouranos amongst all these she has her due portion. The son of Kronos (Zeus) did her no wrong nor took anything away of all that was her portion among the former Titan gods: but she holds, as the division was at the first from the beginning, privilege both in earth, and in heaven, and in sea. Also, because she is an only child, the goddess receives not less honor, but much more still, for Zeus honors her.”

Today, Hecate is revered by Wiccans and Neo-pagans alike. She is petitioned for many things such as healing, protection in travel, vengeance for crimes committed against women, fertility and wisdom. Lost at the crossroads? Hecate is Queen of the Crossroads you may state her name for guidance. She has been known to give one signs along the way. So pay attention!




Sources & References:

Katharine Briggs, A Dictionary of Fairies (Penguin, 1977; ISBN 0140047530Thomas

Wright, Narratives of sorcery and magic, from the most authentic sources (Redfield, 1852)

Rossell Hope Robbins , The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology, 1959.

The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries, by W.Y. Evans-Wentz, available at: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/ffcc/ffcc002.htm

Völsunga Saga, The Saga of the Volsungs. The Icelandic Text According to MS Nks 1824 b, 4° With an English Translation, Introduction and Notes by Kaaren Grimstad. 2nd ed. AQ-Verlag, Saarbrücken 2005.

Gantz, Jeffrey. Early Irish Myths and Sagas (Penguin Classics: London, 1981.)

Hesiod, Theogony, in The Homeric Hymns and Homerica with an English Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White, Cambridge, MA., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd.

Ruickbie, Leo. Witchcraft Out of the Shadows: A Complete History. Robert Hale, 2004.

 Hecate Education at Ancient Encyclopedia online.


Kitsune, Japanese Fox Spirit

Kitsune or 狐, キツネ a Japanese trickster, fox spirit. According to Japanese folklore it is a smart fox that shapeshifts into a person that may cause chaos. They are described as a species of Yōkai, or spirit, kitsune are not ghosts, or unlike regular foxes. Kitsune have supernatural powers and are very strategic in their endeavors.

There are two common types of kitsune: The Zenko (善狐, means good foxes) are benevolent, celestial foxes associated with Inari; they are sometimes simply called Inari foxes.

On the other paw, the Yako (野狐, means field foxes, also called nogitsune) they tend to be mischievous or even malevolent.

According to Japanese folklore traditions there are other types of Kitsune. One example is, the Ninko which is an invisible fox spirit that people can notice only after it possesses them.


Hall, Jamie (2003). Half Human, Half Animal: Tales of Werewolves and Related Creatures. AuthorHouse. ISBN 978-1-4107-5809-5


Cabbage Lore

Origins of Cabbage began in China and it was brought to Europe by the Celts in 600 BCE.

Cabbage prefers cool weather to grow and will split in two in hot temperatures. It grows pretty yellow flowers.

Cabbage is packed full of vitamins especially Vitamin C. It was used to feed the allied prisoners in Germany during World War 2.

The Man in the Moon may have evolved from the Scandinavian pagan god Máni mentioned in the Poetic Edda from earlier traditional sources and the 13th century Prose Edda written by Snorri Sturluson.


According to folklore, a cabbage thief became The man in The Moon when he stole his neighbor’s cabbage on by the light of the moon on Christmas Eve and escaped from the angry farmer and hid himself in the moon.

My guess is his desire was to make some Sauerkraut. 😉


Check out this great organic Sauerkraut recipe at https://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/recipe/natural-fermentation/sauerkraut and remember to eat your veggies.



Viking Ship ‘Naglfar’

Did you know in Norse mythology, ‘Naglfar’ is an Ancient Norse Viking ship built from the dead Viking’s toes and fingernails?
Yes, the Norse people trimmed the toe nails and finger nails of the dead Vikings and they built the Viking ship ‘Naglfar’ with them.

Legend has it that when Ragnarök finally begins, the ship Naglfar will sail to Vígríðr, carrying the army of the dead to fight the Norse gods.

The Poetic Edda mentions Naglfar in the 13th century from earlier ancestral sources, and the Prose Edda, written by Snorri Sturluson.

Verse from The Prose Edda

49. Hrym steers from the east, the waters rise, the mundane snake is coiled in Jötun rage. The worm beats the water, and the eagle screams: the pale of beak tears carcases; Naglfar is loosed.


The Naglfar Norse Ship is depicted in the Tullstorp Runestone in Scania, Sweden.

The Tullstorp Runestone displays Ragnarök apocalyptic event carved into the runestone revealing the magnificent  spectral ship Naglfar sailing beneath the gigantic wolf Fenrir.





*The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson


Des Loup-Garous, Winged Female Werewolves


Above illustration by Maurice Sand (1983-1889) of a Loup Garou (Female Werewolf pack.) 

The Halloween countdown continues with Winged female werewolves that can fly termed, Loups Garoux. Loups Garoux or Werewolves Loup Garou means werewolf in French. Loups Garoux is the plural, meaning werewolves. Loup Garoux of French Canadian and Haiti is combination of UK werewolf myths and African Sorcerers’ occult lore. Les Loups Garoux of the Caribbean refers to  the male werewolves they transform from werewolves to men. However, Loups garoux of the island according to folklore, are females, women who morph into werewolves. This is genetic and is inherited.

Many of the loups-garous belong to a covert occultic community. Several of them attain their supernatural sorcery from Loa/Iwa major spirits in Haitian Vodou that work as agents of the Grand Met. Legend mentions the traditional belief is these women were barren, became frustrated and deliberately morphed into werewolves or maybe they were just good friends that decided to hang out together? Female loups garoux are known to transform during twilight.

Different from regular werewolves these girls can fly and have large wings that leave a glowing trail like a comet. The downside is they enjoy snacking on the blood of children similar to a vampire.

Shamans may work with particular plants to repel the loups garoux. Bamboo, snake plant and Kalanchoe encircle them around the house.

Loups garoux favor the nights of the month when the moon is full or waxing half predominately on the 7th or 13th day of the month.

So keep you head up when ambling at night during a half waxing moon or a full moon. Whether it is down a lonely, shadowy, country path or a misty city street, you may just hear an aerial flapping of wings,(I suggest you run!) or your inaction may lead to your doom! 

Photo of a Loup Garou in France public domain.


“loup-garou”. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4 ed.). 2000.

“Appendix I: Indo-European Roots: w-ro-“. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4 ed.). 2000

Goens, Jean (1993). Loups-garous, vampires et autres monstres : enquêtes médicales et littéraires. Paris: CNRS Editions. Ménard, Philippe (1984).

“Les histoires de loup-garou au moyen-âge”. Symposium in honorem prof. M. de Riquer (in French). Barcelona UP. pp. 209–38


Beannaichte Hogmanay! Celtic Traditions to Welcome The New Year.

Beannaichte Hogmanay!

Happy Hogmanay!

Happy New Year!


The Scottish celebration of Hogmanay is close at hand. Hogmanay is the Gaelic word for the last day of the year, celebrated on New Year’s eve.

This is the time of year when Celtic folks in Scotland gather together to welcome in the New Year and say Farewell or in Scot’s Gaelic, Soraidh, to the old year.

Several sources cite that Gaelic origins grew from French or Norse language or an older version of gaelic. New year ceremonies and mid-winter observance were natural in both Gaelic and Norse traditions. Hogmanay is a larger celebration in Scotland and predates the Christian Christmas. According to Scotland’s own website Scotland.org  The Word Hogmany originated from the Norman French from hoguinan (a New Year’s gift). They  also mention it’s a modification of the Gaelic og maidne (new morning), the Flemish hoog min dag (day or love) or, an Anglo Saxon haleg monath (holy month). The largest Hogmany festival is held in Edinburgh.

Historians also believe Hogmanay originated from a winter solstice festival introduced by the Vikings, for whom the passing of the shortest day was a cause for celebration, given how far north they lived. This Viking influence combined with the existing Gaelic pagan traditions to form the climactic torch parades through Edinburgh and other Scottish cities.

 First Footing:

According to Scotland.org  The ‘First Footing’ – “the ‘first foot’ in the house after midnight is still very common is Scotland. To ensure good luck, a first footer should be a dark-haired male. Fair-haired first footers were not particularly welcome after the Viking invasions of ancient times. Traditional gifts include a lump of coal to lovingly place on the host’s fire, along with shortbread, a black bun and whisky to toast to a Happy New Year.”

Remember to always bring a gift and have dark hair when first footing a home. It will bring good luck!

Redding the House:

Similar to the west’s spring cleaning rituals when a main clean-up is done to prepare the house for the New Year. Sweeping or cleaning out one’s  chimney was a paramount tradition. ‘Out with the Old and In with the New!’ Some folks are skilled in reading the ashes, similar to  tea leaf readings. This is a critical time of year when fire plays a huge vast part in celebrations, it’s only natural to bring a bit of it into the house.

The Saining of the House:

Once the house was clean, the woman of the house would carry a smoking Juniper branch. This is termed smudging or cleansing the home of negative energy or evil spirits that could cause illness.

 Fire Festivals & Bon Fires:

The Vikings may have introduced the use of fire to purify and banish evil spirits which is an ancient custom. Fire is at the center of several Hogmanay celebrations in Biggar, Comrie, Stonehaven, and the largest is at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Festival.


Auld Lang Syne:

Hogmanay in Scotland includes a warm rendition of Auld Lang Syne, of this endearing poem by the Scottish national bard, Robert Burns or Rabbie Burns. The Scots link arms and hands while they sing this famous poem.

Tradition dictates that arms are only linked at the start of the final verse. Folks link hands and arms in a circle, they rush to the middle of the circle while still holding hands at the end of the song. Many other English speaking cultures now practice this tradition.


The Scottish lyrics of Auld lang Syne by Robert Burns in 1788, set to the melody of the traditional folk song Raud.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne*?

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stoup!

and surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,

and pou’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin’ auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,

frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin’ auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
and gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak’ a right gude-willie waught,
for auld lang syne.

Here is the English Version.

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne? (long, long, ago)

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!

and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

We two have run about the slopes,

and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.

We two have paddled in the stream,

from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne

And there’s a hand my trusty friend!

And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.



Sources & Reference:

Scotland.org website

The Concise Scots Dictionary Cambers (1985) ISBN 0-08-028491-4

“The Origins, History and Traditions of Hogmanay”, The British Newspaper Archive





Winter Solstice: The Yule Log

In Scandinavian countries each year during the Winter Solstice it was tradition to heave a huge log into a large hearth to commemorate the sun’s return.

Picture of Yule log courtesy of Rocksweeper.

The Yule log was usually an Oak log however, Ash was also used in order to grant wisdom and good fortune.

The women would gather to bless and cleanse the home from negative spirits. The oldest male and family members would seek out the ideal large Yule log for the hearth. They would have to anchor large ropes around it and drag it back to their home. It was considered a bad omen to cut the log from a living tree.

The Yule log was rubbed with ale, mead or whiskey and dressed with greenery.

Ornamental shapes were carved into the log, often in the image of Holda or Cailleach for the Celts, her image represented the cold, darkness and death, once tossed upon the hearth winter was exchanged for heat, light and life.

The Yule log was kept lit throughout the Winter Solstice to prevent evil spirits from entering the home and represent welcoming the Solar year.

Many ghost tales were told in front of the warm fire as well as toasts and wishes made. Over the years folks often tie their prayers and petitions to the Yule log before it is tossed into the fire. Sometimes part of the Yule log is saved for the next winter.

Source & Reference:

*Grimm, Jacob (James Steven Stallybrass Trans.) (1882). Teutonic Mythology: Translated from the Fourth Edition with Notes and Appendix Vol. I. London: George Bell and Sons.

*Picture of Yule log cutting in Public Domain.

Opera dei Pupi

Sicilian Puppet Theatre, Opera dei Pupi
dates back to the 15th century. Traditional Sicilian Folk Art uses wooden marionettes on strings and metal wires instead of hand puppets.
These marionettes vary in size from small to large.

They comprise Frankish romantic poems one for example is The Song of Roland.

The donkey carts that are used are painted with detailed scenes for the various tales that are performed by these colourful wooden marionettes.

Presently there are only a few troubadours that still travel and perform.

Source & Reference:

  • Giuseppe Guarraci “Ernesto Puzzo e l’opera dei pupi nel siracusano” AICS 2011
  • Pictures in Public Domain

Mictēcacihuātl, Aztec Heroine of The Dead

Mexicans observe their traditional Day of the Dead ancestral festival on November 1st.

Here is an Ancient Aztec goddess that is revered on this Day of the Dead.

Mictēcacihuātl, Lady of The Dead. According to Aztec legends, Mictēcacihuātl means “Lady of the Dead” she is Queen of Mictlan which is the underworld, Mictēcacihuātl governs over the dead with her deity husband, Mictlantecuhtli.

Mictēcacihuātl main job is to over see the deceased’s dead and direct the ancient festivals of the dead.

These ancient festivals emerged from Aztec traditions into the present Day of the Dead after blending with Spanish traditions. Mictēcacihuātl also, watches over the modern festival. Her claim to fame, as the “Lady of the Dead”, was that she was born, then sacrificed as a baby. Mictecacihuatl was displayed with a decayed body and with her jaw wide- opened, to gobble the stars in daytime.

Sources & References:

Fernández, Adela (1992, 1996). Dioses Prehispánicos de México (in Spanish). Mexico City: Panorama Editorial. ISBN 968-38-0306-7. OCLC 28801551

(1993). An Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-27928-4.