Happy Tartan Day

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Nebula Stone

Nebula Stone – Removes Fear, Boosts memory

nebula-stone-

Nebula Stone removes fear, and helps one let go of the old to make room for the new. It is a very grounding stone, and increases vitality. It is sometimes called a cosmic window, and is excellent for meditation. In the physical realm, Nebula Stone is used to to cleanse the kidneys.

Christmas Tree

Search for the roots of today’s Christmas traditions and you will find your way back to the ancient Celtic festival of Alban Arthuan, held during the Winter Solstice on December 21. One of the principle reasons for the rapid propagation of Christianity throughout Europe during the first millennium was the willingness of Christian leaders to incorporate the rituals, beliefs and customs of other religions. Few of the ancient displaced religions were more assimilated than the Druids, Wiccans and Pagans.

The custom of burning the Yule Log, the Yule-associated tradition that is most familiar to people today, was performed to honor the Great Mother Goddess. The log would be lit on the eve of the solstice, using the remains of the log from the previous year, and would be burned for twelve hours for good luck.

Decorating the Yule tree was also originally a Pagan custom; brightly colored decorations would be hung on the tree, usually a pine, to symbolize the various stellar objects which were of significance to the Pagans – the sun, moon, and stars – and also to represent the souls of those who had died in the previous year. The modern practice of gift giving evolved from the Pagan tradition of hanging gifts on the Yule tree as offerings to the various Pagan Gods and Goddesses.

The Christmas tree is said to have originated in Germany with the decoration of pine trees with fancy ornaments.

However, there are alternate theories that suggest otherwise. In fact, there are many legends about the Christmas tree that led to the widespread belief that the Christmas tree is an essential part of the Christmas season and its celebration. There is the legend of St. Boniface, an English monk, who is said to have saved a child from being sacrificed by pagans. When they were gathered around an oak tree to sacrifice the child, the Saint flattened the tree with one blow of his fist. A small fir sprang up in its place and St. Boniface told the pagans that it was the “tree of life,” and represented the life of Christ.

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The Nordic pagans and the Celtic Druids revered the evergreen tree as a symbol of everlasting life and hope for the return of spring. While other plants and trees died, the evergreen trees remained alive continually; hence, they were revered as manifestations of deity. As a symbol of prosperity, the Druids decorated the evergreen outdoors. It was the Scandinavian pagans who were the pioneers in bringing the decorated trees indoors; and the Saxons, a Germanic pagan tribe, who were the first to use candles to illuminate the tree. In addition to these pagan rituals, the tree is also linked to the celebration of the Winter Solstice. Pagans would celebrate the Winter Solstice, and as a part of that celebration, they would decorate trees. This celebration represented the end of the long, dark winter days and the beginning of the spring and its connection to life. The triumph over the winter darkness was the reason for the celebration. There are many other theories about the origin of the Christmas tree. Researchers have failed to accurately pinpoint a single origin, but it is correct to state that it evolved from pagan traditions. Understanding how the tree was used in the past will shed light on its meaning in the Christmas celebration. Many Christians unwittingly partake in tree decorating without knowing the cryptic meanings behind the adoration/decorating of a tree. The fact that the evergreen tree was considered in pagan religions to symbolize everlasting life, robs us of the reality of Jesus’ supreme sacrifice that enables us to have true eternal life. The evergreen tree is believed by some pagans to hold continual life, and as such, is commonly used in pagan worship and celebrations.

A Christmas tree is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen conifer such as spruce, fir or an artificial tree of similiar appearance.

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The tree was traditionally decorated with edibles such as apples, nuts, or other foods. In the 18th century, it began to be illuminated by candles which were ultimately replaced by Christmas lights after the invention of electrification. Today there is a wide variety of traditional ornaments, garlands, tinsel and candy canes. An angel or star is often placed at the top of the tree normally represents the archangel Gabriel or the star of Bethlehem (from the Nativity).

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The Christmas tree has also been known as the “Yule-tree”, especially in discussions of it’s folklore.

Although the tradition of decorating the home with evergreens was long established, the custom of decorating an entire small tree was unknown in Britain until some two centuries ago. At the time of the personal union with Hanover, George III’s German wife, Charlotte, introduced a Christmas tree at a party she gave for children in 1800. The custom didn’t spread much beyond the royal family to begin with.
Queen Victoria was familiar with them and even as a child had one in her bedroom. after she married Prince Albert (her German cousin) the custom became more widespread as wealthier families began to follow the tradition.

JOHANS~1

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Their use at public entertainments, charity bazaars and in hospitals made them increasingly familiar however, and in 1906 a charity was set up specifically to ensure even poor children in London slums ‘who had never seen a Christmas tree’ would enjoy one that year. In 1933 a restriction on the importation of foreign trees led to Britain growing their own Christmas trees.

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By 2013 the number of trees grown in Britain for the Christmas market was approximately 8 million.

I mean, that’s a lot!!

In some cities, a  festival of trees is organised around the decoration and display of multiple trees as charity events. 

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Pilgrims Progress – Steven Payne – Mid 14th century pilgrimage

What this guy is doing is amazing.
https://www.facebook.com/#!/14thcenturypilgrimsprogress/
Everything is traditional mid 14th century. ALL his clothing, provisions and food.
All of Steven Payne’s clothes are made in the same way they would have been in 1365.
This is going to be a hard journey but an amazing experience for him.

All of Steven Payne's clothes are made in the same way they would have been in 1365

His aim is to be the first in 500 years to walk the Pilgrims way from Southampton, to the shrine of Becket at Canterbury. He has a letter from the Pope in case anyone objects to him sleeping in their churchyard or porch way.

He has done everything from scratch, crafting what he can himself and sourcing what he can’t make and having it done as close to authentic as possible.
We know he is taking a jar of honey, a box of block salt, an apple shaped box (which he made himself) full of apple and cinnamon leaf ‘tea’. A walnut box of aromatic herbs for bathing, some bags of coin to donate to people in need, a needle case and a case for thread in case the kit needs repair and a round walnut box of beeswax. He even made his own bowls! A larger one made of chestnut which should serve for main meals and a smaller one is just right for using as a maser (drinking bowl).

He received a lot of information on medieval food ‘on the go’ and is planning on taking items such as a heavy fruit loaf almonds, cheese, dried fruit, bread, boiled eggs, salt, cinnamon, dried apple slices, oat cakes and a pork and venison pie. He is also taking some Rochester dark ginger wine which is non-alcoholic.
He is taking a wash kit that will help with hygiene, he really did his research and found so much good and interesting articles and information. His wash kit includes home made olive oil soap, salt for the teeth, a block of deodorising alum, cloves, a boxwood comb and some liquorice root sticks, all on a woollen ‘towel’.
He also made his own  Staff.
The staff is of a particular design, shown in numerous carvings and paintings…….roughly 5′ 6″ to 6′ 6″ tall it had a double ball carved into the shaft. This meant that when carried over the shoulder, a bag of possessions could be tied to the end where the balls would prevent it from slipping off, but equally importantly the double ball acted like a pommel and cross guard, allowing the staff to be used much like a double-handed waster (practice sword) if the Pilgrim should come under attack by robbers or wolves along the way.

On his travels he will be taking a copy of a 14th century Paternoster that he made for a friend in the USA, he will have it blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, as the practice of carrying an object on behalf of someone who could not make the journey themselves was common in the middle ages, and was endorsed by the Church.

 

The Scottish Crannog Centre

http://www.crannog.co.uk/
1742015 Opening times:
The Centre is open daily from 1st April to 30th October from 10am to 5:30pm; 31st Oct from 10am – 4pm.
In all cases, last full tours are one hour before closing.
Admissions 2015: Adults £8.75; Seniors £8.00; Children £6.50; Families (2+1) from £23.

General Info: The average visiting time is about one and one-half hours. Please allow longer if you are in a group. Car/coach parking is available adjacent to the Centre.
Ours is an outdoor Centre, featuring an ancient timber house. In the interests of comfort and safety, we ask that you wear or bring flat shoes.
Access: Ramps provide disabled access with assistance at the visitor centre but not out to the Crannog. Please contact us to discuss any special needs.

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The Scottish Crannog Centre
Kenmore, Loch Tay, Aberfeldy,
Perthshire, PH15 2HY, Scotland.
Tel : 01887 830583
Email : info@crannog.co.uk

Reconstructing a Crannog

How did the ancient people build their crannogs in the water? Our team of underwater archaeologists carried out a unique experiment to find out and re-discovered the secrets of ancient technology.
A crannog is a type of ancient loch-dwelling found throughout Scotland and Ireland dating from 2,500 years ago. An important part of our heritage, many crannogs were built out in the water as defensive homesteads and represented symbols of power and wealth.

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The Scottish Crannog Centre features a unique reconstruction of an early Iron Age loch-dwelling, built by the Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology (STUA), registered charity no. SCO18418. This authentic recreation is based on the excavation evidence from the 2,500 year old site of ‘Oakbank Crannog’, one of the 18 crannogs preserved in Loch Tay, Scotland. The STUA continues to explore other underwater sites in Loch Tay and further afield, regularly adding new discoveries to its award-winning centre at Kenmore, Perthshire.
Crannogs are a type of ancient loch-dwelling found throughout Scotland and Ireland, while one has been discovered in Wales in Llangorse Lake. Most are circular structures that seem to have been built as individual homes to accommodate extended families. Other types of loch settlements are also found in Scandinavian countries and throughout Europe.
Crannogs are also known as artificial or modified natural islands and they were as much a product of their environment as the period in which they were constructed.
The authentic crannog reconstruction which forms the focal part of the Scottish Crannog Centre was built by the Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology or STUA. The Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology is a registered charity (number SCO18418) and was formed to promote the research, recording, and preservation of Scotland’s underwater heritage.
The earliest loch-dwelling in Scotland is some 5,000 years old but people built, modified, and re-used crannogs in Scotland up until the 17th century AD. Throughout their long history crannogs served as farmers’ homesteads, status symbols, refuges in times of trouble, hunting and fishing stations, and even holiday residences. Here in Highland Perthshire, the prehistoric crannogs were originally timber-built roundhouses supported on piles or stilts driven into the lochbed.
In more barren environments and in later periods tons of rock were piled onto the lochbed to make an island on which to build a stone house. Today the crannogs appear as tree-covered islands or remain hidden as submerged stony mounds. Several hundred have been discovered so far in Scotland although only a few have been investigated. For a guide book providing more information about Scottish crannogs, contact us at info@crannog.co.uk.

You can look at some of the underwater discoveries in the exhibition which are fascinating; walk over water into the Iron Age on your crannog tour; and test your skills at ancient crafts and technology. In the Spring and Summer, you can also hire one of our dugout canoes, weather permitting. Special events run regularly featuring artists, musicians, skilled craft workers and other specialists who, together with our own team of Iron Age guides, actively bring the past to life for adults and children alike from ages 4+.

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AWARD WINNING In recognition of our dedication to quality, authenticity, and environmental responsibility, the Scottish Crannog Centre’s range of awards includes:

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12 Days of Christmas?

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The popular song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is usually seen as simply a nonsense song for children with secular origins. However, some have suggested that it is a song of Christian instruction, perhaps dating to the 16th century religious wars in England, with hidden references to the basic teachings of the Christian Faith. They contend that it was a mnemonic device to teach the catechism to youngsters. The “true love” mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The “me” who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the “days” represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn.

It is certainly possible that this view of the song is legendary or anecdotal. Without corroboration and in the absence of “substantive evidence,” we probably should not take rigid positions on either side. So, for historical accuracy, we need to acknowledge the likelihood that the song had secular origins.

However, on another level, this should not prevent us from using the song in celebration of Christmas. Many of the symbols of Christianity were not originally religious, including even the present date of Christmas, but were appropriated from contemporary culture by the Christian Faith as vehicles of worship and proclamation.

Whatever you believe there is no denying the popularity of the song or it’s common use in todays society. Over the following days I’ll share a little of the information about the lyrics that I’ve been able to source.