Chepstow Wassail 2019

Our Guise team Boekka had a wonderful time at our 6th Chepstow Wassail this year.
On arrival at the room of Castle Inn I was delighted to be greeted by an old style four poster bed!

Most of us arrived on Friday and visited the Mythos Meze Greek restaurant before spending the rest of the evening at the fabulous Greenman Backpackers bar where they have a wonderful selection of gin. We sampled a few of them!

It was wonderful to see Linsey, Hannah, Sam and Lizzie the members of Beorma Morris who were once members of Wytchwood Morris who performed at the All Hallows Dark Gathering up until 2016. We have missed them.
Black Pig Morris
The gin was extremely popular!

Linsey brought us a gift of Amaretto marmalade and a home-baked cake as a thank you for inviting them to the Wassail.

 

We awoke to drizzling rain Saturday morning, but fortunately the rain had ceased by midday. At 1pm a meeting of the Maris was scheduled at the ancient and atmospheric Moot Hall in the Greenman Backpackers Hostel.

 

 

 

 

With 35 Maris and Beasts in the hall we ventured outside to get some air….

 

 

We also met a Mari/Beast with a difference…..

 

On our way back to the Castle, Morvargh stopped to see some little curious admirers…

 

 

The Wassail ceremony at the Orchard was wonderful. I encouraged our team to practice the Wassail song and they sang it well! There was a large crowd with a fabulous atmosphere.

 

We then joined the wonderful Morris dancers to watch their performance!

 

 

 

 

 

 

We made our way to the Drill Hall for the Mari Pageant. Waiting backstage next to the green room was quite a task with 35 Maris.

 

When we eventually appeared on the stage, Tim the Compere had his work cut out…..

 

After our appearance on stage we had a further wait backstage for the group photo. This provided a chance to have a good chat and a ‘catch up’ with the wonderful Phil and Viv Larcher.

The group photo on stage was rather a ‘squeeze’…..

From there it was time for Welsh and Cornish to gather at the Wye bridge to meet the English side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we met the English, the flags were exchanged and each Morris team performed a dance.
As Boekka are now performing Teazer dances again, Mike Lewis requested that we also performed a dance. I am pleased to say that it went well, Sam from Beorma complimented us on the performance and this was a valued compliment from such a good dancer.

 

 

…and there you have it…..an action packed day. Unfortunately there was an incident at the Chepstow Museum so we were not able to use it this year. I will end this post with a video of a performance of ‘Poor Owd ‘Oss’ with Linsey and Sam joining in with the ‘coconut shell’ percussion. A perfect end to an exhausting but wonderful day.

See the fabulous images of this event captured by th.e wonderful John Isaac here

 

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Folklore Customs of Twelfth Night and the Epiphany

The one thing guaranteed to elicit the strongest opinions this first week of January is the debate over which day to take down your Christmas tree and decorations. Is it Saturday 5 January, or Sunday 6 January? And what happens if you leave them up for longer? Are you really struck down with bad luck for the rest of the year as the superstition goes?
One thing’s for sure – everyone does it differently, and everyone has their own ideas.
In Britain, tradition has it that Christmas decorations stay up until Twelfth Night.
And this is where the confusion lies. Twelfth Night is a festival in some branches of Christianity which marks the beginning of Epiphany.
A count of exactly 12 days from 25 December arrives at 5 January. According to the Church of England, this day is Twelfth Night. The day of Epiphany – when the three wise men came – is the day after, on 6 January.
Not everyone agrees however. Many other Christian groups count the 12 days of Christmas as starting the day after Christmas Day – making 6 January the Twelfth Night. Countries which also follow the January 6 tradition include Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic.

So which date is correct?

Both. Although in the UK, Saturday 5th January is the date most people stick to.
Some people think it’s also wrong to take them down too early, too. In ancient times, people believed that tree-spirits lived in the holly and ivy. After the festive season, they would be released outside but if they were let go before Christmas ended, there could be problems with the harvest as a result.
And if you miss this weekend entirely?
According to one superstition, Christmas decorations not taken down by Twelfth Night should be left up until Candlemas Day (2nd February) and then taken down. Other people say the best remedy is to leave them up until Twelfth Night the following year.
Whatever date you choose, it is worth noting that the ‘rules’ have changed over history. 2nd February, in fact, actually used to be the date when Christians took their decorations down, as noted in this poem by Robert Herrick (1591-1674):
“Down with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and misletoe ;
Down with the holly, ivy, all,
Wherewith ye dress’d the Christmas Hall”

 

Image – Sean Johnson

The history of the Epiphany

Up until the 19th century, the Epiphany was more important than Christmas Day, and it was used to celebrate both the three kings’ (or three wise men’s) visit to Jesus shortly after his birth and also Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist.
In the West, Christians began celebrating the Epiphany in the 4th century, associating it with the visit of the Magi (the three kings) to Bethlehem.
According to the Gospel of Matthew, the three wise men – named Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar – followed the star of Bethlehem across the desert to meet the baby Jesus, offering gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
The gifts were symbolic of the importance of Jesus’ birth, the gold representing his royal standing; frankincense his divine birth; and myrrh his mortality.
The word ‘Epiphany’ comes from Greek and means ‘manifestation’. It celebrates ‘the revelation of God in his Son as human in Jesus Christ’. The six Sundays which follow Epiphany are known as the time of manifestation; the last Sunday of the Epiphany is celebrated as Transfiguration Sunday.
Festivities for the ancient Christian feast day vary around the world, from swimming in icy waters to exchanging presents, fireworks and parades. In many countries the day is a public holiday.
As recently as the 1950s, Twelfth Night in Britain was a night for wassailing. Wassailers, like carol singers, go from house to house singing and wishing their neighbours good health.
The Drury Lane Theatre in London has had a tradition since 1795 of providing a Twelfth Night cake. The will of Robert Baddeley made a bequest of £100 to provide cake and punch every year for the company in residence at the theatre on 6 January. The tradition still continues.
Telegraph

Folklore of Twelfth Night

For the Twelve Days of Christmas actually begin upon Christmas Day and run all the way through until January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany in the traditional church calendar. And while now we only really remember this older version of the Christmas season in the tradition that we must take our decorations down by Twelfth Night (January 5th or 6th depending on if you are counting nights as preceding days or not), in the not-too-distant past this day was marked by celebrations of fun and feasting that rivaled Christmas Day itself. And why was such a fuss made of this last day? Well simply because in the old agricultural calendar, it was back to work on the 7th of January, or rather often the nearest Monday after, and hence Twelfth Night was the culmination of the holiday season. However of course in the 19th century as society became more industrial and urbanised, the tradition began to fade, and with the corporatised working cultures of the 20th century not countenancing giving wage slaves twelve days plus off at Christmas time, the Twelfth Night festivities all but died.
Now as for the best known remaining Twelfth Night tradition that this is the day to take down the Christmas decorations, rather than being some ancient piece of folklore, it would appear to be a more recent invention. Indeed, its part in the Christmas calendar is already in jeopardy, with many folks taking down the decs on New Year’s Day, and yet others boxing up the baubles on Boxing Day. However historically speaking in centuries past it was actually traditional to leave the decorations up until 2nd the February, and at some points in history our forebears left their halls decked with boughs of holly until Easter! So rather than Christmas expanding every year, all the signs are that it is in fact shrinking, with our holiday period actually becoming shorter in real  terms!
However while these old bumper-sized holidays may seem astounding to us now, and the old Twelve Days of Christmas are now only remembered as a song, there are plenty of remnants of the old tradition remaining in folklore and local customs, with many places having their own individual ways of marking Twelfth Night. As many of these festivities were marked with food and feasting, there is a widespread tradition of making a Twelfth Night cake, often with added surprises. We are all familiar with the traditional sixpence (or modern coin equivalent) being slipped into the Christmas pudding, and the Twelfth Night cake has similar attached customs. As Robert Chambers noted in his Book of Days (1869) –
In England, in later times, a large cake was formed, with a bean inserted, and this was called Twelfth-Cake. The family and friends being assembled, the cake was divided by lot, and who-ever got the piece containing the bean was accepted as king for the day, and called King of the Bean.
However there were variants to this custom too, with other items being adding into the mix. For example, in one version if you found a twig in your portion of cake, that meant you were a fool. Over time, these special additions were replaced with trinkets and charms, silver ones if you were well-off, and in the 18th and 19th centuries Twelfth Night cakes became huge elaborate affairs with towers of icing and mounds of toppings. Many scholars hold that as the Twelfth Night traditions began to die out the tradition of adding lucky items to the cake, was enfolded into the lore of the Christmas pud.
Another common piece of Twelfth Night folklore revolves around the Yule log. Traditionally the Yule log was not some chocolate confection, but a huge piece of wood that was placed in the fireplace on Christmas Day. The log would be kept burning throughout the Twelve Days of Christmas, with often being considered unlucky to let it go out during this time. The log of course was eventually formally extinguished at  Twelfth Night, with many regions’ lore holding that a portion of it, or sometimes its ashes, was to be kept to light next year’s Yule log.
However as we often note in these excursions, folklore is often very local, and hence up and down the British Isles many places have their own individual traditions associated with Twelfth Night. In many areas it is one of the dates in the calendar marked out for some wassailing. Again while this is a tradition we now associate more closely with Christmas, but in older times it was a common feature of Twelfth Night celebrations, most famously perhaps in the counties of England where cider is produced, with the wassail being performed in orchards to wake the trees for spring. In a similar vein, a tradition that also acknowledges the beginning of a new agricultural year and a return to work, are the various customs associated with Plough Monday, which marked the start of the first week after Epiphany.
Plough Monday, which was was celebrated in northern and eastern England, has a host of traditions with several common features. Firstly there is some kind of procession with the plough at the centre, in some cases this is part of a ceremony to bless the plough for the coming year, but in other areas it is more akin to wassailing, with the “Plough Boys” taking the implement from house to house and asking for contributions of food, drink or coin. However much like similar Halloween traditions, should a householder prove to be uncharitable or unwelcoming, the Plough Boys may well plough up their gardens or doorstep! It is perhaps not surprising that the celebrants in many Plough Monday festivities adopt some form of disguise, ranging from the simple blacking or reddening of faces with some rustic make-up, or donning elaborate costumes. However this dressing up, aside from perhaps preserving the anonymity of the mischievous Plough Boys, also crosses over with attendant customs. For many Plough Monday traditions including the performance of mumming plays or a version of morris dancing (often called “molly dancing” in this instance). For more on this fascinating set of traditons, do visit Mr Pete Millington’s excellent and comprehensive study found.
Other places in England have even more unique Twelfth Night traditions, with one of the more famous being held in Haxey, Lincolnshire. On the 6th of January, the little village holds what is called the Haxey Hood – a rowdy contest which see the more game villagers join together into a huge scrum – called “the sway” to gain the titular hood – a leather tube – and attempt to transport it to one of four pubs in the village. The origins of this annual game are unknown but we do know it dates back to at least the 14th century, and it is still played with great gusto (and occasional minor injuries) to this very day.
And all of the above are just merely scratching the surface of Twelfth Night lore. For example, we have not even mentioned assorted traditions, mainly from Europe, where Christmas gifts are given on Twelfth Night, and I shall to return in subsequent years to examine some of these traditions in more detail. However I do hope that this introductory article has perhaps reawakened some interest in celebrating Twelfth Night once more.
Personally I quite like the old concept of Christmas Day begin not “the big day” but just the beginning of the festivities, and marking the end of what used to be called Christmastide with another big knees-up before having to return to work!

Hypnogoria

I will leave you with this evocative footage and wish you all a joyous Twelfth Night…

The Old Winter Witches of Epiphany

January 5th is Epiphany Eve or Twelfth Night in Christian tradition, but across pagan Europe it once marked the end of the “Wild Hunt”, the “Shining Night” when the old, wild winter goddesses such as Frau Holle, Frau Holda and Frau Perchta (whose names mean bright, shining, luminous and glorious) brought new light and fertility to the world. Bearing gifts, the arrival of the winter witches of Epiphany was eagerly awaited, and sacred foods and cakes were offered in gratitude…

Spirit Possession/Attachment and Mental Health

Cassandra and I have had client consultations concerning this particular subject.
There are however a variety of opinions on this matter which I have researched. In this post I have included the opinions of Psychologists, a Psychic Author and a Healer.

In many ways Spirit Possession can result from Mental Trauma

An interesting study by Neuner, Pfeiffer, Schauer-Kaiser, Odenwald,et,al. (2012) investigated the prevalence of cen, a local variant of spirit possession, in youths aged between 12 and 25 years in war-affected regions of Northern Uganda. They compared youths who had been abducted and forced to fight as child soldiers in the so-called Lord’s Resistance Army – a group that has waged a long and brutal campaign to overthrow the government of Uganda – with youths who had never been abducted.
Cen is a form of spirit possession where the “ghost of a deceased person visits the affected individual and replaces his or her identity, and Neuner et al. reported that spirit possession was significantly higher in former abducted child soldiers than in non-abductees. They also found that reports of spirit possession were related to trauma exposure (such as sexual assault and being forced to kill), to psychological distress, and to higher rates of suicide and PTSD.
Neuner et al. conclude that in many of the areas of the world where beliefs about spirit possession are widely held, such beliefs are a standard consequence of psychological trauma and may be a way of explaining the dissociative symptoms that often accompany intense traumatic experiences. These beliefs about spirit possession can then be used by various local agencies to manipulate the behaviour of individuals – even to the extent of coercing them into acts of extreme brutality. Explanations of mental health problems in terms of “possession” have taken many forms over the course of history, and it is a form of explanation that has meant that many who have been suffering debilitating and distressing psychological problems have been persecuted and physically abused rather than offered the support and treatment they need. Many ancient civilizations, such as those in Egypt, China, Babylon and Greece believed that those exhibiting symptoms of psychopathology were possessed by bad spirits (this is known as demonology), and the only way to exorcise these bad spirits was with elaborate ritualized ceremonies that frequently involved direct physical attacks on the sufferer’s body in an attempt to force out the demons (e.g. through torture, flogging or starvation). Not surprisingly, such actions usually had the effect of increasing the distress and suffering of the victim.
In Western societies demonology survived as an explanation of mental health problems right up until the eighteenth century, when witchcraft and demonic possession were common explanations for psychopathology. Nevertheless, as I have described above, demonic or spirit possession is still a common explanation for mental health problems in some less developed areas of the world – especially where witchcraft and voodoo are still important features of the local culture such as Haiti and some areas of Western Africa (). The continued adoption of demonic possession as an explanation of mental health problems (especially in relation to psychotic symptoms) is often linked to local religious beliefs (Ng, 2007; Hanwella, de Silva,Yoosuf, Karunaratne & de Silva,2012), and may often be accompanied by exorcism as an attempted treatment – even in individuals with a known history of diagnosed psychotic symptoms (e.g. Tajima-Pozo,Zambrano-Enriquez,de Anta, Moron et al., 2011)
Psychology Today – C.L. Davey Ph D

Are Spirit Attachments Real?

How Do I Know If I Have One?
In the world of psychics, healers and metaphysics, inevitably the topic of “entities” or “attachments” will arise. It will come up in classes about healing and psychic development, in a discussion or when you visit your own reader or healer, and certainly if you are a working psychic or healer yourself. But what exactly IS an entity attachment, and why might it attach to you? I will begin by saying there are many beliefs on the subject and conflicting thoughts. For years I was taught by esteemed teachers of healing and psychic development how to clear and protect my energy field when doing this work because when you are empathic (as many people are) and working with, relating to, and in the presence of other humans, it’s important to clean out your energy field and space because you can pick up “stuff” and energies that don’t belong to you. This topic can get multi layered and branch off into all kinds of directions. I will keep it as concise as I can speaking from my own experience.
I have been trained in and I teach multiple techniques for clearing the human aura, and physical space. I have worked for 30 years in the healing arts, and have a thriving private practice as a psychic, medium, energy healer and spiritual counselor. I discovered that I had picked up a foreign energy (entity) that was attached to my energy field. I had been feeling rather “off” for quite a long time. I was experiencing low energy, was weepy a lot, and more negative and drained than I had ever felt for such a continued period of time. I was behaving in ways that weren’t usual, like desires to do things out of character for me, such as zoning out and escapism behavior. I was putting things off that I normally enjoyed, isolating from others, and feeling a big lack of motivation to do my work, which is my true passion in life! Admittedly, I had become remiss in managing my energy field carefully, both in my work and personal life. As the awareness of how “off” I was becoming intensified, I just “happened” (there are no accidents!) to come upon an article with a list of symptoms of an entity attachment. I found it hit me like a frying pan over the head and I realized that was what was probably going on. Me? A trained professional psychic healer? That same day, we had good friends over and one of them was a healer whom I came to find out cleared attachments through a technique using the akashic records (a topic for another day). I followed the protocol she gave me after doing her assessment and I truly experienced a total shift and reversal of the symptoms. It has been a reminder of the importance of taking care of my energy field.
What exactly IS an entity attachment? It’s an energy in another dimension that is of a low vibration and feeds on the energy of living animals/people. It can be a collective of negative thought forms but not with a soul. Like a bacteria or parasite on the astral (unseen) level. An entity can be a negative human soul who is vibrating on a lower level frequency and stays hanging around the Earth plane out of fear to move onward. These souls attach to people or animals to gain energy and to live vicariously through the incarnated being. There are many other types of entities such as dark force (demonic) and ETs who have a different energy to them and attach for different reasons.
The most important thing to know about this subject is how to prevent it and how to clear it if you find you have one. According to some research I did, a large percentage of people have attachments at some time in their lives and don’t know it, and some have them for their entire lifetime. They come from other people who have them, and go to other clear people who have an opening in their aura to allow them in. An opening can happen when a person is weak emotionally due to trauma, in fear or negativity, too open energetically and merging with another’s energy field, through sex with a person who has entity attached, or when using drugs or alcohol. To stay clear in the aura, a person has to be soul empowered and not in fear to remove and to keep the entity away. The assistance of the Angelic realm, (also known as High Entities) and the Divine (God/Goddess) a higher vibration than the entity is needed to escort it out to another realm where it belongs.
Some things to be aware of to stay clear of entity attachment:
Stay healthy physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Clear negative people out of your life, check your thoughts and belief systems for low vibration (shame, fear, self-loathing, over giving, martyrdom, giving your power away,) and protect your home, office, car etc. with healing thoughts, cleanliness and high vibration music, light, sincere meditation and positive relationships. Burning white sage and incense clears space, and water and salt keeps the aura clear.
Katharine Glass

Resolving and Clearing Spiritual Entity Attachment Issues

Many people contact me because they are dealing with a non-physical energy of some kind that has attached into their field. Most everyone I’ve ever worked with has some level of non-physical energy attachment, sometimes millions of them.  I call these “blocks & interference”.
These types of energies are not generally strongly malevolent or “evil”, and are nothing to be feared. They can still be bothersome, contributing to blocked feelings of wellness, limiting mental and emotional clarity and peace, and restricting our capacity for authentic, integrated spiritual freedom.
Many people try smudging themselves with sage, visualizing white light, asking the angels to help them, or working with clearing practitioners whose approaches may be rather slipshod and limited in scope.  Sometimes these strategies help, but sometimes only for a time.
Remember that ultimately you do have sovereignty over your own energy field, and nothing can exist there without your permission. So why is it that entities are sometimes hard to clear for some people?

The major reasons why people have chronic entity issues

In my experience, the major reasons people have chronic entity issues that they cannot seem to easily clear include:
  • they have not sufficiently resolved & released their present-life and past-life repressed energies of anger, hatred, & living life from a sense that they are a victim
  • unfinished strong emotional business & trauma from this or past lives (or both)
  • losing power to old situations, relationships, intense challenges where there are still energetic “leaks” in your soul
  • habitually blaming self, others, & God for their troubles, blocks, & limitations
  • decisions, programs, contracts, vows taken consciously or unconsciously in this or past lives to take everything on yourself.
This subconscious unprocessed energy is keeping them vulnerable, & attracting “like-minded” darker energies from the collective.
The person may also be inadvertently creating their own entities which spring forth from the strongly-emotionalized discordant projections of their own consciousness.  The common phrase “my inner demons” comes to mind here.

Entity issues are a symptom, not the primary issue

I look at entity issues as a symptom, not as the main problem.  People often think “if I could only get rid of these entities, I would feel much better”, and this is true.  But the reason why someone has entities is because of suppressed unresolved emotional issues from this and past lives — and the spiritual programs that have resulted from these –, and until those get healed, freedom from entities may not be entirely possible.
Attracting entities is just like attracting other people — you always attract beings who mirror something about you.
Examples of strong emotions that may be running presently or in your subconscious that may leave you vulnerable to entities:
Blaming others, self, & God; anger, sense of victimization, fear, guilt, worry, self-depreciation, feeling unworthy/not good enough, resentment, jealousy, feeling disgusted, neediness, feeling trapped, head in the clouds, overly obsessed with “ascension”, denial of darkness, avoidance of reality, everything’s got to be perfect, controlling

Entity clearing requires individual work, and also conscious work

Entities are very easy to identify & clear for a skilled practitioner, and will be released within the first few minutes of a clearing session with me to the extent to which my client will energetically allow it.
If after a clearing, my client is still complaining about “the same entity issues” they had before, it’s often because they are holding onto the entities energetically because of the strong bond they have to their past-life and present-life emotional woundedness.
In these cases, the client really needs to do more conscious work on themselves, including working with a skilled therapist, or some method to help them reveal, process, and express their unresolved emotional history.  Body-based work like Somatic Experiencing, Holotropic Breathwork, Yin Yoga, or other feeling-based (rather than merely mental) practices come to mind here.

Your commitment to your conscious evolution will guide your process

Ultimately, you can be free of entity issues, and even if they show up on occasion in the future, they will be very simple to release. If the issues are currently chronic, it will take spiritual clearing work of your subconscious and past-life history such as the kind I facilitate — but equally as important, it will also take conscious emotional work, work on forgiveness, and letting yourself fully feel and process all that is pent-up within you.
There is no spiritual bypassing of our process.  Each one of us has to become fully present, engaged, and actively conscious of the fullness of who we are right here and right now, even as we work with Spirit to help us resolve our subconscious issues.
If you have been chronically giving your power away, living in victim consciousness, or holding onto old resentments and pain, it is important that you find a way to safely and gently allow your past pain to be revealed, felt, and released.
Ultimately, you must plug those energetic leaks within your own consciousness, let go, stand up for yourself, & reclaim integrity to your Divine Identity now.
Michael David Golzmane

The Chepstow Wassail – Countryfile Magazine

Yuletide celebrations are now over and today it was a wonderful surprise to see this article in the January 2019 edition of Countryfile Magazine where my Sea ‘Oss Morvargh is mentioned. It was her first outing to Chepstow which was tremendously exciting for a little foal……

 

 

 

 

Cassandra was also pictured in an article about the Chepstow Wassail in Landscape magazine.

We look forward to this Wassail every year as it is such a wonderful event. See you all soon………

Family Problems and Solutions

Clinical experience and research show that adult children of narcissists have a difficult time putting their finger on what is wrong, because denial is rampant in the narcissistic family system:

“The typical adult from a narcissistic family is filled with unacknowledged anger feels like a hollow person, feels inadequate and defective, suffers from periodic anxiety and depression and has no clue about how he or she got that way.”—Pressman and Pressman, The Narcissistic Family

It is common for adult children of narcissists to enter treatment with emotional symptoms or relationship issues, but simultaneously display a lack of awareness of the deeper etiology or cause.
The narcissistic family hides profound pain.
Such families tend to operate according to an unspoken set of rules. Children learn to live with those rules, but never stop being confused and pained by them, for these rules block their emotional access to their parents. They basically become invisible—neither heard, seen, or nurtured. Conversely, and tragically, this set of rules allows the parents to have no boundaries with the children and to use (or abuse) them as they see fit.
The following are some common dynamics of this profoundly dysfunctional intergenerational system. (Keep in mind there are always degrees of dysfunction on a spectrum depending on the level of narcissism in the parents.)
SecretsThe family secret is that the parents are not meeting the children’s emotional needs, or that they are abusive in some way. This is the norm in the narcissistic family. The message to the children: “Don’t tell the outside world—pretend everything is fine.”
ImageThe narcissistic family is all about image. The message is: “We are bigger, better, have no problems, and must put on the face of perfection.”
Children get the messages: “What would the neighbors think?” “What would the relatives think?” What would our friends think?”These are common fears in the family: “Always put a smile on that pretty little face.”
Negative MessagesChildren are given spoken and unspoken messages that get internalized, typically: “You’re not good enough”; “You don’t measure up”; “You are valued for what you do rather than for who you are.”
Lack of Emotional Tune-InNarcissistic parents lack the ability to emotionally tune in to their kids. They cannot feel and show empathy or unconditional love. They are typically critical and judgmental.

Lack of Effective Communication. 

The most common means of communication in narcissistic families is triangulation. Information is not direct. It is told through one party about another in hopes it will get back to the other party. Family members talk about each other to other members of the family, but don’t confront each other directly. This creates passive aggressive behavior, tension, and mistrust. When communication is direct, it is often in the form of anger or rage.

Unclear Boundaries. 

There are few boundaries in the narcissistic family. Children’s feelings are not considered important. Private diaries are read, physical boundaries are not kept, and emotional boundaries are not respected. The right to privacy is not typically a part of the family history.

One Parent Narcissistic, the Other Orbiting. 

If one parent is narcissistic, it is common for the other parent to have to revolve around the narcissist to keep the marriage intact. Often, this other parent has redeeming qualities to offer the children, but is tied up meeting the needs of the narcissistic spouse, leaving the children’s needs unmet. Who is there for them?

Siblings Not Encouraged to Be Close.

 In healthy families, we encourage our children to be loving and close to each other. In narcissistic families, children are pitted against each other and taught competition. There is a constant comparison of who is doing better and who is not. Some are favored or seen as “the golden child,” and others become the scapegoat for a parent’s projected negative feelings. Siblings in narcissistic families rarely grow up feeling emotionally connected to each other.

Feelings. 

Feelings are denied and not discussed. Children are not taught to embrace their emotions and process them in realistic ways. They are taught to stuff and repress them, and are told their feelings don’t matter. Narcissistic parents are typically not in touch with their own feelings and therefore project them onto others. This causes a lack of accountability and honesty, not to mention other psychological disorders. If we don’t process feelings, they do leak out in other unhealthy ways.

Not Good Enough” Messages. 

These messages come across loud and clear in the narcissistic family. Some parents actually speak this message in various ways; others just model it to the children. Even if they display arrogant and boastful behavior, under the veneer of a narcissist is a self-loathing psyche—that gets passed to the child.

Dysfunction—Obvious or Covert. 

In narcissist families, the dynamics can be seen or disguised. The dysfunction displayed in violent and abusive homes is usually obvious, but emotional and psychological abuse, as well as neglectful parents, are often hidden. While the drama is not displayed as openly to the outside world, it is just as, if not, more damaging to the children.
Reviewing these dynamics, one can see how this kind of family can look pretty but be decaying at the same time. If you recognize your family in this description, know that there is hope and recovery. We can’t change the past, but we can take control of the now. We do not have to be defined by the wounds in our family systems. As Mark Twain defines the optimist, I see the recovering adult child: “A person who travels on nothing from nowhere to happiness.”
We can create new life that will flow through us to the future and stop the legacy of distorted love learned in the narcissistic family. If we choose recovery, we can defy intergenerational statistics.
We Can!
Psychology Today
People with narcissistic qualities tend to view life in black-and-white: a world of only losers and winners, victims and victimizers. They loathe feeling like losers or victims. In the case of parents with narcissism they often shunt those roles onto their children.
Why? Because people with narcissism need to be fed. A person with extreme narcissistic tendencies is like a balloon with a hole, endlessly leaking esteem, always needing a refill. Such a person’s air supply: attention. And who better to provide attention than the captive audience of one’s children?
If you had a parent with narcissism, you may have been trained to focus not on your own feelings and needs, but rather on those of your parent. Parents with narcissism may wheedle, confuse, or bully you into attending to them, ignoring their lies, and tiptoeing around their vulnerabilities. They generally need your life to be about them. Some people with narcissism, feeling empty at their core and lacking a healthy sense of self may steal from your very relationship with yourself.
But you aren’t a child anymore. You have power and options you never had as a child. Here are six ways you can take back your life after a narcissistic upbringing:

 SEE BEYOND THE NARCISSISTIC FACADE

People with narcissism tend to be pretenders. Dwelling in a cyclone of shame, they live in mortal terror of anybody saying the emperor has no clothes. They fear being seen as flawed or ignorant and hate feeling powerless or embarrassed. These fears tend to drive their behavior. To avoid feeling flawed, they have to be the best and insist on perfection from others. To avoid feeling ignorant, they act like know-it-alls and rarely admit they are wrong. To avoid feeling powerless, they act larger than life. And when they feel embarrassed, their volcanic rage may erupt, burying anyone in their path.
When you know this, you can see what drives their outlandish behaviors. You don’t have to take it personally, wondering what you did wrong.

IDENTIFY DISTORTIONS AND DOUBLE STANDARDS

When people with narcissism make a mistake, they tend to blame others. When you make a mistake, they blame you. When they succeed, they cite their superior character. When you succeed—thus temporarily stealing the spotlight they so crave—they may take credit for your success, call it a fluke, or diminish it by pointing out other times you have failed.
People with narcissism tend to distract and disguise. Like kids caught with their hands in the candy jar, they may try to confuse, belittle, bully, or otherwise avoid responsibility for their actions.
Don’t be taken in. Pay attention to what they do, not what they say. Their words are often attempts to throw you off and make you feel small or doubtful while making themselves feel big. Their arguments are generally not to be taken seriously or even responded to, because if you refute one argument, they may simply come up with another and another.
When they are abusive, manipulative or withholding, see it for what it is. They are using you to avoid their own issues and satisfy their urges. They may feel entitled to do so. This is not healthy. Nobody is entitled to abuse or use another.

IF YOU ARE DRAWN TO PEOPLE WITH NARCISSISTIC QUALITIES, BE CLEAR ABOUT WHY

If you have been drawn to people with narcissism, it may be because it is simply a familiar dynamic. But it can also reflect an unconscious hope that if you can find a person with narcissistic tendencies who happens to treat you well, it will make up for what you didn’t get years ago from a parent with narcissism. It is an understandable wish. Yet relationships with people with narcissism are often disappointing and superficial because people with narcissism generally don’t care about treating others well.
You don’t have to deny your desire for justice, validation, or reparation. But you can never get back lost years, nor are you likely to get an apology.
If you feel unfulfilled in a relationship or wonder if a friend or partner has narcissism, ask yourself why you are with them. Do you hope to change or reform them? Do you hope someday they will see how good you are and mend their ways? Pursuing relationships with people with narcissism may simply postpone facing the painful recognition that your parent couldn’t be there for you. Accepting and mourning that unfortunate truth can allow you to focus on what is best for you and pick healthier relationships.
You don’t have to deny your desire for justice, validation, or reparation. But you can never get back lost years, nor are you likely to get an apology. You will almost certainly never be rescued if you wait for it. The only person who can make it right is you, by your choices and by how you treat and view yourself.

USE YOUR VOICE

Let’s say, for example, you give a person with narcissism a holiday gift, and they give you nothing. The person with narcissism then says something like, “You’re just trying to make me feel guilty because I didn’t get you anything.” This is classic narcissistic behavior, shifting the attention to you and putting you on the defensive. Simply knowing they are doing this may be enough to help you gain perspective, and you might choose to say nothing. But if you feel that you are shrinking in stature, you may feel better about yourself by speaking up. For example, in a situation like this you could:
Confront it by saying, “No, that is not why I gave it to you. But now that you mention it, do you feel guilty for not giving me anything?”
Use humor by taking their accusation about you trying to make them feel guilty and saying something like, “Well, is it working?”
Be honest and direct by saying, “No, I gave you a card because I wanted to. And now that you mention it, I do feel hurt that you didn’t give me anything.”
Remember, hard as they may try, people with narcissism can never take away your truth, experience, or feelings. They can dispute it, threaten you, and deny it, but they cannot make you give it up. They are projecting on you what they can’t feel in themselves. Don’t take it on.

SEEK BALANCE

Being raised by a person with narcissism can throw your life out of balance. One way to regain healthy balance is to do the opposite of what your parents did. For example:
If you received much criticism and scant praise, you may need to sidestep criticism (including self-criticism) and increase self-acknowledgment.
If you have been compulsively driving yourself in reaction to people with narcissism who called you lazy, you may want to slow down and focus on quality of life. Conversely, if you have been under performing in reaction to pressure from people with narcissism, you may want to push yourself beyond your present comfort level.
If you have felt deprived, allow yourself to desire and receive more.
If you were not allowed to say no or point out what was wrong, you may need to spend time saying no and focusing on what should change in your relationship, family, workplace, or society.
If you have been giving people with narcissistic qualities the benefit of the doubt to your own detriment, you may want to start questioning their actions and believe in yourself, perhaps seeking the guidance of a therapist or friend as you do so.

TRUST YOURSELF

Your parents may have shamed you when you experimented, asked questions, or expressed your views. This may have led you as a child to become more dependent on them or alienated from yourself. Even in adulthood, you may second-guess yourself, struggle to make decisions, and shy away from taking risks that could enhance your life.
When you have to make a decision or when a challenge arises, ask yourself, “If I knew I was absolutely trustworthy, what would I do?” Then assess how you can make that happen. By assuming you are trustworthy, that your feelings are valuable, and that your intuition is reliable, you can see that you have within yourself all you need to handle challenges—despite what your parents may have tried to make you believe.
If you were raised by a parent with narcissism, you are not alone. Millions of adults have had a parent with narcissistic tendencies. No matter how you were treated as a child, you deserve to be seen, heard, and do what is healthiest for you.
Good Therapy

The Roles We Play by the Green Serpent.

A thought provoking article, tells it as it is!

“Some things become apparent when gathered with true elders of the Craft, especially when talking about the community as a whole.

So many of the same questions come up, many of the same complaints, and if you only hover on the surface it sounds like conversations in other aspects of society and culture, what you hear is “What the hell is wrong with kids these days?”

But it goes far deeper, and it isn’t limited to kids, not by a long shot.

I listen and I hear and I am learning to understand the questions and what they truly mean and I think I am coming closer to some startling and devastating answers.

The questions that I hear are the same no matter who I talk to.

Why is everyone always at each other’s throats?

Why doesn’t the public take us seriously?

Why are events just glorified craft shows?

Why don’t people support events that are truly spiritual ones (with no vendors)?

Why are all of the events indoors?

Why don’t the elders police behavior especially during rituals?

Why aren’t we teaching the young in an open way instead of pushing them to books and youtube to gain their knowledge?

Why does every pagan event look like a cross between burning man and a renaissance festival?

Why does so little actual working take place at these gatherings?

The answers to this multitude of questions and even more like them are actually all the same few answers.

The Masquerade

The Pagan community has a contingent of people who are role-playing in religion instead of actually being practitioners.

These are the folks that are all about playing dress up, pulling out their cloaks, their giant pentacles, their glue on puck horns and their Gandalf sticks and parading around pretending to be Queen Ambrosia the Fae and hoping that no one asks them to bless the altar. Typically they are known by a nickname. Not a magical name because those are kept very private and guarded because there is extreme power in names, but a nickname and man, I have heard some doozies over the years. I was once introduced to a guy who called himself Odinstaff… Really.

These folks while mostly nice and generally harmless make us and our faith look like a carnival. To quote Eric Draven from The Crow. “A whole jolly club, with jolly pirate nicknames!”

I think that people into the whole pagan thing as an elaborate live action role-playing adventure should be allowed to do their thing but I think in order to move forward we need to stop catering to them.

Nothing to See Here

A certain percentage of practitioners don’t actually have any practical or useful knowledge and their egos are too big to admit that out loud. They can’t bring themselves to go back and actually learn the basics and so when asked to lead or share, they instantly find a dozen excuses such as the intensity or personal nature of their rites, or that they were sworn to some kind of code that doesn’t allow them to divulge their Way.

These folks because of their secret, feel truly powerless. For the most part I believe that they actually want to be a part of the Path. They want to learn or to know but they got in over their heads when they were young and they can’t bring themselves to admit that they know very little. These people are usually very kind and would do anything for someone else but they are not extending themselves the same courtesy. Especially when there are genuine teachers available if you are willing to actually dig through the chaff to find one.

The saddest part about these folks is that they themselves would make fantastic teachers, healers and possibly leaders but they are frozen by fear that they don’t know what they are doing.

The Great and Terrible

Then there are those who put themselves in a place of power. They were not chosen to lead, they do not have the experience, the personality or the empathy to be a true, healthy leader but they exploited an opportunity or created one and got lucky and suddenly they were at the head of the table and then their egos took over.

All it takes is a rudimentary understanding of psychology and some basic observational skills to see that these folks hold their places by bullying, threats, passive aggression, blaming the other guy and a heaping dose of  “Oh poor me…” martyrdom.

Nothing that they do is for the benefit of the community. They will claim to teach only to bring on students to be used as ego boosters and lackeys who are too innocent and hopeful to realize that the knowledge they stand to inherit is all Hollywood façade and shadow puppetry.

Their way is THE way and all other paths have terrible weaknesses. They are self-taught at best and at worst, making it all up as it goes along and nothing they do religiously is ever done for anything except for effect.

These people are one of the great dangers to our faith because they are dug in, entrenched and can only be uprooted by a community of elders and warriors willing to stop playing patty cake and getting serious.

The Silent Minority

This is the group that breaks my heart.

It took me a while to pin them down because I suspected that they existed for a long time but I really didn’t want to believe it because of what it would mean. But over the last year as I have been talking to more and more people, I have gotten several of them to speak up and what I learned stunned me to my marrow.

Many members of the community don’t believe.

They do not believe in a Goddess, in any permutation, nor a God, Horned or otherwise. They do not see Nature as a matronly spirit, they do not look to the universe, to Hecate, or to Bast or anyone else across the dozens of pantheons represented in the Craft.

They are scared, they want to be a part of a community that accepts them and the way they look or the way that they act. One that will care for them, defend them, hold them when they are hurting and will listen to their woes but they carry no belief in their hearts or souls whatsoever.

They want to. Some of them need it. Some of them are so desperate for it that they are harming themselves hoping to find clarity and they are looking to their elders for guidance and praying that someone will show them a path that makes sense and feels complete.

And what do they see? The folks listed above.

They don’t see the Goddess. They see her followers badmouthing and backstabbing each other.

They see events that could easily be mistaken for flea markets. They see giant pentagrams and guys who have joined the community because “Witch girls are freaky and easy.”

They see out of control egos and manic people screaming “Look how damaged I am! It’s my birth sign’s fault! Feel sorry for me!”

Missing is the pageantry that they imagined. The breathtaking beauty that their imaginings promised them. The powerful experiences that would lead them closer to a Mother and perhaps even give her a name that would resonated in their breasts.

They come hoping for a transformational and uplifting experience and found a poorly scripted reality show that has gone on for about twenty seasons too long.

I think it is time to cancel that show.

I think it is time for the elders to step up, speak out and begin to change things.

Because if we don’t, we will find ourselves in one of the categories above.”

Green Serpent – liftingserpents.wordpress.com 

The Sublime and Sinister Sides of Yuletide Customs

Although the traditions and rituals of Christmas have evolved through the centuries, many of them have remarkably ancient origins linked to the midwinter festivals of Yule and Saturnalia and the hope of renewed life as the days lengthen with the promise of spring.
Yule, a time for present-giving and indulgent eating and drinking, was a pre-Christian celebration enjoyed by the people of northern Europe.
Today’s Yule log represents the fires lit on these dark days. Oak was the wood of choice, as it was believed to be the most likely to draw the sun back to the earth.
The mistletoe (Viscum album), the white-berried, sickle-leaved evergreen which grows on the oak and other trees such as tall limes and poplars, and on apple trees as a semi-parasite, was believed to guard the tree from evil – including witchcraft. It also has strong links to fertility, which is undoubtedly why couples still kiss beneath it at Christmas time. Cutting mistletoe with a golden sickle on the sixth night of the moon will, it is believed, preserve the plant’s magic. It was even hung in cow sheds to ensure the continued health of livestock.
Tradition still dictates that with each kiss a man should remove one berry and put it in his pocket or buttonhole. On production of the berry he can then claim more kisses on demand. In the past, mistletoe was often dried and kept from one year to the next for good luck in every season. However it has long been believed that a girl or boy will stay unmarried for the year if they are not kissed under the mistletoe at Christmastime.
There are other rituals that are also thought to be worth performing or observing to bring love and luck, health and happiness for twelve months:
  • When a man kisses his would-be love he must pluck a berry and present it to her. Only if she accepts it will her love be true.
  • Keep the mistletoe all year and burn it before the new sprigs are put up. A good sign is a steady flame. For a married couple, or a bride to be, a spluttering one means a bad-tempered husband.
  • After being kissed a girl should pick a mistletoe leaf and a berry. In the privacy of her room she must swallow the berry and prick on to the leaf the initials of the man she loves then stow the leaf as near to her heart as possible

Christmas Evergreens

The holly, ivy and mistletoe are the quintessential Christmas evergreens, and it is believed that all must be handled correctly to avoid ill fortune.
They must certainly be removed by 6 January, which is Twelfth Night or the feast of the Epiphany. For their Christmas celebrations, early Christians adapted the traditions of the bawdy Roman midwinter festival of Saturnalia, bringing in evergreens to decorate their homes and churches. Christmas Eve is the most propitious day for cutting greenery; if you use it before this date quarrels are, it is said, sure to ensue.
By old country lore, while the prickly holly (Ilex sp) represents the male, the ivy is undoubtedly feminine. The Greeks called it cissos after a dancing girl who danced herself to death at the feet of Dionysus and was transformed into the plant by the god, so moved was he by her art. Unlike holly, ivy (Hedera sp) is not always welcomed indoors but kept for decorating doorways and porches, ‘just in case’. While mistletoe could be brought into the home, it was banned from churches for decoration because of its pagan associations and is still discouraged today.

The Well-Lit Tree

Until it was introduced from Germany by Prince Albert, the Christmas tree was virtually unknown in Britain, though the tradition of bringing evergreens indoors at this season goes back to ancient pagan festivals. One possible origin for the custom of decorating trees for Yule relates to legends that certain trees burst into bloom on Christmas Day. One was the miraculous Glastonbury thorn, believed to have sprung from the staff of Joseph of Arimathea who, on his mission to Britain, planted it in the ground on Christmas Eve.
Such flowering trees were especially revered in Germany. In 1430 one writer recorded that:
‘Not far from Nuremburg there stood a wonderful tree. Every year, in the coldest season, on the night of Christ’s birth this tree put forth blossoms and apples as thick as a man’s thumb. This in the midst of deep snow and in the teeth of cold winds.’
Trees were cut and used in plays performed at Christmas, telling the whole Christian story from Adam and Eve to the Resurrection. In this context the Christmas tree represented both the Tree of Knowledge and Christ’s Cross.
Lights on the Christmas tree illuminate the dark days of winter as well as the advent of the ‘Light of the world’. Legend has it that it was Martin Luther who first decorated a tree with candles.
Folklore Thursday

The Fearsome Legend of Krampus

In ancient times, a dark, hairy, horned beast was said to show up at the door to beat children, and carry them off in his sharp claws. The Krampus could be heard in the night by the sound of his echoing cloven hooves and his rattling iron chains. The strangest part was that he was in league with Santa Claus.

The Christmas Terror

The unnerving beast was no demon, however. He was the mythical Krampus, companion to Saint Nicholas (known as Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, etc.) While Saint Nicholas now has the reputation of loving all children and visiting them at Christmastime, judging their character and giving gifts to the ‘nice’ ones and lumps of coal to the ‘naughty’ ones, Krampus plays the dangerous sidekick.
It is believed that the long-horned, shaggy, goat-like monster with a long, angry face and lolling, forked tongue would visit the home of misbehaving children to punish them. It was believed he would give beatings, and kidnap the kids, bringing them down to his underworld lair to live for a year.
On Krampus Night, or Krampusnacht, the eve of December 5, German children took care to not attract the attention of the intimidating beast, in hopes that St. Nicholas would bring presents on Nikolaustag, December 6.
According to National Geographic, Krampus is believed to be the son of Hel in Norse mythology (Hel, daughter of Loki and overseer of the land of the dead). His name is derived from the German word  krampen, meaning claw. He shares traits with other figures in Greek mythology, such as satyrs and fauns, and has been portrayed in a salacious manner in late 19 th century greeting cards, lusting after buxom women.

Feared and Loved

The myth of Krampus can be found in the Alpine regions, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic, and the legend has gained long legs, reaching across Europe and around the world. Families traditionally exchanged colorful greeting cards, called Krampuskarten, since the 1800s featuring the sometimes silly, sometimes sinister Krampus.
In the early 20 th century Krampus was prohibited by the Austrian Fascist government, but the tradition was revived with the fall of the government after World War II. Traditional annual parades are still held in which young men dress as the Krampus, and race through the streets snarling and shaking chains at onlookers.
Many cities and towns, in keeping with old tradition, run a popular Krampuslauf, a sizeable gathering of revelers (largely fortified by alcoholic schnapps) dressed in Krampus costume to chase people through the streets. More than 1200 Austrians gather in Schladming, Styria each year to dress up as Krampus, swatting passers-by with sticks and loudly ringing cowbells. Birch sticks are painted gold and displayed to remind of his arrival.
These days on Krampusnacht, Krampus will commonly accompany St. Nicholas to homes and businesses where St. Nicholas will give out gifts, and Krampus will hand out coal and birch stick bundles.

Santa’s Companions

In addition to Krampus, Santa traditionally enjoyed a host of different companions depending on region and culture, reflecting local history and beliefs. These mythical figures have many common traits, and generally play the role of punisher or abductor, in contrast to the benevolent and generous saint. They often carried a rod, stick, or broom, were usually dressed in black rags, and were shaggy, with unruly hair.

Related image

Elves, kobolds, or pre-Christian house-spirits of English and Scandinavian tradition were believed to be gift maker or bringer, but didn’t share the same elevated status as Saint Nick and his companion.
In Germany, Knecht Ruprecht ( Farmhand Rupert , Servant Rupert) was an old man with a long beard dressed in straw or covered in fur. He accompanied St. Nicholas and carried a bag of ashes, and one might hear his coming due to the ringing of tiny bells sewn into his clothing. Knecht Ruprecht expected children to be able to recite Christian catechism or say their prayers, whereupon he would give them fruit or gingerbread. If they hadn’t learned their lessons, it was said he’d leave them a stick or a lump of coal in their shoes at best, and at worst he’d place the children in a sack, and either eat them or throw them in a river. Ruprecht became a common name for the devil in German.
In Palatinate, Germany, as well as Pennsylvania in the United States, and in the east coast of Canada the companion is named Belsnickel. A scary figure, much like Knecht Ruprect, this partner visits at Christmas and hands out gifts or punishments. In some regions, this figure is dressed as a female, and called the Christmas Woman. She is thoroughly disguised in female clothing, with cloth wrapped around the head and face, and carries sweets and cakes, as well as a long switch which acts like a swatting stick, or a charmed wand.
Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) is an old mythical figure of Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg who has become a controversial figure in modern times. Traditionally a blackamoor (African male figure usually symbolizing a servant), he was characterized as a Moor from Spain, and a helper to St. Nicholas who was to amuse children and give candy.  Actors portraying Zwarte Piet would wear ‘blackface’—dark makeup, curly black wigs and red lipstick—a practice which is now seen as a racist stereotype. Appearances of Zwarte Piet are now protested in the Netherlands.
Ancient Origins

Image – John Isaac

Symbolism of Yuletide

Winter solstice, which takes place in late December, can be a profound way to tune into the magic and beauty of the season. For people throughout the ages—from the ancient Egyptians and Celts to the Hopi—midwinter has been a significant time of ritual, reflection, and renewal. Creating a meaningful celebration of winter solstice, either in place of or in addition to other holiday activities, can help us cultivate a deeper connection to nature and family and all the things that matter most to us. Winter can become a time of feeding the spirit and nurturing the soul, not just emptying our bank account and fraying our nerves.  Throughout history, celebrating the solstice has been a way to renew our connection with each other through acts of goodwill, special rituals, and heightened awareness. This longest night of the year, followed by a renewal of the sun, demonstrates the cyclical order of the cosmos. In this way, celebrating the solstice can be a beautiful remembrance that our lives are part of a larger order, always changing, always renewing.
On the solstice, visit a place outdoors that’s special to you—a trail you can walk or a field you can lie down in, a hillside or mountain perch that provides the perfect view, or even the roof of your apartment building or a quiet place on the edge of your garden. Consider watching the sun rise or set from your little patch of the world. Write a poem. Make a list of loving wishes for friends, family, coworkers—even people you don’t know that well. Build a shrine of nature’s found objects. Light a candle. Reflect on your aspirations for the coming months. .Sharing food, an important part of any celebration, is particularly meaningful during the solstice, as it represents faith in the return of the sun and the harvest.
,So however you celebrate midwinter, knowing that you are sharing its traditions with the folk who lived long ago will make it extra special. May it bring you joy, contentment and all that you deserve. Yuletide Greetings to you all.