by Claire du Nord
In keeping with one of my favorite mottos – “Rescue, Reuse, Repurpose” – the Tannenbaum from this past Yule presented me with several new opportunities to do just that – knowing that in a short while it would be time to celebrate Imbolc, the next Sabbat on the Wheel of the Year. Claire du Nord here, a High Priestess in the Temple of Witchcraft tradition.
The whole Tannenbaum couldn’t stay in my little apartment forever as it was, of course, but it could still “live on” in several new “Repurposed” ways. The first idea that came to mind was to make an Imbolc Besom to use in my Imbolc Household Purification efforts. The Pine Besom would serve as an energetic Pine Cleaner, just as vacuuming up all the pine needles that had become strewn about the living room served as a Yuletide Carpet Freshener that filled the air with the wonderful, unmistakable Yule season scent.
I began to prune the Tannenbaum from the bottom up, using my roommate’s garden loppers. In the process of removing the branches, I found the perfect branch to serve as the first set of bristles for the besom:
Then, I began to add more pieces with a similar shape until the bristle part of the besom was full, at which point I found the largest branch on the Tannenbaum to serve as the handle of the besom. I used some green and white cording to attach the handle to the bristles, wrapping the cording around at the base of the bristles, pulling tightly as I wrapped around each time:
And here is the finished Imbolc Besom!
The next “Repurpose” happened quite suddenly, when the next longest branch I found “insisted” on becoming a wand – “I want to be a wand! I want to be a wand! I want to be a wand!”
I trimmed and trimmed until most of the branches had been removed. What I wound up with was sort of a besom shape from what remained of the Tannenbaum. I thought about hanging it on the wall as a sort of “witchy” decoration, but it was a bit too heavy for me to figure out how to do that. I was about to remove the last of the branches to make a sort of staff, when the third and final “Repurpose” made itself known.
I remembered the Celtic tradition of tying strips of cloth onto the branches of trees near springs, by the names of “Clootie Springs” and “Clootie Trees”. And although I had already trimmed off most of the branches, it could still work as a sort of “Maypole-Clootie Tree”! So, I got some strips of cloth from my fabric box, made some wishes, and tied them onto the “Clootie Tree” part.
I thought about the ribbons for the “Maypole” part, and the idea to make it into an “Elemental Maypole” popped into my head. So, I got some ribbons in the corresponding colors- White, Yellow, Red, Green and Blue. And then, I remembered the miniature elemental colored water bottles from Article #1 and thought it might look nice to attach those to the ribbons. I didn’t wind the ribbons around the “Maypole” part – that will be for another day. Rather, I tied bows in the elemental colors, with the matching tiny bottles.
So, here is the “Maypole” part:
Here is the “Clootie Tree” part:
And here is the whole thing, being held up in the same Tannenbaum base, (after being emptied of water, cleaned out and dried):
After looking at the result, I guess it turned out to be a besom after all. Or maybe just a conversation piece! (Insert smiley face here. . .)
For the Imbolc refreshments, I decided to make some Nut & Seed Crackers with Cream Cheese. First, the nuts and seeds were ground in a food processor, and then other ingredients were added to make the Nut & Seed Cracker “dough”.
Here are my Sun and Moon cookie cutters, (using the Sun one, which is really a biscuit cutter), for Imbolc:
Out of the oven and cooled, I must admit, they could pass for hamburgers!
Here are the Nut & Seed Crackers, with Cream Cheese on top:
For the Imbolc tablecloth, I used two fabric colors – one lavender, and the other a sort of tie-dyed pastel combination of colors:
And here is the Imbolc Table, including a carafe of milk and a bowl of Almonds and Sunflower seeds:
I hope this article has been helpful, and until next time –
Merry Meet, Merry Part, and Merry Meet again!
Claire du Nord