by Claire DuNord
This Yule Season’s magick was ushered in, quite literally, when this six feet tall live Tannenbaum came floating through the front door, followed by my equally tall roommate. He had just found it – would you believe – standing next to our apartment complex’s dumpsters! Claire du Nord here, a High Priestess in the Temple of Witchcraft tradition, with the fourteenth article in our “For Broom Closet Witches” series.
“Tannenbaum” is the German word for “fir tree”. Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers’ families were from Germany, (hence the emphasis on the Tannenbaum).
Here it is after its arrival:
Part of my plan for this Yule’s celebration was to sing the song, “O, Tannenbaum”, a German song sung at this time of year, which has come to be known as “Oh, Christmas Tree” in English. The song’s lyrics speak about the long winter’s darkness and the constant green color of the fir needles as a faithful sign that brings hope, relief and the promise of warmer days. As I understand the development of the song as we have it today, it was published in 1824 by Ernst Anschutz, who had based it on a 16th century folk song, (which wasn’t originally a song referring to a Christmas tree), by Melchior Franck. But first I would need to get one, otherwise it wouldn’t make much sense to sing the song. And then, Boom! It appeared! (Why anyone would have thrown away a perfectly good Tannenbaum before Yule was beyond me, but that dumpster has amazed me on more than one occasion.) As a matter of fact, the environs of that dumpster have provided me with a lot of my apartment’s furnishings. One of my many mottos is “Rescue, Reuse, Repurpose”.
Here is the Tannenbaum all “dressed up”:
For this Yule, I sewed a “God Jul” banner, using two of my mother’s tree ornaments. “God Jul” means “Good Yule” in Norwegian. I have spoken about her father’s Norwegian parents in other articles. My mother passed away in 1999, and this past Samhain I had a dream about her. As she was born a few days before the Winter Solstice, it “felt right” to incorporate the two ornaments of hers into my Yule/Jul creation.
First, I drew and cut out the letters:
Then, I pinned and cut them out from red fabric. I sewed the letters onto green fabric, and I sewed the figurines onto the top, making a slot for a dowel to be threaded through the top, adding some red and white cord across the top and another piece for hanging the banner on a hook.
Here is the “God Jul” banner:
For the dining room table decorations, I used my mother’s Holly tablecloth and her gold-painted triangular dish. Also, there were some lower branches that had to be trimmed from the trunk of the Tannenbaum for it to fit into the tree stand. They became a bouquet for the table. I cut a strip of red fabric to make a bow for the vase.
I also used my mother’s tins for Sandbakelse/Sandbakkels and her Spritz press to make the traditional Norwegian and Swedish cookies that she always made at this time of year.
Here are pictures of them after baking:
I also baked a loaf of German Stollen, a bread with candied fruits inside and either frosted with icing drizzled on top, (like I knew it to be, growing up as a child), or with a dusting of powdered sugar.
Here are some pictures of the Stollen. (It is folded over on purpose.):
And here is the table, with everything on it:
My Wheel of the Year Sabbat celebrations are continually growing and evolving as I grow and evolve. (That is my hope, at least.) And it is comforting to know that in many cases, the same traditions that I grew up with in another context are completely appropriate for many of the Sabbat celebrations that I now observe in a new context as a Broom Closet Witch.
I hope this article has been helpful, and until next time…
Merry Meet, Merry Part, and Merry Meet again!
Claire du Nord