Episode 221 – Yuletide Cheer! 2022

Our annual “Tales and Wassails” episode for the midwinter nights

Our annual “Tales and Wassails” episode for the midwinter nights

Summary:
We bring the year to a close with our midwinter festivities, including wassails and carols, a few fairy tales, a pair of poems, and even a bit of festive food lore. Got Jul and Happy Holidays to all!
 
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Producers for this show:
Abby, Achija Branvin Sionach, AromaG’s Botanica, AthenaBeth, Andrea, Bagga Marsh, Benjamin, Breanna, Carol, Carole, Catherine, Cheryl, Christopher, Colby, ConjuredCardea, Daniel, Dave, Don, Donna, Elizabeth, Eveline, Erin, Fergus, Griffin, Heather, Jamie, Jen Rue of Rue & Hyssop, Jess, Jenna, Jennifer, Jodi, John, Jonathan at the ModernSouthernPolytheist, Kat, Kee, Kristopher, Liz, Mark, Marisa, Matthew Venus of Spiritus Arcanum, Milo, Minimiel, Montine of Book of My Shadows, , Nikki, Payton, Sara, Scarlet Pirate, Sherry, Staci, Stephanie, Ralph from the Holle’s Haven Podcast, Vee, Victoria & Keifel of 1000 Volt Press, Violet, and WisdomQueen (if we missed you this episode, we’ll make sure you’re in the next one!). Big thanks to everyone supporting us!
 
Play:
 
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Our stories for this episode are “The Golden Key” from the Brothers Grimm and “The Snow Maiden” from Russian folklore.

The poems are “Winter Stars,” by Sara Teasdale and “The Snow Fairy,” by Claude McKay.

The apple lore can be found in our Post #143 – Apples.

If you are interested in playing card divination, you can check out our Cartomancy post or pick up Cory’s book, 54 Devils.

Some upcoming publications from us:

Cory recently contributed to The Gorgon’s Guide to Magical Resistance, edited by Jenn Zahrt and Laura Tempest Zakroff (which includes his “penis trees” article along with a lot of other great pieces) and the upcoming release of the Llewellyn’s Complete Book of North American Folk Magic, out in Spring 2023. Also be on the lookout for our upcoming collaborative book Conjuring the Commonplace: A Guide to Everyday Enchantment and Junk Drawer Magic also coming in 2023 from 1000Volt Press.

You can now buy Cory’s book, New World Witchery: A Trove of North American Folk Magic! (also available from Amazon)

Please note that clicking on links may provide some monetary compensation to New World Witchery.

Image via Pixabay (Used under CC 2.0 License, modified by New World Witchery)

If you have feedback you’d like to share, email us at compassandkey@gmail.com or newworldwitcherypodcast@gmail.com or leave a comment at the website: www.newworldwitchery.com . We’d love to hear from you!

Don’t forget to follow us at Twitter! And check out our Facebook page! For those who are interested, we are also on TikTok now. You can follow us on Instagram (main account, or you can follow Laine as well) or check out our new YouTube channel with back episodes of the podcast and new “Everyday Magic” videos, too (as well as most of our contest announcements)! Have something you want to say? Leave us a voice mail on our official NWW hotline: (442) 999-4824 (that’s 442-99-WITCH, if it helps).

Promos and Music:

Our music for this episode is used under Public Domain through Archive.org or licensed from AudioSocket unless noted otherwise. The songs for this episode are:

  1. “Old Christmas,” by Boyd Asher (Library Of Congress – Public Domain)
  2. “Jingle Bells,” by Morrie Morrison Orchestra (AudioSocket)
  3. “Fum Fum Fum” by the US Army Men’s Choir (Public Domain)
  4. “Pat-a-Pan,” by the Concordia Choir (Archive.org)
  5. “Good King Wenceslas,” by the Harmony Choristers (Archive.org)
  6. “Angels We Have Heard on High,” by Joe Matzzie (AudioSocket)
  7. “Soul Cake,” by the Pagan Carolers (Archive.org)
  8. “Carol of the Birds,” by Columbus Boyschoir (Archive.org)
  9. “Sing We Noel Once More,” by the Harmony Choristers (Archive.org)
  10. “The Wassail Song,” by the English Singers (Archive.org)
  11. “We’ve Been A-Wandering,” by Concordia Choir (Archive.org)
  12. “Somerset Wassail,” by the Pagan Carolers (Archive.org)
  13. “Carol of the Bells,” by Columbus Boyschoir (Archive.org)
  14. “Green Groweth the Holly,” by the Pagan Carolers (Archive.org)
  15. “The Boar’s Head Carol,” by the Pagan Carolers (Archive.org)
  16. “Silent Night,” by Steven Rice (AudioSocket)
  17. “Da Day Dawn,” by Samantha Gillogly (used with permission of artist)

Incidental music includes work by Kevin MacLeod, made available under a CC 2.0 license, and found at the FreeMusicArchive.org

Please consider supporting us by purchasing our promotional items in the New World Witchery Threadless shop or by joining our Patreon supporters.

If you like us AND you like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you will love our new show: Myth Taken: A Buffy the Vampire Slayer Podcast, now available through all the podcatchers! You can also check out Cory’s folklore show, Chasing Foxfire, where he explores the intersection of folklore and topics like history, medicine, science, nature, literature, pop culture, and more!

Please think about checking out our Audible Trial program. Visit Audibletrial.com/newworldwitchery to get your free trial of Audible, where you can download over 180,000 titles (including some narrated by Cory). Your purchases help support this show, and there’s no obligation to continue after the free trial

Podcast 58 – Yuletide Cheer! 2013

-SHOWNOTES FOR EPISODE 58

Summary

Our annual fruitcake of wintery music, poetry, & other holiday goodies!

 Play:

Download: New World Witchery – Episode 58

-Sources-

Stories & Poetry:

  1. Noel,” by Katherine Porter
  2. “Christmas,” (two versions) and “Winter,” from The Real Mother Goose
  3. Christmas Trees,” by Robert Frost
  4. A selection from “The Snow Queen,” by Hans Christian Andersen
  5. Santa’s Traveling Companions,” adapted from information at the Saint Nicholas Center

Don’t forget to follow us at Twitter! And at Facebook!

Also, please enter our current contest!

Promos & Music

All songs used with permission/license, from Magnatune, SoundCloud, Creative Commons, and MusicAlley, except as noted.

Playlist:

  1. “Nou is Yole Comen,” Shira Kammen
  2. “Swete was the Song,” by Artsy Honker
  3. “Good King Wenceslas,” US Army Chorus
  4. “Candelight Carol,” Kathmandu Chorale
  5. “Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming,” Annie Hiller
  6. “Carol of the Birds,” by Broceliande*
  7. “The Holly, Witches Dance,” Harper’s Hamper
  8. “Broome, Bonny Broome,” Harper’s Hamper
  9. “Patapan,” Fugli
  10. “Cherry Tree Carol,” Rose & Thistle Band (independent artist)
  11. “This Endris Night,” US Army Chorus
  12. “Cold Blows the Wind,” Music for a Winter’s Eve
  13. “Deck the Halls,” Harper’s Hamper
  14. “Green Grows the Holly,” Shira Kammen
  15. “O Christmas Tree,” Tubachick
  16. “O Tannenbaum,” Kellianna (f. Jenna Greene)*
  17.  “Winter’s Ritual,” SJ Tucker (from Ember Days soundtrack)*
  18. “Wassail Song,” Music for a Winter’s Eve
  19. “Come Landlord fill the Flowing Bowl,” The Limeybirds (independent artist)
  20. “Boar’s Head Carol,” The Pagan Carolers
  21. “O Come Emmanuel,” Mary Ellen Kirk
  22. “Ave Maria,” Kellianna*
  23. “Da Day Dawn,” Samantha Gillogly*

*Used with artist permission

Underscoring music is “Nu Zit Wellekome,” Ralph Rousseau Meulenbroeks, and “Courdian,” Music for a Winter’s Eve, both from Magnatune.

Podcast 47 – Yultide Greetings! 2012

-SHOWNOTES FOR EPISODE 47

Summary

This is our annual holiday special, featuring music, poetry, stories, and recipes! Here’s wishing you all the best for your holiday season and a happy new year to come!

Play:

Download: Episode 47 – Yuletide Greetings 2012

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Stories & Poetry:

Susie’s Letter from Santa Claus,” by Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)
The Goblins Who Stole a Sexton,” by Charles Dickens
The Boy Who Laughed at Santa Claus,” by Ogden Nash
A history of the Christmas candle in the window, from Fantasy-Ireland.com

Recipes (All cocktails this year):
After Five – Cory
Amber Dream/Winterbeer – Cory
Egg Nog, extra fancy – Laine

Don’t forget to follow us at Twitter!

Promos & Music

All songs used with permission/license, from Magnatune and MusicAlley, except as noted.

Playlist:

  1. “All Hayle to the Days, To Drive the Cold Winter Away,” Harper’s Hamper
  2. “Dancing Day I – A Virgin Most Pure,” Steven Potvin & Con Brio Choir
  3. “O Come Emmanuel,” Mary Ellen Kirk
  4.  “A v Jerusalime,” Kitka
  5. “Rise Up Bright Sun,” Leslie Fish*
  6. “The Huron Carol,” Tracy Helen
  7. “Green Grow’th the Holly,” Pagan Carolers
  8. “The Holly Bears a Berry,” Shira Kamen
  9. “The Holly/Witches Dance,” Harper’s Hamper
  10.  “I Saw Three Ships,” Dusty Hughes
  11. “Tapster Drynker,” Shira Kamen
  12. “Wassail,” In Nova Cantica
  13. “Tsarko Momche…,” Kitka
  14. “Chestnut, Daphne, Scotch Cap,” Music for a Winter’s Eve
  15.  “The Blood-red Rose at Yule,” Music for a Winter’s Eve
  16. “Nu zit Wellekome,” Ralph Rousseau Muelenbroeks
  17. “We Three Kings,” Jennifer Avalon
  18. “The Wheel of the Year,” Shira Kamen
  19.  “Patapan,” Fugli
  20. “Twelfth Eve, Christmas Cheer, Chestnut Vagary,” Harper’s Hamper
  21. “Le Brandevin,” Shira Kamen
  22. “Da Day Dawn,” Samantha Gillogly*

Underscoring music is “We Three Kings,” by Two Harps, and “Ding Dong Merrily on High,” by Tracy Helen, both from MusicAlley.

*Used by permission of the artist.

Podcast 38 – Yuletide Cheer! 2011

-SHOWNOTES FOR EPISODE 38

Summary
This is our annual holiday special, featuring music, poetry, stories, and recipes! Here’s wishing you all the best for your holiday season and a happy new year to come!

Play:
Download: New World Witchery – Episode 38

-Sources-
Stories & Poetry:
A Baker’s Dozen,” by Charles M. Skinner
Minstrels,” by William Wordsworth
Mistletoe,” by Walter de la Mare
When the Snow is on the Ground,” by Mother Goose
Old Santeclaus,” by Clement Clark Moore
A Florida Christmas Folktale,” by S.E. Schlosser
Ceremonies for Christmas,” by Robert Herrick
Noel,” by Anne Porter

Recipes:
Wassail, from Laine
Jode Kayer (Jewish Cookies), from Cory’s family cookbook
Danish Vanilla Rings, from Cory’s family cookbook

Don’t forget to follow us at Twitter!

Promos & Music
All songs used with permission/license, from Magnatune and MusicAlley, except as noted.

Playlist:
1. Down in Yon Forest – Lydia McCauley
2. In the Bleak Midwinter – Fugli
3. O Holy Night – The New Autonomous Folksingers
4. O Come, O Come Emmanuel – Cat Jonkhe (sp?)
5. Round About our Coal Fire – Shira Kammen
6. Ma Navu – Kitka
7. Schedrick (Ukranian Bell Carol) – Kitka
8. We Three Kings – Jennifer Avalon
9. The Wassail Song (Yorkshire Wassail) – Jim Goodrich
10. Somerset Wassail – Pagan Carolers
11. Apple Tree Wassail – Shira Kammen
12. Bring Us in Good Ale – Lydia McCauley
13. Hark the Herald Angels Sing – Mano Reza
14. Jolly Old St. Nicholas – Selena Matthews
15. The Friendly Beasts – Gary
16. Patapan – Fugli
17. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Chances End
18. Fum Fum Fum – Fugli
19. Cutty Wren – Shira Kammen
20. Silent Night/Stille Nacht – Karmyn Tyler
21. Da Day Dawn – Samantha Gillogly*

Underscoring music is “We Three Kings,” by Two Harps, from MusicAlley.
*Used by permission of the artist.

Blog Post 110 – The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

“ ‘I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come?’ said Scrooge.
The Spirit answered not, but pointed onward with its hand.
‘You are about to show me shadows of the things that have not happened, but will happen in the time before us,’ Scrooge pursued. ‘Is that so, Spirit?’
The upper portion of the garment was contracted for an instant in its folds, as if the Spirit had inclined its head. That was the only answer he received.”
(from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol)

To mark Christmas Eve—which is probably my favorite winter holiday, simply because it’s the one I’ve always celebrated and the one I’ve always found most magical—I thought today I’d put up a few of the many fortune-telling techniques employed at this time.  While many of these are not specifically New World, they are often quite ethnically linked and so are found in a variety of ethnic communities both in the “Old Country” and the New.

Polish Customs
(you can read more about these customs here)

  • Girls who grind poppy seeds on Christmas Eve can expect a swift marriage
  • After dinner on Christmas Eve, a girl will leave the house and listen for a dog bark.  Wherever it comes from is the direction from which her future husband will arrive.
  • A maiden could go down to the river on Christmas Eve and dip her hand in the water, pulling out the first object she touched.  Wood meant her future husband might be a carpenter, leather a cobbler, iron a blacksmith, etc.
  • Straws could be placed under the tablecloth at dinner, then pulled by guests to foretell the future.  A green straw meant marriage, a yellow straw meant spinsterhood, a short straw meant an early grave.

Czech Customs
(you can read more about these customs here)

  • Every member of the family lays some bread on the floor, after which the dog is called in.  Whose bread the dog eats will go on a journey in the next year (or in some variations, be dead by that time).
  • Melted lead is dropped into cool water, and the shapes are used to interpret the future.  For example a sheep-shaped piece might indicate a future job in agriculture, or perhaps peace and rest in the near future.  I’ve heard of tin being substituted, and I imagine candle wax would be a reasonable replacement, too, if you lack the means to melt metal in your home.
  • Lighted candles could be placed in walnut shells, then floated in the bathtub.  Whoever had the shell which went the farthest would be making a long and important journey soon.
  • After dinner, guests take an apple and cut it crosswise.  If it reveals a star-shape, good fortune awaits the subject.  If it shows a cross, illness or death is coming.
  • Walnuts can also be cracked to reveal the future.  A kernel that is big and sweet reveals happiness and prosperity, while a shriveled or bitter kernel foretells sorrow or sickness.

Irish Customs
(you can read more about these customs here, here and here)

  • A sheep’s shoulder-blade could be “read” to indicate the future.  After the lamb was eaten at Christmas dinner, its shoulder would be scraped clean without using iron (preferably by the teeth or a wooden implement), and the spots left at the thinnest parts of the blade would show shapes to the reader indicating the future.
  • In a very grave ceremony, a round cake would be baked (sometimes of ashes or even cow dung) and a candle would be placed in it for each member of the family.  The order in which the candles burned out indicated the order in which family members would die.
  • The neighing of horses on Christmas Eve indicated whether there would be peace or war in the coming year.
  • A girl going to a well just before midnight on Christmas Eve could see her future spouse in the calm waters.
  • A girl could knock at a hen-house door on this night, and if the cock crowed, she would soon marry.  If not, she would remain celibate.

British Customs
(you can read more about these customs here and here)

  • Whoever lit the new Yule log with a piece of the previous year’s Yule log would have good fortune all year.  This concept was immortalized in verse by Robert Herrick’s poem, “The Yule Log.”
  • The plow was to be brought in and kept under the table all through the twelve days of Christmas in order to ensure good luck.  If you had a plow, that is.
  • A girl could place a sprig of hawthorn in a glass of water and if it sprouted on Christmas Eve, she would be sure to soon marry.

Italian Customs
(you can read more about these customs here, here, and here)

  • Each member of the family puts a heap of flour on the table and leaves the room.  The head of the family then comes in and stashes different presents or charms in the flour piles, and the family returns to find their fortune for the year based on the charm they received.
  • If Christmas Eve is moonlit, there will be bad fruit in the coming year.
  • A man in costume standing on the church steps can watch for those who attempt to enter the church on Christmas Eve but find themselves unable to do so.  The man then identifies those who did not make it into the church as witches.
  • Those born on Christmas Eve are thought to become either werewolves or witches, depending on their gender.
  • Anyone who invokes the Devil before a mirror on Christmas Eve may become a witch (not really divination, but I thought it was interesting anyway!).

If you have Christmas Eve fortune-telling or divination customs, we’d love to hear them!  I know this barely scratches the surface of all the various cultures which partake in a little bit of magic on Christmas Eve, but I must stop here.  I still have a few presents to wrap, and I think I may need to track down some lead, a plow, and maybe a mirror.
Have the very best of holidays, everyone!  Thank you all so much for reading, and all my wintry blessings go out to our readers!  May the light find you, wherever you are.

-Cory

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