Sun Wheel – The Green Candle of Wisdom

Samhain 23/Nov. 22

Stelladi or Star Day. (Wednesday).

Day of Madria Sage.

Dear Friends and devotees of Dea,

Here, so that we may all be prepared to participate in our custom, is the prayerful act of lighting the Green Candle of Wisdom. The candle is lit (electric tea light or table lamp switched on) before dinner or early evening, followed by a brief scripture reading and prayers on Sunnadi or Sun Day 27th Samhain / 26th November. Or this ritual can be more appropriately incorporated (if you have the time) into the Feast Day of Jana Madria Thema on Rosadi or Rose Day, (Tuesday), 1st Astrea / 28th November.

Madrina Sophia

Sun Wheel – The Green Candle of Wisdom

This follows the Cosmic Drama on our wheel of the year.
Green Candle of Autumn/Fall, the Mystery of Terram and Great Symbol of the Apple.


Prayerful Act:

The Green candle of Wisdom is also representative of West, Earth, Twilight and Jana Madria Thema.

We trace the Sign of the Fora.

The candle is lit (electric tea light or table lamp switched on) before dinner or early evening, followed by a brief scripture reading and prayers on Sunnadi or Sun Day 27th Samhain / 26th November. Or this ritual can be more appropriately incorporated (if you have the time) into the Feast Day of Jana Madria Thema on Rosadi or Rose Day, (Tuesday), 1st Astrea / 28th November. [1]

The scripture reading for the lighting of the Green Candle of Wisdom is:
Title 3, Chapter 5, The Sermon of the Apple Seed [2]

The reading may be followed by any one or a combination of the various devotional methods.
A prayer in your own words, or any of the following:

1. Hail, Mysteria [3]

2. All 3 Hails for the Holy Feminine Trinity [3] [3] [3]

3. English Titles Trinity Chant. [3]
4. Personal Names Trinity Chant. [3]
5. Latin Titles Trinity Chant. [3]
6. Royal Titles Trinity Chant. [3]
7. Flowing Titles Trinity Chant. [3]
8. Eternal Trinity Chant. [3]

9. Litany of the Great Mother. [3]

A Janite Psalm:

10. Psalm 9: O, Veiled Fora of Faith. [3]
11. Psalm 12: Sweet is the Fruit of Your Wisdom. [3]
12. Psalm 14: O, Great Mother. [3]

A Rosary / Auroram:

13. First Mystery Terram on a five septad/seven bead rosary. [3]

14. An Auroram to Mysteria (I shield my eyes).
To be done on a string of 108 knots or beads. [5]

Play a Janite Hymn:

Psalm 14: O, Great Mother. [6]

My own adapted prayer: [7]

O, Dea, Apple of Wisdom,

we thank You, we bless You and we adore You.
For through Your everlasting life,
we are protected by the Veiled Stillness at the Centre of All.
The Heavenly Mother and the Divine Soul Daughter
find Their Completion in You.
O, Great Mother, Dark beyond the light and Light beyond the darkness.
O, Great Mother, You are the Wise Apple of our source, Life.
O, Dea, Apple of Wisdom, be with us.

O, Dea, Apple of Wisdom,

we thank You, we bless You and we adore You.
For through Your resplendent light,
we are warmed by the certainty of Your Unconditional Love.
Divine Soul Daughter was sent by You, so all creation would be saved.
O, Heavenly Mother, illuminating Holy Light, splendid Essence of Purity.
O, Heavenly Mother, You are the Wise Apple of our life lived in Spirit.
O, Dea, Apple of Wisdom, be with us.

O, Dea, Apple of Wisdom,

we thank You, we bless You and we adore You.
For through Your perfect mediation of Spirit and Soul to form,
we are elevated by the Holy Love of Your Pure Divinity in all the worlds.
O, Divine Soul Daughter whose Gentle Light guides and sustains all.
O, Divine Soul Daughter, You are High Priestess and Divine Gate to Spirit.
O, Divine Soul Daughter, You are the Wise Apple of our soul seeking Spirit.
O, Dea, Apple of Wisdom, be with us.


(Adapted from The Johnny Appleseed Blessing. He is a local hero of my area. ArchMadria Candra Sophia).

Oh,Our Lady is good to me,
And so I thank Our Lady,
For giving me the things I need
The sun, and the rain, and the apple seed.
Our Lady is good to me.


Holy Apple Orchard in a Field [8]

1. Begin by imagining yourself as a ‘tree’ in the Holy Apple Orchard in a Field. Imagine the Holy Daughter’s presence surrounding you and then spreading out to cover the whole of the field.
2. Visualise the other trees in the field, feel them vibrating with the Holy Daughter’s presence. Visualise the celestial birds and other creatures that inhabit this spiritual domain. Hear their different sounds and calls as they fill the air of the field. Feel the sunlight and the warmth, the rich, nurturing soil and the cool, soothing breeze.
3. Now turn your mind up to the sky towards heaven. Sense the overshadowing presence of the Holy Celestial Mother, blessed be, Her. Feel the power and majestic glory of Her Presence.
4. Now visualise the givine dew as it falls down from heaven upon the field. Feel the gentle caress of its drops. Feel the rejuvenating effects of this life-giving energy as it is absorbed inside you.
Now let the gentle descent of dew turn into a great downpour of supernal rain. Watch as the heavenly waters pierce the ground all around you and soak deep into the soil. Feel it penetrate into the whole of your being and fill you with the Divine Spirit.
Now rest in the overshadowing presence of the transcendent Divine Mother and the imminent presence of the Divine Daughter.
7. Feel the peace and tranquility that permeate this higher world. Feel the joy and the freedom. Sense its strength and its solidity, all from the Great Mother: stand tall and still and firm.
8. Now let go of all images and rest in the silence; then slowly open up your eyes.

Finish with:

The Eternal Trinity Prayer:

Eternal is the Light of the Mother.
Eternal is the Love of the Daughter.
Eternal is the Life of the Great Mother.
Glorious is the Eternity of Dea.


O, Dea, Apple of Wisdom, be with us.


The Traditional Janite ending:

Let us bless the High Queen of Heaven.
Blessed is She.
Let us thank the Seven Janae of Power.
Thanks be to the Seven Janae.


Trace the Sign of the Fora:

In the Name of the Mother, and of the Daughter, and of the Great Mother. Blessed are They.


(Extinguish the candle after the prayers or your meal).

[1] Janite Calendar
[2] July 2012
The Filianic Scriptures, New Celestial Union Version (Second Edition, Third Update)
Free download:
(with thanks to Glenn King)
[3] Copyright of the Janite Order. For personal use, only. Permission for the members of the JOP to share on their media with all due crediting.
[5] Copyright of Sorella Minna. Seek Permission and share with all due crediting. For private use only.
[6] Copyright Lyrics by ArchMadria Candra Sophia (sung by Monica Stehle). For private use only.
[7] Copyright of Madrina Sophia. For personal use, only. Permission for the members of the JOP to share on their media with all due crediting.
[8] Adaptation of Meditation for Tu B’Shvat by Rabbi Yuel Glick, hebrew meaning literally “New Year of the Trees.”


The Astrean Silver Fir Tree & Decorations

Samhain 21/Nov. 20


Dear Friends and devotees of Dea,

I know that until 28 Samhain / November 27 we are still enjoying the sacred season of Autumn / Fall but the sacred season of Winter will arrive and we will be fully emerged in joyous festivities. So I am posting about the Astrean Silver Fir Tree early so that we may all be prepared to participate in our custom.

Madrina Sophia


European Silver Fir Abies alba (Pinaceae)

The Silver Tree/Fir Tree is symbolic of the World Tree/Axis. It is situated at the central point of the universe whilst stretching out to the far
corners. Just like Dea as the still point (transcendent Mother) and as the Sacred Form in all creation (immanent Daughter).
The World Tree/Axis links Heaven, the manifest middle worlds / planes and the under world. It reflects the sacred role of our Holy Daughter.

It also reflects the sacred seasonal mysteries of the solstices / Gates of Heaven.

1. Feast of Divine Daughter, Stella Caeli – Star of Heaven, Yule, 24 Astrea / 21st December
The Daughter’s manifestation down into the dense planes of existence. To axial beings symbolised by the Northern Star.
The Northern Gateway. Lowest Gate of Heaven. On earth the subtle element of Air.
Our Soteria (saviour) is immanent / with us which is joyous. The Quest is to realise that we in every life in the manifest planes carry a portion
of Holy Soul (Daughter) which we as created and generated (by Great & Celestial Mothers), Her children (axial beings) have descended with
in order to experience and learn everything for our education. We must magnifying the Good Loving Light Divinity within, to ascend up back to
our Celestial Mother.

2. Feast of Holy Mother, Rose of Heaven, Rosa Caeli, 9th Rosa / 21st June
The Daughter’s return to the highest point on the world axis and the restoration of Her sovereignty over Creation, reunited with the Mother.
The Southern Gateway. Highest Gate of Heaven. On earth the subtle element of Fire.
The Quest by which each person individually, and all humans collectively, strive to follow our Holy Soul Daughter. This Quest is conceived as being interior — a Quest to raise the soul from its sleep. The Celestial Mother Mari as the Assumption of our souls in the manifest planes.

Madrina Sophia


The Silver Fir Tree


Silver tea light candle holder

The Silver Tree is in honor of our Creation Story, where it is said that the original Creation was silver. The Silver Tree is also in honor of the Janae as their color is said to have been silver before they emanated from Dea Madria, Mother God, into the Seven Living Streams of Virtue. Silver is said to contain all the colors of the rainbow. [1]

I use the above Silver Tree (discontinued by Yankee candle). I tend to keep mine on my altar all year long. Others keep it solely as an Astrean (during the month of Astrea) tradition.

ArchMadria Candra Sophia



The Astrean Tree should be put up in the hestia (blessed & sacred home) on the 1st Astrea / 28th November

Table top silver aluminium vintage christmas tree
Ceramic table top tree

An Astrean Tree may be purchased new or vintage. It can be silver or green.

(The Druids Cal.) “The use of fir trees, holly, ivy, and bay all go back to druidic practices”. [2]

“For example, the evergreen tree and holly which remain green throughout the long months of cold and darkness, were widely used in the
Northern European celebration of Yule because they hold promise that spring will once again return to the land.” [3]

Evergreen plants, symbolise the Eternal Divine Spirit of Holy Mother and the Eternal Divine Soul of Holy Daughter. As Her children, we have
existed eternally, before time and space, it is our human (physical, mental & emotional) body that is mortal. In our Scriptures, moving outwards
to impermanence, the child of Dea becomes tired, and day and night are created, then other planes of existence.

screenshot krokotak christmas trees

We can also hand craft an Astrean Tree from paper, card, fabric, ribbons.
Here is a small selection of ideas:

During World War 2 and the bombing of London City, England.
“Home-made decorations, such as paper-chains, and any available artificial decorations were used to enliven the home and offer cheer – despite the constant threat of bombing. A small artificial tree was a great asset, as it could be easily transported to the bomb shelter as required. One East End family had one made of goose feathers, which could be decorated with tinsel and paper decorations.” [4]

Tree Decorations.

Hazelnuts turned Mini Wreath Ornaments
long, golden-red cinnamon stick bundle
Pine Cone Bow Ornament

Natural pine cones and nuts are seeds therefore symbolic of creation.

white tree coloured decorations

The coloured light bulbs represent the Janae, the 7 Supernal Genetrixes, Guardians or Wellsprings of the Seven Streams of Life or Virtue.
They are the Seven Faces/Powers/Spirits of Dea, Our Divine Mother God, in rarefied angelic form.
Also the 5 Sacred seasonal colours. [5]

Red & Gold African American Angels
vintage wooden angels
Handmade Felt angel
Handmade mini guardian angel tree decorations
Handmade crochet white angels

As well as actual angel or Janae figurines.

Reindeers of felt or wood are “actually the stags that drew the chariot of Freya, the Sun Goddess of the North”. [3]

Other symbolic decorations are stars for both Holy Daughter & Great Mother, suns for Celestial Mother and moons for Holy Daughter.

The Janite Calendar

Please note: some of our devotees practice a dual Path. Some are Jews and Christians for whom the Deanic Faith is the “Mother God side of
religion”. Others are Pagans or Druids who also incorporate the Deanic Faith, although our belief system is different than that of neo-
Paganism. And, of course, for many devotees, the Deanic Faith is their sole religion.

The Daughter Day, or in Latin Filiadi known as the Feast of Adoria, can be celebrated either on Winter Solstice / Yule / 24th Astrea / 21st
December or on Nativity 28th Astrea / 25th December. This is a choice for the individual.

May Dea bless you.
Blessed is She.

Madrina Sophia


[1] Critical Treatment, 2.2 Systematic Selections and Emendations.
2.2.7 The Primordial Color
(starting on page 69 of the PDF, actual page numbers 61-66)
The Eastminster Critical Edition of the Clear Recital 3rd Edition



How to obtain a Deanic Sun Wheel & when to use it as a prayerful act

Samhain 14/Nov. 13


How to obtain a Deanic Sun Wheel & when to use it as a prayerful act.

We prepare our hearts for the coming of Kore Di-Jana through unselfish acts, devotion, contemplation, scripture readings and prayer. We cook special foods for the season. We set our homes aglow with candles and colorful bulbs (which represent the Eternal Light and the Janae powers) in the midst of the ever-growing darkness while awaiting the One who reflects our Mother’s Light to us.
ArchMadria Candra Sophia

The Sun Wheel, a beautiful prayerful act which was incorporated into the Deanic Faith, designed and originated by ArchMatrona Ghrian of the Lady of Light Chantry, [1] is very much like an Advent Wreath (which has pre-Christian origins) [2], except we use different coloured candles which represent our Five Great Mysteries, symbols and elemental seasonal colours.

lolly pop stick candles and paper plate
Toilet Paper Roll Advent Wreath
5 card candle advent wreath

This does not have to be expensive. Use paper or card to make a sun wheel, 1 or 3 dimensional. Just google images with the wording “paper candle advent wreath”
A small selection of tutorials that I have picked out:
or draw it

An actual evergreen Advent Wreath may be made [3] or bought and the fifth candle placed in the centre; or you may simply buy five pillar-style candles and place them in a circle and decorate the circle as you please. In the footnote below is an amazing array of five candle advent wreaths that are available as well as examples of home-made wreaths. [4].

Old jar, salt and candles
Old tin cans, candles
Advent Wreath in Cake Tin
Wine glasses baubles or scrunched up paper electric tea candles

Found household objects can be used.

Battery Operated LED Tea Light Candle Warm White Flame

Those with a fire phobia or with pets may substitute a white battery LED tea light or table lamp either a wreath or an altar cloth in the appropriate elemental seasonal colour (as in the candle colour).

When to use it as a prayerful act

Either on the first Sunnadi/Sunday on 27 Samhain/November 26th.
(Janites have 3 Holy Days, Sunnadi/Sunday is symbolic of our Celestial Mother).
Or the Feast Day of Jana Madria Sage on Rosadi/Rose Day, (Tuesday), 1 Astrea/Nov. 28. This is a choice for each individual depending upon their weekly commitments.
The Green candle of Wisdom is lit.
This is symbolic of Dea Matrona, Great Mother God as the Source seeds of Wisdom. The Holy Feminine Trinity are all connected to the Apple of Wisdom. The Revealing and Refreshing Fruit growing on the (Evergreen) Tree of Life, atop the (Blue-Violet) Sacred Mountain, on the Mystic Isle. [5]

The second Sunnadi/Sunday on 6 Astrea/December 3rd, we light the Yellow candle of Hope. This is symbolic of Dea Filia, Daughter God as the Star of Hope. As Soteria (Saviouress) She Shines Her Light of Hope amidst the Sad and Lonely Blue-Black Darkness of Despair. [5]

Third Sunnadi/Sunday on 13 Astrea/December 10th: the Purple/Lilac candle of Faith is lit. This is symbolic of Dea Matrona, Great Mother God as the Fora of Faith. The word “fora” means “foundation” or “fundamental” because it is a symbol of the “foundational form” or “fundamental pattern” of the “foundational-fundamental principle of the Cosmos”. [6]

Fourth Sunnadi/Sunday on 20 Astrea/December 17th: we light the Blue candle of Peace. This is symbolic of Dea Filia, Daughter God as the Dove of Peace, the Comforting Presence hovering (in the Blue Sky) above the (Blue) Primal Waters of Creation. [5]

On Madria Noctis: Mother Night, 23 Astrea/December 20 (Yule Eve / Winter Solstice Eve) [8]: we light the Red candle of Joy. This is symbolic of Dea Madria, Mother God, as the Rose of Joy. As the Red Rose of Joy, the Celestial Mother is our assumption into the inner Heavenly realm which we call the Real or the Pleroma, visualised as a Rose Garden (as opposed to the outer realm which our Faith calls Avala the Apple Orchard).

(A Rite of Sacrifice [7] is served in honour of the Celestial Mother as She awaits the Appearance of the Holy Daughter.)

Very similar to the use of the Christian Advent wreath, each candle is first lit on a Sunnadi/Sunday and then each night thereafter during dinner time. It is extinguished after dinner.
Keeping it alight is not mandatory, as we may not all be able to afford candle (wax or led) replacement. I replace with card candles.

[2] It is believed that pre-Christian Germanic peoples used a wheel of evergreens upon which they placed lit candles. This evergreen wheel was said to have represented the cycle of the seasons. Prayers were then offered to the gods, asking them to ‘turn’ the Wheel back to a season of increasing light and warmth.
Sorry, I have lost the reference website.
[5] Symbolism by ArchMatrona Ghrian of the Lady of Light Chantry.
[8] Madria: Mother.
Latin noctis night Gender: feminine
Greek νύχτα (nýchta, “night”)καληνύχτανύχτα#Greek
[8] “Norse mythology …the night before the Solstice which they called the Mother Night…for it was in the darkness that the goddess Freya labored to bring Baldur, the young son (light) to birth once more. It was also a night for spirit contact and celebration with one’s ancestors in much the same way that the Celts did at Samhain.

The festival itself was called Yule, derived from the Norse word Jul, means wheel, a symbol of the Sun revolving across the sky. It was traditionally held for 12 days or more, beginning on Mother Night and ending on January 6th. The most important symbols of Yule continue to live on in our modern Christmas celebrations. For example, the evergreen tree and holly which remain green throughout the long months of cold and darkness, were widely used in in the Pagan celebration of Yule because they hold promise that spring will once again return to the land.

Because ancient Norwegians believed the sun was returning, as part of their Winter Solstice celebration, the Vikings would cut a huge log, drag it back to the village and set it on fire. This Yule Log was supposed to drive away the evil spirits and bring good luck to the people as well as welcome back the sun. From Scandinavia, the Yule log custom spread through the European content and England. Some decked out their Yule log with greenery, ribbons, and paper flowers and sang Yuletide songs as they dragged it home.

Thousands of years ago, the Scandinavian god, Odin, rode through the world at Midwinter bringing reward or punishment, and Thor, his son, came from the far North. His color was red, and at Midwinter, he fought the gods of ice and snow …conquering the cold. The elves connected with our current Santa Claus are remnants of the supernatural nature folk of the Old Religion, and our modern custom of leaving cookies and milk for Santa is most likely a modern continuation of leaving offerings for the Alvar and other nature folk. Although usually associated with Santa, many believe that the reindeer, northern animals, actually represent the stags that drew the chariot of Freya, the Sun Goddess of the North.”


What is a Sun Wheel & When is Mothers Night?

Samhain 14/Nov. 13


Dear Friends and devotees of Dea,

I know that until 28 Samhain / November 27 we are still enjoying the sacred season of Autumn / Fall but the sacred season of Winter will arrive and we will be fully emerged in joyous festivities. So I am posting about the Deanic Sun Wheel early so that we may all be prepared to participate in our custom.

Madrina Sophia

This is an article about the background.

What is a Sun Wheel?

A pagan Yule sun, ever green wreath and candles.

In pre-Christian Germany, the people used wreaths with lit candles during the cold, dark days of December as a sign of hope for the return of the sun and for longer days and warmth. In Scandinavia, during Winter, lighted candles were placed around a wheel and prayers were offered to the God of Light to turn “the wheel of the Earth” back toward the sun in order to lengthen the days and to restore warmth. (1) Others hung up cartwheels and decorated them with candles and evergreens and spun them around in order to invoke the return of the sun. Some Pagans did so in preparation for the ‘birth of the Sun-God’; others, for the Sun-Goddess, Sunna. (2) During the Middle Ages, Christians adopted this tradition in anticipation of the birth of the Son-God.

When is Mothers Night?

Modraniht is Old English for `Mothers-night`, an ancient Anglo-Saxon feast referred to by the Venerable Bede in De temporum ratione 13. He wrote that the still heathen Anglo-Saxons hold a sacrifice in the New Year in the modraniht id est matrum nocturum [“the Modraniht, that is, in the night of the mothers (=matrons?)” ]

This feast corresponds to other Germanic Yule-tide festivals. It was once speculated that this may have been a Celtic festival but this is largely refuted these days.

Three Matronae display their bounty, Gloucestershire, England.

Modraniht may be associated with the cult of the mothers or the matrons largely found amongst the West Germanic tribes and the disablot celebrated by the North Germanic tribes in Scandinavia.
The Matrons or matronae are Mother-goddesses to whom votive stones and altars were set up between the 1st and 5th centuries CE. There are approximately 1100 inscriptions and half give Germanic matron names. The matron cult was also to found amongst the Celtic tribes.
Almost exclusively these matrons were presented in groups of three. These females were worshipped as matrons or Mother-goddesses.

Their functions involved fertility, childbirth, the protection of the family and occasionally to act as war-goddesses. These correspond to the disir in the North Germanic areas.
The disir were female fertility deities. The word stems from the Old Swedish dis.
This is possibly related to the Old Saxon Idisi mentioned in the First Merseburg Charm.
The disablot is recorded twice in two Icelandic sagas from the middle of the 13th century CE.
In Viga-Glums saga 6 the disablot is celebrated at a Norwegian farm at the beginning of winter in mid-October. Egilssaga 44 also mentions a disablot at an autumnal festival in Norway.
Snorri Sturluson writing in the Ynglinga saga 33 identifies a similar feast at Uppsala in Sweden.
Literary sources indicate that the cult of the disir was more common in Sweden than in West Nordic regions.

First Merseburg Charm
Once the Idisi set forth, to this place and that;
Some fastened fetters; some hindered the horde,
Some loosed the bonds from the brave
Leap forth from the fetters! Escape from the foes! (3)


“In the work called De Temporum Ratione, written by the Venerable Bede, we read that the Anglo-Saxons celebrated a festival which he called modranect or modraniht, which when translated into modern English means mothers night or night of the mothers. The celebration of mothers night was held during the season of Yule and approximately around the same time that the Heathen Anglo-Saxons celebrated their new year. And already we can see how sacred and important this particular time of the year was to the Heathens of ancient England. For within this short space of time we have three festivals or celebrations that fall very close to one another, those being Yule, the new year and of course mothers night. But who were the mothers that shared this sacred time of the year?. It is very likely that the Anglo-Saxon mothers are one and the same, or at least very similar, to the Germanic matronae (matrons, mothers), goddesses that we find venerated within the borders of the Roman Empire.

…the night of the mother’s celebration took place sometime close to the Heathen Anglo-Saxon new year, approximately the 25th December… ” (4)


Helya’s Night – The night of the mother

This was the night that saw the children of each household committed into the protection of “Midder Mary”, or Mother Mary.

On first glance, although this looks like a purely Christian ritual, the veneration of the Virgin Mary was a later addition to a pagan tradition.

Helya’s night is undoubtedly the same as “Mother’s Night” – a night that, wrote the 8th century monk Bede, coincided with Christmas Eve.

In his account of the pagan calendar in 725 AD, the Venerable Bede wrote:

“And the very night that is sacrosanct to us, these people call modranect, that is, the mothers’ night, a name bestowed, I suspect, on account of the ceremonies which they performed while watching this night through.”

The “mother” connection and the “watching” ceremonies of Mother’s Night seem to indicate that Helya’s Night was the same event, although overlaid with a Christian veneer.

On Helya’s Night, just as the children had once been committed to the protection of a goddess, ancestor, or the female deities known as the Disir, the ceremony became Christianised and the “mother” was naturally equated with the Virgin Mary, Christ’s mother.

But what was the ceremony?

An account written in the 19th century recounts the experience of one woman who remembered her grandmother carrying out the ritual. She explained that, once the children were in bed, the old woman rose from her place by the peat fire and made her way over to the cradle where the youngest lay.

Raising her hands over the slumbering infant, she spoke aloud:

“Mary Midder had de haund
Ower aboot for sleepin-baund
Had da lass an’ had da wife,
Had da bairn a’ its life.
Mary Midder had de haund.
Roond da infants o’ wur land.”

[Mary Mother had a hand,
Over, about for sleeping bound
Had the lass (young woman) and had the wife (mature woman)
Had the baby and its life.
Mary Mother had a hand,
Round the infants of our land.]

This procedure was repeated over all the children, while the grandfather sat raking the peats in the hearth. The old man was also thought to have been reciting something but, unfortunately, his softly spoken words were inaudible.

As to the name, Helya strikes me as a corruption of the Old Norse heilagr, meaning holy – Holy Night being an obvious later name for Christmas Eve. (5)


In Bulgaria

Virgin Mary bore Jesus Christ one day before the Christmas, but actually went into labor four days prior to his birth. This day is celebrated on the 20th of December and is known as St. Ignat’s Day or ‘Ignazhden’. Households light candles on this day and commemorate the strength of Virgin Mary and anticipate the ‘arrival’ of Jesus Christ. (6)

Bulgarians are primarily Eastern Orthodox, however, in Bulgarian folk belief, we see a similar honoring of Mary. Christmas Eve or Mother’s Night is one of their most sacred folk festivals.

After the days of the labor pains of the Mother of God comes the last evening, Christmas Eve. This last night of the labor pains of the Holy Mother of God is the day filled with the most excitement and rites, culminating in a ritual supper. They bake different types of bread, most significantly a large, round loaf upon which a cross, circle, x and other symbols are placed. These symbols represent the solar cross, an equal-armed cross, and the x represents the World Soul whom the ancients identified as the Goddess.

They must dress in clean, festive clothes and prepare a special sourdough bread, a bloodless offering, with sacred herbs and decorations. Only the women may take part in this ritual. The bread is connected with the Sacred Hearth and the Goddess as Keeper of the Hearth.

Ring shaped buns are given to carolers. The women cook food without any animal products. The men must prepare a special fire from certain woods and an end hole is made into which is placed frankincense, wine and oil. The rituals continue with other rites and a censing of the home. The first piece of bread is intended for the Mother of God and is placed upon Her home altar. Others pieces are for the house spirits. (7)

(7) I do apologise, I have lost the link.

The Little Round House :: An Autumn story.

13 Samhain/Nov. 12

Sunnadi or Sun Day.

Day of Madria Theia.

This story floats around the internet and is told by many a Waldorf or Steiner teacher with differing elements and details, however the core message and essence of the story is always the same.

It incorporates so gently and beautifully the ‘hunting’ , ‘seeking’ and ‘searching’ theme of the time.

The story is told with story puppets and hand gestures as the simple verse explaining the treasure is sung. The ‘treasure’ is an apple and the apple is cut through the middle by the ‘Mother’ at the end of the story. If you are in a home setting and only have two children, or one child and yourself, then you can eat the apple halves as a snack at the end of story, nibbling away around the star in the centre.
When you’ve finished your snack, it’s always very magical for the children to place their ‘apple stars’ on the windowsill in the evening and find the stars ‘taken up into the sky’ in the morning, with a sprinkling of ‘stardust’ (silver or gold glitter) left in the place where they’d placed their apple stars the night before!
Dramatic Apple House – Photo Manipulation In Photoshop – Photoshop CC

Once upon a time

there was a little girl called Anna. One morning Anna woke and asked her mother what they were doing today. “Well I thought you’d like to go on a treasure hunt” said Anna’s mother. Anna’s eyes widened, she loved to go treasure hunting – each year they always had a treasure hunt at her birthday party and it was so much fun.

“What kind of treasure am I hunting for” asked Anna.
Her mother sung;
“It’s a little round house that you’ve seen before,
(make round gesture with hands)
It has a chimney this big, and no more,
(with thumb and pointer finger, indicate the length of an apple stem and then at ‘no more’ wave hand back and forth in ‘no more’ gesture)
It has no windows, it has no doors,
(circle pointer finger around the ‘outside’ shape of an apple and shake head gently)
But there’s a staaaar in-siiiiiide”
(gently ‘shimmer’ all fingers of outstretched hands)
“Gosh” said Anna “That sounds like a beautiful house, but Mumma where will I find it?” – “Well sweetheart, that’s half the fun isn’t it – hunting for the treasure! You’ll discover where to go.”
Anna set off on her day. A soft breeze was blowing so Anna put on her light cardigan and wrapped a scarf around her neck. She kissed her mother and off she went. Down the garden path she skipped, opening the gate and closing it behind her.
She walked along the country lane where they lived and passed Farmer Thomas
(you can insert here the name of a Farmer you personally know, it’s always nice to personalise the story for the children).
“Good Morning Farmer Thomas” called Anna.
“Oh Good Morning Anna” called back Farmer Thomas.
“What are you up to today?” asked the Farmer.
“Well, mother has sent me off to find a house” replied Anna.
“What kind of house?” asked Farmer Thomas, a little puzzled.
Anna sung…
(include the hand gestures here)
“It’s a little round house that I’ve seen before,
It has a chimney this big, and no more,

It has no windows, it has no doors….

But there’s a staaaar insiiiiiide”

“My, my” said Farmer Thomas, “That sounds like a wonderful house, but I’m afraid I’ve no idea where you might look for it. Why don’t you ask Grandma, she’s very wise, and always seems to know everything – she’s bound to have an idea.”
“Thank you” said Anna, and off she skipped, around the back of the orchard and down past the goats and pigs that Farmer Thomas raised. Anna always liked to enjoy some roast pork that Farmer Thomas gave them, with the apple sauce she made in the Autumn time with Mumma.
Anna came around the back of the farm and saw the smoke coming out of Grandma’s cottage chimney, “the wood-stove must be on” thought Anna. Grandma was sitting on the porch in her rocking chair, knitting Anna a new pair of woollen socks. Grandma had just finished spinning the wool from the alpacas she kept on her farm, but she didn’t dare tell Anna the socks were for her.
“Good Morning Grandma Thomas” said Anna.
“Oh Anna, my dear child, how are you today?” asked Grandma warmly.
“Well, I’m OK said Anna, but I’m looking for a house….”
Anna trailed off as she looked around.
“Well, what kind of house my dear?” asked Grandma in her kind, gentle way.
Anna sung…
(include the hand gestures here)
“It’s a little round house that I’ve seen before,
It has a chimney this big, and no more,
It has no windows, it has no doors….
But there’s a staaaar insiiiiiide”
“Oh golly” said Grandma, “That does sound like a very fine house indeed. But unfortunately I’m not entirely sure where you’d find it.” Grandma had an inkling of an idea what house Anna was looking for and she suggested “Why don’t you go and ask Brother Wind, for if anybody is going to know where to find that house, it is going to be Brother Wind”.
“Thank you Grandma Thomas” said Anna and she smelt the warm air coming
from Grandma Thomas’ house as she smiled and said … “Mmmmmm delicious”. Grandma Thomas smiled and said “Why don’t you come back this afternoon and bring some cream from your cows, I think that apple and blackberry pie should be just about ready by then and we’ll enjoy it together with a nice cup of rose-hip tea.
“I will” said Anna excitedly as she ran off down the cottage path and around to the bottom of the hill beside Grandma Thomas’ house.
If there was one place best to talk to Brother Wind from, it was definitely at the top of the hill.
It wasn’t a steep hill, but it took Anna a good few minutes to climb it and she really had to try hard to keep on keep on walking to the top. When she arrived at the top she smiled as she stopped to rest under the big old fruit tree that her and her mother came to pick in the Autumn. Grandma and Farmer Thomas always said it was more fruit than they could ever need, so Anna and her mother enjoyed to cook the fruit into jams and sauces.
Anna stood up straight, cupped her hands around her mouth and called “Brother Wind, Brother Wind”
(it’s nice to gesture this as you tell it and cup your hands around your mouth, gently ‘calling’ to Brother Wind. It’s also nice to encourage the children to gently ‘call’ the wind with you).
(a soft, gentle ‘blowing’ noise is what is indicated here)
came Brother Wind’s reply.
“I’m looking for a little house” said Anna.
Now, Brother Wind didn’t speak the same language as the little girl, but he could always understand what she was saying. Brother Wind replied “Whooooooo”, and Anna knew he was asking what kind of house she was looking for. Anna sung…
(include the hand gestures here)
“It’s a little round house that I’ve seen before,
It has a chimney this big, and no more,
It has no windows, it has no doors….

But there’s a staaaar insiiiiiide”

Well, Brother Wind certainly knew what kind of house Anna was looking for, so he blew “Whooooooo”
(encourage the children to blow with you through these three ‘blows’)
and he blew “Whooooooo”
(each ‘blow’ gets a little stronger, but still with gentleness to it)
and he BLEW “Whooooooo” ….
And down from the tops of those heavily laden branches above Anna fell a beautiful, delicious looking, little, round house!
It fell “Plop” on the ground, right beside Anna.
(Have an apple in your hands that tumbles down through the air in your hands
and arrives beside the child puppet/figure in the story)
Well Anna smiled when she saw it and she picked it up and said…
“It’s a little round house that I’ve seen before,
(hold the apple out on a flat hand)
It has a chimney this big, and no more,
(make sure your apple has a stalk and point to the stalk)
It has no windows, it has no doors….
(run your finger around the outside of the apple and make a ‘no’ gesture with hands)
But I wonder” said Anna “if there is a star inside?”
Anna ran with the treasure, down the hill, past Grandma Thomas’ cottage, past the pigs and goats, back past the orchard, waved to Farmer Thomas on his tractor at the gate and came to the garden gate of her family’s home.
Through the gate she went, and straight into the kitchen where she found mother. “Mumma, Mumma” said Anna
“I think I found the house” she cried, quite out of breath from all her running!
“Let me see” said mother kindly.
“Hmmmm…. It’s a little round house that you’ve seen before,
It has a chimney this big, and no more,
It has no windows, it has no doors….
(mother ‘looks’ all around apple)
Do you think there’s a star inside?” asked her mother.
“I don’t know” said Anna. Mother went to the kitchen draw and took out her knife. She carefully cut the apple in half around the middle and then she opened it up. Would you believe it, but there in the middle was two perfect stars shining back at them.
Anna’s face was wide with excitement “It does, it does!” said Anna.
Anna and her mother sat and ate one half of the apple each, being careful to nibble around the star and keep the little baby star safe in it’s little apple cradle.
“Do you know” said mother, “that if we put these on the window sill tonight,
then when the stars shine bright tonight, they may just come down and pick up these two new baby stars to shine bright in the night sky above.”
Anna liked the idea of helping the sky be filled with more beautiful stars, so
she put her apple star onto the window sill to await the magic that night.
And in the evening, once the family was tucked up tight in bed, the stars did come to collect those two new baby stars. They picked them up 1 – 2
(make a gentle little ‘throwing up’ gesture with your thumb, pointer and
middle finger grouped together).

Poem and Crafting Apple Star Printing Blocks

13 Samhain/Nov. 12

Sunnadi or Sun Day.

Day of Madria Theia.

Poem and Instructions for making Apple Star Printing Blocks

Who would think an apple,
Red, gold, green and round,
Would have a secret deep inside,
When cut it can be found!

I thought this secret only shone,
In deep and darkest night,
But when I cut my apple,
It shines with five points bright!

And now you know the secret,
Where shining stars are found,
In every crunchy apple,
Red, gold, green and round.

Apple Secrets :: Betty Jones

A lovely activity to accompany this story and time of year is of course apple stamping. We cut the cheeks off the apple for snacks or apple and blackberry pie and then cut the core ‘block’ through the middle and reveal the ‘stars’. The ‘blocks’ then make handy little ‘stamps’ to create beautiful ‘starry night’ scenes.


Crafting Apple Dolls

13 Samhain/Nov. 12

Sunnadi or Sun Day.

Day of Madria Theia.

Instructions for making Apple Dolls

Peel an apple (Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples work well), cutting away any bruises (some people say to core the apple, others say not to. Experiment for yourself). Carve as life-like a face as possible into the apple (don’t cut too deeply so as to avoid rotting). Don’t forget the little things that make a face so human — the little lines running from nose to mouth, the hollows of the eyes, the depressions caused by cheekbones, etc. Depending on the “skin” tone desired, soak the carved apple for about 45 minutes in a mixture of lemon juice (or cider vinegar) and water (the longer you soak, the lighter the “skin” tone will be).

Hang the apple up in the dryest, darkest room of your home. Come back in 3 to 4 weeks to see what you have! (Hallowe’en would be perfect time for the unveiling!) It should have shrunk by about two thirds its original size, darkened some, and show the wizened features of an old woman or man. When thoroughly dry, decorate using very diluted food colorings for rouge; corn silk, cotton, or yarn for hair; cloves or food colorings for eyes; fabric triangles for scarves, etc. Secure onto a “body” made of a bottle, styrofoam cone, wooden dowel, etc., and make clothes as desired.


One of my earliest childhood memories is of two dried apple head dolls my mum had displayed on a shelf in the living room. They were so special and interesting to look at. Last year I decided to try making one for myself and actually took some photos of the work-in-progress. So I thought I’d share them here. Smiley

I peeled an apple and carved in some facial features with a parring knife. I hung it by the stem to dry.

It really started to look interesting as it dried!

After about 2 1/2 weeks it felt thoroughly dry, so it was time to put the doll together.

She’s got a little trinket box for a base so she stands nice and steady, and the rest of her body is just some waded up fabric held together with tape. Her dress is an old wool sock, and her shawl came from an old cushion that was beyond repair which belonged to my grandma. She’s got a pipe cleaner arm to hold her cane. I shoved two pins in her head for eyes and her hair is some cotton stuffing from inside the cushion. Smiley

What’s really neat about this project is that the apple continues to dry out and the doll ages! She looks older today than when I took these photos a year ago.