19 Astrea/Dec. 16
O, Madria Grace, Jana of Compassion, Love and Mercy, be with us.
May the Pure Stream of Your Virtues flow within me, in this world and in all the worlds to come.
Sorella Sophia has written some wonderful articles about the Star Fairy and associated traditions. (Scroll down below the Janite Faith Open to All article): https://mydevotionstodea.wordpress.com/.
And from Sorella Shoshana, guest authoress, we have this timely article on the spiritual symbolism of making an apple pomander. Though written for the Iremian Order of contemplative priestesses and sister-hood, I think it will be of interest to all.
Thank you both, Sorella Sophia and Sorella Shoshana, for your wonderful contributions to the celebration of the Astrean Season.
Apple Pomanders for the Holiday Season by Sorella Shoshana.
I will be doing a series of posts on this pertaining to the Holidays. Since I am Jewish and Janite, I celebrate two Holidays combined, both dealing with the wonder and beauty of light. But, I will be focusing my articles more on the practices of the Janite faith.As many people are during this time of year; I am decorating, preparing a Holiday menu, and preparing gifts for friends and loved ones for the Holidays. This act alone can be a form of worship for the Iremian Order. A big part of this Order is that everything flows naturally. With every act, a simple prayer of thanks can be said.
First, lets talk about apple pomander decorations together.
I prefer to make things and since I live with parrots who are sneaky little creatures who enjoy getting into everything, I use natural items around my home that are safe for them. I still have to be cautious, however. That’s life with parrots, I suppose.
As we make our apple pomanders, we can imagine the 5 pointed star in the middle when we cut through the wide center in the middle of the top and bottom of the apple (Don’t do this for making an apple pomander. But, we may if we’d like to see the star. I’d suggest later using the apple that has been cut into to eat, bake with, cut up to garnish some dish, or make homemade applesauce with afterwards) and what it represents. In the Janite Tradition, this star represents the Daughter’s gentle light, which we can look upon. Think of how we cannot look upon the sun easily. But, we can look at the moon without any problem. A gentler reflection of our sun’s light.
Within each seed is the stuff to make a tree, which makes an apple with seeds inside. Now, the tree’s roots can represent the Great Mother. She is unseen. The sturdy trunk is the Mother. The branches are like the realm of the soul/mind. Apples and leaves off of those branches are creation and within creation is the Daughter. She is NOT creation Herself. But, She is what lies within it. Within Her is Her Mother.
Many traditions use light in some form this time of year. This is due to the winter solstice being the shortest time of the year. As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, we need the hope that light will return. Now, lets not fool ourselves here. We know it will and the days WILL, in fact, get longer again. But, our world is an imperfect physical reflection of what is going on in other realms. Going off of the sun and moon analogy above, our physical existence is like the moon’s light upon the water…an imperfect reflection of the moon. We are constantly experiencing the same things in a cycle and these cycles occur at different lengths…..but, in a slightly different manner each time. Thus, a spiral becomes a better representation. This leads to how we can place our dried whole cloves along the apple.
Start placing the cloves at the top. When we hang our pomanders, this should be the stillest part of the apple as it may occasionally spin once hung and if we choose not to hang them in this way, we can still see this analogy by holding the apple pomander up by the string or ribbon in our hand. The still center at the top and bottom of the apple is Dea. Now, place each clove spiraling out to the point that is furthest from Dea. This furthest point can also be creation or physical existence. Next, we will start to bring the spiral back inward, towards the bottom. This represents a return back to the stillness of Dea. Because the cloves are radiating out from the apple, it can be seen as radiating Dea’s light (the star seed in the middle of the apple) out into the world.
Now, hang the apple pomander. I would suggest doing so in an area we may walk past often throughout the day. Every time we walk by and we smell the sweet smell of clove and apple, we will remember all this beautiful imagery. That sweet smell alone can represent the sweetness of our Mother’s Love. I liken this to flowers. They’re pretty similar in this way; a sweet beautiful item of creation reminding us of Her Love. All the beauty that we get to experience in this world are love letters to us from our Mother.
Another great place to hang them is right inside the main doorway to our homes. Our homes are supposed to be like our own sanctuaries. What a beautiful way to represent our homes being a sanctuary from the outside world by immediately smelling apple pomander once we enter our homes provoking such lovely imagery.
That’s it for now. There will be other posts on celebrating the Holidays for the Iremian Order. Until next time. Dea Bless!