Sun Wheel – The Yellow Candle of Hope

2 Astrea / November 29

Stelladi or Star Day. (Wednesday).
Day of Madria Sage.

Dear Friends and devotees of Déa,

Here, so that we may all be prepared to participate in our custom, is the prayerful act of lighting the Yellow Candle of Hope & 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 6th Astrea / 3rd December.

Madrina Sophia

Sun Wheel – The Yellow Candle of Hope

http://www.sebnini.com/product-category/christmas/pillar-candles/

This follows the Cosmic Drama on our wheel of the year.
Yellow Candle of Winter, the Mystery of Adoria and Great Symbol of the Star.

See: https://deanic.com/2017/11/28/the-sacred-season-of-winter-is-a-hopeful-and-joyful-season-of-the-cosmic-drama/

See Star of Hope section of The Triple Stars of Dea Filia at Adoria: https://deanic.com/2017/11/29/the-triple-stars-of-dea-filia-at-adoria/

Prayerful Act:

On our Sunwheel, we light the Yellow Candle of Hope in honour of the Holy Daughter, Koré. (Pronounced Korah or Koree, which means Maiden.) The Mystery which it represents is the Winter Mystery of Adoria. Unlike the Christ of Christianity, the Holy Daughter did not incarnate as an human being here on Earth, rather, in the manner of the Divine Sophia, She emanated from the Celestial Mother and took on the rarefied Form of Soul. She is the Triple Star: the Star of Hope; the Midnight Star of Wonder and the Guiding North Star. This is the Mystery which we celebrate on Daughter’s Day / Adoria.

On Sunnadi or Sun Day / 6th Astrea / 3rd December.

The Yellow candle of Hope is also representative of North, Air, Midnight and Jana Madria Sage.

We trace the Sign of the Fora. https://deanic.com/prayers-and-rites/tracing-the-fora/

Before dinner or early evening, light (electric tea light or table lamp switched on) the Green Candle of Wisdom
and pray, O, Déa, Apple of Wisdom, be with us.

Then, light (electric tea light or table lamp switched on) the Yellow Candle of Hope and pray: O, Déa, Star of Hope, be with us.

Scriptures:
Title 3, Chapter 2, The Mythos of the Divine Maid, verses 1-2.
(Chapters 4-7 known as The Daughter born to accepting the fate).
and
Title 1, Chapter 5, The Mythos of the Divine Maid, verses 3-7.
(Chapters 4-7 known as The Daughter born to accepting the fate).

1) When the first night had come upon the world, the Mistress of All Things stood alone once more, as She had in the beginning. 2) For a terrible abyss had opened to lie between the world and She, and Her creatures could not look upon Her brightness.

3) And She stood in contemplation upon the waters of the first darkness; like a great Dove upon the waters She brooded. 4) And She became absorbed within Her and communed with Her own Self; and Her Light ceased to shine forth from Her and yet, Her Light grew greater. 5) And She fell to Her knees. And the surface of the waters became turbulent and the great waves curled over Her and their white foam could not be seen in all that darkness.

6) And when the waters became calm again, the Mistress of All Things rose to Her feet. 7) For She had conceived a Daughter that was not separate from Her, but one with Her and the Child of Her Light. [1]

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, Koré [2]
https://deanic.com/holy-feminine-trinity/hail-kore/

2. O, Déa, Star of Hope [2]
https://deanic.com/prayers-and-rites/o-dea-star-of-hope/

3. Guiding Star [2]
https://deanic.com/prayers-and-rites/guiding-star/

4. Holy Daughter’s Royal/Priestly Titles chant [2]
https://deanic.com/becoming-a-devotee/chants-with-short-janite-prayers/

5. Daughter of Light [2]
https://deanic.com/prayers-and-rites/daughter-of-light/

6. Princess, Priestess, Queen (Janite ending added) [3]

Princess, Priestess, Queen
Winged with glory and
Crowned with moonlight
Kore Di Jana of the golden dawn
Daughter of Eternity
Guide us to our Heavenly Mother
In this world and all worlds to come.
Blessed is She.

7. Light the candle! [4]
(page 116)

8. Holy Child [4]
(page 117)

9. Litany of the Holy Daughter [2]
https://deanic.com/holy-feminine-trinity/litany-of-the-holy-daughter/

A Janite Psalm:
10. Psalm 13: Star of Hope [2]
https://deanic.com/prayers-and-rites/janite-psalms/

A Rosary:
11. Second Mystery Adoria on a five septad/seven bead rosary.
https://deanic.com/prayers-and-rites/the-janite-mysteries-rosary/ [2]

A Song:

I use a favourite English nursery rhyme from my childhood. Now I understand the traveler means the soul incarnated. Diamond in the Madrian Geniae correspondences are Sun and Theia therefore as a diamond star, it symbolically suggests to me our Holy Mother and Her Holy Daughter being one, as in the Scripture above. [5]

Full Lyrics to “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” [6]

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

When the blazing sun is gone,
When She nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

Then the traveler in the dark,
Thanks you for your tiny spark,
He could not see which way to go,
If you did not twinkle so.

In the dark blue sky you keep,
And often through my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye,
Till the sun is in the sky.

As your bright and tiny spark,
Lights the traveler in the dark.
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
How I wonder what you are.
How I wonder what you are.

Full version of the song on video: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Full Version – cute animation. Perfect for homeschool families https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLN0og245YI

I prefer this New Zealand singer’s short video, where she looks like a priestess and the tune is traditional:
Hayley Westenra – Twinkle Twinkle [Official Video] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mli-1N5MWGc

“Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” is a popular English lullaby. The lyrics are from an early 19th-century English poem by Jane Taylor, “The Star”. The poem, which is in couplet form, was first published in 1806 in Rhymes for the Nursery, a collection of poems by Taylor and her sister Ann. It is sung to the tune of the French melody Ah! vous dirai-je, maman, which was published in 1761 and later arranged by several composers including Mozart with Twelve Variations on “Ah vous dirai-je, Maman”.[1] The English lyrics have five stanzas, although only the first is widely known. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 7666. This song is usually performed in the key of C Major.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twinkle,_Twinkle,_Little_Star

Madrina Sophia

Blessing:
(slightly adapted celtic oral tradition – 1st millennium) [7]

You are the peace of all things calm
You are the place to hide from harm
You are the light that shines in the dark
You are the heart’s eternal spark
You are the door that’s open wide
You are the guest who waits inside
You are the stranger at the door
You are the calling of the poor
You are my Kyria and with me still
You are my love, keep me from ill
You are the light, the truth, the way
You are my Soteria this very day.

Scottish Blessing: [7]

May the blessing of light be on you – light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire,
so that stranger and friend may come and warm himself at it.
And may light shine out of the two eyes of you,
like a candle set in the window of a house,
bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm.
And may the blessing of the rain be on you,
may it beat upon your Spirit and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there a shining pool where the blue of Heaven shines,
and sometimes a star.

Meditate:

Her Star – your Soteria [8]

Close your eyes and start to breathe deeply
And begin to relax
Remember you are safe and Divinely Guided
Take deep breaths, relax your shoulders.

Visualise the Brightest Star in Her galaxy
She shines so brilliantly among all the other hundreds of stars
And is becoming brighter and brighter
This moment is eternal suspended outside of time
It is a moment of anticipation, of Hope, of Wonder, of Guidance
Of Divinity descending.

Suddenly Her star – your Soteria
Shoots through Her galaxy
Bringing grace and love as She courses
Her way towards you.

Feel the emotions of elation and comfort because of Her arrival.
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.

~

Oh, Déa Filia, Star of Hope, be with us.

~

The Traditional Janite ending:

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

*Holy Daughter https://deanic.com/correspondences-of-the-trinity/
A way of expressing the Divine Royal emanations / lineage.
~

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 2 candles after the prayers or your meal).

Notes:
[1] July 2012
The Filianic Scriptures, New Celestial Union Version (Second Edition, Third Update)
Free download:
https://theahaus.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/fulltext-of-ncuv.pdf
(with thanks to Glenn King)
[2] 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.
[3] Copyright of Madria / Sorella Erin / Guinevere. Seek Permission and share with all due crediting. For private use only.
https://daughterofdea.wordpress.com/2016/04/28/devotional-anthology-preview/
[4] Rose Petals: A Filianic Psalter by Brythwen Sinclair
paperback
http://www.lulu.com/shop/brythwen-sinclair/rose-petals-a-filianic-psalter/paperback/product-21839306.html
ebook
http://www.lulu.com/shop/brythwen-sinclair/rose-petals-a-filianic-psalter/ebook/product-21824179.html
[5] https://deanic.com/the-seven-great-janae/correspondences-of-the-seven-janae/
[6] http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/jewel/twinkletwinklelittlestar.html
[7] http://www.faithandworship.com/Celtic_Blessings_and_Prayers.htm
[8] Adapted from Star Prosperity Visualisation by Dianne Pegler June 1997
http://www.diannepegler.com/page14.htm

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

http://onelittleproject.com/fresh-apple-tea-lights/

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.

See: https://deanic.com/2017/11/08/autumn-is-when-the-janite-tradition-begins-the-cycle-of-the-cosmic-drama/

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. https://deanic.com/prayers-and-rites/tracing-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]

Scripture:
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
https://deanic.com/holy-feminine-trinity/hail-mysteria/ [3]

2. All 3 Hails for the Holy Feminine Trinity
https://deanic.com/holy-feminine-trinity/hail-mysteria/ [3]
https://deanic.com/holy-feminine-trinity/hail-mari/ [3]
https://deanic.com/holy-feminine-trinity/hail-kore/ [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]
https://deanic.com/becoming-a-devotee/chants-with-short-janite-prayers/

9. Litany of the Great Mother.
https://deanic.com/holy-feminine-trinity/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]
https://deanic.com/prayers-and-rites/janite-psalms/

A Rosary / Auroram:

13. First Mystery Terram on a five septad/seven bead rosary.
https://deanic.com/prayers-and-rites/the-janite-mysteries-rosary/ [3]

14. An Auroram to Mysteria (I shield my eyes).
To be done on a string of 108 knots or beads.
https://deanic.com/prayers-and-rites/auroram-by-sorella-minna/ [5]

Play a Janite Hymn:

Psalm 14: O, Great Mother.
https://deanic.com/hymns/ [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.

Blessing:

(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.

Meditate.

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, Queen, Empress of Heaven*.
Blessed are They.
Let us thank the Seven Janae of Power.
Thanks be to the Seven Janae.

*Celestial Mother, Holy Daughter, Great Mother https://deanic.com/correspondences-of-the-trinity/
A way of expressing the Divine Royal emanations / lineage.

~

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).

Notes:
[1] Janite Calendar
[2] July 2012
The Filianic Scriptures, New Celestial Union Version (Second Edition, Third Update)
Free download:
https://theahaus.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/fulltext-of-ncuv.pdf
(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.”
http://daatelyon.org/2012/02/meditation-for-tu-bshvat-the-holy-apple-field/

What is a Sun Wheel & When is Mothers Night?

What is a Sun Wheel?

A Pagan Sun Wheel

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.
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)

Notes
(1) http://bustedhalo.com/questionbox/what-are-the-origins-of-the-advent-wreath-isnt-it-pagan
(2) http://www.blogher.com/simple-seasonal-practice-christians-pagans-and-those-between
(3) http://celto-germanic.blogspot.com/2008/12/modrnihtnight-of-mothers.html
(4) http://beyondthemystery.forumotion.com/t834-mothers
(5) http://www.orkneyjar.com/tradition/yule/yule3.htm
(6) http://www.indobase.com/holidays/christmas/world/christmas-in-bulgaria.html
(7) I do apologise, I have lost the link.