In the Celtic calendar, the Winter Solstice is the eighth festival, a time of stillness and rebirth, when the wheel of the seasons completes its turning only to begin again. The eight Celtic festivals are celebrated in author Danu Forest’s book The Magical Year. Ancient rituals and traditions are skillfully revived, helping you weave a more soulful, nature-centered way of living into your everyday existence. Here, Danu explains a small way to bring one of these traditions into your home, creating a wonderful festive scent and atmosphere.
Oranges, or other citrus fruits, can be made into scented decorations using the sun wheel symbol (a cross within a circle) by pinning cloves into the fruit in this pattern. Symbolic of the sun, these pomanders look beautiful hung on a tree or placed in a painted bowl on a table. If you plan to prepare several pomanders, consider wearing thin gloves, as pinning in cloves can make thumbs sore.
You will need:
• Whole Cloves
• A toothpick/push pin/pencil
To make your pomander, take an orange or other citrus fruit and pin a line of cloves around it, so that a vertical band encircles the whole fruit. You may choose to do this as a single line of cloves, or as two lines spaced apart, or make a dense band by pinning multiple cloves close together. Next, pin in a horizontal band at right angles around the orange to create the cross-beams of the sun wheel.
Tie a ribbon around the pomander to hang it from the tree. If you want to make a more complex design, such as stars or spiral patterns, again you can mark out the outline first, either using single cloves, a toothpick/push pin (dotting a pattern makes pushing in the cloves a little easier on the fingers) or with a pencil, and then fill in the shape you require.
For more by Danu Forest, see: Wassailing with Spiced Cider.
Excerpted with permission from The Magical Year: Seasonal Celebrations to Honour Nature's Ever-Turning Wheel by Danu Forest, originally published by Watkins Publishing, 2016.