A Letter To A Beloved At Yuletide 1
“This bayberry candle comes from a friend,
so on Christmas Eve* burn it to the end.
For a bayberry candle burned to the socket,
will bring joy to the heart, and gold to the pocket.”
14th December, 1715.
My Dearest Margery—
What joy the arrival your latest Correspondence brought to me, only to find that you have struggled to fulfill your goal and are faced with inscrutable Family goings-on. I hope that your visit to England ends more advantageously than how it began. O, I beseech the Spirits that you would not struggle so!
Since your return to our Shores is not scheduled until the bloom of Spring, I went this morning to call upon Mrs. Ramage—the local Cunning-Woman—for her Counsel in assuring your most prosperous return to me. She said little; instead, she bestowed on me the strangest gift.
‘Burn this down to its end on the eve of Christmas hence,’ she said, handing me a small package wrapped in Rag. ‘It will bring ye and your Betrothed much fortune and success to in y’r new Life, it will.’
Upon opening the small bundle, it revealed a green Candle made from the wax of the Bayberry. When I further inquired its significance, the Wise Woman merely cackled and retired to her shack.
While I admit I am somewhat skeptical of the old Crone who lives outside of Town (some have dared whisper gossip of b’witched ways, but I pay them no mind) I must say that she helped Father’s sow last Spring to produce a goodly litter with her Charms and Trinkets, so I will do as she instructs: I will place it in the window facing the sea that stands between you and I and burn it through ’til midnight into the wee hours of the Twenty-Fifth. I understand the necessity of the bush’s Fruits in wax at this the leanest time of the year due to lack of Tallow, but was not aware of its properties to encourage favour.
O, curse the Dark Winter and your prolonged absence! I beseech you reply to my missive at your earliest Convenience and shall breathlessly wait for your next post’s arrival at the harbor. In the meantime, ’tis a small comfort to burn the Bayberry in anticipation of our impending Nuptials in June. I must say the small gift from the Crone warms my heart right now even as the snow continues to gather in the Gate-yard.
’Til the next writing, My Beloved, and the highest hopes that my far-flung Words find you in earnest Yearning for me and your home here in the Colonies. My best to you and yours at this Dark Season--
Your Loving Intended and Humble Servant,
Mr. Thos. Shedrow.
PS I almost forgot to tell you! I have set eyes on the Farm land for our future Hearth and Home. May the Bayberry do its work!
(The above is a fictional letter between a young Massachusetts colonist and his fiancée, but one could imagine that something like this could have happened three centuries ago.)
We at Sabbat Box hope you enjoy all the traditions and activities surrounding the Winter Solstice, and hope you gain success in the new year.
Burn your bayberry through until midnight, either in ritual or as defense against the darkness of winter; let it be a symbol of hope for a better tomorrow and a shining future.