, , , ,


Here we come a wassailing,
among the branches bare
Here we come a wassailing
to greet the brand New Year

Love and Joy come to you
and to your wassail too,
and God bless you
and send you a happy New Year

We bring our wassail cup to share
We toast the health of all with care

Love and joy come to you
and to your wassail too
and God bless you
and send you a happy New Year
(traditional carol)

Wassail derives from the Saxon greeting ‘Waes Hal’ meaning literally ‘good health’.

Traditionally, wassailing was carried out on ‘Twelfth Night’ which nowadays falls on January 5th/6th, however before the Gregorian calendar was introduced it was performed on ‘Old Twelvey Night’ which today falls in Mid January.
Wassailing practices can be traced back to the 16th Century in the Cider producing South West of England. Quite clearly it was an act of sympathetic magic, carried out by fruit growers to ensure the health of their forthcoming harvest.
The participants would sing, bang drums/pots and let of firearms, to make enough noise to scare off any malevolent spirits lurking in the orchards, and to wake up the sleeping spirit of the tree.

Although variations of the ceremony exist, a common theme was for the elected ‘Wassail King & Queen’ to carry the wassail bowl to the orchard, followed by a procession. The Queen would be lifted up into the largest tree to place Cider soaked toast in the forks of the branches, in offering to the tree spirits. The remaining Cider would be poured in libation over the roots and a Wassailing song performed.

That is the basis for going out to wassail the health of your trees, however we question why the practice is constrained by calendar and crop?
If we return to the meaning of ‘Wassail – good health’, then why restrict the practice to trees at all? We propose that it is equally valid to Wassail yourself, or the fruits of your labours in any form. As for the timing, surely it makes good magickal practice to perform your ‘Wassail’ at an appropriate time for your location and needs.
Whilst the reconstructionist may wish to acquire a dedicated wassail bowl, a chalice or ceramic bowl is as pertinent and meaningful. In fact any vessel used with intent works well on a magickal level.
Traditionally the wassail bowl recipe would be an alcoholic concoction, but we contend that if you were to use carrot cake/soup or your home made compost on your carrot patch this would be more relevant than cider or mulled wine. We suggest that any offering i.e. tobacco, a coin or bodily fluids could be used, intent plays a major role in making this a magickal act. This is no excuse for for a slapdash approach to your magical work, the successful outcome of a magickal working relies upon the synthesis of the ingredients used. It is the wise magician who contemplates these aspects of ‘The Work’.

And finally SRTB bid you all ‘Waes Hal’.