Holiday Memories: Yule Peppers
Article ID: 8822
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 5,079
Times Read: 6,859
Author: Lady Abigail Welcher
Posted: December 20th. 2004
Times Viewed: 6,859
As a child, living in the Ozarks, you could never be sure when winter was going to cast her first blistering frost across the earth and the cold air would be filled with a sweet aroma rising from the wood-burning stove in my Great-Grandmother's kitchen. There was something special about the first frost of winter. That day would be a day for making wonderful magickal fare to be enjoyed all year.
Even today, when I experience that first chill of winter, I am carried within my senses to those magickal times as a child, waking up at my Great-Grandmother's. Hearing her moving about in the kitchen, I would hurry to dress. I wanted to help as she made biscuits, kneading and rolling them out. She would always let me a have a little bit of dough to make my very own special biscuit. Once the biscuits were cut, we would place them into the pan and slide them into the hot oven. I could hardly wait to see what my creation would look like.
As I would eat my special, hot, oddly-shaped biscuit covered in home butter and jam, my Great-Grandmother would tell me of our plans for the day and how I was helping to bring the spice of magick into the home for the year to come. She reminded me of the early days of spring, when we had readied the ground for planting and how we dug in the warm earth and placed seed to grow herbs and vegetables for the coming year. My Great- Grandmother explained why I was given my own area in the garden and very unique seeds. They were filled with magick from the time of the old ones. This plant I had grown, watered, and watched over, carried the spice of life, a gift I could give in many forms and flavors to my family.
This herb or vegetable, depending on how you look at things, was Yule Pepper. Yule Pepper, or Winter Pepper, is also known to some as a Christmas Pepper; they are small, brightly colored, prolific peppers. They are a beautiful, compact plant-producing, bright peppers that can grow up to one-quarter inch long by one-half inch wide. The peppers may be white, green, yellow, orange, red, or purple. All five colors often appear on the plant at the same time.
This wonderful plant gave me such delight to watch as it grew, with its tiny shoots bursting from the earth, giving way to the strong, lush, green plants. In fall, the plants would begin to blossom with petite, white flowers. Soon, there were tiny fruits seen where the flowers had once been. I loved watching the peppers grow and begin to change colors with each passing day. I was so excided, but my Great Grandmother said it was not time to harvest them and I had to wait (waiting not being something I do well, even today). My Great-Grandmother explained that now it was the first frost of winter and time to harvest my garden. The Yule Peppers must taste the breath of winter's touch so that they might be filled with the magick that brings us toward the spring memories held within their true spice of life.
When it was finally time, I bundled up and, with bucket in hand, ran to my garden. It was amazing; I could hardly believe my eyes. The peppers, covered with frost and dew, were sparkling in the sunlight with the most brilliant display of colors I had ever seen. We begin picking each pepper as my Great-Grandmother revealed the powers held within each pepper by its color.
Green is for the color of Mother Earth, for life, and the promise of its continuing (prosperity, fertility, and harmony). Yellow is to remind us of the sun and sky; it brings enhanced knowledge and helps in communication. White helps bring enlightenment, cleansing of the soul, and healing our lives. Purple reminds us of the rain held within a summer storm; it brings power and success, as well as awakening new ideas from within. Orange is a blending of life and spirit, bringing encouragement and adaptability to find true happiness. Red reminds us of fire and brings out our sincerest passions, even those hidden deep inside.
Once the peppers had been harvested, we took them into the kitchen and carefully washed them. I carried in firewood while my Great-Grandmother would ready the fire. We were going to make incredible and magick spices, jams, and sauces. I weaved together, in careful arrangement, peppers on a string to hang for drying in the kitchen. These were going to be spice in cooking as well as the seeds for the plants of next spring.
My Great-Grandmother would choose what peppers would go in which item she was making - which needed a mix of colors, which needed the red or the purple. How wonderful it was to share these extraordinary gifts we had made with our family and friends during the holidays. Those wonderful fragrances would fill the house with energy and memories I hold dear even now.
Today, I still grow my Yule Peppers to make gifts filled with magick and love. With every stir of my spoon, or weave upon the string, I can still hear my Great-Grandmother humming as she made her magnificent teas, jams, and sauces. While it is often grown as an ornamental plant to decorate gardens and flowerbeds, its fruit has a wonderful mild flavor with a bit of bite and filled with magick and memories.
Yule Pepper/Winter Pepper/Christmas Pepper - Family: Solanaceae (sol-uh-NAY-see-ee) Genus: Capsicum (KAP-sih-kum) Species: Annuum (AN-yoo-um)
Have a blessed Yule and make some magick-filled memories.
Bio: Lady Abigail is High Priestess of Ravensgrove Coven, an eclectic coven of solitary Witches in the Orlando, Florida area. She was raised in the Craft by her Great- Grandmother, a Cajun Witch, who taught her the powers of Earth, Nature and magick.
Lady Abigail has studied and taught in herbs, metaphysics and magick for over 35 years. Her articles and poetry have been featured in various Pagan publications.
Lady Abigail Welcher
Location: Titusville, Florida
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