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Posted by on in Signs & Portents
Summer Is Here!

It’s Midsummer, also known as the Summer Solstice or Litha! Alternatively viewed as either the midpoint or the start of summer, Midsummer is the time when one hemisphere of the Earth (the Northern Hemisphere in this case) is at its maximum tilt towards the Sun, resulting in the longest day and an increase in temperature. Of course, for our southern kindred, it’s Midwinter.

Here at PaganSquare we’ve gathered a large number of posts both from our own website and others to celebrate this day. We hope you enjoy today’s festivities and have a wonderful summer (or winter if that’s where you are)!

-Aryós Héngwis

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Incan Summer Solstice Ceremony

I visited the Sacred Valley and the Temple of the Sun in Peru for my 40th Birthday, and these lands are a sight to behold. At the time of the Summer Solstice each year, the rising sun reflects off a certain point of a mountain in the Ollantaytambo archaeological site, and bounces off the altar atop the temple, where the Incans strategically placed it some 500 years ago. The fact that these laid by hand granite stones still stood now– with no cement holding them together– untouched– was truly spiritual. My mother, who had accompanied me, was moved to tears, taking it all in. Each year, not unlike their British counterparts at Stonehenge, local Peruvians reenact the Incan Summer Solstice ritual. I am sure it is a spectacle to appreciate, based on what I have seen and the commemorative photos marking the event.

Litha, or the Summer Solstice, is many a Pagan and Wiccan's favorite festival of the year. If you'd like to make yours truly special, here are some suggestions for a simple ritual, in tribute to Inti Raymi, not unlike our Incan ancestors held.

Buy some brightly-colored flowers and throw them festively around the ground of your firepit. Encourage participants to wear silver and gold jewelry, and have everyone bring a small carved wooden sun symbol or figure to place in a backyard bonfire. Since I'm sure you wouldn't want to sacrifice any white llamas, burn some white sage instead. Smudge everyone first, and then offer it to your fire as a sacrifice to the Sun God. Make a procession of building your fire where each guest contributes by adding to it. Build it first, and wait to light it at sunset, adding some straw and dancing around it to raise energy clockwise. Give a nod to each of the four wind directions as you do.

Give thanks to Suyos, representing the snake for the world below, the puma for life on earth and the condor, who presides over the upper world of the gods. These three animals were very honored and seen repeatedly in architecture and artwork throughout Cusco and the surrounding areas.

Celebrate and feast with some Pisco Sours (the national cocktail), ceviche,  Peruvian roasted potatoes (see recipe below) and Inca Kola – if you can get your hands on it! When the fire dies down a bit, those who feel able-bodied should take a running jump over the pit for good luck. Revel in the sunset.

     ROASTED PERUVIAN POTATOES
     Start to finish: 1 hour
     Servings: 4 to 6
     2 pounds Peruvian purple potatoes, scrubbed
     1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
     1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
     1 tablespoon minced garlic
     Salt and freshly ground black pepper
     1 tablespoon cilantro
     Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

     Halve the potatoes and place them in a bowl. Cover them with water if you cut them ahead of time.
     In another bowl, mix olive oil, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Drain potatoes well and add them to the oil mixture. Toss with olive oil mixture. Spread the potatoes on a sheet pan. Roast for 30 minutes until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve
(Recipe from Aaron Sanchez, foodnetwork.com)


Resources:

http://latinamericanhistory.about.com/od/ancientlatinamerica/p/Inti-The-Inca-Sun-God.htm
http://www.livescience.com/22869-machu-picchu.html

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b2ap3_thumbnail_sunset-over-clouds-on-lake-superior.jpgSunset Over Lake Superior in Michigan: Traditional Lands of the Anishinaabeg

In 2003, several Anishinaabeg women from different clans came together to address water pollution in their traditional lands. What they decided to do that year, and something similar every year since, is to walk the perimeter of the Great Lakes. Along with other Anishinaabeg people and supporters of all races and identities, they annually raise awareness about the sanctity of water to all life on Mother Earth and draw attention to the pollution in and around the bodies of water.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_Screen-Shot-2016-06-20-at-9.38.26-AM.png

     There is a deliciousness in reaching peak light, the longest day! The birds are blossoming into nestlings, new flight. The vegetables and berries are singing a swelling chorus of fleshiness and juice. The Sun itself is so fragrant and rich, we swoon in its fire. Yes, yes, we know this is the moment of letting go, of turning toward the dark, but why spoil the party with all that seriousness?
     Consider that the wheel of the year unfolds into many more dimensions than this. That we are not just rolling forward on this one earth plane around the cycle of light and dark. If we move the house of our consciousness built on habit and belief out to the Unknown, so our new home is the whole Universe, amazing things can happen. We discover Radiance everywhere. We begin to see that you and I, all of us, are patterns stored in Light. Suddenly it’s obvious the Dark is what we need to contain so much Beauty, to hold our wildly tender open Hearts.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Feel the Pour

It's one of the older conundrums in the ritualist's book.

You're pouring at a public ritual. You've brought the libation. You paid for it, so the other attendees have no investment, no personal stake in it.

How, then, do you get them to feel the pour?

Here's my recommendation: beautiful as it is, leave grandma's silver libation ewer at home.

Pour straight from the bottle.

And pour out the whole thing.

Every last drop.

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Every system of thought has its own inherent flaws. That's why we have to keep changing.
  • Tony Lima
    Tony Lima says #
    Paganism in its rightful way under scientific knowledge at large, is probably better than Christianity.

In the Celtic tradition, the Sun is female, a divine light and life bringer, so the Summer Solstice honours this season as a time of great fruitful goddess energy, but also a time of great power. In Celtic times summer solstice fires would be lit on beacon hills and high places to honour the sun and ward away evil, as this is a time when the veil between the worlds is said to be thin, encouraging interchange between the world and the spirit realm.

Sacred hills such as Cnoc Áine in Limerick, Ireland, named after the sun goddess Áine, were places of great ceremony in Celtic times, with fires lit there until at least 1879. Áine was also known as a Queen of the Faeries, the Sidhe, and one tale tells of how she emerged from the hill to ask the revellers to head home early so her people could come out for their own celebrations.  Her sister is the Goddess Griéne, meaning 'Sun' is associated with Cnoc Griéne , also in Limerick. It's likely that both these hills were once beacons hills with Fires lit to honour the solstice since ancient times. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Tony Lima
    Tony Lima says #
    This day I wonder if she really cares about being honored. Keeping her secrets in knowledge of time and place, yes - a vital esse
  • Tony Lima
    Tony Lima says #
    This day I wonder if she really cares about being honored. Keeping her secrets in knowledge of time and place, yes - a vital esse
Women, Power and Religion in Ancient Athens

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Love your speculations on women's power in early Athens. Also love the ending invocation of Athena and women as callers of peace.

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