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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Southern Hemisphere

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I spent a bit of time in my garden yesterday, and one emotion overwhelmed me more than any other: despair, and yearning.

Well, that’s a bit dramatic. But I’ve been doing a fair amount of thinking about the Wheel and how it relates to my practice, and the seasons too, and this season is definitely my least favourite. For me, the seasons are intrinsically connected to my practice, which is indeed earth-centred and intimately connected with the land. Working with, and not against, the land can be a challenge at times. Especially when the seasons turn harsh and the spiritual struggles that accompany, particularly the sense of ‘waiting’ can be the bane of the more impatient amongst us!

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Sorry for the sloppy communication, Lee; in my case, at least, I was referring to ME as the whiner - not you. As I was here in th
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Yes, Greybeard, as a Phoenician I was thinking the same thing. My wife and I have lived here for 30 years - and yes, Lee, I unders
  • Lee Pike
    Lee Pike says #
    As much as this post is a 'whine', it has been confirmed the hottest summer on record for Perth, Australia, including the hottest

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Summer Fever: Revelry and Retreat

I think I am a little ill.

I've noticed my ailment when I have been visiting the shops recently (the local shopping mall, for those playing in the U.S.A). Rather than sneer or glare at the usual proliferation of Christmas decorations that are decking the halls and the delicious treats (Pfeffernüsse! Get in me) that are sitting on shelves in early October and November, I've been smiling to myself. Smiling! Carols are playing over the speakers and I don't mind at all. In fact, I'm trilling the yuletide carols. Where did the Grinch go of Christmas past?

I've got the fever. Xmas fever!

Christmas is an awkward celebration whichever way you turn it when you live south of the equator. For starters, those snowglobes become a little irrelevant and more than a few items from traditional Christmas iconography is rendered obsolete in the Australian context. I'll allow my dear readers to connect the dots and refer you to some of my previous blogs about the Summer Solstice and how it collides with Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere. Most Aussies grin and bear it. We throw a few prawns in the barbie, sit in the 40°C heat and whinge a little and carry on with the commercial abomination of Western Christmas over-indulgence. Many of us, including me usually, absolutely hate it. It's crass, it's inconvenient, and it's often overrated. The expectations culminate in a hangover of overeating, exhaustion, and familial resentment.

This year, I'm really enjoying it, and I'm really looking forward to Christmas. I can't pin down exactly why. After a year of largely stepping away from the Wheel of the Year, I'm ready to launch myself straight back into it, and I'm ready for a little bit of anarchy while I'm at it.

This is going to take the form of indulging a 'flipped' Wheel but spreading it thick with a little applesauce that only a Discordian can bring. Some demons are coming to the party and I am going to embrace all environmental aspects of the season. This includes the natural environment: the Summer Solstice, and the fey energies that are embedded within. An acknowledgement of the polar opposition within the Winter Solstice, and the time of turning inward and contemplation that this time of year brings. We live on one planet and to dichotomise things is starting to serve me no longer, and I am beginining to look at things from a more global perspective. The cultural environment, too, will play a significant role: my black Christmas tree will receive a heap of trimmings this year that are going to be a little unexpected but a whole lot of fun. Beginning with Jack from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

My plan is to both observe and celebrate the opportunity for revelry and retreat that this time of year brings for me. Sumsol celebrations will be held at my home with my coven, and I am really looking forward to some dastardly plans that will be enjoyed with much merriment, a lot of the colour red, and maybe a little bit of sun, sand and surf.

Wish me luck as I move on from my self diagnosis and jump into the treatment that holiday fever demands!

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ms. Pike, Thanks for sharing!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_kiwianaaltar.jpg

New Zealand is not really old enough to have magical folklore as such, we were settled about 150 years ago, wait let me rephrase that, Europeans did not really settle in any great numbers here until about 150 years ago, around the late 1800’s and early 1900s with larges amounts of immigration happening after World War I and World War II, well after, it can be said, the time when magic was something other than fairy tales that you told children. 

This means that Magical Folk Lore, from far of places like Europedidn't really make it here, and if they did it didn't really stick.  New Zealand was a pretty harsh and isolated place to live for those early settlers. 

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Tena rawa atu koe! (Apologies for some missing symbols...) Many thanks!
  • Mistress Polly
    Mistress Polly says #
    hh pronunciation, can be both an age thing, and a regional thing. so short answer to your question is yes and no.. let me expl
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Many thanks for sharing! New Zealand is a fascinating part of the Anglosphere. I have a question. When I was watching the extra

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Introductions and Explanations

Kia Ora I’m a Tea Drinking, Urban Witch and Textile Artist.  Welcome, to my little corner of the interwebs, all the way down here in Wellington, New Zealand, situated in the Southern Hemisphere. Where the seasons are opposite to that of the Northern Hemisphere and we cast our circles in an anti-clock wise.

I first became interested in things spiritual and magical when I was around 18, and I am nearly 43 now so a few years ago. As an 18 year old I had a wee way to go before I would fall upon Witchcraft, or as I like to say it fell upon me. It was not until I was about 25 did I meet my first Witch, who became my introduction to things Witchey. I remember her first words to me ‘So you’re a Witch then.” It was not a question, and oddly or not so oddly that just felt right.

I am a Witch of no particular flavour, as here in New Zealand courses, classes and teachers are far and few between, but I have had one or two, unofficial teachers and mentors. I have read, oh how I have read, so much so that my uncompleted masters was on Modern Pagan Books from 1954 to the Present day and the pagan Community. With my favourites or most influential ones being, Doreen Valente, Starhawk, Ronald Hutton, Dianne Sylvan, and our very own Juliet Batten, who wrote Celebrating the Southern Seasons, Rituals for Aotearoa, a must have for any practicing Pagan in New Zealand. And not just books on Witchcraft and Magic, as my degree is in Religious Studies and religions fascinate me.

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  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    Welcome to PaganSquare. And don't you just love that Millennial Gaia statue? I have one front and center on my main altar, too.
  • Mistress Polly
    Mistress Polly says #
    oh yes she is my favourite i got her years ago when i had gotten a shiny new wellish paying job.. it was my reward.. ♥
  • Carolina Gonzalez
    Carolina Gonzalez says #
    Welcome dear friend! I'm very glad to find you here .

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_cowslip.JPGUpon my first flush of dedicating myself as a witch, the very first sabbat I celebrated as a solitary practitioner, before I had found my coven, was Imbolc. I had done enough reading of neo-pagan literature after poaching the stacks in my local town library and I was keen to get my Wheel of the Year on. Bright eyed, and very bushy tailed.

It was most of a decade ago now, but I remember the little ceremony well; it involved a small paper clay boat with a ram's head that I had carved and fired, dipped in a golden butter-coloured glaze that seemed to perfectly suit my purposes. In the boat I placed some offerings for the sabbat; there were some white chocolate dipped raspberry licorice bullets, some sprigs of red geranium, and a splash of strawberry port from a berry farm in the south. I 'launched' my boat into my front garden which had been freshly planted with some baby rosemary and sage and protected with moonstone which glimmered in the early morning sunlight. I burned candles and meditated and felt a flicker of something that has stayed with me and returns every August. My practices ever since then have always been as eclectic, and sometimes just as elusive: but the whimsicality and solemnity of the ritual permeates my memory.

The return of Spring is not felt with obvious sign or herald in my home country as it is in other lands. The climate here is Mediterranean and warm most of the time, and the temperatures on a sunny August day could possibly be mistaken for a heatwave in some Northern Hemisphere climes. This year, thankfully, we have received some rain and Winter feels like she has finally 'arrived' after a long, and dark, wait. There is certainly a change to be felt in the air, though. A Quickening. The land stirs beneath my feet with a note of potential that was not there before, and the feelings of dormancy have been banished as the downhill push into warmth begins. Nights will be cold, if not the coldest, of the year, but there is still a sense of 'spring' under the earth and birds begin to be a little bit more noisy than usual. The rains have freshened the landscape and weeds and winter grasses are flourishing with abandon. Very soon, the land will burst forth with every colour of the rainbow as if the rainbow snake of ancient dreaming has pierced some crystal somewhere and has shattered into a million pieces and scattered across the land. The magic will sing again, but until then, we wait. And watch.

Photo credit: Cowslip orchard from Western Australia, retrieved from http://ournomadicways.blogspot.com.au/2011/10/wildflowers-of-wa-part-3.html

Further reading: Imbolc in the Southern Hemisphere

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    I appreciate the metaphors. Happy Imbolc to our Australian friends!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Quest for Connection Down Under

For many witches and pagans, one's practice is deeply connected to the land. It is in this that the oft-used, and sometimes contested moniker of 'earth-based spirituality' originates, and whilst I have a lot more to say about the idea of what 'earth-based' actually means in the context of witchcraft, for many, it has literal interpretations.

The turning of the Wheel and the observations of the Sabbats as framed by contemporary neo-paganism is one that links in movements that are both solar and earthly. Cultures live and die by the weather and the elements, even today in our world of modern conveniences, and this is something that many neo-pagans seek to tap back into, in order to weave meaning into our lives and to join in the dance that strums throughout the All. We gather on the Sabbats to celebrate the changes and to honour the deities who stride the land with us, and we feel and honour a connection that is deep and sacred. The waxing and waning of the planet matches the waxing and waning in both our lives and in the cosmos; in the Beyond, and Between. As the veils shimmer and lift, rise and fall, we dance in our circles and break bread with each other and with our Gods, however we view them to be.

The ubiquitous Wheel, however, takes on quite a different face when you are no longer in the Northern Hemisphere. Travelling Down Under, the Gregorian calendar no longer lines up so neatly if one chooses to continue to work with the land. Unease and disconnect inevitably arises and different pagans seek to take up this challenge in different ways. Horned creatures are not found in the wilderness, our moon crescents are backwards, our sun moves around the other way... we are looking at it all 'upside down' with a vague sense of colonial displacement.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

As I stand outside, feet firmly planted on the grass I can feel the steady pulse of the Earth beneath me. Around me, my garden has come to life in an explosion of green, just as the insect population has rapidly grown. I sink my awareness deeper into my surroundings and feel the rapidly approaching Summer Solstice hanging in the air “Mom! Damien won’t leave the Christmas tree alone!” And with that, I am jerked back to reality and motherly duties, and to a world with a cultural clash in celebrations.

I am a Pagan, so on 21 December I’ll celebrate the Summer Solstice. But it’s hard to get into that summer feeling when, from October and the start of summer, all commercial enterprises have been pushing consumers into Christmas. Malls are decked with frosted garlands of plastic greenery, and elves practically melt in the 30˚ plus (86˚F and higher to those over the Atlantic) heat as they usher children to an equally sweaty Santa. And let’s not forget the winter foods traditional to Christmas that leave you feeling more like a beached whale than a streamlined dolphin as you swim in the pool.

Another aspect of this cultural clash is that, unlike Northern Hemisphere Pagans, our Sabbats in the South are at odds with the commercial calendar- Samhain and Yule décor in summer and Ostara décor in autumn. Not only does it hamper the convenience of the Sabbat, but I find it makes it harder to really get into the feel of the Sabbat when everyone else is celebrating its seasonal opposite.

There is a deeper side to it too. At Yule, Samhain and Ostara, Northern Pagans, especially those in America, have the opportunity to let the religious family divides slide, meaning that families can come together to celebrate the holiday in a more secular way. In South Africa, Yule is in June- everyone is either in school or working, and as the majority population is Christian, have no interest celebrating Christmas in June. And as it is more likely that a few, if even that, family members may be Pagan, it means that Yule doesn’t hold that same family-time feeling as it does in the North.

So what’s a South African Pagan to do? Do as the first settlers to her shores and adapt! With leaving my children to decide on their own religion, and naturally being like any child who will never say no to a chance for presents, we have Christmas in our home, but with a twist. We have a small Christmas tree decorated in shades of pink and purple, and as soon as they are made, some flower decorations too. And while I will make offerings on the astronomical event of the Summer Solstice, I’ll leave the true celebration of Summer to Christmas day. So instead of a heavy wintery feast indoors come Christmas day, we’ll have a light lunch of light meats and seasonal salads and fruits by the pool. And we’ll make the most of both holidays by spending the day together as a family, enjoying the height of summer.

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