Yesterday we celebrated Mabon over at the Broomstix Blog with a fantastic coloring page to print out by artist Robin Ator:
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The Jewish year 5775 begins at sundown tonight (Wednesday). In Hebrew, “new year” is r'osh ha-shana: literally, “head [of] the year.” Interestingly, the Arabic term for “new year” is the same: r'as as-sana. Clearly this expression goes back a long, long way, possibly even to Proto-Semitic times. In any event, the phrase long predates monotheism. One should probably posit an Arabic—possibly Moorish—origin for the Italian word for “new year,” capodanno. Three guesses what that means literally.
“New Moon” in Hebrew is r'osh hodesh, literally (you guessed it) “head of the month.” Why would the head of something come to mean its beginning?
I can think of two possibilities.
Over Mabon weekend I read Niki Whitings thoughts on what she misses about being a Christian as well as Jason Mankey’s andJohn Halstead’s posts on what they don’t miss. I asked myself how I felt about this as I went to three different Mabon celebrations. How does my new life as a Pagan compare?
If you ask those who practice it, “Why skyclad?” twelve will get you thirteen you'll hear something along the lines of 1) energy flow, 2) social equalizing, and 3) a sense of separation from the ordinary.
Those may all be good answers, and they may even be true answers, but they're modern answers. They're not the answers the ancestors would have given.
If 1400 years ago you had asked a priest of the Hwicce tribe, “Why do you go naked to your worship?” had he been disposed to give you an answer at all he may well have said, “The Lady of the Hwicce instructed us so.”
Today we honor--even celebrate--balance. We acknowledge that from this swift point onward the nights will grow longer and longer until the Solstice. With that acknowledgement, we also ken that balance is not a static thing but a pause in the clockwork of the universe before we move on, and in.
Every six weeks there is this hinge in the year. Friends who serve as Christian clergy have looked askance when I (mock wearily) reply this way to their query about "Pagan holidays." They assume that there must be major and minor ones because they shiver to think of Christmas or Easter every six weeks, relentlessly rolling on through this beautiful and never-ending cycle that many of us refer to as the Wheel of the Year....
English: the sacred language of the Witches.
“Solstice” and “equinox” are fine old words with a rolling, Latinate solemnity to them, but to my ear they have a rather clinical sound. Wishing someone a happy Equinox always sounds a little stilted to me. When I'm snugged up in bed with another guy, we're probably not going to talk about “penises.” Chances are, if we're talking, we'll use something a little more intimate instead.
A while back I sat down with my friend Ro (“Granny”) NicBourne to see what we could come up with. We pulled my old grad school Anglo-Saxon dictionary off the shelf and gave it a look-see.