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General Blog Description: Exploring Southern Hemisphere neo-pagan practice and culture from the point of view of a progressive witch living south of Perth, Western Australia.

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Leaving a Legacy: Winter Solstice


Sun and then rain and then sun and then rain. Everything is beautiful, fresh and green after a relatively dry June - the rain has finally come. Flocks of white sulfur-crested cockatoos careen in the morning shower, revelling in the morning light as the sun glints off their plumage. As the sun breaks through again, the breeze stirs the branches of the eucalypts causing heavy drops to shower down like diamonds. My tabby cat carefully pads his way through the weeds of my front garden, stopping to sniff a long green tendril and his coat shivers when the droplets leftover from the latest shower dribble onto his back. 


This is winter solstice in Australia. Or one version of it, anyway. 


Pagans in Australia are a curious bunch. It's hard for us, you see. Yule is celebrated mostly without irony. We crack out our Christmas trees for another turn - this time, the snow globes, the yule log and cozy Santa iconography doesn't seem so absurd in the cooler weather. 


Last night I went to an annual Winter Solstice gathering hosted by a local group and it is always an event I look forward to. It was mentioned that this event has been running for 5 years running - how time has flown! - and a reminder of how traditions can spring up. There was a moment in the evening when we were encouraged to remember our ancestors - and think of the legacy we will leave behind as future ancestors ourselves.


This is a powerful notion. What is your legacy? I think I write to record some sort of legacy. I want to remember, and I want to be remembered, but I don't think I have ever considered that before. I don't have children, and I don't think I ever will - but as a teacher, an auntie, a writer, an artist, a librarian, a priestess - do I want to leave some mark behind? I want to make this planet better, to help others make meaning, to encourage learning, love and laughter.


How can we do this when we mark time in the year? We use the Wheel to make meaning, to ritualise the endless turn of the planets. Some stick to traditions and trot out the same liturgy, time after time, regardless of their surroundings of the lack of positive impact those traditions might bring. Others bend it to their will, and shape celebrations to be meaningful to their sense of place, their identities, and their tradition. Perhaps, this is best done in Australia without the symbols and poems about the holly, the ivy, the oak and the reindeer. Perhaps it is done with good wine, good friends, the scent of the eucalypt and a nice cup of tea with vegemite toast in the morning as we watch the sun rise. Legacies are traditions we weave ourselves. If we want to be remembered fondly, we need to consider how our footprints mark the earth and how our interactions can incite hope, peace and goodwill in our community. So, today I consider my legacy. What's yours going to be?


Featured blog image is the altar including ancestral offerings from my coven sister, Sarah.

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Lee is an artist and witch hailing from Western Australia. Her practice is one woven from both an intiatory eclectic Wiccan circle and a rigorous solitary practice that is heavily coloured with chaos magic and probably too many unicorns. Sarcasm, dry wit and Happy Squirrels are par for the course.


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