Pagan Paths

It’s a common thing to hear that there’s a difference between our magical lives and our mundane lives. In reality, we have the ability to step into ritual and devotion each and every day.

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Winter Solstice - A ritual invocation or the coolest band name ever!

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

A long, long, long time before the word "Solstice" was ever uttered, eons before the ancients looked upward at that shining orb in the sky and said "goddess" or "god", billions of years before humankind realized that some times were warmer and lighter and other times were colder and darker, this planet danced.

For roughly four and a half billion years, give or take a million, the earth has rocked forward and backward. Axial Tilt is the official term for it. Axial Tilt would also make a great name for a band and should I ever decide to get the band back together again, I think Axial Tilt will be the front-runner for the name.

But in all seriousness (actually, I'm quite serious about naming the band Axial Tilt, but I digress), I'm a big fan of creating rituals by simply observing what is happening in my location at the very moment I'm creating the ritual or ritual invocation. I look to incorporate the weather. If there's birdsong or a rushing river nearby I'll add or, at least, acknowledge their "voices" into the calling. I allow my magical plans to be influenced and affected by what is present, bringing myself into balance with the place/forces I'm working with.

As my whole life has been spent on the earth (I'm still waiting for my astronaut application to be accepted), I thought I'd ritually emulate the earth for a moment and see what wisdom I might glean from the experience. After all, 4.5 billion years is a long time to be doing the same thing so I thought 15 minutes of me doing it couldn't be a bad thing.

I stood in my soggy and sodden back yard and became still. I grounded myself there. I opened to the myriad sounds and smells that were all around me. I faced the approximate direction of the sun and leaned forward. As I tilted my body towards the sun, my mind was flooded with associations I've held about the warmer, summery, lighter times. Going to the beach, eating outdoors and hiking on dusty trails. Then came the sound of buzzing insects and tall, brown grasses, and sweat dripping down my back. I imagined witchcamps and community gatherings and friends laughing. Every memory was bright and warm and full of abundance.

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I changed my position and came back to center. Stillness again.

I shifted my weight onto my heels and tilted my axis away from the sun. The chill in the air made itself known almost immediately. Then came the sound of firewood cracking and spitting. I saw friends gathered around my dining room table. There was wine and laughter and heaping bowls of hot, steaming stew. Darkness wrapped around me like a cloak and I felt quite safe and comfortable. I journeyed out to the giant redwood groves, now with virtually no tourists, and reveled in the near silence of the misty, ancient forest. My body, my very bones felt heavy and warm and solidly connected to the earth.

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I changed my position and came back to center. Stillness again.

Neither position felt "good" or "bad". Neither position felt less inviting. Neither position felt like it could be sustained for very long, but rather depended on the other position to give it some context and value. Standing in the still points before, during and after reminded me that I have tremendous access to engage with all of it at any time. There is work that can only be done in the darkness and shadow and work that is best done in the light of day.

As I prepare to celebrate the upcoming Winter Solstice with friends and community, the 27th North Bay Winter Solstice with Starhawk, I'll be working the idea of Axial Tilt  into the Earth invocation. Perhaps we will lean together and then come to stillness and balance together.

Perhaps, there is great value in leaning into the dark together and leaning into the light together.

What are your Winter Solstice plans? What do value in the light and the dark?

 

 

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I've been a practicing witch and ritualist within the Reclaiming Tradition since 2003. I love being in service with this community of witches and world changers.   My own practice, my own way of changing the world is through devotional practice. It's my belief that we can re-enchant our lives by re-framing the so-called "mundane" as sacred and divine. By imbuing the familiar with a sense of wonder and infusing daily life with acts of magic, we choose to consciously make all of life devotion. Whether we engage in large, public rituals or sink sumptuously into the pure ecstasy of eating a delicious meal by ourselves or meditating at sunrise, our daily rituals can draw us back into harmony with the world and each other.  

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