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SageWoman Blogs

At SageWoman magazine, we believe that you are the Goddess, and we're devoted to celebrating your journey. We invite you to subscribe today and join our circle...

Here in the SageWoman section of PaganSquare, our bloggers represent the multi-faceted expressions of the Goddess, feminist, and women's spirituality movements.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

As I mentioned in a recent post, the winter season prompts within me a desire to withdraw and reflect, mirroring the natural rhythm of the earth which so clearly says: let things go, it is time to hibernate.

This year I cocoon with my new baby. Though I have three other children, this new baby was the first b2ap3_thumbnail_December-2014-106.JPGchild whose development and arrival perfectly mirrored the wheel of the year. Conceived during the first month of the new year, taking root in the darkness of winter’s end, beginning to bud during the springtime and coming into full bloom during the summer. And, then, with the season’s spiral turn into fall, when many beautiful things are harvested, his birth: October 30, into my welcoming hands in the sunlight bright morning in my living room. Now, with the steady progress of winter, we curl together in a small, new world. We cocoon in the cave of our own home, the size of the world re-sized to the size of my bed, kitchen table, and rocking chair. This is the fourth trimester, the time in which the baby continues to develop his nervous system and continues to live within the context of the mother’s body. I am his habitat. His place. His home is in my arms.

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Solstice at the stones and sacred wells- two ceremonies upon our ancient sacred land.

Solstice Blessings everyone! On the 21st, in the northern hemisphere, we celebrate the winter solstice, the shortest day when the Sun appears to 'stand still' while at its lowest  point in its yearly cycle. From then until the summer solstice in June the sun will shine for a little longer each day, in time bringing back the light and warmth.

In Britain this sacred time is said to be overseen by an ancient figure known as the Holly King- a counterpart to the Oak King who rules over the summer, both perhaps aspects of the Green Man, that mysterious divine figure which features in so many ancient Celtic tales. These beings have most evidence in the Middle Ages, but hark back to far older pagan traditions, reflecting both the importance of the oak to the druids, and the evergreen holly as its protective 'other face' during the winter months. The holly is said to have many magical powers, protecting from storms and ill wishes hence is presence as a decoration in the home over the darkest time of the year. It is also helpful as a Celtic 'power plant' in overcoming our own darker issues; pain, anger, jealousy, fear, grief, the darkness of the underworld within our own spirits. It achieves this by raising our life force, our kundalini, to give us the strength to overcome adversity within. The Holly King is a guide and guardian of this inner and underworld, known as Annwn in Celtic lore, which aligns energetically as well as psychologically with the mortal realm over the winter months, calling to us to seek stillness and sink into the cave, the great cauldron of the earth, to look within and seek rest and renewal...

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Solstice Comes But Once A Year, Now It’s Here! by Carol P. Christ

Actually it comes twice, once in midsummer, the longest day of the year, and once in midwinter, the longest night.  Winter Solstice is also known as the first day of winter.

For those of us attuned to the cycles of Mother Earth, Winter Solstice is a time to celebrate the dark and the transformations that come in the dark. Many of the customs associated with Christmas and Hannukah, including candles, Yule logs, and trees decorated with lights were originally associated with Winter Solstice.  The extra pounds put on during winter feasting were insulation against the cold winter nights.

Those who fear that many of the customs of the Christmas season might be pagan are right.  As we learn again to honor our place within the cycles of birth, death, and regeneration, we return these customs to their roots in the circle of life.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

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“Only in the deepest silence of night
the stars smile and whisper among themselves.”
–Rabindranath Tagore

(quoted in Dear Heart, Come Home page 52)

As I prepare our family's winter solstice ritual for this Sunday evening, I feel moved to share our family's tradition and ritual process. I'd love to hear from readers in the comments with their own family traditions! We have celebrated the winter solstice together as our primary family ritual for the last eleven years. There are several elements that remain constant from year to year and other elements that vary based on new ideas or projects that we decide to incorporate for that year.

The following is a brief explanation of three of our core traditions, which is then followed by a full ritual outline for this year's ceremony! Make sure to read through to the end of my ritual outline for links to even more posts with further ideas and information.

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a1sx2_Thumbnail1_Heather-Taylor-Water-Blessing-small.jpgWinter has swallowed us, taken us deep...

In the chill of ice, trees stand stark as bones, the land is cold iron, frost slows all movement so Gaia is still as death. Only the brilliant stars in the black sky remember the rhythms of earth as they wheel through the night. All is connected. As stars bloom and die, as flowers fall to seed, as bone becomes nurturing ground, the wheeling universe lives in its Beauty and pattern. We are stardust, born of the Great Goddess, and in her is all hope. Even in the most severe terror of darkness and cold that Kali brings, the Spark flares again to ignite the perfect miracle of life. When all seems lost, the mystery of the universe begins to lift us into light and renewal once more. Women will tend the sacred fires until the voice of Demeter is heard in the Halls of Dis, and Persephone returns, a Queen filled with the knowledge of great mysteries. The pomegranate seed will become again a tree of life.

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Avatar, Yuletide Goddesses & Pagan Roots of Christmas and Resolutions

Just thinking of digging out the old AVATAR DVD.  That's part of my year end tradition, starting the new year out with a great movie that shows the under dogs beating the odds and claiming victory! What's yours?

I get teary-eyed every time I watch Avatar.  I love seeing the hero kneeling before that great tree, a long-time symbol of Goddess.  And he's praying to Her.  He's telling Her the Sky People, otherwise known as us, the Earthlings, are coming for them, for Her and they're hell-bent on stealing the natural resources of the planet at any cost.  Sound familiar?  Sound like something ripped from the headlines as some multi-national corporation comes for the water or minerals on sacred land, never mind they'll devastate the local economy and the lives of people living there. Or maybe it reminds you of the United States going after the oil in Iraq.  

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I like to think that I have embraced the image of The Great Mother as the epitome of dualities. It’s a mature image: she is both light and dark, strength and weakness, savior and destructor. This helps people relate to her, as humans embody all these differing and conflicting traits and we’re not static, one or the other. The Great Mother is everything, combines everything, reflects everything.

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