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.
For the 8 Sabbats that are a part of the Pagans Down Under blog project, I've decided to share my fledgling '8 Spoked Wheel' system as I work through them properly for the first time myself in my own practice. This is a work in progress that follows a practice for a number of years that did follow the traditional neo-pagan sabbats but after serious reflection I've decided to give an adjusted practice a go that reflects a system I have created that suits.
I don't imagine this could be directly adopted by anyone else and see it as a personal weaving of my own creation. This series of festivals incorporates colour magic and is adapted to suit my local climate and so we begin with Red and an observation I have termed The Reflection. The energy of this thrums throughout late January and early February and could be shifted to suit astrological or lunar correspondences. For this year that would suit the 3rd of February, when a Full Moon in Leo is experienced. The Full Moon in this sign lends a shining, fabulous quality to the season.
There is nothing like the overwhelming opportunities for renewal and reflection that New Year's Eve celebrations can bring.
Last night I bid 2014 farewell by sharing a few beers on the beach with a good friend, and we had a good view of the 'kids' fireworks that were at 9pm. We were alone on the beach to watch the sun set, but as 8.30 rolled around local residents started strolling down to the beach to get a view of the light show that was being held in town. There was so much cheer - people bidding "Happy New Year" to strangers, kids covered in glow-stick jewelry jumping out of the skins with anticipation, and just a lot of general positive feeling.
This is the third of a series of posts about how I relate to the elements in the Southern Hemisphere living on the western coast of Australia; this time, we are going To Dare and explore the element of Water. Previously, I called in Fire, in the North.
I've always wanted to be a mermaid. There was just something so appealing about it. I never actually watched The Little Mermaid as a child, weirdly enough as a kid who grew up in the 1980s and 90s, that boat sailed right by me. However I have always been enchanted by the 'seaside', and I have lived within a short drive or a short walk away from the beach my whole life. I am lucky enough to be on the doorstep of the Indian Ocean, and have ready access to some of the world's most beautiful beaches. I used to run down to the beach in the hot summers as a lanky 14 year old with my body board in tow and the waves I used to catch when I was by myself makes me shake my head with bewilderment today. Somewhere I found my fear as an adult; perhaps it was one too many times getting dumped by the waves into the harsh sandbar.
This is the second of my series of posts on how I connect to the elements from a Southern Hemisphere perspective living on the western coast of Australia. Previously, I called in Air, in the East.
I now turn to the North, and call in passion, creation, desire, heat: I call to you, o Fire! Standing in the circle, we have already established a sense of presence in the breath of life, the whisper is on the winds, the intention is set, the inspiration has arrived. Fire is called next as it now has the Air to breathe, to ignite a sense of drive into what we do in this space, a flurry of sparks: let's turn that whisper into a roar.
The magnificent rock paintings of the Kimberly range in northwestern Australia are among the most ancient in the world, going back tens of thousands of years. Radiocarbon dating of a fossilized wasp nest built over one painting places the nest itself at more than 17,000 years ago, so that the painting must be older -- possibly much older -- than that. Aboriginal people in this region call the paintings, or rather the Beings in them, Gwion Gwion, Giro Giro, and other names.
While making my Woman Shaman dvd, I did a lot of research on rock art around the world. These paintings grabbed my attention, not only because of their tremendous beauty, but because they show dance and ceremonial regalia. Aboriginal tradition says they represent ancestral Beings of the Dreamtime. Because human ceremony celebrates these beings, and reenacts their primordial creative acts, we come around full circle to a likely reflection what extremely ancient rites might have looked like. But from North America it was next to impossible to find Aboriginal testimony about these paintings.