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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Man Who Loved the Goddess

In this season of the ancestors, I remember W[illiam] Holman Keith (1900-1993), the Baptist minister who fell in love with the Goddess and so became one of the pioneers of the New Paganism in the United States.

From the jacket of his book Divinity as the Eternal Feminine, the first (1960!) American book of self-consciously pagan theology:

W. Holman Keith, born June 11, 1900 at Vincennes, Indiana, began his “pilgrimage of faith,” to use his own words, with evangelical Christian Protestantism. After taking a BA degree at Franklin College...he went on to earn the degrees of Bachelor of Divinity and Master of Systematic Theology at Newton Theological Institution...and an MA in Theology at the University of Chicago. His subsequent career included two brief pastorates at Baptist churches in Massachusetts and New York. However, he writes, “I was progressively disillusioned in the two theological schools I attended,” and he subsequently abandoned his vocation as a minister. His search for faith “at last found its haven in a small chapel in West Hempstead, Long Island, New York, known as the Church of Aphrodite, of which the Rev. Gleb Botkin was the founder, and the priest of Aphrodite.

Presently, the author writes, “the challenge of this truth commands all my loyalties of mind, heart, and will.

And so it would be to the very end of his life.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
The Golden Thread

“Open the door”, said the wise woman
“Come in and sit down.

For it is she of great worth
Who wears the King’s crown”.

I looked at the wizened face
For answers that long I had sought
Deep pools of star-filled eyes returned my gaze
And told of mysteries carefully taught.

Her countenance was hypnotic
And fingers deftly moved to and fro
Her body moving in rhythm
As the web from the spinning did grow.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Shake your tree!

One of the issues we face when working with modern Paganism based in ancient Minoan spirituality is a practical one: we can’t read what the Minoans wrote. Their two writing systems, Cretan hieroglyphs and Linear A, are still undeciphered. That leaves us with lots and lots of images from frescoes, pottery, seal stones and seal rings. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but figuring out exactly which thousand words are the right ones can be a problem.

Lately I’ve been working on some art projects that involve enlarging photos of some of the Minoan seal rings, and I’ve had occasion to examine the artwork closely. Most of the time this has been an enlightening process, but I have run across one bit that bothered me a lot. You see, there’s a particular ritual scene that’s repeated over and over on the seal rings. The archaeologists have interpreted it as a ‘tree shaking ceremony’ but they can’t manage to explain what it might actually mean. As I was examining a closeup of the seal ring from Tholos Tomb A at Archanes (the main blog image above) it occurred to me that the branch-type object the male figure is shaking might not actually be a tree. I had a look at a few other seal rings that include similar ‘tree shaking’ rituals and I think these images may be something far more specific to the Minoan goddess than trees.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Awakening to the Divine Feminine
A few months back I wrote a post about redefining gender adjectives in regards to our feminine and masculine essence. I suggested that what has traditionally been described as 'feminine' traits be renamed 'lunar' traits and that what has traditionally been called 'masculine' traits be renamed 'solar' traits, I then went on to state that a woman is feminine regardless of whether she is running more lunar or solar energy, simply by virtue of being a woman and that a man is masculine, whether he is running more lunar or solar energy, simply by virtue of being a man. I would amend that statement to read "a person who identifies herself as a woman is feminine by virtue of being a woman and that a person who identifies themselves as a man is masculine simply by virtue of being a man." You can find that post here:

Since changing my views about what constitutes femininity and masculinity I was posed a question that deepened my awareness and understanding about what my feminine essence is. A fellow mother who has felt a call to her Divine Feminine self asked me, "how do you connect to your feminine self, where do you start?" In the past I would have shared with her a list of lunar activities that would activate her 'feminine' self, however, I know now that women are both lunar and solar, and so suggesting activities that are exclusively lunar would be suggesting she participate in activities that would activate only 50% of her feminine essence. Since I cannot  define the feminine essence solely with lunar examples anymore, what suggestions could I give to help her to connect to her feminine essence and what steps could she take to embark on a path of feminine spirituality?
I reached out to the women in my Goddess Gathering Facebook group. This is a private group of women who have gathered together on the New Moon for years now, a lot of us have since had geographic relocations, however we have stayed in touch via the far reaching world wide web. I asked how they connected to their feminine essence, responses ranged from simply spending time in the nude to taking salsa dancing lessons. Overall the consensus seemed to be that the balance between connecting to oneself on a personal level and connecting to the Goddess on a Universal level was the path that have led us into a place of understanding and relating to our feminine essence.
When I reflect on my own journey, it was the Universal Goddess that first began to awaken my connection to my feminine self. At the age of 25 I had been an avid student of Christian Mysticism and knew nothing about the Goddess, I am also an artist and was at that period of time challenged with writers block. I began the Artist's Way, a workbook created to help artists to unblock their creative selves, the book promised to not only unblock me, but to also reveal to me hidden aspects of my creative self that I had yet to actualize. On one of my artist's dates, an activity that I was  committed to once a week throughout my process, I visited a book store and purchased a copy of the Mists of Avalon. When I read the Mists of Avalon, and experienced Vivienne pulling down the mists for the first time, when I was introduced to the Priestess isle of Avalon, something inside of me was awoken and I could never feel settled again until I found a way to have that magic, that power, that feminine essence in my everyday life. That was it. From that moment on the course of my life was altered forever. I like to think that the Grace of the Mother was guiding me, She was calling me home to Her. At the culmination of my Artist's Way journey, my writers block had shifted, however instead of finding a new artistic talent, I had a new thirst that was born, it was a passion and a determination to know the Feminine Face of God and to understand what my femininity looked like and felt like. 
I began the journey of reconnecting to my feminine essence by seeking out wisdom from the teachers around me, I remember fondly a yoga teacher asking for us to share our intention for a workshop that I was participating in, my intention was that I wanted to become more feminine, my teacher laughed and asked the class, "who here thinks Candise isn't already feminine?" I was flattered and hopeful that maybe I was feminine, though at the time I couldn't see it. I run a lot of solar energy, I am most at ease in my lunar, but on a day to day basis I am generally quite solar in that in the world I am active, determined and initiative. I assumed that in order to be feminine I had to become more subdued, gentle, flowy, attributes that I have always admired and sought in my female friends, attributes that are very lunar and that I confused with being feminine. What my teacher saw at that time and what I have come to know is that every person who identifies themselves as a woman is feminine when they are connected to their authentic self. I run my feminine energy in a very solar way out in the world and a very lunar way when I am at home or amongst a close group of friends. My Myers Briggs type is INFJ, a very rare combination that gives me the appearance of an extrovert, as I am quite talkative and comfortable on stage in front of a large group of people, however internally I am introverted and need  time to regenerate and refuel after being out in the world. Extroverted = solar, Introverted = lunar. My astrological chart is equal parts lunar and solar. My personal path of feminine discovery has led me to find the balanced expression of femininity in the lunar and solar expressions of self, this is of no surprise to me, as I am called to work in the Libra tribe in this lifetime, the tribe of balancing both sides of the scale. As my personal path continued to weave and to wind I began to attend Goddess Gatherings, I took a small four week workshop that reawakened ancient knowledge within me about the phases of the moon and how they correspond to the phases of my body and the phases of my life, and I joined a Priestess circle and was ordained with my Priestess sisters. With each circle that I joined, each woman that I connected with, each process that I went through with the intention of connecting to my feminine self, the more awakened to my true feminine essence I became.
My reacquaintance with the Divine Feminine was a whole other journey that happened simultaneously and side by side with my personal connection to my feminine self. The first place that I sought Her out was in books, I was inspired by fictional works that incorporated the mystical resonance of true Goddess worship that I had found in the Mists of Avalon. I found that those fictional novels kept me inspired and motivated to continue my search. The Passion of the Mary Magdalene Chronicles, the Red Tent, more Marion Zimmer Bradley novels, the Fifth Sacred Thing, the Witch of Portobello and Medicine Women are just a few of the books that have sent my feminine soul soaring into actualization. Today I revel in herstorical books, anthropological accounts and archetypal information about the Goddess and how She was revered, however when I was first seeking Her, it was the myths, the stories and the lore that kept me opening up and looking for Her presence. Beyond books there wasn't any other place that I knew of to seek Her except for in circle with my sisters, in nature, and then, most importantly for me, within.
My first concepts of the Great Mother Goddess came through a new relationship to Mother Nature. As I began my Priestess apprenticeship I took one week to dedicate my intention to each of the four elements. I delved into my relationship to them, I discovered the  life within the four directions and found that their influence on me was both soothing and grounding. I found the Mother in the external realm, in abounding nature I was lifted up, I walked into a realm where the vibration of a flower, the essence of a tree, the passion of a flame, the messages of water, were all reflections of Her presence in my life. This was a great blessing and the foundation for my walk with the Goddess.
I still had one area that I thirsted in, and that was the area of inner awareness, I longed to feel Her Divine presence within me as a benevolent being that I could seek guidance, direction and love from. That relationship has been a process, without realizing it, the Father God concept had been so engrained in me from society that I felt as though I was praying to a made up mythical entity when I began to reach out to Her. Bit by bit, I began to have moments of an awareness of a Mother presence with me, it was a slow beginning, however, when I became pregnant and then after the birth of my daughter I felt my relationship with Her reach new heights and depths. She is all around me, and within me. I ask Her daily to Mother through me, and as I gaze with love and admiration at my daughter I get glimpses of the love of my Mother. It is through the unfoldment of my life as a woman, a woman connected to her feminine self that I found the Goddess within me. 
This relationship has solidified in me an understanding of the Divine Feminine. When She came to me as nature I learnt that She is as soft as a feather, as fluid as the oceans, as hard as the rocks and minerals and as dangerous as the hottest flame. I learnt that my femininity was defined by my expression of self as a female in whatever form, in whatever way I allowed my authenticity to flow. As I became acquainted with the Goddess archetypes I became acquainted with facets of my feminine self. Some days I am as wild and untamed as Pele, as kind and compassionate as Kuan Yin, as benevolent and generous as Lakshmi or as fierce and destructive as Kali. Every day, in every way I am in my feminine self. Societies definition of femininity does not define me nor does it define the Goddess, the Goddess is not a soft, soothing place for the God expression of Divinity to rest His weary head, though She can offer respite to the masculine expression of Source when that is needed. I am not a doll faced, gentle lamb, licking the battle wounds of my ferocious lion of a husband , though some days I feel so good being soft and gentle and feeling his strong presence lie into me....and other days I prefer to be the hungry and exhausted lioness, sweaty and bloody from a day in the wild, lying down to be served by my gentle loving lamb of a husband. I wear all of the faces of life, I wear all of my emotions and all of my dreams and I call it all Divine and all feminine.
As I remember the beginning of my journey into Goddess spirituality and review my relationship with my feminine self, with the Divine Feminine and with the dissolution of the social construct that labels femininity, I have some particular suggestions I would offer to anybody who identifies themselves as feminine and is looking to awaken their relationship with their own Divine Feminine self and with the Great Goddess Herself.
  • Contemplate and open yourself up to the four major elements. Spend a week noticing and communing with water, and then earth, and then fire and then air. Find these elements both externally and internally and notice how they change your day to day life experience.
  • Research the Goddess, learn about her herstory, learn about Goddess worship, research the different Goddesses, buy the Goddess deck by Doreen Virtue and begin to pull a card a day and find that Goddess in your 24 hours.
  • Spend time in nature, a lot of time. Observe mother nature, observe her in her quiet times, in her wild times, in her bareness and in her lushness. Begin to notice her wherever you go and commune with her, say hi to the trees that you walk under, stroke the bushes that you pass, wink at the flowers that preen. Interact with the vibrational life that is animating the nature that surrounds you.
  • Have a baby! An actual baby, or a fur baby, or a creative baby, or a surrogate baby. Birth something, it can be an actual birth (though you will probably find more reasons to choose to bring a life into the world beyond learning about the Divine Feminine) or it can be the birth of a project, a creation, a plant, a pet, anything that you bring forth and are then in a position to nurture and care for as it grows and develops. This time of your life will put you in the position of acting as the Great Goddess acts in your life, as you guide and love your 'baby' you will have brief moments to understand the Divine Love that is constantly pouring forth to you from Her.
  • Pray to Her, ask for Her to reveal Herself to you.
  • Meditate, on an image of Her, a concept, a feeling, or simply become open and wait for Her to reveal Her presence to you.
  • Lastly, remember that you are feminine just by virtue of being you.
In the final analysis this journey that has led me to connect to my feminine self has brought me to a place that has made the word feminine redundant. What I was seeking for was an authentic connection to myself, that connection to my authenticity automatically brought me into alignment with my feminine self and with the Divine Feminine that animates me. I have shown up in this world and identify myself as a woman and am therefore feminine, in all of my authentic expressions and ways of being. The parts of me that I thought were masculine, were really my capable, strong, direct feminine traits. The parts of me that I thought were feminine, were my introverted places, my soft spots that I love and cherish. In the grand scheme of Universal Truth, both feminine and masculine merge together to create the One Source, yet while I am on this spinning rock in an embodied form I live in a realm of duality. In this realm of duality I can choose to connect to a feminine expression of Source that I call Goddess or a masculine expression of Source which I call God, and at times, at witchy, enlightened, high vibrational moments I can connect to the asexual, transcended Source energy, I am made aware of the Absolute that lives beyond duality in the realm of Oneness. This One Spirit is my Home and lives within me, I brought this One Spirit down with me when I incarnated onto this planet as a woman.  I am honoured to have this lifetime as a woman, this is an exciting era where the feminine is rising up and claiming her validity on this earth, eventually these dual expressions will merge, until then I carry my role and my mission as an expression of the Divine Feminine with the utmost honour and reverence and my hope is that each and every woman finds her authentic self as a true expression of the Divine Feminine and continues our journey towards enlightenment. One woman at a time we are rising Her up. Each woman that finds her connection to her authenticity is finding her connection to her feminine essence and in turn is beginning a relationship with the Divine Feminine, a relationship that will forever alter the spiral path of destiny that lies ahead of us.
Grace Be With You,
Priestess of Grace,
Candise Soaring Butterfly
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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
City Goddesses

Cities are powerful beings. In the Roman world, they were thought of as goddesses, depicted wearing what are called “mural crowns”: crowns composed of city walls, with towers.

In the largely unsacred landscape of secular modernity, this seems inconceivable, almost a joke. To take an example:

In ancient Sumer one could say:

From Her temple in Uruk She turned Her ear to descend into the Underworld.

From Her temple in Nippur She turned Her ear to descend into the Underworld.

From Her temple in Shuruppak She turned Her ear to descend into the Underworld.


But surely it is impossible to say

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Keeping the Flame of Twin Flame Love Alive

I really wanted to believe in Twin Flames, when I first read about them, something inside of me settled, the part of me that remembers Home before incarnating resonated with the idea of a Twin Flame.

A Twin Flame is your other half, literally you are one half of a soul and your Twin Flame is your other half, together you complete each other. The story goes that once upon a time we were androgynous creatures, as life continued to unfold we split into two beings and from that moment on we seek out, or in the least, sense that we have an 'other' out there.
The difference between a soul mate and a Twin Flame is that there is only one Twin Flame and there are many soul mates, soul mates are from your spiritual family, the tribe that you incarnate with over and over again. I knew that this was true because I have three soul mates, my sisterfriends that I have had since childhood, one of them is a soul mate that is so deep we would have married if the other had been born the opposite sex, it's fortunate that we weren't as I would have missed out on meeting my Twin Flame.
When I met him, I knew, I knew at once that love at first sight was real, that Twin Flames were real and that regardless of how our life unfolded I would be okay for having met him. As a writer I love the power of the spoken and written word, this personal encounter, what meeting my Twin Flame was like is one of the few areas that I feel as though I fall short. Prior to meeting him I had had a lot of 'this is the one's' and I could have easily heard a story like mine and thought 'yes! that's this one' only to find a few months later, once the newness had dissipated that it wasn't 'this one', this would have left me wondering, "are there really Twin Flames?" So while it is hard to encapsulate what the experience of finally meeting my Twin Flame was I can offer a few memories that have always stuck with me.
The first is that I wasn't excited, I was in joy and at peace all at the same time. A self-confessed relationship junky, it was quite common for me to become all a jitter when I met a new potential mate and to wonder when I would see them next, if they would call, what our future would be like, in one sitting I could have us married with babies, with my Twin I felt as though every second was quenching a thirst deep within me that I didn't believe would ever be quenched until after leaving the body behind. I longed with all of my being to be with him and also believed that there was a very good chance that wouldn't happen in this lifetime. I knew that I had found my Twin Flame and I had read that most Twin Flame encounters were intense and brief, that usually both Flames weren't at the same place in soul development to sustain a relationship and some people even believe that you don't meet your Twin Flame until your final incarnation. There are times that I hope that this will be my final incarnation, however if finishing the reincarnation process is determined by levels of enlightenment I highly doubt I am close to finishing up this cycle of death and rebirth. I knew as I sat and talked with him that I was most likely going to repeat incarnation and I saw that the circumstances of our lives were quite stacked against us, we lived in different countries on different coasts and he was wrestling with some very deep and dark demons, demons that I had met and overcome years before. 
And so, where I would normally have felt a manic need to control and plan I basked in the blessing at having met my Twin, I was overjoyed and surrendered. At the same time I began preparing for my human self to come in, I knew that she would, and she did, big time.
The two of us began a long distance relationship and the bliss of knowing that my Twin Flame was alive and well was overshadowed by the devastation of being separated by time and distance and the unknown. I was so shattered that I all but sabotaged any chance that we had to be, a few months in I had five days off of work, I booked a flight (an insanely impulsive move for me, I am quite frugal and planned) and went to see him, my plan was that I was going to be my most radiant, perfect expression of self, and on the last day, after meeting his friends and families and wowing them all I was going to break up with him, I figured that I could in the least be a lasting memory of what could have been, up until that point I had been behaving as nothing less than a basket case. This was my egotistical plan.
What happened was, that when I pretended to be free and happy the two of us were able to enjoy our visit, I became truly free and happy and we reconnected and it became clear to me, within my heart and soul that I was in, %100 until the very end, whether that be in a week or a month, I was going to see us through. From that point on we had a devastatingly sweet courtship, I flew him to see me every other month, our visits were all encompassing and full of passion and playfulness. I had always been so guarded about life and he reminded me to play and have fun. I would cry, openly weep and weep in his arms, rocked to the core that he was going to leave again and he would hold me, inside moved that anyone on earth could love him that much. I am not a crier, I wish I was, I love seeing the softer side of women and men who cry, I just seem to freeze up, but during this time I was an open well of tears.
Grace guided us, every night, with his permission I would light a candle and pray to the Goddess, I would connect to both of our spirit tribes and ask that they guide our steps, I would ask for the willingness to go to any lengths to be with him and for the willingness to let go if that be in our highest good. I asked for the doors to him living in my country to be opened or for me to be in his, if that was in alignment with the highest good.
The day that he immigrated to our country and crossed the country line in the airport I ran and jumped into his arms, just like in the movies and whispered to him "is it over?", "it's over," he assured me. What followed was nothing short of bliss, we had this sickeningly sweet habit in the daytime of calling out to one another "Honey," the other would answer "yes?" and the first would say "I'm at my zenith", life truly was like one long unending happily ever after. The Twin Flame challenge was over, grace had prevailed and living together and being together didn't get old.
I wish that was where our story ended, but it isn't. What came to follow was life, human realm life. I had ptsd, frozen, undiagnosed ptsd that I wasn't aware of, a year into our life after immigration and it unfroze and I froze. I couldn't feel my Twin Flame, I would see him beside me, see his tortured hazel eyes as he couldn't reach me and I felt nothing. He did everything for me, he cooked, cleaned, did the groceries, drove me around and snuggled me as I lie on the couch, deep in a well of darkness that I couldn't get myself out of. I spent the year in deep trauma therapy, shamanic work and support group connection, slowly I came out the other side, but something had changed. There was something about having been beside my Twin Flame but unable to access our love that had jaded me. Reconnecting to one another took dedication and faith, for a long time it was only the memory and the knowledge that he was my Twin that kept me walking forward.
After this time we got married and three days before our wedding I got pregnant, we were newlyweds preparing for our first child, he went to school and then 19 months after our daughter was born we moved across the country. Now we are floundering to find our roots in this new area, he is seeking out gainful employment and we are hunkered down at my parents house. Life is busy, stressful and very much concerned with the third dimension. Days go by where he works, we play with our daughter after work, I put her down and he falls asleep beside me as we watch a show. We yell at each other when the pressure gets high, we despair at times about what direction to take next. Sometimes he feels so much like an extension of me that I forget to observe him as my other.
After one particularly challenging weekend this past month I finally stopped, paused and went within, here beside me was the man that I had longed so fervently to have in my life for more than 14 consecutive days, he is my husband, the father of my child, the love of my life and I just couldn't access any of that. I began to wonder, what happens to the Twin Flames that stick it out, what happens to Happily Ever After, after?
I understand why writers create so many break ups in hit shows, besides the flare for the dramatic, it is hard to write about lasting passionate love without writing about what keeps the love going and that is an individual recipe and a mystery. Just because it is hard doesn't mean it is not possible. Here is what I have found, in order to keep the Twin Flame flame of our love activated, burning and as powerful as it was when we met I must make  the memory of our first meeting a working part of my day. There are three tools that I have found simplify and focus the intention of keeping our flame alive that have been working for me, they are:
  •  Prioritize: I need to prioritize the truth of our love, not only spending time together, but connecting to the depths of our love before addressing our daily life duties and responsibilities. Abraham Hicks teaches me to get into the vortex before beginning any work, I need to jump into the vortex of our Twin Flame connection before we begin working on our life as a team.
  • Trust, trust is a must in any relationship as far as I am concerned, the trust that I need in order to stay tuned into the high vibration of our love is the trust in the power of love. When we first fell in love people would remark about the two of us often, they would talk about what a 'good couple' we seemed to be or how 'well matched', people enjoyed being around us because the vibration of true love is pleasing. When I remember the power of being in the vortex of love I remember the power that him and I possess when we are connected as one. Which brings me to my other tool,
  • Remember the power of oneness. Oneness is such a deep spiritual principle, I have only ever caught an intellectual experience of it up until meeting my husband. Once we met I 'got it' him and I literally were one, just in two different bodies. When I remember our Oneness stressful thoughts about who does what, how to work as a team and who is on the beam for the day fade away. As long as I take care of my side of the street we are good, we are one. I know that he does his spirit work and works hard for us, so this is easy for me to practice, but it is also necessary, each meditation I do is a meditation that lifts us both up, every laugh that I take, each moment I surrender we are both lightened and loosened.
When I stick to these three simple reminders, to prioritize our love above the demands of third dimensional living, to trust the power of love to raise our vibration into an experience that sustains and fulfills us and to remember the power that we possess when consciously experiencing our merged oneness I am able to live in our Twin Flame love as if it were the first day all over again.
Life is wobbly for me right now. We are finding our legs in this new land. We are seeking out ways to live our vision in new territory. I am relearning how to co-habitate with my parents while we find our way. I do not feel settled yet. What I do have is contrast, a deep, soul wrenching contrast and this contrast is compelling me to reach deep within, to find my own centre of grounded faith. My faith in the Creator falters very little, my faith in my marriage and in the blessing that the two of us are together is being strengthened in the midst of this uncertainty.
My intention of marrying my Twin Flame was to commit to love him as the perfect expression of God and he me as the perfect expression of Goddess every day for the rest of our lives. To see his perfection behind the illusion of his human falterings and in this learning to be able to better love the world. That mission statement is one that uplifts all.
Beyond what the world gains from Twin Flame love lasting is the very personal gain that I receive, a place of warmth, joy and passion that weathers the storms of life's ups and downs and an experience of the other realm in the flesh, for Twin Flame love is magical and not of this world.
Twin Flame love is one of many ways to tap into these higher vibrations, there are many others that do not require a merging of two people, the Twin Flame path is one that I am on and one that I am continuing to learn about as I walk side by side with my other. To all of the light workers, to all of those Preistessing a new reality on Earth I bow to you and give my thanks, your walk lifts me up. To all of the Twin Flames that have stayed past the initial passionate ignition I honour and give thanks for your love, as we find our other and merge ourselves we become a stronger force for love, light and joy unto the world. 
Whatever your experience, we are all one and we are all walking closer to a collective merging into one great Flame of love united.
Grace Be With You,
Priestess of Grace,
Candise Soaring Butterfly
artist : Josephine Wall
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The summer solstice has been honoured around the world for millennia. In Britain and Ireland its marked by hundreds of earthworks, henges stone circles and rows, and it has a history of celebration from the Neolithic going through the Iron Age druids, through folklore and into the present day where it is honoured by pagans and heathens of many varieties. Solstice means solar standstill, and at this time the suns position from dawn to dusk does its highest arc in the sky, from its most north  easterly at dawn to its most north westerly at sunset, before gradually rising further south day on day until the winter solstice. During this time when it is at its most northern arc, its position at dawn  appears to 'stand still' until its journey south becomes discernible again. In many ways this can be seen as time where life force and the solar energies are at their height- a time of enthusiasm, celebration and empowerment, but also a time out of time, when the spirit world and our connection to our own souls may become more apparent.

Lighting fires has always been a popular practice at the summer solstice, and one that survived through to the modern era before being taken up with increasing enthusiasm in recent years. In Ireland there are many hills and ancient monuments sacred to or astronomically aligned to the summer solstice, but there are two especially famous hills, Knockainey, sacred to the fire goddess Aine, a faery queen, and Knoc Gréin, sacred to the solar goddess Greine. These two hills near each other in county Limerick were likely to have been beacon hills long ago, with twin fires honouring the sun at this time. Across Britain there are also many 'beacon' hills which are likely to have been used for the same purposes.  An agricultural tradition across Britain and Ireland was to drive cattle in between two fires at this time to purify and bless them, and a custom among young men in particular was to leap the flames as well to be blessed and as a sign of fiery prowess.

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