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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Solstice

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Gaia's Fires in the Cold of Winter

The Solstice is upon us and the chill of Winter is reaching deeply into bone. This year, in particular, is one that has tested the boundaries of cold and feeling isolated in a vast tundra of unknowing”ness”. Things change from season to season and in the never ending cycle that is life itself, Gaia remains steadfast and strong in offering up her body as our home and our refuge as Her fires burn brightly. 

Even though I know this to be true, the memory of her fires fades as the Light of the Solstice returns and Summer takes hold. But now, this is the time of remembering as the nights have grown longer and the cold seeps in, and I feel a chill that cannot be heated by physical warmth. This is a cold that holds the space of awaiting the stoking of the inner fires that resonate with that of Gaia and fuel the yearning, to once again, be held in her embrace. 

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Today, I am a Flamekeeper of Brighid

 The longest night is upon us. For three short days, we have watched the watery sun rise and set in the same place on the horizon, barely skimming the treetops at its highest point, filmed over by hazy clouds. This morning, it was impossible to tell just when the sun had risen, and indeed even though it has been up for half an hour, it's just as dark as before, with heavy overcast skies letting in only a small amount of light. I lit a candle in my lantern dedicated to Brighid just as the sun rose somewhere behind the clouds, and in Her name I lit my solstice flame. The candle's flame burns very low, just barely alight as it struggles amidst a pool of wax and an insufficient wick. There is the tiniest amount of light at the tip, with a small blue aura beneath. I look at it even as I type these words, and its struggle portends much to come.  

It has been a difficult year for many. Across the Western world, we have been rocked by unprecedented political change. There is not much hope for the future. Political leaders do not have the common good in mind, and greed runs riot. Things have not changed for the better. Across the globe, war, strife and unrest rage, with millions of innocent beings suffering.  And there is still more darkness to come.  

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

We are circling
circling together
joining hands and singing our heartsongs15241873_10211357352159540_1723198054005383828_n
this is family
this is unity
this is celebration
this is sacred...

(We are Circling)

The first candle on the Solstice Wreath is lit. The element of Air. Breath. Life. Hope. Clean air for everyone. Clear communication. Family harmony.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

clothesIt’s hot today— supposed to be almost 100 degrees (F) by late afternoon. I can’t complain too much as I have home air conditioning; I finally caved and got it two summers ago, when I realized the never-ending heat was affecting my mood, my sleep, and my ability to get anything done at home. It was a mighty battle with my environmentalist side, to be sure but in the end, my need to not be miserable and not toss and turn at night won out. I assuage that guilt by using it judiciously, and I rationalize it by noting that my home in northwest Oregon has been upgraded from USDA zone 7.25 to 9.25-9.5 in the last forty years. Global warming, friends. And it’s only getting warmer.

Yes it’s going to be a hot summer day— the epitome of a classic summer day, and it got me thinking about summer. I’m not a heat-lover, as you might have deduced above. Sunshine is okay, but anything about 75 is just too much for me. That said, I have a number of summer traditions that I look forward to every year— ways of coping with the heat and enjoying this turn of the great seasonal wheel. The seasons are important to me. They organize my world, and their energy flows through me. I wouldn’t be the same without them.

First, I change the bed linens, putting on a blue flower-patterned quilt with matching soft blue sheets and tumbling the pillows in the dryer to fluff them up and get rid of all those dust mites, which I try not to think too much about. Although if I really start thinking about dust mites, I think about the Northern Exposure episode where Maggie first heard about dust mites and is completely weirded out and has a dream and is imagining a giant human-sized dust mite in a trench coat sitting up at the diner counter next to her and musing over a cup of coffee. Very noirish.

I also change the table linens and my kitchen towels. I do that every season, trading out burnt orange leaves and pumpkins and scenes of harvest in the fall for the winter’s deep jewel tones and pictures of stags and saints and bare birch trees. Trading flowers and vines and nesting birds in the spring for birds and berries and brilliant flowers in the summer. Bath towels and mats get changed, too— usually to soft pastels in green and yellow. They brighten the small bathroom.
Salad
Of course summer means special foods, too. Bowls of melons and berries, stone fruit crostatas, corn on the cob, grilled dinners, late breakfasts, picnic lunches, and a late night lemonade as the evening finally begins to cool. A favorite this year (thank you, Amanda!) is a salad made of sliced peached, fresh mozzarella balls, and slivered fresh basil, drizzled with a fruity olive oil and seasoned lightly with salt and pepper. I could truly live on this….


In mid-spring, once the days and nights have begun to warm, I bring out my summer cotton clothes…. soft shirts and loose cropped pants in ice cream shades of pale green and sky blue and the occasional pink or lavender. The cotton takes some work; I don’t really believe in ironing, so I pull the shirts wet from the washer, dry them for precisely 13 minutes, and then hang them and shape them, pulling them with my fingers so they won’t wrinkle. Much. It’s worth the work because the cotton is cool and smooth and light and feels so good next to my skin, especially after the long pants and heavy fabrics and dark colors of winter. As for those cold weather clothes? They’re tucked away in a couple of bins, ready to emerge around Samhain.

I always celebrate the summer solstice and always include Tarot work. The turning of the solstice sun— the length of day, the vigor, the bursting forth of light and life,— is a perfect time to read the  cards. The winter solstice is a potent time, too. Why do the cards work so well on these solar holy-days? Why do they speak so easily? I don’t know, but they certainly do. I take them out of their bag, unwind their silk wrap, speak words of greeting to them, shuffle them— always seven times— cut them— again seven times, picking up the occasional card that pops from the deck as the cards move, for these pop-outs are always deeply significant— they want to be noticed— and then I pause to reflect, to imagine whatever is weighing on me, considering the insights I’d like to find, imagining the months to follow. I lay the cards out on the silk cloth, following whatever patterned spread seems best. And then, a deep breath, and a look at the images and symbols, numbers, and the age-old practice begins to speak.

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