One of the funnest parts of being in a community is celebrating with friends and family. This week for Watery Wednesday we take a look at festivals, gatherings, and all the other ways communities come together to celebrate something. Read about what it's like to celebrate the Solstice at Stonehenge, how to find a sober space at Pagan festivals, and the many ways that Pagans are coming together on Tumblr. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
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It's the last day of 2014, and today we look back at the a few of the most popularPaganNewsBeagle posts of the year (the Beagle started at the end of June, so this only covers the last six months of the year.) Margot Adler; Sumerian hymn, Stonehenge secrets uncovered; a deadly garden; Samhain -- how do you say it?; Silver Ravenwolf; ancient Greek mosaics.
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......
Today's Faithful Friday post concentrates on stories of the upcoming Winter Solstice (with one celebrating the corresponding Summer Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere). Stonehenge for Solstice?; Manchester (UK) streets salute the winter sun; Solstice at Native American site Cahokia Mounds; Solstice parade in NYC; Christmas in New Zealand.
Want to go to Stonehenge to celebrate Winter Solstice? English Heritage has the official scoop on what, when, and where. (The "why" you'll need to come up with yourself.)...
Today's Airy Monday edition is full of fascinating science: what's beneath Stonehenge; a "clear glass" solar collector (imagine powering your cellphone with one!); "greening" a German power plant (literally); an analysis of why more women die from Ebola (and what it means to defeating the epidemic) and why the world smells different after a rainstorm. Enjoy your week!
Stonehenge will never be the same -- or, so says this report from Smithsonian, detailing the (literal) groundbreaking work of a team of scientists who have discovered its underground secrets....