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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Winter Solstice

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Celebrate Solstice with Me

Yuletide celebrations of most kinds from traditions all over the Northern Hemisphere, capture my imagination. Ice-skating on frozen rivers in Quebec. Outdoor festivals in the short days of Scandinavian winter where traditions ancient and new blend together seamlessly. The famous outdoor Christmas markets in Germany where people come together for all the sun they can get in the darkening days. The gorgeous, books-and-chocolate tradition of Iceland.

 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Being True to Myself at Yule

I confess that I’m not much of a kitchen witch. I can cook, but it doesn’t thrill me to labor over a hot stove. I eat to live; I don’t live to eat, and that attitude is almost an abomination in the South. People vacation here mostly for the culinary delights, especially the barbecue, and it is no wonder. Every issue of Southern Living is loaded with food porn. Thus, when you hail from a place that practically worships food as a god, it is generally expected that you, too, shall fall in line and pay homage to the almighty cookbook. I don’t, which makes the holiday season of gathering and feasting a bit awkward. So much of it centers around gastronomy, and that’s just not my focus.

What I really want in the weeks leading up to Yule is peace and quiet. I want reflection. I want a stack of books, a cup of tea, and solitude. I want that pregnant pause before another year begins. I want to review what worked, what didn’t, what changed, and what I’m doing with my one wild and precious life, as Mary Oliver wrote. In order to cultivate this for myself, I’ve had to say NO to all the voices yelling at me to buy this, go there, do that, cook this, and please him/her/them. I don’t have the time or energy for anything unless it feels like an authentic YES.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Solitarieone
    Solitarieone says #
    Ahhh. Your post made me feel so good, Jennifer. Someone who feels exactly how I feel. I live in the South, too, and I know the imp
  • Agnes Toews-Andrews
    Agnes Toews-Andrews says #
    Beautifully said and my sentiments, exactly, Jennifer. Thank you. Bright blessings! Agnes. www.isismoonpublishing.com
  • Dianne McGehee
    Dianne McGehee says #
    This is exactly how I feel. Thank you for expressing it so well. Oh, BTW, I live in Gulf Shores, AL, so your writing is really mea
  • Jennifer Miller
    Jennifer Miller says #
    Howdy neighbor! I'm glad to know another southern witch.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Light Shines in the Darkness

I have been away for some time. And I have, unfortunately been away for a reason many of us know all too well:  Depression laid me low for several months from early spring all the way through the summer. I did not take the election of the current president of the US well, and my depression was, I believe, a manifestation of the agonies that many people went through at that time. 

I am pleased to report, however, that as the season darkens, my mood lightens, and that as I prepare for my annual winter solstice retreat, Going into the Dark, I delight in the grey and the rain and the lowering clouds of the Pacific Northwest. There is still the occasional visible sunrise or sunset, the first late and the second early, but mostly we are now in the rains of early winter. 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

I love this point between the winter solstice and new year, a time of no time, when all activity is disrupted and the normal routines of our lives either slow down or cease entirely in the face of a huge cultural and seasonal wave. Nature tells us this is a time of stillness and retreat, although sadly the modern world seldom allows complete hibernation its onward rush never the less falters for a time over the holidays. The weather too has no interest in our daily schedules and need to progress, and will disrupt the race at will. This is a season when everyone learns, even just a little, that none of us are bigger than nature. That her cycles are applied to all of us regardless of our own ideas.

For me this descent into winters darkness began with a huge day of Samhain celebrations back at the end of October, where my husband and I participated in our whole town of Glastonbury ( UK) honouring our local hunter god, Gwyn Ap Nudd who leads the Wild Hunt- a team of spirits and spectral hounds that chase or guide the dead to the underworld. My husband the artist Dan Goodfellow embodied the role of Gwyn that day in a public ceremony probably not seen here in any form for over a thousand years. The power of all that ancestral presence was immense, the dead crowded into our circle along with the residents of our town. It was very moving, but it was not an easy ceremony to be part of- a dreadful sense of hope in the air, at deaths doorway, that while the end is inevitable, it will, after that dark journey, guide us all to the light one again.  

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Pollyanna of the Apocalypse Makes Soup

On Thanksgiving I began a spell to nourish family and friends, witches, pagans, and christians, neighbors and strangers through the shortest days and longest nights of a stunningly painful year careening to its end.  On Thanksgiving I began to make soup.

 

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Posted by on in Signs & Portents
Tis the Season!

It’s that time of year once again. The merriest, cheeriest time, or so we’re led to believe. It’s the Winter Holidays: Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, Yule, New Year’s, Kwanzaa, and so many more. As always we’ve gathered our very best stories on the subject from PaganSquare as well as any other bits from around the web we thought you might enjoy.

We hope you enjoy the rest of the winter season! And have a Happy New Year’s!

—Aryós Héngwis

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Shadow Solstice

This Winter Solstice, I suggest getting in touch with your shadow side. This is the season to become introspective – and with the weather often urging us to spend more time indoors – this is the perfect time to look inward.

Meditation:

Brew some good spiced herbal tea and burn some frankincense and myrrh incense on your altar. Light red and green candles and turn off the lights. Get in a comfy spot and slow your breathing. I have found the best way to completely relax is to first contract, then very slowly release all of the muscles in your body, starting with your head and working your way down to your toes.

Sit cross-legged or lie in the corpse position on a yoga matt on the floor. Start with scrunching up your facial muscles, furrowing your brow. Then relax your face in slow motion. Do the same with your shoulders, hunching them up. Tighten your arms off the floor and make your hands into fists, then release down the length of your arms, starting with your shoulders, and unfurl each of your fingers, one by one. Repeat the exercise with your chest muscles, stomach and lower belly (these Navel and Root Chakras can store an awful lot of stress, so take extra time to release the tension here if necessary). Tighten your legs all the way down to curling your toes under, and very gradually relax these muscles as well.

To clear your mind of tedious recurring thoughts and worries, concentrate on breathing in deeply through your nose, letting your diaphragm fill and let go while taking your time. Be sure to keep the deep breaths coming from your belly, not up in your chest. Count down backwards from 20. Repeat several times, until you feel your mind clear and open.

When you feel ready, meditate on your shadow self. What are the sides of yourself that you keep hidden? Could any of them be positive that you are hiding from the rest of the world out of fear, or any other reason? Whether it is something really adventurous – like trying downhill skiing for the first time, or simply attending a community event you've been curious about – give yourself permission to explore that. Think about the ways you could nudge yourself out of your comfort zone, and discover one of your hidden shadow selves more fully. When you've settled on one that particularly speaks to you, resolve to act on it between now and the new year.

Send an image of yourself participating in and enjoying this activity out to the universe, thank the Goddesses and Gods of your choice, and when you are ready, carefully roll up to a standing position. Gather a bit of icy snow from outside and sprinkle it in the candles to put them out. Drink your tea and experience gratitude. Peace.

 

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