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

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
New Moon in Sagittarius

Last night, as I was preparing the altar for New Moon circle, there was a fretful energy in the house as my oldest kid retired to her room to study for her finals. It’s her first year in high school, and the sheer amount of material she'll be tested on next week, feels overwhelming to her. She took a break to go to her sister's holiday choir concert, and to hand me her wish list. But until her last paper is turned in next Thursday, the happy holiday season is deferred.

The altar is dressed in royal blue silk, with a deep blue candle and cobalt glass stars to symbolize the night sky, and also to honor Jupiter, ruler of Sagittarius, the generous God. As I listen to my kid groan over my computer, I am reminded that Sagittarius is a sign of learning and teaching, of professorship and the love of knowledge. I know that the joy of the upcoming Winter holiday season has so much to do with that Salutatorian optimism and joviality. I also know that that last push of school work, the ratcheting up of pressure to get all the work in on time, is not limited to my kids.

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My continued exploration of homeliness*  must also embrace this season of lengthening dark. At Mother Grove Goddess Temple this morning, the priestess led us in an exploration of this dark time and the importance of sitting in it, being in it, learning from it. In the guided meditation, I saw the remaining days in this intense agricultural year stretch before me like a long hallway. Or better—one of those collapsible spy-glasses that grew more dense as it stretched toward the Solstice.

 In my spiritual tradition, we cheerfully refer to the months after the Green (Summer) Solstice as the Time of the Long Dying, and particular attention is paid to the few weeks after Samhain, the final Harvest. These are the weeks, the hours of the deepening dark, when messages from the unseen people are lessening in frequency but more potent, more desperate for a hearing.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Music of the Longest Night

To many, winter is a time when the grief of loss strikes hardest.  The symbolic death of spring and summer combined with the cold have us turning inward, some seeking a spiritual hibernation.

For me, this grief has been compounded by my mother's December birthday.  This year she would be turning sixty.  One of my friends grieves both her parents today, while another sits in a hospital waiting for her mother's unconscious body to relinquish its hold after a stroke.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Leaving a Legacy: Winter Solstice

 

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. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The World's Oldest Solstice Ritual

Remember when New Age discovered the Winter Solstice? Christmas Lite, without the baggage.

As a pagan, I grew to resent this. Not that the sunsteads—solstices—belong to us; they're a common inheritance. But don't be telling me about solstices, now. Some of us have been keeping them since, oh, the end of the last Ice Age or so, thank you very much. If not longer.

Somewhere around the third self-satisfied little sermon, I'd had enough, and started turning people into toads.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Cowan Yule

The single best defense against Christmas is a good Yule.

I sometimes worry that I live too much in the pagan ghetto. Most of my friends are pagan; I live in a pagan home, immersed from day to day and from season to season in pagan culture. I know that there's a wide world of non-pagans out there. But after all these years, I also know who my people are, where my home is, and what my work is.

Midwinter's Eve our job is to bring the Sun up out of the Dark. We sing the Sun down, we light the fire; we dance, we sing, we keep the fire-watch through all the long night. 7:47 a. m. Midwinter's Day will find us out on the east pedestrian walkway of the Washington Avenue bridge, singing the Sun up out of the Mississippi Valley. December is on average the cloudiest month of our Minnesota year, when Earth and Sun hide themselves in their mysteries. But in those years when we actually see the Sun rise out of the river valley, with light and color flooding back into the world, well...that's Yule in little, and the joy of it continues for a full thirtnight of days, a year in miniature. Because we are who we are, we're part of something much larger than ourselves, something that would happen whether we were here to see it or not. It's something that we're privileged to take part in, and so long as we continue to do so, our people will continue to be. It's a joyous responsibility.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks Cristina. Here in the US at least, Christmas is so massive that it can sometimes seem like a force of nature. I think it's
  • Cristina Potmesil
    Cristina Potmesil says #
    This comment, "Christmas is a human construct. If no one celebrated it, Christmas would cease to exist." is amazing. Thank you.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

In the weeks leading up to December 24, my 8-year-old kept asking the same question. She asked it in as many different ways as she could, trying to tease out the information she was convinced I was withholding. She asked it after her choir's holiday concert, she asked it when she and her sister came shopping with me for gifts. She asked it as we made cookies, as we planned menus, even as we drove up to Boulder for a children's Solstice celebration. However she put it, the question remained the same:

“Mom, is Santa Claus real?”

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