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Winter in Britain – it’s dark and it’s wet. Not very cold, compared to what I grew up with in Canada, but the damp just seaps into your bones. It’s a different kind of winter, one that I still sometimes have trouble getting to grips with.
The darkness is the first thing that my body has difficulty coping with. If it’s dark outside, my body wants to sleep. I’m very much a daytime person. Here in the UK, at a latitude of 52.0594° N (where I grew up it was 45.9500° N) it gets dark a lot earlier than what I’m used to, and it’s not light outside much before 8.30 or 9am in the darkest part of the year. Hibernation mode kicks in. I struggle to get out of bed even though I’ve had a great sleep if it’s still dim out. Come summer, and it’s light at 3.30am, I can get out and greet the sunrise no problem.
The darkness has a real thick, heavy quality to it sometimes, with overcast skies and damp air all around you, sounds hushed in the shadows. Like a blanket, it can completely cover you and, if you like your head above the covers, can seem stifling. I’ve had to learn to work with the darkness, to enjoy it, to see its beauty.
Wishing you all a Happy Samhain in the Northern Hemisphere; and Happy Beltane in the Southern Hemisphere!
Samhain article at my new blog, which I would post here except that it isn't Canadian per se: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/betweentheshadows/2014/10/samhain-song-for-the-dead/.
I'm currently getting into the Yule spirit by reading a new Llewellyn title. The book The Old Magic of Christmas by Linda Raedisch is a collection of Christmas traditions that many of us may not be familiar with. Creatures such as elves, gnomes, and werewolves roam the wintry landscape and leap off the pages. Goddesses and witches also make appearances, which has helped me to look at the Christmas season in a new light.
Yes, this book focuses on historical Christmas traditions, but Raedisch posits that many of these traditions and tales have their origin in Europe's pre-Christian past. I'm inclined to agree. This book really does explore the "old magic" of the season. For instance, there is an interesting tension between the feminine aspect of death and birth in many of the folk customs that are described. Much like the traditional Halloween, there is the juxtaposition of the crone witch with the young woman who tries her hand at fortunetelling for fertility, luck, and husband-seeking.
For this Halloween blog entry of mine, I would like to give our kind attention to a truly fascinating interview subject, Stonie Rivera. Rivera has been a a local legend on the Milwaukee music scene for some time. Her punk bands Dummy Club and the Psycho Bunnies were well-loved and the former performed memorably at last year's, "Lest We Forget" concert at Turner Hall Ballroom, which also highlighted the talents of Die Kreuzen. The following are some of Rivera's thoughts on music, the arts, and running an underground art gallery which also houses a pleasant collection of occult supplies. And oh yes, she is a practicing witch.
Let my worship be within the heart that rejoices, for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. Therefore, let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.
I love the Charge. Who doesn’t love the Charge? Don’t you just want to roll around naked on it? I do. Its words read like goose down on the soul. Acts of Love and Pleasure are rituals of the Goddess??? Such an awesome faith. Beauty? Strength? Honor? Humility? GIMME ALL OF THE ABOVE WITH AN EXTRA SIDE OF EARTH WORSHIP! A few lines from the Charge re-set me when I’m tired and inspire me when feeling pretty uninspired. When I recite it, I feel my own soul’s desires streaming through the beloved words. Dear Goddess, I’m thinking, please let me exemplify those tenets of my faith like all those enlightened Witches I see in Facebook memes: The peaceful, smiling ones in the sunlit or moonlit groves of trees, sun or moonlight streaming onto their radiant/natural face and badass corseted, bell-sleeved dresses. Like You said, I’m sure I could find it within me...if I seek super hard…...