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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Solstice
Adding to the Minoan Sacred Calendar: The Winter Serpent Days

This is a busy and festive time of year for the Tribe. Over the past month or so we've observed Therasia's Labor, which led up to Winter Solstice and was quickly followed by the Blessing of the Waters.

Because the Blessing of the Waters takes place on the first Full Moon following Winter Solstice, the number of days between the two events varies from year to year. The lunar cycle slithers around the steady points in the solar calendar, the two intertwining in a dance that stretches out into a longer cycle: eight solar years equal 99 full lunations.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Blessed Day of Rebirth

Solstice blessings to you!

Today is the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere. In the Tribe, this is a day of two layers of precious mythos, both centered around the concept of birth.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Mistletoe: What’s Love Got to do With It?

Our holiday decorations often include a sprig of mistletoe hung in a doorway or in the middle of a room. We may put it in place and think of the elaborate cutting ceremonies of the Druids as noted by Pliny or associate it with the Norse god Balder who was slain with it but later resurrected. Today, kissing under the mistletoe is a token of love, a wish for peace, and a bid for good luck.
        In the past in England, it was believed that sweethearts who kissed under a sprig of it were destined to marry but only if the mistletoe was burned on Twelfth Night (January 6th). A woman who was single and not kissed under it would forever be a spinster. But where did the smooching come from?
        It harkens back to the Roman Saturnalia, which generally took place from December 17th to the 23rd. Held in honor of the god Saturn, it was a celebration of the end of agricultural work for the year and the winter solstice. It was a time to kick back and enjoy revelries and excesses. There was a suspension of rules and anything goes promiscuity. Mistletoe was a prominent part of the decorations and an import symbol.
        Mistletoe was revered because of its liminal nature but even more so when it grew on an oak tree, an uncommon occurrence. Oak trees were associated with the most powerful gods in many cultures and mistletoe berries were believed to confer the power of fertility because they held the male/life force essence of the god. More than love and happiness, mistletoe symbolized the desire for fertility and not just for husband and wife. Sprigs were hung in cattle sheds, too, although I doubt that Elsie the cow received a smooch.
        As with other things, Roman customs were taken to Britain. Christmas in England was close enough to coincide with Saturnalia. The Christmas revelries went on for twelve days and was a celebration of the end of the annual agricultural work. The medieval Church put a damper on Pagan associations but people still decorated their homes with the traditional greenery, which of course, included mistletoe. Eventually, they all found their way into churches, too.
        By the eighteenth century, kissing boughs were adorning kitchens. In the nineteenth century there was a rule that a man could kiss any number of women under the mistletoe but he had to pick a berry from the bough for each kiss until there are no more left and the kissing was supposed to end.
        While we may not have mistletoe rules and the beliefs and reasons for hanging it may have changed, I think it’s nice to know that we are carrying on a very ancient Yuletide tradition. And that’s what love’s got to do with it. We’re using an ancient symbol that has been associated with love for centuries to mark our own celebrations and revelries. So, raise a glass under the kissing bough and give a toast to Yule past, present, and future.

 

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Blessings From the East: Prayer to Honor the Summer

For summer festivals such as the Summer Solstice on June 21, you should honor the deities who gift us with such plenty. Light yellow and green candles at your altar and on the feast table and offer this appeal:

 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Winter Solstice

The longest night gifts us with time to enter the darkness, fully. We hold our breaths with nature, where life is suspended, waiting in extremis. The stillness behind action gathers as we empty and trust in our renewal. What will you give/lose to the night? 

Death is a metaphor; learn to keep dying. The old symbol systems are dissolving at our feet. We need a new language to speak to the crisis of denial and despair. Imagine new models of love, work, health, education, security. Claim your inner resources, and fasten your seat belt. Like Copernicus, we're engaged in a cultural rescue attempt—we're not the center, but one species among millions. Like Cassandra, we shake others awake from the slumber overtaking them. We've got to see through the assumptions and fears, awaken to the warning signs of a world slipping away—in fire, in water, in oru human collusion, in all directions. Our stories close their circle to enfold us. All the old laws are thrown into the cauldron of Solstice, as we embrace the ground of what death doesn't touch. 

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I know how much my fellow heathens and pagans get annoyed about things being called Christmas that are actually pagan. The upcoming conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on December 21st 2020 will make the two planets appear as a single bright star to the naked eye, or like a double planet. Since it will be visible just after sundown it will be easier to view than some other sky occurrences, so people are excited about it. I've seen posts on the net saying the media calling it a Christmas star is wrong because it will be on the solstice, not on the 25th. The date of Christmas in the Bible is in lambing season, but the date established for the holiday by the Church as December 25 was supposed to be the solstice.

Christmas was originally established over the date of Roman Saturnalia, or on Sol Invictus (the Romans had multiple gods with overlapping areas of influence just like we heathens), which was on the winter soltice in accordance with the Julian calendar in use at the time. The winter solstice precesses, though. The Gregorian calendar reform re-established the drifted date of Christmas with the solstice. Eastern Orthodox who still follow the Julian calendar have their Christmas on January 7 according to our calendar, the Gregorian. Since the Gregorian calendar reform, the solstice precessed again. So the dates of Christmas and the solstice are off again, but they aren't supposed to be. Christmas was supposed to be on the solstice, so calling it a Christmas Star is not really wrong.
 
However, it is not going to look like a cross in the sky. It's going to look like a double planet, or if you have a telescope, like two planets close to each other.
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Summer Solstice Rituals and Traditions

Summer Solstice: Celebration of Light

June 20 is Summer Solstice! The Sun moves into the sign of Cancer at 2:44 pm PDT

The seasonal cycle of the year is created by Earth’s annual orbit around the sun. Solstices are the extreme points as Earth’s axis tilts toward or away from the sun—when days and nights are longest or shortest. On equinoxes, days and nights are equal in all parts of the world. Four cross-quarter days roughly mark the midpoints in between solstices and equinoxes. We commemorate these natural turning points in the Earth’s cycle. Seasonal celebrations of most cultures cluster around these same natural turning points.

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I Opened It © A. Levemark


Summit of full summer.

Feel the sun within you shining with abundance, as we blink in the light of that glowing promise, resurrection from death. The triumph of light peaks, slides slowly to dissolve. This is the tipping point for everything: democracy, misogyny, racism, climate, freedom. All are on a cliff edge. We've reached the neon-bright entrance to The Great Turning.

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