Litha History – Celebrating the Summer Solstice

AN ANCIENT SOLAR CELEBRATION

Nearly every agricultural society has marked the high point of summer in some way, shape or form. On this date – usually around June 21 or 22 (or December 21/22 in the southern hemisphere) – the sun reaches its zenith in the sky. It is the longest day of the year, and the point at which the sun seems to just hang there without moving – in fact, the word “solstice” is from the Latin word solstitium, which literally translates to “sun stands still.” The travels of the sun were marked and recorded.

Stone circles such as Stonehengewere oriented to highlight the rising of the sun on the day of the summer solstice.

TRAVELING THE HEAVENS

Although few primary sources are available detailing the practices of the ancient Celts, some information can be found in the chronicles kept by early Christian …

To read the rest of this article please click on the following link or copy and paste it w your browser: https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-summer-solstice-holiday-litha-2562244

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The Winter Solstice – Yule Lore

The date of this sabbat varies from December 20 to December 23 depending on the year in the Gregorian calendar.  The winter solstice is celebrated at this time in the northern hemisphere but it is now time to celebrate the summer solstice (Litha) in the southern hemisphere due to the seasonal differences.

Yule, (pronounced EWE-elle) is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day. Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, the sun’s “rebirth” was celebrated with much joy. On this night, our ancestors celebrated the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth. From this day forward, the days would become longer.

Bonfires were lit in the fields, and crops and trees were “wassailed” with toasts of spiced cider.  Children were escorted from house to house with gifts of clove spiked …

To read the rest of this article please click on the following link or copy and paste it into your browser: https://wicca.com/celtic/akasha/yule.htm

Summer and Winter Solstice /Litha and Yule Coven Gathering – December 21, 2017 at 7:00 PM CT

I invite you to include your children and/or grandchildren in our circle this evening. The ritual may seem a bit childish to some of you but I am trying something new for families who wish to raise their families in the ways of The Craft.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

1 White Taper Candle

1 Small black candle

2 Candle Holders

Matches or Lighter

1 Small glass of Juice or mead or wine – this can be share with everyone attending at your home or a small glass per person

1 Bite size cookie for each person attending in your home

If you have a child that will be joining us you will need

2 Battery Operated Candle ( one should be painted or markers used to make the stick of the candle black. Do not get on the “candle flame” as this may cause to explode.

If you choose to have anyone attend our gathering you and they can decide whether regular or battery operated candles are use.

Please keep a careful with children and the elderly around the open candle flames. Remember it is always SAFETY FIRST with every magickal thing you do.

RITUAL:( Northern and Southern Hemispheres spells are to be done at the same time. The one you do depends on which hemisphere you live in.)

Lady Beltane: I walk this circle with all of you three times round so we are safe and sound.

I call upon Earth to come into the watchtower of the North to help protect those in this circle.

I call upon Air to come into the watchtower of the East to help protect those in this circle.

I call in Fire to come into the watchtower of the South to help protect those in this circle.

I call upon Water to come into the watchtower of the East to help protect those in this circle.

Everyone: So more it be! Thank say a greeting than please say your first name and where you are from. Please ask children to only put one initial in as a name. (RememberSafety first!!)

Northern Hemisphere EVERYONE : Now light or turn on your  black candle. Repeat this spell three times. When done type in “So more it be.”

As the Oak Kings brings the longest night his battle lost to the Holly King. We bid you safe slumber with our love and thankfulness until we meet again.

We will meditate for 2 minutes to honor the Oak King.

Now light or turn on your white candle while repeating this spell 3 times. Type in “So Mote It Be” when done.

As we light our candles we bring light back into the world. We welcome the birth of the Holly King and the festive joy that he brings.

EVERYONE will meditate for 2 minutes on what you want to accomplish in this the waxing part of the year and to welcome the Holly King

Southern Hemisphere EVERYONE : Light your white candle while repeating this spell three times. When done type in “So more it be”

As the Holly King loses his battle and the Oak King is born. We wish the Holly King a restful slumber with our love and thanks for all he has helped us with.

We will meditate for 2 minutes to honor the Holly King.

Now light your black candle while repeating this spell thtee times. When you are done type in “So mote it be”

We welcome the Oak King as the days get shorter. We ask for your help in preparing for the cold months.l

We will meditate for 2 minutes to honor the Oak King.

LADY BELTANE : I bring to each of you a blessing of peace, love, good will, and light on behalf of the Triple Goddess and her consort the Holly King. From myself I wish you positive energy, good cheer and happiness.

EVERYONE : Partake of your beverage and cookie and if you would like to say anything to the rest of the coven you are welcome to do so now.

LADY BELTANE: I dismiss Water from the watchtower of the West with our living thanks for your help and protection.

I dismiss Fire from the watchtower of the South with our living thanks for your help and protection.I

I dismiss Air from the watchtower of the North with our living thanks for your help and protection.

I dismiss Earth from the watchtower of the North with our living thanks for your help and protection.

The circle is open but never broken. Go in peace and love dear ones.

 

Southern Hemisphere Beltane October 31st

Most Pagans coincide with the seasons.  While October the 31st is Samhain in the Northern hemisphere, it is time to celebrate the coming of summer and the Great Rite here in the Southern Hemisphere. Feasting and celebrations give opening to this wonderful festival of fertility. Our spring carnival (Melbourne Cup) held on the first Tuesday of November showcases some of the most beautiful rose gardens that Melbourne has to offer.

Below is a link of the Pagan Festivals and their locations held Australia wide for those interested.

http://wildhunt.org/2015/11/column-australias-pagan-festivals.html

 

Another link below identifies the Southern Hemisphere dates.

http://spheresoflight.com.au/index.php?page=sabbat

 

In the beginning it all seemed a little confusing, however as I become more and more in tune to the rhythms of Mother Nature I allowed myself to listen while she spoke to me. Now I  wait and listen for her call. She will let me know when and where. There is only one rule and that is her rule, as without this rhythm that she has gifted us, all would cease to exist.

Blessings to the Earth Mother, The Great Goddess of Fertility and the union that she has with The God, as without either we would be nothing.

Many Blessings to all

Hypatia

Let’s honor our ancestors.

The Festival of the Dead or Feast of Ancestors is held in many cultures around the world. For centuries people globally have been honoring their ancestors. The reverent devotion expressed by their deceased forbears through a culturally prescribed set of rules and observances.  From Japan, China, Korea to Nepal, Peru, Mexico, India, Scotland, Ireland and Cambodia are to name just a few.

The ancient Greeks, Romans, Persians, the Pacific and Tongan Islands, Africa and Native America till this day continue to recognize the honoring. These religious traditions have remained steadfast and are usually practiced among cultures who have strong ancestral reverence.

I take this time of the year to remember all the people in my life gone. I build a little remembrance alter, give them an offering, light a candle and allow myself to slip between the veil.

Happy all Hallows Eve.

A link with an insight on how people around the world celebrate their ancestors.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/festivals-dead-around-world-180953160/

Hypatia

Hypatia Of Alexandrea

For a Water Cremation Ask a Mortician – Article from the Washington Post

This article may seem out of place on this website but I thought it a good one to share as we approach Sanhaim. If it is offensive to any reader I appologize. I feel it is important to consider and know other cultures biews on how to honor those who cross the veil into the Summerlands.

Article written by Tara Bahrampour in the October 20, 2017 issue of the Washington Post

In some Indonesian villages, families live with and care for the bodies of their loved ones for months or years after they die. In Japan, relatives of the deceased use chopsticks to remove large bone fragments from cremated ashes. In Mexico, mummified babies and children were once revered, and people would hold parties and games for them.

If those practices sound alarming, Caitlin Doughty would like to remind you that injecting a body with formaldehyde might seem appalling to people in some parts of the world. Recently, she crisscrossed the globe looking at how diverse, and even healing, death can be. Her new book, “From Here To Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death,” published this month, underlines how subjective our views on death are.

Doughty, 33, is a mortician in Los Angeles but, as she says, “that doesn’t really describe it.” She is an activist for a view of death that offers a lot more choices than Americans have traditionally been given. Doughty believes that what happens after a person dies can be much more personal, transcendent, and comforting than the mainstream funeral industry would have us believe.

By exploring death rituals around the world, her goal was to open the door to new possibilities.

“Even things that we find strange or repulsive or disrespectful can actually be quite beautiful when you break them down and tell the stories,” she said. “I was hoping to prove that change is possible and that even when I’m standing there with a son brushing off his father’s mummified corpse or I’m seeing a body being pulled off a compost pile, there’s so much respect there and it’s such a human process. You could be surrounded by mummies and still feel completely comfortable … because there are children running around and playing and laughing and it just feels like a family has gotten together to be happy and perform this ritual.”

Doughty, who has written a memoir about her profession and also hosts “Ask A Mortician,” a series of video shorts that discuss such phenomena as coffin births (when built-up gases cause a recently deceased pregnant woman’s body to expel a fetus) and what happened to the bodies of those who died on the Titanic. Some of the videos boast hundreds of thousands of views, perhaps testimony to a transformation Doughty says is underway as more Americans consider alternatives to the standard funeral package.

“People are going to funeral homes and going to ‘traditional’ services and they’re more and more not satisfied with them,” she said. “They see Mom and she looks kind of waxen, and they’re like, ‘This isn’t for me. There must be another way.’ ”

This attitude reflects a generational change, she said. “The people who are really dying right now are in their 80s and 90s, the Greatest Generation. I think they’re going to be the last generation to embrace the embalming the body, putting it on display, the wake, the Catholic ritual. Baby boomers, Generation X and Millennials are more open to these new ideas, to these green ideas, to these participatory ideas.”

The new ideas include allowing loved ones to attend a cremation, or doing a water cremation, in which the body is dissolved in very hot water and lye (avoiding the use of natural gas and the release of toxins).

Doughty got interested in death as a child after witnessing another child suffer a fall that was likely fatal. The experience made her afraid of death; she confronted her fear by entering a field in which death is commonplace.

But once there, she felt something was missing.

“It was always my instinct that we weren’t doing enough for our families, that we weren’t giving them enough emotional space to really grieve and have feelings,” she said. “Nothing makes me more angry when I hear about someone asking a funeral director, ‘Do you think that I could come in and fix Mom’s hair and fix Mom’s lipstick, because she liked to wear it this way,’ and they say no. It’s like their self-esteem is so wrapped up in them being the professionals.”

By contrast, many other cultures encourage intimate physical contact with the deceased, resulting in a warmer, less forbidding experience. “When you’re in Mexico the whole cemetery is just glowing as they interact with the memories of the dead,” she said.

For the book she also traveled within the United States to visit people who are promoting alternative methods, such as a North Carolina group that experiments with composting human remains and a mobile funeral pyre operation in Colorado.

To Doughty there’s no right or wrong way to do things, including the standard American way, but she would like people to have access to a wider range of choices — such as burying a loved one’s remains on private property, or setting them on a mountaintop for the vultures.

“These things aren’t available and you should be angry about that, because the American funeral system has a lobby,” she said. “There are regulations in place that make it incredibly hard to enter the funeral industry or have any new type of disposition become available.”

Recently, the cremation rate surpassed the burial rate in the United States for the first time. Still, embalming, which is particularly lucrative for funeral homes, is more common here than in any other country, and it is often done even when a body is going to be cremated, Doughty said. Twenty-nine states require funeral homes to be ready to embalm, meaning that even if a mortician serves only clients who don’t embalm, such as Muslims, “the state is going to say, ‘You need to go to mortician school and set up a $100,000 embalming room.’ ”

For herself, Doughty wants to be buried close to the surface of the earth, “in that really rich topsoil full of microbes and fungi. I want my body to decompose. As women we’re taught to be contained and clean and not have control over our bodies. … There’s something about the messiness of the process — the oozing and stretching out into the dirt and the earth, and that my organic matter is merging with other organic matter, that is what’s really attractive to me and really brings me comfort.”