Flashback 2008 – Winter Solstice

Yule

At Yule, the Oak King who rules during the waxing year conquers the Holly King in order to reign until Midsummer, when the two meet again. It is believed that the Holly King has evolved into the modern day Santa Claus, wearing red, with holly in his hat. His eight deer represent the Pagan sabbats, as animals as regarded scared by the Celtic gods. Although the Oak King and the Holly King are opposing forces at Litha and Yule, they com[lement each other. In ancient times, the Sun’s return after a long period of scarcity and darkness affirmed survival and resilience in the winter season.

A few days before Yule, decorate your home with oranges studded with cloves to release a warm, yuletide aroma. It’s time to feast, exchange gifts, and thank the Goddess for the return of abundance and light. At your Yule gathering, cozy up up to your favorite people and enjoy some delicious mulled red wine infused with cinnamon sticks and whole cloves. Serve warm in chalices, with a sprinkling of nutmeg, to toast the rebirth of the Oak King. When you take a sip from the chalice, hold hands with your guests and shout, “Wassail” – the old English word for “your health”

Copyright Emely Flak – Llewellyn Witches’ Datebook 2008 Pg 129

Flashback 2008 – Summer Solstice

When the Sun is at its peak in the sky at our Summer Solstice, Earth is as close as possible to the Sun. Litha is the ancient Germanic name for summer and the time to celebrate its warmth. This important time in the solar year is when the Oak King, God of Light, hands over the reign to the Holly King, God of Darkness, who rules from this point forward for the other half of the year.

At this time when light will begin to wane, decorate your altar and house with sunflowers. Place honey on your altar to represent life’s sweetness. Light the same gold candle for a short time for four to five nights over this period. On the last evening, after the candle is safely snuffed, wrap what is left of it in a yellow ribbon or gold colored cloth and keep it somewhere safe for protection and good fortune until next Litha.

Make a sunflower solstice cake decorated with yellow icing and sunflower seeds to share with your friends over a glass of mead. Enjoy your time outdoors, allowing the Sun to warm your body as you relax, walk, or read. Bid farewell to the Sun god for a few months and be assured he will return.

Copyright Emely Flak – Llewellyn Witches’ Datebook 2008 Pg 79

Grounding Massage Oil

The Cosmic Cookie Trail led me to this recipe for making a Grounding Massage Oil.  I may play around with it to make it with herbs instead of essential oils.  A project for another day!

 

Hemp and Roots Grounding Massage Oil

©09282016 Wolf Woman Ways

Dallying With Plants – A Warning

As I grow older I have become more and more fascinated with plant life. There are so many that it would take more then one lifetime for me to memorize them all. To start my magickal cupboard I want to make sure I know everything about each part of the plant so I’m studying the leaf, stalk, root and the buds or flower petals of each. This started because that beautiful flower growing around my property could possibly kill me.

As you see in the picture, I have a magickal Fairy Hat – Foxglove growing naturally back behind my property. It’s sacred to the Fae and should be No problem, right? Wrong! After viewing a video about this beautiful plant, I found out that everything about this plant is poisonous, from the root to the to the stalk, leaves and petals. Even the residue from the leaf can kill you.

I’m not saying all of this to scare anyone away from using herbs and flowers in their magickal workings, I actually encourage it. The energy and intent of processing and using the spirit of the plant makes your spells that much more powerful. Just take the time to do research on any herb, flower or wood you plan on using. Don’t take someone’s word that it’s fine, unless you absolutely trust them to give you sound advice.  Is the leaf poisonous, but the root is not? Is the root poisonous, but the petal is safe? A little Botany and Herbology research on each plant will also give you grater confidence and will add your own magickal energy mixed with the plant’s spiritual energy, to make your Ritual or spell more powerful.

Brightest Blessings and Safe Exploring Sisters and Brothers,

SunRay Sorceress

History of Wicca and Paganism

Discussion of animism, early polytheism, duality in gods and goddesses, the burning times and witch hunts in Europe, Gerald Gardner and the introduction of Wicca, and several authors well-known in modern Paganism.

1 SUBCATEGORIES IN HISTORY OF WICCA AND PAGANISM

To read the rest of this article by Patti Wigington please click on this link: http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/wiccanpaganhistory/

Happy Summer Solstice

By The Wild Hunt on Jun 18, 2016 08:04 pm

TWH – For many people around the world, this weekend marks the celebration of theSummer Solstice, also known as Midsummer or Litha. It is at this time that the Northern Hemisphere is tilted closest to the sun. The astrological date for this year’s solstice is June 20, 22:34 UTC (or 6:34 pm ET).

In honor of the abundance of daylight and sunshine, communities have long used bonfires, music, dancing, and outdoor festivals as traditional features of both religious rituals and secular celebrations. In some modern Pagan practices, it is believed that this holiday represents the highest ascendancy of masculine divinity.

At the same time, our friends in the Southern Hemisphere are experiencing the exact opposite. They are coming together to celebrate and mark the winter solstice – a time of darkness, candles and inward reflection.

Sunflower fields near Fargo, SD. Photo by Hephaestos.

Sunflower fields near Fargo, SD. [Photo Credit: Hephaestos]

This 2016 solstice event is particularly special. It will be the first time in 70 years that the full moon is happening at the same time. Slooh.com will be broadcasting the rare event live.

There are several international secular holidays that correspond to the midsummer holiday. In 1982, Make Music Day, held annually June 21, was established in France and has since spread to become a global solstice celebration of sound. And, on that same day, others will be honoring the United Nations’ official International Yoga Day, while still others will be taking to the warm summer mountain trails to celebrate Naked Hiking Day.

Additionally, the summer solstice typically falls on or around the celebration of Father’s Day in the United States. The history of this secular holiday does not have the same radical roots as its counterpart Mother’s Day. In 1908, a Washington state woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, who had been raised by a widower, wanted male parents to be honored in a similar way as mothers. In 1910, Dodd was able to convince the state to establish an official Father’s Day. The idea spread very slowly, meeting much resistance. Many felt that the holiday was silly, and others protested against the establishment of yet another commercially-focused celebration. However, after being given a boost by World War II nationalism, the unofficial Father’s Day was widely embraced by people around the country. Then, in 1972, Richard Nixon signed the proclamation that made the day an official U.S. holiday.

June also marks gay pride month — officially proclaimed this year as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month — which has grown in popularity over the past few decades. Events are specifically held in June to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, which happened in New York City on June 28, 1969.

Similarly, in the social spectrum, June 19 marks the formal end of slavery in the U.S. and is often called Juneteenth or Emancipation Day. While it is not widely celebrated, the holiday is reportedly becoming more popular and gaining ground in cities and local venues. The day is currently marked as an official state holiday in Texas.

While those celebrations mentioned above are all examples of secular-based traditions, there are just as many religious-based holidays that occur at this time, many of which are honored by modern Pagans, Heathens and polytheists.  As already noted, there is the celebration of Litha or Midsummer, or conversely Yule and Midwinter.

The Fires of St. John festival, a Christian-holiday, is also held at this time in many countries and is closely associated with the older midsummer solstice’s traditions, including bonfires and feasts. Similar celebrations are found in many European countries, often known by different names.

In Vodun, Lucumi and other African diaspora religions, there are a number of feast days celebrated around this time, including the Feast of Ochossi and Feast of Eleggua.

In modern Hellenic reconstruction, the festival of Promethea occurs on June 21. One of the traditions is to eat fennel, which this is what Prometheos used to smuggle fire to man.

Solstice Fire at Pagan Spirit Gathering

Solstice Fire at Pagan Spirit Gathering [Courtesy Photo]

Here are some thoughts on the season:

“Litha or Midsummer, a time of bonfires, mugwort, mythical beings, nights and days of mischief and love. The veil is thin. The Celts, the Norse and the Slavs believed that there were three ‘spirit nights’ in the year when magic ran amok and the Otherworld was near. The first was Halloween, the second was May Eve and the third was Midsummer Eve. All sorts of enchantments are in the air now and Spirits and Fairies abound.” –  Danette Wilson, “Outside the Circle: The Bad Fairies of Litha

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“As we honor the solstice we may reach out to the sun, but while doing so we will also reach out to those that have been lost. We will grieve for them and we will grieve with them. Hopefully the energy we raise in their remembrance will inspire us to help bring about the change that will make for better tomorrows. This Midsummer will be a somber sabbat, but that’s what it should be.” – Jason Mankey, “A Somber Solstice

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“There’s a powerful juxtaposing of realities going on right now: one is the world as we know it, with an ethos of fear and scarcity, and an ugly underbelly that’s so evident in the horrific news of recent weeks; and the other is a life-centered ethos revealed in Nature’s emerging summertime landscape of stunning beauty and overflowing abundance.” – Karen Clark, “Three Lessons from the Summer Solstice

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“If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear.” –  Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

*    *    *

However you choose to celebrate the season, a very happy solstice to everyone!

The strawberry full moon makes this summer solstice a super rare thing

This year the heavenly bodies seem to have conspired to sweeten the pot with an event we haven’t seen in 70 years.

The summer solstice isn’t a rare event, a full moon even less so. But they’re both special, and when they just so happen to occur on the same day, as they will this year? That’s once-in-a-lifetime special.

The 2016 North American summer solstice happens on June 20, 2016 at 6:34 PM EDT. That’s the very moment when, essentially, the sun stands still at its northernmost point as seen from Earth. Its zenith doesn’t yearn north or south, but waits patiently at the Tropic of Cancer before switching directions and heading south again. This is where the word solstice comes from; the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop).

For the rest of this article please click on this link http://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/strawberry-full-moon-makes-summer-solstice-super-rare-thing.html

Southern Hemisphere Sabbat Dates

Southern Hemisphere Sabbat Dates

All times are Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) – add 1 hour for Daylight Savings Time when applicable.

Traditional Dates ‘Exact’ Times & Dates **
Lughnasadh/Lammas February 2 February 4, 2016 7:30PM
Mabon (Autumnal Equinox) March 21 March 20, 2016 2:30PM
Samhain April 30/May 1 May 5, 2016 11:34AM
Yule (Winter Solstice) June 21 June 21, 2016 8:34AM
Imbolc August 1 August 7, 2016 11:54AM
Ostara (Vernal/Spring Equinox) September 21 September 23, 2016 12:21AM
Beltaine October 31 November 8, 2016 9:42AM
Litha (Summer Solstice) December 21 December 21, 2016 8:44PM
** Exact dates and times are from http://www.archaeoastronomy.com/2016.html – Equinox and Solstice data from the U.S. Naval Observatory, Washington DC. Cross-Quarter moments are interpolated as the midway points between the Solstices and Equinoxes measured in degrees along the ecliptic. Former NASA scientist Rollin Gillespie uses this spatial method rather than simply splitting in half the time interval between a Solstice and an Equinox.)

For more information please click on this link http://spheresoflight.com.au/index.php?page=sabbat