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SageWoman Blogs

At SageWoman magazine, we believe that you are the Goddess, and we're devoted to celebrating your journey. We invite you to subscribe today and join our circle...

Here in the SageWoman section of PaganSquare, our bloggers represent the multi-faceted expressions of the Goddess, feminist, and women's spirituality movements.

Solstice Comes But Once A Year, Now It’s Here! by Carol P. Christ

Actually it comes twice, once in midsummer, the longest day of the year, and once in midwinter, the longest night.  Winter Solstice is also known as the first day of winter.

For those of us attuned to the cycles of Mother Earth, Winter Solstice is a time to celebrate the dark and the transformations that come in the dark. Many of the customs associated with Christmas and Hannukah, including candles, Yule logs, and trees decorated with lights were originally associated with Winter Solstice.  The extra pounds put on during winter feasting were insulation against the cold winter nights.

Those who fear that many of the customs of the Christmas season might be pagan are right.  As we learn again to honor our place within the cycles of birth, death, and regeneration, we return these customs to their roots in the circle of life.

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Wonderful post - I'm looking forward to celebrating the return of the dark at Summer Solstice!

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“Only in the deepest silence of night
the stars smile and whisper among themselves.”
–Rabindranath Tagore

(quoted in Dear Heart, Come Home page 52)

As I prepare our family's winter solstice ritual for this Sunday evening, I feel moved to share our family's tradition and ritual process. I'd love to hear from readers in the comments with their own family traditions! We have celebrated the winter solstice together as our primary family ritual for the last eleven years. There are several elements that remain constant from year to year and other elements that vary based on new ideas or projects that we decide to incorporate for that year.

The following is a brief explanation of three of our core traditions, which is then followed by a full ritual outline for this year's ceremony! Make sure to read through to the end of my ritual outline for links to even more posts with further ideas and information.

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a1sx2_Thumbnail1_Heather-Taylor-Water-Blessing-small.jpgWinter has swallowed us, taken us deep...

In the chill of ice, trees stand stark as bones, the land is cold iron, frost slows all movement so Gaia is still as death. Only the brilliant stars in the black sky remember the rhythms of earth as they wheel through the night. All is connected. As stars bloom and die, as flowers fall to seed, as bone becomes nurturing ground, the wheeling universe lives in its Beauty and pattern. We are stardust, born of the Great Goddess, and in her is all hope. Even in the most severe terror of darkness and cold that Kali brings, the Spark flares again to ignite the perfect miracle of life. When all seems lost, the mystery of the universe begins to lift us into light and renewal once more. Women will tend the sacred fires until the voice of Demeter is heard in the Halls of Dis, and Persephone returns, a Queen filled with the knowledge of great mysteries. The pomegranate seed will become again a tree of life.

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Avatar, Yuletide Goddesses & Pagan Roots of Christmas and Resolutions

Just thinking of digging out the old AVATAR DVD.  That's part of my year end tradition, starting the new year out with a great movie that shows the under dogs beating the odds and claiming victory! What's yours?

I get teary-eyed every time I watch Avatar.  I love seeing the hero kneeling before that great tree, a long-time symbol of Goddess.  And he's praying to Her.  He's telling Her the Sky People, otherwise known as us, the Earthlings, are coming for them, for Her and they're hell-bent on stealing the natural resources of the planet at any cost.  Sound familiar?  Sound like something ripped from the headlines as some multi-national corporation comes for the water or minerals on sacred land, never mind they'll devastate the local economy and the lives of people living there. Or maybe it reminds you of the United States going after the oil in Iraq.  

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I like to think that I have embraced the image of The Great Mother as the epitome of dualities. It’s a mature image: she is both light and dark, strength and weakness, savior and destructor. This helps people relate to her, as humans embody all these differing and conflicting traits and we’re not static, one or the other. The Great Mother is everything, combines everything, reflects everything.

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Local Magic is location-specific magic. It's the magic you can make, and feel, in the place where you live. Of course, where we live isn't always where we ideally want to be living, and the landscape isn't always the one that calls to our heart. Perhaps we prefer to create magic and ritual indoors, imagining we are really in Avalon, or an Egyptian temple, or the forests of our childhood. This can be a powerful magic, with the weight of our yearning, our imagination or our history bound up in it. And yet Local Magic - the type that happens specifically where you live, and happens only there, has its own allure.

Local Magic can teach you not just about locality, wherever you find yourself but it will also teach you about the nature of magic; specifically Pagan magic. Unless you happen to find yourself living in a temple complex, or on an ancient sacred site, the magic you will learn to participate in with Local Magic will be of the natural variety. It will concern the types of soil, rock, trees, birds and animals, airs and waters, skies and moods of the place where you live. Previous learnings, such as herbalism, astronomy, trance, working with deity can all be alive in Local Magic but there will be one great difference.

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  • Michelle Simkins
    Michelle Simkins says #
    Yes. So very much yes! There's nothing like really connecting with where you are, and drawing your spiritual practice and magic fr
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Oh Jane Meredith! I so love this blog post. Many years ago, when I began my journey into magic, one of my first teachers told me t

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For the past hundred years in the early hours of December 12, traditional Aztec dancers, devout Mexicans, and Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples all over the Americas rise early to honor Tonantzin, the Holy Mother of Guadalupe. December 12 is her Feast Day. She is known as the Holy Mother of the Americas and combines sacred symbols of the Aztecs with the image of Mother Mary brought by the European settlers. Regardless of her conflicted and ambiguous history, it is without question that the Guadalupana is a revered and adored Divine Mother with reverential followers across many ethnic and national identities.

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