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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

The summer solstice has been honoured around the world for millennia. In Britain and Ireland its marked by hundreds of earthworks, henges stone circles and rows, and it has a history of celebration from the Neolithic going through the Iron Age druids, through folklore and into the present day where it is honoured by pagans and heathens of many varieties. Solstice means solar standstill, and at this time the suns position from dawn to dusk does its highest arc in the sky, from its most north  easterly at dawn to its most north westerly at sunset, before gradually rising further south day on day until the winter solstice. During this time when it is at its most northern arc, its position at dawn  appears to 'stand still' until its journey south becomes discernible again. In many ways this can be seen as time where life force and the solar energies are at their height- a time of enthusiasm, celebration and empowerment, but also a time out of time, when the spirit world and our connection to our own souls may become more apparent.

Lighting fires has always been a popular practice at the summer solstice, and one that survived through to the modern era before being taken up with increasing enthusiasm in recent years. In Ireland there are many hills and ancient monuments sacred to or astronomically aligned to the summer solstice, but there are two especially famous hills, Knockainey, sacred to the fire goddess Aine, a faery queen, and Knoc Gréin, sacred to the solar goddess Greine. These two hills near each other in county Limerick were likely to have been beacon hills long ago, with twin fires honouring the sun at this time. Across Britain there are also many 'beacon' hills which are likely to have been used for the same purposes.  An agricultural tradition across Britain and Ireland was to drive cattle in between two fires at this time to purify and bless them, and a custom among young men in particular was to leap the flames as well to be blessed and as a sign of fiery prowess.

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May in Britain sees the hawthorn      ( Crataegus Monogyna) in flower, frothing down the lanes in clouds of white tinged with the deepest pink. So important is the hawthorn that in our indigenous traditions, the festival of Beltane cannot happen until the full moon after it blossoms, highlighting its significance to the goddess of Beltane the lady of sovereignty who goes by many names in British and Irish lore. At Beltane the goddess marries the sun god Bel, or sometimes oak king, or jack in the green, to bring fertility to the earth, and this is a highly erotic tree, associated with female sexuality and life force.  Known as the May tree, and the goddess tree, it is also the original Faery Thorn, marking places sacred to our Otherworldly kin. In Britain and Ireland there are many 'faery thorns' which are honoured as sacred magical places, and are protected even from roads and other development by their local villagers even to this day. Hawthorn blossom should never be taken inside the house lest the faeries wreak havoc on your home. However, the hawthorn is a powerfully magical tree to have as an ally and friend.

One of the greatest Celtic seers, Thomas the Rhymer, who lived in the early 13th century met the Queen of Elfland beneath a hawthorn tree, growing near his home in the Eildon hills in Scotland,  revealing its nature as a marker between the worlds and a tree beloved to the faery queens, preserving its place in our traditional sacred faery lore.

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  • Helena
    Helena says #
    I loved this entry! Thank you for the information about clooties - I did not know the real purpose behind them. From now on, I wil
Are You a Faerie?--8 Signs That You're a Faerie-Person

A Midsummer Night's Dream is your favorite Shakespearean play. Tinkerbell is your favorite Disney character. And you always want to wear faerie wings, even when it isn't Halloween. Could you be a faerie-person? Chances are the answer is yes.

Before we look at the signs that you are, in fact, an incarnated member of the realm of the fae, let's discuss what exactly that may mean. It's true that it's a rather mysterious classification, but let's note for a moment that for the majority of time that humans have been here on planet earth, we have been much more closely aligned to her cycles and mysteries than we are now. Instead of watching TV or sitting under a roof, we gazed at the stars and were intimately familiar with their dance. We listened to the wind and noted its intensity and direction, and knew inherently what other factors went along with those conditions. We could communicate with animals, because we were awake to their wisdom and aliveness. In short, we knew ourselves to be one with Mother Earth; and, in the same way that one tiny bit of DNA contains the blueprint to the entire organism in all its glorious wholeness, we knew that we were not just on the earth, but rather that we contained its entire essence within our every cell.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • christine pardo-ketchen
    christine pardo-ketchen says #
    what if you have 4 of 8. and #7 while i don't know what they may be used for, i definitely attracted to certain herbs & crystals (
  • Dver
    Dver says #
    Oh yes, I'm aware of some other faerie qualities: http://forestdoor.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/are-you-a-faerie/ Of course, I may
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Dver, oh yes indeed!
  • Tess Whitehurst
    Tess Whitehurst says #
    Dver: HILARIOUS! Hahahaha. OMGoddess I love it.
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Yup! Nice to meetcha!! I advise use of glitter as a self-help tool in one of my books, which embodies not only your glitter com
PaganNewsBeagle: Watery Wednesday Community News July 27

In this installment of the PaganNewsBeagle (Watery Wednesday Community News) we have an interview with the Patheos Pagan blogmistress, musings on that most British Pagan institution: the pub moot; an interview with Hellenic polytheist author Tony Mierzwicki; and news on changes at Paganesque festival "FaerieWorld."

Meet Patheos Pagan blogmistress Christine Hoff Kraemer!

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Avalon Midsummer potions ....

Midsummer runs riot all over this land, the winter lakes have long gone, giving rise to verdant fields and hedgerows, swathed with elderflower, cow parsley and meadowsweet like white foam. Comfrey flowers blush purple in the shadows. Glastonbury Tor truly becomes the Glass Castle of British myth at this time, entrance to the land of Faery. On Midsummer Eve, as the dusk gathers, the hill comes alive, pilgrims climb the summit to drum the sun down, somewhere in the woods that sprawl around its base, a fire is lit in vigil, as it has always been at this time. A new generation take over the duty every so often, each person called to the task by something inside them, a compulsion, a call from the hill itself. All who come to sit by its flames bring wood to burn, drink to share, a tale to tell… This night, and all through the season, the veils between the worlds are thin, or thinner still. This land of water and mist is only ever half a human place, the Summer Land – the county of Somerset- rises above the lakes when summer is at its height, to sink beneath the waters again when autumn comes. But for now Jack in the Green, Jack Stag as he is known here, is having his day…   

I make my way along the labyrinthine tracks, climbing along the hill's steep sides singing old songs to the spirits as I gather elderflower (Sambucus Nigra) for cordial and medicine. Blossoms fall like tiny stars as I reach precariously over brambles and nettles, I wind a strand of my hair over the branches in thanks for their gift. The apples nearby are swelling and green, not ripe for a few months yet. The promise of harvest can be seen on the horizon, but for now, for me, it is the time of the elder tree. Sleeping beneath an elder was said to lead someone into Faery never to return, and sitting below the tree at dusk on Midsummer's eve grants a vision of the faerie hosts. Here at this liminal time, as the wheel turns, on this Sacred Isle the realms of the Sidhe, of Faery, are close at hand. All who wander here step on to their Green Road, if only for a while.   

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
As the Fairies Take, So Shall You Receive

Until I  moved to this magical place first settled by the mythic Tuatha dé Danaan I, too, was a fairy agnostic.  But when the land energy is so potent and palpable my disbelief was easily suspended. So yeah, I believe and have also come to know.  Unlike the Doubting Disciple of the Christian gospel I don't need to have seen to believe.  It's enough to feel.  But once you do get the vibe the communication in my personal experience gets more direct. 

 

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This week has been very busy here in Geek Central, NV.  Pokemon X and Y just came out, and three of us have been exploring the wild world of strange talking animals for quite a while.  This isn't actually terribly unique, considering that six months out of the year, there's a heavy amount of obsession over My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

In this house, a geeky obsession is more than a sudden-and-inevitable commitment of time and finances.  It's a chance at initiation into some of the magicks of the world.

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