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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Winter Solstice

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Cowan Yule

The single best defense against Christmas is a good Yule.

I sometimes worry that I live too much in the pagan ghetto. Most of my friends are pagan; I live in a pagan home, immersed from day to day and from season to season in pagan culture. I know that there's a wide world of non-pagans out there. But after all these years, I also know who my people are, where my home is, and what my work is.

Midwinter's Eve our job is to bring the Sun up out of the Dark. We sing the Sun down, we light the fire; we dance, we sing, we keep the fire-watch through all the long night. 7:47 a. m. Midwinter's Day will find us out on the east pedestrian walkway of the Washington Avenue bridge, singing the Sun up out of the Mississippi Valley. December is on average the cloudiest month of our Minnesota year, when Earth and Sun hide themselves in their mysteries. But in those years when we actually see the Sun rise out of the river valley, with light and color flooding back into the world, well...that's Yule in little, and the joy of it continues for a full thirtnight of days, a year in miniature. Because we are who we are, we're part of something much larger than ourselves, something that would happen whether we were here to see it or not. It's something that we're privileged to take part in, and so long as we continue to do so, our people will continue to be. It's a joyous responsibility.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks Cristina. Here in the US at least, Christmas is so massive that it can sometimes seem like a force of nature. I think it's
  • Cristina Potmesil
    Cristina Potmesil says #
    This comment, "Christmas is a human construct. If no one celebrated it, Christmas would cease to exist." is amazing. Thank you.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Magic of Christmas

In the weeks leading up to December 24, my 8-year-old kept asking the same question. She asked it in as many different ways as she could, trying to tease out the information she was convinced I was withholding. She asked it after her choir's holiday concert, she asked it when she and her sister came shopping with me for gifts. She asked it as we made cookies, as we planned menus, even as we drove up to Boulder for a children's Solstice celebration. However she put it, the question remained the same:

“Mom, is Santa Claus real?”

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Christmas with Dionysos

You’ve probably seen those memes that depict the many deities whose birthdays coincide with Christmas and whose attributes are startlingly similar to Jesus’. Please understand, I have no quarrel with Jesus, though I could do without some of his followers. He is one of a long line of gods who remind us that there is light within the darkness, that all cycles turn and renew, and that mindfulness and compassion go a long way toward curing the ills of this world. But he’s not the only one with those attributes, and in fact, he’s not the only one celebrated at this time of year, either, as you might have guessed.

Let me introduce you to another god who is born at Midwinter; perhaps you will enjoy his company as much as I do. He has much to teach, for those who have the patience to listen.

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  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake says #
    Fabulous! I loved reading this. I hadn't heard this story before. Thanks for sharing it.
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    You're very welcome! Glad you enjoyed it.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Winter Solstice and Christmas stories are all about birthing: the light returns, the divine becomes human.

Embodiment.

Happy Holidays!

Before I continue about Magdalene, Mary, and birth-giving, ending with a prayer for us all, here are four versions of my season's greetings card for you (including one in French), images celebrating embodiment. Clicking on each thumbnail will take you to a larger display.

b2ap3_thumbnail_She-came-to-understand-2c-hh-venus-72.png 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Solstice Practice

Around the winter solstice is the time of year when many people get together, families and friends, to celebrate the holidays. If we are fortunate, we have some time off to be together, all together in one place – we may not have such an opportunity until the next solstice season rolls around. It can be a wonderful time of loving hugs, good conversation and deep, belly filled laughs.  It can also be a trying time, when the bonds of friendship or family can become tested as we are all thrown together, our usual routines and habits left behind and we are faced with situations that are perhaps out of the norm.

My home is usually very quiet, filled with deep silence and stillness.  In that silence I find my personal sanctuary, where peace is around every corner.  I’m not a big fan of crowds or noise. However, at this time of year, I leave behind my little sanctuary and venture out into the world of lights and noise, family and friends when I’d really rather be sitting on my meditation cushion in the dark, with a candle and some incense.

It’s quite a shift to deal with.  There is constant noise around me, different noise to that of my own home. It’s the noise of other people, which I am not accustomed to.  Loud televisions, conversations, arguments, laughter – it’s a bit of an assault on my senses.  Dealing with other people’s behaviour when there is no opportunity to “escape”.  I have to confront everything that upsets me head on, or lose my temper, say something in anger as my “sanctuary” is thrown out the window.

Or is it? Yes, it’s difficult. Even as I type this blog, there are interruptions by people walking in and out of the room, asking me what I’m doing and other various questions.  Nemetona, my goddess of sanctuary, has taught me that she is ever within me even as she is without – I take her with me wherever I go, and where I go she is always there.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Thoughts about Solstice for 2014

Celebrating the turnings of the Wheel of the Year encourage us to meditate on the cycles of life. This year celebrating the Winter Solstice has proven is harder for me to enter  wholeheartedly than often in the past. At the Solstice we celebrate light’s return, and with it the rebirth of life from the mystery of death. This year perhaps it is fitting that it falls on the dark of the moon.  Yule honors the return of light while I am living in a society where the lights seem to be going out.

Ultimately my post will be positive, very much so.  But let us not pretend it is easy to see any growing light beyond that of the sun itself. 

...
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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Gus -- wow, I had no idea you were an artist! Let's talk about this some more via email.
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    I am the artist.
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Although the list of woes (especially the political material, some of which I respectfully see differently than you) at the beginn
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Gus -- I absolutely love the image at the top of your post. Who's the artist?

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Last Sun Walking

 

He leads us up to the foot of the hill, 

but there we stop: not yet for us

to take those final steps.

 

Where the sun stands still

on earth’s high curve, a woman rises:

bright black splayed on red.

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