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Summer Solstice Rituals and Traditions

Summer Solstice: Celebration of Light

June 20 is Summer Solstice! The Sun moves into the sign of Cancer at 2:44 pm PDT

The seasonal cycle of the year is created by Earth’s annual orbit around the sun. Solstices are the extreme points as Earth’s axis tilts toward or away from the sun—when days and nights are longest or shortest. On equinoxes, days and nights are equal in all parts of the world. Four cross-quarter days roughly mark the midpoints in between solstices and equinoxes. We commemorate these natural turning points in the Earth’s cycle. Seasonal celebrations of most cultures cluster around these same natural turning points.

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I Opened It © A. Levemark


Summit of full summer.

Feel the sun within you shining with abundance, as we blink in the light of that glowing promise, resurrection from death. The triumph of light peaks, slides slowly to dissolve. This is the tipping point for everything: democracy, misogyny, racism, climate, freedom. All are on a cliff edge. We've reached the neon-bright entrance to The Great Turning.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Witches, Fairies, and Hallowe'en

 When people think of Halloween, or from a more pagan perspective Samhain, the image of witches comes quickly to mind and it may be the single day of the year most strongly associated with witches in Western culture. Yet there is another layer to Halloween that also intersects with witchcraft and witches but isn't as commonly acknowledged in mainstream culture and that is fairies. Halloween and the general period of time around Halloween has long been known in the folklore and folk practices of the various Celtic-language speaking countries to be a time when the Good Folk are more active and more present.

The connection between witches and fairies more generally is complex and multi layered. Scottish witches who were brought to trial mentioned dealing with fairies as often as dealing with demons and were as likely to say they had sworn themselves to the Queen of King of Fairy as to the Christian Devil. This is discussed in Emma Wilby's books 'Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits' and 'The Visions of Isobel Gowdie' and touched on in Davies 'Popular Magic' which all review various material from the Scottish witchcraft trials in which confessed witches talk about their connections to the fairies. We also see references to both Irish witches and mná feasa [wise women] who learned their skill from the Good Neighbours, as well as specialists called fairy doctors in English who were supposed to have been taught by the fairies (Daimler, 2014). This overlap, briefly summarized here, was one where the witch might both serve Fairy and also be served by it. 

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
John Barleycorn & the Ale Wives

There's an Old English riddle from the Exeter Book that is part of a long tradition about the abuses of alcohol through the ages. While there is much to celebrate in the joy of drinking, there is a dark side, too, that many have fallen prey to over the years. The poem goes like this:

Biþ foldan dæl     fægre gegierwed
mid þy heardestan      mid þy scearpestan
 mid þy grymmestan     gumena ge streona ·
corfen sworfen     cyrred þyrred
bunden wunden     blæced wæced
frætwed geatwed     feorran læded
to durum dryhta     dream bið iinnan
cwicra wihta     clengeð lengeð
þara þe ær lifgende     longe hwile
wilna bruceð      no wið spriceð
 þōn æfter deaþe     deman onginneð
meldan mislice     micel is to hycganne
wisfæstum menn     hwæt seo wiht sy.

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  • Tyger
    Tyger says #
    Very interesting. Thank you!
Pagan News Beagle: Watery Wednesday, March 15 2017

A Pagan writer reflects on the way Beyonce's pregnancy announcement infers the imagery of Oshun. A group called "WITCH" gathers in Portland to fight for political and social causes. And a Korean shaman looks online for funding to help complete here training. It's Watery Wednesday, our segment about news regarding Pagan communities here and abroad. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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  • Mivi
    Mivi says #
    Just wanted to let you know I had my ceremony completed successfully and am now an ordained shaman-priest with my people's indigen
  • Aryós Héngwis
    Aryós Héngwis says #
    Congratulations! So glad to hear that .
  • Mivi
    Mivi says #
    Hey that's me (in the last paragraph)! Thank you for the signal boost.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Return to Witches' Tower

I became convinced that Hotel Circle in San Diego was cursed because every time T. N. and I went to visit his old city, some weird glitch happened with each hotel. One had a light that flickered out when the shower was in use, one had a keycard door that wouldn't co-operate and an a/c that wouldn't turn off, one had a plumbing issue that had the hoteliers tearing the wall apart as we quickly changed rooms, one hotel only booked us for one night, locked us out as we came back from the beach (wet and sandy, and cold, because it was winter and raining-- as I told the weather reporter who had to interview some fool tourist out on the beach in the rain, "the ocean is big and wet and salty whether it's rainy or sunny,") and then tried to move us into an incompletely renovated room missing such amenities as towel racks and a bed.

So, I decided that the next time we stayed in Hotel Circle, which is within the view from Witches' Tower, I would go up the Tower and perform an exorcism upon Hotel Circle. I first exorcised a place back in college, which I wrote about in my previous post The Day I Cast Out Satan. The first time I did such a ritual, I did not know any other heathens, all the people I knew in person that I could get magical advice from were Wiccan, and the only book I had about heathen magic was Futhark: Handbook of Rune Magic, so the ritual style was more Wiccan than heathen. In planning to perform such a ritual again, 30 years later, I had to decide if I was going to change anything about the ritual because I know so much more now than I did then. Ultimately I decided to change very little, because the first ritual worked, and that's the test of a magical ritual.

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  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Thanks and you're welcome! On the trip last month just before we visited you we stayed on Hotel Circle and had a few minor glitche
  • Jodie Forrest
    Jodie Forrest says #
    Erin, I think Hotel Circle is horrible; I've always had trouble getting on and off it and avoid it whenever possible. Mark will af

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

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Imbolc in dark, cold winter can signify endurance in the face of adversity and scarcity: we may encounter fragility, tenuousness, uncertainty, darkness and despair beyond what we think we can endure.

Women know these experiences.

We have held both new life and death in our hands. We have wondered: will this child make it, will the addict live or die, will my lover come home, will I survive this loss? Will I be OK? Will there be enough resources to see us into spring?

I imagine our ancestors sitting in circle at this time of year, with whatever sources of light they had, listening to one another. Just so. we are invited to sit circle together and share how we "are," what we need, what is frozen, what is thawing, what is fragile. In the deep winter, we begin again.

We say Yes again each year: Yes to the living of life again and whatever it may bring. I speak of Imbolc as a time of Faith.

KIm Duckett © Mother Tongue Ink 2016

 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

In the new article Reclaiming the Radical Witch, Danielle Olson writes:

As her image grows ever whiter, more privileged, younger, prettier, and objectified in the west, women b2ap3_thumbnail_14884681_1809846729227541_4275433016924022846_o.jpgaccused of being witches in Africa, Latin America and New Guinea continue to be hunted down and burned alive. I can’t help wonder what this all means for the “real” witches here and now?

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  • Candise
    Candise says #
    powerful

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