Tag Archives: Seasons

Imbolc: A time to grow!

Imbolc

The first of February sees the celebration of Imbolc, a Gaelic traditional festival marking the beginning of spring. It is seen as a positive time with thoughts turning towards the return of the sun to the land after its long sleep during the winter. We see the days becoming longer and the long nights, slowly at first, starting to shorten.
We look out for the first signs of spring, the snow drops in the woods, the shoots of the daffodils fighting their way through the soil to break into the pale morning spring light
Traditionally it is a time when new initiates were welcomed into a coven, again in a symbolic reference to the new life they are starting.
It is also the traditional time for us to celebrate new beginnings, to see the first indications of growth and development from the seeds and hard work of the previous year.
But sometimes we are confronted with the fact that not all of the seeds we planted, either actual real seeds, or more likely metaphorical seeds, have germinated. We look to the last year, all the hard work we have put in to change our situations, our lives for the better. Or Look at the foundations we have put in place and yet there seems no sign of growth, no sign that the desired outcome is beginning to take shape.
So why is it that all the work, the decisions we took and the sacrifices we made in the last year, seem to have come to nothing? Why are we as unhappy with our life as we were this time last year despite making commitments?

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Thoughts on Midwinter solstice

Mid winter is a difficult time for many, for many different reasons. For me if I put aside the never-ending reminders that it has become a time for families to be together, something impossible for me in the circumstances, I think the difficulty is in what the midwinter solstice represents, how it allows us to interpret the shortest day and longest night and of course the change in direction towards more light and warmer days.

The two solstices have a feeling about them, a sort of stillness where the universe, having come to the end of range, holds it breath, hesitates before moving back in the opposing direction. Now yes, I know at the solstice is a local phenomenon, earth bound and experienced differently in the two hemispheres but we are not considering cosmology here but how this local turning of the wheel expresses its self to our limited senses and intuition. And remember everything is connected, everything impacts and guides the path of everything else, so a local phenomenon, a local point of inflection can, and does have universal impacts.
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Now Winters come and the Earth does sleep

6 seeds sit upon her plate
6 seeds enough to seal her fate.
To bind the Sun the curse to keep.
Now winters come and the Earth does sleep.

Now Winters come and the Earth does sleep.
Dark nights long and snow drifts deep.
Keep hope alive, the spring to seek.
Now Winters come and the Earth does sleep.

The Holy King supreme does rule,
O’er land and sky and sea and all,
His hand extends through darkness deep,
Now Winters come and the Earth does sleep.
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Edge Witch

Today is the autumn equinox, or fall equinox if you live across the water! It is a time of balance and equality when those two great protagonists, day and night are balanced, equal.

In this we see the reflection in the heavens of the Goddess and God, Both very different in nature but equal in stature. Both essential to us and a reminder to us that we, like the universe, need to embrace everything that makes us what we are, as we are, and not try to squeeze ourselves into and limit ourselves by accepting the stereotypes others would foist onto us.

Those of us that call ourselves witches need to particularly remember this, there are a lot who talk of being ‘white witches’ or practicing white magic. The truth is that Magic, or Magik, is a tool we use, just like a hammer, it isn’t good or bad, white or black and it won’t help you with moral decisions.

If you want to truly understand magic then you need to understand both its light and dark, you need to be aware of both the light and dark in you and then you can decide on your actions.

It is this need to stand not in the light or the dark but to stand between them both, understand both and know both the light and dark within that makes a true witch. A true Witch is an ‘Edge Witch’ she or he stands between the shadow and the light being of neither but not scared to look either square on and see it for what it truly is.

An Astronomical Lammas?

 

At Lammas we celebrate the first harvest, obviously this has connotations with agriculture and we shouldn’t ignore or minimise that. It is likely that it is this connection that most preoccupied our ancestors. But they would undoubtedly have also thought about how this ‘First Harvest’ and the “Second Harvest” that it presages was reflected in their own lives.

For modern Pagans we also use this time to reflect on how our lives have developed and look forward to the second harvest which with the Goddesses help and guidance we can row and bring to fruition all that is positive and work with her on those aspects, the weeds in our lives, that are negative and holding us back.

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Is Christmas Christian?

Why December the 25th?

The main problem in trying to establish the date of Christ’s birth is that there simply isn’t any real evidence to go on. The gospels don’t provide any dating evidence apart from the reported roman census and an astronomical phenomena, the star, to go on. Nowhere in the gospels is the date of conception or birth actually mentioned. Unfortunately there seems to be no records of any census undertaken in that period, strange as the Romans were methodical record keepers, and research has shown no contemporary records of any astronomical event sufficient to pinpoint a date to more than a few years accuracy let alone an actual day.

This wasn’t a problem for the early church as birthdays were not seen as something to actually celebrate so the only interest in establishing the date was purely theological. The main problem is that despite the hard work of the theologians, they generally met with a stunning lack of success in actually agreeing on a date.

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