Posts Tagged With: Northern Hemisphere

As The Wheel Turns, Let Us Pray for Compassion & Tolerance In Our Hearts


Autumn Comments & Graphics

“As autumn returns to earth’s northern hemisphere,
and day and night are briefly,
but perfectly,
balanced at the equinox,
may we remember anew how fragile life is —-
human life, surely,
but also the lives of all other creatures,
trees and plants,
waters and winds.
 
May we make wise choices in how and what we harvest,
may earth’s weather turn kinder,
may there be enough food for all creatures,
may the diminishing light in our daytime skies
be met by an increasing compassion and tolerance
in our hearts.”


-  Kathleen Jenks, Autumn Lore 

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The Witches Correspondence for Ostara/Spring Equinox

Ostara Comments
The Witches Correspondence for Ostara/Spring Equinox

 

On or around March 21st Northern Hemisphere, September 21st Southern Hemisphere
*Note this year it is March 20th*

The second of the 3 spring festivals, Ostara is known also as the Spring Equinox, and Eostar. It is a time of new beginnings as new life bursts forth upon the earth. It is also a time of balance when light and dark are equal. In times past, people celebrated the arrival of spring and the Goddess Eostar or Eostre whose symbols were the hare and the egg.

Symbols:

The beginning of spring, new life and rebirth, the God and Goddess in Their youth, balance, fertility, flowers, eggs, rabbit/hare.

Decorations:

Four leaf clovers, cauldron of spring water, any and all spring flowers/blossoms/bulbs/sprouts, potted plants, eggs, butterflies, baskets, bunnies, chicks, colored ribbons

Activities/ Rituals/ spell intents:

Sunrise observances, collecting wildflowers, spring cleaning and purification, nature walks, seed blessing, garden blessing, planting, welcoming spring, coloring eggs, fertility rites, rituals of balance, herb work – magical, medicinal, cosmetic, culinary and artistic, spells for balance, communication, prosperity/fertility, action, new beginnings, potential, goals for future, banishment of bad ties, positive growth

Herbs/flowers/trees:

clover, lemongrass, mint, honeysuckle, iris, violets, peonies, lilies (Easter Lily), lilacs, acorn, celandine, cinquefoil, crocus, daffodil, dogwood, gorse, jasmine, jonquils, narcissus, olive, pine trees, rose, tansy, woodruff, primrose, forsythia

Incense/oils:

African violet, lotus, jasmine, rose, magnolia, sage, strawberry, lavender, narcissus, ginger.

Colors/Candles:

Gold, light green, robin’s egg blue, lemon yellow, pale pink, all pastels.

Stones:

amethyst, jasper, aquamarine, bloodstone, red jasper

Foods:

Seeds, leafy green vegetables, fresh fruits, hard-boiled eggs and any egg dishes, milk punch, dairy foods, apples, nuts, flower dishes, sprouts, jelly beans, chocolates, lamb, spiced or flower cupcakes, hot cross buns, honey cakes, unleavened bread, poultry, ham, roast beef, yellow cake with poppy seeds, banana nut bread, fruit juice or fruit liqueur, poppy seed or sesame seed rolls, sweet or honeyed wine

Animals :

Rabbits, hares /Easter bunny, chicks, robins, lambs, swallows, snakes, unicorns

Deities:

all love, virgin, and fertility Goddesses, all love, song & dance, and fertility Gods.

Resources:
Some information adapted from Simple Wicca by Michele Morgan, and Ann Moura’s Witchcraft, an Alternative Path.

Magicka School Forum
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When it is Ostara in the Northern Hemisphere, many of our Southern Hemisphere friends celebrate Mabon.

  

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Winter Solstice Ritual Potpourri

Winter Solstice Ritual Potpourri

Recipe by Gerina Dunwich

20 drops musk oil

25 drops pine oil

1 cup oak moss

2 cups dried mistletoe

1 cup dried poinsettia flowers

1 cup dried bayberries

1/2 cup dried rosemary

1/2 cup dried holly leaves and berries

3 crushed pinecones

Mix the musk and pine oils with the oak moss, and then add the remaining ingredients. Stir the potpourri well and store in a tightly covered ceramic or glass container.

(The above recipe for “Yule Ritual Potpourri” is quoted directly from Gerina Dunwich’s book “The Wicca Spellbook: A Witch’s Collection of Wiccan Spells, Potions and Recipes”, page 162, A Citadel Press Book, Carol Publishing Group, 1994/1995)

 

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The Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice

The darkest day makes way for the return of light

Tarotcom Staff   Tarotcom Staff on the topics of winter solstice, capricorn, astrology
December 21, 2013 marks the Winter Solstice, which is the official beginning of winter, and the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. But there’s a light at the end of this tunnel — literally! As the temperatures fall throughout the winter, the light grows, representing new hope during a time of darkness.

Ancient solstice festivals were the last big feasts before food became scarce during the harsh winter months. This magical day was celebrated from ancient Rome to China, and by the builders of Stonehenge to the Mayans. In fact, we all remember the Winter Solstice on December 21, 2012, which was the apparent end of the Mayan calendar, causing many to believe the end of the world is coming. Obviously, we’re still here!

Many modern holiday traditions, such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s, have their roots in the Winter Solstice celebrations of yesterday. Winter festivals continue today, complete with lights, feasts, dancing and singing, and spending quality time with those we love.

Astrologically, the Winter Solstice marks the moment the Sun — the ruler of the zodiac — moves from adventurous Fire sign Sagittarius to the steady Earth sign of Capricorn. This is the dark night of the year, a day when the Sun appears to stand still. It’s a time for light and laughter, but also deep reflection.

The Sun’s move into steady Capricorn urges us to take some time to look back on 2013 before we make those New Year’s resolutions. What did we do right? What do we wish we’d done differently? Don’t fight the seriousness it brings to the festive holiday season — use it to start 2014 on the right foot! Just make sure to keep some of the Goat’s ambitious energy alive when the Sun makes its next move.

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Daily Cosmic Calendar for December 21st

Before Venus becomes today’s star attraction, the mental and emotional realms seek to harmonize as Mercury makes a supportive, 60-degree link with Juno (3:52AM) while the Sun makes headlines by entering Capricorn (9:12AM). This is one of four, sacred turning points of the calendar year and known as the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the Summer Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. Capricorn is the fourth of what are known as the cardinal signs that begin each season. The other three signs — Aries, Cancer and Libra — initiate their seasons via the elements of fire, water and air, respectively. Capricorn begins the new season with a focus on earth — which translates as the need for energizing career aims and being industrious with your business acumen.  However, there is a one-two Venusian punch about to be delivered as Venus parallels Pluto (11:59AM) followed by Venus at 29 degrees of Capricorn beginning a six-week reversal at 1:55PM. It is hard to sugar-coat this double-edged, Venusian sword and make it sound appealing. The truth is that you should be much more careful right now on the monetary, romantic, and social fronts. Doing anything underhanded or secretive could come back to haunt you. Say no to plans or ventures that have a controlling or manipulative aura. During the Venus retrograde cycle — that lasts until January 31, 2014 — you want to review and reflect about loved ones, artistic expression, and all of your most significant relationships. [Note to readers: All times are calculated for Pacific Standard Time. Be sure to adjust all times according to your own local time so the alignments noted above will be exact for your location.]

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History of Yule

History of Yule

By , About.com

A Festival of Light:

Many cultures have winter festivals that are in fact celebrations of light. In addition to Christmas, there’s Hanukkah with its brightly lit menorahs, Kwanzaa candles, and any number of other holidays. The Pagan holiday called Yule takes place on the day of the winter solstice, around December 21. On that day (or close to it), an amazing thing happens in the sky. The earth’s axis tilts away from the sun in the Northern Hemisphere, and the sun reaches at its greatest distance from the equatorial plane. As a festival of the Sun, the most important part of any Yule celebration is light — candles, bonfires, and more.

Origins of Yule:

In the Northern hemisphere, the winter solstice has been celebrated for millenia. The Norse peoples viewed it as a time for much feasting, merrymaking, and, if the Icelandic sagas are to be believed, a time of sacrifice as well. Traditional customs such as the Yule log, the decorated tree, and wassailing can all be traced back to Norse origins.

Celtic Celebrations of Winter:

The Celts of the British Isles celebrated midwinter as well. Although little is known about the specifics of what they did, many traditions persist. According to the writings of Pliny the Elder, this is the time of year in which Druid priests sacrificed a white bull and gathered mistletoe in celebration.

Roman Saturnalia:

Few cultures knew how to party like the Romans. Saturnalia was a festival of general merrymaking and debauchery held around the time of the winter solstice. This week-long party was held in honor of the god Saturn, and involved sacrifices, gift-giving, special privileges for slaves, and a lot of feasting. Although this holiday was partly about giving presents, more importantly, it was to honor an agricultural god.

Welcoming the Sun Through the Ages:

Four thousand years ago, the Ancient Egyptians took the time to celebrate the daily rebirth of Horus – the god of the Sun. As their culture flourished and spread throughout Mesopotamia, other civilizations decided to get in on the sun-welcoming action. They found that things went really well… until the weather got cooler, and crops began to die. Each year, this cycle of birth, death and rebirth took place, and they began to realize that every year after a period of cold and darkness, the Sun did indeed return.

Winter festivals were also common in Greece and Rome, as well as in the British Isles. When a new religion called Christianity popped up, the new hierarchy had trouble converting the Pagans, and as such, folks didn’t want to give up their old holidays. Christian churches were built on old Pagan worship sites, and Pagan symbols were incorporated into the symbolism of Christianity. Within a few centuries, the Christians had everyone worshipping a new holiday celebrated on December 25.

In some traditions of Wicca and Paganism, the Yule celebration comes from the Celtic legend of the battle between the young Oak King and the Holly King. The Oak King, representing the light of the new year, tries each year to usurp the old Holly King, who is the symbol of darkness. Re-enactment of the battle is popular in some Wiccan rituals.

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Winter Solstice Greetings

Winter Comments & Graphics
Winter Solstice Greetings

A blanket of snow glistens fluffy and white
Tucks us in, oh so cozy
for the long winter night

We’ll light one white candle
Let busy minds release
all the cares of the day
for a moment of peace

On this longest of nights
and shortest of days
Thank the Great Universe
for the sun’s growing rays

From our house to yours
Yuletide blessings we send
So gracious life’s cycle
No beginnings, no end

For those who aren’t here
we’ve a hole in our lives
But because we’re all one
Their spirit survives

Their breath in the wind
Their voices are heard
in the chirping of crickets
and the sweet singing bird
In the great scheme of things
We’re connected to all
If one of us stumbles
Another may fall

So gather your loved ones
Your friends and your foes
We’re all in this together
Yes, that’s how it goes

Mother Nature can teach us
She’ll show us what’s best
If we learn from life’s lessons
she’ll do the rest

So let’s light our candles
on Winter Solstice night
Celebrate kindred spirit
and be one with the light

(My treasured muse shot this one out in about 20 minutes when I sat down to write a sentiment for my Winter Solstice greeting cards. A Blessed Winter Solstice to all!)

Janet K. Rauch

PoemHunter.com

 

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Southern Hemisphere Magick

Southern Hemisphere Magick

Author: Frances

Despite what appears to be a wealth of information available on neo-Pagan traditions, one section of the community seems to be grossly under-represented and that is those of us who reside in the Southern Hemisphere – Australia, New Zealand and even South Africa, to name but three countries. The majority of authors residing in the Northern Hemisphere seem to have little or no knowledge at all of the differences between the hemispheres. And if such a difference is acknowledged, it is usually limited to only the Sabbats. It is no wonder that endless debates occur on how to “do things” down under.

The following is a suggestion based on my own personal observances as both a Wytch and magickian who resides in the Southern Hemisphere, which may be of assistance to others.

There are at least four major differences between the Hemispheres. The first is the obvious six-month difference in the seasons. When it is Midsummer in the Northern Hemisphere, we in the South are celebrating Midwinter (the “Christmas in July” theme is becoming a popular event even amongst non-Pagans). The dates, according to general consensus, of the Southern Sabbats are:

Samhain – 30 April

Midwinter Solstice (Yule) – 21 June

Imbolg – 1 August

Spring or Vernal Equinox (Eostre) – 21 September

Bealtaine – 1 November

Midsummer Solstice (Litha) – 21 December

Lughnasadh – 1 February

Autumn Equinox (Mabon) – 21 March

If we use the astrological signs in which the Sun moves into to determine each Sabbat date as opposed to actual calendar dates, then this too is changed by six months:

Samhain – 15 deg Taurus

Midwinter Solstice – 0 deg Cancer

Imbolg – 15 deg Leo

Spring Equinox – 0 deg Libra

Bealtaine – 15 deg Scorpio

Midsummer Solstice – 0 deg Capricorn

Lughnasadh – 15 deg Aquarius

Autumn Equinox – 0 deg Aries

This means that Northern Hemisphere-based festivals appear largely out of place in the Southern Hemisphere. Our Morris Dances however still celebrate “May Day” on 1 May regardless of the fact that it marks the beginning of Winter; likewise the Christian Easter falls in Autumn as opposed to Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. However, there are specific events that do align – in particular specific Southern Hemisphere-based public holidays. One good example is ANZAC Day, the day on which we remember Australian and New Zealand service men and women that died at war. This day of remembrance occurs on 25 April, close to the Southern Samhain on 30 April.

The next major difference between the Hemispheres is the direction in which the Sun moves across the sky. As in the Northern Hemisphere, the Sun still rises in the East and sets in the West, however on its journey across the sky in the Southern Hemisphere, it travels via the North because of the tilt of the Earth’s axis. For this reason, most Pagans in the Southern Hemisphere cast their circles in this direction, via the North or in an anti-clockwise direction.

It irks me when authors refer to deosil as meaning “clockwise” and widdershins as meaning “anticlockwise.” Not only does this not apply to the Southern Hemisphere, but also it is etymologically incorrect. According to the Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary, the word deosil comes from the Anglo-Saxon word meaning “sunwise” or “in the direction of the (apparent) motion of the sun,” and in the Southern Hemisphere this is anticlockwise. The term widdershins comes from the Middle High Germanic word “widersinnes” meaning “against the sun.” In the Southern Hemisphere, this is clockwise, representing the direction for banishing, winding down energies or even for darker workings. Of course, as English – as well as other European languages incorporated into the English language – stem from the Northern Hemisphere as opposed to the Southern Hemisphere, Northern associations are more dominant. For example, deosil is also said to come from the Irish word “cor deiseil” which means “auspicious right hand turn,” while widdershins is akin to the Irish “cor tuathal” meaning “the mundane left-hand turn.” To save confusion, however, for Southern Hemispheric Pagans, I prefer and recommend the first definition with respect to the Sun.

A further observance is that the energy flow of the Earth between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres is also reversed. Prior to spending time in England I was told to observe the direction in which the water drained down the plughole. In the Northern Hemisphere, energy moves in a clockwise direction, whereas in the Southern Hemisphere, it is anti-clockwise.

If we take the above information into consideration when placing the elements around our magickal circle, it then seems logical for the placement of Fire to be in the North, while Earth is placed in the South. Environmentally, to the North is the Equator and from the North come the scorching Summer winds. North is also the placement in the sky of the Noonday Sun. In the South however, where the Sun never appears in the Southern Hemisphere, are the bitter cold Winter winds, as well as the frozen mass we refer to as Antarctica. However, this goes against the directional placements of the elements in more traditional Pagan groups.

I know a number of traditional Crafters who continue to place their altars in the North because according to their tradition (despite it being Northern Hemispheric-based) this is the “dark quarter.” One reasoning behind this is that on the astral the directional placements of the elements do not matter. If this is the case, then when I operate between the worlds, it should not matter if my physical altar and circle casting reflects the land in which I reside. Surely, if the founders of Earth-based traditions such as the Craft and Wicca (for example, Gerald Gardner, Alex Sanders or even Aleister Crowley) were based, or had spent some time, in the Southern Hemisphere, would they not have taken the differences into consideration?

Some Pagans living in the eastern states of Australia not only swap the elemental directions of Fire and Earth around, but also Water and Air. When you take the environment into consideration, it is easy to see why they do this. East of Australia is the Tasman Sea or even the Pacific Ocean – large bodies of water. In the Southern Hemisphere our weather patterns move largely from the West (therefore the placement of Air).

Another difference between the hemispheres, which is often overlooked, is the direction in which the crescents of the Waxing and Waning Moons point. In the Southern Hemisphere, the Waxing Moon in the sky actually points to the right, while the Waning Moon points to the left. Therefore the symbol of the Triple Moon Goddess (the maiden, mother and crone) reflects an introverted appearance opposed to the extroverted appearance in the Northern Hemisphere. But there are times where the Moon decides to really throw the spanner into the works and the Waxing Moon can be observed lying on her back pointing upwards, and the corresponding Waning Moon pointing downwards.

For us Southern Pagan practitioners, there is more to take into consideration when we work our magick and our circles than simply swapping the Sabbat dates around. And with the varying opinions and reasons behind even basic circle casting, it is little wonder newcomers to the various Pagan traditions in the Southern Hemisphere find it all very confusing. Maybe Pagan book publishers should take this into consideration, and if anyone is interested in issuing a contract for such a book, I would be interested in writing one (shameless plug, but I couldn’t resist).

In the Southern Hemisphere not only do we appear to do things standing on our heads but also working backwards as well – or maybe it is you Northern Hemispheric Pagans who have got it wrong.

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