“THINK on THESE THINGS”
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler
Good ideas are the flower of the mind, waiting to bloom for the benefit of the thinker.
We are constantly in the process of manufacturing ideas. Every waking moment we are thinking continually, making mental images of that which we desire or need. Everything we see was first an idea in someone’s mind.
Ideas are fleeting messages that pass rapidly through the mind. Some of the are strong enough to impress the thinker. Many are not worth saving, but a few are very precious. They have to be sifted, sorted and analyzed for value. Then they must be acted on immediately, for they are very perishable. Once we lose an idea, it is seldom if ever recaptured.
Everyone has access to a better and happier life through ideas, if we can trust the Lord to give us the will and courage to follow through on them.
Available online! ‘Cherokee Feast of Days’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler.
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Elder’s Meditation of the Day
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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – June 15
“Today, what is important for us is to realize that the old sacred ways are correct, and that if we do not follow them we will be lost and without a guide.”
–Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
A long time ago the Creator gave to the people all the knowledge on how we should live and conduct ourselves. The Native people have been influenced be outside “tribes” who don’t know about the Sacred Way. Our Elders still know about the old sacred ways. We need to consult and talk to them before it’s too late. Every family needs to seriously evaluate whether they are living according to the old knowledge. If we are faultfinding, putting one another down, being selfish, being violent to our spouses or children, if we are cheating and being dishonest, then we are not living the old Sacred Way. The old way is about respect, love, forgiveness and sharing.
Great Spirt, today, teach me the old Sacred Way you taught my ancestors.
June 15 – Daily Feast
Don’t condemn yourself. Even if you have made a mistake – or a dozen mistakes, who has not? We are too quick to perfuse stupidity. We are too quick to condemn our lack of will to eat the right foods, speak the right words, think the right thoughts. It is true that we have to control these things, but why try to do it over burdens we put on ourselves. Begin to turn it around – praise each ability to do the right thing. Bring self-respect into play and call yourself free.
~ Think not that you can remain passive and indifferent to the common danger, and thus escape the common fate. ~
TECUMSEH – SHAWNEE
Energy to move forward
Your burdens feel heavy because they are. They weigh you down and hold you back, but there is a better alternative.
You can choose to transform the weight of those burdens into positive energy. And you can draw upon that positive energy to move yourself forward.
The burdens you carry are creatures of the past that have survived to push against you in the present. Take a deep, fresh breath of the air that is right now, and fill yourself with resolve to take good, useful energy from those burdens.
Think of what you’ve done in the past to put yourself in the presence of your burdens. Now think of how you can use your energy and your actions to move yourself toward freedom.
You have worked your way to this point, and you can now work your way far beyond it. Imagine what is possible, choose from it whatever you desire, and begin right away to take the actions that will get you there.
Stop seeing your burdens as holding you back and start seeing them for what they can be. Take energy and inspiration from them, and choose to live life on your own positive, fulfilling terms.
The Daily Motivator
Eating Right to Feel Better
Fuel That Nurtures
What we eat and drink can have a powerful effect on our ability to focus, mental clarity, mood, and stress levels.
At its simplest, food is fuel. Though our preferences regarding taste and texture can vary widely, we all rely on the foods we eat for energy. Most people are aware that it is vital we consume a diverse assortment of foods if we aspire to maintain a state of physical well-being. However, the intimate connection between diet and our mental well-being is less understood. Just as the nutritional components in food power the body, so too do they power the mind. Some foods can impair cognitive functioning and sap our energy while others heighten our intellectual prowess and make us feel vigorous. What we eat and drink can have a powerful effect on our ability to focus, mental clarity, mood, and stress levels.
Food allergies, which don’t always manifest themselves in forms we recognize, can also play a significant role in the maintenance of mental health. Thus, for most of us, even a simple change in diet can have a profoundly positive impact on our lives. Taking the time to explore whether anxiety, muddled thoughts, or inexplicable tension can be linked to a food allergy or food sensitivity can empower you to treat your symptoms naturally. The benefits of a healthier, more personalized diet are often felt immediately. Sugar, saturated fats, wheat, and dairy products are frequently allergens and can stress the body. For people that are allergic, consuming them can cause imbalances in the physical self that have a negative effect on the body’s ability to nourish the brain. Water, fiber, nuts, unprocessed seeds, raw fruits and vegetables, and vegetable proteins, on the other hand, support physical and mental functioning by providing those nutrients we do need without additional substances we don’t.
A balanced, natural diet can ease mood swings, panic attacks, anxiety, and mild depression. Intellectual clarity and agility is improved when the mind receives proper nourishment. Even those individuals who are blessed with the ability to consume almost any food can benefit from a healthier and simpler diet. Since the mental and physical selves are closely bound to one another, we must feed each the foods upon which they thrive.
The Daily OM
Hold a Midsummer Night’s Fire Ritual
The Summer Solstice, known to some as Litha, Midsummer, or Alban Heruin, is the longest day of the year. It’s the time when the sun is most powerful, and new life has begun to grow within the earth. After today, the nights will once more begin to grow longer, and the sun will move further away in the sky.
If your tradition requires you to cast a circle, consecrate a space, or call the quarters, now is the time to do so.
This ritual is a great one to perform outside, so if you have the opportunity to do this without scaring the neighbors, take advantage of it.
Begin this ritual by preparing the wood for a fire, without lighting it yet. While the ideal situation would have you setting a huge bonfire alight, realistically not everyone can do that. If you’re limited, use a table top brazier or fire-safe pot, and light your fire there instead.
Say either to yourself or out loud:
Today, to celebrate Midsummer, I honor the Earth itself. I am surrounded by tall trees. There is a clear sky above me and cool dirt beneath me, and I am connected to all three. I light this fire as the Ancients did so long ago.
At this point, start your fire. Say:
The Wheel of the Year has turned once more
The light has grown for six long months
Today is Litha, called Alban Heruin by my ancestors.
A time for celebration.
Tomorrow the light will begin to fade
As the Wheel of the Year
Turns on and ever on.
Turn to the East, and say:
From the east comes the wind,
Cool and clear.
It brings new seeds to the garden
Bees to the pollen
And birds to the trees.
Turn to Face South, and say:
The sun rises high in the summer sky
And lights our way even into the night
Today the sun casts three rays
The light of fire upon the land, the sea, and the heavens
Turn to face West, saying:
From the west, the mist rolls in
Bringing rain and fog
The life-giving water without which
We would cease to be.
Finally, turn to the North, and say:
Beneath my feet is the Earth,
Soil dark and fertile
The womb in which life begins
And will later die, then return anew.
Build up the fire even more, so that you have a good strong blaze going.
If you wish to make an offering to the gods, now is the time to do it. For this sample, we’re including the use of a triple goddess in the invocation, but this is where you should substitute the names of the deities of your personal tradition.
Alban Heruin is a time of rededication
To the gods. The triple goddess watches over me.
She is known by many names.
She is the Morrighan, Brighid, and Cerridwen.
She is the washer at the ford,
She is the guardian of the hearth,
She is the one who stirs the cauldron of inspiration.
I give honor to You, O mighty ones,
By all your names, known and unknown.
Bless me with Your wisdom
And give life and abundance to me
As the sun gives life and abundance to the Earth.
I make this offering to you
To show my allegiance
To show my honor
To show my dedication
Cast your offering into fire. Conclude the ritual by saying:
Today, at Litha, I celebrate the life
And love of the gods
And of the Earth and Sun.
Take a few moments to reflect upon what you have offered, and what the gifts of the gods mean to you. When you are ready, if you have cast a circle, dismantle it or dismiss the quarters at this time. Allow your fire to go out on its own.
Litha Legends and Lore
Myths and Mysteries of the Midsummer Solstice
Litha, or Midsummer, is a celebration that has been observed for centuries, in one form or another. It is no surprise, then, that there are plenty of myths and legends associated with this time of year!
- In England, rural villagers built a big bonfire on Midsummer’s Eve. This was called “setting the watch,” and it was known that the fire would keep evil spirits out of the town. Some farmers would light a fire on their land, and people would wander about, holding torches and lanterns, from one bonfire to another. If you jumped over a bonfire — presumably without lighting your pants on fire — you were guaranteed to have good luck for the coming year.
- After your Litha fire has burned out and the ashes gone cold, use them to make a protective amulet. You can do this by carrying them in a small pouch, or kneading them into some soft clay and forming a talisman. In some traditions of Wicca, it is believed that the Midsummer ashes will protect you from misfortune. You can also sow the ashes from your bonfire into your garden, and your crops will be bountiful for the rest of the summer growing season.
- It is believed in parts of England that if you stay up all night on Midsummer’s Eve, sitting in the middle of a stone circle, you will see the Fae. But be careful – carry a bit of rue in your pocket to keep them from harassing you, or turn your jacket inside out to confuse them. If you have to escape the Fae, follow a ley line, and it will lead you to safety.
- Residents of some areas of Ireland say that if you have something you wish to happen, you “give it to the pebble.” Carry a stone in your hand as you circle the Litha bonfire, and whisper your request to the stone — “heal my mother” or “help me be more courageous”, for example. After your third turn around the fire, toss the stone into the flames.
- Astrologically, the sun is entering Cancer, which is a water sign. Midsummer is not only a time of fire magic, but of water as well. Now is a good time to work magic involving sacred streams and holy wells. If you visit one, be sure to go just before sunrise on Litha, and approach the water from the east, with the rising sun. Circle the well or spring three times, walking deosil, and then make an offering of silver coins or pins.
- Sunwheels were used to celebrate Midsummer in some early Pagan cultures. A wheel — or sometimes a really big ball of straw — was lit on fire and rolled down a hill into a river. The burned remnants were taken to the local temple and put on display. In Wales, it was believed that if the fire went out before the wheel hit the water, a good crop was guaranteed for the season.
- In Egypt, the Midsummer season was associated with the flooding of the Nile River delta. In South America, paper boats are filled with flowers, and then set on fire. They are then sailed down the river, carrying prayers to the gods. In some traditions of modern Paganism, you can get rid of problems by writing them on a piece of paper and dropping them into a moving body of water on Litha.
- William Shakespeare associated Midsummer with witchcraft in at least three of his plays. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, and The Tempest all contain references to magic on the night of the summer solstice.
Litha History – Celebrating the Summer Solstice
An Ancient Solar Celebration:
Nearly every agricultural society has marked the high point of summer in some way, shape or form. On this date – usually around June 21 or 22 (or December 21/22 in the southern hemisphere) – the sun reaches its zenith in the sky. It is the longest day of the year, and the point at which the sun seems to just hang there without moving – in fact, the word “solstice” is from the Latin word solstitium, which literally translates to “sun stands still.” The travels of the sun were marked and recorded.
Stone circles such as Stonehenge were oriented to highlight the rising of the sun on the day of the summer solstice.
Traveling the Heavens:
Although few primary sources are available detailing the practices of the ancient Celts, some information can be found in the chronicles kept by early Christian monks. Some of these writings, combined with surviving folklore, indicate that Midsummer was celebrated with hilltop bonfires and that it was a time to honor the space between earth and the heavens.
Fire and Water:
In addition to the polarity between land and sky, Litha is a time to find a balance between fire and water. According to Ceisiwr Serith, in his book The Pagan Family, European traditions celebrated this time of year by setting large wheels on fire and then rolling them down a hill into a body of water. He suggests that this may be because this is when the sun is at its strongest yet also the day at which it begins to weaken. Another possibility is that the water mitigates the heat of the sun, and subordinating the sun wheel to water may prevent drought.
When they arrived in the British Isles, the Saxon invaders brought with them the tradition of calling the month of June Aerra Litha. They marked Midsummer with huge bonfires that celebrated the power of the sun over darkness. For people in Scandinavian countries and in the farther reaches of the Northern hemisphere, Midsummer was very important. The nearly endless hours of light in June are a happy contrast to the constant darkness found six months later in the middle of winter.
Roman Festivals :
The Romans, who had a festival for anything and everything, celebrated this time as sacred to Juno, the wife of Jupiter and goddess of women and childbirth. She is also called Juno Luna and blesses women with the privilege of menstruation. The month of June was named for her, and because Juno was the patroness of marriage, her month remains an ever-popular time for weddings. This time of year was also sacred to Vesta, goddess of the hearth. The matrons of Rome entered her temple on Midsummer and made offerings of salted meal for eight days, in hopes that she would confer her blessings upon their homes.
Midsummer for Modern Pagans:
Litha has often been a source of contention among modern Pagan and Wiccan groups, because there’s always been a question about whether or not Midsummer was truly celebrated by the ancients. While there’s scholarly evidence to indicate that it was indeed observed, there were suggestions made by Gerald Gardner, the founder of modern Wicca, that the solar festivals (the solstices and equinoxes) were actually added later and imported from the Middle East. Regardless of the origins, many modern Wiccans and other Pagans do choose to celebrate Litha every year in June.
In some traditions, Litha is a time at which there is a battle between light and dark. The Oak King is seen as the ruler of the year between winter solstice and summer solstice, and the Holly King from summer to winter. At each solstice they battle for power, and while the Oak King may be in charge of things at the beginning of June, by the end of Midsummer he is defeated by the Holly King.
This is a time of year of brightness and warmth. Crops are growing in their fields with the heat of the sun, but may require water to keep them alive. The power of the sun at Midsummer is at its most potent, and the earth is fertile with the bounty of growing life.
For contemporary Pagans, this is a day of inner power and brightness. Find yourself a quiet spot and meditate on the darkness and the light both in the world and in your personal life. Celebrate the turning of the Wheel of the Year with fire and water, night and day, and other symbols of the opposition of light and dark.
Litha is a great time to celebrate outdoors if you have children. Take them swimming or just turn on the sprinkler to run through, and then have a bonfire or barbeque at the end of the day. Let them stay up late to say goodnight to the sun, and celebrate nightfall with sparklers, storytelling, and music. This is also an ideal Sabbat to do some love magic or celebrate a handfasting, since June is the month of marriages and family
The Longest Day
What’s Bearing Fruit?
The Sun’s beams are at their brightest, for the longest day (here in the Northern latitudes). Summer Solstice is on June 21st, and it’s one of the four grand turning points of the solar year.
What’s begun at the Spring Equinox, with Sun into Aries, is coming to life from the vitality and intention brought to it. Tomatoes are ripening on the vine.
Long Summer Day
Summer is here, with the Sun into Cancer and the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.
When the Sun is at its most northerly point, hovering over the astrological Tropic of Cancer, that’s known as the summer solstice. The Earth is tilted on its axis, so like a sunflower, the Northern Hemisphere has its face toward the life-giving Sun.
The Sun is at its most powerful, and appears to stand still in the sky, and that’s what solstice means in Latin. After the summer solstice, the Sun’s rays will begin to light up more of the Southern Hemisphere, and days will start to shorten in the North.
The bright glowing orb we call The Sun is celebrated in many traditions at the summer solstice. There are fire dances, bonfires, and in the olden days, the ancients rolled fire wheels down the hills. There’s also a long tradition of ritual bathing, dipping in the cleansing waters. Fire and water are celebrated at the summer solstice, along with the Earth as Mother Goddess, at her most abundant.
It’s a celebration of the Earth, the feminine and the living natural world. It’s one of the four cardinal turning points of the solar calendar, along with the Winter Solstice and the Spring and Fall Equinoxes.
For those living in harmony with nature’s cycles, it’s the season to harvest herbs and honey. Many couples still marry in June, at the peak of nature’s abundance. Some traditions would feed the newlyweds honey-laced foods for the entire first month, which is where “honeymoon” comes from. The full Moon in June is the Honey Moon.
The summer solstice coincides with the Sun’s ingress into Cancer, and the official start of the season. Cancer is the water cardinal sign of the mother, nurturing, and family. It’s a high spirited time, when solar light is radiant and the feminine energies are in abundance, too. There are parades, picnics, festivals and celebrations of all kinds in the Northern Hemisphere at this time, often outdoors.
Becoming aware of these solar turning points tunes you into the natural rhythm of the seasons. The summer solstice is the peak of sunlight, and the Sun as radiant manna of all that grows, has been celebrated with feasts, dancing and just being together. After the solstice, the days begin to shorten slowly toward the Fall Equinox, when days and nights are equal again.
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First Day of Summer 2015: The Summer Solstice
When is the first day of summer 2015?
The summer solstice heralds the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The timing of the summer solstice depends on when the Sun reaches its northernmost point of the equator.
In 2015, the summer begins with the solstice on June 21 at 12:38 P.M. EDT. This year, Father’s Day is also celebrated on the 21st!
The word solstice is from the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), reflecting the fact that the Sun appears to stop at this time (and again at the winter solstice).
In temperate regions, we notice that the Sun is higher in the sky throughout the day, and its rays strike Earth at a more direct angle, causing the efficient warming we call summer.
This summer solstice is the day with the most hours of sunlight during the whole year. See our handy Sunrise and sunset calculator for how many hours of sunlight you get in your location.
At the winter solstice, just the opposite occurs: The Sun is at its southernmost point and is low in the sky. Its rays hit the Northern Hemisphere at an oblique angle, creating the feeble winter sunlight.
Courtesy of The Old Farmer’s Almanac
A Prayer to the Sun
The sun is high above us
shining down upon the land and sea,
making things grow and bloom.
Great and powerful sun,
we honor you this day
and thank you for your gifts.
Ra, Helios, Sol Invictus, Aten, Svarog,
you are known by many names.
You are the light over the crops,
the heat that warms the earth,
the hope that springs eternal,
the bringer of life.
We welcome you, and we honor you this day,
celebrating your light,
as we begin our journey once more
Astronomy Picture of the Day
Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2015 June 15
A Colorful Lunar Corona
Image Credit & Copyright: Sergio Montúfar
Explanation: What are those colorful rings around the Moon? A corona. Rings like this will sometimes appear when the Moon is seen through thin clouds. The effect is created by the quantum mechanical diffraction of light around individual, similarly-sized water droplets in an intervening but mostly-transparent cloud. Since light of different colors has different wavelengths, each color diffracts differently. Lunar Coronae are one of the few quantum mechanical color effects that can be easily seen with the unaided eye. The featured lunar corona was captured around a Strawberry Moon on June 2 from La Plata, Argentina. Similar coronae that form around the Sun are typically harder to see because of the Sun’s great brightness.
When Venus is in Leo, love shouts its name from the rooftops. There’s little subtlety about this combination, since the planet of relationship and beauty is passing through the sign of dramatic expression. Expect your romantic life to be a bit more colorful these days, regardless of your birth chart.
Leo, a fire sign, is about risk. So, Venus’ placement here is a reminder to take some chances with creativity and openings of the heart. Sure, it’s possible that you’ll go overboard and let your imagination turn a mild flirtation into the love affair of the century. But, that’s part of the fun of Venus in Leo.
We’re not here now to play it safe, to carefully monitor and control our feelings, but rather to recapture the hopefulness of childhood. This is a time when wounds may be set aside (at least partially), allowing us to let love flow without restriction or fear. Excesses are possible, even likely, but a truly open heart only leads to greater opportunities to share, connect and create.
Venus in Leo reminds us that we need to be adored now, not just simply liked or appreciated. Pride expands, which can, of course, lead to hurt feelings if one does not receive adequate recognition. Be generous in giving praise, while allowing others to show their appreciation of you, as well. The challenge here is to combine the willfulness of Leo with the responsiveness of Venus. Successful relationships are based on listening, something worth remembering at this time.
The dramatic expression of Venus in Leo can be readily seen through a collection of people who exemplify this combination. The wildly inventive Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi (“gaudy”) personifies the joyous creativity of Venus in Leo. Show biz icons Lauren Bacall, Bob Fosse, Barbara Walters and Tom Cruise are also part of this group.
Gestalt guru Fritz Perls was born with Venus in Leo, as were designers Joshua Logan and Pierre Cardin, author Jacqueline Susann, artist Andy Warhol, financier Michael Milken and magician David Copperfield.
Venus in Leo includes superstar performers Whitney Houston, Madonna, Michael Jackson and Paula Abdul. With Venus in Leo, Amy Fisher, Xaviera Hollander, John Holmes, Jessica Hahn and Pamela Anderson have achieved fame through sex. Yet, the higher side of Venus in Leo love is found in the charts of the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa and Mary Baker Eddy.
The Words of Confucius