Celebrating Litha/ Summer Solstice 2017

Nature is Sacred

Happy Summer Solstice everyone. It is the Summer Solstice or Midsummers Day in the Northern Hemisphere. The word Solstice comes from the Latin “Sol” meaning sun and “Sistere” meaning to stand still. It is the longest day of the year with 15 hours of sunshine. The sun is at its most powerful today. Celebrated by almost all cultures historically, it is an important time of the year for Pagans and Pantheists as one of the major festivals. Also known as Litha after the Anglo Saxon name for the summer months or Alban Heruin (light of the shore) in revival Druidry traditions, it is a great time to celebrate by having a BBQ and bonfire on the beach.

Crops have all been planted and are growing strongly, the earth is alive with blooming flowers, green trees and insects busy collecting pollen and making honey. It is a time to rest, to have…

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Celebrating Beltane/ May Day 2017

Merry Beltaine / Walpurgisnacht!

The days are warmer, the flowers are blooming, the tree buds have appeared, the fields are plowed, the birds are in merry spirits, the light has returned and magic is in the air!

Nature is Sacred

Happy Beltane/ May Day everyone. Beltane, meaning “bright fire” is one of the four great fire festivals of the ancient Celtic cultures. In ancient Irish culture it was the time when both the Tuatha De Danaan and the Milesians came to Ireland and was originally celebrated when the Hawthorns began to blossom. Half way between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice, it marks the start of the light half of the year and heralds the beginning of summer. According to historian Ronald Hutton, “the ritual of Beltane was found in all Celtic areas of the British Isles, but also in pastoral regions of Germanic and Scandinavian Europe.” The historical evidence for the celebration of this festival is much better than for others. The earliest references to it are from 900AD which state “lucky fire i.e two fires Druids used to make with great incantations, and they used to bring…

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By Land, Sea and Sky

It has been quite a few years since I started my pagan path. In that time, I have been initiated into a Wiccan tradition and eventually obtained my Second Degree, as well as immersed myself in learning more about Wicca, Druidry, Heathenry, Reconstructionism, and Celtic and Germanic history, mythology and folklore. But when I restarted my life in a new city, I began the search for spiritual connection once again.  Part of that was found in the Unitarian Universalist congregation in my area, who have a strong association with the earth and those with earth-centered spiritual beliefs. I met a few other like-minded souls, but for a time, I felt like I had yet to meet my people here. However I feel that changing. Some recent activities and social events have inspired me and I feel I am going down the right path.

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Winternights

Winternights (Vetrnætr) is one of the three major festivals celebrated in pre-Christian Scandinavia, the others being midwinter (Yule, Jól/Jólablót, Hökunótt) and the beginning of the summer raiding season (Sigrblót “Victory Blot” or Sumarmál). Snorri Sturluson wrote of these festivals in the Ynglinga saga of the Heimskringla: “There should be a sacrifice at the beginning of winter for a good year, and in the middle of winter for a good crop, the third in summer day, that was the sacrifice for victory.”

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Sacred Wonders of Britain

Sacred Wonders of Britain (BBC, 2013)

Archeologist Neil Oliver sets off on a journey to reveal the sacred face of Britain, an ancient landscape of belief and ritual that lies hidden just below the surface of the modern world. From Britain’s remotest islands to the heart of its cities, Neil searches for clues that tell us how these wonders came to be. What was it about Britain’s rich and varied landscape that inspired people to express their beliefs by reshaping the world around them? What did they see that led them to deem some places more sacred than others? And why are we still drawn back to those places today? (Knowledge)

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Skadi, the Snow Queen

Skadi, Skade, Skathi (Norse), Sceadu (Anglo-Saxon)

Skadi (Skaði) is a female jötunn (giant) and goddess of winter, snow, mountains and the hunt. She is also associated with independence, wilderness and wisdom. Skadi lived in the highest reaches of the snow-covered mountains. She was described as being tall and beautiful with long black hair, silver armour, showshoes, skiis and a bow and arrow. Continue reading