✨Preparing for Winter Solstice 🌲✨🌞December 20-21st ❄️

~ a winter solstice altar ~

✨O’ Goddess!

Give to me your magic

at your Solstice birthing Light.

When the darkest night arrives

and your Holly King takes his flight.

You birth and suckle your Solstice babe,

and bring forth all that’s bright.

O’ Goddess

Illuminate our hearts

with your promise of beginnings anew.

As the Wheel turns

and births us

to the Self

which is most true. ✨

To the ancient Celts, sunlight meant survival. Ancient civilizations who endured the harshness of winter found hope and the joyful promise of warmth in the arrival of winter solstice, The December solstice, which occurs on December 21 this year, 1559hrs UTC, marks the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. On the December solstice, the Sun reaches its southernmost position in the sky, no matter where on Earth you happen to be. In the Northern Hemisphere, the daylight increases a bit more each day. Lengthening from a mere 7 to 8 hours of light daily until peaking at summer solstice, the longest day, with about 15 hours of light. And from there, the days become shorter again until, little by little, we arrive once more at winter solstice.

photo credit: NASA

The ancient neolithic Celts created stone circles that aligned with the solstices.

The 3000 BCE stone circle at Rhone-Alpes, at the little St. Bernard Pass is 236 feet in diameter and 7185 feet above sea level. There are 46 low stones, with a group of three large stones aligned to the point where the sun sets at solstice.

Rhone -Alps Stone Circle c. 3000 BCE

The Insular Celts created womb-like monuments and megaliths that fill with the morning light of solstice, like Stonehenge, where the sun light shines directly into the center of the womb-like circle from the Southwest on solstice morning. At Newgrange, the sunlight shines through a rather small opening, a roofbox, illuminating an ancient underground womb-like stone chamber on solstice morning.

Newgrange at Winter Solstice 2021. photo credit: Office of Public Works, Ireland

To our inner lives, the winter solstice brings the vibrations of earth energies and light that penetrates the darkness in our psyche, heart and soul. Penetrates our psyche’s layers, just as the light of the solstice sun penetrates and illuminates the darkest time of the year.

Here, we find opportunity to re-birth our new Selves in the stillness of winter, follow the seasonal vibration and cycle of the now slow and silent earth.

Here, in the stillness of our innerscape, we will discover unknown aspects of ourselves, new goals, hopes, dreams and aspirations for the coming harvest of our life. Here, we gestate, create and give birth within the cauldron of our psyche.

Winter Solstice creates the womb of sacred space for us to spin and weave our new, intimate story by the hearth fire of our heart.

~Winter Solstice Evening Meditation~

Create sacred space.

Call in the Goddess of Light

Within the sacred space, place a mirror and a lit white candle.

Burn a little incense of sage or vervain mixed with pine needles and mistletoe. Dress the white candle with bayberry, and cinnamon oil.

Sit before the mirror and lit candle and look into your reflection in silence.

Study your Self reflection.

Breathe.

Trust your inner Self.

Breathe.

Be with your Self.

Breathe.

See what happens.

Put it in your Journal.

Bright blessings on Your Journey.✨

In Her service, Rhiannon Ostara 🌀

Preparing for Imbolc🐑February 1st-2nd. ✨🌀

Imbolc has a special meaning for me. It’s a time of joyful initiations and collaborating and guiding our student’s personal spiritual paths to magical intuitive experiences of renewal, self care and healing. The removal of blockages, negative thought patterns and false beliefs that would keep one from their personal goals and dreams. Imbolc reminds us that we must never forget our dreams, for these very dreams are our inspirations for the seeds of our magic. At Imbolc, we shine warmth and love onto the seeds of our soul, feed them daily and watch them grow and never lose sight of them, as this is the true magic of life. The magic which keeps us forever eternal, youthful and filled with the joy and motivation for living in fullness.

This is a time to introduce the element of Fire into personalized curriculums. Not the blazing fire of Beltane and Summer Solstice just yet, but rather the intimate, creative and healing Hearthfire within the soul and the discovery of it. It is a time to get in touch with one’s inner child and explore one’s intuition and fantasies, to fulfill dreams left in childhood or young adulthood that were dearly cherished, stir them in the cauldron of the soul and manifest them with the awakening energies of Mother Earth.

As modern practitioners, we joyfully celebrate Imbolc in our homes with the lighting of candles to celebrate the illumination of the sun warming our lands, with the promise of abundance in our lives. Of flowers, herbs, food and grain for the thriving of our people and our animals. On Imbolc, we build sacred hearth fires sprinkled with a bit of the dried flowers and herbs from the last harvest that lovingly decorate our rooms during winter’s icy winds. Dried bunches of calendula with flowers of orange and golden sun hang in our kitchens, sprinkled in soups to warm our bellies and mixed in salves with mint to soothe our bodies from the frigid winds. We cook special foods of bannock cakes and scones smothered in fresh warm butter, in honour of the coming growth of grain and milking ewes. We make dolls and inbue them with our dreams and goals for the coming seasons. We fashion Brighid crosses to post over our doorways for protection. We bless our homes and hearths with the water from streams, wells and melted snow and smudge our homes with curling spirals of burning incense made of hawthorne. We bless the breasts and bellies of pregnant women to ease the pangs of childbirth when the time comes. At Imbolc, we may self-initiate, and initiate one another into sacred circles, welcoming novices, new priestesses and priests and their children and familiars into the fold of the magical community.

Imbolc celebrates the awakening of Mother Earth and a coming of the end of hibernation. This is a time to prepare and make plans for the future, create beauty and fertile soil to plant the seeds of the harvest once more. The birthing of lambs welcomes Her.

Intuitive practitioners now sense a stirring of new vitality in their inner being as the Wheel turns again, this time, towards Spring Equinox, and the birthing of newness in the Earth and Sky.

Companion pets become more playful now, demanding more interaction and outdoor moments, as Earth takes on new tastes and smells that arouse their senses.

Wild forest creatures show their faces more frequently now.

Children sense the vibrational change, experience growth spurts and high energy, and want for exploration and adventures.

Young adults develop a fresh awareness of their emotions and sexuality, seeking love and mating experiences.

Adults are energized with new personal and career goals with a heightened stirring creativity and plans for action begin to form in their psyche.

Seniors awaken to a deeper, stronger, more powerful wisdom to share with the world.

🌀

The Ancient Celts called upon Fire Goddesses to heal them from the hardships of winter and bring the promise of rebirth, beauty, fertility, robust health and the awakening of the land.

Imbolc was observed in Ireland and Scotland with reverence to Brighid or Brihde of the Tuatha de Dannan of Ireland by the insular Celts. Proto Neolithic pagans honoured Holde of the ancient Germanic pantheon, and Beiwe of the Saami greens the land for the reindeer to feed.

Brighid’s Cross

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Imbolc, the astro half-way point between winter solstice and spring equinox, is a proto-Celtic celebration of agrarian peoples.

Archeologically noted in the illumination of the Neolithic inner chambers of a megalithic monument which is perfectly aligned with the rising sun of Imbolc, Dumha na nGiall,a neolithic structure, c. 3350 and 2800 BCE located in the Tara Skryne valley of County Meath, Ireland, is an ancient passage tomb. The passage and back wall is illuminated on the morning of Imbolc, as well as Samhuinn. It is considered a sacred proto-Celtic site. The 13 spiral carvings on the back wall of the cavern are thought to be the 13 phases of the moon.

Dumha na nGiall’s back wall illuminated by the morning sun on Imbolc and Samhuinn

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Globally, Imbolc 2021 ushers in the gentle hearthfires of hope for our future with the opportunity to put a devastating pandemic behind us after a quarantine that, to many of us, felt like one long winter hibernation. We may now embrace the discovery of a vaccine with the imperative understanding of its potential: the vaccination of only 80% of the world population will completely eradicate the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

Blessed be ✨🕊🌀

Marija Gimbutas names Hulda (or Holda, Holla, Holle) as having originally been an ancient Celtic Germanic supreme goddess who predates most of the Germanic pantheon, including deities such as Odin, Thor, Freya and Loki, continuing traditions of pre-indo European Neolithic Europe.

Reference: Gimbutas, Marija. The Living Goddesses. Berkeley; University of California Press 2001.

Image Credits:

Holde, the good protectress. 1842. Friedrich Wilhelm Heine.

Dumha na nGiall photo credit: Knowth .com

Brigid’s Cross credit: Ballyrogan, Whitlow, Ireland (Etsy)