Random thoughts and essays as we meander through the haze. Spirituality, politics, community & love--- practice solidarity here.
Friday, December 21, 2007
The Wheel Turns
Here we are at Winter Solstice, after a long dark night, the light returns for the next six months—each day growing a bit brighter than the one before.By the Celtic calendar, this day marks the halfway point of winter, and we can look forward to spring beginning on Imbolc, February 2nd.
In in my branch of earth based spirituality, this marks the beginning of the year; as the light returns, so the cycle is again renewed.During the long night of Solstice, it is a great time to think about all that you want to shed.What is no longer serving you?What do you want to leave behind as the wheel turns. And since balance is always important, as the sun grows stronger, it is time to envision what you want to increase in your life, community and world.As every good pagan knows, nature abhors a vacuum-- whenever you rid yourself of something, it will behoove you to give thought to what you are making room for. Remember, the personal is political, and the political is personal; you don't need to be limit your meditations to your individual life—this can also reflect wishes for your community and your world.
Being an animist, pagan, spiral walking type, I love following the cycle of the year, and see the changing of the seasons as the eternal dance of the goddess and god, known by many names.The goddess is constant, with no beginning, and never ending. She is always transforming; throughout the year, we experience her as the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone, and then back again, seamlessly. The god's cycle follows that ofthe lifespan that we know, beginning with birth on Winter's Solstice, and ending with death at Samhain. Throughout the year, these archetypes, or powers, change in season with the world around us.
Let's start with today, the Winter Solstice.As I have said, this is the time that the cycle renews. As the Sun is re-born, a new year begins with bright and shining potential. As the new sun grows in strength, what aspirations do we want to grow into reality?What can we do to give strength to that new world that has justice, love and laughter at its core?
Next comes Imbolc.Traditionally, this involves a feast dedicated to Brigid.This is the beginning of spring, as the lambs are born, and signs of life begin to appear in earnest, giving hope that the greening of the year is getting under way.This is a time of beginnings, and initiation. The god is still in infancy, but gaining strength, the goddess rests after birth, readying herself for the Rites of Spring, celebrated at the next turning point.
Ostara, aka the Spring Equinox—the Rites of Spring. This is a time to celebrate the fertility of the goddess in her Maiden role, and the god grows well into his youth.This is a time to nurture and feed what we have started, and see what else needs to be manifested in our lives.This is the time of the planting—laying tangible foundations for your ideas and projects.
Beltaine is a celebration of sexuality, and the year turns to early summer.Traditionally celebrated by erecting a Maypole, and dancing during the day, giving way to bonfires and sex at night.This is the time that the god becomes a man through his union with the goddess. As the poem goes:
"Hooray! Hooray! for the 1st of May, Outdoor fucking begins today!"
Alright, it's probably not an ancient poem, but I have to say, I like the sentiment.
At Summer Solstice, or Midsummer, the god enjoys the apex of his power.This is a time of great expansive energy and celebration. This is the time to focus your power to give your dreams "lift off". Play hard. Think of the energy as a drum circle reaches that fevered frenzied climax. Manifest!!!
Lammas is celebrated August 1st.It is the festival of the first harvests; assess what you have manifested, how is it coming in? What do you need to prune, adjust, reshape? This is the time that the god grows older, waning in energy, while the goddess as mother harvests the seeds and nurtures the god growing within her, awaiting his re-birth.
At Mabon, or Fall Equinox, we celebrate balance. Projects dreamed in the winter and started in the spring come to fruition. It is a time to give thanks for what has come into your life and to prepare for the more introspective times ahead.The god, old now, rests after harvest-- preparing for his death.
The last turn of the year is Samhain. This is a time of dreaming, of communion with the dead, and those spiritual allies that are not incarnate. The veil separating this physical world from the land of the dead and the faery grows the thinnest at this time of year, making it a great time to gain advice and contemplate visions to guide you through this dark and introspective time. The god dies on this day, and old year passes away. The world lies fallow,resting until the gods rebirth.
Which brings us back to today.
The winter solstice technically happens at 10:08 tonight, Pacific Standard Time, but this turning point, like all pagan holidays, encompasses a short span of time as energies grow and shift.Pagan holidays don't really work in a binary sort ofon/off switch way.The lessons of each season coming daily before our eyes.So as we move into this time of renewal, ask yourself what you want to transform or renew in your own life.What are you making room for?What are you leaving behind?
And then there is the global orgasm for peace. A movement to have everyone in the world orgasm at the time of solstice (yes, 10:08 PM tonight, PST, adjust for local time), while thinking about world peace. Sort of the next step in the "Make love, not war", philosophy.
While I think that we have to do much more then cum for peace to change the world, I do believe that consciousness creates reality, and good sex is a great way of raising energy, so why not? Besides, it sounds like fun.