What does a druid do on the winter solstice? That depends on the druid.
If you’re a Reconstructionist, you don’t do much. There isn’t a whole lot of evidence that the ancient druids did anything to celebrate the two solstices and equinoxes; their high holy days were the four cross-quarter holidays (Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain). The solstices and equinoxes aren’t even marked in the Coligny calendar, for example, while there is evidence there for Samhain, Lughnasadh, and Beltane.
If you’re a Revivalist, you celebrate Alban Arthuan, the festival to honor King Arthur and the return of the light. Druids commonly gather in a sacred space and watch for the sun to rise, greeting it with the powerful “Awen” chant, and honoring it with ceremony. However, the Revivalists are not dogmatic, and traditions vary widely among them.
I have called myself Reconstructionist on this site several times, but honestly I’m not quite sure about that.
Continue reading “Winter Solstice 2007”
This post is going to be rather more controversial than most. I’ll be getting deep into politics. But this is at the forefront in my mind and conscience, and the shape of government and society is a spiritual issue for me.
The Fall of the Empire
The name of America tells a tale. Phonosemantically, the sounds in America seem to parallel the history of the United States. The first syllable, “a”, is pronounced “uh” and indicates both freedom and thoughtfulness, and is appropriate for the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers. Its primary syllable, “mer”, is similar to the Middle English mere of mermaid, and Latin mare of maritime — “the sea“ — and suggests a manifestation of strength and power, appropriate for the military and economic strength of the United States as it extended its domain across the continent. The next syllable, “ric”, is similar to rich, reach, and Reich, and indicates solidification and containment of power, appropriate to America’s imperial ambitions. The final syllable, “a”, is pronounced “ah”, and indicates a return to Source energy. This corresponds to nothing in America’s history so far. We can only hope.
Furthermore, each phase of America’s history above corresponds to about one hundred years. The short “a” syllable pairs up with the end of the 1700’s; “mer” is the 1800’s, and “ric” is the 1900’s. Now we’re at the beginning of the final “a”, which means the American Empire — by which I mean our dominance in the economic and geopolitical sphere, despite the fact that our borders haven’t changed much since the 1800’s — should be ending.
And it is — though this may not be obvious.
Continue reading “Vaster than Empires and More Slow”
The New Year is coming! Here in Massachusetts we’re in the midst of our first major snowstorm, and while it’s too cold for the big white fluffy flakes, the fall of the tiny ice crystals is like the tinkling of fairy bells. The acres of grass surrounding our new home (in Avallonia, on the east side of the Connecticut River!) have transformed into a field of swirled cream, and the apple tree standing guard alone in their midst seems to be laughing as it lifts its branches up to the sky and catches the snowflakes. (The tree has been much more communicative and friendly since we gave offerings to it at Samhain…)
So it’s my very great pleasure to offer to you the 2008 Almanac and Planner of Nature and the Ancient World, put together by my wife and myself over the last few months when we probably should have been unpacking or something. This has been a labor of love for us — for me, because there is a “Word of the Week”, landscapes, and quotes from the Druid Journal for every week — plus it was tremendous fun putting in the holidays, because I got to learn about so many celebrations from all over the world (did you know that Dec. 3 is International Basque Language Day??) — and for my friend Esmerelda, because she got to indulge her new love of weather wiccecraeft: she contributed a long essay about the theory and practice of weather control, and added tips for helping to alleviate global warming throughout.
I probably can’t do better than to quote from the introduction:
In this volume I have tried to bring together the most useful and interesting information — weather, astrological influences, holidays, passages to invite thought and spiritual reflection, and landscape art inspired by nature and the ancient world — in a simple format that allows you to plan and weave your life according to the rhythms of the earth and sky.
Each week you’ll find expected temperatures and rainfall, moon phases, important astrological events, and holidays from a multitude of traditions. You’ll also find an inspirational quotation — usually, but not always, from my site, the Druid Journal — and a “Word of the Week”, an in-depth exploration of a single word’s history and spiritual energy. Finally, the week is capped off with artwork created by myself in the style of my web site.
On top of all this, the quarter and cross-quarter holidays of modern paganism, which mark the grand turnings of the ancient year, are given special note, with history, etymology, and notes on climate. And last — but certainly not least! — Esmerelda, a local witch, has kindly provided an in-depth essay on weather magic, with particular attention to global warming — and what you can do about it! Continue reading “Announcing the DJ 2008 Almanac & Planner of Nature and the Ancient World”