Happy new year everyone! , I hope you all have a great time celebrating the New year and I hope 2018 is a great year for all of you 🙂
We have just returned from a moonlight walk in our locale woodlands and this New years eve we have had a clear sky and a full moon, what a great way to bring in the new year …..
This week we will all experience the Winter Solstice, the moment that the amount of available Sun light has reached its lowest amount each day. From the 21st of December on the amount of day-light will start to slowly increase again, you could say that this moment marks the tree new year in the solar calendar !
The solstice may have been a special moment of the annual cycle for some cultures even during neolithic times. Astronomical events were often used to guide activities such as the mating of animals, the sowing of crops and the monitoring of winter reserves of food. Many cultural mythologies and traditions are derived from this. This is attested by physical remains in the layouts of late Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeological sites, such as Stonehenge in England and Newgrange in Ireland.
I want to mark this week by sharing some of the great Pagan monuments and sites I have visited both in the UK and here in Ireland, To the Pagan people of the past this week was a very special one, it marked the moment of new birth. It is for moments like these that Pagan people assembled their standing stones and stone circles.
Today I have posted and image of (Castlerigg stone circle,Keswick in Cumbria, North West England), this stone circle is one of the best preserved in Europe and located just north of the lake district, you can seen many of Cumbria’s great mountains in the background.
This stone circle would not only have been used to record the moments of the Winter Solstice but likely all the the events both in the (Sun’s the Moon’s and the stars) calendar of movements.
Here are some great facts about the Castlerigg stone circle :
The stones are of a local metamorphic slate, set in a flattened circle, measuring 32.6 m (107 ft) at its widest and 29.5 m (97 ft) at its narrowest. The heaviest stone has been estimated to weigh around 16 tons and the tallest stone measures approximately 2.3m high. There is a 3.3m wide gap in its northern edge, which may have been an entrance. Within the circle, abutting its eastern quadrant, is a roughly rectangular setting of a further 10 stones. The circle was probably constructed around 3200 BC (Late Neolithic/Early Bronze-Age), making it one of the earliest stone circles in Britain and possibly in Europe. It is important to archaeoastronomers who have noted that the sunrise during the Autumn equinox appears over the top of Threlkeld Knott, a hill 3.5 km to the east. Some stones in the circle have been aligned with the midwinter sunrise and various lunar positions.
There is a tradition that it is impossible to count the number of stones within Castlerigg; every attempt will result in a different answer. This tradition, however, may not be far from the truth. Due to erosion of the soil around the stones, caused by the large number of visitors to the monument, several smaller stones have ‘appeared’ next to some of the larger stones. Because these stones are so small, they are likely to have been packing stones used to support the larger stones when the circle was constructed and would originally have been buried. Differences in opinion as to the exact number of stones within Castlerigg are usually down to whether the observer counts these small packing stones, or not; some count 38 and others, 42. The ‘official’ number of stones, as represented on the National Trust information board at the monument, is 40.
In the early 20th century, a single outlying stone was erected by a farmer approximately 90m to the south west of Castlerigg. This stone has many linear ‘scars’ along its side from being repeatedly struck by a plough, suggesting that it was once buried below the surface and also why the farmer dug it up. It is not possible to say whether this stone was originally part of the circle, or just a naturally deposited boulder.
The Water Replies
Maybe we have washed our hands
and drunk deep and swam
and think we know her,
but water’s reputation goes before her like a flood:
she does not suffer fools or gadflies.
Therefore I have prepared some questions.
Where do you get your ideas & your tide from?
Don’t say the moon – that’s really pretentious.
But as I clamber down the coast
I lose my footing and spend our allotted time
tossed around in her backwash,
pummelled by tiny stones.
When I am baptised I ask the water
Where have the demons gone?
Were they hiding behind the H, the 2 or the O?
I emerge finally able to see that I have not changed,
that I can of myself do nothing, that water decides.
On the towpath behind the church
I wring out my jacket. I ask the water:
Will you convey these thoughts away?
These itching hatreds, toothache of jealousy,
These squalid appetites and dog thirsts?
Just as far as the next city will do.
The ripples of the moon’s tablature.
When was the last time you cried, and why?
I ask the water. I ask the water:
Do you have plans later?
To the Moon
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,
Among the stars that have a different birth, —
And ever changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?
Thou chosen sister of the Spirit,
That gazes on thee till in thee it pities …
Esbats and Moon Phases
The Esbats are the Wiccan Full Moon Celebrations.
There are 12 – 13 Full Moons yearly, or one every 28.1/4 days.
The Moon is symbolic of the Goddess, as well as a source of energy.
Each Moon has a traditional name.
Each Full Moon has a different meaning and magickal purpose. Because of this, it is a good idea to plan your Full Moon Rituals to work with the meaning and purpose of the Moon. The Full Moon is also a traditional time for divinations of all kinds, as the power of the Moon aids in such work.
January – Wolf Moon Plan a ritual of protection around your home and family.
February – Storm Moon Plan a ritual to ask the Old Ones for help in planning your future.
March – Chaste Moon Plan a ritual to help fulfill your wishes is appropriate.
April – Seed Moon Plan a ritual to physically plant your seeds of desire in Mother Earth.
May – Hare Moon Plan a ritual to reaffirm your goals.
June – Dyad (pair) Moon Plan a ritual to balance your spiritual and physical desires.
July – Mead Moon Plan a ritual to decide what you will do once your goals have been met.
August – Wyrt (green plant) Moon Plan a ritual to preserve what you already have.
September – Barley Moon Plan a ritual of Thanksgiving for all the Old Ones have given you.
October – Blood Moon Plan a ritual to remember those who have passed from this world, and be sure to make an offering to them.
November – Snow Moon Plan for a ritual to work on ridding yourself of negative thoughts and vibrations.
December – Oak Moon Plan for a ritual to help you remain steadfast in your convictions.
A Blue Moon is variable and occurs when the Moon with it’s 28 day cycle
appears twice within the same calendar month, due to that month’s 31 day duration.
New Moon – Sometimes the moon phases are broken down further, where the new moon represents enchantments and temptations. These properties are also present at any other times during a lunar phase when the moon is unseen or clouded over.
Waxing Moon – New beginnings, protection, positive magick for growth, magick to bring things to you.
Full Moon – Any magick can be done during the full moon because magickal energies have reached their peek. This is the ideal time to do any magick.
Waning Moon – Banishments, bindings, removing yourself from negative influences, negative magick ONLY to protect yourself.
Irish Moon Gods
In Irish mythology, Elatha or Elathan (modern spelling: Ealadha) was a prince of the Fomorians and the father of Bres by Eri of the Tuatha Dé Danann. The imagery surrounding him (he visits Ériu at night by sea on a silver boat) suggests he may once have been a moon god.
Elatha is quoted as being the “The beautiful Miltonic prince of darkness with golden hair”. He was the son of Dalbaech and a king of the Fomor, he was father of Bres by Eri, a woman of the Tuatha de Danann. He came to her over the sea in a vessel of silver, himself having the appearance of a young man with yellow hair, wearing clothes of gold and five gold torcs. He was one of the Fomor who took part in the Second Battle of Magh Tuireadh.
During the Second Battle of Magh Tuireadh, Elatha, son of Dalbaech, watched over Dagda’s magic harp, Uaithne, sometimes called Dur-da-Bla, the Oak of Two Blossoms, and sometimes Coir-cethar-chuin, the Four-Angled Music. He is said to have a sense of humor and a sense of nobility.
Though considered to be the Fomorian father of Eochu Bres, Elatha (Elada) was also the father of the Dagda, Ogma, a son named Delbaeth, and Elloth (the father of Manannan mac Lir) according to the Lebor Gabala Erinn. The mother of these “Tuatha De Danann” chiefs may have been Ethne, the mother of Lug, based on Ogma’s often cited matronymic “mac Ethliu.” Since Ethne was Fomorian, this means they are all Fomorians. This is rather confusing, but may betray the battle between the two groups as actually being about the new generation of gods displacing the older generation.
Elatha and Bres
She told him that his father was Elatha, one of the Kings of the Fomorians; that he had come to her one time over a level sea in a great vessel that seemed to be of silver; that he himself had the appearance of a young man with yellow hair, his clothes decked with gold and five rings of gold around his neck. She had refused the love of all the young men of her own people, had given him her love and cried when he had left her.
Before he left he had given her a ring from his own hand and had bade her give it only to the man whose finger it would fit. Eri brought out the ring and put it on the finger of Bres and it fit him well. She and Bres and some of their followers then set out of the land of the Fomorians. At long last they came to that faraway land. Elatha the local King saw the ring on Bres’s hand and asked him the whole story and said that Bres was his own son. Elatha then asked Bres what it was that drove him out of his own country and his own kingship. Bres answered truthfully: “Nothing drove me out but my own injustice and my own hardness; I took away their treasures from the people and their jewels and their food itself. And there were never taxes put on them before I was their King. And still I am come to look for fighting men that I may take Ireland by force”. Elatha listened and then bade him go to the chief King of the Fomorians, Balar of the Evil Eye.
These are the names that Elatha has gone by and where that name stems from.
Elatha – Rolleston (author): Myths and Legends of Celtic Race
Elathan – Squire (author): Mythology of the Celtic People
Elathan – Lady Gregory (author): Gods and Fighting Men
Elathan represents an incorrect usage by Squire and Lady Gregory as Elathan is the genitive case of Elatha and means ‘of Elatha’.