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Celebrating the Spring Equinox 2015, with its Pagan traditions

Sunrise behind the standing stone. Knockmealdown Mountains. County Waterford. Irish landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

Sunrise behind the standing stone.
Knockmealdown Mountains.
County Waterford.
Irish landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

The Spring equinox 2015 celebrating

Today marks the arrival of spring, the date of the vernal equinox, or spring equinox as it is known in the northern hemisphere. Spring equinox. During an equinox, the Earth’s North and South poles are not tilted toward or away from the sun. (Ref :Wikipedia)

The oldest footprints in the world 2

This means the sun will rise exactly in the east and travel through the sky for 12 hours before setting in the exactly west.An equinox happens twice a year around March 20 and September 22 when the Earth’s equator passes through the centre of the sun.

For those in the southern hemisphere, this time is the autumnal equinox that is taking people into their winter.

In English there is open access to Stonehenge tomorrow. Access will be from 05:45am until 08:30am.

Druids and Pagans like to gather at Stonehenge early in the morning to mark the Spring Equinox, to see the sunrise above the stones.

Knockroe pasage tomb 4

The Pagans consider this is the time of the ancient Saxon goddess, Eostre, who stands for new beginnings and fertility. This is why she is symbolized by eggs (new life) and rabbits/hares (fertility). Her name is also where we get the female hormone, oestrogen.

From Eostre also come the names “Easter” and “Esther” the Queen of the Jews, heroine of the annual celebration of Purim which was held on March 15. At Easter, Christians rejoice over the resurrection of Jesus after his death, mimicking the rebirth of nature in spring after the long death of winter.

It is also a time to cleanse your immune system with natural remedies. In Wiltshire and other parts of rural Britain it used to be tradition to drink dandelion and burdock cordials as the herbs help to cleanse the blood and are a good tonic for the body after a harsh winter.

The Equinox of the sun : Gallery

Slievenamon 13 11 2013

Yesterdays Sun 1

Sigma SD15 Kilkenny sunset 1

That sun on Midwinters day 2013


Midwinters day and the pagan goddess of the winter

Midwinters day 2013
The stone circle at Castlerigg
Landscape photography: Nigel Borrington

Today is Mid winters day or the Winter Solstice.

History and cultural significance

The solstice itself may have been a special moment of the annual cycle of the year even during neolithic times. Astronomical events, which during ancient times controlled the mating of animals, sowing of crops and metering of winter reserves between harvests, show how various cultural mythologies and traditions have arisen. This is attested by physical remains in the layouts of late Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeological sites, such as Stonehenge in Britain and Newgrange in Ireland. The primary axes of both of these monuments seem to have been carefully aligned on a sight-line pointing to the winter solstice sunrise (Newgrange) and the winter solstice sunset (Stonehenge). Significant in respect of Stonehenge is the fact that the Great Trilithon was erected outwards from the centre of the monument, i.e., its smooth flat face was turned towards the midwinter Sun.

That sun on Midwinters day 2013
The Solstice Sun set.

The winter solstice may have been immensely important because communities were not certain of living through the winter, and had to be prepared during the previous nine months. Starvation was common during the first months of the winter, January to April (northern hemisphere) or July to October (southern hemisphere), also known as “the famine months”. In temperate climates, the midwinter festival was the last feast celebration, before deep winter began. Most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter, so it was almost the only time of year when a supply of fresh meat was available. The majority of wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking at this time. The concentration of the observances were not always on the day commencing at midnight or at dawn, but the beginning of the pre-Romanized day, which falls on the previous eve.

Since the event is seen as the reversal of the Sun’s ebbing presence in the sky, concepts of the birth or rebirth of sun gods have been common and, in cultures using winter solstice based cyclic calendars, the year as reborn has been celebrated with regard to life-death-rebirth deities or new beginnings such as Hogmanay’s redding, a New Year cleaning tradition. Also reversal is yet another usual theme as in Saturnalia’s slave and master reversals.

Midwinters day 2013 CAILLEACH BHEUR

CAILLEACH BHEUR : The Celtic Goddess of winter

CAILLEACH BHEUR : Scottish, Irish, Manx, Great Goddess in her Destroyer aspect; called “Veiled One”. Another name is Scota, from which Scotland comes. In parts of Britain she is the Goddess of Winter. She was an ancient Goddess of the pre-Celtic peoples of Ireland. She controlled the seasons and the weather; and was the goddess of earth and sky, moon and sun.


Mid-summers day 2013

Pagan beliefs Air
Fuji film x100
Sunrise over kilkenny

Midsummer’s day 2013

Midsummer’s Eve/Litha/Feill-Sheathain/Alban Hefin/Gwyn Canol Haf

The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year falling circa June 22 when the Sun enters Cancer (this year 20 June 2012 19:09 EDT). This is the time of celebrating the Earth’s bounty. The God is vibrant and at the peak of his power and the Goddess is fertile and pregnant. This reflects in our fertile gardens, brimming with life and and the fruits of our labor. The Sun is bright and strong. Animals in nature have established families they are showing off to the world. Midsummer is a celebration of the Earth and all she provides for us, also known as Litha after an ancient European fertility Goddess. This is also time sacred for the Fae and is one of the days one can see the them (keep a sprig of rue in your pocket so they don’t lead you away!!)…This is the time when the Oak King and Holly King battle for supremacy again, Holly King emerges triumphant this time around, they meet again at the Winter Solstice when the Oak King shall prevail.
Activities:

Midsummer is a good time to see the Fae folk; skip through your garden ensures fertility (not necessarily your own fertility) for the season; renew your vows/affirmations/bond with the God/Goddess; Stay up the entire night (old custom); harvest your herbs and other light garden work (weeding, etc.); have a bonfire (if you are oh, so lucky to have the place & clearance to do so!!); If you practice sex magic today is a powerful day to do so; ideas for family: spend a day at the beach, go birdwatching (be sure to bring a bird guide!), gather flowers and make Midsummer crowns or garlands for you hair and/or altar.

Incense: Wisteria, Rose, Mints
Decor: Suns, green plants, flowers, early garden bounty, herbs, bees, butterflies, birds, dragonflies,etc.
Herbs/Flowers: St. John’s Wort, Fennel, Vervain, Trefoil, Mugwort, Lavender, Rose, Fern, Daisy, Elder, Honeysuckle, Oak, Chamomile
Colors: Red, Yellow, Gold (represents the Sun God), various shades of green
Stones: Jade, Garnet, Lapis Lazuli=psychic awareness & fertility of mind & body (for more info on lapis visit http://www.earthbow.com/crystals/lapis.htm) ,diamonds

Knockroe, County Kilkenny

Knockroe passage tomb
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Each midsummers there is a meeting at knockroe passage grave, Co Kilkenny to mark the rising and setting of the mid summers sun.

Knockroe Markings


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We welcome in Mid summers day !