Winter Solstice officially occurs Saturday night December 21st in North America. But the entire weekend is filled with sacred solstice light.
This is the perfect time to pause for a moment or two. Silently express gratitude for all life on Earth – Life made possible through the magic alchemy of sunlight, soil and water.
Winter Solstice Chant
Vines, leaves, roots of darkness, growing, now you are uncurled and cover our eyes with the edge of winter sky leaning over us in icy stars. Vines, leaves, roots of darkness, growing, come with your seasons, your fullness, your end. ~Annie Finch
All the complicated details of the attiring and the disattiring are completed! A liquid moon moves gently among the long branches. Thus having prepared their buds against a sure winter the wise trees stand sleeping in the cold. ~William Carlos Williams
On August 7th, we will reach the halfway point between summer solstice and autumn equinox in the northern hemisphere. This is one of four “cross-quarter” days that occur in our annual trek around the Sun
Many of our ancestors celebrated the harvest at this time of year. The Celtic people in the British Isles paid homage to the Sun God Lugh at this time. The first sheaf of wheat was harvested and ceremoniously ground and baked into bread for the festival of Lughnasadh. Bonfires were lit to honor the fiery energies of the Sun. The fruits of the harvest were celebrated and shared by everyone.
Later in Britain, the festival of Lughnasadh became Lammas Day. The festival of Lammas was held to honor the wheat harvest. The word Lammas comes from the Anglo-Saxon hlaf-mas or “loaf-mass.” On the day of Lammas it was customary to bring a loaf of bread made from the new crop to church in celebration and gratitude.
Many centuries before Lugh or Lammas existed, the Goddess Arinna was worshiped by ancient tribes living in the region that is now Turkey (1400 BCE). Arinna was their main solar deity and her consort was the weather god, Teshub. Arinna was honored for creating the natural abundance of our Earth and making human life possible.
Whether through honoring Arinna, Lugh or Lammas, our ancestors took time to express their gratitude for the bounty of the harvest every year. Their ceremonies were ritualized ways for the community to acknowledge and honor the food that grows when Father Sun unites with Mother Earth. Our ancestors lived closer to the Earth and the cycles of the seasons. They understood that all life on Earth depends on the magical union of sun, seed and earth.
What have you harvested this year? What are you grateful for? During this sacred time, take a few moments to express gratitude for all the abundance in your life.
And take time to thank Mother Earth and Father Sun for life itself.
Now is the time of first harvest in the Northern Hemisphere. Traditionally, our ancestors held festivals at this time of year to celebrate the bounty that Mother Earth and Father Sun create.
Take a few moments to pause and take stock of everything you have accomplished and “harvested” in your life this year. Offer thanks to our Earth and Sun for the life they offer us all.
Celt Mara Freeman shares insights about harvest time below:
It’s high summer – time to celebrate the old Celtic festival known as Lughnasadh in Ireland and Lammas in Britain – the traditional time of pilgrimage in the northern Celtic lands where for centuries people have rejoiced in the endless light-filled days by climbing sacred hills, drinking at holy wells, or voyaging to green islands set like jewels in a sunlit sea.
As we pause in our labours, celebrate the warm weather and enjoy the fruits of our daily work, we have an opportunity to take stock of what the seasons so far have yielded: to reflect upon our hopes and dreams that were sown in the dawn of the year, came to life in the springtime, and are now maybe ready to bear fruit. On the spiritual level, we can ask ourselves what wisdom we have garnered so far this year: What will be the harvest of our souls?
For as the wheel turns, the life-giving triumph of the harvest must give way to death, reminding us that nothing stands still, and that on the human level, for whatever is gained in our lives, there must be an equal giving-away, a sacrifice, so that cosmic balance and order can be maintained.
And The Shamanic Astrology Mystery School shares details about the astronomical and astrological significance of early August:
Lughnassadh (pronounced Loo-nuh-suh) refers to harvest and victory and is usually celebrated on August 1 or 2 but the actual zodiacal cross-quarter is August 7 when the Sun reaches 15 Leo.
In 2018 on August 7 the Sun is within a couple of degrees of Retrograde Mercury at 17 Leo adding to this unusual Cross-Quarter Time.
The August Cross-Quarter marks the half-way point between the June Solstice and the September Equinox – an in-between time for gaining insight and/or inspiration. Said another way this is excellent time for divination, meditation, journeying and connecting with other forms of guidance.
Next week, the Moon will “extinguish” our Sun for a brief time. A small strip of the North American continent will be aligned just so, and when the Moon moves between our Earth and Sun, it will cover the entire Sun, turning morning into night.
I have fantasized about seeing a total solar eclipse ever since I read Annie Dillard’s description of one many years ago:
“The second before the sun went out we saw a wall of dark shadow come speeding at us. We no sooner saw it than it was upon us, like thunder. It roared up the valley. It slammed our hill and knocked us out. It was the monstrous swift shadow cone of the moon. I have since read that this wave of shadow moves 1,800 miles an hour. Language can give no sense of this sort of speed—1,800 miles an hour. It was 195 miles wide. No end was in sight—you saw only the edge. It rolled at you across the land at 1,800 miles an hour, hauling darkness like plague behind it.
…Less than two minutes later, when the sun emerged, the trailing edge of the shadow cone sped away. It coursed down our hill and raced eastward over the plain, faster than the eye could believe; it swept over the plain and dropped over the planet’s rim in a twinkling. It had clobbered us, and now it roared away. We blinked in the light. It was as though an enormous, loping god in the sky had reached down and slapped the Earth’s face.”
The Sky Gods will perform a bit of celestial magic overhead on Monday August 21. I will be heading north tomorrow to experience the totality first hand. I’m looking forward to the show.
How might this magnificent sky show affect us physically, mentally, emotionally?
In a few days, Earth’s northern hemisphere will reach the halfway point between summer solstice and autumn equinox. This is one of four “cross-quarter” days that occur in our solar year.
Many of our ancestors celebrated the start of harvest on this particular cross-quarter day. The Celtic people of the British Isles paid homage to the Sun God Lugh at this time. But long before Lugh was known, Arinna was worshiped by the ancient tribes living in the region that is now Turkey (1400 BCE). The Solar Goddess Arinna was their main deity. Her consort was the weather god, Teshub.
I love what Cayelin Castell has to say about worship of the Solar Goddess:
“Before the patriarchy this Cross-Quarter celebrated the Sun Goddess thanking her for the abundance of the ripened grain. As the Solar Feminine was diminished during patriarchal times this festival celebrated the Sun God. The Irish called him Lugh (Light). Lugh’s festival focused on celebrating the skills of the warrior and the craftsmen with less emphasis on the ripened grain or bounty of the mother as a gift from the Solar Feminine.
It is true that the Solar Feminine is returning to our awareness in many ways now. So it seems appropriate that the cross-quarter points are a time for remembering the original Solar Feminine festivals and their intent.
The February Cross-Quarter celebrated the Mother’s (Solar Feminine) power to give life including the life giving light of the lengthening days.
The May Cross-Quarter celebrated the Solar Feminine in her passion for intimate pleasure and the beauty of life in great abundance.
The August Cross-Quarter celebrated the Solar Feminine for her abundant life giving gifts of Food and sustenance for the coming winter season .
The November Cross-Quarter celebrated the Solar Feminine power to live through death and be reborn to a new life.
The returning strength and power of the Solar Feminine is a reminder to honor and celebrate the gifts of life-giving nourishment that we all enjoy. If you feel inspired by this you might use the first week of August as a time to give daily gratitude for the Earth and all that she gives us everyday.
At the Turning of the Ages we might ask: What are the new emerging ceremonies and celebrations that are relevant now?” ~Cayelin Castell
Turn your face to the Sun And let the shadows fall away…
Summer Solstice is upon us!
Summer Solstice is sacred Sun time. Here in the northern hemisphere, it normally falls between June 20-22 each year. It denotes the longest day and shortest night of the year.
Young children dance with the Solstice Sun. They run and jump and scream with sunny joy. They beg to stay up just a little longer so they can squeeze every last drop of living out of the long sunlit days. Children intuitively understand the power of this sacred Sun time.
Let’s follow their lead. Go outside! Soak up the sacred rays that bring life to this beautiful blue planet. Enjoy the green fields and flowers of early summer. Revel in Nature’s abundance. Get up early and watch the sunrise. Pause and honor the sunset at the end of another long luscious summer day.
Allow the sacred abundance of summer to bless you.