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Wheel of the Year: Holidays, Sabbats, Blots, and Feast Days

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Falling Into Winter, Drawing Closer to the Ancestors
- Revised 29 December 2012
Elder's Meditation of the Day
"You could study the ancestors, but without a deep feeling of communication with them it would be surface learning and surface  talking. Once you have gone into yourself and have learned very deeply, appreciate it, and relate to it very well, everything will come very easily."  -- Ellen White, NANAIMO

Inside of every human being are our ancestors, and these ancestors still live.

Today, the white man calls this DNA, but there is more than DNA. We have the ability to go inside of ourselves and learn from the ancestors. The ancestor teachings reside in the place of the center.

The ancestors are waiting for us to come there so they can share the ancient teachings. It is said, "Be still and know".

Great Spirit, let me walk in the stillness.
I hope you all had a wonderful Samhain observance, whether it was an actual rite or only handing out candy to trick-or-treaters. This time of year, when the veil between the mundane world and the realm of the spirits is so thin, has reinvigorated my own spiritual journey. This Elder's Meditation seems especially appropriate at this time.

One who has helped me so much in this is my sister-from-another-mother, whose own relatives were among those who founded the
Spiritualist Church in New York State. 
Spiritualist Churches vary in beliefs and focus from church to church, region to region, and I haven't found one here in the Austin area, but I did find an online meetup group that has a parallel focus. An upcoming meeting will be dealing with Healing Ancestral Burdens:

"Scientists are just now discovering what Shamans and sages have always known: Traumas experienced by a person can be passed down to that person's descendents for many generations.  Unhealed traumas inherited from our ancestors can lead to such things as chronic illness, depression, abuse, and addictions in our own lives and the lives of our family members.

Indigenous cultures have always had methods for healing these ancestral burdens and freeing both the ancestral spirits who are bound by this energy and their descendents." --
Women's Shamanic Wisdom Circle

"Carl Jung's doctoral dissertation was not medical research but the
investigation of a medium, his maternal cousin, Hélène Preiswerk. His mother, Emilie Preiswerk, was born into a family that regularly practised Spiritualism.

The daughter of a man who held weekly seances with his dead first wife who instructed young Emilie to stand behind his chair to discourage ghosts. Jung showed a willingness to take Spiritualism seriously at this formative stage in his life and the early experiences with Hélène Preiswerk suggest a credence of Spiritualism as possible evidence of the supernatural.

The spiritualist narrative in Jung's personal life reached a climax in 1916 when he became convinced that his house was crammed with spirits. He practised a typically mediumistic activity of `spirit-directed' writing." -

I'd love to discuss this topic further...has anyone else had experience or interest? Tell us about it on our new Facebook page, or Join our Fellowship and let's talk!

Brightest blessings to all through the remaining dark days of winter, take heart as the sunlight hours grow longer in the coming month!

-- Cat >^..^<

Winter Solstice 2012
An Excerpt From Winter Solstice News 2011

Julmond (MoHG – 1-31 Dec.)
Aerrageola (AS – ‘Before Yule’)
Jolmanudr (Ice – ‘Yule Month’)
Heilagmonath (Fr – ‘Holy Month’)
Yule (Asatru – 1-31 Dec.)
(As published in Zeitgeist Winter Supplement 2005)

"The first frost passed through the lands last night, which is a good thing for collards and kale which are twinkling in the garden from the tiny ice crystals. These brassica family plants were well known during saga times and were very useful to the table since they can live and even thrive during cold temperatures – and usually get sweeter after the first frost. Out in the surrounding forest Sunna lights up the pines from her seasonally lower angle in the sky, exposing their long trunks to the light. The trees and shrubs reflect this light, hitting them with movement within its shadows. One who knows of fairies and elves might decide to believe that just out of sight are beings of mysterious origin.

Heathens know that in some cases these unknown shadowy beings can be named and should be either honored and welcomed, or else guarded against, during the coming Yule season. After all the Wild Hunt which began at Winters Night is said to intensify between Mothers Night and Twelfth Night!

Mothers Night marks the beginning of a High Holy time for most Heathens. One old way to honor the Mothers on Solstice Eve is to create a wreath to bring luck to the household during the Twelves. Try using natural and local materials to create your wreath, and get the kids involved. Perhaps you can identify a plant or two that looks nice in the winter landscape. This wreath can be used in your Mothers Nights Blot or Sumbel ceremonies as if it were the drinking horn by passing it from person to person so each can contribute something of their ancestors. Keep the wreath through the Twelves and burn it as you stay up on the Twelfth Night Fire as an offering."

"...This time of year is also the time when some old ways tell us sooth or prophecy might be important. Siegfried Goodfellow explores this topic in “The Importance of Sooth in Heathenism.” Through explorations of the Havamal, the World Tree, and Odin (who is noted to have had names like Sooth and Getter of Sooth), the image of sooth seem to be an important part of how Heathens connect with life: “…we have been on the world tree ourselves, and have thus experienced the traces of the interflow of everything, and that therefore, it lives within us, waiting to be awakened, through remembrance, through contact with the sensory materials about us.”

Fellowship of Earth, Moon, and Sky
Learning to live in a changing world.

The Fellowship of Earth Moon and Sky
Changes to the Holiday and Commemorations Calendar
Many sites have been consulted and edited to make  entries for the Fellowship's calendar -- but changes at Yahoo! and on the Greater Internet have rendered our calendar limited. Too often, there isn't enough room for a complete explanation or to give proper reference and resource information. Some listed celebrations have been found to be based on mere conjecture, as traditions have faded with time. Many holidays are celebrated on a lunar calendar, which doesn't correspond at all to the Gregorian calendar with its Leap Year. Some holidays are celebrated on a fixed date, but many change from year-to-year. Keeping up with those changes is not always easy: mea culpa, I am sorry for any inaccuracies. Instead of keeping the Fellowship's calendar entries up-to-date, I recommend you instead consult some of the following really excellent resources:

If you want to share your favorite holiday and festival websites and news, e-mail me, with the words "Holiday Calendar" in the subject line.

Man and Myth
The Metaphysical Interpretation of Faerie Tales

Follow Chesha Cat's board Calender Wheel of the Year on Pinterest.

To everything there is a season.

Pagan Roots of Major Holidays

There are very many festivals held during this season world-wide which honor gods, goddesses, or archetypal figures whose stories include themes of  death, darkness, abduction, sacrifice, nurturing, gender identity, coming-of-age, sexuality, mystery, fertility, rebirth, and the after-life. Connections between pagan holidays and Church or secular holidays like this one makes the historical efforts of the Church to Christianize the pagan population of modern-day Great Britain apparent to this day. -- Editor

A number of modern-day holidays can trace their roots to Pagan festivals, even the Christian holidays. About's Pagan/Wiccan Religion guide has outlined the roots of a few of the biggest holidays.

2014: Year of the Green Wood Horse

31 January 2014 - 17 February 2015

The Horse is one of the favorite animals of the Chinese zodiac. The Horse is useful, providing rapid transportation in the days before cars. The horse is not only a symbol of travel, but of speedy success.

Horses are competitive, love freedom, are passionate, and desire leadership. Those born in the sign of the Horse will be busy this year, with many goals being accomplished. Chinese horoscopes include the hour of the Horse, from 11 A.M. to 1 P.M, the time of day when sunlight is direct and abundant. The sign of the Horse is connected to heat, fire, and the color red. Horses are sociable and like getting attention. The Horse's passion and liking for the company of others, combined with the association with red, the color of love, makes the Horse a star of romance in the Chinese Horoscope.

Unlike other countries, horses weren't used for farm work in China, because they are held in higher esteem. Those kinds of jobs were the domain of the ox. Horses are more noble, and indispensable in battle. A human on horseback is likely from a noble or higher ranking family, therefore, those born in the Horse year care a great deal about appearances and manners.

Horses are extremely intelligent, but need to be trained to become useful. Without human guidance, the Horse is just a wild animal, unable to prosper or reach a meaningful destiny. Those of the Horse sign need self-discipline and attention to learning to achieve goals.

In the Chinese Five Element theory, the Horse is in the Fire category, because the Horse month is in the middle of summer. This makes Horse the strongest Fire animal of all 12 signs.

2014 is the year of Wooden Horse. Wood helps Fire to burn, and last longer. This can sometimes be too much of a good thing. When Horse has dealings with Tiger and Dog, the Fire temperament may burn too hot, with little patience.

If the element of Fire is favorable in the dealings of the person, they will have a good fortune in 2014. However, if  Fire is unfavorable to the person's sign, then 2014 will bring many problems. The phrase "busy putting out fires" is appropriate, when describing the likelihood of dealing with one problem erupting after another.

From the 18th of February, 2015, through 7 February 2016, the Year of the Sheep will govern. Asians are dreading this year, and are desperately trying to avoid it for childbirth, as it is predicted that only one child in ten born in the year of the Sheep will find happiness. This may only be a cultural bias, however, as Asian values view Sheep as being too passive.

The Lunar Phases
picture courtesy Mystical Times, New Hope, PA

The Wheel of the Year
Consult these pages at Body and Soul for more information on the changing seasons:

Say a prayer, send wishes of hope for a loved one.
Use the forum to write a message of hope.
Light a candle for the living or those beyond the veil.

You can pray and make invocations at any time, but at holidays, even very busy people make a special point to observe their chosen religion. You can light a virtual candle honoring any holiday, for yourself or for a loved one, at this site. Brightest blessings!

Celebrate Life

let my heart lift yours
with pure light
a celebration of life
everything holy and good.

let my song
catch your wide smile
let's share the passionate magic
of colors, bright and true

oh, every new day is a resurrection.

let the light shine in your heart
give it to others to glow.

Copyright © 1999-2003 leialoha, Daily Celebrations

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