and open to Her Wisdom."
25th Day of the 13th Lunar Cycle
Ruled by Hecate
Lunar Tree Cycle of Ruis/Elder
25th Day of the Celtic Tree
Month of Ruis/Elder
Moon phase: waning Half Moon
Moon rises: 1:46AM EST
Moon sets: 12:54PM EST
Moon in the Cardinal Air Sign of Libra
Ceridwen's Cycle of the Moon
Lunar Meditation: The life made available
Sun in Sagittarius
Sunrise: 7:38AM EST
Sunset: 4:55PM EST
Solar Question for the Day: ""What
prejudices are you holding onto?"
Samhain (Calan Gaeaf) Quarter
of the Year
December 19th, 2011
Moon Day - the Day of Remembering and Feeling - Impression Day
Chambers of the Sun - Throughout northern Europe a huge number of prehistoric and Neolithic sacred sites are oriented to capture the rays of the sun and moon at certain specific points in the year - generally these coincide with either the solstices or the equinoxes, which mark the subdivision of the year into quarters. The most famous of these sites is New Grange in Ireland, as its original name, AnLiamh Greine, the 'Cave of the Sun,' testifies. For about a week before and after the Winter Solstice, the light from the rising sun passes through a narrow slot above the doorway and sweeps down the 80-foot-long passageway into the heart of the central chamber. Striking the back wall, it illuminates a series of intricately carved spirals and solar discs. Four approximately seventeen minutes the light illuminates the chamber, then slowly retreats until all is dark again.....
A similar arrangement is found at sites such as Gavrants in Brittany (aligned with both sun and moon), Loch Crew in Ireland (sun and moon), Long Kennet in Wiltshire, England (sun), and at a number of stone circles that mark out the landscape of Britain from the Hebrides to Land's End.
Nor is this phenomenon found only in Europe. Throughout the ancient pre-classical world of the Mediterranean, as well as in the continents of Australia and North and South Americas, similar structures designed around the movement of the sun and moon have survived. One of the most striking can be found at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, where the Solstice sunrise creates the shape of two daggers flanking a spiraql carved into the cliff face. Another impressive monument is the pyramid at the Mayan site of Kukulkan in Chichen Itza, Mexico. Here the light of the rising sun crawls down the steps of the pyramid, forming the shape of a serpent (a sacred animal to the Mayans) that eventually seems to join onto the head of the serpent that is carved into the pyramid at the foot of the steps.
The Returning Sun
It seemed to these ancient peoples that when the sun went below the horizon it might never return and in order to prevent this they first practiced rites that would summon it back. They also sought to capture its light, and to this end fire itself became of central importance in the majority of these rites - it harbored and protected, fire would remain alive, as a symbol of the hidden sun.
Sometimes it was enough to celebrate the return of the sun, at others it was necessary to make sacrifices to the Goddess (and God) who was the source of its light, to insure that she returned. It is the legacy of these now long-forgotten ceremonies that lies at the heart of our own acknowledgment of the Solstices. Virtually every festival that was celebrated, or which still takes place today, owes something to these ancient celebrations of the year's turning.
The word soltice itself comes from the Latin sol steit, literally 'sun stands still,' which recognizes that for approximately six days in June and again in December, the sun appears to rise and set at more or less the same point on the horizon, appearing to stand still in the sky. For the people of the old world, the solstices effectively divided the year in two, a dark half and a light half; six months of waxing sun and six months of waning. The points where intersection offer, the borderlands between Summer and Winter, were of tremendous importance to these people, governing the round of their lives and serving as anchor points in the natural as well as agricultural and pastoral year. They have always been recognized as mysterious, shadowy, uncertain times, when the conviction that the sun would return becomes doubtful, and when the gates between the worlds stand ajar. At these times the coming and going of otherworldly beings, communications between the dead and the living happens all the more easily, and there is a need to propritate them, and to watch closely to see that things return to 'normal' once the Solstice tide has passed..
This was above all a time of celebration, of ritual acts designed to align the individual with the cosmos. Dances were devise4d to enact the movement of the seasons, the fertility of the land and people. The masked dancers and shamans of the Bronze Age and the Neolithic people are still reflected in the masked 'guisers,' who tour the outlying villages of Britain and Ireland to this day; while the shamans, who descended a ladder or tent pole into the smoky fires of the ancestral world, recall a more familiar red-suited figure who descends our chimneys every year at Midwinter.
[From: The Winter Solstice by John Matthews]