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Posts Tagged ‘winter solstice’

I stand with Doubting Thomas.

Today is the feast day of St. Thomas the Apostle. The Gospels call him Thomas Didymus, “the Twin”; tradition calls him Doubting Thomas. The Gospel of John gives us the story that is read pretty much every year on the Second Sunday of Easter, Low Sunday, first after Easter Day–how he refused to believe that his fellow disciples had seen Jesus unless he, too, got to see Jesus, and not only see him, but touch him and verify his wounds.

I stand with Thomas, who was not there the first time Jesus appeared to all the disciples together. I stand with his desire to do what the others had no doubt already done: Seen Jesus, heard him, touched him, perhaps embraced him. He told Mary Magdalene not to cling to him, but later he told Thomas explicitly to touch him. And Thomas did.

I stand with Thomas, who asked awkward questions, who stood by Jesus even when he was certain it meant death. I stand with Thomas, who wanted his own experience of the Lord, his own relationship with Jesus, who was not content to rely on hearsay. I stand with Thomas, who wanted to verify that the Risen Lord was also the Crucified One, who demanded to see the holes the nails left and the wound made by a Roman spear.

I stand with Thomas, whom the Gnostics claimed for their own, in whose name one of the earliest Gospels was written, and to whom Christians in India trace their faith tradition. I stand with Thomas, who wanted not only to see Jesus and hear Jesus, but to touch him and perhaps even smell him and taste him. I stand with Thomas, who trusted his own senses, who was willing to give his heart only to Jesus.

“Blessed are they who have not seen yet have believed,” says the Gospel of John, and for centuries people have been encouraged to believe without experience, without relationship, without seeing the wounds of the Risen Lord and touching them in their own lives, and belief has slowly slipped along the scale from trust and faith to idea and opinion, and people have grown hungry and thirsty for God, rigid in “belief”, afraid in their hearts. I stand with Thomas, who tells us that the Lord who conquered death and passed through closed doors to eat and drink with his friends can pass through the doors of history and frozen beliefs to call us by name and invite us to touch his wounds.

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Winter Solstice. Alban Arthuan. Yule. Mothernights. Christmas. Dies Natalist Solis Invicti.

The shortest day and the longest night. The moment when the sun crosses the celestial equator at a particular point. For three days, the sun rises and sets at the same point on the horizon, at its southernmost position: Sol-stitia. It will do so again at the summer solstice in its northernmost position. Following the solstice, the days will get longer, the sun will rise and set more northerly, and the weather will get colder and more vicious even as the light lengthens, until Imbolc comes and it is officially spring.

A lot of things are going on at this season of the year. All of them are caused by a bit of a wobble in the earth’s rotation combined with the endless dance of its revolution. It is a wonderful thing to contemplate.

May we all have food, song, warmth, and fellowship this season. May we remember and reach out to those who are lacking. May our gods bless us. May we go forth into a good new year.

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My OBOD materials are on their way, travelling by air mail from Lewes in Sussex. Huzzah!

Meanwhile, I have The Dedicant Path through the Wheel of the Year, by Michael J. Dangler of ADF, and I’m realizing I can telescope the first few weeks of the program. Tomorrow is the start of Week Two by my current count; by the end of this calendar week, I should have performed my first High Day ritual using the liturgy of the Solitary Druid Fellowship and made my First Oath, a commitment to the path of Neopagan Druidry, as a part of that ritual.

It’s an oath I have made before, the last time I took a stab at the Dedicant work. I think that while I have not upheld the oath, the Powers have held me to it: Here I am again, more certain than ever that Druidry is where I belong, and finally undertaking some structured training. I’m an INFJ, and I need a good deal of structure; AODA has a fine curriculum, but I think it proved a little too seat-of-your-pants for  my needs, or I proved a little too much in need of specific direction for the program. In any case, if I carry out my plans for the next few days, I’ll have covered the first three weeks of Dangler’s schedule and can then sit back and recap using the SDF liturgy and observing the Antinoan holidays of the season as well.

And then, of course, I’ll be celebrating Christmas with my family. It’s all good.

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Wonderful pics from the Solstice, both summer and winter, at the Atlantic’s website.

Yoga practitioners doing their Sun Salutations in Times Square, New York.

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I spotted this at 108ZenBooks, remembered it from the lovely book Earth Prayers, and thought it was perfect for the day.  Nanao Sakaki, who died a year ago today, is the poet:

Within a circle of one meter
You sit, pray and sing

Within a shelter ten meters large
You sleep well, rain sounds a lullaby.

Within a field a hundred meters large
Raise rice and goats.

Within a valley, a thousand meters large
Gather firewood, water, wild vegetables and Amanitas.

Within a forest ten kilometers large
Play with raccoons, hawks,
Poison snakes and butterflies.

Mountainous country Shinano
A hundred kilometers large
Where someone lives leisurely, they say.

Within a circle one thousand kilometers large
Go to see southern coral reef in summer
Or winter drifting ices in the sea of Okhotsk.

Within a circle ten thousand kilometers large
Walking somewhere on the earth.

Within a circle one hundred thousand kilometers large
Swimming in the sea of shooting stars.

Within a circle one million kilometers large
Upon the spaced-out yellow mustard blossoms
The moon in the east, the sun in the west.

Within a circle ten billion kilometers large
Pop far out of the solar system mandala.

Within a circle one million light years large
Andromeda is melting away into snowing cherry flowers.

Now within a circle ten billion light years large
All thoughts of time, space are burnt away
There again you sit, pray and sing
You sit, pray and sing

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… in a magical working for the Winter Solstice.

This effort comes from writer and mage Jason Augustus Newcomb, author of The New Hermetics and 21st Century Mage.  I have studied and worked with Jason for five years and owe a lot of my direction on the Path to his books and his mentoring.  Please consider carrying out the following working between Monday, the Solstice proper, and Christmas Day:

Creating a Universal Solar-Hermetic Egregore

This Solstice, I want your help in creating a giant battery of magical power, love, wisdom, peace, prosperity and strength. I want to create a universal egregore that magically links all participants with a huge source of communal magical strength and vitality for the coming year.

The solstice is traditionally a time for solar rebirth, and this year I want to birth a Solar-Hermetic “Sunchild” with the help of magicians all over the world all working together in love to create something beautiful in unity. If we all work together we could have hundreds or even thousands of people contributing energy to a huge magical battery that will only become more powerful each time it is used.

The “Sunchild” is an androgynous godling that will contain the collective love, wisdom and power of every participant. The power of the egregore will constantly expand as contributors will become more powerful as they become harmonized with the forces invoked, so that the power within the egregore will constantly grow. This will also coincide with the solar force increasing in the coming year.

The working will be extremely simple and fairly short to conduct (about 20 minutes), and yet highly powerful as well as healing to the world. There will be no particular temple set up, and no tools needed. I have created a guided audio recording that will completely direct you through the simple inner magical procedure.

Click here to download this free recording:

http://jasonaugustusnewcomb.com/store/initsec.html

All you need to do is face the setting sun right as it is descending below the horizon on the day of the Solstice, or any day after that up until Christmas, then play the recording and follow along as you give and receive various magical energies to birth the “Sunchild.”

Please participate in this, and spread the word to help get magick users and esotericists all over the world to participate. Tell everyone in your lodges, covens, meetup groups, your massage therapists, reiki practitioners, everyone who might like to have a battery of loving power this year. Everyone is welcome, and everyone’s contribution will add more power and beauty to the “Sunchild.” I want to see hundreds or even thousands of people participating in this united working. I want us to create a truly Universal Solar-Hermetic Egregore that any and every esoteric practitioner can give to and draw upon.

If you cannot participate at sunset on the Solstice itself, please participate at sunset in the days following. There will be a constant rolling creation as people all over the planet send their energy up at their unique sunsets. This is a big revolutionary spell that circles the globe with the sunset for several days, involving hundreds or perhaps even thousands of magic users. Let’s make an amazing egregore of Love, Beauty and Power together.

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