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The Sun Reborn
The Winter Solstice- on the 21st December in the Northern Hemisphere -is that wonderful time on the Wheel of the Year when The Sun returns to the world. From out of the darkest day of Winter comes the rebirth of the light.
Ancient cultures have always marked the Winter Solstice with rituals and celebrations. On this shortest day of the year our ancestors would gather to light fires and perform rituals to honour The Sun and welcome it’s return to us.
Many of us continue to do so, and at the most famous spiritual sites here on Earth, gatherings will still be held to mark the Winter Solstice.
The 5000 year old Burial Chamber at Newgrange, County Meath, Ireland. The chamber was built so that on the Winter Solstice a beam of light penetrates the roof-box and travels up the 19 metre passage and into the chamber. As the sun rises higher, the beam widens so that the whole chamber is dramatically illuminated.
This time of year has always been celebrated
The Romans held the week long festival of Saturnalia around the time of the Winter Solstice. This was held to honour the god Saturn and involved extensive, lavish feasts and gift-giving. Ancient Egyptians honoured the rebirth of Ra, the god of the sun.
The Yule celebrations of Northern Europe also arose from the ancient tale of the eternal battle between the Oak King, who symbolises the warmth and light of the Summer months and the Holly King, who represents the cold darkness of Winter.
Here in The British Isles, celebration of the solstice included Druidic traditions, like the gathering of mistletoe- the symbol of fertility and the seed of life. The ancient Druids believed mistletoe to be an indicator of great sacredness. On The Winter Solstice, the Chief Druid would cut the mistletoe from the sacred oak, using a golden sickle. A cloth would be held below the tree to catch the sprigs of mistletoe as they fell- as it was believed that it would have profaned the mistletoe to fall upon the ground.
Having no roots, and no connection to the earth, it was considered the sacred plant of the sun. A tree that hosted a mistletoe plant was a tree marked as particularly sacred
The mistletoe was divided and distributed to the people, who then hung them over doorways as protection. With its golden colour, and growing high off the ground without roots, it was naturally associated with the sun.
It was considered to be the semen of the solar deity and carried with it the promise of the rebirth of the Sun God
So mistletoe was considered a fertility symbol – hence the ‘kissing under the mistletoe’ tradition that is carried on right into the present and no doubt will continue far beyond….
Christmas And The Winter Solstice
The birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated on Dec. 25 or Christmas Day all around the world. One theory is that this date was chosen after early Christian scholars debated when it should best be marked to gain widespread attention
Some theories suggest that Christians co opted existing and already powerful times of the year to mark it for their own religious needs. The Romans were already celebrating the festival of Saturnalia on The Solstice and in Northern Europe, Pagans marked the Winter Solstice itself. Yule the ancient name for Christmas, comes from the Scandinavian word Jol
Today’s ‘Santa Claus’ is a folk figure with multicultural roots.
He embodies characteristics of Saturn- as I mentioned earlier in connection with the Roman celebration of Saturnalia. He has elements of Cronos – the Greek god, also known as Father Time.
We also see echoes of
- The Holly King ( the Celtic god of the dying year),
- Grandfather Frost ( a Russian winter god),
- Thor (The Norse sky god who rides the sky in a chariot drawn by goats)
- Odin/Wotan (The Scandinavian ‘All-Father’ who rides the sky on Sleipnir , his eight-legged horse)
- The Tomte (a Norse Land Spirit known for giving gifts to children at this time of year)
- ‘Santa’s reindeer’ can also be viewed as forms of Herne or Cernnunos, The Celtic Horned God
So for us in the 21st century, many of these ancient traditions appear and persist- whether we are aware of this or not:
Evergreen plants are brought into the home in the form of trees, holly and mistletoe, to remind us that life grows and continues.Even a store bought chocolate Yule Log is the modern- and edible- version of the dressed Oak or Birch log. These logs would carried or dragged into the home, with much celebration and then placed on the great fires of our forebears. As the old year burned away -symbolised by the Yule Log- a piece of it was kept to place on the fire of the following year.
The Celtic Horned God Cernunnos manifests in images of reindeer. In the festive colours of red, green and gold that are all around us, we can see the elements of earth and fire- and of course – The Sun itself. We give gifts to one another and hold great feasts while a Father Figure continues to bestow bounty on us from above as he rides high up in the sky…….
Marking The Winter Solstice
We can all physically mark the Winter Solstice, in our own way- even if we aren’t able to visit sacred sites or follow all the traditions of our ancestors.
Watch the sun rise and light beautiful yellow or white candles in your home to mark it’s the return. Bake your own specially decorated Yule Log and share it with loved ones, along with cinnamon spiced wine or cider.
Winter Solstice celebrations don’t need to be complex. It’s truly a time to celebrate and enjoy the awakening of the world again… remembering that all is birthed anew. Light comes back in the midst of darkness and as we celebrate life we also set our intentions and wishes for the coming year. It’s the perfect time to write out a list of all the things you would most like to manifest in your life.
A Solstice Ritual
This involves your wishes, your desires or your goals for the year ahead. Take some time over this and carefully consider all your reasons for them
Once you’ve finally decided, then write them one by one on very small pieces of paper ( any colour will be fine, but yellow or white is good)
The next part of the ritual will require:
Spring bulbs- preferably snowdrop or crocus bulb
Earth to plant them in – a garden or even just a pot.As you plant your bulbs in the earth, add the very small pieces of paper into the soil, one piece at a time.
Visualise your desires as you do so and imagine the warmth of the sun on the flowers as they emerge through the earth and into the light- along with the joy that you feel as your wishes manifest with them!
Wishing you love, as we all celebrate the return of the light.
Happy Winter Solstice from Martine Alexis Clairvoyance!
This is my WordPress blog. To contact me or book your reading please go to my website https://martinealexisclairvoyance.com
Feast, celebrate- and give thanks to the Sun God
On the 1st of August in the northern hemisphere, we arrive at the time of Lughnasadh on The Wheel Of The Year.
At Lughnasadh, it’s time to celebrate the first harvest of the year, but this is also tinged with the sadness of knowing that the long, hot days of Summer will soon end.
Lughnasadh is a time to honour the Sun God -but also to mark and to mourn his death.
Lughnasadh is named for the Celtic god Lugh, a god of light, fire and sun. The ancient ones also passed down the traditional tale of the self sacrifice or sacrifice by others of a king- whose bloodshed would bless the Lughnasadh harvest, ensure that the land would continue to be fertile and that his people would have plenty for the Winter to come and beyond.
Origins and Legends
Many of the more ancient traditions of Lughnasadh reference sacrifice- but it has become a more modern conception that this was necessarily a literal sacrifice.
There exists archeological evidence of possible ritual sacrifice or execution- as in the discovery of the amazingly preserved Bog Bodies. There is the Tollund Man in Denmark or Lindow Man in Cheshire, England. An interesting synchronicity is that The Lindow Man’s preserved body – that of a man who may have been ritually killed- was found on August 1st!
However, we have no hard evidence that tribal kings or young males from their communities were selected to literally shed blood over the land to protect it and bless it.
Although……..I did once have a somewhat chilling and very memorable discussion. The theory was proposed that a well known medieval English King was killed on an equally famous 15th century English battlefield – as an August/Lughnasadh ‘King Sacrifi
Lughnasadh is also the time for feasting on the bounty of the land. Grains are ready to be harvested and fruits are ripe and ready for picking. At this time, we should and do give thanks for this bounty as the wheat, corn and fruits are cut and gathered for our tables and stores.
Traditional foods at this time include bread, corn, all berries, grapes, blackberries, sloe, crab apples, pears. Many of us give thanks today by decorating our altars with this colourful seasonal produce and then sitting down to break bread and share a delicious Lughnasadh harvest feast with our nearest and dearest. It’s a lovely idea to save and plant the seeds from the fruits consumed during a feast or ritual
As with all the festivals of the Wheel of the Year and the Old Religion, Christianity also adopted and incorporated this time into their calendar and re named it as their ‘Lammas’ which means ‘loaf-mass’. Newly baked loaves of bread were placed on Christian church altars to mark the festival.
Special activities and rituals for Lughnasadh
Firstly- eat, drink and be merry! It’s a wonderful time for being in the kitchen and making lovely things to share. If you can eat outside in the garden or somewhere natural, then all the better. It’s because of nature that we’re enjoying this food.
The feasting part of Lughnasadh is very important – so enjoy planning it! Typical ingredients and dishes would be things like pumpkin soup, or any soups made with seasonal vegetables like spring onions and potatoes. Blackberry pie is a great dessert ( pick your own blackberries if you can) and gorgeous served with fresh or clotted cream. There are plenty of harvest recipes out there- there’s lots of choice..
Bake your own bread- it represents the first loaf of harvest and you can use it in ritual or have it as part of your meal. Get creative with ingredient and shapes. Whilst I can’t personally produce a stunning looking wheat sheaf loaf like the one shown above, I do love to make bread and often try out new things to add to the loaves of bread that I make. At last year’s Lughnasadh it was sultana and cinnamon bread -hot, fragrant and ready to have for breakfast at dawn on August 1st! If you have children, it’s also lovely to let them help you make it along with their own ‘little loaves’
Take time to meditate and pray. Encourage everyone you break bread with to pray or meditate too. We need to give thanks for the abundance and generosity of nature. If you choose to sit in a circle while you eat, you can share this lovely spiritual energy of gratitude with each another.
A Lughnasadh Prayer
On this first day we light a candle to celebrate the harvest.
As the wheel of the year turns we honour the God and Goddess
We say thanks for the blessings and prosperity they have brought us this year.
We honour our ancestors and we honour all things living on this earth.”
A Lughnasadh Gratitude and Payback Ritual
This is more of a festival for saying thank you and being grateful rather than of trying to manifest things like love or financial abundance. Lughnasadh is about being glad for what we’re already lucky to have!
However- there are ways I like to mark this time and rituals I like to perform. I’m very grateful to the fabulous Kate West for the origin of this ritual.This is a very modern, quite pragmatic ritual that anyone can perform. It doesn’t require you to have lots of magical knowledge or specialist magical tools, except some paper, a pen and two candles!
* Take two candles- you can choose a white candle for the Goddess and black for the God if you like or you can choose to have candles to reflect the more vibrant colours of Lughnasadh/August. Respectfully invite the God and Goddess to be present with you as you light each candle and carry out your ritual
* Take 3 small pieces of paper. On one side of each piece make a note of something you’re grateful for or have been happy to receive since the last Lughnasadh
* As you go through your ‘blessings’ list, try to focus on the most significant in which you feel that you may have been especially helped by the God and Goddess. Literally ‘counting your blessings’ will also help you to focus on all the positives you actually have in your life and even doing this will greatly raise your own energy and level of positivity
* On the other side of each piece of paper, write an intent or resolution of something you can do to ‘repay’ the energy for the good thing that happened for you
* They can be directly related. For example- you passed an exam with flying colours, so now you’re going to help some else with their studies or revision. But the things don’t have to be directly related. For example you could be so grateful for finding a new home that you in turn cook someone a lovely meal or make them something pretty to have in their own home.
*As you turn to focus on each deed you’ve chosen to pay back your blessings- dedicate the performance of your kind ‘payback’ actions to the God and Goddess. You can do this out loud or in your mind. Put your ‘intentions’ in a place where you can see them and remember to perform them!
* Extinguish your candles. Bid farewell and say a final thanks to the God and Goddess
Remember- thanks and kindness will beget more thanks and kindness!
Have a lovely Lughnasadh and I send you lots of love and blessings of my own.
This is my WordPress blog. To contact me or book your reading please go to my website https://martinealexisclairvoyance.com
Celebrating the Summer Solstice by Martine Alexis
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, the Summer Solstice of June 21st-also known as the Festival of Litha- is on the longest day and the shortest night of the year. On this day the Sun at it’s apex and it’s fullest power.
From the day of the Summer Solstice and onward, the sunlight will wane. Each day after marks the receding of the Sun- until the time of the Winter Solstice of December 21st, which marks the shortest day and the darkest night.
After the Winter Solstice, the sun is reborn and the days become longer once again. When we mark these points on the Wheel of The Year, we’re embracing death and re birth, the eternal cycle of life and our inclusion in this.
The Battle of the Oak and The Holly Kings
We are part of The Wheel of The Year
Summer Solstice Celebrations
We’ve marked the Summer Solstice with ritual since ancient times and we continue to do so today. The most prominent part of our rituals will focus on the exact point of the sunrise on this day. Here in The British Isles, we’re very blessed to be able gather together at powerful Sacred Sites to mark and celebrate the Summer Solstice and the other festivals of the Wheel of the Year.
Pilgrims gather to greet the sunrise at Stonehenge
Among some of the wonderful and powerful places of pilgrimage in England there are the stone circles of Avebury and the mysterious Silbury Hill, both in the English county of Wiltshire.
Despite the road that bisects this powerful and beautiful ancient site, the power is tangible to those who seek it! Nearby Silbury Hill is the tallest prehistoric human-made mound in Europe, and one of the largest in the world. It’s size is similar to some of the smaller Egyptian pyramids at Giza. This particular area is also world famous for the amazing crop circles that appear here every Summer
The powerful and ancient Glastonbury Tor lies in the spiritual heartland of the British Isles. Glastonbury, in the county of Somerset. Also known as The Isle of Avalon to many……..
It’s one of the most important spiritual and energetic sites in the world. Legends have grown up around The Tor- such as it being the resting place of The Holy Grail, it’s associations with King Arthur and of being the portal to another dimension. It’s claimed as the home of Gwynn Ap Nudd, who rules the Otherworld of The Fair Folk and who leads The Wild Hunt…….
Here are some ways you may wish to mark the Summer Solstice/Litha
In your home:
A Summer Solstice Ritual For You
On the first day of May, the Wheel of the Year turns to Beltane
This day represents the very zenith of Spring and the start of Summer. It’s a very powerful time for us and The Earth.
Beltane is also known as May Day and is still marked around the world in many different ways. On the Pagan Wheel Of The Year, Beltane is primarily a time when we celebrate sexuality, fertility and partnership
The Bel Fire
The word Beltane has it’s name origins from from the Celtic God Bel- known as ‘Bright One’ combined with the Gaelic word ‘teine’ meaning fire.
One of the deepest and most profound ways that people would honour the ‘Bright Fire’ would be to light bonfires and pay tribute to the Sun, so that there would be light and nurture for the harvest.
The ring of fire would give light and protection for the rest of the year to those gathered together. People would- and still do- jump the fire to cleanse, purify and and encourage fertility.Couples would join together and jump the fire as a pledge to one another.The smoke from the fire was seen as a protection from disease and to encourage fertility. All the livestock of a community was also driven through the smoke in a smudging and protection ritual.
The Great Marriage
Dancing Around The May Pole
The flower crowns and the circle represent the divine feminine/ female sexuality and join with the masculine phallic symbol of the pole to symbolise and celebrate fertility
A Beltane Ritual
To mark Beltane and show you a way to bring it’s joyful energy into your love life, I’m going to focus on manifesting love into our lives by showing you a simple colour candle ritual.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
A calm space and time where there are not likely to be any interruptions at all
The most essential thing is that the candles are a matched pair. You can use Rose Oil to ‘dress’ your candles – or you can purchase rose scented candles.
Rose Quartz Crystals- they will need to be a pair but don’t have to match in size and shape. They can be any form- tumbled, polished or raw, placed next to your candle
THIS IS A BEAUTIFULLY SIMPLE RITUAL
TO IMPROVE AN EXISTING RELATIONSHIP
This is basically exactly as above, except that you already know the other person concerned, As suggested previously in this article, include a picture of the two of you in happier times.
Again, visualise those romantic, loving times between you – remembering past situations you’ve been in together and seeing those yet to come!
Wishing you all a truly Beautiful Beltane- full of love and passion !
Get your reading with Martine Alexis at martinealexisclairvoyance.com
Celebrating Ostara and Rebirth
The Wheel of the Year now turns to Ostara- the celebration of rebirth, where we honour the Goddess Eostre. This is also known as the Spring or Vernal Equinox
As we turn to this time in the Western Hemisphere, we joyfully embrace the return of life to the Earth after the long darkness of the Winter months. There is, of course, the connection of the name Ostara and the Goddess Eostre to the Christian festival of Easter.
We can also trace the European name of the Goddess Eostre back to her names of Ishtar and Astarte, in earlier cultures.
All the times on the Wheel of the Year have their profound connection to the eternal life cycle and to the progression of our own soul journey. For me, Ostara is always the one that lifts my soul and my spirits the most.
It uplifts us all to see the bursting forth of new life. Glowing daffodils suddenly appear and the birds begin to sing as dawn arrives earlier. The trees bring forth their buds and blossom.
Ostara is that wonderful reminder that rebirth will always happen, even after the darkest of times.
The traditional symbols and images of The Goddess and fertility are visible everywhere at the moment – in nature and in wider culture. Eggs, new born chicks, March hares and rabbits being the most obvious and visible examples.
If this reads as too Pagan or arcane, then pay a visit to any supermarket or shopping mall at this time on the Wheel of the Year.
See for yourselves the abundance of Ostara and Goddess symbols on display in the ‘Easter’ section of all the stores.
Our ancient roots in the Old Religion are far more deeply planted in our modern world than we realise
Ways we can embrace the energy of Ostara
One of the most traditional of course, is the Spring Cleanse. At this time I love to de-clutter my home and to give a thorough cleanse with water steeped in fresh rosemary and lemon.
Rosemary is one of the most powerful natural plants used for psychic protection for yourself and your home. It’s traditionally placed in and around doorways to dispel or ward off bad energy. Lemon oil is one of the best aromatherapy scents for lifting your mood and your spirits.
The use of natural beeswax on furniture will also add the most delicious scent, along with the gorgeous natural sheen it will give. We can bring the energy of nature right into our homes with these ways to Spring Cleanse.
I always like to make an energetic ritual of the Spring Cleanse by completing it with a thorough smudging of all the rooms with white sage, to dispel any old, stale energy that is no longer needed in my home or my life.
Open your windows after you’ve smudged each room and focus your thoughts on old patterns of behaviour, circumstance or any situations you wish to release. As you then invite in the Spring energy to assist you in birthing the new, you can speak or chant your wishes and affirmations
It’s a lovely energetic touch to light yellow or orange candles around your home. These help to embed the energy of Spring into your newly revitalized surroundings and will also connect to the energy of the solar plexus and sacral chakras of the physical body.
Do remember to make sure that sage sticks and candles are extinguished when you’ve finished your Spring Cleanse
If being a domestic Goddess or God isn’t your thing, then there many other ways we can embrace the Spring equinox
It’s a great time to ‘birth’ new ideas. For example, if you’re in business, try out new approaches, maybe in your advertising or with your business image. In your job, consider asking for that feedback- or even the pay rise- you wish to manifest from a boss or colleague.
This is a very powerful energetic time to focus on creating more abundance around you. We can also make this a time to clean up our health and bodies as well as our homes. A far more appealing prospect than in the cold dark January days! Simply getting out into nature and walking is great for you, or maybe going even further and finally getting back to the gym or the pool.
In love, we only have to observe the behaviour of the birds and animals around us to know that this is the most fertile time! If you’re single, maybe it’s time to think about getting out there and meeting potential partners, perhaps in ways you haven’t tried before
If you’re partnered up, it’s the perfect time to rediscover things about each other or to try new things together that make you see your partner in a different light.Rebirth your relationship!
Whichever way you choose to embrace the energy of Ostara, remember to look around you on these lighter mornings and observe~ even for just a few minutes. The world is waking up again, reminding us that life is a cycle and there is always the opportunity to embrace rebirth in some aspect of our lives.
Happy Ostara/Spring Equinox. Have a wonderful and blessed time, wherever you are and may the arrival of Spring bring you
What your Life Path Number can reveal about you.
Life Path Number Resonance
Below are my core definitions of how your Life Path number has resonance and meaning for you. Generally the odd numbers resonate at a more masculine energy (creation) and the even numbers at a more feminine (intuition).
Life Path Number 1
The Creator – Making things happen.
You are creative, courageous and will always try to see situations through to the end. You have strong survival skills and these can lead you to be adventurous and go where many fear to tread. You tend to be an iconoclastic figure, often asked to be the centre of your social, familial or professional groups, but you prefer being left alone if you need to formulate and make plans. This gives you the space that your highly creative and sometimes mercurial mind needs to come up with ingenious solutions and ideas. Life Path 1 people often excel at inventions and physically creative endeavours- especially in the visual sphere.
The Communicator – Giving empathy and advice.
The Nurturer- Abundance in all things
The Structured One – Standing strong
You prefer to have stability and structure all around you. If you don’t have this, you tend to feel vulnerable and will expend enormous energy- and sometimes take a whole lifetime- until you do. You like tangibles and prefer the permanent- in your career and at home. The comfort of knowing there is always something set aside for tough times is also preferable for a Life Path 4 soul. This isn’t just in financial terms, even though you may tend to be a saver rather than a spender. This ‘rainy day’ security that you like to have also applies to people – your friendships are long term and loyal rather than many and fleeting.