Blessed winter solstice

TWH — This week, many Pagans, Heathens and polytheists in the Northern Hemisphere are marking the winter solstice with celebrations, feasts, and rituals. The solstice will occur on Thursday, Dec. 21 at 16:28 UTC. It is a day traditionally celebrated for being the longest night and shortest day of the year. This time of year is held sacred within many different modern religious and spiritual traditions, and has a rich history in ancient pagan religions. The solstice time was important to prehistoric peoples in both Ireland and England.

Column: Yule in Mexico

Spanish Version
Mexicans, religious or not, usually refer to the holiday season as Guadalupe-Reyes. It starts with the Virgin of Guadalupe Day December 12 and ends with Día de los Reyes Magos (biblical Magi) January 6.  This often includes a feasting and drinking marathon. Therefore, Pagans and Witches usually celebrate the winter solstice before the exact solstice date because we are busy with family gatherings or we are on vacation. Conjuring up my first Yule always puts a smile on my face; it was the first ritual I participated within a coven. I will never forget the High Priest opening the door, welcoming me with a warm smile, and the smell of pine, cinnamon, rosemary and myrrh in the house.

Columna: Yule en México

English Version
Los mexicanos, seamos religiosos o no, usualmente nos referimos a esta temporada de fiestas como Guadalupe-Reyes, que inicia con el Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe el 12 de diciembre y termina con el Día de los Reyes Magos el 6 de enero, y comúnmente alude a un maratón de comida y bebida, por lo que los paganos y brujos usualmente celebramos el solsticio de invierno antes de la fecha exacta del solsticio, ya que después estamos ocupados con reuniones familiares o salimos de vacaciones. Siempre me hace sonreír el recordar mi primer Yule, fue mi primer ritual en el que participé en un coven. Nunca olvidaré al sumo sacerdote abrir la puerta, darme la bienvenida con una cálida sonrisa y el olor the pino, canela, romero y mirra que salía de la casa. Todos me saludaron con palabras gentiles y por fin pude entender lo que ‘feliz encuentro’ realmente significaba. Al mismo tiempo, todos tenían una expresión de curiosidad preguntándose qué hacia ese niño de 16 años ahí, a lo que el sumo sacerdote les diría “no juzguen a la gente joven por sus edad, la mayoría de las veces son más sabios que nosotros.” Aunque no me sentía nada sabio; al contrario, sentía que no sabía nada y que quería aprenderlo todo y participar en todo en lo que pudiera en el ritual.

Column: Solstice at Stonehenge

My first impression of England came in a solstice ritual put on by the Cotswold Order of Druids at Stonehenge several weeks ago. This struck me at the time as the single most clichéd way for a Pagan pilgrim to begin his visit to the country, but then things become clichés often because they are so perfect that they can’t help but become obvious. During my stay in England, I had the good fortune of having many wonderful magickal experiences, but the ceremony at Stonehenge stands out. For one thing, the sheer size of it: dozens and dozens of people in cloaks and robes, circling the stones, our steps in time with drums from the Morris players toward the back of our line. I felt the same sense that I felt at Thingvellir when I visited Iceland: that mixture of wonder, curiosity, smallness, transience that we call the sublime.

Column: a Fruitful Darkness

Beloved American poet Mary Oliver once wrote, “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”[1]

Darkness has prevailed in the Western hemisphere; autumn mourns the loss the sun whom no doubt returns triumphant in spring. Where once temples illumined, now there may only enough oil for one night of eight. Others too have readied themselves for a long journey at the mid hour of night. That story goes: wise men saw a star in the east and followed.