is very particularly important too – a balanced mix of frankincense and
myrrh is usually prepared just before the Solstice celebration, and
stored for next year, whilst we burn the one we made earlier during the
current ceremony. This incense has a couple of other
ingredients, including wine and honey, and smells…..ah…like angel’s
Another tradition for us is that we take one of the
candles from the altar and leave it to burn out, set in a window, to
guide the weary wanderer home to safety. This is something you
could do too – but use proper safety procedures if you choose
to. One of the safest ways to let a candle burn out is to
sit it in a heatproof bowl of water, still in its stick or holder,
where the water level in the bowl itself will act as a dowse when the
candle burns low enough. Do not do this in a regularly
frequented room unless you are going to stay with the candle at all
times (and I really mean “at all times” – candles always fall over when
you nip to the bathroom, you know). Do not leave it anywhere it
can be knocked or blown over. And do not leave it within
reach of flammable materials.
The lack of logic in birthing our
group during this ceremony becomes much more obvious when you
contemplate the nature of this Celebration. It marks the Dark of
the Year. The hours of daylight are at their most sparse, and
darkness rules for many hours a day. The Winter Solstice also
marks the beginning of a period of rest for those of our
tradition. For over a Moon no workings take place at all, and we
recharge our batteries as …ever so slowly….the light reclaims its
ground. We do not officially re-awaken until Lights when we greet
the New Year, and bless our safe passage through winter’s chill and
threat. And through all of this we are sustained by the
brightness and joy of the Celebration of the Winter Solstice.
know one thing I always tend to consider at this time of year – mostly
because I probably have far too much time on my hands – are the modern
Wiccan rituals regarding the solar year. Many of these grew
up based upon the research and writings of Gerald Gardener, the big
daddy of Gardnerian Wicca. There are many many branches of Wicca
these days, several of which eschew Gardner’s teachings.
You see this reaction in science as well don’t you? People
say “No, no, that person was completely wrong, and therefor I am not
influenced at all by him/her.” But if you are convinced
they were wrong, then surely you are influenced by them?
Otherwise how would you know to believe they are wrong?
It’s a puzzling conundrum, that one. [More...]
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