Thursday, December 29, 2011

Celebration of Light and the rebirth of the Sun

Equinox to equinox pinhole image from my front yard.
From Philippe Achard,

Celebration of Light and the rebirth of the Sun

Celebrating Winter Solstice

by Selena Fox

Winter Solstice has been celebrated in cultures the world over for
thousands of years. This start of the solar year is a celebration of
Light and the rebirth of the Sun. In old Europe, it was known as Yule,
from the Norse, Jul, meaning wheel.

Today, many people in Western-based cultures refer to this holiday as
"Christmas." Yet a look into its origins of Christmas reveals its Pagan
roots. Emperor Aurelian established December 25 as the birthday of the
"Invincible Sun" in the third century as part of the Roman Winter
Solstice celebrations. Shortly thereafter, in 273, the Christian church
selected this day to represent the birthday of Jesus, and by 336, this
Roman solar feast day was Christianized. January 6, celebrated as
Epiphany in Christendom and linked with the visit of the Magi, was
originally an Egyptian date for the Winter Solstice.

Most of the customs, lore, symbols, and rituals associated with
"Christmas" actually are linked to Winter Solstice celebrations of
ancient Pagan cultures. While Christian mythology is interwoven with
contemporary observances of this holiday time, its Pagan nature is still
strong and apparent. Pagans today can readily re-Paganize Christmastime
and the secular New Year by giving a Pagan spiritual focus to existing
holiday customs and by creating new traditions that draw on ancient
ways. Here are some ways to do this:

Adorn the home with sacred herbs and colors. Decorate your home in
Druidic holiday colors red, green, and white. Place holly, ivy,
evergreen boughs, and pine cones around your home, especially in areas
where socializing takes place. Hang a sprig of mistletoe above a major
threshold and leave it there until next Yule as a charm for good luck
throughout the year. Have family/household members join together to make
or purchase an evergreen wreath. Include holiday herbs in it and then
place it on your front door to symbolize the continuity of life and the
wheel of the year. If you choose to have a living or a harvested
evergreen tree as part of your holiday decorations, call it a Solstice
tree and decorate it with Pagan symbols.
Convey love to family, friends, and associates. At the heart of
Saturnalia was the custom of family and friends feasting together and
exchanging presents. Continue this custom by visiting, entertaining,
giving gifts, and sending greetings by mail and/or phone. Consider those
who are and/or have been important in your life and share appreciation.
Reclaim Santa Claus as a Pagan Godform. Today's Santa is a folk figure
with multicultural roots. He embodies characteristics of Saturn (Roman
agricultural god), Cronos (Greek god, also known as Father Time), the
Holly King (Celtic god of the dying year), Father Ice/Grandfather Frost
(Russian winter god), Thor (Norse sky god who rides the sky in a chariot
drawn by goats), Odin/Wotan (Scandinavian/Teutonic All-Father who rides
the sky on an eight-legged horse), Frey (Norse fertility god), and the
Tomte (a Norse Land Spirit known for giving gifts to children at this
time of year). Santa's reindeer can be viewed as forms of Herne, the
Celtic Horned God. Decorate your home with Santa images that reflect his
Pagan heritage.
Winter to Spring pinhole long exposure from my front yard.

Mr Pool

Cool exhibition space, super cool people.