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Summer Solstice 2022

Summer Solstice 2022

Summer solstice is one of those days that our ancestors celebrated that sort of annoys me. Not because it’s a solstice per se, but because I hate the heat and it heralds the beginning of summer. It’s also a time when we have the most daylight, although to me it feels like the days don’t shorten fast enough afterwards.

I know I’m in the minority on this, but I am pleased to say that’s just how it is. Oh yeah, and for those in the Southern Hemisphere, a Happy Winter Solstice!

Roundup of Solstice Articles

This year I’ve come up with a roundup article of summer solstice themed articles I’ve written in the past. Check them out:

Yeah, you may have noticed, I don’t exactly write enough about the summer solstice. Maybe I’ll change that in the future.

Have a terrific summer solstice. Stay cool! (Or if you’re celebrating winter solstice, stay warm!

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When You Can’t Get in the Yule Spirit

When You Can’t Get in the Yule Spirit

I have a confession to make: I am not in the Yule spirit.  Or the Christmas spirit.  Or any other fucking spirit.  I know the holidays are around the corner, but I can’t really feel the part yet.  Hels bells, I don’t even have the tree up.

When She’s Not in the Mood

This time of year reminds me how lonely being the lone Heathen of the Apocalypse can be.  What’s more, life has a way of shoving you back into reality.  If you’re going through difficult times, you probably understand what I’m talking about. Life doesn’t always hand you roses, so as the saying goes, when handed lemons, you make lemonade.

I think part of the reason has to do with the end of general season hunting.  Sure, we can still hunt for grouse and turkey, but both are being wily and frustrating.  Recently I lost my two goat kids to weird shit that happened two days apart.  And work has hit a slow down, and I need to figure out ways to fill in the ample gaps.  I’m concerned over the shit that I have to deal with every winter, which means I should expect this, but sometimes I just don’t.

It’s enough to piss off Spiderman.

It’s Times Like These…

It’s times like these where the gods and goddesses get an earful from me, but surprisingly, all I’ve been asking for is strength to put myself back on track. Okay, that’s bullshit.  I don’t lie well.  I do ask for help, but honestly, I know better than to expect handouts.  So, I look at what I can do to make things happen more positively this season.

Remember, Tyra, the gods aren’t your bitches. <deep breath>

So, how do you handle the holidays when your life isn’t making you jolly?

Center Yourself and Take Care of Yourself First

Thanks to Magickal Graphics

As a Heathen, it’s important to understand that you are responsible for your life, despite all the curve balls the Wyrd throws at you. You cannot fix things if you’re sick, exhausted, or emotionally spent. You’ll spend your time digging a deeper hole rather than filling it.  Even if you don’t want to be honest with everyone else (which you should be), you need to be honest to yourself.  You have to take care of yourself first.  I learned this lesson when Tyr — and then, Loki — showed up in my life.  Even now, I remind myself (often in Loki’s nagging voice) to self-care. I remember to exercise, eat right, and yeah, try to get enough sleep.  And I try to meditate, even if only for minutes at a time.

Consider New Options

A huge failure I see with people is refusing to step out of their current situation.  I’m as guilty as the next party with that.  Sometimes we don’t take the next step because it will shake up the status quo, which may not be comfortable, but is often more comfortable than dealing with change and the unknown.  Eons ago when I was younger, but not wiser, I went from job to job when I really hated the corporate culture or the people I worked for.   As one gets older, the change gets to be a hassle, but sometimes you’ve got to do it.  I would look at people who worked at a company for 10 to 15 years, even though they hated it.  Some actually died at their desks from heart attacks.  Don’t be like them.

Remember: there are always options.  Understanding this will help you make your decisions.

Thanks to Magickal Graphics

Lastly, Force Yourself to Enjoy the Season

I insisted that my husband help me take out the Yule/Christmas tree now.  With much fussing and fuming, we got the tree and the ornaments out tonight.  Tomorrow, we’ll be so fed up with the damn box, we’ll put up the tree.  Which will make both of us feel better.

Yeah, it sounds weird, but by doing things that should make you happy, they make you happy.  Even now, as I write this, I feel better that I got that done.  I should probably bottle that cherry mead that has been waiting for me patiently…

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Thoughts on the Summer Solstice

Thoughts on the Summer Solstice

I’m not a summertime person, really.  I hate the heat and, quite frankly, there’s not much hunting to be

Thanks to Magickalgraphics.

done during the summer and usually summer is the start of fire season here in the West.  Even so, this year I find that I’ve been enjoying the spring and summer because La Nina has made this summer cool (relatively speaking) and wet for us in the Northwest. So, I’m able to take a breather and actually enjoy the green landscape plus work on my garden. 

But all this got me thinking about solstice from a historical perspective.  So, whether you call it Midsummer, Lithia, or just the summer solstice, I like looking at the roots of the celebration.

Prehistoric Times

There’s little doubt that humans in prehistoric times recognized the solstice and celebrated the day with the most amount of sunlight. Stonehenge and Externsteine were places where people could observe and mark the longest day of the year. The altar at Externsteine has a keyhole that lights up at dawn on the summer solstice.  And Stonehenge is definitely a monument to the sun.  The heel stone gateway capture’s the sun’s rays on June 21st. 

Almost all prehistoric peoples worshiped the sun in some capacity. Bonfires were common both in prehistoric times and later to welcome the solstice. 

Medieval and Viking Times

During the Viking era, northern peoples held a Thing and used the time to solve legal matters and disputes.  Bonfires were common as were visiting wells that were thought to have magical properties. In northern Europe, it was customary to light a wheel encased with straw and roll it down a hill to determine if the harvest would be good or poor.  If the wheel went out before it reached the bottom, it would mean a poor harvest.  Methinks it’d be a good idea to pick a short hill.  Obviously with the droughts in the West, that would be a foolhardy thing to do.  At least I won’t be doing that anytime soon.

Thanks to Magickalgraphics.

Midsummer in Sweden

Not unsurprisingly, Midsummer celebrations are alive and well in Sweden.  A direct descendant of the Viking era solstice celebrations, Midsummer is celebrated with feasts, music, dance, the Maypole, and honoring nature.  Not surprisingly, the Church didn’t squash the tradition, it merely usurped it and made it the feast of John the Baptist. Midsummer celebrations still has kept their fertility roots, thus hearkening back to the much older tradition.  After all, who wants to let something like Christian conversion ruin a good thing?

My Own Midsummer Celebration

Solstices tend to be a special time for me.  I’ll be cooking a pork tenderloin and maybe make some special foods.  I’ll be honoring Freyja, Freyja, Sunna, Mani, and Tyr on summer solstice. Perhaps I’ll used the time to reflect on what I want to accomplish before hunting season is upon us. I’ll make offerings for a safe and fruitful season as well.

I hope you have a good solstice and let me know how you do to celebrate.

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An Undercover Heathen around Christmas

An Undercover Heathen around Christmas

If you’ve been following my blog, you know what I think regarding Christ. But you may not realize that I’m a bit of an undercover heathen, especially around Christian holidays. There are many reasons for this, most being convenience and a desire to not get into an argument with family members who will not change their minds.

Merry Christmas?

Christmas is really a holiday appropriated from pagans. Rather than try to stop pagan Saturnalia, Solstice, and Yule celebrations, Christianity took the holiday and moved Christ’s supposed birthday to coincide with it. Originally Christmas was even banned in the American colonies because of the pagan origins. In fact, most of the Christmas celebrations we have now were instituted in the 19th century.  Christmas trees were brought over from the Germans when Queen Victoria created Christmas in an image she wanted to see. Charles Dickens created a Christmas mythos in his novels.  Basically what we have now wasn’t how Christmas was celebrated in the past.

The Feast of Yule

The Feast of Juul was pervasive in Scandinavian countries where the Yule log was lit to honor Thor. People lit bonfires to herald the return of the Sun, and those who celebrated welcomed the return of the sun as a symbol that Fimbulvetr, the long winter that preceded Ragnarok, had not come. People who gathered the ashes from the Yule log scattered them in the fields or used them for magic and medicine. In France, some folks kept the ashes under the bed to ward off lightning strikes.

Odin and the Wild Hunt

The solstice was considered the closest time when the veil between the worlds was more thinly stretched.  Odin would ride Sleipnir, accompanied by the dead during the Wild Hunt. Children would leave hay for Sleipnir in their boots, and in return Odin would leave them gifts.  Hmm, sounds a bit like another old guy who leaves presents for children. I wonder if they’re related? (If you don’t get the sarcasm here, check out the link first.)

Nowadays, Heathens recognize the twelve days of Yule starting with Solstice or Mother’s Night — the time of the year when our northern hemisphere is closest to the world of the dead. The shortest day of the year even feels magical. Especially up north, you’re more likely to see auroras, snow, and just a more magical landscape.

A Heathen in a Christian Land

For those of you who celebrate Yule, the season is indeed magical. For those of us whose families are mostly Christian, Christmas season can be wearing. I actually do love the trappings of Christmas, because, by golly, they’re Heathen with very little disguise. My thought is perhaps even though we do celebrate Christmas, it’s actually celebrating Yule, and maybe that’s all that counts. I certainly have a special celebration of the solstice as part of the festivities.

So, even though I keep my Heathenism more or less quiet, maybe it doesn’t matter. By celebrating the season, I celebrate Yule.  So, I’m a bit undercover on this. Well, our ancestors were too.  So, from one Heathen, albeit an undercover one, to another, I wish you a most happy Yule. Oh and check out a book by my friend, Josh Heath, who wrote a cool Yule book: