Hold a Beltane Bonfire Ritual
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Did You Know?
- It is necessary to pick two persons to assume the roles of the May Queen and the King of the Forest in this ceremony
- Otherwise, the ritual will be a waste of time. Everybody else in the circle can join in with drumming, clapping, and chanting while the God of the Forest and the May Queen dance around the fire. Traditionally, Beltane is celebrated as a festival of fire and fertility, and because most country settlements had some form of common or green, there was always place for celebration
TheBeltanebonfire is a centuries-old custom that has been passed down from generation to generation. The fire consisted of more than just a large pile of wood and a sprinkling of flames. It was a gathering place for the entire town, a place of music and enchantment, dancing and lovemaking, where everyone could come together. In the olden days, it was common to light the fire on May Eve (the final night of April) and leave it burning until the sun set on May 1. The campfire was started using a bundle of nine different types of wood that had been wrapped in bright ribbons and tied together.
The time of year when fairs and marketplaces were conducted was traditionally around this period, and because most country communities had a common or a green of some type, there was always room for mirth.
Make due with what you’ve got for the time being.
If you live in an apartment and have limited room, try constructing your fire in a small cauldron or other heat-resistant vessel instead.
Preparing for Ritual
Photograph by Roberto Ricciuti / Getty Images You’ll need the following items to complete this ritual:
- Getty Images courtesy of Roberto Ricciuti. You’ll need the following supplies for this ritual:
Please keep in mind that if you have a lady in your group who is trying to conceive, she is the very ideal candidate for the May Queen position. It is possible that her companion or lover may take on the role of the God of the Forest, or that another man would serve as a symbolic consort. It’s totally acceptable to have two May Queens or a pair of Forest Gods if you’re a same-sex couple, because not all fertility needs to be heteronormative. Simply change the text of the ritual to reflect this change.
Celebrating at the Bonfire
It is important to note that if you have a female member of your group who is attempting to conceive, she is the ideal candidate for the role of May Queen! One of her partners or lovers may play the role of Forest God, or another male may function as a symbolic consort in her absence. There is nothing wrong with having two May Queens or a pair of Forest Gods if you are a same-sex couple, because not all fertility must be heteronormative. Simply make the necessary changes to the ritual’s text.
Immediately following this, the May Queen and the God of the Forest begin the pursuit, going around the circle in a clockwise direction and weaving in and out of the other players. Remember, the May Queen want to have sexual relations with the God of the Forest. You should make sure that all participants realize that this is a game, not a pretend rape, and that they are prepared properly – consent is essential in this situation. It’s possible for her to enable him to come near to her while pretending she’s ready to follow him….
- Everybody else in the circle begins drumming as the God of the Forest is pursuing his lady love through the forest.
- As the pair begins to pick up speed, raise the tempo of the music accordingly.
- There are numerous popular traditional chants in Wicca and Paganism, and virtually all of them sound great when sung in a group.
- According to the HP, “Fire and passion, love and life have been joined together as one.” At this time, the May Queen addresses the God of the Forest, saying, “I am the earth, the womb from whence all creation sprang into being.” Every year, a new life begins to take root within me.
- I respect you and look forward to starting a new life with you.
- I am the towering oak that towers over the woodland floor.
- The pair kisses passionately and for a long time.
- This kiss (or more) represents the symbolic union of the masculine and female spirits, and it is the most important rite of passage between a man and a woman.
As soon as the embrace is dissolved, the HP exclaims, “The ground is once more sprouting new life from inside!” This year, we will be blessed with plenty of opportunities!
Wrapping Up the Ceremony
Everyone else in the circle applauds and applauds you, as though you’ve just ensured that your town would have bumper harvests and healthy cattle this season. Dance around the campfire, drumming, and singing are some of the ways to celebrate. The ritual should be terminated when you are ready.
Samhain is a pagan religious holiday that derives from an old Celtic spiritual tradition that dates back thousands of years. Samhain (a Gaelic term pronounced “SAH-win”) is traditionally observed from October 31 to November 1, marking the beginning of the harvest season and the beginning of “the dark half of the year,” according to current custom. Those who participate in Samhain celebrations believe that the borders between the physical world and the spirit realm are broken down, allowing for more connection between people and the inhabitants of the Otherworld.
Historically, the Celts considered Samhain to be the most important of the four quarterly fire festivals, which occurred at the halfway between the fall equinox and the winter solstice. Today, the festival is celebrated on November 1. Hearth fires in family dwellings were let to burn out during this time of year while the produce was being harvested. As soon as the harvest labor was over, the celebrants joined forces with Druid priests to light a community fire by spinning a wheel, which caused friction and ignited the flames in the fire.
- Cattle were sacrificed, and participants returned home with an ember from the community bonfire to rekindle the fire in their hearth.
- Failure to participate was thought to result in divine punishment, which was generally in the form of sickness or death.
- Anyone found guilty of a crime or who brandished a weapon during the celebration would incur the penalty of death.
- MORE INFORMATION: WHO WERE THE CELTS?
During Samhain, Celtic people made offerings for fairies, known as Sidhs, that were left outside communities and fields in the belief that the barrier between realms might be breached. It was thought that ancestors would cross over during this time period as well, and Celts would disguise themselves as animals and monsters in order to avoid being kidnapped by fairy princesses. In the mythology surrounding Samhain, certain specific creatures were linked with the holiday, including a shape-shifting creature known as a Pukah, who takes harvest offerings from the fields.
In some instances, the Dullahan appeared as mischievous creatures, and in others, they appeared as headless warriors riding horses and carrying their heads.
The Faery Host, a troop of hunters infamous for haunting Samhain and kidnapping humans, may also be active on the holiday. The Sluagh, who came from the west to break into dwellings and take souls, are similar in appearance.
Myths of Samhain
A popular story told during the festival was “The Second Battle of Mag Tuired,” which depicted the final battle between the Celtic pantheon known as the Tuatha de Danann and evil oppressors known as the Fomor. “The Second Battle of Mag Tuired” was one of the most popular stories told during the festival. According to the legends, the fight took place at the festival of Samhain. One of the most well-known legends associated with Samhain is “The Adventures of Nera,” in which the hero Nera comes face to face with a corpse and fairies before making his way into the Otherworld.
A second mythology involving Fionn mac Cumhaill includes the character of Samhain, in which the hero is transported to the Land Beneath the Wave.
Samhain in the Middle Ages
The celebrations of the fire festivals grew in popularity as the Middle Ages advanced. Samghnagans, which were smaller, more intimate Samhain fires held nearer to the farms, established a custom, reportedly to protect families from fairies and witches, and are still practiced today. As the season progressed, carved turnips, known asJack-o-lanterns, began to appear, fastened to poles by strings and studded with coal. Later on, the Irish tradition shifted to the use of pumpkins. In Wales, men engaged in violent games in which they threw flaming wood at one other and let off rockets.
READ MORE: How Did Jack O’Lanterns Get Their Start in Irish Mythology?
During this period, the practice of “dumb supper” emerged, in which food was consumed by celebrants but only after asking ancestors to join them, allowing the families an opportunity to engage with the spirits until they left after dinner. Children would play games to keep the deceased entertained, while adults would give them an update on what had happened in the previous year. Doors and windows may be left open that night in order for the deceased to come in and devour the cakes that had been placed for them.
Christian missionaries sought to transform the traditional festival of Samhain into a Christian celebration when Christianity acquired a stronghold in the pagan world. The first effort was made in the 5th century by Pope Boniface of Rome. He changed the date of the commemoration to May 13 and designated it as a day dedicated to saints and martyrs. The fire celebrations that took place in October and November, on the other hand, continued after this order. All Saints’ Day is celebrated on November 1, according to Pope Gregory IX, who shifted it back to the period of the fire celebrations in the 9th century but declared it to be All Saints’ Day.
The next day, November 2, would be All Souls’ Day. MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: How the Early Catholic Church Christianized the Festival of Saint Patrick’s Day
Samhain Merges With Halloween
There were no pagan characteristics to any of the new holidays that replaced the old ones. October 31 became known as All Hallows Eve, or Halloween, and included many of the old pagan rites before being embraced in 19th-century America by Irish immigrants who brought their customs over the Atlantic from their homeland. According to legend, the tradition of trick-or-treating originated in ancient Irish and Scottish customs that took place in the days preceding up to Samhain. Mumming was a tradition in Ireland that involved dressing up in costumes, going door to door, and performing songs to the deceased.
Trickery and treats are also a custom at Samhain, however in the old festival, tricks were often attributed to fairies rather than humans.
Wicca and Samhain
With the rise in popularity of Wicca, a widespread rebirth of Samhain in the manner of its old pagan form began in the 1980s and has continued until this day. It is possible to have a Wicca celebration of Samhain in many different ways, from the ancient fire ceremonies to festivities that incorporate many parts of modern Halloween, as well as activities that are tied to honoring nature or ancestors. When it comes to Samhain, Wiccans consider it to be the end of the year, and they include typical Wiccan practices into the celebration.
Witches’ Balls, a type of music and dance event popular among American pagans, are frequently held in the weeks leading up to Samhain.
Irish and Scottish pagans who accept Celtic traditions with the goal of restoring them faithfully into modern paganism are referred to as Celtic Reconstructionists. In this mythology, Samhain is referred to as Oiche Shamnhna, and it commemorates the union of the Tuatha de Danaan gods Dagda and River Unis, which took place on this day. Celtic Reconstructionists commemorate the occasion by decorating their homes with juniper garlands and erecting an altar for the dead, where a feast is hosted in memory of deceased family members and friends.
Those who accept Celtic traditions with the goal of restoring them faithfully into contemporary paganism are referred to as Celtic Reconstructionists. Oiche Shamnhna, or Samhain in this mythology, commemorates the union of Tuatha de Danan gods Dagda and River Unis, which took place on the night of October 31st. In honor of the dead, Celtic Reconstructionists decorate their homes with juniper garlands and erect a memorial altar for the dead, where a feast is given in memory of loved ones who have passed away.
Rituals For Samhain
Samhain is one of the most important holidays in both paganism and Celtic traditions, and it is celebrated worldwide. People participate in a variety of events to commemorate the occasion in a meaningful way.
Are you interested in learning more about the Samhain rituals? Well, the day is believed to be sacred and is marked by a number of distinctive rituals. Throughout the text, I have attempted to cover all of the Samhain customs and traditions.
What is the Samhain festival?
A pagan religious celebration, Samhain (pronounced “SAH-win” or “SAW-in”) originated in Celtic nations and is celebrated annually on October 31. It heralds the conclusion of the harvest season, which occurs on the 31st of October, and the beginning of the winter season, which occurs on the 1st of November.
What is the Celtic festival of Samhain?
The ancient Celtic calendar split the year into two halves, which were known as the dark half and the light half, respectively. While the dark half begins on November 1 and the light half begins on May 1, the dark and light halves are reversed. According to the Celtic calendar, the day begins at sunset. As a result, the beginning of the year was celebrated at the same time as the beginning of the dark half of the year. The Celtic festival of Samhain is the time of year when pagans bid farewell to the past, or the light half of the year, and usher in a new year with the beginning of the dark half of the year.
Why do we celebrate Samhain?
Samhain is similar to the celebration of a new year. As we do in the United States, China celebrates their new year on the new moon that comes between 21 January and 15 February, similar to how we do in the United States on the 31st of December. As a result, we celebrate Samhain to usher in the new year according to the Celtic calendar. On top of that, we celebrate Samhain because it is believed that the barrier between this world and the afterworld is particularly fragile on this particular evening.
Samhain provides us with an opportunity to commemorate and honor those who have passed away.
Why is Samhain the witches’ new year?
Witches, also known as Wiccans, observe Samhain as their new year as well. You might wonder why Samhain is known as the witches’ new year. Witches, like the Celts, are adherents of paganism, as is the case with them. Celtic practices have influenced a number of Wiccan practices, which are listed below. The most important element to remember is that adherents in paganism, or earth-centered religious perspectives, observe Samhain as their new year. As a result, Samhain is also known as the witches’ new year.
How do pagans celebrate Samhain?
Samhain is a particularly significant holiday for Pagans. Aside from being the start of the new year, this day is also known as the “feast of the dead.” Traditionally, pagans would light bonfires on the eve of Samhain to commemorate the festival. They also attempt to speak with their ancestors via the use of different ceremonies. Modern pagans frequently organize music and dancing parties to commemorate this important holiday. Such gatherings are referred to as “Witches’ Balls.”
Do you dress up for Samhain?
In the Pagan calendar, Samhain is a particularly significant day. Aside from being the first day of the year, this day is also known as the “feast of the dead.” Samhain was traditionally celebrated by pagans by lighting bonfires on the evening of the day.
They also attempt to speak with their ancestors through a variety of rites and ceremonies. Modern pagans frequently organize music and dancing events to commemorate this important day.. Witches’ Balls are a type of party that is popular among women.
Rituals of Samhain
On Samhain, a large number of rituals are performed. Samhain is a celebration that is mostly observed by Celtic and Pagan communities. As a result of the fact that those are the civilizations from which this unique event arose. However, in order to celebrate Samhain, you do not have to be a Pagan or a member of the Celtic religion. We should all take part in the festivities since it might provide us enjoyment as well as wonderful memories. I’ve included the most popular Samhain rites that Pagans and Celtics conduct below, along with explanations:
Pagan rituals for Samhain
The holiday of Samhain is extremely important to the spiritual beliefs of pagans, and they celebrate it annually. On this particular day, they make an effort to be more efficient in their spiritual routines. The following are some of the rites that pagans do on Samhain:
- Communication with the dead: Because Samhain permits the spirits of the dead to visit the earth on this day, many people attempt to connect with them on this occasion. When it comes to the festival of Samhain, there is widespread notion that witches or Wiccans may actually communicate with their ancestors. Fortune telling: It is believed that such a spiritual visit on earth increases the significance of spiritual strength. Such who believe in the existence of those other creatures in the world feel that their presence makes it simpler to forecast the future. As a result, doing fortune reading on Samhain became a common activity. Dance party: Dancing to music is an integral feature of almost every celebration. Samhain is also celebrated with dance parties, which are organized by pagans. It is common for people to come together, have fun, and dance with one another.
Celtic rituals for Samhain
Samhain is one of the four Celtic fire festivals, and it is celebrated on October 31st. In order to commemorate the end of the year, they engage in a slew of ceremonies. Some of the most common rituals are as follows:
- Fire: The Celts think that fire has both a protecting and a purifying effect. As a result, people used to build big bonfires as a means of protecting themselves from bad spirits. One intriguing idea holds that force-fire was effective in preventing witchcraft, the plague, and infectious diseases in cattle. As a result, celts are utilized to ignite the fire by creating friction. Produce offers:Celtics would leave harvest outside the city as offerings to the fairies and spirits, and the fairies and spirits would accept them. They thought that appeasing the fairies was necessary in order to endure the oncoming gloomy winter months. Animal Sacrifices: Druids, Celtic priests, thought that witches and bad spirits might transform them into black cats, which they sacrificed. As a result, they frequently throw the animals into the blaze, which was regarded sacred among the Celts. Dressing Up: Many Celts think that the evil spirits that have visited the city during the Samhain festival will abduct individuals if they are not dressed appropriately. As a result, people resorted to dress in frightful costumes as protection.
On Samhain, Celtics not only pray for protection from malevolent spirits, but they also embrace and thank the good spirits.
Rituals to do on Samhain
If you are a practicing pagan or Celtic, these rites are a wonderful way to commemorate this holy day. Even if you do not belong to this group, there is no reason why you should not participate in the festivities. Below you will find two ritual ideas to do during Samhain to help you connect with yourself and something greater than yourself.
Create an ancestor altar
We have arrived at the time of year when summer has passed and winter is on its way in. It is time to express gratitude for all of the summer’s vitality and to embrace the onset of nightfall. It is also a moment to remember and commemorate our ancestors, as well as individuals and animals who are no longer physically present with us in our physical world. This group of people might include family members, friends, pets who have died, and spiritual mentors who have achieved union with the One and are guiding you from another reality.
There are four elements you might incorporate on your altar: fire (candle), water (cup of water), earth (plants), and air (candle) (a feather).
Singing a song in the vicinity of this shrine may assist you in connecting.
You may experience the love, and you can also set an intention to let go if you still feel like there is connecting energy—perhaps even a little heavy—between people who are no longer here and you.
Honor the light and welcome darkness: transformation ceremony
As we begin to say goodbye to summer and autumn energy and usher in the darkness of winter, it is a wonderful time to reflect on the year that has passed, giving thanks for our accomplishments, letting go of those who no longer serve us, and dreaming about and setting intentions for the upcoming winter season. This time of year is particularly conducive to introspection. As a result, you might do a ritual of introspection on Samhain to reconnect. Self-reflection is discussed more in this blog article, which you can read here.
- Taking the time to think about what we want to let go of in our lives, what no longer serves us, and what we want to open up to or explore, can be a really empowering practice.
- If you are able to do this ritual as part of a group, it adds an additional dimension of significance to the experience.
- The greater the amount of effort individuals put into it, the more valuable it will be to them.
- On your own, you can do it as a ritual in your own personal holy area.
- It is the purpose of this time for each individual to think of one quality/belief/attitude that s/he is willing to let go of in life and one quality/belief/attitude that s/he is ready to embrace in the future as a new beginning.
- Write these two items down on two different pieces of paper for each individual participant.
- Start with a tune-in or an invocation of some sort, such as a song, chanting, or reciting a poetry.
If they feel like doing so, they can read their “letting-go statement,” or they can simply speak a few words about it if they want.
Each and every person in the group says, “We hear you, brother,” or, “We hear you, sister,” as appropriate.
After that, the individual reads (or says a few words about) what s/he want to be more open to in his/her life.
This piece of paper should be kept safe.
There will be no end to the ritual until everyone has given their say.
Taking your time to contemplate and affirm those things you wish to let go of, as well as symbolically burning the paper and lastly declaring your desire, are all options available to you. Rituals that make you happy!
Samhain is a time when we may let go of the past and embrace the beginning of a new day. Various Samhain traditions allow us to pay tribute to the departed while also receiving protection from evil. Samhain serves as a reminder to keep our eyes on the prize. We are also encouraged to be better individuals as a result of this. I’ve attempted to assist you in discovering the genuine significance of Samhain and how you might commemorate the occasion. You may also be interested in the articles listed below, which include Spiritual Rituals for Halloween, as well as what Halloween represents, are discussed.
The Symbolism, the Story, and the Meaning of Easter What Is a Full Moon Ritual and How Do I Perform It?
What Is the Purpose of Moon Rituals?
so you can add it to your Rituals Board!
Midsummer in Sweden: Origins and Traditions
Given Scandinavia’s long, gloomy winters, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the coming of summer is celebrated widely across the Nordic nations and beyond. Midsummer’s Eve is one of the most important days of the year in Sweden, and it is sometimes compared to Christmas in terms of celebratory attitude and customs. However, the event has its origins in a pre-Christian solstice celebration and was formerly observed on June 24, the feast day of St. John the Baptist. The early Catholic Church felt it more beneficial to coopt pagan festivals by equating them with Christian celebrations, rather than attempting to snuff out their existence entirely.
- According to biblical sources, St.
- In 1952, the Swedish Parliament decreed that Midsummer should always be celebrated on a Saturday and Sunday each year.
- In many nations, the summer solstice is marked with massive bonfires set up in open spaces.
- Instead, the maypole (or Midsummer pole), which is decked with foliage and flowers, is the focal point of Midsummer celebrations.
- It was brought to Sweden from Germany in the late Middle Ages, when the pole was decked with leaves and erected on May 1 every year (hence the name).
- The termmajstng, or maypole, is also attributed to the old Swedish wordmaja, which means “to adorn with green leaves,” according to certain sources.
- Archers would participate in a variety of competitions, including shooting at a bird (real or artificial) that was put at the top of a tall pole.
As a nod to this tradition, some maypoles are still topped with a rooster or other bird, as they have been for centuries.
Traditional folk dancing exhibits in traditional costumes, as well as ring dances and games in which anyone of any age can participate, are now a regular feature of modern-day Swedish Midsummer festivities, which are organized by local organizations.
The ridiculousness is all part of the enjoyment!
It was a means to harness the power of nature’s enchantment to maintain good health throughout the year by collecting flowers to weave into wreaths and crowns.
Midsummer’s enchantment extends to the domain of romance as well as other aspects of life.
Then, if all of this has made you hungry, fix yourself some herring and new potatoes, drink a shot of schnapps, and finish the meal with some strawberries for dessert.
National Day in Sweden: Flags, History, Strawberries, and a National Anthem Bringing Light into the Darkness: St. Lucia Day in Sweden is a day of reflection. A Night of Bonfires and Song: Valborgmässoafton (Walpurgis Night) is celebrated in Sweden on February 5th.
Fire Ceremony — Qoya
As a holy pause, ritual is one of my favorite ways to experience it. With our society propelling us into a linear momentum tunnel where more is better and quicker is better all the time, a fire ritual is the right prescription to help us enter a state of timelessness, or infinity. Inviting you to participate in a fire ceremony is an invitation to be linked to a tradition that dates back hundreds of thousands of years in our human family, who gathered around a fire to keep warm, prepare meals, and dance.
- As part of my shamanic initiation and training, I studied with The Four Winds Society, which is recognized as the world’s premier energy medicine training school.
- “The ability to shift quickly is provided by fire.
- When you participate in a fire ritual, you may respect your teachings and old belief structures by burning them and releasing them to Spirit.
- Once upon a time, when fire ritual was being taught, it was only ever done with an instructor for years and years before being taught to perform it on your own.
- It is the fire itself that will serve as your instructor, and it will tell you right away if your intentions are pure or not.
- Create an offering out of burnable items, such as a short stick, before you arrive at the fire circle to make your entrance. If you see this “spirit arrow,” it might be a representation of a problem or something that has to be acknowledged in order for you to let go of it. The gift is intended to direct one’s attention when engaged in active meditation. It is possible to embellish the object or leave it as is. Make a connection with what you are honoring, the blessings you have received, or the manifestation of what you are imagining. Blow into the offering multiple times with your breath to convey your purpose or petition to God.
Create an offering out of burnable items, such as a little stick, before you arrive to the circle of fire. If you see this “spirit arrow,” it might be a representation of a problem or something that has to be acknowledged in order for you to move on. While engaged in active meditation, the offering helps to direct one’s attention to a specific object. Decorated or unadorned, the object can be displayed in its original state. Reconnect with the person or thing you are honoring, the blessings you have received, or the manifestation of what you are imagining.
- Place kindling in the shape of a Southern Cross on the ground, and then construct a small teepee out of wood to cover it. As required, fill in the gaps with paper and kindling. Always keep in mind that this is a modest ceremonial fire and not a massive bonfire. It is necessary to invoke Sacred Space before lighting the fire (for many years, I would even use pie-sized metal pans to make my flames). Once Sacred Space has been invoked, the fire may be lighted. While the fire is burning, there is a lovely chant that you may recite to keep yourself grounded and to keep your mind occupied. The chant invokes the spirit of the waters under the earth’s surface to transport your contribution to the Divine.
Here is the chorus in its entirety. Nitche Tai Tai, N-U-Y Oro Nika Oro Nika, N-U-Y Oro Nika Oro Nika Hey, Hey… Hello, hello, Ooo Ai. The following is not a precise translation of the chant, but it captures the idea of it: O Great Mother, Mother of the Waters, we bow before you.
Our prayers are addressed to you, waters of our birth, fluids of our sustenance. These are the waters of life, the waters that cleanse us on our deathbed. Following that, three offerings of olive oil (you may also use sage or tobacco) should be made to the fire to “make it friendly”:
- The chant is as follows: Nitche Tai Tai, N-U-Y Oro Nika Oro Nika, Nitche Tai Tai, N-U-Y Oro Nika Oro Nika, Nitche Tai Tai Dear Sir/Madam, Ooo Ai, Ooo Ai, Ooo Ai, Ooo Ai, Ooo Ai, It is not intended to be a precise translation, but rather to capture the essence of the chant. O Great Mother, Mother of the Waters, I bow before you today and forever. It is we who call out to you, waters of our conception, fluids of our sustenance It is the waters of life that cleanse us when we die. Afterwards, three offerings of olive oil (you might also use sage or tobacco) should be presented to the fire to “make it friendly.”
The addition of these offerings will cause the fire to become more “friendly,” change color, and burn in a different manner than before. You will become aware of this transformation as a result of your exploration, practice, direct observation, and experience.
- As soon as the fire appears to be friendly, walk up to it and discreetly place your donation into it. Your offering(s) and prayers will be transformed back into light by the fire, and they will be given to Spirit. Just as sunlight wraps around the stick as it develops, the offering now returns to the light, wrapped in your prayers. If you have someone else with you who is attending the fire, they can stand behind you to “hold the space” so that you can devote all of your attention to the fire. If you are doing the ritual by yourself, invite the lineage to “stand” behind you in support. As your contribution burns, pass your hands momentarily through the smoke and flames to show your appreciation. Draw the energy of the fire into your body’s three primary energy centers: the belly, the heart, and the forehead, and hold it there. According to legend and mythology, if you come to the fire with a pure heart and intention, you will not be burned. You have the option of softly touching the flames or delving deeper into them. Putting your hand into the flame is not meant to be sensational or theatrical
- Rather, it is a technique to direct attention and energy toward your change. After that, one more offering is placed in the fire, this time for the ground. The “Pachamama” stick, also known as the “mother earth” stick, is a traditional name for this stick. Before the offering is thrown into the fire, have each participant in the circle blow their prayers for the planet into the offering. Then shut the sacred area with a kiss. You should remain by the fire until all of the prayers have been devoured by it. In an ideal situation, the fire should be allowed to burn down to embers. Water should not be used to extinguish a fire
- Only earth, if required, should be used instead.
Following a fire ritual, there is a two-week period during which “instances of opportunity” manifest themselves. It is via these “instances” that you have the opportunity to bring your healing intentions into reality. Instead of viewing the fire ceremony as a magical transformation that takes place instantly, you should consider it as an opportunity to heal and alter ingrained habits and patterns – and so materialize a different dream. Remember to notice this “opening” and take use of the chance to effect change – then step back and let the universe take care of the specifics.
- When you are feeling “stuck,” or when you are working on bringing what you desire into your life into reality, fire is a great tool to help you transform and move.
- As you interact with fire as a ceremonial tool, you will begin to create your own personal rituals.” -The Four Winds Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences.
- During the Fire Ceremony, you may have a life-changing insight, you may receive a miracle cure, you may come up with a brilliant business idea, or you may not feel anything at all at all.
- Ritual communicates with us on our most primal level of awareness while also completely engaging our minds by tending to the fire and our emotional awareness by slowing down enough to experience what is happening.
- Feeling is the quickest and most effective approach to access the power of the present moment.
Please join us for a Qoya Retreat if you would want to participate in ritual in a group setting. To learn more about the Four Winds Shamanic Initiations, please visit their website at www.thefourwinds.com.
Winter Solstice: Stories and Traditions From Around the World
The winter solstice, which comes on December 21st this year, commemorates the shortest day of the year, with only 8 hours and 46 minutes of sunshine between sunrise and sunset between the hours of sunrise and sunset. As well as marking the astronomical beginning of winter, the winter solstice takes place at exactly 10:19 PM, when the Earth’s North Pole is tilted the farthest away from the sun, however here in Minnesota, we may feel winter began much earlier. From from point on, the length of our days will begin to increase.
The term “solstice” is derived from the Latin words “sol” (sun) and “sistere” (to stand for “to stand for anything”) (to stand).
However, occasionally solstice legends are about benevolent spirits that assist us in getting through the most difficult time of the year.
Mythical Monsters of Winter Solstice
In Finnish legend, Louhi, the “witch goddess of the North,” is said to have stolen the Sun and Moon and imprisoned them within a mountain, resulting in the darkness of winter. According to the Yupik peoples, who are indigenous to the Arctic, the Kogukhpak were subterranean creatures with bulbous bodies and frog-like legs that could only be slain by the sun. The Kogukhpak came out to hunt on the winter solstice, and mammoth carcasses were thought to be the remains of those who had stayed out too long and perished when the sun returned.
They were similar to the Kogukhpak in that they could only be slain by sunlight and that they arose on the winter solstice to wreak havoc on houses and villages.
The Kallikantzaros would wind up spending the entire night attempting to count the holes in the colanders, and then they would have to go underground before they could get up to any mischief.
Winter Solstice Gods and Goddesses
Winter solstice celebrations included legends of gentler spirits, as well as the worship of many gods and goddesses, including Tonantzin (in Mexico), Cailleach Bheru (in Scotland), Horus (in Egypt), and Spider Grandmother (by the Hopi). This time of year has also been connected with the celebration of Earth’s regeneration or rebirth, and the Scandinavian Goddess, Beiwe, has been associated with fertility and health for thousands of years. It was thought that she traveled through the night sky in a building made of reindeer bones with her daughter, Beiwe-Neia, in order to bring back the greenery that the reindeer were accustomed to feeding on.
In Italian tradition, La Befana is a goddess who, around the summer solstice, goes across the globe on her broom, leaving candy and presents for well-behaved children along the way.
Inviting her inside the house by displaying a rag doll in her image at the front entrance or window works wonders. “Befana” by foto.dinois is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.
The Story of Tomte
When Tim Reese, supervisor at Gale Woods Farm (shown above), was a child, one of his favorite books was The Tomten, a picture book translated by Astrid Lindgren (creator of Pippi Longstocking) from a poem published by Swedish poet Viktor Rydberg in 1881. Harald Wiberg’s lovely pictures of a farm in the middle of winter are included with the publication. “It’s the middle of the night. The ancient farm is sound slumber, and everyone in the house is sound asleep as well. The property is located in the center of a forest, surrounded by trees.
- No one has any idea who it is.
- On such a night, people sneak into their modest homes, cover themselves in blankets, and gather around the fire in the center of the room.
- With the exception of one…” While there are many other depictions of the Tomte, who is also known as “Nisse” throughout Scandinavia, the most common one is that he is little taller than three feet, has a long white beard, and wears a pointed red wool cap.
- Gale Woods Farm’s solstice program produces tomte crafts, which are shown here.
- He shields them from danger and is well-known for having a short fuse when it comes to farmers who ignore or abuse their flocks of animals.
- There were ties between the Tomte and the farm’s first resident, and it was thought to represent the spirit of that individual.
- The addition of some butter to his oatmeal is said to be a particular favorite of his.
Winter Solstice Today
The Tomten, a picture book written by Astrid Lindgren (creator of Pippi Longstocking) from a poem published by Swedish poet Viktor Rydberg in 1881, was a childhood favorite of Tim Reese, supervisor at Gale Woods Farm (shown above), when he was a child. Harald Wiberg’s lovely pictures of a farm in the middle of winter complement the text. “It’s the middle of the night, and the sun is not shining. The ancient farm is sound slumber, and everyone in the house is sound asleep as well. In the heart of the forest, there is a farm with a few animals.
- No one has any idea who this person is either.
- The inhabitants of little households crawl into their dwellings, cover themselves in blankets, and gather around the hearth.
- Everyone, with the exception of one.” While there are many other depictions of the Tomte, who is also known as “Nisse” in Scandinavia, the most common one is that he is little taller than three feet, has a long white beard, and wears a pointed red wool cap.
- Artisanal tomte creations from Gale Woods Farm’s solstice program The protagonist in several of the stories, including Lindgren’s, moves to a farm where he only appears to the children and looks after the farm animals.
- In order to maintain good relations with the Tomte, a bowl of porridge is frequently left out for him to eat.
- (Reference: Anastacia Sampson’s A Study of the Country Sweden.) In this case, it is possible that the concept of leaving a bowl of porridge originated as a way of paying tribute to the deceased.
Porridge with a little of butter is said to be a particular favorite of his. And who doesn’t want to be pampered?
Winter Solstice Festivals and Celebrations around the World
The winter solstice is also a day that has been commemorated across the world for thousands of years in a variety of civilizations, including many indigenous peoples. Festivals like as the Hopi Indian Festival of Soyal, the Polish celebration of Gody, the Greek holiday of Brumalia, and the Hindu festival of Makar Sankranti are among the many that take place.
The Feast of Juul
This was a Pagan Scandinavian winter event during which Juul logs were burnt and fires were lit to represent the return of the sun and the warmth and life-giving characteristics it brought. It was thought that the yule log had a mystical influence on the sun, causing it to shine more brilliantly throughout the holiday season. The individuals who participated in this celebration drank Meade around bonfires as minstrel-poets performed songs about old stories in the background.
The Festival of Chaomos (Choimus)
Bathing rituals were followed as part of the purifying process during the Festival of Chaomos, which was a Pakistani event in which a limited number of Kalasha or Kalash Kafir people participated. Besides singing and chanting, there were bonfires, celebratory food, and a torchlight parade to round off the festivities. At the very least, this festival lasted for seven days, and it was during this period that the demi-god Balomain made his way through the Kalash area. As he travels, he is thought to be gathering prayers, and he is revered as a result of the festival.
The Dongzhi Festival
This holiday is incredibly significant to the Chinese and other East Asians, and they celebrate it every year. The Dongzhi Festival takes place on or around December 22nd, when the sun is at its lowest and the daylight hours are at their shortest, marking the beginning of winter. This is the first day of the Dongzhi solar period, which begins on this day. Yin and Yang philosophy, which promotes balance and harmony in the universe, is credited with the origins of this celebration. As the number of hours of daylight grow, so does the amount of positive energy that enters the environment.
Southern Chinese families frequently prepare and consume Tangyuan (glutinous rice balls), which represent the reunification of two families.
In the Han Dynasty, Zhang Zhongjing is reported to have commanded his apprentices to create dumplings with lamb to enable poor youngsters stay warm and avoid having chilblains in their ears during the winter months.
Many Chinese people across the world still think that you are “a year older” the day following the Dongzhi festival, even in modern times.
Saturnalia is an old Roman Pagan festival that commemorates Saturn, the god of agriculture and time, and is celebrated every year on the first Sunday in August. It began on December 17 and was expected to persist for 7 days in total. “Io, Saturnalia!” was shouted by the throng as they were discharged from the Temple of Saturn, signaling the start of the joyful festivities of family gatherings and other private gatherings that were to follow. For the duration of this week-long festival, all work and commercial activities were suspended.
- The army also took a break during this time period.
- It was a period of role reversal, during which Roman masters dined with slaves who were allowed the freedom to do and say whatever they pleased on their own terms.
- Saturnalicius princeps, often known as “leader of Saturnalia,” was generally a lower-ranking member of the family who was anointed.
- They were also in charge of causing mayhem throughout the festivities, including insulting visitors and dressing in outrageous fashion, among other things.
Rather than the customary Roman order, the concept was that he presided over anarchy. This was a period in which residences were festooned with laurel and evergreen branches to fend off the spirits of the night, and temples were festooned with evergreen branches to represent the continuance of life.
Upcoming Winter Solstice Programs
Today, a number of events and festivities are taking place in our region to mark the return of the sun and the lengthening of our longer, lighter days. Examine the schedule for a future winter solstice event and begin your own traditions this year!
- Many towns and festivities are taking place in our region today to mark the return of the sun and the lengthening of our longer, brighter nights. Examine the schedule for a future winter solstice program and begin your own traditions this season!
Wishing you a happy Winter Solstice!