Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Solstice - Media in error

Today is the Summer Solstice.
Celebrations abound all over the world. Stonehenge is particularly busy today. So I decided to check around the web and see what new articles were around about the solstice celebrations and goings on. There were a few on just a simple search. But I was surprised when I read these ‘news’ stories. Here is what is a few of the articles said.
“Prior to the arrival of Christianity to northern Europe, cultures celebrated the arrival of the June solstice because it was seen as one of the few times of the year when magic was at its most powerful. These days, the June solstice is celebrated as the start of summer, although at tourist destinations such as Massachusetts’s Cape Cod, Memorial Day often marks the start of the "summer season" for tourism. But lest we think of the June solstice only in terms of suntan oil or maypole dances marking "midsummer" solstice celebrations in the Northern Hemisphere, it's also an opportunity to pause and remember those who are sacrificing their summer so that others may learn about climate, or Mars, or the cosmos as a whole – never mind penguins, fossils, and krill.” – Pete Spotts, Christian Science Monitor
“As per some Pagan beliefs, this point of the year marks the marriage of God and Goddess and a celebration of growth and life.” – IBTimes Staff Reporter, International Business Times
“The Swedish celebration is called Midsommar. Like European pagans have done for centuries, this celebration can include singing and dancing around objects such as a flower-studded maypole or a large bonfire. “ – MyFox Houston
Okay…so…yea…wait…Maypole? Maypole? Really? The marriage of the God and Goddess? Really? *shakes head and walks away. The problem with the Fox quote is that they have said that all European Pagans celebrate the way the Swedish people do.  This is far from the truth. Since when did the Summer Solstice move to Beltane? As you can see I chose articles that clearly show exactly how much people don’t know what the Summer Solstice means. I would have thought they would have done some research or something. Of course I am going to send messages to the editors of these stories and inform them of the mistake and point them in the correct direction. I also see this as evidence that there is a need for education on what people of pagan faiths believe and celebrate and why. I also encourage everyone to watch when Pagan events are reported on to see if they are accurately portrayed. This will help with continuing education.
This is my activism post.  I don't do these often, it takes something to really annoy me for me to post under activism.
Have a Blessed Summer Solstice!!!  Blessed Be!!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Summer Solstice ~ Litha ~ Midsummer June 21st 2011


A solstice only happens twice in a year, December 21st and June 21st.  The upcoming solstice is the Summer Solstice;  the day is the longest and the night the shortest.  The sun is also at its northern most point during this day because of the tilt of the earth on its axis.

The summer solstice is also known as Midsummer and Litha.  Midsummer's Day is June 24th.  This is one of the four solar celebrations, the others being Winter Solstice, Spring Equinox, and Autumn Equinox. 

The celebration of Midsummer's Eve was from ancient times linked to the summer solstice. Some people believed that mid-summer plants, especially Calendula, had miraculous healing powers and they therefore picked them on this night. Bonfires were lit to protect against evil spirits which were believed to roam freely when the sun was turning southwards again. In later years, witches were also thought to be on their way to meetings with other powerful beings.

Litha is a time to celebrate fertility, abundance and nature in full bloom.  It is a time when the Oak King is killed and the Holly King take his throne until the return of the Oak King at Winter Solstice.  During the celebrations, children and adults play games.  Craft activities that are perfect for this sabbat are; creating amulets with herbs of Rue and Rowan, create protection pouches from white cotton and Rue, whole wheat bread, salt, and star anise seeds, make a Solar Wheel, make a Witch's Ladder.

Rituals held during this sabbat can be for honoring Mother Earth, celebrating life and growth.  This is also a perfect time for dedications and re-dedications.

Solstice Correspondences:

Deities: Amaterasu (Shinto), Aten (Egypt), Apollo (Greek), Hestia (Greek), Horus (Egyptian), Huitzilopochtli (Aztec), Juno (Roman), Lugh (Celtic), Sulis Minerva (Celtic, Roman), Sunna or Sol (Germanic)

Symbols and Decorations: summer flowers; images of the sun; statues of earth goddesses, faeries, earth gods; sun wheels; seashells; yellow, red or orange candles; blades; daisy chains; stone circles

Traditional colors: blue, green, orange, red, yellow, gold

Flowers: daisy, honeysuckle, marigold, red roses, sunflowers, foxglove, buttercups

Herbs: Chamomile, cinquefoil, fennel, lavender, mugwort, thyme, oak, hemp, St. John's wort, dill, marjoram, rue, rosemary, fern, sage, pine, garlic

Foods: citrus, curries,  peppers, onions, strawberries, summer squashes, tomatoes, honey,  green salads, roasted or grilled pork, blueberries, any sun-shaped, round foods (bread, tortillas, pizzas, etc.)

Drinks: sun tea, herbed teas, ale, mead

Animals: bee, butterfly, robins, snakes, wrens

Mythical creatures: faeries, fire birds, thunderbirds

Stones: amber, tiger's eye, jade

Direction: South

Time of Day: Noon


Have a blessed Litha.

Be sure to check out our store for all your Litha supplies.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ethics and Money

Sunfire over at Pagan Blog Prompts has posted another interesting question for us to ponder.  Now normally I post on the prompts over on my personal blog at My Pagan Path and the Crossroads but I decided that this would be a good topic for the business blog.


Here is the text of the prompt.  
How do you feel about being paid for certain services of a pagan nature? Like Tarot/Palm/Astrology readings? Often these services are seen as personal, due to the nature of the readings. Some people find it unethical to charge for these services.
Where I live in Denver, Colorado there are many "Psychic readers" who have their sign out advertising readings.  Of course these people charge for the service.  It is unclear if they are pagan or not as I have not visited any of them, I get my readings from friends.  Most of them are run out of their residences with only a few around here actually being in a business atmosphere.  


Here is my thought on this.  


If a person is doing the readings and they are relying on the income from said readings to supplement the household that is fine.  
If a person is doing the readings and they rely on the income solely then for sure that is fine.
If a person is doing the readings as a hobby, or to just pass the time, then they should not be charging for it.


This is just for those individuals that offer readings.  The charging for spells is something completely different and in my opinion a very unethical thing to do.


There are tons of websites around that offer spells for a fee.  The 'witch' even cast the spell for you on some sites.  When I first began to explore my path I found these sites and instinctively knew that this was wrong.  I thought about trying to find links to some sites to give examples but then decided, "why give these sites more traffic?".  People that charge for spells and rituals also open themselves up to legal recrimination if the receiver of the spell doesn't feel they got 'their moneys worth'.  There have been a few stories posted around of just such a thing happening, unfortunately a quick search turned up empty.


So that is my thought on this particular prompt.


Thanks to Sunfire for supplying us with great topics for when we hit the wall.


Blessings,

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Quote of Joseph Campbell

Every religion is true one way or another. It is true when understood metaphorically. But when it gets stuck in its own metaphors, interpreting them as fact, then you are in trouble. - Joseph Campbell

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Deities of the Desert - the Egyptian Pantheon

Egypt is the land of sand, the Nile, the pyramids, and a large pantheon of gods. There are many gods within the ancient Egyptian belief system. Some have fallen into being unknown while there are many that have remained in the forefront of people’s minds.

The many gods of Egyptian mythology were grouped into what are known as Pesedjets. Pesedjets were then divided into the Great Pesedjet, Lesser Pesedjet, and Dual Pesedjet. The most common known deities in Egypt are also referred to as ‘the nine’ or The Ennead and the Great Pesedjet. The Ennead consists of Atum, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys. Here is more about ‘the nine’.

Atum – He is the most ancient of deities after Nun. He is said to have rose out Nun as a mound of earth of his own creation.

Shu – Created by Atum by either spatting him on to the ground or by masturbation. He is the god of light. He is the twin brother and husband of Tefnut. He is the god who separated the goddess Nut from her mate Geb there by creating the sky.

Tefnut- Also created by Atum by either spatting her on to the ground or by masturbation. She is the goddess of moisture. She is the twin sister and wife of Shu. There are many tales of this goddess in ancient texts.

Geb – Also known as Seb or Qeb in the Book of the Dead. He is the son child of Shu and Tefnut. He is the Earth and the bother-husband of Nut, the sky.

Nut – She is the goddess of the Sky and the sister-wife of Geb. In some stories she is said to give birth to Ra each day so that he can journey across the sky to be swallowed by Nut to be born again the next day.

Osiris – Son of Nut and Geb and bother-husband of Isis. Osiris is one of the most popular gods in the Egyptian pantheon. He is the father of Horus the younger. The story of his death and dismemberment at the hands of his brother, Set, is epic; as is the story of his rebirth at the hands of Isis, Nephthys, Thoth, and Ra. Osiris is the god of the Underworld where he presides over the weighing of a person’s heart against the feather or Ma’at. Osiris is also seen as the god of agriculture since he is the god of re-birth.

Isis – Daughter of Nut and Geb and sister-wife of Osiris. Her commonest names are "the great goddess, the divine mother, the mistress of charms or enchantments"; in later times she is called the "mother of the gods," and the "living one." She found her husband after Set had encased him in a chest. She also helped her sister Nephthys and the god Thoth reassembles Osiris after Set had dismembered him. Isis and Osiris are the parents of Horus the younger. Isis is a very popular goddess figure from the Egyptian pantheon. Her popularity even surpassed the worship of Egypt into the Greco-Roman temples. She is known as the goddess of Motherhood, Magic, and Fertility.

Set – Also known as Sutekh in the Book of the Dead. Set is most commonly known as the god of chaos, which might come from his association with events in ancient Egypt that were terrifying, such as eclipses, thunderstorms, and earthquakes. Set has the distinction of being the only god to not have a common animal head on a human body. The head most seen as Set is referred to as the set animal since no animal know to humankind is like it. Other animals have been used as the head of Set but the unknown animal is the most common. Set is the god who became jealous of his brother Osiris and eventually destroyed him. Set is the twin brother and husband of Nephthys. All fish are sacred to Set.

Nephthys – Also known as Nebt-het in the Book of the Dead. She is the sister-wife of Set. She is seen as a nature goddess and represents the twilight time before sunrise and after sunset. She was very close to her sister Isis and helped her sister with the reconstruction of Osiris. She is one of the lesser known of the nine but she also has many stories.

Horus the Elder – Horus the Elder is not included in the Ennead. It is commonly believed that Nut and Geb actually gave birth to five children; Osiris, Horus, Set, Isis, and Nephthys. Horus the Elder was also known as the Sun God before Ra. He was also confounded with the son of Osiris and Isis, Horus the Younger, with whom many attributes were shared. Horus the Elder is associated with the Hawk or Falcon in some texts. Horus the Elder is also known as Heru-ur and the son or husband of Hathor. The symbol, “Eye of Horus”, is a powerful protective talisman.

After ‘the nine’ there are many other deities that were worshiped by the Egyptian people. Here are few of the most common known.

Anubis – the name is actually Greek; his name in ancient Egypt is Anpu. He is the jackal-headed god associated with mummification and the afterlife. He was second to Osiris in the underworld and the Guardian of the Scales that weighted the heart of a deceased person against Ma’at.

Bast – Also known as Bastet the cat goddess. She personified the playfulness, grace, affection, and cunning of a cat as well as the fierce power of a lioness.

Hathor – She is the goddess of love, music, beauty, motherhood, and joy. She is sometimes shown and a cow with the sun crown. Myth is she is also the pacified form of Sekhmet.

Ma’at - also known as Maat was the Ancient Egyptian concept of truth, balance, order, law, morality, and justice. Ma’at was also personified as a goddess regulating the stars, seasons, and the actions of both mortals and the deities, who set the order of the universe from chaos at the moment of creation. The feather of Ma’at was used to balance against the heart of person after death, in the Duat.

These are just a few of the deities of the Egyptian pantheon. A good list of deities can be here and here.

Before you begin working with any deities it is always a good idea to do as much research as possible. Most people feel is best to represent their affinity for a particular deity by wearing jewelry that represents images of said deity. Having a statue of your deity is great way to show honor to that deity.

This is by no means a complete representation of the Egyptian deities.

Resources used include.

THE GODS OF THE BOOK OF THE DEAD

Wikipedia – Egyptian Pantheon