scribbles tagged ‘solstice’

welcoming the green man

Friday, December 23rd, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

Early morning climbing the steep hillside at Streatley to the Ridgeway with friends.  We watched the solstice sun rise  in the distance. Toasting the arrival of the green man with mead, elderflower champagne, and sloe gin made with sloes from a nearby tree. Then cleansing each other with some homegrown sage smudging

After some dancing around local labyrinths and rambling through forests we made our way home for fried-egg sandwiches all around. An excellent start to the new year…

Solstice Sunrise Long shadows

welcoming the green man
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Nappy Yew Hear

Friday, December 31st, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

highlights of 2010 included

  • Suprise snow – getting snow-stranded in Pangbourne and meeting the other people stranded by the snow and the excellent Hotel staff who turned no-one away and made sure we were all warm, safe and fed
  • Fun with friends – Highlights included a winter solstice and Lunar eclipse on a snow covered Streatly hill drinking some hot non-alcoholic glug, mead, some simple pagan ritual and then sledding fun followed by cooked vegetarian breakfast.  A Dr. Who and Torchwood tour of film sites in Cardiff with a quiz on the coach and lots of lovely people.
  • Travel – discovering Turin with spottydog and meeting with US friends in Paris, several fund and inspiring weekends at the writers retreat in Sheepwash
  • Positive departures – I left the Bank I’d been with since 1983, my home insurance company, and my internet service provider. Replacing them with potentially superior services. Saved a decent amount on my monthly bills. Hoorah!
  • New arrivals – a Stovax woodburning stove that Matrix enjoyed before leaving, a woodshed, log store and stove-top kettle
  • Kitty healthSampo’s diet is having a slow, sure effect. She’s more of a melon than a pumpkin at the moment
  • Creativity – completing my first portrait painting for over 3 years
  • Family – the 3rd Annual ‘House’ family trip to the Bath Theatre Royal Christmas pantomime where 3 generations gather to produce dangerous decibels of laughter at dangerously poor quality jokes
  • Focus. Successfully completing all last year’s resolutions – though one was tweaked slightly from a Llloyd Loom Sofa to a garden set where some of the chairs are also indoor chairs. Achieving some stuff at work that was not easy, feeling good about how I’m contributing to my employers business.

lowlights of 2010 included

  • Kitty health – Matrix’s old cat wobbliness from 2009 was the beginning of a trend. She suffered several fits, numerous visits to the vet and eventually I decided to let her go before she suffered too much. After 15 years together it was heartbreaking to lose such a beautiful friend.
  • Creativity – spending the best part of my evenings in May troubeshooting upgrading my SQL 4 to SQL 5 database for wordpress 3.1 compatibility. 3 different organisiations (database service, hosting service, wordpress communities) failed to help, each pointing me to another. Eventually I tracked the problem down to the WordPress default labelling of their tables. Once diagnosed only took 5 minutes to fix – all three organisations should have known this was a likely problem and been able to provide quick easy problem diagnoisis feedback. Disappointing.
  • Austerity. Friends loosing jobs, homes, looking for work and all the stress and sadness that comes with such things.

Resolutions for 2011

  • Creativity. Write more using an ink pen, and other antique writting implements, to regularly write and post hand-written letters to friends, family, and occassionally an odd organisation. I’ve been practicing. Paint more, I’m already planning my next painting and it will be of people rather than pets.  Painting the Hallway Bathroom and Kitchen is a distinct possibility…
  • Self sufficiency. Attempt to grow some tasty plants in the garden – Beetroot, potatoes and raddishes
  • Get out more. Travelling ‘oop Norf’ to visit friends and family who live above the Watf0rd Gap. Hull and Helsinki are possibilities. Locally, visit people more, I have a tendancy to be a bit of a home-bod, happily sat infront of the fire with Sampo for company.

Basildon Bond

Nappy Yew Hear
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solstice cedar

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

tree, angel and birdThe wendy house solstice cedar has found its way out from under the bed in the North wing to guard the lounge library from rampant seasonal partridges.

solstice cedar
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Monday, May 11th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

Beltane is the name for the gaelic, pre-christian, celebrations of a day halfway between mid spring (equinox) and mid summer (solstice),   normally between May 4th and 11th.    The children of Woodlands junior school describe the current manifestation of May day in their own charming way.  

Luckily for me ‘Well dressing’ isn’t about dressing-up well.

I’ve always rather liked Marc Bolan’s take on the whole affair, walking out along roadsides, whirlpools and in the west wind looking for love:

T.Rex sand Beltane walk

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Solstice Tree

Sunday, December 11th, 2005 | tags: , ,  |

I placed & decorated an evergreen tree in my home this weekend.

Puuurrrr-itty suggests that a ‘christmas tree’ orginates from St. Boniface,   a British Christian,   trying to persuade some German Druids the Oak was not sacred.   Meanwhile:

“Centuries ago in Great Britain, woods priests called Druids used evergreens during mysterious winter solstice rituals. The Druids used holly and mistletoe as symbols of eternal life, and place evergreen branches over doors to keep away evil spirits.”

I used to spend the  second weekend  of December  in The New Forest gathering the Wiccan symbol of  Holly to decorate our home.   I miss the peaceful, social, activity of gathering natures wealth.   Definitely preferable to ‘Shopping’!   Mistletoe is more difficult to find.   Neither decoration appears common in the NW US wild or stores.

Audrey overlooks 3 different trees…

W Miss-Tree

Solstice Tree
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12 days of Christmas. What’s that?

Sunday, December 11th, 2005 | tags: , , ,  |

Wikipedia provides a good summary including the lyrics from the song of that name.

Basically,   Christians celebrate for 12 days after Christ is born,   not before.    The 12th day after Christmas (6th Jan) is called  ‘Epiphany’.   It is likely that this period was chosen by the Christian church to usurp pre-christian solstice  celebrations.   Evidently Shakespeare’s play ‘Twelfth Night’ refers to the 12 days of Christmas.

it was a crime to BE a Catholic in England  1558 thru 1829.  

The song “The Twelve Days of Christmaswas  possibly a Mnemonic used  in England  to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith.   This carefully avoided written material that could lead to imprisonment or executed in very nasty ways.   Though these tenets do not appear different from those of the Anglican church.  

Codes used in the song include

True love = God

Me = Baptised person

Partridge in a pear tree = Jesus on the cross

2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the “Pentateuch”, which gives the history of man’s fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed

W must-finish-reading-Gods-secretaries…

12 days of Christmas. What’s that?
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