Ancient Calendar & Pagan Holidays : December 3 : Bona Dea, Rhea,

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Today is a celebration for women only in Rome today. In fact, no men were permitted to celebrate or attend at all nor were they even allowed to here the Goddess’ name spoken—that Goddess being Bona Dea. And today is all about her and her Observance.

Her temple was built in Aventine and she represented the Earth and everything that sprang from it.

 However, if we jog on over to Greece, they are celebrating their Goddess Rhea. Today is one of those days that we see the similarities between Greece and Rome and how they seemed to share their God’s and Goddesses, only changing their names to suit their Culture.

Rhea is the Goddess of growth, procreation, vines, wine, and agriculture. (Remember above, Bona Dea is earth and ‘all that sprang from it’)

Rhea was believed to have shined brightest in Crete, during the Minoan civilization.

Rhea, however, did something even more remarkable. It is believed that she actually gave the Greeks their knowledge of building their cities—their beautiful architecture and so forth.

Now today is also sacred to Cybele—Phrygian Goddess known as Mother Earth—the same as the Greek Gaia and also their Rhea . (Keep Bona Rea in the back of your mind) because Cybele also is a goddess of caverns and mountains, walls and fortresses, nature, wild animals (especially lions and bees).Wikipedia links and source.

The cult Cybele, the “Magna Mater, the Mother Goddess of Phrygia, was braought to Rome in 205/4 BCE. The Goddess was served by self-emasculated priests known as galli. Until the emperor Claudius, Roman citizens could not become priests of Cybele, but after that worship of her and her lover Attis took their place in the state cult. One aspect of the cult was the use of baptism in the blood of a bull, a practice later taken over by Mithraism. Source

 

Ancient Calendar & Pagan Holidays: December 2 : The Feast & Story of Rhiannon

 

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Feast of Rhiannon

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Now, do you know who Rhiannon is? Some people connect her as being a Witch in the Stevie Nicks song, Rhiannon. But Rhiannon was so much more than that. In fact, there is a whole story behind her that I am about to tell. So grab a piece of Tom’s art and gather around the campfire.

The Feast that is going down today comes to us from Welsh tradition. Rhiannon happens to be a Goddess, a very good goddess, in Celtic culture.

Rhiannon’s father was Hefeydd and apparently she was a sight to be had. Now, it seems that daddy promised Rhiannon to Gwawl. Back then if you were promised by poppa dearest, that meant you were flat out—soon—to—be—betrothed.

Unfortunately though, someone else had their sights on Rhiannon and believe me when I say, he wasn’t stopping until he had her.

Yep, I smell more lover drama and romance in the air…pull out the smores.

One day Rhiannon was out riding a beautiful white horse and it was during this ride that she met Pwyll. During their meeting, he knew with all his heart that she was the one for him. So he proclaimed his undying love for her but instead of running into his arms, Rhiannon and her white horse took off.

Now Pwyll wasn’t the type to let go so instead of finding someone to take Rhiannon’s place, he sent one of his horsemen to chase after her.

Why didn’t he go himself? I don’t know…maybe he had a castle to build or something.

Anyway, his horseman chased Rhiannon for three whole days but just couldn’t catch her.

Out of his wits, Pwyll decided to do it himself. He soon learned, though, that Rhiannon wasn’t an easy Goddess to snare.

Catching glimpse again, absolutely exhausted, he finally shouted out to her with his heart bleeding with want, “ Lady, for the sake of the man you love most, stop for me.”

Rhiannon boldly called back, “I will gladly, and it would have been better for your horse had you asked me earlier.”

(Think how silly he felt at that point? All he had to do was ask her to stop instead of chasing her all over the place—duh)

Once she stopped and they spent more time together, Rhiannon admitted that she favored Pwyll over Gwawl. But if you think they lived happily ever after at this point, you are so wrong. Because now Pwyll had to win her from Gwawl. I mean, you didn’t exactly walk up to a guy who basically had the marriage papers already signed and say, “Hey, taking your woman now buggar off.”

Nope, for 2 years Pwyll had to struggle with Gwawl before he finally laid down his arms.

Pwyll had to be completely exhausted now, you know?

After they married, it took 3 years for Rhiannon to have a child—a son. But of course the life of a woman is never easy because her the night Rhiannon gave birth, one of her ladies claimed she murdered the baby just before her other ladies stole the child and took off with him.

Looking as if Rhiannon was guilty, she was made a slave and servant of her own house as punishment.

Meanwhile a man named Teirnan Twrvliant, the Lord of Gwent Ys Coed discovered the babe and adopted him but when the boy grew up in no less than seven years, Teirnan kind of realized, “Hey, something is up with this.”

Putting two and two together, he figured out who the boy—well man was—and returned him back to Rhiannon and Pwyll. Imagine her relief and how ticked off she was to have been a servant all this time for doing something she knew she didn’t do. Anyway, she named her son Pryderi which was Welsh for worry. I’d say that suited him.

 

Paganism: The Month of December

Where did the name December come from?

The name of this month comes from the Latin word ‘Decem’. In the Roman calendar, December, was the tenth month after March.

This month is also known as, “The Cold Moon”,  to some of our Pagan Ancestors. According to Celtic beliefs, this is the time to keep the, “light”, alive in the present Darkness. In order to do this, they made sure to keep the fires burning especially for the disconnected or lost family members or friends. According to our ancestors, the light from those fires had the power to lead them home.

Do you have a family member who is in the Military? Who is homeless? Who has lost their way? Who needs help? Light a candle throughout December, each day, just for them.

December is the second month of Samhain. This is a time to remember your past, learn by it, or cherish it. Then, set it free.

That’s right, let it go. By letting go, you can focus on what it is you wish for in the future to come. But the only way you can focus and visualize what you desire for the New Year is by allowing the past to die. Lay it to rest. Let it go. Finding closure.

Then, you clear the foundation for rebirth to happen—something new can be rebuilt or born.

It’s also a time to reconnect with the Mother Earth…know your place in her cycle of things so that you can better receive your blessings and spiritual bliss from that.

Feel your connection with her….

December is the time for Christmas, Winter Solstice, or Yule. Christmas is December 25th. Yule or the Winter Solstice is on December 21st.

Now to many Pagans, this is the time that our sacrificial God, sometimes known as the Sun God or even Christianity’s, Jesus, dies but like putting the past to bed, is then reborn. There is a certain lesson in Paganism that we come to see and accept. Everything must die but not forever. Our energy is immortal. We trade one life or phase of life only to be reborn again. The old must be allowed to fade so that the new can rise from it.  And we see this in our history, like now, with the Sun God.

When the first Full Moon comes, after Yule, that is considered the most powerful time of the entire year. It is on that day that we welcome the rebirth of the Sun God. Now, who will become the Child of the Sun, into the world. We recognize the Great Goddess as our Mother because it is through her that he becomes  anew and that we become anew. Life begins again…as each year, each season, each passing phase does exactly that.

Many Pagans will light as many candles as they can on this day or night (depending on when they do their rituals or praise of respect) because the light is particularly important…again…remembering the light in the darkness. The light of the Sun God…the light of the coming year…the light of life–as you can see, this can represent so many things.

December 21 was a celebration in Ancient Egypt for the return of Osiris, but it is on December 25th, 3 days later that I find the most interesting. On that day, Ancient Egypt would have celebrated the birth of their beloved Horus…son of Osiris. While Christians will celebrate their Jesus, Pagans have long since celebrated their own Sacrificial Gods and births. The similarities of Horus, Isis, and Osiris, and between that of Mary and Jesus are remarkable.

But that’s another article for another time.

There are dozens of similar Holidays for the Month of December represented by various Pagan Cultures and deities. Too many, in fact, for me to list here. But I will make note of them on the Pagan Days or Pagan Holidays, which are posted daily.

Astrology, the Gods, and how it all fits together….

This month belongs to Sagittarius & Capricorn.

 

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) is governed by Jupiter.  Jupiter is the God of all Gods according to Rome. Known by many names, Shepard of the Stars, Prince of Light, Optimus Maximus, just to name a few. Since this month belongs to the Sun God and of light, I thought this an interesting link.

Capricorn (December 20- January 20) What’s interesting about Capricorn that most people don’t know is, it’s known for being the gate of Death. I find this suiting since Sagittarius represents a God of Light and this month represents a God dying and then being reborn. Death is but a doorway (Gate) into the next…

Capricorn is the 10th sign of the Zodiac and was once represented by the God Ea—a Babylonian deity that was called the Antelope of the Sea. This is a time when the Sun enters into the 10th phase of its journey and becomes a time of fresh wisdom, new life, and new phases. According to Babylonian lore, Ea would rise up from the waters, embrace man and give him divine wisdom.

The Planet Saturn rules over Capricorn and again, this suits the month for as Capricorn is the last phase of this month, it brings with it…

Wisdom –What have we learned from our past?

Responsibility — Remember what I said above about reflecting on ones past? Taking responsibility for what we have learned, what we have done, what we are about to do…

Determination — Possibly, what you are determined to see happen in the future or to do differently.

Since Saturn is also recognized as the Lord of Saturday, we know him as the Lord of Time, and, Kronos.

Time, being another key feature of this month because once this phase has past…once the old year dies…a new year is born…a new time begins.

For more information concerning the moons, the holidays, the deities, customs and celebrations of December, remember to check the Pagan Days and Holidays posted daily.

Casey Harris — aka CH SCARLETT

Ancient Calendar & Pagan Holidays : December 1: Poseidon, Cromniomancy, Kalends of December

 

On December 1st, our Ancestors celebrated:

Poseidon, Cromniomancy, Kalends of December

Poseidon~Amymone~r60~color~f5521

Today in Ancient Greece, there will be a festival for their God Poseidon. Now I am sure you have all heard about him whether it was a movie or other…but in case you didn’t know, he happens to be the Big Daddy of earthquakes, the sea, AND rebirth.

Now, Poseidon has a palace under the ocean located near Aegae. In art or even the movies or cartoons that portray him, he carries a three- pronged, fork- like Staff, called a,  Trident. You can see an image of that in the picture above.

Poseidon has a good and bad side (finally someone like the rest of us). He was known to cause storms and shipwrecks, but he also brought about the wind that filled the ships sails. See…a little good and bad.

Now since the Greeks are holding a Festival in his honor today, it will not be a boring one, I can tell you that. Poseidon happened to be one of the most loved Gods. So today, we will see horse-races, games, other types of races, and even some bull fights. And that’s not even talking about the huge Feast itself that will probably have more food and wine than I have seen in a lifetime.

Oh and if that’s not enough…in Greece and in some other Pagan Cultures, we may see a strange form of divination happen on this day as well. It’s called Cromniomancy and it was performed by young women. By divining and reading the layers and or sprouts of an onion, she will be able to see the identity of her future husband, among other things. Again, strange but to our Ancestors…not so very strange at all.

Today also marks the Kalends of December in Rome.

 

Ancient Calendar & Pagan Holidays: November 30th: Skadhi, & Night of the Dead

Skadhi, & Night of the Dead

Never anger a Norse woman and if ever there was proof of that, it is Skadhi.

Today is the Observance for her and according to her tale, I would say she deserves it.

Skadhi was simply a mortal Norse woman living day to day like any other until the Gods killed her father Thjazi.

Madder than a bunch of war mongering Vikings, Skadhi grabs her weapons and marches off to Asguard with nothing on her mind but blood vengeance. Somehow or another, the Gods convinced her to let it go (obviously she was tearing some stuff up if the Gods wanted to bargain.) In return for laying her vengeance to rest, they offered her the chance to choose any God of her choice and marry him. And Odin claimed that he would made stars out of her father’s eyes…now who could resist that?

But there was a catch…

Skadhi could not see the Gods’ faces…only their feet.

So, by their feet, she chose the most beautiful…Njord.

Skadhi lived for however long with Njord but her tale did not end as his loving wife, for she longed and loved something much greater than him, and that was the mountains of her birth. So eventually, she left her God to return to the place she so loved…

But the Gods were not done with her yet. Obviously there was something very special about this woman warrior because soon after she came home, Odin came to her doorstep. She became a wife of his and gave him many sons.

~

 gothic-art-AutumnsGoddess-corpse-bride

Tonight is the last night of Samhain—Night of the Dead— according to our Irish ancestors. The entire month of November, starting with Samhain, belongs to the spirits of the dead. According to the Irish, tonight, the last of those nights, is unlucky to be caught wondering about.

Why?

Because the spirits of the dead know that they will have to return to the Underworld for the next 11 months. Now what would you do on your last night to party?

Why, if you were the spirits of the dead, you would join up with a bunch of fairies, cause a ton of mischief and party it up until darkness ran out.

That’s why Irish people didn’t go mucking about after dark…they didn’t want to fall into the trap of the Deads’ mischief.

 

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Ancient Calendar & Pagan Holidays: November 29th: The Sons of Saturn and Minerva

Today is the Festival of the Sons of Saturn in Rome.

This festival is for Jupiter, Neptune, & Pluto.

They are all the sons of Saturn, husband of Ops, whose name means sower. Saturn is the God of the Harvest and his Ancient temple was built on the Capitoline Hill of Rome.

All of his sons by Ops became important figures in the eyes of Rome. For instance, Jupiter became the supreme God of Rome’s Pantheon while Neptune was known as the God of the sea itself. Pluto  was known as the God of the Underworld.

 

While these three were being honored by a very big festival…Rome also had an informal observance for Minerva—Goddess of intellect.

 

 

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Ancient Calendar & Pagan Holidays: November 28th: Egypt’s’ 3 Fold, A Goddess Month and Runic Month Begins

Well it seems the Egyptians have triple blessings to celebrate on this day in our Ancient Calendar. A feast for Hathor and Sekhmet will kick things off, but also, they honor Ma’at.

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Now while the Egyptians are doing their thing, the Greeks will once again be doing theirs.

Today marks the beginning of their Goddess Astraea. Yep, this is her Goddess month and we think she deserves it because Astraea happens to be the Goddess of Justice. We all know we need a lot of that in this world.

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Now while her month begins, so does the Runic half month of Is.

Is- ‘I’-ice.

This is a time of forced rest.  No movement, no growth. Just rest.

If you draw this rune in a spread, it means…

Isa:  A vertical line.

Normal: Winter has come upon you.  You seem to be
frozen in ice and can not move.  Positive
accomplishment is unlikely now.  A cold wind is
reaching you over the ice flows of outmoded habits.
Try to discover what it is that you are holding onto
that prevents the spring from arriving.  Shed the
outdated, and the thaw will follow.  It may be that you
have no control over the conditions causing the winter.
In this case remember that this is the way of Heaven
and Earth; winter follows autumn, but spring will
always follow winter.  Watch for signs of spring.

 

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