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.

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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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Ancient Calendar & Pagan Holidays : November 27th : Sacred Fleece & a Farewell to Cailleach, for now…

In Ancient History….

Today, the Greeks are having a Pompaia of the Sacred Fleece!

In classical Greece, a Pompaia was a formal celebration of rituals that took place in many cities and towns by tons of people—people being the key. In this particular one, many  would carry the skin of a sheep that had been sacrificed in honor of Zeus. As they walked together holding the fleece, a priest of Zeus would hold up a Caduceus (a staff of Hermes intertwined with snakes) and lead them onward.

Zeus was said to protect all those participating in a Pompaia.  This particular one was meant to drive away storms so that the newly planted crops would not be harmed or destroyed. However, there are other purposes for this day as well. One of them being evil. If someone had been doing lots of evil deeds and wanted to be purged from the evil itself, they could place a left foot on the fleece, and the fleece’s power would drain all the evil out of them.

The Goddess Month of Cailleach Ends today.

 

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Midwinter, Minoan Style

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Minoan civilization lasted for a solid thousand years. As you might expect, their religion changed over that long period. Like their trading partners the Egyptians, the Minoans added new layers over time, creating an extensive and complex religious system that spanned the agricultural cycle and the calendar year. One of the sacred festivals that came later in Minoan times is the Winter Solstice.

In the earliest times, the Minoans celebrated the New Year around the Autumn Equinox, the beginning of the agricultural cycle in the Mediterranean – the time of plowing the fields and planting the crops, which grow throughout the mild winters in that region and are harvested in the spring. But eventually the Winter Solstice became its own kind of secondary New Year celebration. Instead of celebrating the cycle of the green growing things, it celebrated the ending and beginning of the solar year, which was embodied by Dionysus as the solar year-king who was annually reborn at Midwinter.

Yes, I know, Dionysus was originally an ecstatic vine-god, the spirit of the grape and the wine as well as a psychopomp for his people. But as I mentioned, the Minoans added layer upon layer to their religious beliefs and practices over the centuries. So the vine-god who died each year at the grape harvest in the late summer wasn’t considered to conflict with his face as the solar year-king who was born each year at the Winter Solstice. These were just two different aspects of a complex god.

Let’s not forget the other half of the Midwinter story. For a baby to be born, there must be a mother. For the Minoans, this was their great mother goddess Rhea, who was the sacred spirit of the island of Crete itself – their Mother Earth who rose up out of Grandmother Ocean at the beginning of time. Rhea has both a sacred birthing tree (a fir or pine tree beneath which she gave birth, with a star appearing in the sky above it as the infant Dionysus entered the world – this is also Dionysus’ sacred tree) as well as a sacred cave where she gave birth and where she hid her infant to keep him safe. Her sister, the goat-goddess Amalthea, nursed him while the Kouretes (probably originally a Minoan priesthood of Dionysus) guarded the cave, danced for the baby, and drowned out the sound of his cries with the clashing of their spears on their shields.

The Minoans didn’t have TV or movies, and most people probably didn’t own any kind of reading material, so their experience of religion came from public rituals and Mystery plays at the big temple complexes as well as their own private devotions at their home shrines. A few lucky people would have been invited to the Knossos temple complex to witness the Winter Solstice ritual there each year. It turns out, that chair in the “Throne Room” isn’t a throne at all, but a sacred seat where a priestess sat, playing the part of the goddess in rituals at Midsummer and Midwinter. At Midwinter, that seat (which was originally painted red) became Rhea’s birthing chair. The Midwinter sunrise cast a natural, magical spotlight on it as the infant Dionysus was born. That must have been an amazing experience, to be allowed to witness that ritual.

So each year, when I celebrate the Winter Solstice, I view our family’s Christmas tree also as Rhea’s birthing tree. And I look forward to the rebirth of the year-king with the first glimmers of sunrise on Midwinter Morning.

In the name of the bee,

And of the butterfly,

And of the breeze, amen.

Ancient Calendar & Pagan Holiday: November 26th : A Silver Lining Born from Death and Curses

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!

On this day in History, guess what happened? Tut Ankh Amon was discovered!!!

Tut_AnkhAmun111

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This huge discovery happened in the year of 1922. The reason this was such a big thing is one…the findings were astronomical and, well, the curse.

Without the doom and gloom of a nasty curse, let me just say, good comes from something bad. Why do I say this?

 Some would say that before this discovery, not many people were all that concerned or interested in Ancient Egypt. You didn’t have tons of people knowing the in’s and out’s of Isis nor did anyone  really care about the Book of the Dead , or the customs of an Ancient Culture long dead.

In fact, what was done to Mummies before and even after this time and the sacred various tombs of this civilization would bring a tear to your eye.

Did you know that during the 20’s and 30’s  thousands and thousands of mummies were used to feed the fires of trains as fuel?

This little tidbit is highly debatable as many Documentaries have made this claim but many others, especially on the net, argue it.  However, the Documentary I seen showed the trains and the thousands of Mummies piled on it. But you should go find footage and see for yourself.

I also found this…

  • Ground up mummies were used as fertilizer, and chopped wooden mummy cases served as firewood.
  • In the late 1800’s, paper manufacturers used mummy wrappings for wrapping paper.
  • Mummies have been used instead of thatch to repair roofs on houses, and used as a cheap source of fuel in trains.
  • In some areas, people would pay great amounts of money to see a mummy being unwrapped. SOURCE

So, while respect for the Dead and the history of Egypt wasn’t a popular trend at one point, the discovery of King Tut’s tomb might have helped change things and if it were not for the wealth of that discovery or the “curse”, , perhaps people would have continued to be ignorant of a civilization long lost. While the riches unveiled in this discovery caught the attention of media and viewers worldwide, it also helped other explorers to find the funding needed for future expeditions.

In all actuality, Tut’s tomb was rather small compared to the rest. This is probably because he died so soon in life. Usually a tomb took the lifetime of a Pharaoh to build, and since Tut was a boy, well the time was just not on his side.

But Tut’s tomb, small or not, stood out because it was the first ever tomb discovered that was completely in tact. Usually Tombs are poached and picked apart by grave robbers, even horrendously destroyed, but not Tut…and perhaps the Curse might tell us why.

 With the discovery Howard Carter made in 1922, came the first horror of interest story, which happened to be instigated by newspapers and reporters from all over the world. Suddenly, the ‘Curse’ was born and this very so-called nightmare would encourage Fiction for years and years to come. Here is one such movie made not long ago….

mummy_returns

And of course, what was written on the entrance of the tomb (as said during that time) helped to kick the whole thing off:

“Death’s wings will touch who ever touches the pharaoh.”

Note: I have never been to Egypt so can’t support an ongoing argument by two sides. One side claiming the inscription is there and others who claim that it isn’t.

So, is there any truth to the Curse?

On the day and within the hour that King Tut was discovered, the Earl of Caernarvon, who funded the Expedition, actually died.

Scientifically, people will later argue that the curse is a lie and that all  the deaths were a coincidence, while others, even to this day, swear it is true.

All I can tell you is, 18 living people became 18 dead ones AFTER the tomb was found. All persons, with the exception of Earl Caernarvon, died in one form or another AFTER entering the tomb. Even Carter, who led this adventure, died a year after.

Caernarvon died after traveling to Egypt, where he was bitten by a mosquito.  Lying in the hospital, Carter finally made the  big discovery that the Earl had  longed for, and within that hour Caernarvon closed his eyes for the very last time on this earth.

Two more incidents happened in Egypt when the tomb was discovered. All the lights in Cairo went out quite suddenly and Caernarvon’s dog began to howl madly—no one could stop him.  In fact, the dog kept wailing until it too met its end.

Coincidence? You decide.

Truth or not, the tally was adding up and the Egyptian workers were already spooked from the get go. The dog and lights didn’t help but as they pushed on, even more occurrences fueled their fear. For instance, the canary that Carter placed in the tomb was eaten by a cobra.

Remember, the Cobra is a royal symbol of the Pharaohs. In fact, it is the symbol located at their heads on their kingly crowns. It is in their paintings, on statues, and inspires their funeral masks.

Was there a more realistic cause to all these Deaths?

Medically and scientifically, there is a possible reason for all of it, aside from the dog and canary, that is. The dog could be explained as the bonds and link between man and best friend. The Canary could have been some freak accident.

However, as far as all the rest, it’s believed that there was a fungus or bacteria on the Mummies themselves, in the tomb, and when this sealed sanctuary of 3000 years was popped open,  those that  hopped on in, breathed in and became sick with it.

Another interesting fact, no bats were ever found living in the tomb even after it was opened—dead or alive. Could this be even more evidence that something was wrong with it, bacteria wise? Because we all know animals have a special two cents concerning these things. And then again, maybe they were just smart and knew to muck with the place—fearing the wrath of the dead? Hmmm

 Some say whether that’s a Scientific Fact, Theory, or not, it was still the defense of the spirits protecting that tomb and that the discoverers of that day and time should have respected and listened.

The tomb, the king, should not have been touched.

Regardless, Carter and many of his members died from lung and Respiratory problems after their famous discovery. This seemed to be enough to prove that there WAS something wrong with King Tut’s tomb whether Science could explain it or the fact that the warnings of the Dead were nothing to muck around with.

And the moral of the story, or the silver lining as mentioned above, if it had not been for this Discovery or the publicity and internet and lore surrounding it, who knows if there would have been an interest for all thing Ancient Egypt or if anything, respect for it’s customs and dead. We went from a world of ignorance concerning Ancient Egypts’ myths, customs and lore to one that values every find, every archeological discovery, every little piece discovered beneath her golden sands.

I for one think that, that’s a beautiful thing even if it had to come from so much death and mayhem.

Thank you, King Tut. Thank you.

 

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Ancient Calendar & Pagan Holidays: November 25th: New Celtic tree Month, Women’s Day, Knocking the Knickers off of Persephone

 

The Celtic Tree Month of Ruis Begins

For more about this Tree Month check out this AWESOME site I found that has the most information I have ever seen concerning these Celtic Tree Months.

A pat on the back to them and that information.

~

Women’s Merry Making Day

This took place in most parts of Europe long ago. Some suspect that it was once an Observance & celebration for Women’s Mysteries especially concerning Persephone.

(Since some Greek Deities and their secrets, rituals, and knowledge could only be preformed by women, known by women, and so forth.)

However, what I have noticed moving forward from Ancient Civilizations into the Middle Ages or Medieval times, the same sacred days that were once honored ,take on new form as something else. Now there was good reason for this. Sometimes and in most part it was done to protect the Pagan Traditions long celebrated.

This is one of them, sort of, and the day itself was really nothing to brag about . The only thing women got on this day…was the right to do less labor. And I say less because even though the point was to give them the entire day off…*gee thanks*lol…in most cases, less is what they got if that.

~

Speaking of….

and further back in time…today is the Greek Festival of…(can you guess)

Persephone!!!!!!

Now you know the Greeks were romping it up and throwing down on this day! But the Greeks were not the only ones, no. Rome also adapted Persephone and made this day all about her as well. Only instead of calling her by her Greek name, they called her Proserpina.

By Natalie Harter

 Persephone was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter.

If you read the holidays yesterday when I spoke of Isis and Osiris’ love story, well here is another classic tale that is often forgotten. And as a young girl, I’ll admit, I used to get all hazy-eyed over this one. Why?

Because ….

Persephone happens to be the P.H.A.T (pretty hot and tempting) Goddess on the block that every guy-god wants. Only she can’t get no lovin’ from any of the guy-gods who sends her gifts because her too-damn-strict-momma keeps tellin’ them boys no and sendin’ them presents back!

So it’s startin’ to look like poor Persephone will be a lonely little maid forever..

UNTIL….

Hades—*knock our knickers off* bad boy– does what bad boys do best—break all the damn rules!

Now Hades happens to be the dark, forbidden, and ever-so-sexy-your-momma-warned-you-about-hottie in this story. And this bad boy falls in love with Persephone, decides he wants her *oh yeah* and then kidnaps the little miss because of it.

In short, her mother, Demeter is  flippin’ completely out because her daughter is missing, and after raising so much noise, the God of the Sun Helios finally gives up what Hades did.

So the pissed off momma sends a guy-god named Hermes to snatch her baby girl back.  With fingers crossed, Demeter waits…in fact she waits for so long and grieves so bad that the brakes are thrown on the seasons.

(Now you know that is making this rough and crazy for the world of humans and I can’t imagine Zeus being happy either)

Anyway, if you’re thinking Hermes is going to swoop in, rescue Persephone like the knight in shining armor, kick yourself now because that doesn’t happen. For once, the dark, forbidden, and ever-so-sexy-your-momma-warned-you-about-hottie Hades wins (to my delight) and plans ahead for all the family drama to come.

You see, while his beloved Persephone is with him in the ever-so-fab-Underworld, he gets her to eat an enchanted pomegranate. And the seeds of this fabulous fruit is what kicks it all into motion and forces the Fates to back Hades and give him what he wants so that the other Gods can’t to a damn thing about it….well sort of. 

When it all comes down to it, Hades does have to give up his Persephone but not forever. You see, Persephone may have to go back to her mother but only for a few months out of the year and because of those fabulous seeds, he has the rights to do it.

*snap*

So when Persephone returns to the Land of the Living…so comes Spring. And when she goes back to the Underworld to have her socks rocked off by Hades, so comes winter for us.

Now do you see why this would make a girl swoon?

If not and you want to read more, then check out…

This link here

Wikipedia

 

 

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