Winter Solstice 2012

The winter solstice was beautiful. Sadly I did not feel so great inside, but we spent the morning in a park by the water. We just stood there, my husband and I, perceiving nature as the day begun. The world was covered in mist, and at one point everything bore a tint of pale blue.

Solstice 2012 2There were mountains all around us so we missed the actual sunrise, but my favorite part was to spend time just looking at things. When we got too cold and decided to head back, we could see the sunlight shining on the mountain behind us. These months the sun hardly touches the town I live in. Only a lucky few who live on the right side of the mountain gets to feel the sun’s rays in winter. Living in Norway sure makes me long for the return of the light.

Solstice 2012 3

At night I went for a long walk under a clear sky. I don’t often do this as I tend to worry about what might be lurking in the dark, but this time I felt no fear. It was so beautiful to watch the stars and remember what I’ve been told about them. There is so much magic hidden up there.

Solstice 2012 5

Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox 2012

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So much has happened. I haven’t even written about the Summer Solstice, and the Autumn Equinox of 2012 which both meant a lot to me. The feeling after the ceremony at the Summer Solstice especially struck me as powerful. I had struggled a lot internally before the ceremony, and at the end of it we just watched the sunrise, soaking in the feeling of the morning. I felt wonderful, and I stayed as long as I could, just taking in everything. I really did not want to leave that place.

I celebrated the Solstice at the Mystic Light Retreat. You can watch the video of the ceremony below.

The Autumn Equinox was also special, and I approached it differently than the last one. My husband and I had just moved from the US to Norway, and we were able to join the ceremony at the Esoteric Retreat Center in Edinburgh. I loved being there. I also had a newfound joy in preparing for the ceremony. In the past my worries and anxieties would keep me from enjoying what I was doing. This time I was eager to make things nice for the ceremony, even though I still had my troubles. It was encouraging to notice that at least something had changed from last year.

You can read about the event here.

 

The Goddess

I think many people long for the Goddess. Growing up in a Christian culture I only had God and Jesus to pray to, and though I did pray to God and found that he listened,  I somehow found it unbalanced to only have a heavenly father. What about the feminine, didn’t that also have a place in spirituality?

I walked into an herb shop today that I fell in love with. Among all the herbal items there were books on Wicca and the Goddess, and there were even statues of her.  People are starting to worship and connect with the divine feminine again and it’s wonderful.

I was planning on becoming a Witch once. I read books on Wicca and was drawn to the sense of magic that the religion held. Yet somehow I lost interest in Wicca. I can’t remember how it happened, but I sense that it did not feel quite right to me. Like Christianity it somehow felt empty, and though I wanted to worship the Goddess, she too seemed distant.

My inner guide eventually lead me to mysticism which taught that we all have an individual Divine Mother as well as a Divine Father. I began praying to my divine mother a lot, and I truly feel she helped me through some very hard times when I felt very alone and full of fear.

I feel my divine mother is teaching me in everything I do and in everything that happens in life. I’ve learned that the best way to connect with her is through the heart, and sometimes I feel love fill my heart to the point of tears. For years I’ve been loathing myself. I’ve seen so many faults and weaknesses in myself through a terrible pride that demands more than I can be. This anger towards myself would even cause negativity towards others which was ugly to say the least.

I believe my divine mother is teaching me about love. Sometimes it feels like a burst of love inside of me,  like a cry from mother who loves her child, and other times it feels like a gentle, constant flame keeping me warm. In the beginning the feeling of being loved for no apparent reason frightened me. I did not know what to do with it. Now I understand that I need love to be able to help others.

I long to be like a priestess of old. To worship the divine mother in everything I do. Sometimes when my connection is strong I feel her presence all the time and it gives me much more strength to face the challenges of life.  I want to be near her always, and I pray I don’t forget about her or allow my negativity get in the way of feeling her peace.

Yes I want to be like a priestess of old. Lately the goddess has been very close to me. I feel her when I pour my tea, when I go for a walk and when I prepare for bed. She is there always and it seems like it’s only my own fears, anger and pride that makes me think that she has at times abandoned me. It also helps to focus on the heart as she often speaks to me that way. I’ve also noticed I’m closer to her when I’m close to myself, when I listen to and take care of myself.

Pray to her, explain to her everything that you think and feel, and thank her for her guidance and love.

Spring Equinox 2012

Life is interesting. Nothing seems a coincidence.  Shortly before the Spring Equinox I got sick and could hardly eat anything for a while. It was an unwilling fast but it felt like it cleansed me of a lot of things and it just seemed fitting for spring.

To be honest I did not look forward to the preparations for the ceremony. I have certain fears and insecurities that jump out whenever I have to do tasks that I’m not already good at, and at first I did not feel like facing them. But looking back I realize that the tasks were quite pleasant and my fears had no reason for being there. Nothing bad happened. Sure there was a lot to do that resulted in long nights, but I did not mind that. The only thing that made it hard was my own inner states.

The ceremony was stunning. We drove to  the location in the middle of the night and the sky was dark and heavy with clouds. Again this seemed quite fitting for the time of mourning that takes place before sunrise, and as we got closer to the park stars began to appear between the clouds.  By the time we reached our destination the sky was full of stars and a friend of mine commented that it seemed as though you could reach up and touch them. Living in the city I sometimes forget how spectacular the night sky can be.

We put on our robes in the increasing light and just before starting the ceremony we noted some strange pink clouds in the shape of a cross. Perhaps a coincidence. Or perhaps a gift from the gods!

It was amazing to watch the sunrise and to see Anubis standing there like an ancient guardian. I also loved the mantra we were singing and it has become a new favorite because of its beauty. We stayed there chanting for some time, watching the sun rise higher in the sky and seeing the lake before us fill with black ducks. I wish I could get up at dawn every day to experience the world waking up all around me.

We stayed at the park for several hours and I felt I learned so much from everyone. I also enjoyed taking in the beauty of nature, the smell of the trees and how wonderful the lake glittered in the sunlight. I swear my spirit feeds itself on beauty and magic.

By the time I got back into the car I felt tired and my body ached, I even had a sunburn but I also felt deeply inspired. I just wanted to reflect upon everything that had happened, to take it all in and to write down what I had learned. All these sacred ceremonies I’ve been part of has started something new in my life. I feel it again with the Spring Equinox. Something new needs to take place and I hope I can follow the guidance I’m receiving. I hope I have the strength to keep going all the way to the Summer Solstice.

I feel so blessed to be able to be part of these rituals. They feel truly magical and a way to connect to the stars and timeless teachings.

Below is a video from a ceremony by the lovely people at the Mystic Retreat Center. I hope to post the video from the ceremony I took part in soon.

UPDATE: Here is the video from the ceremony I was blessed enough to be part of. It is a beautiful video and I enjoy watching it over and over again.

Winter Solstice

In the middle of the night on December 22 I slipped out of bed, got dressed and drove with my husband to a park far away. It was a clear and quiet night. The road was almost empty and when looking out the window I could see the stars shining brightly in the dark sky. We were on our way to attend the ceremony for the winter solstice. 

The people participating in the ceremony had worked very hard for several days to get everything ready. I remember telling my husband that it felt like descending into chaos, both internally and externally. I was struggling with a lot of feelings that I tried to understand and overcome, and looking back I only hope that I can act differently for the Spring Equinox.

The park we arrived at was near the water, the stars shone even clearer there and the air was crisp and cold. I especially found the moon fascinating as it had a white ring around it, and I admired the frost covered ground as I don’t often see that here in California. We spent some time setting everything up while trying to stay warm, and as we were putting on our robes the sky was already getting brighter. We hurried into positions and began the ceremony just before dawn.

I remember the sunrise very well. The sun looking like a ball of fire coming out of the water. I felt torn between gazing at the sun or concentrate on what was happening in the ceremony.

There was something very magical about this day. I had been wanting to celebrate the winter solstice for as long as I can remember but I never knew how. Sometimes I wonder if in past lives I used to celebrate the solstices and equinoxes since I’ve always been drawn to them. I could never quite make sense of my longing to connect with the seasons, earth and stars until now. It seems to me that the whole world and universe is one big spiritual teaching and I want to connect to it.

It was especially after the ceremony that I became aware of the magic all around me. The light was a beautiful gold on the trees and grass, and the birds were chirping (and quacking) happily. But there was just something in the air. I can’t put it into words, but there was a special energy to this day that filled me up and gave me some peace even though I was struggling with my usual heavy emotions. I wanted to stay and soak it in forever but we had to go back, and I dozed off in the car while floating in this wonderful feeling of the solstice.

Here is a beautiful video I found on youtube. Peace be with you.

UPDATE: Here is the video of the ceremony.

To be a Shieldmaiden

As they drew near Merry saw that the rider was a woman with long braided hair gleaming in the twilight, yet she wore a helm and was clad to the waist like a warrior and girded with a sword. —trotK, “The Muster of Rohan”

I love Lord of the Rings. I love all the different characters in it and their stories of courage, inner struggles, love and friendship. But no character has inspired me as much as Eowyn. I want to be like her, strong and brave. It would be wonderful to be a shieldmaiden and wield a sword (at least an internal one) and in a way it’s strange of me to say that as I am the most worried and fearful person I know.

It’s hard to put into words exactly why I’m so fascinated by her. I remember feeling trapped and cold like she was when I first watched the movies. I was going through some hard times after losing my mom and sister and I also had a father who was ill, and who later passed away. And in Eowyn I saw someone going through something very similar while still staying strong and fearless. And I’m everything but fearless. I’ve been running away from things my whole life, but I want to fight.

Below is one of my favorite scenes of Eowyn.

And shieldmaidens are real! Here is what wikipedia says about them:

“A shieldmaiden was a woman who had chosen to fight as a warrior in Scandinavian folklore and mythology and they are often mentioned in sagas such as Hervarar saga and in Gesta Danorum. Shieldmaidens also appear in stories of other Germanic nations: Goths, Cimbri and Marcomanni.[1] The Valkyries might have been based on the shieldmaidens,[1] and they were J.R.R. Tolkien’s inspiration for Éowyn.”

I just find it so fascinating! When speaking about the battles that we face with the inner work, someone once said that we are the heroes of our story. Or something along those lines. If I could choose I would be a shieldmaiden like Eowyn. And I always felt we can find inspiration to keep fighting through different legends, heroes and stories of courage.

Who inspires you?

I will leave you with an excerpt from the book in which Eowyn faces the Witch-King of Angmar. I love the way this is written. The picture is from The House of Healing where Eowyn is recovering from the Witch King’s Black Breath. Hopefully this will remind us to pick up our swords and face our own monster.

A sword rang as it was drawn. ‘Do what you will; but I shall hinder it, if I may.’
     ‘Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!’
     Then Merry heard of all sounds in that hour the strangest. It seemed that Dernhelm laughed, and the clear voice was like the ring of steel. ‘But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn I am, Éomund’s daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.’…
      Very amazement for a moment conquored Merry’s fear. He opened his eyes and the blackness was lifted from them. A little to the left facing them stood she whom he had called Dernhelm. But the helm of her secrecy had fallen from her, and her bright hair, released from its bonds, gleamed with pale gold upon her shoulders. Her eyes grey as the sea were hard and fell, and yet tears were on her cheek. A sword was in her hand, and she raised her shield against the horror of her enemy’s eyes….
     Suddenly the great beast beat its hideous wings, and the wind of them was foul. Again it leaped into the air, and then swiftly fell down upon Éowyn, shrieking, striking with beak and claw.
     Still she did not blench: a maiden of the Rohirrim, child of kings, slender but as a steel-blade, fair yet terrible. A swift stroke she dealt, skilled and deadly. The outstretched neck she clove asunder, and the hewn head fell like a stone….
     Out of the wreck rose the Black Rider, tall and threatening, towering above her. With a cry of hatred that stung the very ears like venom he let fall his mace. Her shield was shivered in many pieces, and her arm was broken; she stumbled to her knees. He bent over her like a cloud, and his eyes glittered; he raised his mace to kill.
     But suddenly he too stumbled forward with a cry of bitter pain, and his stroke went wide, driving into the ground. Merry’s sword had stabbed him from behind, shearing through the black mantle, and passing up beneath the hauberk had pierced the sinew behind his mighty knee.
     ‘Éowyn! Éowyn!’ cried Merry. Then tottering, struggling up, with her last strength she drove her sword between crown and mantle, as the great shoulders bowed before her. The sword broke sparkling into many shards. The crown rolled away with a clang. Éowyn fell forward upon her fallen foe. –trotK, “The Battle of the Pelennor Fields”