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Thread: Summer solstice

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daecon View Post
    It's opposite the Nativity/Yule so it would represent the formative years of Jesus' life, unspoken of in the official Bible. According to legend, the "lost years" were spent traveling the world and learning about the faiths of other peoples. This is why when he began preaching, he was known for associating with gentiles and foreigners. His travels supposedly included the British Isles, where he was welcomed by the Celtic tribes and traded wisdom with the Druids.

    The central Mystery of the Solstice is the Battle of the Oak and Holly Kings, and like any Mystery, it works on many levels. One aspect is in the historical conflict between Paganism and Christianity. The Oak King is the old pagan system of Europe, from the Romans to the Druids. Holly is the upstart new Christianity. They begin in conflict. Holly wants Oak's power and position, Oak seeks to destroy this young interloper, so a deadly battle is joined. Holly has youth and strength while Oak has power and experience, and the fight is evenly matched. Oak quickly realizes that if they continue to fight, they will destroy each other, and while Holly doesn't have His wisdom yet, it will come in time. So He deliberately chooses to throw the fight, sacrificing Himself on Holly's sword. Holly revels in His victory, but a kernel of doubt remains. He knows Oak lost on purpose, but doesn't know why. Christianity will dominate Europe for centuries, but the memory of European paganism will forever color what was once just a minor Jewish cult.
    It should be noted that the Holly King and Oak King is a recent Myth, dating back only to 1948 and invented by Robert Graves. He wasn't claiming it to be an ancient Myth, just a theory about Archtypes to explain the imagery involving brother figures throughout Mythology. Frazier had a similar theory, but didn't use those names and didn't give it as much detail as Graves.

    Not that it's recent vintage doesn't make it a useful Myth, today. I'm all for the evolution of new Myth to speak to our modern culture. I'm just bringing it up because I see people confusing it with genuine ancient Myth and ritual quite a bit. Midsummer has always been a bit... lacking when it comes to things that belong just to it, to the point that, in the States, the Solstice is pretty much ignored and the Midsummer festival is on July 4. Sure, there's the Midsummer Bonfire, but Candlemas, Easter, and Beltane have those, and a bunch of other stuff, too. And compared to it's Winter counterpart...

    So, the Myth Graves created gives us something to work with besides John the Baptist, and Shakespeare making that a day for the Fair Folk to come and play pranks on us.

  2. #22
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    ~BUMP!!!~

    Another year has gone by... What are y'alls plans for the summer solstice this
    year?

    I'll be doing a small ritual here in the house and if Hubby is up to it, our first barbecue of the year. I'll also be busy part of the day with writing (while Hubby is at work) and having fun with my mentor on her site, it's their sixth anniversary of starting the site.
    "The road to hell is paved with adverbs." - Stephen King.

  3. #23
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    I was at a camp with my family this year, and was able to do a small solitary ritual there.
    zionmystic.livejournal.com
    About my username: It's after a little wooded area i hang out in, near a church called Zion. Later i found out the word "Zionwood" may have political implications, but that wasn't my intent at all when i picked it.

  4. #24
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    During this year's summer solstice moot, I couldn't stop giggling. It was brought on by that drink in the mead horn. I got told off Anyway I wore a tiara that I made. (I will post a picture of this soon).
    The only thing that sucks around here is a straw.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daecon View Post
    The central Mystery of the Solstice is the Battle of the Oak and Holly Kings, and like any Mystery, it works on many levels. One aspect is in the historical conflict between Paganism and Christianity. The Oak King is the old pagan system of Europe, from the Romans to the Druids. Holly is the upstart new Christianity. They begin in conflict. Holly wants Oak's power and position, Oak seeks to destroy this young interloper, so a deadly battle is joined. Holly has youth and strength while Oak has power and experience, and the fight is evenly matched. Oak quickly realizes that if they continue to fight, they will destroy each other, and while Holly doesn't have His wisdom yet, it will come in time. So He deliberately chooses to throw the fight, sacrificing Himself on Holly's sword.
    That's for the Winter Solstice.

    The Summer Solstice marks the zenith of the Sun King's powers, and the beginning of his decline and eventual death at the opposite end of the year, the Winter Solstice. It is common to every Solar Cult, from Zoroasterism to Christianity, going through Apollo, Horus, Osiris, and Mithras. Jesus was just another Sun King, sacrificed on the cross of the seasons, and resurrected after the third day after Winter Solstice.

  6. #26
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    The winter solstice is the "birth," but it's relatively free of violence. The God "died" back at Samhain, after all. The summer solstice, however, marks the transition from the season of growth to the season of harvest. The holidays on this side of the Wheel are all about Death. Lughnasadh, the Reaping of the Grain and the sacrifice of the Corn King. Mabon, the peak harvest as the family gathers to process and store food against the approaching winter famine. Samhain, when the God takes His place as king of the underworld, also the traditional time for culling the herds and storing the meat.

    It's no accident that Christmas is right on top of Yule. It was deliberately placed there. Even so, the two holidays resonate deeply with the joy of the birth of Light in the time of greatest darkness. Jesus was a sacrificed god, and a lot of His symbolism comes from the death holidays in the fall, the identification with grain and bread in the Eucharist, for example. His sacrifice occurred in the spring, however, connected with the Jewish Passover. (This, of course, is why Easter has eggs and bunnies. It stole them from Ostara.) Indeed, the timing of the Crucifixion is one of the few things the Bible is relatively clear on. (Though there is disagreement as to whether Jesus died ON passover, or just after.)

    There's no specific events in Jesus' life that are unambiguously associated with summer. If we want to explore a syncretism between Christianity and Wicca, Christianity is remarkably silent about this time. (Saint's days don't count. There's too many of them.) We have to, therefore, look to the Pagan side for symbolism and meaning, and for Midsummer, that means Transition and Conflict.

    When He was alive, Jesus was a Jewish prophet in a long line of such, and like many of His predecessors, living in a time of conflict. His mentor, John the Baptist, is martyred, leaving Jesus in charge. Throughout His ministry, Jesus continually spoke on behalf of the poor and powerless, and was attacked by the powerful, chiefly the Pharisees, quisling rulers under the Roman occupation. The conflict culminated, of course, in the Crucifixion, ironically the key to His Apotheosis. His followers spread to Rome where the cult would take root and flourish. Not immediately, though. There was a time when Christianity was genuinely and legitimately persecuted. (though despite what the Dominionists claim, that time is past.)

    We are again in a time of conflict and transition. A young, upstart, new religion struggles to carve out room to exist in Society's soul and is opposed by an entrenched system jealous of any threat to its supremacy. But just like Christianity found a rich vein of symbolism in the pagan system of Europe, Christianity itself still contains much wisdom and meaning.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daecon View Post
    The winter solstice is the "birth," but it's relatively free of violence. The God "died" back at Samhain, after all. The summer solstice, however, marks the transition from the season of growth to the season of harvest. The holidays on this side of the Wheel are all about Death. Lughnasadh, the Reaping of the Grain and the sacrifice of the Corn King. Mabon, the peak harvest as the family gathers to process and store food against the approaching winter famine. Samhain, when the God takes His place as king of the underworld, also the traditional time for culling the herds and storing the meat.
    Actually, that's Middle Eastern in origin, Dumuzid & Innana, not European. Neopagans have just adapted that myth and given it Celtic names, since the Druids didn't write anything down.

    It's no accident that Christmas is right on top of Yule. It was deliberately placed there.
    Again, Middle Eastern. What did they know or care of the Vikings in Asia Minor & North Africa?

    Europeans aren't the only people who built customs and rituals based on the turns of the seasons. It's universal. The ancient Middle Eastern religions built their festivals around the Equinoxes and Solstices, and that's where the Middle Eastern born Christianity got it. Look up Mithra.

    Even so, the two holidays resonate deeply with the joy of the birth of Light in the time of greatest darkness. Jesus was a sacrificed god, and a lot of His symbolism comes from the death holidays in the fall, the identification with grain and bread in the Eucharist, for example. His sacrifice occurred in the spring, however, connected with the Jewish Passover. (This, of course, is why Easter has eggs and bunnies. It stole them from Ostara.)
    Actually, painting eggs for the Equinox is, again, Middle Eastern in origin, specifically the Persians, with Nowruz, which is around 3000 years old. The Romans picked it up from the Persians, and the Christians picked up the tradition from the Romans. The Jews picked up the concept of the Earth beginning with the Vernal Equinox, and that became Christian tradition. That led to the tradition that Christ's conception was the Vernal Equinox, and his birth with the Winter Solstice, the nine months fitting perfectly with the concept of the birth of the Sun.

    As John the Baptist was, according to Scripture, six months older than Jesus, that placed his birth with the Summer Solstice.

    As for the Easter Bunny, that was created by Germans... 16th Century Protestant ones. You'll find no mention of hares or rabbits associated with Easter before then. This was based on the association of rabbits and hares with the moon, which is, again, universal. You'll find the rabbit and hare moon myths and legends in Asia, Africa, and North America. Easter falls on the first Sunday following the first full moon following the Vernal Equinox. That full moon is called the Easter Moon. German Protestants told their children that, if they were good, they'd be visited by the Hare of the Easter Moon. That became our modern Easter Bunny. So, the Easter Bunny has nothing to do with fertility rituals, historically.

    As for the Holly and Oak King, that only dates back to 1948, in The White Goddess, by Robert Graves, though Frazer had a similar concept in The Golden Bough in 1890. Many modern Pagans make the mistake of taking Graves's poetic visions and modern mythmaking as literal ancient myth and history, which isn't how he intended it to be taken.

  8. #28
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    Psst, let's keep it on topic, which is the summer solstice, please...
    "The road to hell is paved with adverbs." - Stephen King.

  9. #29
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    The problem with Midsummer is it's overshadowed by it's Winter counterpart. In North America, while there are some things done around the Solstice, most put off midsummer celebrations until early July (the 1st in Canada, the 4th in the US).

    Speaking of which, I enjoyed the fireworks.

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