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Requiem Aeternam Dona Eis: Some Thoughts on Misruletide

’Tis the season. But what season? This is an interesting time of year.

Winter.

A time of rest.

The land stands fallow and sleeping.

The days shorten, the nights lengthen.

The shadows stretch, the darkness grows.

What season?

There is a time, a time outside of time. A season? Certainly. Better, a time, a tide.

A time outside of time. The Time of Misrule. The Tide of Misrule. Misruletide.

I’m not talking just about the Christmastime, Christmastide, celebration by this name, but the portion of time starting at All Saint’s or All Hallow’s and extending to Candlemas. I’m talking of a year ending at Hallowtide and starting at Candletide. The year has ended. The year has not yet began.

It is a time of rest. Certainly. A rest for whom? The land, well, yes, but who else? If it is the Time of Misrule, the Season of Misrule, the Tide of Misrule, we should start with what Misrule is, both in the festival use of the word and how we mean it here.

I won’t go much into the festivities or history, but the tradition of Feast of Fools and similar celebrations on Christmas and around that part of the year, was a celebration where everything was turned on its head, socially. It was a time or revelry and irreverence, a time of no rules, or, namely, misrule. Depending on where and when, it was sometimes a large scale celebration and sometimes a private affair. Regardless, the “ruler” over the festivities was among the peasantry or the lower clergy, taking the role of king or abbot. In Britain, the Lord of Misrule. One aspect of this, anything trying to hurt or cause problems for those higher in society would be mislead into going after those low in society as well. I can’t rule out that this aspect was not a part of things as well.

This is the sense I am using for this part of the year, from its end at Hallowmas to its beginning at Candlemas. The Time of Misrule, the time when the normal order of things is tipped on its head.

It is during this time of year, at various points, in various forms, that we see lore of the Wild Hunt and traditions and folktales that have descended from the Hunt. In its many forms, the faeries or the dead or witches or other beings ride abroad. They are lead by various figures, Öðinn, Frigg, Frey, Freyja, Holda, Frau Holle, Berchta, Diana, Gwydion, King Arthur, Nuada, Herne, the Devil, Sir Francis Drake, Manannán, Arawn, Nicnevin, Ankow, and many others. The Wild Hunt is said to occur, depending on the lore, on All Hallow’s Eve, on Midwinter’s Eve, on Christmas Eve, or on Twelfth Night (Epiphany Eve), or simple during the winter months, during the Misruletide we are discussing.

The variations veil and hide things, for it is the nature of lore to shift, but under it all, we see a Hunt lead by a figure, or two figures, and a host of the Dead or of spirits. It is interesting to note that the lore of All Hallow’s Eve is of a time when the Dead or spirits roam in the world of the living. This is not the “normal” state of things, it doesn’t follow the normal rule. And many of the figures seen leading the Hunt are either dead folk heroes or gods or goddesses of death.

If we consider the parallel of a time when the Dead walk lead by a lord or lady of death with the Feast of Fools led by the Lord of Misrule, the idea becomes apparent.

Consider for the moment an image.

See a woman dressed in black robes with a red veil hiding her face. She stands in a stone chamber deep beneath the ground, a round chamber with stone benches carved in the sides. There are two thresholds in the room, an empty doorway with no door to her right, and a pair of massive doors to her left. A figure stands before the black doors, watching her, still as death, silent as the grave. In front of her is a black altar, a cube of unworked black stone, the colour of deepest night, deepest shadow. A body rests on this altar, or a Thread, there is less difference than there seems. The body is familiar. In one shrivaled hand, she holds a rod or wand, wood, made of a blackthorn root. In the other, she holds a knife.

When the time becomes full, when the tide is complete, the knife drops, the Thread is cut, the blood flows from the body, blood black in the shadows, covering the black altar. This time has ended, the Thread cut, the Cutter’s knife has fallen.

The woman raises the rod and points at the doors, and the figure before it moves. The figure it tall and thin, covered in black tattered robes. His face is hidden in the shadowed cowl. Folded at his back is a pair of skeletal wings with shadow stretched between the bones. His hands, sticking from the arms of the robes, are nothing but bone. In one hand, he holds a book, chained to his wrist. His other hand is em

When the woman raises the rod, the winged figure wipes a line from his book with one skeletal finger. The ink flows like smoke off the page and a figure rises from the body and joins it, the two becoming one, a spectral image of the body still on the altar. The figure reaches and opens the doors wide. Beyond, it is both as dark as the night and bright beyond imagination. A wind fills the cavern, and the body crumbles to dust and blows away.

The figure beacons, silent, and the spectre walks through the Gates of Life and Death, which are closed fast behind them.

It is finished.

This is the normal rule, the Quick die, becomes the Dead, cross through the Gates, and rest until the time comes for them to return, becoming Quick again. But this is the time of Misrule, the Dead don’t always stay dead, sometimes the Wild Hunt rides.

But who sides at the front of the Hunt? Who leads the Dead? Death. Like Hel leading the people of her domain in Ragnorak, like the Queen of Faerie leading the people of her domain forth, like Odin or Freyja leading the Dead they have gathered forth, Like King Arthur leading the knights that died, Death rides forth at the front of the Host.

But, if Death leads the Hunt, who guards the Gates? Ah. The Time of Misrule. The Quick caught up in the Host become Dead, and the Dead beyond the Gates can walk. This is Misruletide. Among other things.

Now, when the Keeper of the Lost sits as Regent, and the Quick and the Dead can switch station, now is when things aren’t always what they seem.

So, what do we have at Hallowtide? Not just All Hallow’s Eve. It is the Eve of All Hallows, of course, All Hallow’s Day, All Saint’s Day, which is followed by All Soul’s Day. Three days focussed on the Dead, in different ways. But let’s look specifically at All Soul’s Day.

This is of course best known in the part of the world I live in as the Mexican celebration of Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, when masks are worn and feasts and presents are prepared for the Dead, often at grave sites, is a similar fashion to the tradition practiced by many of my Craft brothers and sisters in a Dumb Supper on All Hallow’s Eve. The giving of food to the Dead is present in many cultures throughout the world and throughout time, though not always this time of year. It is common this time of year, however.

In Catholic practice, All Soul’s Day is a day of commemoration for the “faithful departed”. This is a somewhat enigmatic phrase to many. It’s taken to mean those who have died and are in Purgatory. The phrase is, “fidelium animae”, fidelium, fidelis, fides, faith/belief/trust/confidence, so faithful, believing, or trustable, animae, anima, soul/spirit/life/air/breeze/breath, so spirit of the dead in this context. Those that believe but haven’t obtained heaven, basically.

Misruletide begins with a focus on the dead, and another use of the phase “fidelium animae” gives some interesting things to consider. A prayer has been commonly prayed for the “faithful departed” is as follows:

English:

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. And let the perpetual light shine upon them. And may the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Latin:

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine. Et lux perpetua luceat eis. Fidelium animae, per misericordiam Dei, requiescant in pace. Amen.

The last phrase, many of us are familiar with, at least in English, “rest in peace”. This has become the most common expression for those who have died, though if you read lore of the dead from many times past, this directive implies a desire for the Dead not to be unrestful, not to rise. The Dead don’t always rest peacefully, that the Gates aren’t always sealed, as we’ve been discussing.

Consider this phrase in Latin for a moment, “requiescant in pace”. “Pace” is “pax”, meaning peace or harmony. The sense is not in terms of no war, like we often see in in English, it’s the sense of being silent, not being dissident, not conflicting. “Pax!” was also used like we would use, “Be silent!”, or “Hush!”. “Requiescant” is “requiesco”, to rest or repose or sleep. Rest in peace, sleep peacefully and don’t cause me trouble. If you pardon my humour.

But “requiesco” is “re-“ and “quiesco”. “Re-“ means back, backwards, or again. Basically, to go back to a previous state. “Quiesco” means to rest, cease, sleep, repose, abstain, cease, stop, and similar ideas. It is from “quies” and “-sco”. “-sco” changes a verb to have a meaning of starting to or beginning to. “Quies” means to rest, repose, quiet, and figuratively, to dream. So, getting to the root, we have the same meaning as we started with, but the combination implies a bit more specific sense than we saw with the original meaning. “Quiesco” would be, to begin or start to rest, repose, or be quiet. “Requisco” would be, to return to a state of beginning or starting to rest, repose, or be quiet. But beginning to rest or repose would be to go to sleep, basically, and to begin to be quiet would be to stop making noise. So, returning to these would be to go back to sleep, or to become quiet again. A returning to a previous state of sleep or quietness.

This brings to mind discussions of Charon the ferryman being silent, and of the Dead being silent until Odysseus provides blood, and other stories relating to the silent dead being given speak though blood or other methods. Bran the Blessed’s cauldron returned the Dead to life, but they were silent, unable to speak. This is common in much of the lore, the Dead cannot speak, they are silent, unless voice is brought by some means. To be Dead is to be Silent. “Requiesco” implies a return to a state of sleep and silence, a return to death.

In modern Catholic context, the prayer implies those in Purgatory moving on quickly to Heaven, but the wording has other repercussions, and begs the question, as this prayer was introduced by St. Benedict in the sixth century and is believed to be older still, was the meaning always what it is now seen as? The formalized beliefs concerning Purgatory were much later, though the concept existed in deferent forms back before Benedict. It seems possible, though, that the implications of the prayer as that to keep the Dead at rest is not impossible.

“Requiem aeternam” is of note. “Requiem” is of course from requies, also, a “place of rest”. “Aeternam”, “arternus”, is translated as permanent, lasting, eternal, endless, immortal. Hence, eternal rest, or an eternal resting place. The second word comes from “-rnus”, making it an adjective, and “aetus”, meaning lifetime or age. The root meaning is more about a resting place that will last a lifetime than the modern sense of eternity.

So, my tongue and cheek transition:

A place to sleep until we all die, O Lord please give them, and let the uninterrupted light shine on them, and those of the Dead who are trustworthy, by the mercy of God, keep quiet and not bother us. Amen.

Misruletide is a time when the Dead can walk among the Quick, and when much of the feasts, fasts, celebrations, measures, folk traditions, and rituals are concerned with keeping them from doing so, or misdirecting them so they don’t succeed in whatever they seek to do.

And, I say:

Hail, oh Builder of Storms, Keeper of the Lost, Regent of the North, Ruler of the Time of Misrule, bringer of Change.

Hail, oh Cutter, you whose Knife cuts every Thread when the time comes, the Last Witness, Priestess of the Black Altar.

Hail, oh Guardian of the Gates of Life and Death, Darkling Twin, Shadow of the World, Keeper of the Book in which all is written and all is erased.

May the Time of Misrule bring its secrets and lore and surprises, may the storms bring the life of spring, may the Dead speak when speech is needed, be silent when it is not, ride forth when it is time, and rest in peace when all is accomplished.

Dance, oh Spirits of Misruletide, dance through the long dark nights, and may the lights of the new year find us when Candletide comes again.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine. Et lux perpetua luceat eis. Fidelium animae, per misericordiam Dei, requiescant in pace. Amen.

FFF,
~Muninn’s Kiss

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Posted by on November 24, 2016 in muninnskiss

 

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Twenty-Four Knots on the Wheel

We are currently sitting half way between Christmas and Twelfth Night and Epiphany. In musing about this, some patterns began to emerge.

Epiphany is of course Twelfth Day, and the Eve of Epiphany Twelfth Night. Twelfth days from Christmas, or in the older calendar, from the Solstice.

Traditionally, Jan 6 is both the day Christ was presented in the temple (hence the name Epiphany) and the day the Kings arrived, or, more accurately, they arrived the night before but were present during the day as well. Interestingly, the presentation of Christ is also connected to Candlemas, which is 40 days from Christmas, and Epiphany is also called the Day of Lights, with direct relation to the candles of Candlemas. The 40 day times in traditional usage are important, Ash Wednesday 40 days before Easter, etc. The lore of Bride’s Day and Candlemas bring interesting light (no pun intended) to Twelfth Night/Day, Epiphany, and Three Kings Day. But that’s a side point.

In the Eastern Church, Epiphany is the baptism of Christ, the descent (fall?) of the Holy Spirit upon him, his manifestation as the Son of God. This is very much an initiatory event, the baptism a ritual death, the spirit descending much like the Fall of the Watchers and the settling on him as a dove much like later stories of witches and familiar spirits. This is followed, of course, by 40 days in the Wilderness/Wasteland to be tempted, an ordeal, fasting, harsh conditions. The type of thing you return dead, mad, or a poet, in the British Isles. 40 days places it on my birthday, February 15, which is Lupercalia in Rome, the Wolf Festival, a festival to Faunus/Pan, for the protection of flocks. A sacrifice was made in the cave where legend said Romulus and Remus were suckled by the wolf. The rites were said to have been brought from Arcadia (all things tie back to Acadia), the homeland of Pan. Twelve days before the Lupercalia is of course Candlemas.

That’s of course using the Gregorian placement of January 6. In the Eastern Church, they use the Julian, so it lands on our January 19, and 40 days is February 28 in the Gregorian. This places Christmas, of course, on the 6th or 7th of January, so our Epiphany is essentially their Christmas. The shift obscures, just as the shift from the actual Solstice to what is December 25, where Christmas is celebrated and things are measured.

The 25 of December being Solstice places the 20th or 21st depending on the year as Christmas, so January 1st of 2nd as Epiphany. New Years becomes Epiphany, New Years Eve Twelfth Night. Lupercalia becomes February 10th in our calendar, Candlemas January 29th.

But in effect, the Solstice is the important date, Epiphany 12 days hence, then Bride’s Day with Lupercalia 12 days hence, then the Equinox with Easter 12 days hence, then Beltaine, with Pentacost 12 days hence, then the Summer Solstice with the Fourth of July 12 days hence, then Lugh’s Day, with Assumption 12 days hence, then the Equinox, with Michaelmas 12 days hence, the Samhain with Feroniae 12 days hence. Approximately. Kalends and Ides.

But, of course, that’s only eight. Not the ten months of the early Roman Calendar or the later twelve months that became our own.

The 12 days of course count from the day after, to the Eve. This means approximately 14 days counting the actual days, two weeks, approximately half a moon. 28 days, you get 13 moons, 364 days. A year and a day making 365. 28 and 12 is of course 40 days, so if you take a complete moon cycle from each of the major dates, then 12 before the secondary dates, you get 40 days. So, Solstice + 12, 13 is Epiphany, Epiphany + 28 is Candlemas. Candlemas + 12, 13 is Lupercalia, and so forth. Which means 2 weeks, then 4 weeks, 2 weeks, then 4 weeks, and so forth. 6 weeks, eight majors, you have 48 weeks, 336 days. Which of course is four weeks short, one moon. But this is because it isn’t exactly what I implied.

If you add one week before each of the Solstices and Equinoxes, between them and the last marked Ides, you hit real close to the right dates, and get 364 days, 52 weeks, 13 moons.

Going backwards around, 12 days before Christmas (Solstice) is Lucie, my wife’s birthday. 12 days before the Autumn Equinox, Holyrood. 12 days before the Nativity of John the Baptist (Solstice) is Whitsun. And 12 days before the Spring Equinox, Lent. The four Ember Days. 40 days before those, Samhain, Lugh’s Day, Beltain, and Bride’s Day. Approximately, anyway.

12 days before Bride’s Day, Beltain, Samhain, Lugh’s Day, and Samhain are approximately cusps of Capricorn/Aquarius, Aries/Taurus, Cancer/Leo, and Libra/Scorpio. These are one week after the Ides, and while there are rustic Roman festivals celebrated on these, they are more obscure and doing lend much.

So, Solstice, plus two weeks, Epiphany, plus two weeks, Cusp, plus two weeks, Candlemas, plus two weeks, Lupercalia, plus one week, Lent, plus two weeks, Equinox, plus two weeks, Easter, plus two weeks, Cusp, plus two weeks, Beltain, plus two weeks, Pentecost, plus one week, Whitsun, plus two weeks, Solstice, plus two weeks, the Fourth of July, plus two weeks, Cusp, plus two weeks, Lugh’s Day, plus two weeks, Assumption, plus one week, Holyrood, plus two weeks, Equinox, plus two weeks, Michaelmas, plus two weeks, Cusp, plus two weeks, Samhain, plus two weeks, Feroniae, plus one week, Lucie, plus two weeks, Solstice.

Eight days (Solstices, Equinoxes, Bride’s, Beltain, Lugh’s, and Samhain), with a day twelve days before and twelve after. 24 days.

There are 24 knots in my year, not modeled after these, but it ties in nicely to mine, which are the Bright and Dark Moons closest to each 15 degrees of the Zodiac, the custs and the midpoints. But the above is close enough to these that I think I need to work through the these and see how they relate to my own cycle, and what lore will come out of it.

FFF,
~Muninn’s Kiss

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2013 in muninnskiss

 

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Time of the Lost

We now enter the Time of the Lost, and the Time of the Found. The Keeper of the Lost rises, rises to Regency, as the Keeper of Secrets falls. The Time of the Lost has come. And the Time of the Found.

The Lost aren’t those that don’t know salvation, or those who don’t know their way. For there are those who know the way but are lost, and those that can’t see the way who are found. No, the Lost are not these. The Lost are many, who can count? Only their Keeper.

The Lost are those who don’t see the way, not because they are blind or unable, but because they don’t choose to.

The Lost are those that have forgotten. Forgotten the way, forgotten they know the way, have no vision.

The Lost are those who are forgotten, who no one sees, no one remembers. The dead that are not remembered, the living who are ignored or not seen.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” ~Proverbs 29:18a*

The Lost are those who wander, crossing the worlds while not knowing it, wandering forevermore, unaware.

The Lost are those living on the streets, unnoticed by passersby, or ignored, avoided by them.

The Lost are those spending every night in the bar, drinking to forget.

The Lost are those working three jobs or tons of overtime to pay bills for things they have no time to enjoy, not living, just surviving, though they appear to be successful.

The Lost are those living alone in a house or apartment, afraid to go outside for reasons only they know.

The Lost are those who die alone, no one knowing until the smell draws attention.

The Lost are those living in nursing homes, with no family to visit, or no family that does visit.

The Lost are those who die on the streets, with a body tag saying John or Jane Doe, no one morning, no one claiming the body, no one naming the name.

The Lost are those who are forgotten shortly after their death, their families and friends going about their business, their stories and life ending with their death, never to be recalled again.

The Lost are those searching but not looking, wanting to find a path, but afraid they actually will. Running from their past, afraid of their future, they move aimlessly, lost but not sure they want to be found.

The Lost are those who make the logical choices in life, the ones that will bring what seems like success, stability, security, but ignore the calling they hear, not taking the risk to follow desire, necessity, or destiny.

The Lost are those who think themselves in full control of their destiny, believe they see the path before them clearly, all laid bare, but are really only seeing swirling mists, not even their own feet, inventing pictures in the mist thinking them visions, when all they are are wistful dreams.

The Time of the Lost has come. And the Time of the Found.

The Keeper of the Lost is also the Keeper of the Found. Just as the Builder of Storms is also the Builder of Stillness, and the Bringer of Tears brings both tears of sorrow and joy.

What was Lost shall be found, but what was Found can be lost. Fortunes change, conditions change, there is sudden gain and there is sudden lose. Winter’s Mistress is harsh and unforgiving, the Left and the Right Hand of Fate. Nothing is certain, nothing stays the same.

Look.

Listen

Observe.

What do you see? What do you hear? What do you perceive?

The line it is drawn
And the curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast

As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’

And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’
~The Times They Are A-Changin’ by Bob Dylan

The Lost can be Found, the Found can be Lost. We sit in the Abyss, the year has ended, but the new year doesn’t begin. Waiting. A time when anything can happen, and likely will.

The Wild Hunt rides.

Can you hear it? Can you feel it?

Do you here winds blowing between worlds?

Listen.

Look.

Observe.

Change. Sudden and unexpected.

What was Lost shall be found, but what was Found can be lost.

We now enter the Time of the Lost, and the Time of the Found. The Keeper of the Lost rises, rises to Regency, as the Keeper of Secrets falls. The Time of the Lost has come. And the Time of the Found.

Can you feel it?

FFF,
~Muninn’s Kiss
*For context, the entire verse is “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2013 in muninnskiss

 

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The Importance of Horror

This time of year, with Halloween approaching, there are a lot more horror films watched, more horror elements in television shows, and more horror books read than any other part of the year. There is a marked focus in this direction, both in those pursuing watching and reading, and in those speaking against the genre. Many of these elements spill into daily life, in costumes worn to work, parties, bars, and anywhere else people can get away with it by using the season as an excuse.

Supernatural horror the only mainstream place where the elements that are often a part of more occult and esoteric interest appear. The very fact the genre (both in film and in literature, and also in art of many other forms) exists is interesting in itself.

The reason for the absence elsewhere is that people don’t want to consider the monstrous and strange, preferring to pretend everything is safe and normal and predictable. So it’s pushed to the edges. On the edges, we don’t have to look at it. We can pretend it’s not there and go about life feeling safe.

But the presence of the supernatural horror genre in all mediums means that while it’s pushed the edges, it’s not pushed out completely. People don’t want to confront it in a “normal” context, but they also can’t completely ignore or forget it either. The genre persists because there is always a part of us that knows that the “normal” by itself is not the whole story, that there would be a lacking if the Other is completely gone.

So people seek out the monstrous and strange and dangerous on occasion, as a reminder not to forget, then return to their “normal” world, content that the stuff they push to the edges is still at the edges, so not hidden closer and waiting.

This is the place not just of the genre, but of the edges themselves. Edges and boundaries define what is part and what is not, what is Self and what is Other, what is society and what is savage, what is cultivated and what is Wasteland or Wilderness. By dividing, they define. There is no boundary or edge if there isn’t something beyond it. There is no Self without Other. There is no civilized without the Monster. If what we don’t like or are afraid of isn’t at the edge, or across the boundary, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, it means it has no place to be but here, where I am. If there is no monster out there, the monster is here, or the monster is me.

The separation of worlds, the Edge and the Veil, is a separation of perception, not a gap or abyss between worlds. Our world, our Dreaming, must be safe to us, so we push what isn’t safe to the edge, make it Other, make it the otherworld. And those that live in the otherworld, at the edges by our perception, push what isn’t safe to them to the edge, to their Other, making it the otherworld for them, our world. All things not safe for us, or that we don’t want, is there. All things not safe for them, or that they don’t want, is here. Two worlds mutually populating each other with their monsters, monsters who populate their world with monsters.

But those who walk between are monsters to both worlds, Other to all Selfs. Because they can be either, so are monsters that appear as normal, no matter which world they walk. And appearing normal in both, they also see both as normal, the accept the monstrous and strange as every day, as part of what makes up the whole. They have no edges, no borders, no law, no limits.

Because edges imply two sides, boundaries and borders are between two things. Laws define what can happen and cannot, or, what can happen without being pushed to the edges. Limits define what is possible, but if you approach a limit long enough, you can’t perceive where you are from where it is, and in effect reach it. And once you realize the limit, what stops you from passing it?

FFF,
~Muninn’s Kiss

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2013 in muninnskiss

 

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Samhain Dumb Supper or Other Get Together

Anyone interested in a dumb supper or other get together around Samhain, in the Northern Frontrange area?

I.E., Denver, Aurora, Boulder, Broomfield, Golden, Ft.Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Longmont, Castle Rock, and surrounding areas, and those within driving distance that are interested.

Feel free to comment if you’re interested, or email me at muninnskiss @ grimr.org.

FFF,
~Muninn’s Kiss

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2013 in muninnskiss

 

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The Fire Festivals: Stellar movements and the cross-quarter days

As we’re now in the time of the year of the Bride, having just passed her day and Candlemas, it’s interesting to take a look at the days modern pagans and many witches consider holy days, especially the cross-quarters, Samhain, Bride’s Day, Beltaine, and Lugh’s Day. Much is made of Samhain and Beltaine, less of Bride’s Day and Lugh’s Day, as many modern pagans aren’t quite sure what to do with them.

I’d like to go back to a discussion I started in my Year in Review post, about the timing of these four days. These days fall roughly half way between the solstices and equinoxes, and while those are fairly easily observed, based on the length of the day and year, the cross quarters are not as easy, as they don’t fall at a time the solar cycle would lend easy measurements, and the lunar cycles don’t line up right to designate them every year. Yet they seem to have been more important among what care called Celtic people than the ones easily measured by the sun. This would imply something significant marking them, not a measuring from the solar points. So, if not solar, and not lunar, yet marked by a sign, where do we look?

The answer lies in part of my discussion in the fore-mentioned post. “Aldebaran is the brightest star in Taurus, the Bull, and becomes visible in the Northern Hemisphere around Samhain, sinking again around Beltaine, being highest around Bride’s Day.” “Regulus is the brightest star in Leo, the Lion, and becomes most visible in the Northern Hemisphere around Bride’s Day, and disappears around Lugh’s Day, being highest around Beltaine.”

So, Samhain comes when Aldebaran and Taurus rise. Bride’s Day comes when Regulus and Leo rise, and Aldebaran and Taurus are at their height. Beltaine comes when Regulus and Leo hits it’s height, and Aldebaran and Taurus sink. Lugh’s Day comes when Regulus and Leo sink.

We can look further. Just before Leo is at it’s height and Taurus is sinking, Scorpio is rising. Antares is the bright star, and can be considered as opposite Taurus’ Aldebaran. It doesn’t rise as high as the others, but is significant. It sets after Lugh’s Day. When Leo is sinking around Lugh’s Day, Aquarius and its neighbours are rising. Though not in Aquarius, the brightest star in the area of the sky is Fomalhaut, in Piscis Austrinus.

Not exact, but we see the rise of Aldebaran and Taurus at Samhain, the rise of Regulus and Leo at Bride’s Day, the rise of Antares and Scorpio at Beltaine, and the rise of Fomalhaut and Aquarius at Lugh’s Day. It’s important to note that these four stars were considered the Royal Stars in Persia, the Watchers, Regulus watching in the North, Aldebaran in the East, Fomalhaut in the South, and Antares in the West.

These four holy days are seen as sun festivals, but they seem to be more stellar than solar. Unless, of course, their celebration started far enough back to show a large enough shift to account for this. The Zodiac, and these four star with them, move completely around in relation to earth every 25,920 years or so, the Platonic Year, or the Great Year. Considering the current twelve signs, this means it shifts a complete constellation about every 2200 years give or take 100. It wobbles in relation to the stars over this, which accounts for the Antares and Fomalhaut anomalies from the four holy days. As the wobble occurs, some constellations are lower, so rising and sinking points change.

The cycle moves backwards from the annual seasons, so the Spring Equinox occurs a bit earlier in the zodiac each year, and every 2000 years or so, a full sign. It currently sits in Pisces, almost to Aquarius when compared to the stars (at the border between Ares and Pisces in traditional Western astrology, for most western Astrology cares about the position of the sun in the sky rather than the exact location against the stars). This is where the discussion of the Age of Pisces and the upcoming Age of Aquarius come from.

The Winter Solstice, which is more interesting for this discussion, occurs in Sagittarius currently, not on the border of Sagittarius and Capricorn. Over time, it will move further, into Scorpio. This means that Antares is moving toward the Winter Solstice, and was once at the Autumn Equinox. And before that at Lugh’s Day, and before that as the Summer Solstice. In the last 25,920 days, it’s moved full circle back through the year.

This begs the question, when these four days were first observed but the people who would become called as Celts, where were these four stars, and what part of the year did they celebrate? Samhain was a time of death and ending, Beltaine a time of birth and beginning. It seems likely Samhain started out as a Winter Solstice celebration and Beltaine as a Summer Solstice celebration, just as Midsummer and Yule were celebrated by the Germanic people. If this is so, the Germanic people marked it solarly, so it stayed at the Solstice, but the Celtic people marked it stellarly, causing a shift. This would imply a beginning of the celebration around 23,000 years ago, or 48,000, or so on.

It also points to a stellar basis for religious and ritual use, something many archaeological investigations of things like the stone circles in the British Isles, the recent find up in the Orkneys, and other sites are also pointing to.

FFF,
~Muninn’s Kiss

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2013 in muninnskiss

 

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Michaelmas: Time of Binding

Today, we stand at Michaelmas (though the original sate wasn’t until October 11).  This is the day the Western Church traditionally honours all the Angels, but more specifically the Archangels, and most specifically the Archangel Michael.  It is traditionally the day Michael kicked Satan (or Lucifer) from Heaven.

This is a time of year for binding, for reducing, for constricting.  The days shrink, just as the moon shrinks following the full moon.  The spring, heading toward the Summer Solstice, as the days increase, is a time for loosing, for increasing, for expanding.  But now we bind, not loose.

Michaelmas (under the current Western calendar), falls one week after the Equinox.  It’s significant that it falls at this point in the year, after harvest, heading toward Samhain.  At this point when the days are shortening, when winter is coming.

This year, the full moon lands on Michaelmas this moon.  Tonight is the height of the Tide of the current moon.  The energy flows strong, from that white mirror, that whole in the black sky.  A dark night full of light.

Half a moon has passed since the Sage Brush Moon ended.  Half way to the next Dark Moon.  This is a moon of changing, of turning.  The Moon of the Equinox, half way to darkness.  The Moon of Michaelmas, of Lucifer’s fall from heaven, the Bright and Morning Star.  The leaves changing, the season changing.    This is truly the Changing Moon, a moon for bringing change into the world.

The main story of Michaelmas, of the Archangel Michael overcoming Lucifer and casting him from Heaven, is of course paralleled many places.  One such is Hera kicking Hephaestus, the smith of the gods, from Olympus, the fall giving him a limp the rest of his life.  Looking at that, we see Bran, wounded in the foot in the battle with Ireland, and eventually dying, but his head living on, speaking for a year.  We see the Fisher King in Arthurian Legend, wounded through the thighs, unable to walk, so spending his time fishing in a boat.  We find Odin, pierced through the side with his out spear, hanging upside on the Tree, then falling to the depths of the roots.  Jesus stabbed in the side, then descending to Sheol.  The Fall of the Watchers is also the Descent of the Watchers, also, the Descent of Inanna, of Ishtar.

We find this motif also in our myth cycle of the year.  At the equinox, the power was in the balance, but now it’s tipped.  The Horned Child has grown in power, and he confronts the Winged Serpent, challenges him.  The Serpent has never know how to back down from a challenge.  He rises to that challenge, the two fight.

But the Serpent is weakening and the Horned Child is stronger.  The Serpent is God of the Vegetation, and with the harvest, his power waned.  The Horned Child is God of the Beast, and with the Hunt, he grows strong.  As the cold Northern Wind, he howls, the howls of wolves.  His is the call of ravens, gathering around the dead and dying.  He is strong and only getting stronger, heading toward his height at the time of the Wild Hunt.  He wounds the Serpent, but does not kill yet.  He casts him down, and this time of the year, he does not heal.

He who was once a vibrant young man, happy in love, without a care in the world, is now old, now weak, now wounded.  He walks with a limp, in old rags that were once royal robes.  He walks hunched over, a lantern in his hand, staring into the growing darkness with eyes that are failing him, unsure what the future holds where once he could see the path laid out before him.

And so Michaelmas passes and we rush towards Samhain.

FFF,
~Muninn’s Kiss
 
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Posted by on September 29, 2012 in muninnskiss

 

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