I have been thinking quite a lot recently about seasons, particularly pagan season of which there are eight. Here in
With Christmas bearing down on us at great knots, there are those wintery Xmas decorations starting to show in the windows of shops, and the famous Kirks, Xmas shop with its shiny expensive heirloom decorations, of snow laden trees, baubles, and jandal wearing, cloak draped Santa’s. In contrast the weather is warming up and the sun showing a bit more often, the days getting longer and the muggles are breaking out their bbq and inviting their friends over for meat and beer.
What does this mean for Witches and pagans of varying hues living in
Others however enjoy this time they spend with their families eating too much, trying to stop aunty hit the sherry again, and herding the children away from the present laden pine tree, with its fake snow, until after lunch when the gifts are allowed to
be torn apart, opened. These are of course age old rituals, and can differ from family to family. In my family where all packed up our presents, food, kids and animals and headed to a place called Mokau, where my grandfather jack built a batch, a very traditional kiwi batch, with its kikouia grass and cactus garden and toilet on the outside and the zip.. oh the zip i have fond memories of the bottom dropping out of the zip, water everywhere, luckily it was not hot water as we had only just finished filling it up. Opps digressing again and yes the batch was sometimes refered to the house that Jack built. (it’s a poem)
Anyway our family would go the batch as it was called, and spend Christmas and new years, fishing, building sand castles, eating, digging for pippies, floundering, swimming and all manner of beach like activities. The Christmas tree was a pine branch that the uncles had ‘found’ somewhere, and xmas dinner was leg of lamb or beef, roast chook stuffed, roast potatoes, kumara, carrots, salads, and for new years there was always a bbq outside. Both were followed with a night time walk down the beach and watching the ocean.. it was pretty cool.
Now as i am older, that lovely batch is no longer, and i am a practicing witch, so how do i relate to this season of summer with its winter celebration? Sure i could ‘only’ celebrate the summer solstice, and ignore the existence of xmas all together but then I have tried this and it doesn’t sit right in my head nor for that matter my heart. So now i am contemplating how can I sanely combine the two.
As a younger Witch when reading the various witchy books out there that explained the seasons and what the stood for i can remember questioning the reasoning’s presented, actually i still to, mostly because these books where written in a different country for a somewhat different climate, sure New Zealand has very distinct Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn, but they do not fall precisely on the days that were prescribed in these books. So eventually for me the pagan calander changed and evolved, and these holy days became more times, or seaons. Let me explain.
Firstly i see these holy days, more as sacred seasons, or time periods, thus summer solstice lasts when the seasons have changed over form spring to summer through to the beginnings of autumn, and the actually dates, per say change every year. Take this year for example; the weather in windy
On the last day of October and 1st of November was for us Beltane, although that does depend on what calendar you follow, this was for us in Wellington this year still very early spring, even though we had passed the spring equinox. I suspect that it will be this way up until December, which brings me neatly around to the original point of this post; how to celebrate summer solstice with its Yule trimmings.
Another thing to note is that we on the internet are very much like a global village, so while we are celebrating summer solstice here in New Zealand the southern hemisphere, in places like England, Canada and America pagans are celebrating the winter solstice. Beltane for us just gone, was samhain for the northern counterparts, this for me brings a sense of balance, dark and light life and death, however the seasons of balance are actually the equinoxes, when the days and nights are of equal length, and while this is happening I often find that my life has become decidedly unbalanced.. it’s a thing.
So how to make it all feel right in my head especially the Xmas and Summer Solstice? Things I will have to mull over the next few weeks.