Drops of Jupiter = Diamonds

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I could not resist this opportunity to write about one of my all-time favorite songs, when science has so graciously given substance to one of its central metaphors.

This brings to mind a quote by Sigmund Freud, reflecting upon his exploration of the human psyche: “Everywhere I go I find a poet has been there before me.”

In this case, that poet, and dreamer,  was Pat Monahan of the rock band “Train”.

As it turn out, “Drops of Jupiter” can in fact be diamonds….

Lightning storms make it rain diamonds on Saturn and Jupiter

http://www.businessinsider.com/diamond-rain-saturn-jupiter-2016-4

….in the dense atmospheres of planets like Jupiter and Saturn, whose massive size generates enormous amounts of gravity, crazy amounts of pressure and heat can squeeze carbon in mid-air — and make it rain diamonds.

The diamonds start out as methane gas. Powerful lightning storms on the two huge gas giants then zap it into carbon soot.

“As the soot falls, the pressure on it increases,” Baines told the BBC. “And after about 1,000 miles it turns to graphite – the sheet-like form of carbon you find in pencils.”

And the graphite keeps falling. When it reaches the deep atmosphere of Saturn, for example — around 3,700 miles down — the immense pressure squeezes the carbon into diamonds, which float in seas of liquid methane and hydrogen.

 

But about the lyrics of the song…

“Drops Of Jupiter”

Now that she’s back in the atmosphere
With drops of Jupiter in her hair, hey, hey, hey
She acts like summer and walks like rain
Reminds me that there’s a time to change, hey, hey, hey
Since the return from her stay on the moon
She listens like spring and she talks like June, hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey

But tell me, did you sail across the sun?
Did you make it to the Milky Way to see the lights all faded
And that heaven is overrated?

Tell me, did you fall for a shooting star–
One without a permanent scar?
And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there?

Now that she’s back from that soul vacation
Tracing her way through the constellation, hey, hey, hey (mmm)
She checks out Mozart while she does tae-bo
Reminds me that there’s room to grow, hey, hey, hey (yeah)

Now that she’s back in the atmosphere
I’m afraid that she might think of me as plain ol’ Jane
Told a story about a man who was too afraid to fly so he never did land

But tell me, did the wind sweep you off your feet?
Did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day
And head back to the Milky Way?
And tell me, did Venus blow your mind?
Was it everything you wanted to find?
And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there?

Can you imagine no love, pride, deep-fried chicken?
Your best friend always sticking up for you even when I know you’re wrong
Can you imagine no first dance, freeze dried romance, five-hour phone conversation?
The best soy latte that you ever had and me

But tell me, did the wind sweep you off your feet?
Did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day
And head back toward the Milky Way?

And tell me, did you sail across the sun?
Did you make it to the Milky Way to see the lights all faded
And that heaven is overrated?

And tell me, did you fall for a shooting star,
One without a permanent scar?
And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself?

Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na

And did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day?
Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na
And did you fall for a shooting star, fall for a shooting star?
Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na
And now you’re lonely looking for yourself out there.

I fell in love with this song the first time I that I heard it. And immediately formed my own interpretation of its words. Which, it turns out, is dead wrong.  But, nonetheless, I will share my explication…

The song is about a someone whose significant other has returned from an extensive spiritual retreat and who has been transformed by their experience.   And that someone is simultaneously 1) in awe of what their lover has experienced,  2) afraid that their lover has transcended them and will no longer find them sufficiently interesting, and 3) wanting to remind their lover that life on earth is in part made up of simple, earthly pleasures.

So much of the transcendent, inspiring imagery found in the lyrics is so reminiscent of shamanic (trance) journeys that I have experienced myself, or heard reported to me from those whose journeys I have facilitated.   I have danced upon the Moon, been dissolved and transformed by the heat of the Sun, traveled to distant planets, explored the wonders of the Eagle Nebula, and experienced the birth pangs of the Big Bang itself.

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[Picture of the Eagle Nebula taken by the telescope on Kitt Peak]

But back to the song…about these lines in particular…

And tell me, did you sail across the sun?
Did you make it to the Milky Way to see the lights all faded
And that heaven is overrated?

And tell me, did you fall for a shooting star,
One without a permanent scar?
And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself?

That someone wonders, did their lover find a purer partner, one who does not carry persistent wounds from their childhood that continue to affect and limit them?    And that someone questions their lover – as blissful as the spiritual search might be, is it not lonely in the disembodied ethers? Do you not miss the human connection that is so much a part of the human condition?

It is a song of tension, between the empathetic awe for what their lover has experienced, the recognition of  their transformation, the fear of no longer being enough, and the realization that part of the spiritual experience is inhabiting a human body.

 

You can listen to the song itself here:

 

And you can learn the real origin and meaning of the song here:

 

 

top image from:

http://www.mandelcr8tor.deviantart.com/art/Drops-of-Jupiter-324673177

Equinox Sunrise

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[remember to click upon the images to beautify your world]

For perhaps  18 years now, I have been conducting sunrise vigils on the Holy Days of the Earth, the Solstices and Equinoxes. For about 13 of those years I have been coming to this particular hilltop from which the pictures above were taken. As you can see, this vantage point offers a most spectacular view across the Minnesota landscape of prairie, woods, and lakes. The land itself is not quite public, which is to say that my pilgrimages here would be considered by some (most) people to be trespassing.

The land to the west of the hill is a residential area comprised of rather lovely homes on winding lanes. Years ago, on my second trip here, I had forgotten to look at a map before hand, and so I managed to get lost in the maze of streets as I looked for the lane where the trail began up the hill.

As I wandered about in my car, a dutiful police officer took note of my rather suspicious activity in the pre-dawn darkness and pulled me over. As he shown his flashlight upon my outdoorsy albeit rather scruffy appearance, he politely inquired if I lived in the neighborhood, and if not, what was that I was up to, driving so slowly up and down the streets at this hour of the morning. I explained matter-of-factly that it was the summer solstice and I was wanting to observe the sunrise from the top of the hill, but I couldn’t locate the cul-de-sac where a trail began.

With a rather blank expression upon his face, he studied me for a moment, scanned the interior of my vehicle with his flashlight, taking note of the mountain bike stashed unceremoniously in the back. Looked at me again, and said, “I think I know the one you mean. Follow me.” It turns out he did know the one, and within 3 minutes I was at the exact parking spot I had been looking for. So, with the aid the police officer I was able to carry out the trespassing that I had been plotting.

Since then, I have been up the hill many, many times, and know exactly how to get to the parking spot. And while I no longer require a police escort to get to my ritual site, each time I park outside one of the fine homes and wander up the trail, I wonder if another inquisitive officer might not be waiting for me when I come back down.

 

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Lammas at Sacred Heart

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For various reasons, I had been wanting to attend a couple of Lammas celebrations this year, and stumbled across one that was 2 1/2 hours from my home in Minneapolis, which seemed a bit much of a drive, until I saw two things.  One, it was being held near a rural town named “Sacred Heart”, and two, it was in the middle of farm country, in an area not too different from the farm where I grew up.   Where better to celebrate the “first harvest”, than in the middle of farm country?  And, “Sacred Heart” – what a name for a town!

The soil in southern Minnesota is incredibly rich, and black, and this region likes to think of itself as one of the bread baskets of the world, which is not without merit.  The richness of the soil lends itself extremely well to growing corn and soybeans (which are grown in rotation, since the corn depletes the soil and the soybeans enrich it (they’re nitrogen “fixing” legumes-  but I’ll spare you the agronomy lesson), whereas the small grains – wheat, barely, oats –  are better suited to the dry land farming of the more western states.

Nonetheless, when I was growing up, I would estimate that about 10% of the land here was planted to small grains, and the rest into corn and soybeans and hay.  Since Lammas is about celebrating the “first harvest” – the harvest of the small grains, I looked forward to my drive through the rural landscape and seeing, scattered here and there amidst the still rich green of corn and bean fields, the golden-maned fields of ripe grain, ready for the the harvest.

I have more than a passing interest in this, for, from the my mid-to-late teens, I was very much involved in the harvest of these grains (well, I was very much involved in the harvest of the corn and soybeans too, but that’s so exciting I’ll save it for a post about  “the second harvest”).   During those years I operated a Case “Swather”, about identical to this these:

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which you’ll notice are built upon a triangular frame, rather than the conventional rectangular frame of most vehicles and machinery – it has only 1 wheel in the back, which merely pivoted.  The power wheels were the front left and  front right, which functioned indepently of each other.  Meaning, the left wheel could be moving in reverse while the right wheel was moving forward, and vice versa. Which made it an incredibly maneuverable machine to operate.  In fact, it is the most elegant piece of machinery I’ve ever been on.  Operating it was almost an art form.  With the wheels moving in oposite directions, one could make a complete 360 degree circles in a space no bigger than the machine itself.

So, when the landscape (and fences) necessitated it, or if one simply felt the inclination 🙂  one could turn pirouettes out in the middle of a field.

It’s impossible to convey the full effect of that, for the reel that you see in the picture would be constantly turning like the wheel of a paddlewheel boat, and the sickle blade (which cut the grain stalks), which you cannot really see, would be moving back and forth with sewing-machine precision.  And one needed to raise the entire front mechanism over the standing grain or over the “windrow” (I’ll get to that in a minute). So the reel would be spinning high in the air and there was all this other motion going on in the machine itself as one turned one’s pirouettes;  it was a thing of beauty.

Again, it’s called a “Swather”, though my father always called it “the swatter”.   I towed the “swatter” behind our pickup truck, going from farm to farm, cutting their hay fields 2 0r 3 times a summer. And then when it came time to cut the grain fields, we made adjustments to it, so as not to damage the grain heads.  I cut all of our immediate neighbors fields, and we also had other customers miles and miles away from our farm.  Can’t tell you how many farms we did, nor how lunches I was served in farm houses scattered throughout the county.

The function of the swather/swatter, was:  1) to cut the grain while the stalks were still a bit green, so that the grain heads could dry out in the field before it was actually harvested with a combine, and 2) to pile the grain, still on its stalks, into  thick rows, called “windrows”, as you can see here:

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Gosh, I still love that word, “windrows” (not to be mistaken with a “wind rose”)  – these were made so that the wind would not scatter the grain about and knock the seeds from their husks.

I should mention here that we went through a number of “swatters” over the years.   2 or 3 made by Case, one by John Deere, and one by Owatonna – manufactured in the town of Owatonna, Minnesota – with a cab – like this one:

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– the cab saved me from becoming covered in grain “rust”, a fungus that grows on small grains – some fields were so bad, my father used to kid me that I would go out to work as a white boy, and come back as an African American (that was not the term he used).

Something to grasp here – while most occupations these days have overlapping beginnings and endings of sales and production cycles, on-going throughout the year, farming is the only occupation in which you spend months and months of planting, cultivating, and tending something, only to shear it all off and then start over the next year.   It’s a remarkable feeling, to go out to a field, stalks standing tall, heavily laden with the fruit they’ve spent the growing season producing, and to leave that same field with it shorn to the ground.

But that’s what Lammas is all about – the death of the God – in the form of the grain, and gathering it’s seed to feed the people and to re-fertilize the Goddess Earth in the spring.

So, back to Lammas and my drive to Sacred Heart.   It was very striking – for over 100 miles there was not one field of small grains or hay.  It was all corn fields and soybeans.  Field after field of the lushest of green, but all the same two crops.  Times have changed.

I had time to do some hiking in a natural area before going to the ritual, and there found the remains of what I believe was a broadwinged hawk.  There was very little left, just some of the primary feathers and a scattering of bones.   My intuition suggested that I take with me some of the leg bones, but I was not sure why.

Finally, within a couple of miles of the farm where the ritual was to be held, I encountered this field of oats:

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~ so idyllic, and so reminiscent of a late summer day of my youth.

When I arrived I was warmly greeted by the group of complete strangers, who welcomed me as though I were a member of their extended family.

This was also so striking to me – to encounter a group of Earth-worshipping pagans in the middle of farm country. This was unheard of when I was growing up.  Back then I often mused how far removed from the Earth many farmers actually were.  Even though they tended it throughout the year, they did not possess an emotional connection to it – it was merely the medium in which they worked to make a living.   But here I was , on a farm, with people who thrived upon their deep awareness of the Earth and her cycles.

From our sacred circle formed in their backyard, this was the view to the south – a wheat field that had just recently been shorn and harvested:

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In our circle, I was stationed in the East, and here is the view to the East, overlooking a soybean field:

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The great, long vistas of the flat prairie…

It was a lovely ritual, with everyone playing one role or another.   One of the men in attendance was being initiated as a “Warrior” of the coven.  In the midst of this, I was led to give him one of the bones from the hawk that I had found, to serve as a talisman to connect him to the hawk energy.

The entire experience was so moving, to have so many memories return to me, to experience this celebration of the harvest in the midst of farm country, in a setting that was so reminiscent of where I grew up.

It was a beautiful integration of two very significant parts of my life…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Into the Dark of the Dark

The Earth has turned it’s face from the Sun, and the Moon has turned its face from us.  It is a rare convergence, the dark of the Year coinciding with the dark of the Moon, but in the Northern Hemisphere this is our experience as the Winter Solstice aligns with the New Moon.   The darkest night, made all the darker with no Moon to shine.

The dark of course, has two faces.  In the closing lines of “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”, Dylan Thomas writes of himself as a young boy saying his prayers at the end of Christmas Day, “I said some words to the close and holy darkness.”   This may be my favorite line from the entire story.  It is such a moving sentiment.  So often I have loved the holy embrace of the dark, that mysterious void in which one feels intimately connected to the Divine Source, in which magick is conceived. But there is the other face of the dark, the free fall into the abyss, in which there is no embrace and all hope seems lost.

Some people live with chronic physical pain.  Some live with chronic emotional pain.  Some live with both.   My heart goes out to them all. While I count myself fortunate that I live with only the chronic emotional pain, it is still a hard truth.  My daily universe is punctuated with multiple black holes of hurt.

So it is another interesting convergence that in this season of dark speaking unto dark, I have experienced another deep wound. There are those moments that one feels utterly betrayed by the Universe, that just the simple desire to be loved is denied one. Those moments when not only the light of the Sun and the light of the Moon are gone, but even the star shine has been torn from the sky. Those moments when the void is devoid of mystery, and there is no heart in the darkness.  

Too many times in my life I have been brought to identify with the poignant message of  the song “For Vincent”, by Don McLean.  Paraphrasing its central line, “This world was never meant for one as gentle as you.” As gently as I seek to touch others, too often I have been roughly handled.  So many dark nights.

Though, bringing to mind words from my invocation of the Sacred Directions that I’ve shared before, North, the direction whose energy we are now immersed in, is the direction that challenges us – and through that challenge instills Faith:
~ Faith that the light will return after the dark.
~ Faith that warmth will return after the cold.
~ Faith that life will return after death.

One of the great mysteries of the cyclic nature of the phases of the Moon, of the seasons of the Year, of the flow of the Universe, is the simultaneity of endings and beginnings.  The moment that one cycle ends is the same moment that another cycle begins. The solstice is at once the point in our orbit that we face the furthest away from the light and the point at which we turn back to the light. The dark of the moon is the cusp between its waning and its waxing.

The interesting thing is that the physical cycle cannot be disrupted. The light simply will not return until the lowest point and utter darkness has been reached.  In some cases, the same may be said for the emotional cycle.  As has been said, “The only way past the pain is through the pain”.   So, if one finds oneself being sucked into the abyss of a black hole, sometimes, rather than finessing one’s way out of it, the best thing to do is plunge in, and allow it to shred you apart.  Eckhart Tolle said it best:

Suffering drives you deeper. The paradox is that suffering is caused by identification with form and erodes identification with form. A lot of it is caused by the ego, although eventually suffering destroys the ego–but not until you suffer consciously…. Suffering has a noble purpose: the evolution of consciousness and the burning up of the ego….

As long as you resist suffering, it is a slow process because the resistance creates more ego to burn up. When you accept suffering, however, there is an acceleration of that process which is brought about by the fact that you suffer consciously…. In the midst of conscious suffering there is already the transmutation. The fire of suffering becomes the light of consciousness.

Marilynne Robinson, in her novel “Gilead” explored this another way:  “To be blessed is to be broken, and to be broken is to be blessed.”

In this moment of the nadir of the Sun and the hiding of the Moon, in which we all are plunged into the dark of the dark, for some it is an encounter with the close and holy darkness, for some it is an encounter with the heartless abyss.  In either case, we are blessed with the opportunity to do some work at the deepest of levels, enabling us to bring renewed life into the new cycle.

Which ever darkness one is facing, as always, let us be gentle with experience of others, for, as Bob Dylan wrote, “You’ll never know the hurt I suffered, nor the pain I rise above, and I’ll never know the same about you.”

 

Chin Mudra Portal

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Chin Mudra – psychic gesture of consciousness.

The tip of the thumb touches the tip of the index finger, palm faces down.

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The middle finger, ring, and little finger represent the three qualities of all of nature – the Three Gunas:
* the middle finger = sattva ~ beingness, purity, wisdom and true understanding,
* the ring finger = rajas ~ action, passion and movement
* the little finger = tamas ~ inertia, lethargy and darkness

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These three major guṇas are also construed as the fundamental operating principles or ‘tendencies’ of prakṛti ~ universal nature.
* Sattava = Creation
* Rajas = Preservation
* Tamas = destruction/transformation
The entire universe and the process of evolution is carried out by these three major gunas.

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Embrace the evolutionary process…. the impulse to create from the wisdom of one’s pure being, the impulse to love and actively maintain that which has been created, and the impulse to destroy, surrender, or transform that creation, leading to greater wisdom and the impulse create anew…

Enter the portal… 

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Interesting Synchronicity?

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An image that I used in my post on June 18th  bears a striking resemblance to a crop circle that appeared on June 17th.

To be sure, the potential significance of the crop circle itself is far more interesting than its connection to my writing; but of course I can’t help but wonder what personal meaning it might have, given the “temporal proximity” of its formation and my subsequent post.   : )

I’m not the one that put these two images together. I never would have seen it.  This was done by the folks over at http://www.cropcircleconnector.com.

Here’s a link to my blog post from that day:

https://etherealnature.com/2014/06/18/medicine-walks-journeys-from-the-center-of-the-earth/

In that post about doing sacred journeys into the sacred directions, I mentioned the necessity of having a reference point from which to anchor those journeys.   For my reference point I choose to use the island located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, which the Dakota’s called “Bdote”, and which they considered to lay directly over the center of the Earth and immediately below the center of the Heavens. Thus, it was their axis mundi…and in that discussion used this image of Yggdrasil, the world tree from Norse Mythology:

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Another image of the crop circle, which is located by the ancient hillfort called Badbury Rings, which can be seen in the background of this photo by Lucy Pringle, also from the website  www.cropcircleconnector.com

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Another photo by Lucy Pringle of the rings themselves.  [I trust that it’s okay that I’m posting these]

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One also wonders about the significance of this proximity, as if the crop circle were identifying the “fort” as an axis mundi.   The earthen rings seem to ripple through the three dimensions of the lower world, middle world, and upper world, and resemble all three as depicted on the Yggdrasil image.

Interesting enough, the “fort” has an Arthurian Connection.   Badbury Rings is one of the sites that is considered as a possible location for the Battle of Mount Baden, the site of the first decisive victory of King Arthur.  Which of course connects to my series of Grail and Quest of the Knight Errant posts.

If this crop circle is authentic, in some sense of that term, (whether of other-worldly or inspired-human origin) does it point to Badbury Rings as a portal to other dimensions?  If so, does my connection to this through use of the Yggdrasil image, point to Bdote as also a portal to other dimensions?   

Mysteries to Explore…

 

Another depiction of Yggdrasil (note the rings in the middle world):

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Of the world tree, Joseph Campbell says in The Power of Myth:

…. The center of the world is the axis mundi, the central point the pole around which all revolves. The central point of the world is the point where stillness and movement are together. Movement is time, but stillness is eternity. Realizing how this moment of your life is actually a moment of eternity, and the experiencing the eternal aspect of what you’re doing in the experiences – this the mythological experience.”

In The Hero With a Thousand Faces, Campbell writes about The World Navel (and world tree):

“The effect of the successful adventure of the hero is the unlocking and release again of the flow of life into the body of the world….

The torrent pours from an invisible source, the point of entry being the center of the symbolic circle of the universe… around which the world may be said to revolve. Beneath this spot is the earth-supporting head of the cosmic serpent, the dragon, symbolical of the waters of the abyss, which are the divine life-creative energy and substance of the demiurge, the world-generative aspect of immortal being. The tree of life, i.e., the universe itself, grows from this point. It is rooted in the supporting darkness; the golden sun bird perches on its peak; a spring, the inexhaustible well, bubbles at its foot. Or the figure may be of a cosmic mountain, with the city of the gods, like a lotus of light, upon its summit….Thus the World Navel is the symbol of the continuous creation: the mystery of the maintenance of the world through that continuous miracle of the vivification which wells within all things.”

 

Two WordPress sites that have info on the archeology and history of the Bradbury Rings site:

https://archaeologynationaltrustsw.wordpress.com/category/badbury-rings/

http://dorsetcountymuseum.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/arthur-badon-and-badbury/

 

You can see more beautiful images (even a video) of the crop circle here:

http://www.cropcircleconnector.com/2014/banburyrings/banburyrings2014a.html

And additional interpretations of the glyph here:

http://www.cropcircleconnector.com/2014/banburyrings/comments.html

 

A special thanks to Anne over at http://www.exopermaculture.com , whose WordPress blog brought this image to my attention.

Check out her post about the crop circles of 2014,

http://exopermaculture.com/2014/08/21/crop-circle-harvest-2014/

which leads you to this site: http://augureye.blogspot.com/2014/08/2014-crop-circle-gallery.html

 

another wordpress blogger that  posted info on the crop circle:

http://2012thebigpicture.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/spectacular-crop-circle-at-badbury-rings-near-wimborne-minster-dorset-uk-june-17-2014-videos/

8 Sacred Directions ~ Invocation

With the Summer Solstice upon us, I thought that I would share my invocation again…

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The cross-quarter day of Beltain is upon us. For those who might like to give some ritual attention to this day, I thought I would share my personal invocation of the directions that I have developed over the years. While it is fairly idiosyncratic, it does contain some familiar refrains that others will recognize…

We invoke you, Spirit of the North

You who rules the cusp between endings and beginnings,
bless us with the gift of Conception.

In the dark of midnight,
bless us with the magic of Intention.

In the cold of Winter,
bless us with Purification.

We honor you in the feast of Yule Tide,
the Winter Solstice,
the moment when one cycle ends and another begins.

Thank you for the gift of Faith:
~ Faith that the light will return after the dark.
~ Faith that warmth will return after the cold.
~ Faith that life will return after death.

Aho…

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