Hekate Devotion: Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice also known as Yule is the day with the shortest amount of daylight and the longest amount of night. Symbolically it marks the death and rebirth of the sun and it falls between Samhain and the Spring Equinox and due to this manifests as the darkest period of the year yet is also a turning point where the days become longer.  It symbolises the darkest time of year and marks the returning of the light due to its time of seasonal transition.  The winter solstice marks the sun as its lowest elevation in the sky and the reason it contains the longest night of the year.  This year in the Southern Hemisphere calendar it falls on Monday the 21st of June at 1.32pm. Gods such as Hekate, Persephone, Demeter, Dionysus, Helios, Poseidon, Zeus, Hera, Hathor, Sekhmet, Osiris, Horus, Neith, Nephthys, Spider Woman, Ameratasu, Saturn, Odin, Bona Dea, Mithras, Holy King, Hod, Frigga, Frau Holle, Cailleach and Baldurcan all be honoured during this time of year.

I have celebrated Yule with groups of people in a magickal setting such as a working lodge, coven and magickal order.  The one thing which I found which linked them all together was the coming together to celebrate the light and the darkness whilst sharing food and gifts.

One of the fondest memories I have during this time of year is celebrating the winter solstice through creating handmade gifts.  I spend considerable time planning on what to make and then following through by crafting gifts which are unique and special.  The first thing I ever recall making was for my first coven where I sculpted and fired a set of runes and hand sewed an accompanying bag to contain them in.  This took a significant amount of energy and effort and was placed in a sack of gifts to be randomly selected by one coven member in the middle of our coven’s winter solstice ritual.  Imagine my surprise when one of my coven members whom I was closest to (and who has become a lifelong friend) chose it at random and had been wanting a set of runes which turned out to feature her favourite colour (they were coloured green and purple).

I personally like to hand make gifts during this time of year usually involving items which feature divination, light, purification, seeds, woods and herbs harvested and collected.  I also love to cook, bake and prepare food which is consumed, shared or given to loved ones including the following: citrus preserves such as salt preserved lemons and Cointreau marmalade,  soup (lentil/beans/barley and root vegetable, Greek chicken soup), stew (barley, beans, lentil, cholent andcoq au vin), bread (Greek sweetbread, olive loaf and garlic and feta loaf), gingerbread (especially witches houses/cottages), shortbread (various Greek ones), lamb or beef roast, dumplings and baked spiced rice stuffed into vegetables.

Since this time tends to fall on my personal anniversary (we got together on the winter solstice) for me it also involves going out for an intimate meal with my partner and exchanging thoughtful gifts.  

I feel that Hekate resonates with this time of the year for various reasons. One being that this is a liminal time where she has dominion between the darkness and the light.  In this time  she encourages and enables us to turn our attention to the presence of the promise of new things to come.  As the time of growth and movement is before us Hekate beckons us to straddle the in-between time and to use this time for the power it contains.

I personally like to honour Hekate during this time and make offerings of apples, pomegranates, garlic, onions, mead, beer, wine, bread, barley, nuts, lilies, pine, mistletoe, juniper, holly, frankincense, myrrh, cedar, bay, chamomile and roots from dandelions.

I also like to make items for Hekate which resonate with the season mostly wands collected from wood during the summer, candle anointing oil blends, herb pouches for dreaming, health and wealth, candles which illuminate, soap which cleanses, incense using dried herbs from the summer, book and journal covers with locally sourced materials or upcycled materials, various art pieces with paints, ink, photography and/or several thread types (in recent years its been all about the land, sea and sky) and beaded jewellery such as ethically sourced crystal necklaces which can also be used as meditation or manifestation beads.

In the garden now is the time to plant:

Vegetables such as artichoke, asparagus, beans, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, capsicum, carrot, cauliflower, celery, chillies, corn, cucumber, endive, kale, leek, lettuce, melons, okra, onion, parsnip, peas, pumpkins, radish, rhubarb, shallots, silver beet, snow peas, spinach, tomatoes, turnip and zucchinis

Herbs such as garlic, basil, chives, cress, curry, dill, mint, parsley, sage and thyme.

Flowers such as aquilegia, calendula, cineraria, cyclamen, delphinium, foxglove, nemesia, pansy, primula, polyanthus poppy and viola. 

Some things you can do to honour and mark the winter solstice in your personal practice (or with a group of likeminded individuals) can be:

  1. Hold a ritual signifying the balance of darkness and light and/or liminality.
  2. Work spells and magick which involve igniting a flame, balance or brining the light into a situation, .
  3. Create and light a bonfire or light a special candle carved with symbols which signify the time of year.
  4. Inscribe and light a Yule log in a firepit or fireplace.
  5. Take a walk at dusk holding a lantern.
  6. Bake a seasonal pie, cook a roast and make mulled wine or any other food or drink which to you symbolises the winter solstice .
  7. In the evening go out star gazing and seek out your local constellations.
  8. Honour the Gods which signify this time of year by creating a shrine or altar in their name or tending to an existing one and make offerings to them.
  9. Create an ice wreath in the freezer filled with flowers and herbs of the season (use a bunt cake tin) and once set place a candle in the middle of the wreath and light it to signify the winter moving out and the spring coming in.
  10. Use this time to cleanse your magickal tools and spaces such as shrines and altars.
  11. Rituals and spells involving transitions and movement.
  12. Reflect on your inner world and take some time to just be with yourself and listen to your inner self such as meditation, yoga, going for a walk in nature or just sitting in a space which is sacred to you and just being present.
  13. Use this time to recharge yourself through honouring yourself and do what you need to, to enable that reset.
  14. Host a feast with family or friends which can include music and dancing.
  15. Light black and white candles to signify the diminishing darkness and the increasing light.
  16. Decorate a tree (such as a xmas tree) with decorations which signify the winter solstice.
  17. Exchange gifts with loved ones.
  18. Donate to charities involving the displaced such as the homeless and refugees.
  19. Do something kind for someone who is alone, in pain or suffering.
  20. Volunteer for a charity which assists the natural world or the less fortunate.
  21. Divination such as rune, tarot, dice, candle wax, crystal, magick mirror or ink scrying.  

So work your magick this midwinter, honour the light and the darkness within you and all around you and contemplate and manifest balance in your life.


(c) T. Georgitsis 2021

Askei Kataskei (Issue 7): Article on Hekatesia Ritual

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New issue of Askei Kataskei (7) is out now.

The cover features an image of my shrine to Hekate with respects to the public Hekate: Her Sacred Fires ritual I held last year and I have also shared an article on Sacred Waters for Hekate.

To get your free copy download here:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/covenant-of-hekate/askei-kataskei/ebook/product-21694653.html

 

Summer Solstice Celebration – Silver Birch Grove (ADF)

Last month I attended the Australian ADF’s local Summer Solstice celebration run by the Silver Birch Grove (https://www.adf.org/core/index.html).   It was my second druidic ritual run by Shazbeth and her grove and I was yet again impressed and inspired.

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The connections I make during the rites have refreshed my love of the land, earth magick and the attendees are warm and genuinely nice people.  Whilst I appreciate and respect this path which isn’t my own, it’s nevertheless filled with a majestic reverence which manifests as beautiful magick – externally and internally.   It’s also wonderful to attend a free public ritual (where I am not hosting it) where the facilitators are extremely organised, timely, informative, caring and show a genuine love, duty of care and devotion to the tradition and attendees.

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The day was a muggy yet wet one.  We gathered in the cleared circle beneath the natural canopy of native trees which protected us from the rain.  All fell silent and the rain ceased as Shaz commenced the ritual.  Shaz had written it and once more I was inspired by the exquisite use of words and gestures of it along with the other main Druids participation and enactments (Ang and Callum).  I felt the pulsing magick come up through the earth as well as flow down upon me from the sky as the rite progressed.  Once more I could sense my ancestors watching a short distance away as well as Hekate just outside the boundary in the NW.

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The rite itself consisted of praise to the Kindreds, Ancestors, Spirits of Place and of course Deity (Manannan mac Lir, Brighid, Dagda).  The ritual included establishing and closing the sacred grove, offerings upon the altar, fire/hearth and earth, songs sung, hymns recited, the gates between the worlds opened and closed, meditations and divinations completed and the partaking of libations.

I had made a soy lavender candle I had brought as an offering and Shaz placed it in the centre of the alar and it was lit during the ritual.  I absolutely adored that during the rite the poem “My Country” by Dorothy Mackellar was read out and this resonated with me very strongly.  I feel it was a great tribute to Australia and the land we live in during the ritual as its often forgotten about when most of our paths are of a northern origin. Also something I noted which I found amusing was as soon as ritual had ended it started to rain, yet it had stayed away whilst the rest of the time.  That just emphasizes once again how magickal working with spirit outdoors with the land is and how magick does work.

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The way the ritual is run, is that we have feasting afterwards.  This time we brought some ham and bread rolls with several dips and some choc biscuits.  Everyone shares and it’s so lovely to be able to sit and have a picnic underneath the shade of wattle and gum trees, whilst listening to the rustle of the stream and native wildlife surrounding you.

Thank you Silver Birch Grove!

 

Askei Kataskei (Issue 6): Article on Hekatesia Ritual

New issue of Askei Kataskei (6) is out which features an article I did with respects to my Hekatesia Ritual I held last year:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/covenant-of-hekate/askei-kataskei-the-ezine-of-the-covenant-of-hekate-issue-6/ebook/product-21381096.html

 

Sanctuary of Hekate’s Crossroads: Hekatesia Ritual 16/11/2013 Report

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Hekatesia public rite was facilitated by me as Torchbearer for The Sanctuary of Hekate’s Crossroads within the Covenant of Hekate on Sandringham beach (SE Melbourne, Australia), Saturday 16th November 2013 to coincide with the modern Hekate festival of the “Day of Hekate”.

Upon the rocky outcrop which served as shrine there was my sanctuary statue of Hekate adorned with her magickal necklace, organic: olive oil, milk, honey garlic, apple, pomegranate, onion and barley with sacrificial blade, libation vessel, incense burner with special Hekate blend I made for the day, sea water khernips, cheesecake amphiphon, lamp with a pomegranate scented candle, non alcoholic wine, Hestia oil lamp, magickal keepsake box made ethically and environmentally from native Cyprus, gifts from sanctuary members including shawl/altar cover and crystal beads as well as offerings from attendees which included personalized hymns, flowers from their garden, jewelry, journals, crystals including skulls, animal bones, herbs and home made molasses cookies.

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It was a beautiful day lit up with wonderful sunshine which warmed us whilst the wind whipped waves upon the ocean, provided a natural soundscape.  Just over a dozen came to the ritual, some whom have travelled hours to get there from across the state and which I was very appreciative of.  Halfway through the rite a further handful of latecomers arrived respectfully and didn’t disturb the ritual in progress but engaged with us at Agape.

All attendees chatted briefly and exchanged pleasantries before they lined up in procession to wash their hands to remove miasma (pollution) with the orange blossom water mixed with rose petals khernips I had placed in a acacia wooden bowl outside sacred space.  I then created sacred space in the Hellenic way which included certain ritualistic gestures, words and actions before the procession made its way within the sacred space and stood before the shrine in a crescent.  More purifications were made along with the offerings before I blessed and purified the offerings upon the shrine.  Since this is a regular part of my own practice I was delighted to be able to share it with other Hekate devotees and the whole time I was enacting it, I was filled with an ecstatic love and joy.

Next came the symbolic lighting of the hearth flame of Hestia and hymn to Hestia by the lovely Cosette complete with libation.  Then came the laying of the flowers before the shrine and hymn to Artemis by the lovely Tania also complete with libation. For Hekate I lit her symbolic lamp and recited a hymn to Hekate, offered some incense and reblessed the offerings as well as the wine libation to be shared with the attendees.  During this time I asked those who had anything they wanted to share with their fellow devotees within this sacred rite and Adam, Rach and Elspeth all shared their heart felt hymns which they had written to Hekate and which blessed, touched and inspired.  During this time the sea had began to beat upon the shore in louder waves of fevered rhythm and the sun burst through the last remaining clouds to illuminate us in a haze of glorious light which intensified as the ritual progressed.

The ritual was continued with a round of libations individually given to each attendee in their own cup to either drink from or offer to Hekate for each Goddess in turn.  We all went down to the liminal place between the shore and the sea which was behind the shrine and made our personal prayers, offerings and meditations before we all reassembled before the shrine and wound the ritual down into closing.  I thanked Hekate for her attendance with some chosen words and more libations and Tania and Cosette followed suit with words of thanks and the last libations to Artemis and Hestia respectfully.  Afterwards the attendees and I went across the road for Agape at the local pub and indulged in our own libations of sorts.

It was a fabulous day and I am honoured to have held this ritual in Hekate’s name and I am deeply appreciative of those who travelled long and time consuming distances and attended, assisted and participated and shared of themselves (special mention to Colette and Tania for your devotional assistance in the rite and to Adam, Rach and Elspeth for sharing their personal hymns) and of course to Hekate herself for bestowing her presence and her blessings.

T. Georgitsis, Torchbearer

The Sanctuary of Hekate’s Crossroads

Covenant of Hekate

https://www.facebook.com/groups/thesanctuaryofhekatescrossroads/

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