Saturday, 25. October 2008
The Haunted History of Halloween

The History Channel has always put out some great programs and I think this one is an interesting and informative documentary that gets you in the spirit of Halloween.

On October 31, when pint-sized ghouls and goblins knock on doors, they're actually carrying on a tradition that goes back thousands of years to the Celtic tribes of northern Europe. For centuries this night has celebrated mystery and chaos, a time between summer and winter, a time between life and death.

Host Harry Smith leads this 3,000 year tour through the history of the quintessentially pagan holiday. Discover how trick or treat originated in ancient Ireland's harvest festivals, when food and sweets were offered to entice the dead to stay in the spirit world. See how Christianity tried to co-opt the celebration by turning it into All Saints Day, but how the underlying dark elements have survived, inspiring debate to the present day. From ghoulies and ghosties to the origins of the Jack-O-Lantern, this film is a delicious journey into the enchanting past of the spookiest night of the year.

'The Haunted History of Halloween' by History Channel, 2005
Duration: 45 minutes



See also:
The official website: The Haunted History of Halloween by History Channel

Related Entry:
Samhain, Halloween, Diwali, Tihar and Day of the Dead
Category: Incarnation & Death | Movies & TV | Myths & Sagas | Time & Calendar |




Saturday, 11. October 2008
Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

Im Wesentlichen enthält das Stundenbuch zwölf Monatsbilder mit gegenüberliegenden Kalenderblättern (römisch).

Über jedem Monatsbild wölbt sich ein tiefblauer Himmel mit einer Darstellung des Weltenherrschers mit Sonnenwagen, dem jeweiligen Tierkreiszeichen und astronomischen Daten. Letztes Bild im Zyklus ist eine geheimnisvolle Darstellung des "astronomischen Menschen". Diese männlich-weibliche Doppelgestalt voller abergläubischer Symbole ist eine Allegorie, sie zeigt den Menschen als Teil einer kosmischen Ordnung.
Der zweite Teil behandelt das Leben Jesu. Von Adam und Eva bis zum Ende der Welt reichen die schillernd-aufwändigen Darstellungen, in dem - wie Lilan Schacherl schreibt - manches Schloss dem Teufel die Schau stiehlt und die Stadtvignetten aus den Monatsbildern weiter in den sakralen Zyklus wandern - gleich stolzen Zeugen der biblischen Wunder.

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Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (German version)
Unbedingt auch die englische Version anschauen, dort hat es noch viel mehr Bilder vom Herzog von Berry

The Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry is probably the most important illuminated manuscript of the 15th century. It is a very richly decorated Book of Hours, containing prayers to be said by the lay faithful at each liturgical hour of the day. The Très Riches Heures consists of 416 pages, of which about half are full page illustrations that are among the high points of International Gothic painting in spite of their small size.

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Click the picture for a larger view

It was natural for a book of hours to contain a calendar, and the illustrations of months in the Très Riches Heures are filled with details of the delights and labors of the year, from the Duke's court to his peasants, a counterpart to the prayers of the hours. Each illustration is surmounted with its appropriate astrological hemisphere.

Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry
(English version)

Alternative Link

Category: Books & Magazines | Time & Calendar |




Wednesday, 13. February 2008
Chinese Astrology: 2008 - The Year of the Rat

The Chinese calendar is a calendar based on the moon phase and the season of the solar year incorporating elements of a lunar calendar with those of a solar calendar. In modern day China, the solar or Gregorian calendar is used for most day to day activities, but the Chinese calendar is still used for marking traditional Chinese holidays such as Chinese New Year, Duan Wu festival, and the Mid-Autumn Festival, and in Chinese Astrology, such as choosing the most auspicious date for the opening of a business or setting a wedding date.

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Chinese Calendar - Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France


Chinese Lunar Calendar 2008
Today's Suits: Enter School, Open Shop, Travel, Move Earth, Engagement, Place Bed ||| Today's Avoids: Lawsuits, Make Bowl ||| Today's Lucky Gods: Wealth God@East, Happiness God@South East ||| Today's Lucky Numbers: 34, 9, 10

Rules for the Chinese Calendar: The Mathematics of the Chinese Calendar

Chinese astrology is the divination of the future from the Chinese calendar, which is based on astronomy, and ancient Chinese philosophy. In particular, it is based on the sexagenary cycle of 60 years that has been documented since at least the time of the Shang Dynasty. This basic cycle has been constructed from two cycles: the 10 heavenly stems (the five elements in their yin and yang forms) and the 12 earthly branches, or the 12-year cycle of animals referred to as the Chinese zodiac. The Chinese animal zodiac also operates on a cycle of months or 'moons' and of hours of the day.

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Interactions of Five Chinese Elements - Cycles of Balance and Cycles of Imbalance


2008, The Chinese New Year started on February 7th (first New Moon of the year) and will end on February 21th (Lantern Festival, Full Moon). And it's a ratty year! More precisely - it's an earthy ratty year.

Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal's year would have some of that animal's personality. Those born in rat years tend to be leaders, pioneers, and conquerors. They are charming, passionate, charismatic, practical and hardworking. Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Affleck, Samuel L. Jackson, William Shakespeare, and Mozart were all born in the year of the rat.

It's said, a Rat Year is a time of hard work, activity, and renewal. This is a good year to begin a new job, get married, launch a product or make a fresh start.

Here is a video from CNN: Raymond Lo, a Feng Shui consultant gives his Year of the Rat predictions for global environment, finance and love.



Another video of what's to come in the lunar new year - also by CNN - with Chinese Astrologer Ting-Foon Chik.



Here is Raymond Lo’s website: The Year Of The Rat (and other signs)

All you need to know about Chinese Astrology, with Sign Calculator. If you were born in January or February you must consult the Chinese calendar to see what date the Chinese New Year falls to see if your animal sign is the present year or the previous year in Chinese Astrology.

Article: 2008 - The Year of the Earth Rat, for all signs by Aquarius Papers.
The Year of the Earth Rat occurs once every 60 years. The last time we had an Earth Rat year was Feb 10, 1948 to January 29, 1949, and the one in front of us lasts from Feb 6, 2008 to Jan 26, 2009. There is also an alternative theory of computing the beginning of the Chinese New Year, and I've included it at the end of this article for those who may be interested.

Other predictions:
Chinese astrology forecast for the Year of the Rat. Radio86 interviewed Ting-Foon Chik, feng shui master and Chinese astrologer.
Chinese astrologers offer Year of the Rat stock tips by Reuters.
Forget about graphs, charts and economic forecasts. Wary investors in Asia are turning to feng shui masters to tell them which way the markets will head in the Chinese Year of the Rat.
Market Movements by The Star.
There will be many ‘Qi’ factors in the Year of the Rat that pushes the case for long-term investment horizons.
Top gold and property Feng Shui tips for the Year of the Rat by AME Info.
Hong Kong brokerage house CLSA has produced a Feng Shui note for its more superstitious clients. It warns of soft stock markets and a lot of volatility ahead, as well as a weak US dollar.
Leading Feng Shui master Raymond Lo suggests investors should be buying property, mining stocks and gold, and foresees 'a lot of corrections' in global stock markets.
Category: Astrology & Astronomy | Time & Calendar |


Thursday, 20. December 2007
Winter Solstice arrives Friday

Happy Winter Solstice To You!

Lisa Thiel - Winter Solstice Song:



Chorus:
Enter the night and you’ll find the light,
That will carry you to your dreams.
Enter the night, let your spirit take flight,
In the field of infinite possibilities

On the longest night we search for the light,
And we find it deep within.
Open your eyes to embrace what is wise,
And see the light of your own soul shining.

(Chorus)
Wrap up in the cloak of starry darkness my child, And you’ll find the center of all things.
For from this space of the deepest dark place,
Life Eternal does spring.

(Chorus)
So when you find that spark
When you dream in the dark,
Hold it close to your heart and know.
All that you see is all that can be
When you give birth to the dreams of your soul.



And here are some interesting stories:


Tis the season for holidays other than Christmas and Hanukkah by Daily Titan.
Throughout America, Britain, African and all over the world people celebrate different holiday's with different meanings and different traditions, so many in fact that a lot of people don't even know that some exist. These celebrations cover a wide spectrum of wholesome ideas: from going to midnight mass, opening those presents first thing in the morning or lighting the menorah at grandmother's house. Though religions such as Christianity and Judaism do play a significant role this time of year, it does not dampen the spirit of other holidays: Yule, Eid al-Ahda, Boxing Day and Kwanzaa are all celebrated by devoted communities all around the globe.

The Winter Solstice: The Backbone of World Religious Celebrations by American Chronicle.
Many today still call the celebration of the Winter Solstice a pagan ritual full of sex, and while a bit of that is true, they don’t realize that the ritual that is Christmas is in itself drawn largely from the ancient ritual that celebrated the earth’s tilting on its axis, where the daytime hours are weaned to a minimum and the night is longer in the northern hemisphere {in the southern hemisphere it’s the opposite}. In 2007, the Winter Solstice takes place on December 22 at 6:09.

Marvel at winter solstice sunrise in Newgrange by The Telegraph.
If you are lucky enough to be one of the 50 people, plus partners, whose names were pulled out of a hat (or rather, a scale model of Newgrange) by local children in September, you will be in the tomb one morning next week, between Tuesday and Sunday, waiting nervously for the winter solstice sunrise. If it's fine, the sun will clear Red Mountain at precisely 8.58am on each of these days, pour through a rectangular slot above the tomb entrance and hit the floor at the back of the chamber. Then, as the sun rises, the beam will slide back down the passage towards the entrance. By 9.04am the chamber will be dark again.

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Age-old carvings guard the tomb entrance at Newgrange


Winter Solstice & the Cancer Full Moon 2007 by OpEdNews.
How did you grow and what have you learned since last Summer Solstice (when the Sun is in Cancer), which was also around the time of the last Neptune/Saturn opposition and Venus Retrograde? What did you learn about your values this year? What about our collective dreams – have we made any progress toward creating a more just world? Do you believe in yourself and your life’s purpose? Can you speak your truth? More importantly, are you living your truth? Do you realize that Winter Solstice is a time of Grace? Of freely being given the gift of Life again.

Where to celebrate the world's oldest holiday by The Independent.
What would the Stone- Age farmers who built Newgrange make of the giant television screens and webcams that will be installed there for the first time this Friday to bring the remarkable spectacle of the winter solstice to a wider audience? In the same way the ancient Egyptians must have turned in their pyramids at the sight of King Tutankhamun's leathery mummy being unravelled last month for all the world to see, they would probably find the whole affair rather unsavoury. But anyone who has witnessed the burial chamber at Ireland's most ancient treasure fill up with golden sunlight on December 21 will know there are few sights more beautiful and mysterious in the world.

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Baltray standing stone sunrise


The Reason for the Season by Emerald Coast.
It seems that no one can agree on what to call the period of time between the middle of December to just after the first of the year. People from many different races, faiths and creeds celebrate this season. It isn’t simply a time for Christmas trees and presents, or menorahs and dreidels, or even “first fruit” feasts, but all that and more. It is truly a holiday season, a season everyone celebrates in his or her own way. So, focus on your own reason for celebrating, and not just the celebration’s name. Here is a wish for a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanzaa to everyone. The following is a bit of trivia and a very brief history of the three major celebrations this month.

Druids mark winter solstice, return of longer days by Mail Tribune.
For the valley's several dozen Druids, the big event of the holiday season comes when winter solstice arrives Friday and they gather in circles to honor the return of lighter and longer days, then feast together. That's what's important to Druids — nature and honoring markers like the shortest day of the year that promises a return to spring and warmth. And, although almost all written accounts of the ancient Druids have been lost, modern followers in three local groups (called "groves"), will gather to thank and celebrate the sun and all living things, then have songs and a potluck dinner.

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Local Druids demonstrate a ceremony in Ashland honoring the upcoming winter solstice





UPDATE: January 5, 2008

I'll admit, it is a little bit late, but better late than never - and nice to see to see!

Tyrrhenian Sea and Solstice Sky, found at Astronomy Picture of the Day:

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Category: News & Stories | Time & Calendar |


Friday, 14. December 2007
Meteor Guide for 2008

January 3, 2008 Quadrantids
Actually, the peak of this shower is on January 4 at 7 Universal Time – 1 a.m. Central Standard Time – during the night of January 3 for U.S. observers. In 2008, the moon is out of the way for this shower, which is known for being fast and furious. The shower has a sharp peak, and typically all worthwhile observing must be done no more than an hour or two either side of the peak. Face the general direction of northwest, beginning at about 11 p.m. Central Time on January 3. Remember that the meteors can be seen across a wide swath of sky.

April 21, 2008 Lyrids
The Lyrids are a moderate shower at best, but the meteors tend to be bright and often leave trails. About 10-20 meteors per hour at peak can be expected, under optimum conditions. Uncommon surges can sometimes bring the rate to 100 per hour. The radiant is in the constellation Lyra, which rises in the northeast at about 10 p.m. Unfortunately the moon – only one night past full – will be up all night during this year’s Lyrid shower. Only the most intrepid and stalwart of meteor-watchers will be out there in bright moonlight for the peak of this year’s Lyrid shower.

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May 4, 5 and 6, 2008
Eta Aquarids
The shower peaks at around 1 p.m. Central Daylight Time on May 5, and the moon is new on May 5. That means the moon is absent from the night sky during this shower’s peak, and that makes 2008 a good year for the Eta Aquarids! The radiant for this shower is in the east-southeast at about 4 a.m. Before dawn is the preferred viewing time. For the northern hemisphere, the rates for this shower are only about 10 per hour at maximum. Although low in number, a broad peak to this shower means that some meteors may be seen on the day before and after. The best time to watch is May 5 before dawn. But you’ll see some meteors before dawn on May 4 and May 6 as well.

July 28, 2008
South Delta Aquarids
Like most meteor showers, the best observing for this shower is before dawn. Unlike most meteor showers, this one doesn’t have a very definite peak, despite the date given above. Instead, it rambles along steadily in late July and early August. The July full moon comes on the night of July 17/18. So by late July, the moon will be waning, leaving the night sky dark for summer meteor-watchers. That’s good news for the Delta Aquarids, and even the August Perseids escape the full force of bright moonlight this year, assuming you watch in the hours before dawn. Watch for the Delta Aquarids before dawn in late July and early August. The meteors will appear to radiate from the southern part of the sky.


August 12, 2008 Perseids
And when we say August 12, we mean that morning … not that night. These typically fast and bright meteors radiate from a point in the constellation Perseus, and, like all meteors in annual showers, they cover a large part of the sky. The Perseids are considered by many people to be the year’s best shower when the moon is out of the way during the shower’s peak. This year’s moon is not quite out of the way during the Perseids, but there is a window for meteor-watching in the hours before dawn. The first quarter moon comes on August 8, but full moon is not until August 16. On the morning of the Perseids’ peak, the moon sets around 3 a.m. (look here for a custom calendar that can give you moonset in your location) After moonset on the morning of August 12, be sure you’re already in a dark sky location. Lie back and watch meteors until dawn’s light washes the stars, and the meteors, from view.

October 7 or 8, 2008 Draconids
The radiant point of the Draconid meteor shower almost coincides with the head of the constellation Draco the Dragon, in the northern sky. That’s why it is best viewed from the northern hemisphere. This shower is a real oddity, in the respect that its radiant point is highest in the sky as darkness falls. The shower is definitely a sleeper, producing only a handful of languid meteors per hour in most years. But watch out if the dragon awakes! On occasion, fiery Draco has been known to spew forth hundreds – if not thousands – of meteors in a single hour. Since the moon is at first quarter this year during the shower’s peak, this hard-to-predict shower is worth checking out. Unlike most meteor showers, more meteors are likely to fly in the evening than the morning hours after midnight. Look northward for Draconid meteors on the evenings of October 7 or 8.

October 20 or 21, 2008 Orionids
These meteors tend to be fast, occasionally leaving persistent trains and producing bright fireballs. They exhibit a maximum of about 15 meteors per hour. If you trace these meteors backwards, they seem to originate from the north of Orion’s bright ruddy star Betelgeuse. The Orionids have a broad and irregular peak that is difficult to predict. Unfortunately, this year, a last quarter moon will disrupt the show after midnight, which is when the Orionids are typically at their best, regardless of the exact peak night. The Orionids are probably a wash-out this year.

November 4 or 5, 2008 South Taurids
The South (and North) Taurids are perhaps best suited to diehard meteor enthusiasts. The meteoroid stream that feeds the Taurids is very spread out and dissipated. That means the South Taurids are extremely long lasting (September 17 – November 27), but usually don’t offer a whole lot more than a sprinkling of meteors. At nightfall in the first week of November, look eastward for some meteors. If you catch some, that’s a good sign. Expect the greatest number of meteors to fall around one or two in the morning, when the radiant point of the shower is high overhead. The forecast is for about 7 meteors per hour.

November 11 or 12, 2008 North Taurids
Like the South Taurids, this shower is long lasting (October 12 – December 2) but modest, and the peak number is forecast at 7 as well. Because the South and North Taurids overlap, there’s some chance of catching a few extra meteors per hour. In most years, you would see the maximum numbers at around 1 a.m., when Taurus the Bull rides high in the sky. Unfortunately, in 2008, the nearly full moon will wash most of these meteors from view.

November 17, 2008 Leonids
Historically, the Leonids have produced some of the greatest meteor storms in history, with rates as high as many thousands of meteors per hour. These storms often recur in cycles of 33 years. In 2008, we anticipate more of a whimper than a growl from Leo the Lion, with a maximum of perhaps 10-15 meteors per hour. Like the October Orionids, the Leonids produce swift-moving meteors, and tend to put out the greatest numbers just before dawn. The peak, however, on November 17, also features a large bright waning gibbous moon in the sky after midnight. Forget the Leonids this year, unless you are a serious meteor observer – or unless you happen to spot a few whizzing past in bright moonlight!

December 13, 2008 Geminids
The Geminids are often the year’s grand finale for meteor-watchers. As a general rule, it’s either the Geminids or the August Perseids that give us the most prolific meteor display of the year. The Geminids tend to intensify and climax at about 2 in the morning. With maximums commonly reaching 50 meteors per hour, this is a glorious time of year to sprawl out on your reclining lawn chair and to take in the show. Just be sure to bring along warm clothing, blankets or sleeping bags, and a thermos with a warm beverage. Unfortunately, there is a bright moon – only one day past full – for the 2008 Geminid shower. As a result, you probably won’t see very many Geminid meteors this year.

Source: Earth & Sky

See also Meteor Shower Calendar by IMO (International Meteor Organization)
Category: Astrology & Astronomy | Time & Calendar |


Wednesday, 31. October 2007
Interfaith Calendar

Today for Pagan it's Samhain. Samhain marks the Feast of the Dead. Many Pagans also celebrate it as the old Celtic New Year (although some mark this at Imbolc).

For Christians it's Hallowe'en (All Hallows' Eve), the night before All Saints' Day (All Hallows' Day). Its origins date back over 2000 years to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. It was celebrated as a Christian festival by the 8th Century.

Relax and enjoy your feast!


Find dates for religious festivals and holy days:

Interfaith Calendar - sacred dates for all great world religions. Here is an alphabetic listing of Interfaith Calendar terms with brief descriptions.

Multifaith calendar online at PBS.

All dates are shown using the Gregorian (Western) calendar. The calendar is accurate, but some dates may vary regionally because they are determined by the lunar calendar. Jewish festivals usually begin at sundown on the previous day.
Holy days and festivals calendar
Multifaith calendar online from the BBC.

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Related Entries:
Samhain, Halloween, Diwali, Tihar and Day of the Dead
Year of Ritual: Calendar of Seasons
Category: Religion & Early Cultures | Time & Calendar |


Wednesday, 19. September 2007
India’s Ganesha Festival

Amid chanting "Ganpati bappa morya" (A prayer: "in praise of the lord") and bursting of fireworks, several large idols of Ganesha were seen standing tall among fleet of vehicles and slowly inching its way in the snarling traffic of Mumbai from last two days. These Ganesha Idols will be nested in the decorative Mandals (bamboo erected stage) and at homes and will remain there up to 10 days of the festival.

The Ganesh chaturti festival begins on Sept. 15 and will last till the 24th of this month. During the festival, everyday the Lord Ganesha will be worshipped amid chanting of prayers, singing of bhajans (hymns) and ringing of bells. Flowers will be offered, camphor and scented sticks will be lit in front of the lord Ganesha.


A Photo Essay by OhmyNews: India's Ganesha Festival

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One of the most popular Gods in India, lord Ganesh or Ganpati is considered a symbol of wisdom and a bringer of good luck. It is said that his elephant head epitomises everything related to wisdom-small shrewd eyes, long ears that miss nothing, a long nose that can smell out anything fight and his vehicle, a mouse, reflects how much importance a wise man gives to the smallest of life forms. Shown at gateways and on doors, either by visuals or symbols, generally facing the rising sun in the east, Ganesh is revered across India as a great clearer of obstacles. Meetings, gatherings, weddings, functions and celebrations begin with a prayer of lord Ganesh and no new venture-be it a new company, a new house, a new shop is inaugurated without reciting a 'mantra' of lord Ganesh.

1st Ganesh festival - While working on the souvenir to mark the centenary celebrations of our Ganesh festival, we felt the need to collect more information about the festival.


India is a land of festivals and fairs. Every day of the year there is a festival celebrated in some part of the country. Some festivals welcome the seasons of the year, the harvest, the rains, or the full moon. Others celebrate religious occasions, the birthdays of divine beings, saints, and gurus (revered teachers), or the advent of the new year. A number of these festivals are common to most parts of India. However, they may be called by different names in various parts of the country or may be celebrated in a different fashion.

Festivals of India
Don't miss Ganesh in Indian Art.

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Category: Gods & Goddesses | Time & Calendar |


Wednesday, 20. June 2007
Summer Solstice Fests Have Deep Roots

Summer solstice, the longest day of the year, inspired Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream" and is associated with the exile of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. Solstice festivals abound in the United States, from Norwegian bonfires to pagan candlelight labyrinths and American Indian drumming rituals.

On the summer solstice, as the sun reaches its highest point directly over the tropic of Cancer at an angle of 23 degrees 27 minutes north, countless festivities will start to heat up.

Known variously throughout Europe as the Feast of Epona, Gathering Day, Johannistag, Litha, Vestalia and Midsummer, the summer solstice was viewed across cultures as a period of peak fertility and a time for weddings. The term "honeymoon" sprang from Celtic tradition and referred to the June moon and the fermented honey mead drunk at wedding celebrations.

Shakespeare's romantic comedy "A Midsummer Night's Dream" commemorates the magical pairings of the solstice, and Aragorn and Arwen hold their nuptials on that night in Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

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But romance isn't the only reason to party on the summer solstice, which arrives on or about June 21. For numerous religious and ethnic groups, it is a time to pay tribute to nature and express cultural pride.

In Europe, the first day of summer involves revelry with deep pagan roots as tourists and religious groups gather to dance, drum and chant at Stonehenge, a 4,000-year-old stone structure in England.

In North America, the holiday has become a melting pot of sorts, with celebrations crisscrossing the continent, mixing European traditions, American Indian spirituality and new-age environmentalism.

One such festival is the Pagan Spirit Gathering in Wisteria, Ohio, held each June at a 620-acre nature preserve in the foothills. Now in its 26th year, the eight-day event is expected to draw hundreds of people from across the country and abroad to commune with nature.

Category: Articles & Essays | Astrology & Astronomy | Time & Calendar |


Thursday, 05. April 2007
The Time Traveller

Håkan Nordkvist claims to have met his future self. He says he went into some kind of time warp and met himself as an older man.

Is it really him? Or perhaps his father ... or someone who just resembles him? Could this possibly be true?
Take a look - you decide.

Category: Para & PSI | Time & Calendar |


Wednesday, 31. January 2007
February 1: Imbolc

Imbolc is one of the four principal festivals of the Irish calendar. Originally dedicated to the goddess Brighid, in the Christian period it was adopted as St Brigid's Day. In Scotland the festival is also known as Latha Fhèill Brìghde, in Ireland as Lá Fhéile Bríde, and in Wales as Gwyl Ffraed. Find out more here:

Originally, her festival on February 1 was known as Imbolc or Oimelc, two names which refer to the lactation of the ewes, the flow of milk that heralds the return of the life-giving forces of spring. Later, the Catholic Church replaced this festival with Candlemas Day on February 2, which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and features candlelight processions. The powerful figure of Brigid the Light-Bringer overlights both pagan and Christian celebrations.

This season belongs to Brigid by Mara Freeman.

The divinity acknowledged in these early Spring rites is the goddess Brigid, the queen of heaven. She is the greatest of the Celtic divinities and is closely associated with the land. She is the protector of the wells and springs. She is the guardian of nature, and therefore agriculture. She is specifically associated with livestock. As a fertility goddess, Brigid is also the patron of the poets, artists, and others who create. Hence, her name is invoked at childbirth.

When Brigid slipped into the world, a tower of flame rose from the top of her head to the heavens. Her fire aspect means she is the goddess of the hearth, and the forge. She is the guardian of those who worked with metal. By extension, she is the goddess of the machine. If we have difficulties with our cars or computers, our pleas for divine intercession might be properly addressed to Brigid.


A Day for the Queen of Heaven by Jonathan Young.

In the Highlands of Scotland, the married women of the house created a Brigid figure from a sheaf of grain and decorated it with ribbons, flowers, or other objects. With rushes and grain, they made a sort of bed next to the hearth. After ritually inviting Brigid to fill this bed, the women placed the figurine.

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Beside it, they put a straight, peeled stick of birch or similar wood to serve as "Brigid’s wand," a symbol of sovereignty or perhaps a phallic symbol. Then they carefully smoothed the ashes of the hearth. The next morning, the women examined the hearth for signs of Brigid’s favor: the imprint of a foot or the wand. If there were no such marks, the family assumed that Brigid had been offended.

Imbolc by Francine Nicholson.

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In her monumental The Festival of Lughnasa, MŸire Mac Neill writes:

Fuller understanding of the old goddess's part in the harvest festival must wait on studies, still to be made, of the local legends of the myth of the mythological old woman known as the Cailleach BhÑara, and also of the cults of St Brigid and St Ann . . . Brigid must have been closely connected at least two important Lughnasa sites were dedicated to her, and she is named at several others. Still she hardly appears in the festival legends. She has only a passive part in the Lughnasa complex
.

The Festival of Brigit the Holy Woman (Oiche Fhéile Bríde agus Lá Lúnasa) by The School of Celtic Studies. (PDF, 30 pages)

Category: Gods & Goddesses | Myths & Sagas | Time & Calendar |


Monday, 01. January 2007
Happy New Year

Here are a variety of facts and anecdotes about New Year's celebrations:

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Ancient New Year's

The celebration of the new year is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4,000 years ago. In the years around 2000 B.C., the Babylonian New Year began with the first New Moon after the Vernal Equinox (first day of spring).

The Babylonian celebration lasted for eleven days. Each day had its own particular mode of celebration, but it is safe to say that modern New Year's Eve festivities pale in comparison.

The Romans continued to observe the new year in late March, but their calendar was continually tampered with by various emperors so that the calendar soon became out of synchronization with the sun.

In order to set the calendar right, the Roman senate, in 153 B.C., declared January 1 to be the beginning of the new year. But tampering continued until Julius Caesar, in 46 B.C., established what has come to be known as the Julian Calendar.


It again established January 1 as the new year. But in order to synchronize the calendar with the sun, Caesar had to let the previous year drag on for 445 days.

Church view of new year celebrations

Although in the first centuries A.D. the Romans continued celebrating the new year, the early Catholic Church condemned the festivities as paganism. But as Christianity became more widespread, the early church began having its own religious observances concurrently with many of the pagan celebrations, and New Year's Day was no different.

During the Middle Ages, the Church remained opposed to celebrating New Year's. January 1 has been celebrated as a holiday by Western nations for only about the past 400 years.

New Year's traditions

Other traditions of the season include the making of New Year's resolutions. That tradition also dates back to the early Babylonians.

Read more ...
Category: Articles & Essays | Time & Calendar |


Thursday, 21. December 2006
Winter Solstice

In astronomy, the solstice is either of the two times a year when the Sun is at its greatest distance from the celestial equator, the great circle on the celestial sphere that is on the same plane as the earth's equator. In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice occurs either December 21 or 22, when the sun shines directly over the tropic of Capricorn; the summer solstice occurs either June 21 or 22, when the sun shines directly over the tropic of Cancer.

In 2006 at precisely December 22, 00:22 GTM (December 21, 7:22 P.M. EST) winter begins in the Northern Hemisphere and summer begins in the Southern Hemisphere.

Aborigines, Astroarchaeologists, Atheists, Celts, Druids, Native Americans, Pagans, Shamans, Wiccans, Witches, and others, will be celebrating the world's oldest holiday.

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Winter Solstice Sun by EPOD

Some web sites featuring good information on the Winter Solstice:

Long before the dawn of any of the modern Judeo-Christian-Islamic faiths, rituals followed a more simplistic path. Guided by the natural cycle of birth-life-death-and-renewal, the ancients marked their seasons by celebrating each phase of the wheel of life. Both male and female principals, God and Goddess, were honored. Each was given honor as the sun and moon entwined in their cosmic dance.

All about Solstice and Equinox by morefocus. Direct link to Celebrating the Winter Solstice.

Ancient Origins: Solstice
Teresa Ruano and friends describe ancient solstice architectures, a family fertility ritual, and solstice celebrations of many cultures.

Winter Solstice & Yule Rituals
Don't miss Lisa Hutchins' essay describing the origins, traditions and spirituality of the solstice.

Celebrating the Seasons: Winter Solstice
Lore and Rituals by Selena Fox.

Yule Songs from Pagan Digest
A collection of fun rewordings of well-known carols, hymns and songs.

Dates and Times of Equinoxes and Solstices
To calculate the date and approximate time of the vernal and autumnal equinoxes and of the summer and winter solstices you can use the online calculator.

Elsewhere: Earth's Seasons Equinoxes, Solstices, Perihelion, and Aphelion 1992-2020

And last but not least: Stonehenge Summer and Winter Solstice Pictures


Blessed Winter Solstice to all!
Category: Astrology & Astronomy | Magick & Witchcraft | Time & Calendar |


Tuesday, 31. October 2006
Samhain, Halloween, Diwali, Tihar and Day of the Dead

Halloween, or All Hallows Eve, is the time when we remember every saint who hasn’t been given their own day. Well, that is certainly how our Christian churches would want us to honour the last day of October. But for many, Halloween is all about guising, turnip lanterns and dooking for apples - which on the face of it doesn’t seem to have much to do with saints.

That's because long before Christianity reached our shores, Halloween was known by the older, darker and altogether more mystical name of Samhain.
Samhain is the time when the sun is furthest south of the equator. Ancient Celts considered it to be the beginning of their new year and the death of the old. It was a time of celebration, to give thanks for the summer harvest and to ask a blessing for the coming months.

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Samhain was not just about year's end and the coming of winter. It was also the feast of the dead, the season of the earth’s decay when evil was held to wander the planet. The shield of the female warrior Skathcach was lowered, and the barrier between the two worlds faded. The forces of chaos invaded our globe, and the world of the living joined with the world of the dead.

Halloween and the Celtic Samhain by The Scotsman

And also by The Scotsman: What happened on Halloween 1590 in North Berwick is up for debate. What is certain is that the fragments of evidence handed down through centuries is a witches' brew of intrigue.
North Berwick and the brew of tortured witches

Samhain (Scots Gaelic: Samhuinn) literally means “summer's end.” In Scotland and Ireland, Halloween is known as Oíche Shamhna, while in Wales it is Nos Calan Gaeaf, the eve of the winter's calend, or first. With the rise of Christianity, Samhain was changed to Hallowmas, or All Saints' Day, to commemorate the souls of the blessed dead who had been canonized that year, so the night before became popularly known as Halloween, All Hallows Eve, or Hollantide.

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November 2nd became All Souls Day, when prayers were to be offered to the souls of all who the departed and those who were waiting in Purgatory for entry into Heaven. Throughout the centuries, pagan and Christian beliefs intertwine in a gallimaufry of celebrations from Oct 31st through November 5th, all of which appear both to challenge the ascendancy of the dark and to revel in its mystery.

Samhain by Mara Freeman

Witchvox has an excellent article on Samhain:
You Call It Hallowe'en... We Call It Samhain .

... So as this Samhain approaches, what is ending in you? What do you have inside that it is time to let go of? No healing is complete until you get beyond recovery. Use Samhain to take the thirteenth step: Transformation. In the Tarot, the thirteenth card of the Major Arcana is Death, and it is ruled by Scorpio. Samhain occurs in Scorpio. The card of Death doesn't necessarily mean physical death (though it can mean that), but more productively, it can be seen as an inevitable heavy change or transformation. Something old must be gotten rid of to make room for something new to be able to come in. Use the magic of this time to say good-bye to an old habit or addiction, an old relationship, or anything else it is time to leave behind.

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'Happy Samhain!' by Liliane Grenier


Samhain by Sig Lonegren
Lonegren looks at many other aspects of this season as well: its history, the role of the Crone Goddess, a special apple-bobbing divination practice, and more.


Elsewhere on the planet:
Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, is celebrated this week, from India to Bali.


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Diwali comes from the Sanskrit words deepa and avail and literally means "row of lights." The festival is associated with several Hindu myths about the triumph of dharma (righteousness) over adharma (unrighteousness) and light over darkness.
Padmanabhan explains that one story holds that on Diwali, the Hindu Lord Krishna destroyed Narakasura, the demon and titan of hell who conquered and plundered heaven and Earth.


Fireworks, Lights Brighten Diwali Hindu Festival by National Geographic



Time has come around again for one of the most celebrated and pompously enjoyed festivals of the Indian subcontinent. Diwali is back.
Though I have covered quite a few of the sweet dishes and savouries prepared specially for diwali, there are so many tasty crunchies prepared with special fervour and enthusiasm for this occasion.


Special Diwali Recipes from Saroj Kering

In Nepal it is known as Tihar:

Tihar, the festival of lights is one of the most dazzling of all Hindu festivals. In this festival we worship Goddess Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth. During the festival all the houses in the city and villages are decorated with lit oil lamps. Thus during the night the entire village or city looks like a sparkling diamond. This festival is celebrated in five days starting from the thirteenth day of the waning moon in October. We also refer to tihar as 'Panchak Yama' which literally means 'the five days of the underworld lord'. We also worship 'yamaraj' in different forms in these five days.

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In other words this festival is meant for life and prosperity.

Tihar by Nepal Home Page

This week also brings us El Dia de los Muertos, Mexico's Day of the Dead.

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What is the difference between Halloween and the Day of the Dead? Halloween is based on a medieval European concept of death, and is populated by demons, witches (usually women) and other images of terror -- all of them negative. The Day of the Dead, in contrast, is distinctly different, It is a uniquely Indo-Hispanic custom that demonstrates strong sense of love and respect for one’s ancestors; celebrates the continuance of life, family relationships, community solidarity and even finds humor after death -- all positive concepts!

Day of the Dead by Carl Franz & Lorena Havens


This is an ancient festivity that has been much transformed through the years, but which was intended in prehispanic Mexico to celebrate children and the dead. Hence, the best way to describe this Mexican holiday is to say that it is a time when Mexican families remember their dead, and the continuity of life.


The original celebration can be traced to the festivities held during the Aztec month of Miccailhuitontli, ritually presided by the goddess Mictecacihuatl ("Lady of the Dead"), and dedicated to children and the dead. The rituals during this month also featured a festivity dedicated to the major Aztec war deity, Huitzilopochtli ("Sinister Hummingbird") ...

What do Mexicans celebrate on the "Day of the Dead?" by Ricardo J. Salvador

Author and photographer Mary J Andrade has a wonderful website exploring the history and culture of El Dia de los Muertos, helping to keep the tradition alive:

Day of the Dead in Mexico
A Must!

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Category: Myths & Sagas | Time & Calendar |


Saturday, 21. October 2006
Year of Ritual: Calendar of Seasons

We enter into ritual for many reasons. Sometimes these are celebrations that mark particular passages of time or important occasions in our lives. Sometimes we seek guidance, solace or transformation.

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Ritual lets us take a break from our everyday lives and pause on the path of our journey. It gives us time to look at the world from a different view and to see things that we may otherwise miss in our daily rushing about. Ritual helps us affirm what we believe and to confirm that our lives are moving in the right direction.

When we enter in to ritual, we strengthen our connection with the natural world and come into balance with its rhythms as well as our own. When we balance our inner and outer lives, the world seems to become a wider and more beautiful place. Over time, we are transformed.

Take time, every day if even for a few minutes, to touch base with yourself. Consider what you are feeling and thinking. Take stock of what is happening in the larger world and the natural world. Acknowledge the seasons and note where in the cycles of earth, sun and moon you stand. When you've done this, go back inside yourself and relate these things on a personal level. Feel yourself as part of this vast, magical world.


Use the Year of Ritual Calendar of Seasons on these pages to help you find balance as well as your place in the web of existance.

Year of Ritual: Calendar of Seasons - A Cycle of Days, Moons and Trees by author Sandra Kynes. (the calendar is not only for 2006)

See also these Celtic rituals :

The Sabbats are a combination of solar and earthly celebrations. The daily cycle of the sun and the seasons of the earth determined the rhythms of activity for our ancestors. They lived close to the land and on an everyday basis observed its subtle changes.

Each Sabbat marks a changing point in the year that is accompanied by a shift in energy. If we are open to it, these times of transition can have a physical, mental and spiritual impact on us.

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In addition, these turning points carry the mythology and symbolism of the Goddess and God.
About The Sabbats
Yule • Imbolg • Ostara • Beltane • Litha • Lughnasadh • Mabon • Samhain



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The Esbats relate the advancing seasons with the magic of moonsheen. Even though the full moon rises at sunset on the opposite horizon from the sun, her mood reflects the seasons without being completely tethered to them. The Sabbats have their traditional purposes but the Esbats can run free. The energy is vibrant. Esbats are a time to laugh from the belly and dance like there is no tomorrow.

About The Esbats
Full Moon Rituals

Category: Meditation & Mind | Time & Calendar |


Monday, 02. October 2006
The 13 Moon Calendar / Der 13-Monde-Kalender

Please note this article has nothing in common with the 2012 predictions. The theories of the 2012 speculations are coming soon in the Eso Garden.
Vorweggenommen: Dieser Beitrag hat nichts mit den Prophezeihungen betreffend 2012 zu tun. Darüber berichte ich bald hier im Eso Garden.

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Click the picture for a larger view

The mathematical perfection of the 13 Moon Calendar can also be exhibited by the equation:
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 = 28

The Moon goes around the Earth 13 times in one year:
13 x 28 = 364
+1 day = 365 days

The Moons of the Thirteen Moon Calendar year are as follows:
Each year, the 13 Moon Calendar remains constant. The first moon, or New Year's day, always begins on July 26.

The synchronization or New Year's day corresponds to the rising of the great star Sirius. This makes the 13 Moon Calendar a tool for harmonizing ourselves with the galaxy.


Planet Art Network brings you basic information and free calendars, you can decode a birthdate and more reading you find in the archives.

To accept the 13 moon calendar is a positive, concrete act demonstrating the move from fear to love, from chaos to harmony, from war to peace. The end of time is the end of the old time of violence and separation encoded in an irregular and chaotic calendar. The New Time of Peace and harmony emerges as light embedded in a perpetual calendar that is a reflection of Eternity. For more than 150 years this change has been deliberated. Now the cycle is closing.

The closing of the cycle means the reintegration of the human consciousness into the solar ring through the application of the correct standard of measure. Whether humans are aware of it or not the Earth goes around the sun and it makes a solar ring with each orbit. With the accurate measure of the 13 moons each with 28 days the solar ring can be made conscious. If we make this simple adjustment of following the Thirteen Moon calendar, then in one year our consciousness will bring the orbital solar frequencies into proper alignment with the human mind. This precipitates heightened awareness or consciousness that has not previously been known.


When history began in Babylonia, Sumeria and the Middle East it forfeited knowledge of the solar ring for a focus ion the synodic lunar calendar which has nothing to do with the solar ring. When the conquest of the New World happened, the Babylonians destroyed the knowledge of the calendar which contained knowledge of the solar orbit. By destroying this knowledge they also destroyed the basis of cosmic perceptions - this is the root of the calendar change and the closing of the cycle. Keep in mind that the destruction of Mayan time knowledge was completed by a Vatican calendar reform in 1582 which gave us the (Gregorian) calendar we use today.
The 13 Moon/28-day calendar is the salvation of planet Earth because it is a cosmic mechanism that creates a frequency which matches the solar frequency. Attuning to this solar frequency will result in an amping of consciousness - this is the evolutionary trip switch.

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Foundation for the Law of Time

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Journey of the Cosmic Seed
Take a Visual Odyssey through the Wavepell of the Year.
A Flash Animation.


With beautiful pictures and music.

Another flash movie: Galactivation Animation



The 13-Moon Natural Time Calendar is a universal, modern application of the mathematics of the ancient Mayan Calendar System as deciphered by Dr. José Argüelles, Ph.d. , presenting a simple yet profound opportunity to shift our everyday consciousness.
People all around the world of diverse faiths and cultures are unifying with the 13-Moon calendar as a global harmonic standard: 13 moons of 28 days, plus one "Day out of Time" to honor and celebrate "Peace Through Culture" before each new year.


Collectively, we are releasing ourselves from the mentality that "Time is Money," and establishing a new culture of peace founded on the principle that "Time is Art!"

This and others by
13 Moon Mission.

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DEUTSCHE SEITEN:

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Viele haben vom MAYA-Kalender schon gehört, wenige wissen, worum es dabei geht. Der Maya-Kalender hat nur sehr wenig mit einem herkömmlichen Kalender gemeinsam und ist keine kulturell-religiöse Besonderheit des Volkes der Maya in Mittelamerika. Die Mayas verfügten über Kenntnisse um die Kosmischen Gesetze der ZEIT. Und um dieses Wissen der viert-dimensionalen ZEIT und ihrer kausalen Zusammenhänge geht es.


Jose Argüelles ist der Überbringer, derjenige, der dieses Wissen aus der Alten Tradition dechiffriert hat. (Berühmt durch seine Bücher “Der Maya Faktor”, “Earth Ascending”...) Mir selbst, zusammen mit meinem Sohn Andreas und anderen Mithelfern, ist es gelungen, diese Thematik für die deutschsprachige Denkschiene aufzubereiten.

Maya-Kalender aktuell von Johann Kössner.

Der schlimmste Glaube, der durch den Gregorianischen Kalender genährt wird, ist der, daß die Zeit eine Funktion der mechanischen Uhr sei, dem Instrument, das einerseits die moderne Wissenschaft geboren hat und das andererseits diese moderne Wissenschaft reguliert. Der Gregorianische Kalender und die mechanische Uhr sind in dem westlichen Bewußtsein, das die Welt beherrscht, so tief verwurzelt, daß sie bei vielen Menschen ohne jedes Hinterfragen bereits zur zweiten Natur geworden sind. Aus dem gleichen Grunde, wie wir die Instrumente des Gregorianischen Kalenders und der mechanischen Uhr als einen manifestierten Irrtum bezeichnen, können wir auch sagen, daß genau diese Fundamente der modernen globalen industriellen Zivilisation in der Grundlage der Illusion versunken sind.

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Der 13-Monde-Kalender: Zeit ist Kunst von PAN-Germany.
Category: Astrology & Astronomy | Time & Calendar |


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