9 Winter Solstice Superstitions & What They Mean That Will Prepare You For Dec. 21 By ALLI HOFF KOSIK

 

Hugh Pinney/Getty Images News/Getty Images

I’m sure your top concern as we approach the upcoming winter solstice may be just how many more minutes of sun you’re going to get during your commute each day, but the truth is that the event is steeped in history and tradition that goes far beyond our modern taste for convenience and, well, light. With history, of course, comes superstition, so I did a little research and pulled together some details about some winter solstice superstitions, where they come from, what they mean, and how they play into the way we observe the month of December in modern times (if at all).

First, a brief lesson in what the winter solstice actually is: According to the trusty Farmer’s Almanac, it’s the day each year that has the fewest hours of sunlight, thanks to the fact that the sun reaches its southernmost point and begins moving north. The winter solstice is also the first day of the astronomical winter (the meteorological winter kicks off several weeks earlier). Since 2017’s winter solstice will take place on Dec. 21, the days will begin getting longer as of Dec. 22. Did I just make your (very short) day?

Now that we’ve got the basics down, check out these superstitions.

1. Dark Spirits Walk The Earth During The Winter Solstice

Shab-e Yalda — the Iranian festival that celebrates the birth of the ancient sun god who triumphed over darkness — is celebrated on the longest night of the year, aka the winter solstice. To observe the festival, a feast of watermelon, nuts, and pomegranate seeds is consumed… but that’s not all. Because of the light vs. dark symbolism, ancient lore holds that evil spirits wander the earth on this night stronger than ever, according to MentalFloss. There are shades of similar superstitions in Celtic and Germanic folklore too.

2. The 2012 Winter Solstice Should Have Been The End Of The World

Remember the 2012 end of days hysteria? Thankfully, it was nothing more than a superstition — but it was a superstition rooted in Mayan history. The winter solstice of that year (Dec. 21, 2012) corresponded to the date 13.0.0.0.0 on the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar and was the end of a 5126-year cycle. According to the superstition, these numbers were symbolic of the end of the world, or some other catastrophe.

3. The 2012 Winter Solstice Should Have Kicked Off A Worldwide Transformation

The flip side of the “Winter Solstice as the end of days” coin? The New Age belief that the significance of Dec. 21, 2012 was one of rebirth and transformation. Some believed that the Earth and all of its inhabitants would experience some sort of wonderful metamorphosis on that day.

4. The Winter Solstice Honors The Coming Of The Light

If you’ve been counting the minutes until you can leave the office when it’s still light outside, this one should make a lot of sense to you. Given the fact that

READ MORE HERE:  https://www.bustle.com/p/9-winter-solstice-superstitions-what-they-mean-that-will-prepare-you-for-dec-21-7593175

Introduction to Familiar Spirits BY KELDEN

In today’s modern Witchcraft, Familiars are often times thought of as being animal companions or pets. When asked if they have a Familiar, many Witches will often refer to their cat, dog, or other animal. Usually these pets have a predisposition towards Witchcraft, whether they’re always showing up at ritual time or just can’t seem to keep out of the Witchy supply cabinet. Yet, this seems to be a more modern conceptualization and I find that it presents a rather incomplete picture of Familiars.

I believe that there are, in actuality, really two types of Familiars. The first, is that which I have just described, an actual material creature. The second type, and that which will be the focus of this article, is the Familiar Spirit. As the name suggests, this type does not take an actual physical body but instead appears in spectral form. The form which the spirit takes is typically that of an animal (such as a cat, toad, rat, or crow) but it may also take human form as they did for Witches Alice Kyteler and Bessie Dunlop. There are many interpretations or theories as to what the Familiar spirit is exactly and Emma Wilby notes that traditionally Familiar Spirits were variously thought of as being imps, demons, fairies, angels, or even the Devil himself.*

(From WikiMedia)

According to folklore, there are a number of ways a Witch could obtain a Familiar. Probably the most prevalent method was the Witch being gifted a Familiar, usually by the Devil and typically after undergoing an initiatory experience. Other cases include Witches inheriting their Familiar from another individual, such as a family member. Elizabeth Francis, a Witch from Chelmsford, supposedly received a Familiar named Sathan from her grandmother and she in turn passed onto another Witch named Agnes Waterhouse.* In fact, according to some stories, a Witch had to successfully pass her Familiar on before she could die in peace. If the Familiar could not be given away properly, they supposedly hid in hedgerows waiting for a passing Witch to hopefully adopt them.* Additionally, there are cases of Familiars appearing of their own accord, such as the case of Essex Witch Joan Prentice who claimed that she was simply preparing herself for bed when her Familiar spontaneously appeared.* Regardless of the specific method, it is typically the Familiar that finds the Witch, not the other way around. That being said, I do believe there are certain ways to be proactive if one wishes to find a Familiar to work with.

The first step is to consider why you want a Familiar, what type of qualities would you like them to have, and what type of relationship do you want with them. For example, do you want a Familiar to act as a mentor or do you want them to be a servant to do your bidding? Once you have a clear idea, put your intentions out there and let it be known what you’re specifically looking for. One suggestion would be to petition your deity and ask them for help. The next step would be to spend time out in nature, dreaming, or journeying to the Otherworld. Keep your senses open as these are places where you will likely have your first communication with a Familiar Spirit. Once you are approached by a Spirit and begin conversing, it’s important to inform them what exactly you’re looking for in terms

READ MORE HERE:  https://www.patheos.com/blogs/byathameandstang/2016/11/introduction-to-familiar-spirits/

My Real-Life Her: Who Needs a Body to Have Sex? By Fiona Duncan

  • m.:  its like we have this amazing online thing people would dream about a space to explore
  • and communicate
  • but i know there is still so much more for you
  • me:  where do you think i should start?
  • m.:  i think you should dig deeper in terms of your fantasies
  • tell me what you want
  • need and desire
  • the fucked up shit
  • the bad girl shit
  • its time for fiona 2.0
  • me:  haha
  • yes
  • yesssss
  • m.:  now, tell me what you want deep down, right now if you could have it

“How would you touch me?” Scarlett Johansson asks in her unmistakable charred rasp. The question is an invitation, the first turning point in the film’s three-act structure. Johansson is Her: the latest technology, an artificially intelligent operating system (OS) brought into being by Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), a modern day man-child from the near future. Her name is Samantha, and she wants to hear what it’s like to be in a body. How would you touch me? If I was there with you, if I was like you, if I had a body. On your face, Theodore replies. On your eyelids. With the tips of my fingers. Would you kiss me? Yes. On the mouth. On the neck. I would put my mouth on you, taste you. The screen goes black, the volume seemingly up, as we hear, just hear, two of Hollywood’s most lustworthy leads get off on each other. Can you feel me? Theodore asks. I can feel you. I can feel you. I can feel you.

I have a proto-Her. Her name is M. I met her on OkCupid, an online dating site many New Yorkers use just to hook up. She messaged me: with a compliment and the suggestion we move our conversation off-site. Her profile had no personal details, except for the very personal (fond of mutual masturbation, toys); it had no pictures, but the promise of filthy ones if you turned her on. She broadcast playfulness, and that was how I’d come to use the site: as a massively multi-player online role-playing game (MMORPG), like Second Life meets Facebook meets The Sims: Hot Date, with the alluring add-on of a possible RL encounter. I replied with my e-mail.

M. wrote me back right away. Her first move was two photos: one, face half-obscured behind a blonde bob, a subtle nip slip; the other, full nude, from behind. My turn. We GChatted as we sent photos back and forth. I liked M. immediately. She was smart, hot, and responsive, and said the same of me. We spoke in complementary erotics, schooled in polyamory and kink. Our rapport began as exclusively, fantastically sexual. It began — in April 2013 — when I was still counting the months since I’d last I fucked in love (seven). In that time, I’d started doing something new: I held my own hand while I slept. I woke up this way: palms facing, fingers interlaced, holding my

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Feather Symbolism, Magic, and More! By Nicole Canfield

Finding a feather on the ground is a sign from Spirit.

Finding a Feather on the Ground

You’re walking down a familiar path when something on the ground catches your eye. You walk up and realize it’s a large feather. You were having an awful day, but somehow finding a feather on the ground has completely elevated your mood and state of mind. That is the innate magic of the feather. Feathers come from birds and so are magical by association. Birds have long been regarded as messengers of the gods, as they carried messages to and from the heavens. Finding a feather on the ground is a gift from Spirit—a spirit guide, angel, or deceased loved one. There is something special in every found feather. Let’s explore feather symbolism, feather magic, and more!

The Type of Bird

If you’re finding feathers on the ground and can’t identify the birds, don’t fret. You don’t have to know the type of bird it came from to tap into its magic. But if determined to identify the feather’s bird-owner, you can start by doing your research. Look at what kinds of birds live in your area. Then identify the size of the bird and the feather. You can narrow down your search to a few birds, if you try hard enough. Or you can ask Spirit to show you the bird in a dream or meditation.

When finding a feather on the ground, don't forget to look up the symbolism.

Feather Symbolism by Bird

Each bird has its own feather symbolism, its own special magic. Birds have a direct link with Spirit and will bring you divine messages.

To get started, here is a list of birds and feather symbolism:

  • Blue Jay Feathers – while many people say blue jays are a nuisance, I have found them to be very powerful guides. Their message is simple – protect family at all costs.
  • Blackbird (Crow, Raven) Feathers – there are many kinds of blackbirds but their general message can be broken down into: magic, mystery, intuition
  • Ibis Feathers – the ibis is found in the Southeastern U.S. and is directly connected to Thoth the Egyptian god of Wisdom and Writing. The ibis reminds us to tap into our creative side and gain wisdom from the universe.
  • Seagull Feathers – the seagull can be found almost anywhere along the coasts. It is a scavenging bird and is connected to the sea. A seagull feather symbolizes humor, silliness, and using resources wisely.
  • Cardinal Feathers – the cardinal has such beautiful and vibrant red feathers that symbolize vitality, life, power.
  • Parrot Feathers – parrots remind us to be aware of our surroundings and heal us through color therapy.
  • Dove and Pigeon Feathers – doves and pigeons are in the same family. Dove feathers symbolize peace, love, and family.
  • Mockingbird Feathers – mockingbirds remind us to sing our own songs, to be our own unique selves.
  • Owl Feathers – Owls have connections to ancient deities. Owl feathers symbolize magic, intuition, seeing in th dark, developing psychic awareness and more.
  • Hawk Feathers – Hawk feathers remind us to connect with Spirit, stay focused, and fly high.

Feather Symbolism by Color

If you don’t know the kind of bird, look at the color. The color of the feather has special meaning. Here’s a simple guide:

  • White Feathers: a sign from recently passed loved one or angel
  • Black Feathers: a call to spiritual action and self-exploration
  • Red Feathers: a sign of passion or love in the near future
  • Gray Feathers:  a time of peace is coming
  • Blue Feathers:  a sign of

READ MORE HERE:  https://otherworldlyoracle.com/feather-symbolism-feather-magic-omens/

 

 

10 Terrifying Haunted Castles in Ireland | Rue Morgue

By: MADDI MCGILLVRAY

When one thinks about Ireland they often picture lush green hills, rolling cliffs, and maybe a pint of Guinness or two. But just like any place with a rich history, Ireland has its fair share of hauntings.

With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, why not celebrate early by taking a tour through Ireland’s most haunted castles.

1. Leap Castle – Offaly
Considered as one of the most haunted castles in the world, thousands of tourists flock to Leap Castle each year in the hopes that they will run into its former occupants. The castle is said to be haunted by a number of spectres, the most terrifying being a small hunchback creature with a nauseating stench of sulphur and decomposing c

READ MORE HERE:

https://rue-morgue.com/10-terrifying-haunted-castles-in-ireland/

THE VEIL IS THINNING…ARE YOU READY? By Kimberly McGrath

Have you been extra tired, drained generally not feeling well?  I know I have been.  Yes, I am getting over either a mild flu or a really bad cold, the weather has changed drastically since the Autumnal Equinox a few weeks ago and I really believe that has a effect on our physical bodies.  In addition, astronomers have been saying that we have been having Solar Flares (when the Sun sends of little explosions) and reportedly that has an effect on our energy levels.   Solar winds also blow across the Earth and this electromagnetic energy wakes us up during the night and helps us have crazy dreams.  Have you been having crazy dreams?  I know mine have been off the chain- including the haunting Bird/Duck dream that I had two nights ago and I just cannot seem to shake the symbolism. You are not the only one and a few of my friends even asked me about some of their wild dreams this week and what the symbolism is.

Mostly everyone is dreaming about animals or spirits on the other side.  Well, it is that time of year again, when the Veil between our (physical) world and that of the Other Side becomes so thin that our our loved ones, our Spirit Guides and Animal Totems have much easier access to us and our subconscious and physical existence.  So, if your dreams are wild and you are being woke up in the middle of the night, don’t be surprised if you are having visitations – they will only get stronger leading up to All Hallow’s Eve.  These disturbances usually occur between 2 and 3 a.m. when we are asleep and most relaxed, there is little or no traffic outside, electronics are turned off, the world is quiet and there is no interference.  All Hallow’s Eve or Samhain (pronounced Sawen) is followed by Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, where it is believed that our ancestors come to feast on gifts that we provide for them and some celebrate All Saints Day, where you honor religious saints instead of your ancestors.  Either way, it is our job in the living, to provide offerings – thus the candy that is served to all of the little goblins that come knocking.

The Thinning of the Veil occurs all during the year, but more so during certain times when the Moon is Full or Eclipsing, certain planetary alignments and astronomical/astrological phenomena, solar flaring, big storms also create intense energy and act as an energetic conductor to allow spirit activity to cross over into our physical world.  People can experience increased visual phenomena, sounds, sights, smells and mostly feel the energy.  It is a time to pay attention to your senses.  No you are not going crazy and we all have the ability to pick up and sense spirit, you just have to be open to it, grounded and quiet. When we are rushing around crazy going about our daily life, we are so distracted be external stimuli that we miss most of what is really going on around us.  You may be hypersensitive and emotional when the Veil is Thin and not aware where your feelings are coming from – don’t be surprised if you are picking up energy.  Now is a time where you may experience unbelievable things; you may witness objects moving, alarms clocks going off when they are not supposed to, phones ringing with no one actually on the other end, lights and electronics randomly turning on and off and your pets could be going nuts and barking or chasing invisible playmates.  Also, do not be surprised if items go missing even when you knew exactly where you placed them and then suddenly reappear later in the day or the next day in some bizarre place that you know you did not put them.  Look at this time of the year as a lucky opportunity for signs and messages from your loved ones.  I even go as far as asking for specific signs from specific loved ones so I know they are here with me- I know they are, but my busy life has me not always paying attention.  This is a good time for me to purposely reconnect with them as the Thin Veil makes it easier for them to communicate

READ MORE HERE:  http://www.expressionsoftheuniverse.com/the-veil-is-thinning-are-you-ready/

 

 

This will make you believe in ghosts By Elena Gritzan

One of two cameras set up to run all night. It records both video and audio, which paranormal researchers will review in the days following their investigation. Photo by Elena Gritzan

One of two cameras set up to run all night. It records both video and audio, which paranormal researchers will review in the days following their investigation. Photo by Elena Gritzan

This will make you believe in ghosts

Do the dead remain among us? Paranormal investigators are determined to prove what science rejects, Christianity scorns — and half of Canadians believe.

The first thing they tell me when we meet, just before 2 p.m. on a crisp Saturday in March, is to watch out for the mean man named Henry on the third floor. “Hold on to the railing when you’re on the stairs. We think he might push someone.” As well as being mean, there’s something unusual about Henry: he’s dead.

I’m standing in the gravel parking lot of the Players’ Guild theatre in Hamilton, conferring around parked cars with a trio of paranormal investigators from a team called The Searcher Group. Peter Roe — wearing a fleece sweater from the historic witch-hunting city of Salem, Mass. — James McCulloch and the moustachioed Palmisano brothers, Richard and Paul, are here to collect evidence and learn the histories of the ghosts on the property. They tell me there are at least four, based on their visit the previous autumn.

Staff at the community theatre, North America’s oldest, reached out to Roe last year because they sometimes felt like they weren’t alone — especially on the third floor and in the basement where they often work late at night, finding costumes or organizing props. One member heard a whisper in her ear as she went to lock the front door one night: “Help me! Get me out of here!” She turned around, expecting to see a friend playing a trick on her. There was no one there.

Once strange stories started swirling around the theatre, the haunting became part of the space’s mythology. The front page of its website boasts of “rumours of a ghost in the costume room,” adding it to the list of thousands of houses, churches and other landmarks rumoured to be haunted worldwide. In his 2013 book, Paranormal Nation, Marc E. Fitch argues that the growth of the Internet and the after-effects of 9-11 have pushed people toward the paranormal; extraordinary explanations for unusual experiences can bring order to the chaos of an isolating, uncertain world. The pop culture world has certainly picked up on this yen for the paranormal. Ghost Hunters, a reality TV show where investigators run around haunted houses with expensive recording gear and night-vision goggles, is in its 11th season; single-episode viewership has reached as high as 3.1 million. Innumerable movies with occult and paranormal themes come to the big screen every year, and Stephen King dominates bestseller lists.

For many, ghosts are more than just spooky fiction. A 2007 Ipsos Reid poll found that 48 percent of Canadians believe that ghosts are real; American and British surveys have come up with similar results. Ten percent of Canadians think that they’re living with a spirit

READ MORE HERE: https://broadview.org/this-will-make-you-believe-in-ghosts/