Rainbows

Womenís Circle Newsletter
www.awomenscircle.net

email: awomenscircle@yahoo.com

P.O. Box 110998  Aurora, CO. 80042

720-530-2834

Reaching out each month in joy and
sisterhood to keep us connected as we circle together as women

Women Heart Rays

Andrea Lord
President, Alpha Institute
Womenís Circle Facilitator
Reiki Practitioner

Moon Shadow

Rachel Lord RN, CMT
Womenís Circle Facilitator
Master Herbalist

 

December 2009

 
Winter Celebrations

Icicle
New Year, New Beginnings
Every season is a celebration.  Winter is the beginning of a new year.  Quiet, cold winter days are a wonderful time to create seasonal family traditions.  Take your pick from a  growing list.

WINTER SOLSTICE

Solstice

“The Celtic Festival of Yule”
 December 21, 2009, 12:47 pm EST (10:47 am Mountain Time)

“The Longest, Darkest Night;  The Shortest Day
  • The Astronomy:  Winter solstice occurs at the instant the Sun’s position in the sky is at its greatest angular distance on the other side of the equatorial plane from the observer's hemisphere. The seasonal significance  is in the reversal of the gradually lengthening  nights and shortening days. Depending on the shift of the calendar, winter solstice occurs some time between December 21 and  December 22 each year in the northern hemisphere and between June 20 and June 21 in the southern.
  • Solstice:  From the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still). It puts us in Tune with the cycles of nature.
  • Celebrates the Rebirth of the Sun God:  Son of the Goddess. At a time of such darkness, it was important to assure the return of warmth for food and life itself.
  • Ceremonially: Choose what to take into the New Year, what to leave behind. A time for feasting, reflecting, gathering around a fire.
  • A Window of Opportunity, A Sacred, Precious Moment.  It is said that “The Wheel of the Year” Stops Turning at Winter Solstice.  The sun “stands still”. It was taboo to turn a wheel or even a butter churn on this day.
  • The Exact Moment of Solstice is a magical time when the miraculous can happen. It is a chance to calmly consider the year gone by and reflect on more active times to come as the weather warms.
  • The Ruins of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico:  These Native American Ceremonial Centers  date back to around 900 AD. There are 10 major sites. The Pueblo walls and Kivas  line up exactly with the  winter and summer solstices, so that the sun shines in them at the center of  a special portal at those times.  If you drew a line from one sacred site to the other, the group of ruins themselves line up perfectly with each other to reflect the sun’s cycles (as well as the moon’s 18 ½ year cycle).  Present day Native Americans conduct major ceremonies there at these times.
  • Stonehenge in  England and other ancient sacred circles as well, are lined up with the Winter Solstice sun.
Christmas tree


CHRISTMAS
December 25, 2009--A Short History

3 kings

  • Christmas Day is  the day Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The word "Christmas" means "Christ's Mass".
  • Before Christ: The main Winter Celebration was Winter Solstice; the Romans celebrated Saturnalia, a raucous 7 day feast.
  • Fourth Century:  The church decided Christians needed a December holiday to rival Solstice celebrations. December 25 was chosen for the Feast of the Nativity.
  • Christmas Gained Ground: It became a full fledged holiday by the 9th Century, although it was still less important than Easter and Good Friday.
  • Middles Ages: Christmas featured  feasting, drinking, riotous behavior and caroling for money.
  • Religious Puritans:  Disapproved of such excess, considered the holiday blasphemous.  Oliver Cromwell canceled Christmas when he seized control of England in 1645. Yuletide festivities were outlawed in Boston from 1659 -1681.
  • New Yorker Washington Irving:  Wrote popular stories about Christmas that invented and appropriated old traditions, presenting them as the customs of the English gentry…Hence, Christmas as we know it today.

snowman

AMERICAN CHRISTMAS CUSTOMS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

  • The Norse in Scandinavia celebrated yuletide.  Each family burnt a giant log and feasted until it turned to ash.
  • Santa Claus and Gift-Giving:   Holland.  St. Nicholas was the patron saint of school boys who brought gifts for children who put their wooden shoes by the fireplace.
  • Santa Coming Down the Chimney: Norway. That’s why “stockings are hung by the chimney with care”
  • Christmas Trees: Pagan. Evergreens were considered a sacred tree.  When pagans became Christians, they decorated them with nuts and candles, sang (Carols)  and danced around the tree.
  • Queen Victoria:  Her German husband, Prince Albert, introduced a Christmas tree to Windsor Castle in 1846.

    HANUKKAH

    Menorah

    “The Festival of Lights”
    Sundown December 11 through December 18, 2009

  • Hanukkah:  Celebrates  the triumphs, both religious and military--of ancient Jewish heroes.  Lasts 8 days and 8 nights.  Dates vary as it is based on the 25th day of the Jewish Calendar in the  month of Kislev.  (This is Moon-based.  The Gregorian calendar we use is based on the sun.)
  • A Relatively Minor Holiday in the Jewish year. However, in the United States, its closeness to Christmas has brought greater attention to Hanukkah and its gift-giving tradition.
  • History:  Nearly 2,200 years ago, the Greek-Syrian ruler Antiochus IV tried to force Greek culture upon peoples in his territory. Jews in Judea, now Israel,  were forbidden their religious practices as well as study of the Torah.  Although vastly outnumbered, Jews in the region took up arms to protect their community and their religion. The rebel armies became known as the Maccabees.  After 3 years, they won and reclaimed the temple on Mt. Moriah.
  • The Eight Day Miracle - Rededicating the Temple: Hanukkah means “dedication”. There was only enough purified oil to burn  in the temple for a single day.   The light burned for eight days.
  • The Menorah:  The nine-branched candle stand. Has eight candles to symbolize the 8 days of burning light and freedom and a higher top one, “the servant”, to light the others from.  Each night a new candle is added  with prayers and blessings…and gift giving and joy.
  • Kwanza

    KWANZAA

    “An Affirmation of African Americans”

    Seven Days from December 26th 2009 to January 1st, 2010

  • African American CelebrationFocuses on the traditional African values of family, community responsibility, commerce, and self-improvement.
  • Not Political nor Religious: This is not a substitute for Christmas, but a time to celebrate African culture and ancestors. A moment of pride.
  • Kwanzaa Means “First Fruits of the Harvest” in  Kiswahili:  Since its founding in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa has come to be observed by more than18 million people worldwide.
  • Kwanzaa Centerpiece:  On a straw mat place a Kinara (candleholder) to hold seven candles (3 green, 1 black, 3 red)  for the Seven Guiding Principles, fruit/veges in a bowl to symbolize harvest, an ear of corn for “Social Parenthood”.



    Kawanza card

    The Seven Guiding Principles, one for each day of the observance.


    Umoja:
    Togetherness of family and community.
    Kujichaugulia: 
    Making decisions in the best interests of family and community.
    Ujima:
    Obligation to past, present, future and  role in community, society, world.
    Ujamaa:
    Collective economic strength through common needs, mutual support.
    Nia: 
    Setting personal goals of benefit to the community.
    Kuumba:
    Making use of creative energy to benefit community.
    Imani:
    Honoring self worth, traditions to achieve higher level of life.

Star


WINTER GREENING


Winter Trees

Cross-Cultural Roots”

  • Christmas Cactus: These beautiful succulents just “know” when to bloom.  Their gorgeous fuchsia blossoms are a joy in the dark of winter. 
  • Poinsettas: The familiar red, pink and white leaves brighten up the season; a tradition from south of the border brought here from Mexico. Said to represent the Star of Bethlehem.
  • Mistletoe:  Celtic roots and part of Chistmas celebrations, grew only rarely on oak trees, sacred to the Druids. It  is associated with peace and goodwill, both values that today still surround this time of year.  Since Mistletoe is green in winter, it was seen as a sacred fruit and a sign of life in the darkness of winter.
  • More Mistletoe: A symbol of fertility.  Lovers still kiss under it today!  Scandinavians associated it with  Frigga, their Goddess of Love.
  • Evergreens: The “always green” conifers give hope for the return of the green.  This  Celtic tradition was adapted by Christians and evolved into Christmas Trees complete with decorations.
  • Wreaths: Symbol of growth and unending circle of life. Eternal.

Star

WINTER ACTIVITIES

  • Bring in the Green: New Growth comes in the New Year.  Bring in a blooming Christmas Cactus, grow an amaryllis  bulb, make a wreath.
  • Feed the Birds: Dip a pinecone into lard mixed with peanut butter. Then dip it into bird seed and hang it close to the house. Alternately, hang a string of fresh cranberries onto a tree for the feathered ones.
  • Enjoy the Cold, the Light, the Warmth: Take a snow day, make angels and snowmen, walk in the snow. Light a fire, light a candle and  appreciate the warm glow. Go to the hot springs.
  • Make a Yule Log: Decorate it with evergreens, holly, mistletoe, ribbons.


    Winter Sky

RESOURCES:  Some of this Newsletter was adapted from:http://paganismwicca.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_winter_solstice_wicca_and_pagan_festival#ixzz0WliNx9Qf
http://paganismwicca.suite101.com/article.cfm/traditions_for_winter_solstice#ixzz0WliFJrPo
http://paganismwicca.suite101.com/article.cfm/celebrating_winter_solstice#ixzz0WlhyFtNf
www.infoplease.com/spot/hanukkah.html
http://www.apples4theteacher.com/holidays/christmas/christmas-symbols/
Image resources
http://ligress.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/winter_solstice-7596891.jpg
http://www.geomancy.org/images/fullsolaryear.gif
http://www.theyards.co.uk/images/celtic/winter_solstice.jpg
http://www.artspace05.com/winter-solstice.jpg
http://www.tike.com/celeb-kw.htm 
http://www.apples4theteacher.com/holidays/christmas/christmas-symbols/

Namaste

EVENTS CALENDAR:

Woman

CIRCLING:

Exploring the Feminine Archetypes
Who Are You?

Sunday January 24, 2010

1 pm - 4:30 pm

 $20

Connect With Other Wise Women

Join In Ceremony with Drums and Rattles!

  • Which Goddess resonates with you?  Which culture?
  • We will explore the Feminine; Goddess traditions from around the world.
  • We will use ceremony and group energy to discover where you presently are on the ancient path of being a woman.
  • The circle has been a natural way for women to gather since the beginning.
  • BRING: A drum or rattle if you can.  If not, we have extras.


Presenters:
Andrea Lord, Women’s Circle Facilitator, Reiki Practitioner
Rachel Lord, RN, CMT, Master Herbalist
Held At:
Old Hampden Holistic Center, 3501 S. Corona St., #1, Englewood, CO 80113
To Sign Up:

Phone:  Andrea at A Women’s Circle .720-530-2834
email:  awomenscircle@yahoo.com  *   www.awomenscircle.net

There will be Women’s Activities and Circles throughout the year.  Stay posted.
If you have stories, information and would like to share bits of your journey with us,
we want to hear from you. If you get an idea send it out to awomenscircle@yahoo.com