Merry Meet on the Solstice Day

Thursday’s Bite

a paranormal blog

Today is officially the shortest day of the year and the day when some traditions mourn the death of the old king and welcome in the new king. We see this reflected in Christmas and in modern pictorials of Old Man Time and Baby New Year. But we also see it throughout fiction as the sacrifice of the summer king.

The idea that sacrifice is needed by ourselves and our gods plays throughout history, fantasy, and paranormal fiction, but nowhere have I seen it done better than in the book Lammas Night written by Kathryn Kurtz. Kathryn Kurtz is a fantasy author who is most famous for the Deryni novels and you can find out more about her HERE, but I have always loved her story of magic through the ages that she captured in Lammas Night.

In the book England is faltering under the constant attacks of the Nazi’s and the pagan population (which has been fractured and hidden) decides they need to do something. Interwoven within the story of the secrets of the English Pagans is another story, one that comes down through time, of heroes and kings and their sacrifices in times of need. And this is definitely a time of need.

Now Lammas is actually the celebration of Lughnasadh, and occurs in August. But, I can’t help but think of this story of the death of the king when it comes to the winter solstice. Summer’s king has died on Samhain (Halloween) and now is the time of year when the holly king is celebrated. This is the time of year when celebrations of light occur. And this is the time of year when sacrifice is needed to stave off the winter and starvation.

One of the best Winter Solstice celebrations I attended we asked everyone to walk a spiral labyrinth and on their way in to think about what they wanted to leave behind. When the center was reached and we turned around we were supposed to leave it there and walk out, free and open to the New Year and possibly to new versions of ourselves.

As we celebrate the close of 2011 and welcome 2012, what changes are you making to your life. Are there things that need to be purged, or sacrifices made to make the New Year better? When you ring that bell at midnight, what will you be leaving behind?

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6 Comments

Filed under Goal Setting, Magic, Thursdays Bite

6 responses to “Merry Meet on the Solstice Day

  1. This is definitely a time of renewal although I don’t think I’ll go to the extremes of the heroes in fiction. I love the Arthurian myth figures and how their lives all interplay with the seasons. We just can never separate ourselves from the physical world around us, can we? Yesterday was so rainy and foggy, I wondered if London’s ‘pea soup’ was coming to Ontario. And the whole thing was so depressing. Better today. Happy Beltaine, or whatever, Jessica!

    • LOL on the Beltane! (That’s May day when you dance around the May pole.) 🙂
      I hadn’t thought about the Arthurian myths and the seasons, I haven’t read them since grade school, I’ll have to go back to my Once and Future King and see the ties. Now there’s a King with sacrifice. Arthur’s well being is directly tied to the land and as his inner life collapses, so does the kingdom. Great pagan imagery there. Happy Solstice Elaine!

  2. That sounds like a great book and Katherine Kurtz is a new author to me. I loved your description of the Winter Solstice celebration. I like the thought of celebrating a new version of ourselves and leaving things behind.

    • I love Katherine Kurtz. If you start reading her, it’s wonderful, because you won’t have to wait for books to come out! She has the Deryni series and my other favorite is about a Scotsman who is a magical adept and a member of the Masons. Very good reading!

  3. Jessica, my to-be-read pile keeps growing.

    Love the solstice celebration, walking the labyrinth, leaving the old year behind. I’ve been working on my second novel for what feels like forever, and my plan was to shed it before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st. That’s not going to happen, I still have about 16 chapters to polish until they shine, but after much encouragement from my critique group, I have given myself permission to move forward as planned, starting my new novel in January. One day a week, or as life allows, I’ll open this forever manuscript and work forward, but I won’t let my new ideas stagnate.

    After your post, I feel even more ‘allowed’ to do this. The universe is speaking…

    • You go for it Sherry! There is no reason why you have to finish one project before starting on another. Sometimes things need to sit and percolate so you can look at them with a fresh eye. I do that for all my projects. I am finishing my first draft of my BIAY this week and then it will go into the percolator while I do some edits and write a novella. I plan to pull it out later when I’ve been away from it and then do the final grand polish before sending it out into the world. I think it works better this way. You look at your work differently when you get away from it. Kind of like being away from your spouse. Absence makes me see my honey in a whole new light. 🙂

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