Thursday, December 23, 2010
Australian Litha: 22 December: The Night sky unveils Orion the Hunter and his dogs, including Sirius the brightest star in the sky, rising in the east. Summer is Australian society’s festive time, school holidays begin and workers take time off. Down south, many native plants are flowering and fruiting, pygmy possums, kookaburras and sacred kingfishers are attending to their young, and dolphins can be seen along the coast playing and hunting near the shore. In the north, it is the time of the early monsoon. The wet season begins after the summer solstice and is caused by seasonal change in the direction of the winds. After the sun moves south of the equator, Australia warms up while Asia cools down. Dry, chilly winds blow outward from Asia, gather warmth and moisture from the oceans, and subsequently bring summer rains to northern Australia. As the season progresses, heavy rains fall daily and plants grow quickly. Freshwater crocodiles hatch, blue-tongued lizards and bats give birth, and the dangerous box jellyfish was out of creeks into the open sea.
Meditation: In the south, the increasing heat summons the cold-blooded snake to bask in the sun and outdoor revellers must give him a wide berth, his fangs more immediately deadly than the sun’s harsh rays upon the skin. Up north, the Rainbow Serpent revitalises the land with the first monsoon rains, greening the flora and bringing fertility to the people. At the sun’s zenith, the twin snakes encircle the arms of the primordial Goddess, delivering creation and destruction. Revere the double serpent-power, giver of life, bringer of death.
Litha. We sit on the dusty earth, fanning out in concentric circles around the Priestess who stands alone in the centre. ‘Close your eyes,’ she instructs, ‘and look within’. Continuing in a slow, meditative voice, she says: ‘Focus your mind inside your body, at the base of your spine, the area directly connected with the Land. Two snakes are becoming restless there. The cool, white moon snake on the left side and the hot, red, sun snake on the right are stirring tonight. Allow them to uncoil and begin rising up your spine, rising, rising. Now they cross sides, the sun snake on the left, the moon snake on the right, rising, rising. They cross back again. Let them continue up, crossing, returning, crossing returning, making a double helix pattern, all the way up your spine to the back of your head. Rising over your crown they come down to rest at your third eye'. We stand, linking hands. Accompanied by a slow drum beat, we spiral deosil in a snake-dance toward the centre. The Priestess, whirling widdershins, leads the spiral back out again. In, then out, in, out. Visions arise, time slows down, and above us wheel the starry arms of the Milky Way.
[From 'The Sabbats' – Caroline Tully. In Practising the Witch’s Craft: Real Magic Under a Southern Sky. Ed. Doug Ezzy. Allen & Unwin, 2003. pp 181-2].