Thursday, 19 March 2015

Spring solstice, the eclipse and the supermoon

Friday is the Spring Equinox; traditionally the first day of spring, there 
will also be an eclipse and a supermoon!
There are two equinoxes every year, one in March  which will fall on the 
19th, 20th or 21st, and one in September, when the sun shines 
directly onto the equator and the length of the night and day is nearly equal.
Equinox and solstices are opposite  on either side of the equator, in the 
northern hemisphere the March equinox is known as the spring equinox while  in the south it is known as the autumn equinox.
The word equinox derives from the Latin meaning "equal night", but the 
equinoxes don't have exactly 12 hours of daylight.

This is always a time of new beginnings and rebirth, and many celebrations are
 held around this time like Easter and Passover. Witches and Pagans celebrate 
the spring equinox as it signifies the coming of spring. This is a lesser Sabbat, 
a solar festival, which fall on the solstices and equinoxes. The spring equinox is
 known as Ostara.

 The other lesser ones are the winter solstice, summer and autumn. 
The greater sabbats are of course Imbolc , Beltane, Lammas and Samhain.
The changes that happen at this time of year are attributed to the increasing power 
of the Gods and Goddesses which are personified as The Green Man and Mother Earth. 
The Green Man was born from Mother Earth in the winter and lives until Samhain.

The solar eclipse refers to a phenomenon where the sun and moon line up, so that 
the latter obscures the former. On Friday 20th the longest duration of  this eclipse 
will be 2 minutes and 46 seconds if viewed off the coast of the Faroe Islands. 
The next total solar eclipse will be on August 12th 2026. 

There are many superstitions and folklore surrounding  an eclipse , it is
 believed that  it brings  death, destruction and disasters.

A popular misconception is that solar eclipses can be a danger to pregnant women
 and their unborn child. In many cultures, young children and pregnant women 
are asked to stay indoors during a solar eclipse.

In many parts of India, people observe fasts during one due to the belief that any
 food cooked while an eclipse happens will be poisonous and impure.

Not all superstitions surrounding solar eclipses are about doom. In Italy, for example, 
it is believed that flowers planted during a solar eclipse are brighter and more 
colourful than flowers planted any other time of the year.

A Supermoon, or perigee moon, happens when the full or new moon does its 
closest fly-by of the Earth, making it look bigger than it normally does. 

There are many myths  surrounding the moon, it has always been regarded 
as a source of power especially for women with whom it is most associated. 
It is regarded as a source of fertility and has been since earliest times, it was
 even thought that women could be made pregnant by moonbeams and women 
who desired to have a child would sleep under the light of a moon.
In previous centuries it was believed that a child born at the full moon would 
never be healthy and would be liable to moonstruck madness otherwise 
known as insanity.

In modern witchcraft the moon is the source of the witches power, drawing this 
down from the sky and the lunar phases  governs all manner of magical tools, 
the summoning of spirits, the preparations of charms and remedies and of 
course the casting of spells.
The Goddess worshiped by modern day witches is associated with the moon, her 
mate is the Horned God of the woodlands, he represent the beasts of nature and 
the horned moon, he is also the lord of life, death and the underworld. 
Born at the winter solstice,  marries the Goddess at Beltane and then dies at the 
summer solstice as a sacrifice to life.