Tomorrow, December 21, is the Winter Solstice. It is the time of the shortest day and longest night of the year. It is also the turning point in the sun's decline, meaning that the days will now slowly start to get longer. This is something that people have celebrated since the earliest times.
This December 21 there is also a full moon and a full lunar eclipse to celebrate too!
Here are some of the wonderful pagan events taking place over the Winter Solstice and the following week or so:
Monday 20 and Tuesday 21 December: Tales of Winter Magic at Butser Ancient Farm, Chalton Lane, Chalton, Hants. For more details, call 02392 598838 or visit http://www.butser.org.uk/
Monday 20 December; Saturnalia, with Sacred Songs, Holy Humour, Divine Dances, & Mystical Mummery, at pagan forum Secret Chiefs. Venue: Devereux public house, 20 Devereux Court, off Essex Street, London WC2R 3JJ. Meet from 7.30pm, event starts at 8.30pm. Admission £2. http://secretchiefslondon.wordpress.com/
Monday 20 December to Tuesday 21 December; All-night bonfire vigil at Hollingbury Hillfort, Ditchling Rd, Brighton, Sussex, to mark the Sun, the Earth, the Moon and the centre of the galaxy all being in total alignment. In the middle of Hollingbury Hillfort there will be a bonfire vigil from 9pm on the night of the 20th to watch the full moon cross the sky. Bring warm, waterproof clothing, blankets and firewood. Also bring any tales or words to say for the Sun, Earth, Moon or Galactic Central Point. All welcome, come along any time for as long you want, or just come along a 6am to witness the eclipse or the 7.45am Sun/Galactic Centre Pointrise. For more details, visit http://www.onbrightsky.co.uk/
Tuesday 21 December; Full Luna Eclipse and Sunrise Yule Open Ritual at Avebury Stone Circle, Wiltshire. At 8.18am the full moon zenith and the maximum totality of the lunar eclipse will coincide with sunrise. This is a very rare event especially coinciding with the Yule festival, a moment of absolute balance, and the start of a very special 24 hours which culminates in the Solstice Sunrise on the morning of the 22nd. To mark this occasion there will be a formal but public ritual. Camping is available on the nights of December 20 and 21 in the overflow car park. Meet at the southern entrance to the henge for a prompt 7.30am walk to the ritual site in the West Kennet Avenue, which should give a clear view of the setting moon in totality, and the sunrise. For more details, call 07746365980.
Tuesday 21 December; Winter Solstice and Full Moon: Reflection, Storytelling and Celebration from 7pm-9pm. Celebrate the shortest, darkest day and share your inner light with meditation, chanting and listening to an ancient Winter Solstice tale. Venue: The Healing Studio, Creek Road, Greenwich SE10 (opposite Cutty Sark DLR station). Tickets are £10 in advance or £15 on the night. To book contact Doug Buckingham on 07979 750291 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. http://www.dougbuckingham.co.uk/
Thursday 23 December; Cross Bones Vigil and Ceremony to honour The Goose and the outcast dead of Cross Bones Graveyard. Gather from 6.45pm in Redcross Way outside the Memorial Gates, SE1, opposite the Boot and Flogger, just north of the junction with Union Street. Nearest tubes Borough or London Bridge, 5 minutes walk away. The event is free and starts at 7pm. http://www.crossbones.org.uk/
Monday 27 December; Secondhand book sale at Treadwell's, 34 Tavistock Street, Covent Garden, London. Time: Noon to 7pm. Email email@example.com or call 020 7240 8906. Website: http://www.treadwells-london.com/
If you know of any pagan events and want them listed on A Bad Witch's Blog, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.
The photo above shows sunset on the Winter Solstice 2009 and the picture was taken from the big wheel at the Winter Wonderland festival, in London.