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The International Priory of The Knights Hospitaller Templar News Letter

December 2012

This is our December newsletter.

We would like to take this opportunity to welcome all our new members.

This month we have 12/12/12 Divine Feminine day coming up. We will be celebrating by taking part in International Duck Face Day on Facebook for fun. 

https://www.facebook.com/events/383590608389329/

We are having a special ceremony at the Temple of Theola to celebrate the Divine Feminine.

Also this month we celebrate Winter Solstice on 21/12/12

The winter solstice is the time at which the Sun is appearing at noon at its lowest altitude above the horizon.  In the Northern Hemisphere this is the Southern solstice, the time at which the Sun is at its southernmost point in the sky, which usually occurs on December 21 to 22 each year. In the Southern Hemisphere this is the Northern solstice, the time at which the Sun is at its northernmost point in the sky, which usually occurs on June 20 to 21 each year.

The axial tilt of Earth and gyroscopic effects of the planet's daily rotation keep the axis of rotation pointed at the same point in the sky. As the Earth follows its orbit around the Sun, the same hemisphere that faced away from the Sun, experiencing winter, will, in half a year, face towards the Sun and experience summer. Since the two hemispheres face opposite directions along the planetary pole, as one polar hemisphere experiences winter, the other experiences summer.

More evident from high latitudes, a hemisphere's winter solstice occurs on the shortest day and longest night of the year, when the sun's daily maximum elevation in the sky is the lowest. Since the winter solstice lasts only a moment in time, other terms are often used for the day on which it occurs, such as "midwinter", "the longest night", "the shortest day" or ""the first day of winter". The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days.

Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied from culture to culture, but most Northern Hemisphere cultures have held a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time.

The solstice itself may have been a special moment of the annual cycle of the year even during Neolithic times. Astronomical events, which during ancient times controlled the mating of animals, sowing of crops and metering of winter reserves between harvests, show how various cultural mythologies and traditions have arisen. This is attested by physical remains in the layouts of late Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeological sites such as Stonehenge in Britain and Newgrange in Ireland. The primary axes of both of these monuments seem to have been carefully aligned on a sight-line pointing to the winter solstice sunrise (Newgrange) and the winter solstice sunset (Stonehenge). Significant in respect of Stonehenge is the fact that the Great Trilithon was erected outwards from the centre of the monument, i.e., its smooth flat face was turned towards the midwinter Sun. Neolithic site of Goseck circle. The yellow lines are the direction the Sun rises and sets at winter solstice.

The winter solstice may have been immensely important because communities were not certain of living through the winter, and had to be prepared during the previous nine months. Starvation was common in winter between January and April, also known as "the famine months". In temperate climates, the midwinter festival was the last feast celebration, before deep winter began. Most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter, so it was almost the only time of year when a supply of fresh meat was available. The majority of wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking at this time. The concentration of the observances were not always on the day commencing at midnight or at dawn, but the beginning of the pre-Romanized day, which falls on the previous eve.

Since the event is seen as the reversal of the Sun's ebbing presence in the sky, concepts of the birth or rebirth of Sun Gods have been common and, in cultures using winter solstitially based cyclic calendars, the year as reborn has been celebrated with regard to life-death-rebirth deities or new beginnings such as Hogmanay's redding, a New Year cleaning tradition. In Greek mythology, the Gods and Goddesses met on the winter and summer solstice, and Hades is permitted to enter Mount Olympus (his domain is the underworld so he of course does not get accepted any other time). Also reversal is yet another usual theme as in Saturnalia's slave and master reversals.

Yule or Yuletide ("Yule-time") is a winter festival that was initially celebrated by the historical Germanic people as a shamanistic religious festival, though it was later absorbed into, and equated with, the Christian festival of Christmas. The festival was originally celebrated from late December to early January on a date determined by the lunar Germanic calendar. The festival was placed on December 25 when the Christian calendar (Julian calendar) was adopted. Scholars have connected the celebration to the Wild Hunt.

Terms with an etymological equivalent to Yule are used in the Nordic countries for the Christian Christmas (with its religious rites), but also for other holidays of the season. Yule is also used to a lesser extent in English-speaking countries to refer to Christmas. Customs such as the Yule log, Yule goat, Yule boar, Yule singing, and others stem from Yule. Germanic Neopaganism has adopted the pre-Christian festival, as have some other new age non-Christian religions, such as Wicca.

For us as an Order winter solstice is a time for getting together, holding a beautiful ceremony where candles are lit and wishes for the future are made. We feast and drink ale to help celebrate the Sun's death and it's rebirth which will keep us warm again in the Spring and Summer months ahead. We sing songs and read poems.

 

And now we hear from Hon. Lady Kristina Henriques LKHT. our Guardian of Sagittarius, who will tell us more about this months star sign.

 

Sagittarius

Meaning of the name: The Archer

Sun sign dates: November 23 to December 21

Element: Fire

House: The Ninth House

Quality: Mutable

Ruling planet: Jupiter

Polarity: Gemini

Appearance:

Elegant, Graceful, Strong, Tall and athletic, Thick hair, Smiling and Charming, Coordinated and Well developed

Characteristics and Personality:

Honest and Forthright, Free spirited, Life-Loving, Optimistic, Often moving from location to location, Likes to travel, Enjoying outdoors, Will adapt well in most situations, Often looks at the positive impact of life, Big picture oriented, Enthusiastic and stimulating, Tends to exaggerate, Non-conservative in thought – open to all thoughts and views of the world, Constantly seeking spiritual growth – often finds unhappiness in situations with conservative or possessive personalities, Doesn’t want to be tied down, The professor, The preacher/ The judge

Positive Qualities:

Generous, Frank, Fun, Fearless, Optimist, Good-natured, Nature-loving, Sociable, Spiritual.

Negative Qualities:

Impatient, Independent, Fears responsibility, Self-indulgence, Fanaticism, Tendency to gamble, Negative.

Physiology:

Liver, Pituitary gland, Hips, Thighs

Diet & Life style:

Avoid a poor diet heavy in fats, starches and alcohol which puts an extra burden on the sensitive liver. Moderation in all things is a good advice for the Sagittarius. Drink lots of pure water and preferable is a few mini-meals a day instead of a couple of large ones. Sagittarius’s cell salt is silica and lack of this mineral may result in lank hair, dull skin and sores and receding of the gums.

Outdoor exercise is recommended, Sagittarius’s love to walk.

Gemstone: Topaz, Amethyst, Ruby, Sapphire and Turquoise

Colour: Blue

Best day of the week: Thursday

Herb: Rosemary, Frankincense

Flower: Calendula

Lucky numbers: 3, 12, 21, 30

Most compatible with: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius

Can be good with: Aquarius, Libra, Gemini

A 50-50 chance with: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn

Doubtful with: Scorpio, Pisces, Cancer

 

That is all for this month.

We wish you all very Happy Holidays & a wonderful peaceful new year, full of joy.

Winter-Solstice

 

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