Pagans and witches celebrate solstice

A coven of Hunter pagans and witches will celebrate the winter solstice tonight with a ritual filled with positive visualisation and hope for the warmer seasons ahead.

Known as the ‘‘return of the light’’, the winter solstice is the longest night and shortest day of the year.

Diana Allen will hold the ritual at a temple of witchcraft at her business, Sacred Elements, in Charlestown.

Ms Allen considers herself a pagan and high priestess of witchcraft. Her coven of men and women would do a spell that involved ‘‘focusing our attention on what we want to bring into our lives with the growing light’’.

‘‘We’ll talk about the goddess, Mother Earth, who is at rest in winter and coming back to life in spring,’’ she said.

Paganism was a ‘‘a great way to live. It keeps you reflecting on the life you want,’’ she said. ‘‘You live a happy, positive life.’’

The winter solstice, called yule, was one of eight pagan festivals a year.

Ms Allen said the life of ancient pagans revolved around what they grew.

She said the winter solstice, which falls on December 21 in the northern hemisphere, was ‘‘a time of great concern’’ because the land was dormant.

Pagan life involved ‘‘living with the earth, eating food in season and accepting and respecting the seasons’’.

‘‘We care for the planet,’’ she said.

Pagans did not believe in an all-powerful male god ‘‘wielding a big stick’’. ‘‘We see male and female in everything,’’ she said.

They took full responsibility for their actions and ‘‘everything in our own lives. We don’t blame others and we don’t need to go to someone else to get forgiveness,’’ Ms Allen said.

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