The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for December 21st, 2009

Remember, Remember- the 21st of December

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Pour me a drink and I’ll tell you some lies – photo by Mitch Waxman

An axial tilt of loathsome memories, shifting identities, and unrealized vengeance torments your humble narrator and makes him thankful that December 21st is, indeed, the shortest day of the year. The long nocturne of the Solstice, however, is no cause for celebration here in the Newtown Pentacle.

Solstice indicates that the Famine Months of January and February are upon us. The ancient Hellenes would enact the barbarous Lenaia bacchanal on solstice, and the Maenads would feast upon human flesh. It was also the central night of a week long Babylonian festival called Zagmuk, a celebration of divine Marduk’s victory over the darkness called the Anunnaki and their champion- the chaos dragon Tiamat. In modernity, in the nation of Mali, the Amma Cult of the atavist Dogon will sing and offer boiled millet at the conical altar of their high god.


Today is the Celebration of Winter Solstice Traditions – Monday, December 21, 2009 marks the Winter Solstice traditions, and this is the announcement of the official start of the winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Winter Solstice is also known as Yule.

More precisely, winter solstice will take place at 12:47 pm EST (1747 GMT) on Dec. 21. It is a date that will also mark the shortest day and longest night.

Winter solstice falls every year around Dec. 21. It is because of the earth’s axial tilt, which is farthest away from the sun at its maximum of 23° 26′. At this time of the year, the sun is closer to the horizon, thus giving out least amount of daylight therefore shortening the day and lengthening the night.

But there is a bright side to it. Starting Tuesday, the days will start getting longer, leading to summer solstice, which in 2010 will fall on June 21. At that time, the day will be the longest with the daytime lasting for about 15 hours compared to 9 hours on Monday.

Long Island City is ready for an undead invasion, so are parts of Greenpoint – photo by Mitch Waxman

Tonight- Cernunnos- the Horned God of the Wiccans, who the Arabs call Dhu’l Qarnayn, will be reborn after being ritually slain on October 31st.

December 21st is a special day in history, signs and portents abound.

Disraeli and Stalin were born in 1879 and 1804 respectively, Pierre and Marie Curie identified radium in 1898, Elvis had his famous meeting with Nixon in 1970, Ireland finally won its independence from a large and aggressive neighbor in 1948 and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves premiered in 1937. Oh… and then there was Apollo 8.

from wikipedia

Apollo 8 was the first human spaceflight mission to achieve a velocity sufficient to allow escape from the gravitational field of planet Earth; the first to be captured by and escape from the gravitational field of another celestial body; and the first crewed voyage to return to planet Earth from another celestial body – Earth’s Moon.

shot on June 21st 2009 – Summer Solstice – photo by Mitch Waxman

Do not be surprised if you see oddly costumed people beating out unfamiliar melodies on drums today as you make your way around the great metropolitan city. Gatherings of initiates are sure to form, and wild orgiastic dancing will ensue.

Can you be sure, were you to find yourself caught up in some modern celebration in Long Island City or Greenpoint, that you weren’t in the company of flesh eating Maenads? Or that you hadn’t become one yourself? Your humble narrator, lords and ladies of Newtown, will be casting one eager eye at that rivulet of arrested misery called the Newtown Creek- in particular.


At certain ancient cairns in Ireland the sun only reaches deep inside on the winter solstice, only on that one day is the inner chamber lit … like the celestial body of male Sun impregnating the Mother Earth with rays of light.

At the winter solstice the sun reaches its southernmost position in the northern hemisphere perspective (**), and begins to move northward as it enters into the cardinal, earth sign Capricorn. Through the ages, the period when the sun moves northward again ~ from the winter solstice to the summer solstice ~ has been regarded as a festival season. In many lands and civilizations the winter solstice season has been associated with the coming of a Sun-God to save the world ~ bringing light and fruitfulness to the earth, and bringing hope to humanity.

Gabled roof of netherlandish design, windows glowing with a strange colour, Astoria Church – photo by Mitch Waxman

Of course, this whole rumination on the Solstice takes place against the dominant culture’s winter holiday season. For the better part of a month, ritual feasting and familial gift giving consumes the modern mind. This period of the year, beginning with “Thanksgiving”, culminates in Advent/Yule/Christmas and ends with celebration of a calendar cycling.

1,096 days ago, I was in a hospital bed, and hadn’t yet experienced the pale ecstasies found in the glass strewn alleys and loamy graveyards of the Newtown Pentacle. 26,309 hours ago

The darkest day, the longest night- my hour of the wolf is an interval of brutal introspections- here at Pentacle HQ in the ice choked heart of Astoria.

Note: Please say a quiet devotion for the ever patient and long suffering “Our lady of the Pentacle” today… she’s going to have to put up with and listen to this kind of maudlin revisionist crap all day…

from wikipedia

In many countries Advent was long marked by diverse popular observances, some of which still survive. In England, especially in the northern counties, there was a custom (now extinct) for poor women to carry around the “Advent images”, two dolls dressed to represent Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. A halfpenny coin was expected from every one to whom these were exhibited and bad luck was thought to menace the household not visited by the doll-bearers before Christmas Eve at the latest.

In Normandy, farmers employed children under twelve to run through the fields and orchards armed with torches, setting fire to bundles of straw, and thus it is believed driving out such vermin as are likely to damage the crops. In Italy, among other Advent celebrations, is the entry into Rome in the last days of Advent of the Calabrian pifferari, or bagpipe players, who play before the shrines of Mary, the mother of Jesus, the Italian tradition being that the shepherds played these pipes when they came to the manger at Bethlehem to pay homage to the infant Jesus. It is the second most important tradition behind Easter for Roman Catholics.

In recent times the commonest observance of Advent outside church circles has been the keeping of an advent calendar or advent candle, with one door being opened in the calendar, or one section of the candle being burned, on each day in December leading up to Christmas Eve.

and just as a note: December 21 is also the anniversary of the Pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock and getting the whole “America thing” started.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 21, 2009 at 6:28 am

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