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Celebrate the Solstice Paperback – 18 Apr 1996

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Product details

  • Paperback: 199 pages
  • Publisher: Quest Books,U.S. (18 April 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0835606937
  • ISBN-13: 978-0835606936
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,292,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book

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First Sentence
IT IS AN EARLY WINTER MORNING in the year we would call 976, in the northeast corner of what is now San Fernando Valley in southern California. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Nov. 1997
Format: Paperback
A couple of years ago, I put out a winter holiday greeting on the Web. Its purpose: to explore the ancient origins of the winter holiday season and its deep cross-cultural roots, and to help me give greater meaning to my own celebration at this time of the year. Little did I know when I began candlegrove.com that someone had already "written the book" on this subject. Richard Heinberg has collected archeological evidence, myths and folklore from all over the globe and throughout human history. His stories and examples resolve into a beautiful and compelling picture. Cultures the world over -- from ancient China to the megalith builders 5,000 years ago in Ireland who predate the pyramids -- from the Maori to the Maya -- marked the solstices and equinoxes as tremendously important temporal and seasonal thresholds with deep spiritual and practical meaning. Today, our modern, urban lives are in so many ways insulated and disconnected from the turn of the seasons and their importance in the cosmic dance. Are the solstices and equinoxes still relevant? Heinberg argues that they can be, and not just for neopagans or those of one brand of faith or another. I cannot evaluate his research, but his writing drew me in. With few lapses into over-poeticizing, and only a small measure of new-age, environmental hectoring, he gives us simple ways to renew the solstices as life-affirming celebrations to help reconnect us with the earth.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
155 of 155 people found the following review helpful
Holidays for World Renewal 14 Nov. 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A couple of years ago, I put out a winter holiday greeting on the Web. Its purpose: to explore the ancient origins of the winter holiday season and its deep cross-cultural roots, and to help me give greater meaning to my own celebration at this time of the year. Little did I know when I began candlegrove.com that someone had already "written the book" on this subject. Richard Heinberg has collected archeological evidence, myths and folklore from all over the globe and throughout human history. His stories and examples resolve into a beautiful and compelling picture. Cultures the world over -- from ancient China to the megalith builders 5,000 years ago in Ireland who predate the pyramids -- from the Maori to the Maya -- marked the solstices and equinoxes as tremendously important temporal and seasonal thresholds with deep spiritual and practical meaning. Today, our modern, urban lives are in so many ways insulated and disconnected from the turn of the seasons and their importance in the cosmic dance. Are the solstices and equinoxes still relevant? Heinberg argues that they can be, and not just for neopagans or those of one brand of faith or another. I cannot evaluate his research, but his writing drew me in. With few lapses into over-poeticizing, and only a small measure of new-age, environmental hectoring, he gives us simple ways to renew the solstices as life-affirming celebrations to help reconnect us with the earth.
66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
Mistitled 24 Mar. 2002
By Cynthia M. Caton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a scholary work mainly on how prehistoric cultures marked the solstice and equinox. The bulk of the book touches lightly on the celebrations throughout the world. It is interesting, if not a little dry. The remaining chapters suggest ways in which people can celebrate on their own.
This is a pagan-friendly book. I was disappointed, however, because I thought I was purchasing a book which focussed mainly on how to celebrate rather than a historical book. The title and cover were misleading to me. I think it should have been named "Ancient Solstice Celebrations" instead.
The book is well written and the information is obscure. I would recommend for historical background rather than celebration ideas.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A PROPOSAL TO REVIVE AND RENEW THE VARIOUS SEASONAL "CYCLIC" FESTIVALS 24 Dec. 2013
By Steven H Propp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Richard Heinberg has also written books such as Memories and Visions of Paradise: Exploring the Universal Myth of a Lost Golden Age, A New Covenant With Nature: Notes on the End of Civilization and the Renewal of Culture, etc.

He wrote in the first chapter of this 1993 book, "the old seasonal festivals deepened people's sense of connection with land and sky. The Sun, Moon, stars, trees, crops, and animals were all included in the celebration. Each person felt a heightened connection with the Source of all life. In short, the festival was the community's way of renewing itself and its bonds with nature. For the most part, we who live at the end of the twentieth century no longer celebrate these ancient festivals. Or, if we do, we observe them in unrecognizable forms---as (for example) in Christmas and New Year gatherings. But these are highly commercialized affairs. Gone is the sense of participation in the cyclic interaction of the Earth and the heavens.... These days, people everywhere are voicing their concerns about the environment and are looking for ways to make a difference. More and more, we sense that it is time to return our attention to the Earth and to heal the rift we have created. Perhaps it is time also to return to the festivals..." (Pg. 5-7)

He adds, "Is the celebration of the Solstices pagan or un-Christian? ... the Solstices themselves transcend religious ideology; they are simply astronomical facts... Christmas---the most popular Christian holiday---was deliberately timed to coincide with the winter Solstice... Many familiar Yuletide customs have more to do with the winter Solstice than with Christian doctrine... perhaps separating the two festivals once again... will make it easier for Christians to refocus the unique meaning of their midwinter holiday and for us all to rediscover a celebration in which EVERYONE can participate... This book is designed to help you and your family and friends engage in full-bodied, ecstatic seasonal renewal by recovering an experience that had deep meaning for the ancients and that is increasingly relevant today... A festival is not an occasion for pious preaching... the real point of all of this information is to enable you to celebrate NOW." (Pg. 7-8)

He points out, "In nearly every culture we have surveyed so far, myths and rituals of the Solstices have been focused on the theme of renewal----the renewal of kingship, vegetation, the year, the people, the Sun---indeed, of the world as a whole." (Pg. 88) He adds, "Christmas... had been associated from the beginning with the winter Solstice... the theme of renewal inevitably lent itself to the recollection and celebration of that original Paradise or Golden Age, when nature, cosmos, and humankind existed together in perfect harmony... shamans from Australia to Africa, and from Asia to America, were thought to have been capable of flying through the air and of moving at will among the various spiritual and material realms of existence... while it is impossible to trace any direct connection between the shamanic tradition and Santa Claus, his appeal may nonetheless draw upon collective memories and beliefs..." (Pg. 111-112)

He says, "At the heart of the ancient Solstice festivals was a profound regard for cycles... Wisdom consists in knowing one's place in any given cycle." (Pg. 125) He adds, "These days, many people scoff at the term New Age, apparently because they believe that the present age will somehow continue indefinitely... That there will be a New Age is beyond doubt---only its character is in question." (Pg. 128) He suggests, "Ths Solstice festivals were intended partly as an antidote to these illnesses of civilization and as an invitation to return to play... come festival time rich and poor alike returned (temporarily, at least) to the free, equal, anarchic status of the First People of the mythic Golden Age." (Pg. 134-135) He also advises, "Perhaps the recovery of seasonal festivals offers an avenue for the return of the joy and sacredness to sexuality... it is unquestionably possible to promote a healthy expression of sexuality in the context of a modern Solstice celebration by way of dance, play, and humor." (Pg. 136-137)

He concludes "In this book I am suggesting that we bring our modern sensibilities to bear on the creation of NEW festivals that honor the intrinsic meanings of the Solstices in ways that are relevant for ourselves and our world... we still have an innate need to celebrate. We need occasions to come together, and we need to feel a part of something larger than ourselves and our families, something more intrinsically meaningful than our nations and corporations. As nearly all cultures have known for thousands of years, the celebration of the Solstices is the ideal way to fill all of these needs." (Pg. 140-141)

This book will be of great interest to Neo-Pagans, or anyone else interested in such "seasonal" celebrations.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
New Beginnings 7 Jan. 2014
By Meryl Hyderally - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My children and I created a meaningful celebration to honor the Winter Solstice. We went on a energy fast as suggested in the book and it was amazing. A great book with wonderful pieces of information.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Biased 16 Aug. 2014
By Muse - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book biased, superficial and annoying. The book glibly attributes most European pre-Christian pagan practices to Germans. That's just silly.
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