Pagan & Shinto News: Record crowd celebrates winter solstice at Stonehenge

Pagan & Shinto News: Record crowd celebrates winter solstice at Stonehenge January 2, 2023

After a Yuletide break, here’s some of the top stories of the past few weeks in Paganism and Shinto:

  • UK: Record crowd celebrates winter solstice at Stonehenge
  • Japanese Emperor greets well-wishers during first New Year’s address in three years
  • What to expect in the Year of the Rabbit

Read more below…

Image by johnpeters000 from Pixabay (cropped)

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Yule coverage

UK: Record crowd celebrates winter solstice at Stonehenge
The Guardian
‘Unprecedented’ number watch sunrise on Salisbury Plain and savour the prospect of days growing longer…

UK: Winter solstice celebrated at Glastonbury Tor
People have celebrated the winter solstice by welcoming the sunrise at Glastonbury Tor…

Ireland: Winter Solstice at Newgrange is antidote to commercialization of Christmas
Irish Central
This year’s Winter Solstice event at Newgrange in Co Meath was an earthy, primal experience and the perfect antidote to the commercialization of Christmas…

UK: ‘I marked the Winter Solstice with Welsh druids and it was awesome’
Wales Online
Celebrations for the traditional event are still held on Anglesey every year…

US: New Mexican pagans prepare to recognize ‘magic’ of winter solstice with ceremony
Yahoo!/The Santa Fe New Mexican
A woman walks the length of a labyrinth, her cloak flowing in the breeze as she winds through circular paths lined by stones…

Paganism in Scotland is growing – is Yule the new (old) Christmas?
The Courier*
Yule, the Pagan celebration of the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year) occurs on December 21…

How witches, pagans, Wiccans celebrate winter holidays
Renton Reporter
Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year, which has been celebrated for thousands of years all over the world. Have you ever wondered how modern witches like to celebrate?…

Japan’s Laughing Buddha Hotei is merging into Santa Claus – both are roly-poly sacred figures with a bag of gifts
The Conversation
Since the late 19th century, Japanese and Western observers have remarked on the similarities between Hotei and Santa Claus, and some writers even identify Hotei as the Japanese Santa Claus…

The places where witches, not Santa Claus, are the Christmas visitors
In some parts of the world, witches are more likely to visit at Christmas than Halloween…

Witches and wise men and ‘old magic’: A look at the spookier origins of Christmas lore
Religion News Service
Pagans and Christians alike can rediscover the ‘reason for the season’ in the old stories and deepen their own beliefs…

The winter solstice is a Chinese festival more important than Lunar New Year – why that is, and other big dates on the solar calendar
South China Morning Post
Lunar New Year is one of the most celebrated festivals in China but, in Chinese culture, the winter solstice, or dongzhi, is seen as the more important one…

New Year coverage

Japanese Emperor greets well-wishers during first New Year’s address in three years
The Japan Times*
Emperor Naruhito offered greetings on Monday in his first New Year’s address in three years following a hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic…

What to expect in the Year of the Rabbit
The Japan Times*
If 2022 felt a little hectic, the next 12 months could offer opportunities for relaxation, quietness and contemplation…

Jumbo rabbit welcomes in New Year at Japanese shrine in Tsu
The Japan News
Tatsumizu Shrine in Tsu was to welcome in the New Year with its annual “jumbo zodiac animal,” this year a rabbit, to mark 2023 as the year of the hopping critter on the Chinese zodiac…

Wishing for a good start to the New Year, many in Japan visit temples, shrines
The Japan News
Crowds eager for blessings on the first day of 2023 flocked to temples and shrines across Japan from the wee hours of the morning on Sunday…

Ringing in the new year in a sea of mist at central Japan’s Mishima Taisha shrine
The Mainichi
Visitors who arrive at central Japan’s Mishima Taisha shrine for their first worship visit of the new year will be welcomed by a dreamy scene, as the site will be covered by a sea of white mist between Dec. 31 and Jan. 3…

Huge ‘kadomatsu’ decorations stand tall in Nagasaki
NHK World
Traditional decorations adorn entranceways across Japan during New Year, but few come bigger than those at a shrine in the city of Unzen, Nagasaki Prefecture…

US: Keeping the tradition of Mochi making alive
Benito Link
The Shingai family continues a Japanese custom more than 50 years after coming to San Benito County…

Namahage: In Japan’s Akita, demons ring in the New Year
Unseen Japan
The namahage are wild, Krampus-like New Year’s mountain gods of Akita Prefecture. But what’s the story behind the horns and straw coats?…

Other Pagan News

Behind Argentina’s World Cup magic, an army of witches
The Indian Express
In recent weeks, hundreds, if not thousands of Argentine women who call themselves “brujas,” or witches, have taken up arms — in the form of prayers, altars, candles, amulets and burning sage — to protect their nation’s beloved soccer team in its quest to secure a developing nations Cup title and its first in 36 years…

UK: Witch stunned at royal tarot card revelation ahead of Harry and Meghan bombshells
Daily Stars
Julie, who goes by the name of the Northumberland Witch, says tarot cards have revealed that the Palace “knows more than they’re letting on” with regards to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle…

India: Rashme Oberoi’s book on rituals and spells by an Indian practitioner released
News India Times
Om Books International announced the publication of Wicca: A Magical Jouey with Spells and Rituals…


Other Shinto News

Court rules in case that has rocked upper echelons of Shinto association
The Japan News
The Tokyo District Court dismissed a claim by a member of the Association of Shinto Shrines whose appointment to a top role had been rejected by the association’s board…

Massive offshore gate of World Heritage shrine in Hiroshima restored
NHK World
The imposing offshore gate of a UNESCO World Heritage shrine in Japan’s western prefecture of Hiroshima has been restored to its former glory…

High schoolers use Instagram to help Japan shrine return 14,000 WWII soldiers’ photos
The Mainichi
During World War II, families of Japanese soldiers sent off to fight would offer the men’s photos at a Shinto shrine here to pray for their safety. Now, local high schoolers are helping the shrine return those photos to their rightful owners…

‘Floating forest’ to crown Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine during makeover
The Asahi Shimbun
A temporary “floating forest” will adorn the roof of the magnificent Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine here while its main hall undergoes an extensive three-year renovation…

Danjiri float donated to Tochigi town consecrated at local shrine
The Japan News
Members of a local society consecrated a danjiri float as part of a ceremony at Hoshinomiya Shrine in Mashiko, Tochigi Prefecture, on Nov. 3…

Tiger statues guarding shrine in tsunami-hit town in Iwate
The Asahi Shimbun
A natural disaster led to the transformation of traditional stone guardian dogs into a pair of tigers that now protect a shrine in this northeastern town famed for its “tora-mai” tiger dance…

As adult age lowers, Japan’s “Coming of Age” ceremonies rebrand
Unseen Japan
Japan’s Coming of Age ceremonies are rebranding thanks to the age of adulthood changing this year from 20 to 18…

Japan’s temples, shrines increasingly eyed as evacuation shelters
The Japan News
Temples, shrines and other religious facilities across the nation are increasingly being eyed as possible evacuation shelters in the event of disasters…

Shiogama: Thanking the goddess for salt-making skills
The Asahi Shimbun
Okama Shrine, a subordinate to Shiogama Shrine, enshrines Shiotsuchi-no-Oji-no-Kami, the god who taught humans how to make salt…

Marie Kondo: Feted abroad, the tidiness guru is dismissed as ‘pure theatre for a foreign audience’ in Japan
Despite being aware of Kondo’s super-stardom beyond Japan, many Japanese themselves remain to be convinced…

Other News

UK: 1,400-year-old woman’s grave sheds light on intermingling of Christian and pagan beliefs
India Narrative
In a major discovery, archaeologists have unearthed artefacts that provide insights into several aspects of medieval England when there was mingling of Christian traditions and pagan beliefs and women could hold high positions in Church…

Leader of indigenous community in the Amazon makes direct appeal for Ireland to adopt ‘Rights of Nature’
The Irish News*
Ecuadoran environmental activist Franco Gualinga, a leader of the Kichwa people of the Sarayaku region, used a video message to urge everyone across the island to “cultivate respect for nature”, in the way of their ancient Celtic ancestors…

Russia: Ancient Greek figurines of Demeter found in Black Sea town
Greek Reporter
Figurines representing the ancient Greek goddess Demeter and her daughter, Persephone, were unearthed at a construction site in the Black Sea resort town of Anapa, in Russia…

Pope Francis orders return to Greece of Parthenon sculptures held in Vatican
The Globe and Mail
Pope Francis has decided to return to Greece three 2,500-year-old pieces of the Parthenon that have been in the papal collections of the Vatican Museums for more than a century…

Protective gold idols and ‘rejuvenating’ amulets found in ancient Egyptian burials
Live Science
Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered about 20 ancient burials, some of which contain gold idols fashioned to look like the deities Isis, Bastet and Horus…

We may have been all wrong about ancient Egyptian mummies, scholars argue
Science Alert
Mummification may never have been intended to preserve the bodies of ancient Egyptians after death, experts say, a sharp contrast to the popular understanding of the practice…

US: Native Hawaiians find a spiritual connection to Mauna Loa eruption: ‘Our deities are alive and well’
USA Today
Mauna Loa’s eruption has spiritual meaning for many Native Hawaiians, including its representation of the goddess Pele…

UK: Revisiting one of Scotland’s rarest Viking burials
One hundred and forty years ago Victorian antiquarians excavated a rare Viking boat grave in the Inner Hebrides…

‘Witch Hunts’ Past & Present

Ghana: CSOs put pressure on government to pass anti-witchcraft bill
Ghana Business News
Esther Boateng, Northern Regional Programmes Manager of ActionAid Ghana has called on government to facilitate the passage of a law that makes witchcraft accusations a criminal offence, and punishable by law…

Four Nigerian men arrested for burning alleged ‘witch’ to death in Adamawa
Sahara Reporters
The suspects reportedly burnt Martha Mamman after accusing her of ‘causing the death of six people using witchcraft’ in Mughule village in the Michika Local Government Area of the state…

Malawi: Villagers kill elderly woman over ‘witchcraft’ allegations
Villagers in Phalombe have killed a 72-year-old woman on allegations that she killed her granddaughter through ‘witchcraft’…

India: Couple killed on suspicion of ‘practising witchcraft’ in Odisha
A 45-year-old man and his wife were hacked to death by unidentified miscreants in Odisha’s Keonjhar district with the police claiming that the double murder was committed on suspicion that they ‘practised witchcraft’, an official said on Sunday…

India: Elderly woman killed on witch suspicion in Cuttack
Argus News
In an appalling incident, an elderly woman was reportedly killed on suspicions of ‘practising witchcraft’ and harming co-villagers at Chandanpur of Garudagaon panchayat under Tangi police station limits in Cuttack district…

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