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Happy Litha

‘Midsummer or the Summer Solstice is the most powerful day of the year for the Sun God. Because this Sabbat glorifies the Sun God and the Sun, fire plays a very prominent role in this festival…

Most cultures of the Northern Hemisphere mark Midsummer in some ritualised manner and from time immemorial people have acknowledged the rising of the sun on this day. At Stonehenge, the heelstone marks the midsummer sunrise as seen from the centre of the stone circle.In ancient times, the Summer Solstice was a fire-festival of great importance when the burning of balefires ritually strengthened the sun. It was often marked with torchlight processions, by flaming tar barrels or by wheels bound with straw, which were set alight and rolled down steep hillsides. The Norse especially loved lengthy processions and would gather together their animals, families and lighted torches and parade through the countryside to the celebration site.

The use of fires, as well as providing magical aid to the sun, were also used to drive out evil and to bring fertility and prosperity to men, crops and herds. Blazing gorse or furze was carried around cattle to prevent disease and misfortune; while people would dance around the balefires or leap through the flames as a purifying or strengthening rite. The Celts would light balefires all over their lands from sunset the night before Midsummer until sunset the next day. Around these flames the festivities would take place. In Cornwall up to the mid 18th century the number and appearance of fires seen from any given point was used as a form of divination and used to read the future.

Astronomically, it is the longest day of the year, representing the God at full power. Although the hottest days of the summer still lie ahead, from this point onward we enter the waning year, and each day the Sun will recede from the skies a little earlier, until Yule, when the days begin to become longer again…’

Source: The Wheel Of The Year

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Finnegans Wake Gets Turned into an Interactive Web Film, the Medium It Was Destined For

‘…[I]f Ulysses went as far as the novel could go, Finnegans Wake exploded the form altogether, dissolving the boundaries between prose and poetry, subject and object, history and myth. Ulysses employed the techniques of film; Finnegans Wake imagined technology which did not even exist. It is a novel—if we are to call it such—written for the 21st century, and perhaps the only way it can be adapted in other media is through the internet’s nonlinear, labyrinthine structures; the online project First We Feel Then We Fall does just that, creating a multimedia adaptation of Finnegans Wake that “transfers” the novel “to audiovisual language,” and demonstrates the novel as—in the words of The Guardian’s Billy Mills—“the book the web was invented for.” …’

Source: Open Culture

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Something to Celebrate: Clarence Thomas rumored to be considering retirement

‘The curiously silent conservative Supreme Court justice — whose term began with the infamour Anita Hill confirmation hearings — is said to be “mulling retirement” after the election in order to travel America in an RV with his wife. The unnamed “court watchers” say that Thomas never intended to serve until his death.

The Washington Examiner also claims that Justice Kennedy, who is 80, may be near retirement.The bench is currently “tied” 4-4 on the conservative and liberal sides (though those labels don’t always map to the Supremes’ rulings), with one seat left vacant by the death of Scalia while he was in the company of a secretive society of elite hunters.

If a Democrat — presumably Hillary Clinton — wins the 2016 election, they could leave office with a 7-2 “liberal” bench that could endure for years to come, though any nominees would have to get past the Senate, whose own majority is up for grabs in 2016 as well…’

Source: Boing Boing

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Cracking the mystery of the ‘Worldwide Hum’

A plethora of pseudoscience and wild conspiracy theories has the potential to drown out the serious work in this area. I’ve encountered seemingly serious people who have argued that the Hum is caused by tunneling under the earth, the electronic targeting of specific individuals, aliens and mating fish.

Given the need for disciplined inquiry into the phenomenon, in late 2012 I started The World Hum Map and Database Project. The database gathers, documents and maps detailed and anonymous information from people who can hear the Hum. It provides raw data for research in a strictly moderated and serious forum for research and commentary, while providing a sense of community for people whose lives have been negatively affected by the Hum.

…In my view, there are currently four hypotheses for the source of the world Hum that survive the most superficial scrutiny….”

Source: The Conversation