Halcyon Days

DECEMBER 14 – START OF THE HALCYON DAYS

The Halcyon Days are the seven days before and the seven days after (or some say the seven days surrounding) the winter solstice, when the weather is supposed to be calm and storms never occur. The name comes from Greek myth, reported by both Ovid and Hyginus.  

Alcyone was the daughter of Aeolus, and married Ceyx, son of Eosphorus, the Morning Star. They were very happy together but made the mistake of blasphemously calling each other Zeus and Hera. Not surprisingly, this made Zeus very angry, and he threw a thunderbolt at Ceyx’s ship, as he was sailing to consult an oracle.  Ceyx appeared to Alcyone as a ghost, and in grief, she threw herself into the sea.  Out of compassion, the gods changed them into halcyon birds (kingfishers). During the Halcyon Days, Alcyone the kingfisher lays her eggs, and her father, the god of winds, ensures that they are safe. The Mediterranean is typically calm around the time of the winter solstice. The dried body of a kingfisher was used as a talisman against lightning.

© Anna Franklin

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Author: annafranklinblog

Anna Franklin is the High Priestess of the Hearth of Arianrhod, which runs teaching circles, a working coven, and the annual Mercian Gathering, a Pagan camp which raises money for charity. She regularly speaks at conferences, moots and workshops around the country. She is the author of many books on witchcraft and Paganism, including the popular Pagan Ways Tarot, Sacred Circle Tarot, The Fairy Ring, Herb Craft, Magical Incenses and Oils, Personal Power, A Romantic Guide to Handfasting, Familiars, The Oracle of the Goddess, Hearth Witch, The Path of the Shaman and The Hearth Witch’s Compendium. Anna’s books have been translated into nine languages.

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