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Anna Estaroth

Anna Estaroth

Seasons, light and fire


This presentation considers sky-myths associated with fire-lighting in relation to seasonal events, such as midwinter solstice. Scotland has a long tradition of fire-lighting, which Ronald Hutton said was used for 'protection and blessing' of fields.[1] John Stuart referred to 'Neidfyre' curing cattle, James MacPherson said fire was used to avoid 'malignant influences' on boats and Hutton described superstitions regarding 'extinguished' fires at New Year.[2] There is a consideration of myths influencing neopagan fire-festivals like the revived 'Edinburgh Beltane' ceremony, plus several Hogmanay celebrations: such as Edinburgh's torch-light procession, Stonehaven's 'fireball' ceremony and Burghead's 'Clavie burning' (described by Christina Hole).[3] It proposes that prehistoric fires were probably an aid to reviving the low midwinter sun and vanishing midsummer full moon at major lunar limit. Perhaps fires are one way of talking to the lights in the sky.

[1] Ronald Hutton, The Stations of the Sun A history of the Ritual Year in Britain (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), pp. 320 [Hereafter Hutton Sun].
[2] John Stuart, (Ed.) Extracts from the Presbytery Book of Strathbogie AD. MDCXXXI - MDCLIV (Aberdeen, The Spalding Club, 1843), p.51: J. M. McPherson. Primitive Beliefs in the North-East of Scotland (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1929), p.21: Hutton, Sun, p.53.
[3] [Accessed 02 February 2017]: and [Accessed 25/10/2016]:[Accessed 02 February 2017]: Christina Hole, 'Winter Bonfires' Folklore, Vol. 71, No. 4 (Dec., 1960), pp. 217-227, Published by Taylor & Francis, Ltd. on behalf of Folklore Enterprises, Ltd., p.225-226.


Anna Estaroth has been a professional astrologer and lecturer for many decades. Currently she is undertaking the MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology at University of Wales, Trinity St David. She is a fellow of the APAI and a director of the Scottish Astrological Association.



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