Solstice Cards

December 19, 2007

My next oracle project is a set of 16 Sticks and Stones cards.  The Sticks will depict twigs, wands, and staves along the Oldest River, and represent moon phases as well as the eight “fire festivals” of the solar year.  Four of these drawings are completed.  The Stones will show various types of naturally round white moon-like chalcedony pebbles in their geologic environments.  These are just pencil sketches so far.  I hadn’t planned to post about this oracle before it was finished, but yesterday I completed the Winter Solstice/New Moon card.  Since this year’s Winter Solstice is close to the Full Moon, I’ve posted the Full Moon/Summer Solstice card as well, for comparison.

Winter Solstice or New Moon

The Winter Solstice or New Moon card shows the the Oak Maze, Daedalea quercina, growing on a rotting stump.  Water or ice trickles down the labyrinthine pores of the fungus and seems about to split it in half.  D. quercina is a woody brown bracket fungus that grows on dead oak wood and often persists for many years.  The gills (platelike structures on the underside of the fungus, where the spores develop) are unusually thick and interconnected in this species, creating fascinating and beautiful maze-like patterns.  The drawing was made from a specimen that I collected in Virginia many years ago.

Summer Solstice or Full Moon

The Summer Solstice or Full Moon card shows a stick shelter made from stacked and interwoven cottonwood branches.  The fallen and living cottonwood trees behind it offer additional protection, and the water seems to be flowing out of or into the shelter.  The hut is reminiscent of ancient mammoth bone shelters that would have been covered with skins and earth.  I photographed this structure along a river, long after whoever built and used it had continued their journey downstream.

I realize that this pair of drawings is rather cryptic now, but there is no point in offering more interpretation until the other pictures are done.  Meanwhile you will have to make up your own stories about them.

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4 Responses to “Solstice Cards”

  1. Karin said

    Yes! And the coming solstice will happen under a full moon. The Summer Solstice is thus dominant.

  2. Karin said

    Summer Water comes from below, Winter Water comes from above.

  3. luke said

    am interested in the summer solistice card. Have seen groups of these shelters in shotover park (oxford) and am trying to find information about who made them and their purpose. would you have any information to share?

    • ironwing said

      The drawing was made from a photo that I took in summer 2005. This stick shelter was built by Mexican immigrants who were walking north along the San Pedro River in southern Arizona. The branches are from a huge fallen dead cottonwood (part of it appears in the background of the drawing). The shelter was swept away in a seasonal flood from summer monsoon rains a few days after I photographed it.

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