The Sabbats

Flashback 20144 Samhain

SAMHAIN 2014

An example of a Samhain (pronounced sow-en) altar.

Divining the Unseen

At Samhain, the veil between the worlds is thinnest. The ordinary and extraordinary meet. Death and life touch at the edges. Mysteries drop hints. These factors make divination easier now, and traditional Samhain activities include various forms of it. Nuts may be placed in coals of a fire to divine the future of a relationship. Scrying in a mirror or bowl of water is another popular option. An apple peel thrown on the ground reveals symbolic shapes. Of course tarot cards also suit the occasion.

Celebrate the mysteries of this Samhain. Choose from mystical colors such as purple, gold, silver, and black. Decorate the covenstead with lace veils and velvet drapes. Cobwebs of paper, string or floss evoke the Fates who spin threads of the future. The Norse god Odin traded an eye to the Morns to gain wisdom. In Greek mythology, Appollo is associated with the oracles. The Sumerian goddess Inanna also relates to prophecy and visions.Consider a ritual that enacts visiting a sacred oracle. Lead conveners into a softly lit space where they can consult a priest or priestess who skilled in divination or psychic arts. USe drums or bells to summon people back out.

Copyright Elizabeth Barrette Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2014 Page 115

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Flashback 2014 Beltane

BELTANE 2014

An example of a Beltane altar.

Cleansing and Warding

In Celtic tradition, Beltane begins the warm half of the year. This is a time for spring cleaning and for protective magic, Cattle would be driven between the balefires. Cottages would be cleaned and swept out. Insecticidal herbs may be picked for home remedies.

Take care of your covenstead this Beltane. Hold a work day for people to come clean and freshen the area. Try to find herbal cleaners based on orange, lemon, mint, or pine. Now is also a good time to repaint a pentacle, build a new altar, dig a fire pit, or start other projects. Decorate with live or silk herbs of purification such as bay, juniper, pennyroyal, sage, and yarrow.

For personal cleansing take a bath or sauna before the main ritual. Rosemary, thyme, juniper, and other bath herbs may be sealed in a tea ball for bathtub use. Grapefruit, lavender, and lime are popular in purifying soaps. Bath oil or lotion for afterward may use dome of the same ingredients.

Large balefires are not necessary. Two small fires (or even torches) will suffice. Lead a line dance between them for protection. You can also carry a torch, or a lit candle, around the house to ward your covenstead.

Copyright Elizabeth Barrette Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2014 Page 63

 

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Beltane Ritual, Rite, Incense, Oil & Much More….

 

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Ritual Tools, Symbols, and Decorations Altar Decorations

Green altar cloth; green altar candles; vases filled with fresh flowers; small crown of fresh flowers; green pillar candle; wand tied with seven different-colored ribbons; chalice covered with green cloth; May wine ritual cakes.

Symbols:

May pole; wand; crown of flowers; candles tied with seven different-colored ribbons; baskets of fresh flowers tied with colored ored ribbon; branches of rowan tied with green ribbon; green candle in a cauldron; bonfires.

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Honor the Sacred Feminine with a Goddess Ritual

 

When Margaret Murray wrote her ground-breaking God of the Witches, in 1931, scholars quickly dismissed her theory of a universal, pre-Christian cult of witches who worshiped a singular mother goddess. However, Murray wasn’t completely off-base; a number of individual cults existed in pre-Christian Europe which honored mother goddesses of their own. In Rome, the cult of Cybele was huge, and the mystery traditions of Isis in Egypt soon took on a mother-goddess status.

Take advantage of the blooming of spring, and use this time to celebrate the archetype of the mother goddess, and honor your own female ancestors and friends.

This simple ritual can be performed by both men and women, and is designed to honor the feminine aspects of the universe as well as our female ancestors. If you have a particular deity you call upon, feel free to change names or attributes around where needed. Otherwise, you can use the all-encompassing name of “Goddess” in the rite.

Decorate your altar with symbols of femininity: cups, chalices, flowers, lunar objects, fish, and doves or swans. You’ll also need the following items for this ritual:
⦁ A white candle
⦁ An offering of something that is important to you
⦁ A bowl of water
⦁ A handful of small pebbles or stones.

If your tradition calls for you to cast a circle, do so now. Begin by standing in the goddess position, and saying:.

I am (your name), and I stand before you,
goddesses of the sky and earth and sea,
I honor you, for your blood runs through my veins,
one woman, standing on the edge of the universe.
Tonight, I make an offering in Your names,
As my thanks for all you have given me..

Light the candle, and place your offering before it on the altar. The offering may be something tangible, such as bread or wine or flowers. It can also be something symbolic, such as a gift of your time or dedication. Whatever it is, it should be something from your heart. You may want to read up on Offerings to the Gods for some ideas..

Once you have made your offering, it is time to call upon the goddesses by name. Say:.

I am (your name), and I stand before you,
Isis, Ishtar, Tiamat, Inanna, Shakti, Cybele.
Mothers of the ancient people,
guardians of those who walked the earth thousands of years ago,
I offer you this as a way of showing my gratitude.
Your strength has flowed within me,
your wisdom has given me knowledge,
your inspiration has given birth to harmony in my soul..

Now it is time to honor the women who have touched your life. For each one, place a pebble into the bowl of water. As you do so, say her name and how she has impacted you. You might say something like this:.

I am (your name), and I stand before you,
to honor the sacred feminine that has touched my heart.
I honor Susan, who gave birth to me and raised me to be strong;
I honor Maggie, my grandmother, whose strength took her to the hospitals of war-torn France;
I honor Cathleen, my aunt, who lost her courageous battle with cancer;
I honor Jennifer, my sister, who has raised three children alone…
Continue until you have placed a pebble in the water for each of these women. Reserve one pebble for yourself. Finish by saying:.

I am (your name), and I honor myself,
for my strength, my creativity, my knowledge, my inspiration,
and for all the other remarkable things that make me a woman..

Take a few minutes and reflect on the sacred feminine. What is it about being a woman that gives you joy? If you’re a man performing this ritual, what is it about the women in your life that makes you love them? Meditate on the feminine energy of the universe for a while, and when you are ready, end the ritual..

Tips:
⦁ This ritual can be adapted for a group easily; with a little planning it can become a beautiful ceremony for a number of people. Consider doing it as part of a womens’ circle, in which each member honors the others as part of the rite.

By Patti Wigington
Article found on & owned by About.com

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How To Hold a Family Abundance Rite for Beltane

 

Beltane is a celebration of fertility, and despite that it’s a perfectly natural aspect of the human existence, let’s face it — some parents may not always be comfortable discussing the erect phallus of the god or the open womb of the goddess with their young children. However, in addition to sexual fertility, the Beltane sabbat is also about abundance, in many forms. Don’t just focus on material gains — it’s about the growth of the earth and its bounty, and it’s about increasing your own spiritual and emotional wealth.

This family ritual is one that you can easily include children in. Hold it at night, if possible. Before beginning, prepare your family’s evening meal. Include spring foods, such as a light salad, fresh fruit, or breads. Set the table as you normally would, and go outside. For this ritual, you’ll need the following:

  • A small flower pot for each person in the family
  • A bowl of dirt or potting soil
  • Seeds for your favorite herbs or flowers
  • A cup of water
  • A small fire
  • A piece of paper for each person in the family

Go out in your yard with the entire family — be sure you have a small table or other flat surface you can use as an altar. For the fire, you can either build a large one in your yard, or if space is an issue, use a table-top brazier. A small cast iron pot is perfect for this purpose. You may want to decorate your altar space beforehand with symbols of the season. If your tradition requires you to cast a circle, do so now.

The oldest person in the family should lead the ritual. Begin by saying:

Welcome, spring!
The light has returned, and life has come back to the earth.
The soil is dark and full of energy,
so this evening we plant our seeds.
They will lie in the soil, taking root and growing,
until the time has come for them to meet the sun.
As we plant these seeds, we give thanks to the earth
for its strength and life-bringing gifts.

Each person fills their pot with soil. You can either pass the bowl of dirt around, or if you have small children, just let each approach the altar or table. If there are a number of people participating, you may want to sing a chant as everyone fills their pot. A good chant for this is:

Earth my body, water my blood,
air my breath and fire my spirit;

repeated multiple times, or sung as a round-robin. Remember, you can sing whatever works best for you and your family! Once everyone has filled their pot with soil, pass out the seeds. Say:

Tiny seeds, containing life!
They travel upon the wind and bring to us abundance.
Flowers, herbs, vegetables, fruit…
all the bounty of the earth.
We give thanks to the seeds,
for the gifts that are to come in the harvest season.

Each person should push their seeds down into the soil. Older participants can help smaller children with this. Finally, pass around the cup of water. Say:

Water, cool and life-giving!
Bringing power to these seeds,
and moistening this fertile soil.
We give thanks to the water,
for allowing life to bloom once more.

When each person has finished potting their seeds, set the flower pots on the altar or table. Give each participant a small piece of paper and something to write with. Say:

Tonight we plant seeds in the earth,
but Beltane is a time in which many things can grow.
Tonight we plant seeds in our hearts and souls,
for other things we wish to see blossom.
We plant the seeds of love, of wisdom, of happiness.
We dig deep, and begin a crop of harmony, balance, and joy.
We add water to bring life and abundance of all kinds into our homes.
We offer our wishes into the fire, to carry them out to the Universe.

Each person should write on their paper something they wish to see blooming in their own life — harmony, happiness, financial security, strong relationships, healing, etc. For small children, it may be something very simple — even if your first-grader writes down that he wants a pony, don’t discourage anyone’s wishes. After each person has written their wish down, they approach the fire one at a time and cast the paper into the flames (help little ones with this part, just in the interest of safety).

When everyone has placed their wishes into the fire, take a few moments and think about the meaning of Beltane. Think about the things you want to see bloom and grow in your own life, in both the material and the non-physical realm. When everyone is ready, end the ritual. You may wish to follow the ceremony with another Beltane festivity, such as a Maypole Dance, or the traditional cakes and ale.

By Patti Wigington
Article found on & owned by About.com

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Setting Up Your Beltane Altar

 

It’s Beltane, the Sabbat where many Pagans choose to celebrate the fertility of the earth. This Sabbat is about new life, fire, passion and rebirth, so there are all kinds of creative ways you can set up for the season. Depending on how much space you have, you can try some or even all of these ideas — obviously, someone using a bookshelf as an altar will have less flexibility than someone using a table, but use what calls to you most.

Colors of the Season

This is a time when the earth is lush and green as new grass and trees return to life after a winter of dormancy. Use lots of greens, as well as bright spring colors — the yellow of the daffodils, forsythia and dandelions; the purples of the lilac; the blue of a spring sky or a robin’s egg. Decorate your altar with any or all of these colors in your altar cloths, candles, or colored ribbons.

Fertility Symbols

The Beltane holiday is the time when, in some traditions, the male energy of the god is at its most potent. He is often portrayed with a large and erect phallus, and other symbols of his fertility include antlers, sticks, acorns, and seeds. You can include any of these on your altar. Consider adding a small Maypole centerpiece — there are few things more phallic than a pole sticking up out of the ground!

In addition to the lusty attributes of the god, the fertile womb of the goddess is honored at Beltane as well. She is the earth, warm and inviting, waiting for seeds to grow within her.

Add a goddess symbol, such as a statue, cauldron, cup, or other feminine items. Any circular item, such as a wreath or ring, can be used to represent the goddess as well.

Flowers and Faeries

Beltane is the time when the earth is greening once again — as new life returns, flowers are abundant everywhere. Add a collection of early spring flowers to your altar — daffodils, hyacinths, forsythia, daisies, tulips — or consider making a floral crown to wear yourself. You may even want to pot some flowers or herbs as part of your Sabbat ritual.

In some cultures, Beltane is sacred to the Fae. If you follow a tradition that honors the Faerie realm, leave offerings on your altar for your household helpers.

Fire Festival

Because Beltane is one of the four fire festivals in modern Pagan traditions, find a way to incorporate fire into your altar setup. Although one popular custom is to hold a bonfire outside, that may not be practical for everyone, so instead it can be in the form of candles (the more the better), or a table-top brazier of some sort. A small cast-iron cauldron placed on a heat-resistant tile makes a great place to build an indoor fire.

Other Symbols of Beltane

  • May baskets
  • Chalices
  • Honey, oats, milk
  • Antlers or horns
  • Fruit such as cherries, mangos, pomegranates, peaches
  • Swords, lances, arrows

By Patti Wigington
Article found on & owned by About.com

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Beltane Incense

3 parts Frankincense

2 parts Sandalwood

1 part Benzoin

1 part Cinnamon

a few drops Patchouli essential oil

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Beltane Oil

5 drops rose oil,

2 drops Dragon’s blood,

3 drops coriander oil.

Use almond oil as a base here

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Beltane Ritual Potpourri

Recipe by Gerina Dunwich

45 drops frankincense oil

1 cup oak moss

1 cup dried bluebells

1 cup dried lilac

1 cup dried marigold

1 cup dried meadowsweet

1 cup dried rosebuds and petals

1 cup dried yellow cowslips

Mix the frankincense oil with the oak moss and then add the remaining ingredients. Stir the potpourri well and store in a tightly covered ceramic or glass container.

(The above recipe for “Beltane Ritual Potpourri” is quoted directly from Gerina Dunwich’s book “The Wicca Spellbook: A Witch’s Collection of Wiccan Spells, Potions and Recipes”, page 162, A Citadel Press Book, Carol Publishing Group, 1994/1995)

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Am Beannachadh Bealltain

(The Beltane Blessing)

Bless, O threefold true and bountiful,
Myself, my spouse, my children.
Bless everything within my dwelling and in my possession,
Bless the kine and crops, the flocks and corn,
From Samhain Eve to Beltane Eve,
With goodly progress and gentle blessing,
From sea to sea, and every river mouth,
From wave to wave, and base of waterfall.

Be the Maiden, Mother, and Crone,
Taking possession of all to me belonging.
Be the Horned God, the Wild Spirit of the Forest,
Protecting me in truth and honor.
Satisfy my soul and shield my loved ones,
Blessing every thing and every one,
All my land and my surroundings.
Great gods who create and bring life to all,
I ask for your blessings on this day of fire
.

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Wiccan Samhain Sabbat Solitary Ritual Guide

Supplies
Black altar cloth
Scrying mirror or bowl of water
Four white pillar candles for the four quarters
One gold taper candle for the God
One silver taper candle for the Goddess
One black candle
Natural bowl (shell, horn, seed pod, etc)
Slice of bread
Apple cider
Any ritual tools you normally use
Most would usually wear black during this rite

Cleanse the space and cast the circle.

Lighting their candles, call the elements:

“I call upon the spirits of the North, that they join my Circle and bring word of the dead, and take my words to them! Welcome, spirits of Air!

I call upon the spirits of the East, that they join my Circle and bring the comfort of the Earth, the flesh of the Mother, to which we all return. Welcome spirits of Earth!

I call upon the spirits of the South, that they join my Circle, bringing purification, that my soul learns from the trials and joys of life. Welcome, spirits of Fire!

I call upon the spirits of the West, that they join my Circle and bring peace, that I may take comfort in the Cycle. Welcome, spirits of Water!”

Call down God and Goddess.

Light the Goddess candle, saying:

“Lady, may your love shine upon us in bounty and in loss.”

Light the God candle, saying:

“Lord, though extinguished for a time, your light will return to us!”

Extinguish the God candle, saying:

“I mourn and celebrate the death of the God. For the Light is now short, yet our harvest is great, and the light will rekindle again, the Cycle begin anew in Nature. I take comfort also in knowing that no soul is lost or forsaken on the Wheel. Blessed be your rest, Lord.”

Sit in the circle with the bowl (or mirror) before you, the candle behind it, unlit. Have the slice of bread beside you to the left, and the drink to the right.

Pick up the bread and tear off a small piece, dipping it into the drink. Say something like:

“I offer this sustenance to those who have passed before me, this bread of the earth and air, and this drink of the water and fire. With the union of the two, they become whole and I offer it to my ancestors, to the Gods and Goddesses who would have it.”

Place the bread in the natural bowl, taking a moment to contemplate who has passed on that would come to take some of the food you have offered. Once done, pick up the black candle and light it, saying something like:

“I light this candle as a lantern to guide those who have passed before me. I welcome them to this rite so long as they offer good will to it. Negativity will be turned away, positive energies will be welcomed. With this candle, I illuminate the circle as a beacon to those who have passed that I love and cherish.”

Set the candle down behind the bowl of water (or mirror). Stare into the water, preferably at an angle so you can see the flame of the candle dancing on the surface of the water. Let your mind go and concentrate on meeting up and connecting with those that have died before you that you wish to contact. Be they pets, persons, or Deities, concentrate on connecting to those that have gone on, and ask them for guidance, or ask them whatever you like.

Take as long as you like on this part of the ritual, for it should not be rushed.

When done, lift up the bread and take one more piece, dipping it into the drink. Say something like:

“I offer more of the food that sustains me, soaking up some drink to quench the thirst of the thirsty. Thank you for coming to me, sharing in your wisdom, guidance, and company.”

Set this piece in the natural bowl with the other one. Share in with the meal by eating the bread and drinking the cider that you have beside you.

When this is done, dismiss the deities and all others you have called and close the circle. Ground and center.

From: http://www.wiccanway.com/Samhain-Solitary-Ritual-Guide_c_198.html

Categories: Ritual Working, The Sabbats, Coven Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Flashback 2013 Samhain

SAMHAIN 2013

An example of a Samhain (pronounced sow-en) altar.

Halloween decoration are rife with symbols of the Crone goddess, and these trendy dark and gothic trappings are great for working transformation magick with her. Consider those ebony and amethyst candleholders, sparkling black tapers, candles shaped like skulls, silk but real-looking ravens and crows. This Samhain, why not go all out with a Crone altar dedicated to the Greek goddess Hecate? Hecate is a Triple Goddess and also a patron of Witches, sorcerers, and magicians. Tonight the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest. Spirits walk, the Old Ones are out among us, and magick is ripe. Call upon Hecate for the wisdom to work with these types of energies.

Samhain has come, the veil between the worlds is thin,

Chilly winds now blow, and fallen leaves do spin,

With this Crone altar, I celebrate your special time,

This Samhain spell is now cast with the sound of rhyme.

Hecate, light my path on this magickal night,

Grant me your courage and grace, wisdom and insight.

Copyright Ellen Dugan Lleweylln’s Witches’ Datebook 2013 Page 115

Categories: Book of Spells, The Sabbats, The Goddesses, Miscellaneous Spells, Coven Life | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Flasback 2013 Beltane

BELTANE 2013

An example of a Beltane altar.

The lusty celebration of Beltane is upon us! Gardens bloom and wild places are leafy and green. Weather is mild and thoughts turn to passion. In garden folklore, any blue flower–violets, periwinkles, soft bluish-purple tulips, and early hydrangeas–is sacred to the Greek goddess Aphrodite. This Beltane, work with her to send a little passion, and romance your way. Remember, Aphrodite, does not bring lasting love into your life…she brings attraction, romance, passion, and physical love. This is great for established partners to spice things up or singles looking for a new someone for romance. To work with Aphrodite’s energy, gather a few blue flowers from the garden and tie them with satin ribbon. Slip the flowers in a water-filled vessel and offer them to Aphordite along with this spell for Beltane.

On the feast of Beltane, I’ll try a little something new,

I request Aphrodite’d blessings with flowers of the blue,

Passion and fun, you will surely bring to my life,

May I be blessed with magick and romance on this night.

Copyright Ellen Dugan Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2013 Page 63

 

Categories: Coven Life, Love Spells, Rejuvenation, The Sabbats | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Flasback 2012 Beltane

BELTANE 2012

An example of a Beltane altar.

Beltaine

The feast of Beltaine marks the beginning of the bright half of the year. At this time, the herds and flocks are moved from the village up into the hills and mountains, where they will have fresh grazing all summer long. It was a time to celebrate and to preserve abundance and fertility of the earth and its creatures.

Huge bonfires were created from nine types of sacred wood, and the animals were run between two fires to protect them. People also passed through between the fires– some even jumped over the Beltaine fires–for protection and good fortune. Wildflowers especially yellow ones were gathered and brought into the home. Healing plants picked at dawn on Beltaine were believed to have great powers.

On Beltaine, light two candles–yellow, white or green–and place them on two separate tables or altars. Decorate the altars with freshly gathered spring flowers and place a plate of sacred cakes nearby for the gods and goddesses. Circle the tables three times, sunwise, thanking the gods for their blessings and abundance. Then walk between the candles for protection and good fortune to ensure your prayers are received by the Ancient Ones.

Copyright Sharynne MacLeod NicMhacha Lleweylln’s Witches’ Datebook 2012 Page 63

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Flashback 2012 Samhain

SAMHAIN 2012

An example of a Samhain altar.

Samhain is an ancient Celtic festival that marked the end of one year and the start of the next. The name means “summer’s end” and marks the start of the dark half of the year. The herds now return to the village, and all plants had to be gathered. All necessary herbs, fruit, nuts, and berries were collected for winter stores.

With the veil between the worlds at its thinnest, interactions between humans and the sacred otherworld often occur on Samhain. As a New Year’s festival, many special ceremonies took place and offerings were made to the gods. Purification rites helped prepare for the year to come. Sacred myths were recited–what had been in the past was being re-created once more. And finally divination took place to see what was to come.

At Samhain, prepare yourself for the next sacred cycle. Make an oath to the gods to give up or do something special, as an offering. Speak your oath aloud three times in the presence of the sacred flame. Then take a purifying bath and put on your finest garb. Stand before the Old Gods with respect and humility, and ask them to give you a vision to guide you on your path.

Copyright Sharynne MacLeod NicMhacha Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2012

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