History of Samhain and the Catholic Church

https://www.history.com/news/halloween-samhain-celts-catholic-church?cmpid=email-hist-inside-history-2022-1031-10312022&om_rid=ea017a07203686f36cd65a49c3ddd258af00a21cf7ea7ad2e0197a469a8f9e79&~campaign=hist-inside-history-2022-1031

Special Edition of Witchcraft/Magickal Correspondences, Rituals and Other Things for Beltane

THREE RITUALS FOR BELTANE

Beltane is a cross-quarter holiday on the Wheel of the Year that honors the return of summer, the return of the fertility of the Earth, and the element of fire. It’s a nature-based holiday that many of our ancestors celebrated for a long time, and now we get to carry that tradition forward.

Like Samhain, Beltane is a time when the veil is thin. This holiday is a particularly beautiful time to connect with nature spirits, as well as any other beings you’re wanting to create a connection with.

At Beltane, we honor the goddess as part of us. We honor the body, pleasure, sensuality, and sexuality. We bask in the fiery energy of the sun and the fertile energy that’s present.

In this blog, I’m sharing three rituals and suggested tools for Beltane that you can work with to honor this sacred holiday. Keep scrolling to watch a video and read more!

OPTIONAL RITUAL TOOLS FOR BELTANE

Feel free to add any of the symbols and tools outlined below to your Beltane rituals or altar. They each correspond with the energy of Beltane. They are not necessary and should be viewed as optional layered energy in your rituals.

Crystals: Rose quartz, garnet, pink tourmaline, rhodochrosite, emerald, malachite, and moonstone

Scents and plants: Sandalwood, ylang-ylang, lilac, angelica, jasmine, and rose

Candle colors: Pink, orange, and red

Element: Fire

Tarot: Empress

Rune: Berakno

Goddess: Venus/Freya

Tools and Symbols: Cowry shell, flowers, and anything that represents pleasure and creativity to you

PLEASURE RITUAL FOR BELTANE…

Click here to read the rest of the rituals from cassieuhl.com

Beltane Correspondences

From paganpages.org

Also known as: Bealtaine, Beltane, Bhealtainn, Bealtinne, Festival of Tana (Strega), Giamonios, Rudemass, and Walburga (Teutonic), Cetsamhain (opposite Samhain),Fairy Day,Sacred Thorn Day, Rood Day, Roodmas (the Christian term for Rood Day, Old Beltane, Beltain, Baltane, Walpurgis Night, Floriala (Roman feast of flowers from April 29 to May 1), Walpurgisnacht (Germanic-feast of St. Walpurga), Thrimilce (Anglo-saxon), Bloumaand (Old Dutch)

Date: May 1

Animals: Swallow, dove, swan, Cats, lynx, leopard

Deities: Flower Goddesses, Divine Couples, Deities of the Hunt, Aphrodite, artemis, Bast, Diana, Faunus, Flora, Maia, Pan, the Horned God, Venus, and all Gods and Goddesses who preside over fertility.

Tools: broom, May Pole, cauldron

Stones/Gems: emerald, malachite, amber, orange carnelian, sapphire, rose quartz

Colors: green, soft pink, blue, yellow, red, brown

Flowers & herbs: almond tree/shrub, ash, broom, cinquefoil, clover, Dittany of Crete, elder, foxglove, frankincense, honeysuckle, rowan, sorrel, hawthorn, ivy, lily of the valley, marigold, meadowsweet, mint, mugwort, thyme, woodruff may be burned; angelica, bluebells, daisy, hawthorn, ivy, lilac, primrose, and rose may be decorations, st. john’s wort, yarrow, basically all flowers.

Incense: frankincense, lilac, rose

Symbols & decorations: maypole, strings of beads or flowers, ribbons, spring flowers, fires, fertility, growing things, ploughs, cauldrons of flowers, butterchurn, baskets, eggs

Food: dairy, bread, cereals, oatmeal cakes, cherries, strawberries, wine, green salads

Activities & rituals: fertilize, nurture and boost existing goals, games, activities of pleasure, leaping bonfires, making garlands, May Pole dance, planting seeds, walking one’s property, feasting

Wiccan mythology: sexual union and/or marriage of the Goddess and God

It’s association with fire also makes Beltaine a holiday of purification.

Wiccan weddings are frequently held on or around Beltaine.

Beltane Foods to Bring to your Fire Festival

From PlentifulEarth.com

A beautiful, spring sun shines overhead on a beautiful Beltane morning, bringing blessings of warmth, love, and passion to every Witch present at the festival of Beltane. A bright fire burns in the distance, marking the celebration between Ostara and the Summer Solstice. The Green Man and Mother Earth each bless handfastings while dozens of Witches happily maypole dance to celebrate the fertility of this beautiful Sabbat.

45 minutes into the Beltane celebration, you think to yourself, “Is it time for the cakes and ale? I’m so ready for the feast! Oh! Hail and welcome!” We’ve literally all been there. Good news; food is a huge part of Wiccan and Pagan celebrations!

In this article, we’ll share the fruits, vegetables, meats, and foods that are best for a Beltane fire festival.

Beltane Recipes and Food Correspondences

Fruits

Vegetables

Nuts

Herbs & Spices

Breads

  • Banana Bread
  • Bannock Bread
  • Oatcakes

Cheeses

  • Goat’s Cheese

Meats

  • Beef
  • Goat
  • Rabbit
  • Oysters

Drinks

Toppings

  • Chocolate Sauce
  • Curry Sauces
  • Honey
  • Hot Sauce
  • Olive Oil

Beltane Activities and Correspondences

 

Beltane Activities and Correspondences

Guest Author – Leslie Ravenwing

Herbs – hawthorn, honeysuckle, St John’s wort, wood ruff, all flowers.

Colors- Green, Yellow, Pink, Blue

Foods – Strawberries, Cherries, Fruits, Salads, Wine

Goddesses – Aphrodite, Asherah, Belili, Brigid, Danu, Freya, Flora, Gwenhwyvar, Hina, Ishtar, Maia, Mary, Oiwyn, Oshun, Ostara, Sappha, Tonantzin, Vesta

Gods – Beltene, Cernunnous, Cupid/Eros, Manawyddan and Pan

Activities and Rituals

Fertilize, nurture and boost existing goals, games, activities of pleasure, leaping bonfires, making garlands, May Pole dance, planting seeds, walking one’s property, feasting
Stones/Gems – Emerald, malachite, amber, orange carnelian, sapphire, rose quartz
Other Names – Cetsamhain (opposite Samhain),May Day, Fairy Day,Sacred Thorn Day, Rood Day, Roodmas (the Christian term for Rood Day, Old Beltane, Beltaine, Beltain, Baltane, Walpurgis Night, Floriala (Roman feast of flowers from April 29 to May 1), Walpurgisnacht (Germanic-feast of St. Walpurga), Thrimilce (Anglo-saxon), Bloumaand (Old Dutch)

-Make paper baskets (use yarn as a handle) and place real or silk flowers in each basket. Hang them on door knobs of neighbors and family members but don’t let them know you did it!

-If you have children, make necklaces out of diasies and place them around their necks for the day to bring protection to them.

-Begin planting for the season.

-Create a MayPole and dance around it with your family or friends.

-Make a dish of fruits, berries, nuts and leave in the wood for the animals and fae folk to enjoy

– This is a night for bonfires, torch-lit processions and the high revelry of witches, preferably in high places. It is prime time for the Great Rite, a night (like Samhain) when the Goddess descends into women. Cailleach Beara (Cally Berry, Brighid’s crone aspect) turns to stone this night and does not to return until Samhain. Beltane Eve also marks the setting of the Pleiades

With my thanks to Lady Abyss for this information first posted May 2016.

Special Edition of Witchcraft/Magickal Correspondences, Rituals and Other Things for Samhain

Symbolism: death and regeneration, transformation, end of old projects, new beginnings, return, change, rest, success, plenty, knowledge

Symbols: skulls, bats, cats, leaves, nuts, seeds, barren trees and branches, pumpkins, cauldron, pentacle, crystal ball, besom or broom, witch’s hat, moon, crows/ravens, ghosts, goblins, banshees, candy/caramel apples, chocolate, Jack-o-Lanterns, costumes, Trick-or-Treats, Death, acorns, bones, gourds, scarecrowsColors: black, orange, red, silver, gold, brown, purple, yellow

Food and Drink: apples, cider, pork, hazelnuts, pomegranates, pumpkins, potatoes, squash, cranberries, turnips, beets, mugwort tea, ale, mulled wine, pies/cakes for the dead

Herbs: apple leaf, almonds, bay leaf, nettle, hemlock, cloves, cinnamon, mandrake root, marigold, mums, mugwort, pine, rosemarysagewormwood, tarragon, rue, garlic, ginger, hazelnut, allspice

Deities: Hekate, The Crone, Cerridwen, Bast, Persephone, Horned Hunter, Cernunnos, Osiris, Hades, Anubis, Loki, Arawn, Dis, and any other death/underworld god or goddess

Crystals and Gemstones: black obsidian, jasper, onyx, bloodstone, smoky quartz, carnelian,

Animals: cats, especially black cats, bats, spiders, rats, wolves, snakes, ravens and crows, owls, stags, jackals, scorpions

Magic: This is the time to honor the dead. Set up an altar, serve them cakes, and let them know they are not forgotten. If you wish to communicate with deceased friends and family, this is the best time of year. The veil thins the night of Samhain, making communication easy. Do NOT, however, entice spirits, disrespect them, or perform any other magic that is anything less than respectful. I repeat, don’t do it. Samhain is also a great time to practice divination in the form of runes, scrying, tarot, tea readings, etc. Reflect over the previous year and perform blessing spells to ring in the new year. Astral projection, lucid dreaming, and hedge riding are also much easier to perform on this night but remember to be safe. Banishing magic, especially those for bad habits, are especially strong on this night.

Please note this is not a complete list but a brief overview of symbols, colors, herbs, deities, and the like. If I have missed something that you feel should make the list, please feel free to contact me via the comments or through email.

Click her for more ideas from Zenned Out for Samhain Rituals and Correspondences

The ancient Celtic celebration of Samhain (pronounced sow-in), celebrated on October 31st and November 1st, marks the end of our seasonal cycle on the Wheel of the Year. This is why it’s often referred to as the witch’s New Year. Seasonally speaking, Samhain is the third and final harvest of the season or the last rally to store and prepare for the coming Winter season.

This sacred celebration reaches much farther than harvests and is also a time when the veil between the physical and spirit world is at its thinnest. The Celtic people believed that spirits walked among them during this time, so Samhain is accepted as an ideal time to communicate and connect with the spirit realm. Here’s a fun drawing I created with ritual suggestions for Samhain. Keep scrolling to learn more about each one.

See the source image

From PaganPages.org Samhain Correspondences By Jennifer Wright

Free Pagan Magazine

Other Names:
celtic ~ Summer’s End, pronounced “sow” (rhymes with now) “en” (Ireland), sow-een (Wales) – “mh” in the middle is a “w” sound – Greater Sabbat(High Holiday) – Fire Festival Oct 31-Nov 1(North Hemisphere) – Apr 30-May 1 – The Great Sabbat, Samhiunn, Samana, Samhuin, Sam-fuin, Samonios, Halloween, Hallomas, All Hallows Eve, All Saints/All Souls Day(Catholic), Day of the Dead (Mexican), Witches New Year, Trinoux Samonia, Celtic/ Druid New Year, Shadowfest (Strega), Martinmas or Old Hallowmas (Scotttish/Celtic) Lá Samhna (Modern Irish), Festival of the Dead, Feile Moingfinne (Snow Goddess), Hallowtide (Scottish Gaelis Dictionary), Feast of All Souls, Nos Galen-gae-of Night of the Winter Calends (Welsh), La Houney or Hollantide Day, Sauin or Souney ( Manx), oidhche na h-aimiléise-the night of mischief or confusion(Ireland), Oidhche Shamna (Scotland)

Rituals:
End of summer, honoring of the dead,scrying, divination, last harvest, meat harvest

Incense:
Copal, sandalwood, mastic resin, benzoin, sweetgrass, wormwood, mugwort, sage, myrrh or patchouli

Tools:
Besom, cauldron, tarot, obsidian ball, pendulum, runes, oghams, Ouija boards, black cauldron or bowl filled with black ink or water, or magick mirror

Stones/Gems:
Black obsidian, jasper, carnelian, onyx, smoky quartz, jet, bloodstone

Colors:
Black, orange, red

Symbols & Decorations:
Apples, autumn flowers, acorns, bat, black cat, bones, corn stalks, colored leaves, crows, death/dying, divination and the tools associated with it, ghosts, gourds, Indian corn, jack-o-lantern, nuts , oak leaves, pomegranates, pumpkins, scarecrows, scythes, waning moon

Foods:
Apples, apple dishes, cider, meat (traditionally this is the meat harvest) especially pork, mulled cider with spices, nuts-representing resurrection and rebirth, nuts, pomegranates, potatoes, pumpkins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, roasted pumpkin seeds, roasted pumpkin seeds, squash.

Goddesses:
The Crone, Hecate(Greek), Cerridwen(Welsh-Scottish), Arianrhod(Welsh), Caillech (Irish-Scottish), Baba Yaga (Russian), Al-Ilat(persian), Bast (Egyptian), Persephone (Greek), Hel(Norse), Kali(Hindu), all Death & Otherworld Goddesses

Gods:
Horned Hunter(European), Cernnunos(Greco-Celtic), Osiris(Egyptian), Hades (Greek), Gwynn ap Nudd (British), Anubis(Egyptian), Coyote Brother (Native American), Loki (Norse), Dis (Roman), Arawn (Welsh), acrificial/Dying/Aging
Gods, Death and Otherworld Gods

Herbs and Flowers:
Almond, apple leaf , autumn joy sedum, bay leaf, calendula, Cinnamon, Cloves cosmos, garlic, ginger , hazelnut, hemlock cones, mandrake root, marigold, mums, mugwort (to aid in divination), mullein seeds, nettle, passionflower, pine needles, pumpkin seeds, rosemary (for remembrance of our ancestors), rue, sage, sunflower petals and seeds, tarragon, wild ginseng, wormwood

Animals:
Stag, cat, bat, owl, jackal, elephant, ram, scorpion, heron, crow, robin

Mythical Beings:
Pooka, goblin,medusa, beansidhe, harpies

Essence:
Magick, plenty; knowledge, the night, death & rebirth, success, protection; rest, new beginning; ancestors; lifting of the veil, mundane laws in abeyance, return, change

Dynamics/Meaning:
Death & transformation, Wiccan new year,wisdom of the Crone, end of summer, honoring, thinning of the veil between worlds, death of the year, time outside of time, night of the Wild Hunt, begin new projects, end old projects

Work:
Sex magick, release of bad habits, banishing, fairy magick, divination of any kind, candle magick, astral projection, past life work, dark moon mysteries, mirror spells (reflection), casting protection , inner work, propitiation, clearing obstacles, uncrossing, inspiration, workings of transition or culmination, manifesting transformation,creative visualization, contacting those who have departed this plane

Purpose:
Honoring the dead, especially departed ancestors, knowing we will not be forgotten; clear knowledge of our path; guidance, protection, celebrating reincarnation

Rituals/Magicks:
Foreseeing future, honoring/consulting ancestors, releasing the old, power, understanding death and rebirth, entering the underworld, divination, dance of the dead, fire calling, past life recall

Customs:
Ancestor altar, costumes, divination, carving jack-o-lanterns, spirit plate, the Feast of the Dead, feasting, paying debts, fairs, drying winter herbs, masks, bonfires, apple games, tricks, washing clothes

Element:
Water

Gender:
Male

Threshold:
Midnight

From Plentiful Earth – How to pronounce Samhain

Popularized by Wicca, Samhain is a celebration that occurs around the same time as Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve, and Day of the Dead — on or around October 31. This wonderful day is often celebrated as a time to commune with our ancestors and the passing spirits, as the veil between the worlds has become its thinnest. The festival of Samhain is easily most Witches’ favorite Sabbat of the year, a fact we can all agree on. However, it’s easy to strike up a war of the Witches when it comes to saying the word out loud!

We know first hand, as American Witches in the United States, how embarrassing it can be to read the ancient Gaelic word as “Sam-hayne” on paper when we’re learning and then try to say it in front of seasoned coven-mates! We’re here to save you some red cheeks and give you the confidence to talk about your favorite holiday out loud! The good news? There are 3 ways to pronounce this ancient Celtic, each from a different region of its birthplace!

3 Correct Samhain Pronunciations

How to pronounce Samhain – Video

How to pronounce Samhain in Irish Gaelic

  • Sow-in

How to pronounce Samhain in Welsh

  • Sow-een

How to pronounce Samhain in Scottish Gaelic

  • Sav-en

Now, pick your favorite way and say it with pride, Witch!

 Remember what is not harvested by Samhain needs to be left in the fields, tress, bushes, ectara for the wild animals to forge over the cold months.

Wish you all a safe, blessed, and happy Samhain.

[2021] Popular and Practical Samhain Rituals and Traditions

From WitchJournal.com

EVA MARIA  WHEEL OF THE YEAR

Beloved Samhain night is just around the corner. This time of the year is definitely the most magical and witchy of all other seasons. Below you can find information on Samhain Rituals, Traditions, and History. Are you going to try any of them?

What is Samhain?

 

Wheel of the Year: The 8 Wiccan Holiday Festivals

For the Northern Hemisphere

For the Southern Hemisphere

In Wicca, we make it a point to honor both feminine and masculine energies, lunar and solar cycles. When we’re practicing our craft according to the lunar cycles, we honor the Moon Goddess with esbats. However, we also have eight solar festivals throughout the year, which are represented by the Wiccan Wheel of the Year.

The Wheel of the Year is a physical representation of the eight pagan festivals that celebrate nature’s life cycles. These eight Sabbats include four solar events — two solstices and two equinoxes — and four cross-quarter events. But how did this calendar come about in the first place?

The Origin of the Wheel of the Year Calendar

Many historians postulate that ancient pagans marked the passing of time by celebrating certain solar events. On top of that, some of their celebrations were a way to mark events that had agricultural significance. Even so, we can’t say that the seasonal festivals we’re about to discuss ever existed in their current forms. So how did we get to the Wheel of the Year we observe today?

Well, believe it or not, the Wiccan Sabbats are a result of decades, if not centuries, of modern interpretations of ancient rites. In fact, some pretty famous scholars unknowingly participated in the…

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Celebrating Litha, the Summer Solstice The Midsummer Sabbat: Celebrate the Power of the Sun!

The gardens are blooming, and summer is in full swing. Fire up the barbeque, turn on the sprinkler, and enjoy the celebrations of Midsummer! Also called Litha, this summer solstice Sabbat honors the longest day of the year. Take advantage of the extra hours of daylight and spend as much time as you can outdoors!

Depending on your individual spiritual path, there are many different ways you can celebrate Litha, but the focus is nearly always on celebrating the power of the sun. It’s the time of year when the crops are growing heartily and the earth has warmed up. We can spend long sunny afternoons enjoying the outdoors, and getting back to nature under the long daylight hours.

Hold a Midsummer Night’s Fire Ritual, and celebrate the season with a big bonfire. Prefer to spend some time alone at the summer solstice? Not a problem! Add these simple Litha prayers into your summer solstice rituals this year.

Are you headed to the beach this summer? Take advantage of all of the magic it has to offer, with Seven Ways to Use Beach Magic. If you have little Pagans in your family, you can get them involved in the festivities too, with these 5 Fun Ways to Celebrate Litha with Kids. Finally, if you’re not sure how to get started celebrating Litha, try these Ten Great Ways to Celebrate Litha.

Traditions, Folklore and Customs

Interested in learning about some of the history behind Litha? Here’s some background on Midsummer celebrations—learn who the gods and goddesses of summer are, how they’ve been honored throughout the centuries, and about the magic of stone circles! Let’s start with a quick look at the history behind the celebrations of the summer solstice, as well as some of the customs and traditions of Litha.

There’s a ton of solar magic and myths and legends out there, and many cultures have worshiped the sun as part of religious practice throughout time. In Native American spirituality, the Sun Dance is an important part of ritual.

The summer solstice is also associated with festivals such as the Vestalia, in ancient Rome, and with ancient structures like the stone circles found all over the world.

Handfasting Season is Here

June is a traditional time for weddings, but if you’re Pagan or Wiccan, a Handfasting ceremony may be more appropriate. Find out the origins of this custom, how you can have a fantastic ceremony, selecting a cake, and some great ideas on gifts for your guests!

In a historical context, handfasting is an old tradition that has seen a resurgence in popularity lately. There are plenty of ways to have a magical ceremony that celebrates your spirituality as part of your special day. You may even want to invite some of the deities of love and marriage to be part of your ceremony!

If you’re not sure about how to have a handfasting, make sure you’ve got someone who is legally able to perform it, especially if you’re looking for a state-licensed marriage. You can use a basic handfasting ceremony template as a structure for your ceremony, and you might want to consider a Pagan-friendly custom like broom-jumping as part of your celebration.

Don’t forget, you’ll need a cake! Keep a few simple tips in mind when you’re selecting your handfasting cake.

Crafts and Creations

As Litha approaches, you can decorate your home (and keep your kids entertained) with a number of easy craft projects

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The Magical History Of Yule, The Pagan Winter Solstice Celebration

On December 21 (or 22nd some years) we encounter the longest night of the year and the shortest day of the year. After that, the days grow longer until the Summer solstice. In various spiritual and pagan traditions, this seasonal cross-quarter is also known as Yule and is celebrated as a holiday.

In modern times, we typically celebrate Christmas, but long, long ago, Yule was celebrated by the Ancient Celts and various other Pagan religions. Perhaps one of the oldest winter celebrations in the entire world, ancient hunters and gatherers would mark their years based on the different seasons. And each seasonal cross-quarter, including the equinoxes and solstices, was thought to have spiritual significance.

According to Almanac.com, Yule comes from the old English word ‘Geol’ which is the equivalent of the old Norse word, jol. Both of which referred to the winter festivals that took place in celebration of the halfway point of winter.

Long before Christianity, the Ancient Celts and ancient British pagans would celebrate Yule, but when Christianity and…

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Celebrating Litha: Traditions, Herbs, Symbols & More

Pagans who base their practices around western European pre-Christian traditions commonly observe a set of holidays. These are often grouped together as the Wheel of the Year, which is a way of visualizing the progression of seasons and sacred days as a cycle.

Litha is a solar festival that takes place on the longest day of the year — Midsummer.

About Litha

Litha is a name given to the summer solstice. In the northern hemisphere, this takes place around June 21st.

Because of the Earth’s axial tilt, this actually corresponds with the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere, so Pagans in the south typically celebrate Litha around December 21st. This is considered to be the time when the sun and solar deities are at the height of their power.

Origins & History

It’s hard to say when summer solstice celebrations really began. As long as humans have relied on plants and grazing animals for food, they’ve tracked the seasons.

The word “solstice” comes from Latin, and roughly translates to “sun stands still.” The solstice, then, is the point when the sun seems to stand still in the sky. In other words, it’s when the daylight hours are at their longest.

Nobody’s really certain where the name “Litha” comes from, either. One source cites a document called The Reckoning of Time (De temporum ratione) written by Saint Bede in 725 CE.

In it, he recorded a lot of Anglo-Saxon Pagan concepts, and the names of the months were among them. This time of year was allegedly named “Līða,” which translated to “gentle” or “easy to navigate.”

It was so named because this time of year marked the best weather for sailing, since the breezes were steady and not too powerful. June was Ǣrra-Līða, or “the first Litha,” while July was “the second Litha.”

Another source, Greer’s New Encyclopedia of the Occult, cites J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy as the actual origin. In it, the Hobbits’ called midsummer Lithe.

It’s possible that we may never find the true name of this holiday. Many of the cultures that inform modern-day European-based Paganism had strong oral traditions, and placed less emphasis on writing. As a result, the only written records left behind stem largely from invaders and other outside observers.

Traditions

Traditionally, Litha was a time to light bonfires, celebrate marriages, feast, sing, and dance. It’s a time when the weather is at its warmest, and all of the crops are at their most fruitful. This is a celebration of plenty, partnership, and community.

In Wicca, it’s customary to use this time to work solar magic, magic for men’s issues, and rituals for community stability, success, environmental healing, and strengthening relationships.

In ancient Rome, people celebrated Vestalia around midsummer. This was to honor Vesta, a virgin goddess of the hearth, home, and family. Under normal circumstances, only her devotees, the Vestal virgins, were allowed into the sacred inner areas of her temples.

During Vestalia, the inner sanctums of her temples would be opened for all women to come make offerings and request her aid and protection.

Folklore

In some forms of Wicca and …

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Summer Solstice: The Meaning and History Behind the First Day of Summer

The summer solstice sets off the official start of summer as the Northern Hemisphere angles itself at the point in its orbit closest to the sun, causing the longest day and shortest night of the calendar year.

Many cultures, both ancient and modern, celebrate the sunlight with rituals and holidays.

What is the summer solstice?

The term solstice comes from the Latin words “sol” (sun) and “stitium” (still or stopped). It is used to describe the exact moment when the poles are tilted at their maximum toward or away from the sun.

The summer solstice occurs when the sun is directly above the Tropic of Cancer, which is the circle marking the latitude 23.5 degrees north, and which runs through …

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Wheel of the Year

 

The Wheel of the Year is a symbol of the eight Sabbats (religious festivals) of Neo-Paganism and the Wicca movement which includes four solar festivals (Winter Solstice, Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Fall Equinox) and four seasonal festivals (celebrating or marking a significant seasonal change). Contrary to modern-day Wiccan claims, there is no evidence of an ancient Wheel of the Year in its present form but it is clear that the Celts of thousands of years ago celebrated the festivals the wheel highlights, even if these celebrations were known by another name now long lost.

In the ancient Celtic culture, as in many of the past, time was seen as cyclical. The seasons changed, people died, but nothing was ever finally lost because everything returned again – in one way or another – in a repeating natural cycle. Although time in the modern world is usually regarded as linear, the cyclical nature of life continues to be recognized.

The modern-day Wheel of the Year was first suggested by the scholar and mythologist Jacob Grimm (1785-1863 CE) in his 1835 CE work, Teutonic Mythology, and fixed in its present form in the 1950s and early ’60s CE by the Wicca movement. The wheel includes the following holy days (most dates flexible year-to-year): …

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A Magickal Rite for Mabon: Honor the Dark Mother

A Magickal Rite for Mabon

Honor the Dark Mother at Mabon

Demeter and Persephone are strongly connected to the time of the Autumn Equinox. When Hades abducted Persephone, it set in motion a chain of events that eventually led to the earth falling into darkness each winter. This is the time of the Dark Mother, the Crone aspect of the triple goddess. The goddess is bearing this time not a basket of flowers, but a sickle and scythe. She is prepared to reap what has been sown.

The earth dies a little each day, and we must embrace this slow descent into dark before we can truly appreciate the light that will return in a few months.

This ritual welcomes the archetype of the Dark Mother and celebrates that aspect of the Goddess which we may not always find comforting or appealing, but which we must always be willing to acknowledge. Decorate your altar with symbols of Demeter and her daughter — flowers in red and yellow for Demeter, purple or black for Persephone, stalks of wheat, Indian corn, sickles, baskets. Have a candle on hand to represent each of them — harvest colors for Demeter, black for Persephone. You’ll also need a chalice of wine, or grape juice if you prefer, and a pomegranate.

If you normally cast a circle, or call the quarters, do so now. Turn to the altar, and light the Persephone candle. Say:

The land is beginning to die, and the soil grows cold.
The fertile womb of the earth has gone barren.
As Persephone descended into the Underworld,
So the earth continues its descent into night.
As Demeter mourns the loss of her daughter,
So we mourn the days drawing shorter.
The winter will soon be here.

Light the Demeter candle, and say:

In her anger and sorrow, Demeter roamed the earth,
And the crops died, and life withered and the soil went dormant.
In grief, she traveled looking for her lost child,
Leaving darkness behind in her wake.
We feel the mother’s pain, and our hearts break for her,
As she searches for the child she gave birth to.
We welcome the darkness, in her honor.

Break open the pomegranate (it’s a good idea to have a bowl to catch the drippings), and take out six seeds. Place them on the altar. Say:

Six months of light, and six months of dark.
The earth goes to sleep, and later wakes again.
O dark mother, we honor you this night,
And dance in your shadows.
We embrace that which is the darkness,
And celebrate the life of the Crone. Blessings to the dark goddess on this night, and every other.

As the wine is replaced upon the altar, hold your arms out in the Goddess position, and take a moment to reflect on the darker aspects of the human experience. Think of all the goddesses who evoke the night, and call out:

Demeter, Inanna, Kali, Tiamet, Hecate, Nemesis, Morrighan.
Bringers of destruction and darkness,
I embrace you tonight.
Without rage, we cannot feel love,
Without pain, we cannot feel happiness,
Without the night, there is no day,
Without death, there is no life.
Great goddesses of the night, I thank you.

Take a few moments to meditate on the darker aspects of your own soul. Is there a pain you’ve been longing to get rid of? Is there anger and frustration that you’ve been unable to move past? Is there someone who’s hurt you, but you haven’t told them how you feel? Now is the time to take this energy and turn it to your own purposes. Take any pain inside you, and reverse it so that it becomes a positive experience. If you’re not suffering from anything hurtful, count your blessings, and reflect on a time in your life when you weren’t so fortunate.

When you are ready, end the ritual.

By Patti Wigington,Paganism/Wicca Expert
Article found on & owned by ThoughtCo

Imbolc Lore and Rituals

Celebrating the Seasons
by Selena Fox

Imbolc, also known as Candlemas and Groundhog’s Day, occurs at the beginning of February. It marks the middle of Winter and holds the promise of Spring. The Goddess manifests as the Maiden and Brigid. The Groundhog is a manifestation of the God. Colors are White, and sometimes Red. It is a festival of spiritual purification and dedication.

Thoroughly clean your altar and/or temple room. Do a self purification rite with Elemental tools — cleanse your body with salt (Earth), your thoughts with incense (Air), your will with a candle flame (Fire), your emotions with water (Water), and your spiritual body with a healing crystal (Spirit). Bless candles that you will be using for rituals throughout the year. Invoke Brigid for creative inspiration. Take a Nature walk and look for the first signs of …

Click here to read the rest of this article about Imbolc from www.circlesanctuary.org

Imbolc marks the Irish pagan start of spring – something is stirring

As the great wheel turns, we find ourselves slowly re-emerging from the deep dreamtime of winter into the portal of Imbolc.

Click here to read the rest of this article about Imbolc from www.irishcentral.com

For Your Viewing Pleasure – Imbolc

Imbolc – St Brigid’s Festival | Documentary | Pagan & Christian Folklore