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

For Your Viewing Pleasure – Lammas

Lammas History & Celebration Ideas | Wiccan Sabbats | TheLifeofEm

Flashback 2004 Lammas

(This is written for the Northern Hemisphere in 2004. The date of August 7th is wrong for 2022 the Southern or Northern Hemisphere)

Lammas

Lammas is the first of the harvest festivals, a celebration of ripening grains and grapes. If you celebrate traditionally on the second, the planetary energies offer a for great creative energy, drama, and joy. If you celebrate on the astrologically on August 7 at 15 degrees of Leo, the Moon will aid a ceremony with great magic and mystery.

The Sun is wanning, but still holding sway in the sky. A day of circle dances and foot races will honor the Sun; be certain the music encourages exuberant joy. If you planted wheat in a pot or plot, this is the day to ritually harvest it. Use some to make a Brigid’s cross; save a few stalks to return to the earth as compost next spring and lend continuity from harvest to sowing to harvest.

If corn is your grain of choice, bring ripe ears to the altar and use the husks to make corn dollies for use at Imbolc. Indian corn can be dried, ground, and used in corn bread. Make a fiery incense with dragon’s blood and hot herbs like ginger or galangal. Do a ritual at a sacred spot — a well or tree or sacred hill. Use the colors of green and gold and orange for your altar, and encourage everyone to wear them. The harvest has just begun.

Copyright By K. D. Spitzer in Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2004 Page 89

Flashback 2004 Imbolc

 Imbolc

Celebrate this festival by draping the altar in white and silver. Kepp the entire altar white — white candlesticks, white incense bowls, etc. Represent the Goddess with a figure of a horned cow. If you wear robes in ritual, honor Brigid in her guise as the goddess of the dairy by wearing white. With Neptune lending the glamour to your robes to the Sun this time, as glitter to your robes with sliver and “diamonds.” Let your imagination run wild.

Save snow from the last storm, or use crushed ice, and put it out in bowls on the altar. Scrub clean an old milke bottle or cream jar and fill it with fresh milk; freshly made mozzarella cheese will round out your cakes and ale. Nestle all bowls in the snow.

The planetary energies are particularly favorable this sabbat for working magic for world peace. Place all the candles you’ll be using this year on the altar and start this ritual in the dark — this is, without lights. Add your magic to the returning Sun. Dedicate and consecrate all your candles during this festival of lights, and consecrate your agricultural tools for use in the coming cycle of growth. This is the festival of new beginnings.

Copyright By K. D. Spitzer in Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2004 Page 39

Flashback 2002 Imbolc

Imbolc is an important day of purification and initiation; on the Sun’s day, February 2, the energies are very airy. This Sabbat is a good day for coven work, with an emotionally detached masculine Moon and Sun on the Sun’s day.

Dress yourself and your altar in white, while serving white beverages or any dairy food to honor the calving season. Spread the top of a one-pound round Camembert or Bire cheese with raspberry preserves. Cut a circle of puff pastry large enough to cover the cheese, wrap it, tucking the ends of the pastry under. Use scraps to decorate the top with goddess symbols. Brush with beaten egg yolk. Bake at 425 degrees until golden, and serve hot and melting on crackers. During this ritual, bless and dedicate all candles you will need for other ritual work throughout the year. A good way to start the ceremony is to light candles in the darkened room with chanting to encourage the lengthening days.

©️ By K. D. Spitzer Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2002 Page 41

IMPORTANT NOTE for the Southern Hemisphere Imbolc falls on August 1st.

Pagan Holidays Lughnasadh Lammas | Everything You Need To Know

The Lughnasadh and Lammas Pagan holidays celebrates the Wheel of the Year and the arrival of the late summer season!

The days are sticky hot and you spend your time finding ways to cool down. Gardens and farmlands are ripe with veggies in shades of dark green and yellow. This is the beginning of the first harvest and primarily involves grain and corn. Although the sun is strong and hot, you’ll notice the days are beginning to shorten.

This season is lush and abundant, but Nature is already beginning to sense the coming of colder Winter days. So begins the days of preparation: gathering seeds to plant next Spring, harvesting herbs, canning jams and jellies, and baking bread to store for those cold days ahead.

It’s important to also understand that there is so much more to Lughnasadh and not just the literal interpretation of harvesting because you may not be farming your own fields.

This is a time for gratitude, personal growth, and renewal. The energy and intentions of Lughnasadh are still prevalent in the day to day lives of those who live a nature spirituality based life.

Many Pagans, Witches, and those interested in Nature Spirituality celebrate the seasonal cycles. Sometimes referred to as the Wheel of the Year, and consisting of eight celebrations. Four of these festivals (Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain) are rooted in Celtic history and origins. The other four (Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Autumn Equinox, and Winter Solstice) represent the sun’s location. I created a complete guide to each season, including history, traditions, symbols, correspondences, ritual ideas, and how you can celebrate.

Table of Contents

Click here to read the rest of the article about Lammas from www.thepeculiarbrunette.com

The History of Christmas

Christmas may get buried under the catalogues of holiday cheer, present buying, and a lot of food prep stress, but the 2 thousand-year-old holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus has one of the most complex and interesting timelines of any holiday in the history of the world.

The annual festival celebrated on Dec. 24, Dec. 25, January 7, and Jan 19 depending on denomination, is both a cultural and deeply religious occasion celebrated by billions of people around the world. From the inclusion of the Christmas tree to the annual gift-giving, the feast day that spans through modern history has many traditions, myths, and stories that resonate around the globe.

As a main celebration in the Christian liturgical calendar, it follows the season of Advent and ushers in Christmastide, or The Twelve Days of Christmas. It was first decided to the specific date in the Western calendar by Dionysius Exiguus, a Scythian monk who was an abbot in Rome. With Exiguus’ research and biblical texts, Jesus’s birth was decided to have occurred on December 25, 1 C.E. There have been many disputes over the actual date of Jesus’s birth since, but Exiguus’ date has stuck despite them.

Prior to Christian celebrations, Roman pagans celebrated the holiday of Saturnalia, a week of raucous celebrations from December 17-25, where Roman courts were closed and the law dictated that citizens could not be punished for damaging property or injuring people during the feasting. The Romans believed these celebrations, which chose a community victim and forced them to indulge in food and festivities, destroyed the forces of evil when they murdered this victim at the conclusion of the week, on December 25.

In the 4th century, Christian leaders were successful at converting many pagans to Christianity by allowing them to also continue the celebration of Saturnalia, and this was its first connection to Jesus’s birth. Because the festival of Saturnalia had no connection with Christian teachings, leaders tacked on the holiday of Jesus’s birth onto the last day of the festival. For many years, contemporaries of the time continued to allow the celebration.

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Celebrate Summer Solstice and Connect With Nature Through These Rituals

After a long and seriously unforgiving winter, folks in the Northern Hemisphere are finally reaping the benefits of summer, as June 21 marks the official 2021 summer solstice. Many of us are already marking our calendars with beach days, hikes, and picnics galore — but if you’re looking to tap into the spiritual aspect of the seasonal shift, there are several solstice rituals you can do to welcome summer, in all its glory.

From gifting friends with sachets as a natural mosquito deterrent, to enjoying a seasonal feast of locally-grown goodies, there are so many fun ways to welcome and celebrate summer, sustainably.

8 Rituals For The Winter Solstice 2021: How To Make Your Own Light

Take a deep breath as we enter this time of the winter solstice on December 21 in the northern hemisphere. Think of it as a sacred gateway: an ending and a new beginning. With all the noise of 2021, it is time for some much-needed quiet and inner nourishment. Mother Nature is asking us to reflect, recalibrate, and strengthen our ability to shine in the world.

The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year and the longest night. At this time, many cultures believe that the archetypal Great Mother gave birth to a sun child (the Egyptian deity Isis gave birth to sun god Horus; the Greek Leto gave birth to a shining Apollo.) This is a moment to hold the light for yourself and others. Here are eight rituals to help you do so.

1. Turn off the lights.

On the night of the solstice, unplug your phone, TV, and tablets. Instead of turning on electric lights, eat dinner by candlelight and…

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Winter solstice 2021: Why it happens and how we celebrate the first day of winter

For the past six months, the days have grown shorter and the nights have grown longer in the Northern Hemisphere. But that’s about to reverse itself.

Winter solstice 2021, the shortest day of year and the official first day of winter, is on Tuesday, December 21. How it all works has fascinated people for thousands of years.

First we’ll look at the science and precise timing behind the solstice. Then we’ll explore some ancient traditions and celebrations around the world.

From msn.com