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.
Lammas is the first of the harvest festivals and this year despite the fiery Sun, it has a strong, sensual feel of cardinal earth. Mars lends a masculine energy to the Sun this week to help with the organizing for this bread festival. Round cornbread as a solar disk is an apt and easy choice for the altar, but if you plan several days ahead, you can sprout a small amount (1/4 cup) of wheat or barely for kitchen witchery. Add this to your other grains to your own bread from scratch; or buy frozen bread dough, thaw, pat into a rectangle, and sprinkle the sprouted grains. Roll up your dough like a jelly roll and place in a greased bread pan into which you have sprinkled Irish oats. You can use a sharp knife to crave goddess symbols into the loaf before baking.
©️ By K. D. Spitzer Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2002 Page 93
An Ancient Solar Celebration
Nearly every agricultural society has marked the high point of summer in some way, shape or form. On this date–usually around June 21 or 22 (or December 21/22 in the southern hemisphere)–the sun reaches its zenith in the sky. It is the longest day of the year, and the point at which the sun seems to just hang there without moving – in fact, the word “solstice” is from the Latin word solstitium, which literally translates to “sun stands still.” The travels of the sun were marked and recorded. Stone circles such as Stonehenge were oriented to highlight the rising of the sun on the day of the summer solstice.
Did You Know?
- Early European traditions celebrated midsummer by setting large wheels on fire and then rolling them down a hill into a body of water.
- The Romans honored this time as sacred to Juno, the wife of Jupiter and goddess of women and childbirth; her name gives us the month of June.
- The word “solstice” is from the Latin word solstitium, which literally translates to “sun stands still.”
December Solstice marks the arrival of the first day of summer in the southern hemisphere. That’s why in the earth’s southern areas, the December Solstice is known as the Summer Solstice. In 2021, the official first day of summer in Australia (southern hemisphere) will occur on Wednesday, December 22, at sharp 02:59 Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT).
Not to mention, this astronomical event will also mark the brightest as well as the longest day of the year in the southern hemisphere. On the other hand, for people living in the northern hemisphere, this solstice marks the arrival of the first day of winter. That’s why in the earth’s northern areas, December Solstice is known as the Winter or Hibernal Solstice. Again, for the people living in the northern half of the earth, this astronomical event will also mark the darkest as well as the shortest day of the year.
Simply speaking, one can say that the meaning of solstice changes depending…
To understand the difference between summer and winter solstices, we need to have a clear understanding of the word solstice. We know that earth revolves around sun in an elliptical orbit, but it also spins around its own axis. This is an imaginary line going right across the planet from North Pole to South Pole. Fortunately for our planet, this axis is not perpendicular but tilted about 23.5 degrees and it is this tilt that gives us seasons on earth. This tilt makes one half of earth receive more direct rays from sun than the other half which remains away from earth.
The axis, when it tilts towards the sun, it makes northern hemisphere receive more direct rays from the sun than southern hemisphere. This phenomenon occurs between June and September and thus this is the period when it is summer season in the northern hemisphere. Again, this axis tilts away from the sun between December and March which is why we have winter season in the northern hemisphere during this period. While it is summers in northern hemisphere as it receives more direct rays from the sun, it is winter in the southern hemisphere, and vice versa in winters.
There is beautiful harmony in this song.
Blessed be dear ones.
Winter Solstice Ritual Potpourri
Recipe by Gerina Dunwich
20 drops musk oil
25 drops pine oil
1 cup oak moss
2 cups dried mistletoe
1 cup dried poinsettia flowers
1 cup dried bayberries
1/2 cup dried rosemary
1/2 cup dried holly leaves and berries
3 crushed pinecones
Mix the musk and pine oils 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 “Yule 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)
Magickal Activity for December 21, The Summer Solstice
Midsummer is a celebration of light and life, symbolized by the flame of a candle and the movement of water. A large glass bowl filled with an assortment of floating candles makes a wonderful point of focus for ritual. Choose bright yellow sunflowers, white lilies, and red tulip-shaped candles. Have each person participating in the ritual inscribe his or her desire, with a pin, on a candle. Have each person come forward, place his or her candle in the bowl and light it as he makes his wish. Following the ritual, the bowl is placed outdoors, and the candles are left to burn out.
The Sun Wheel
One of the most popular symbols of Midsummer is the Sun Wheel, the turning of which suggests the turning, or progression, of the seasons. The Wheel is decorated with flowers, fresh herbs, and brightly colored ribbons.
The simplest method for making a Sun Wheel is to buy an already-prepared natural-branch wreath from an arts and crafts store. Affix small branches of rowan to form the spokes of the wheel (four spokes to represent the elements and cross-quarter days or eight to symbolize the eight Wiccan Sabbats). Use floral wire to attach fresh flowers and herbs to the wreath. Embellish with brightly colored ribbons. The wheel can be used as the focal point for your Midsummer rites or hung on the front door of your home for decoration.