Lammas in Southern Hemisphere – Imbolc in Northern Hemisphere

Blessing to all in the Southern Hemisphere for Lammas as we prepare for a change in seasons – Blessed Be!

Lammas

Lammas History: Welcoming the Harvest

By Patti Wigington, About.com

The Beginning of the Harvest:

At Lammas, also called Lughnasadh, the hot days of August are upon us, much of the earth is dry and parched, but we still know that the bright reds and yellows of the harvest season are just around the corner. Apples are beginning to ripen in the trees, our summer vegetables have been picked, corn is tall and green, waiting for us to come gather the bounty of the crop fields. Now is the time to begin reaping what we have sown, and gathering up the first harvests of grain, wheat, oats, and more.

This holiday can be celebrated either as a way to honor the god Lugh, or as a celebration of the harvest.

Celebrating Grain in Ancient Cultures:

Grain has held a place of importance in civilization back nearly to the beginning of time. Grain became associated with the cycle of death and rebirth. The Sumerian god Tammuz was slain and his lover Ishtar grieved so heartily that nature stopped producing. Ishtar mourned Tammuz, and followed him to the Underworld to bring him back, similar to the story of Demeter and Persephone.

In Greek legend, the grain god was Adonis. Two goddesses, Aphrodite and Persephone, battled for his love. To end the fighting, Zeus ordered Adonis to spend six months with Persephone in the Underworld, and the rest with Aphrodite.

A Feast of Bread:

In early Ireland, it was a bad idea to harvest your grain any time before Lammas — it meant that the previous year’s harvest had run out early, and that was a serious failing in agricultural communities. However, on August 1, the first sheaves of grain were cut by the farmer, and by nightfall his wife had made the first loaves of bread of the season.

The word Lammas derives from the Old English phrase hlaf-maesse, which translates to loaf mass. In early Christian times, the first loaves of the season were blessed by the Church.

Honoring Lugh, the Skillful God:

In some Wiccan and modern Pagan traditions, Lammas is also a day of honoring Lugh, the Celtic craftsman god. He is a god of many skills, and was honored in various aspects by societies both in the British Isles and in Europe. Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-NAS-ah) is still celebrated in many parts of the world today. Lugh’s influence appears in the names of several European towns.

Honoring the Past:

In our modern world, it’s often easy to forget the trials and tribulations our ancestors had to endure. For us, if we need a loaf of bread, we simply drive over to the local grocery store and buy a few bags of prepackaged bread. If we run out, it’s no big deal, we just go and get more. When our ancestors lived, hundreds and thousands of years ago, the harvesting and processing of grain was crucial. If crops were left in the fields too long, or the bread not baked in time, families could starve. Taking care of one’s crops meant the difference between life and death.

By celebrating Lammas as a harvest holiday, we honor our ancestors and the hard work they must have had to do in order to survive. This is a good time to give thanks for the abundance we have in our lives, and to be grateful for the food on our tables. Lammas is a time of transformation, of rebirth and new beginnings.

Symbols of the Season

The Wheel of the Year has turned once more, and you may feel like decorating your house accordingly. While you probably can’t find too many items marked as “Lammas decor” in your local discount store, there are a number of items you can use as decoration for this harvest holiday.

Crafts, Song and Celebration

Because of its association with Lugh, the skilled god, Lammas (Lughnasadh) is also a time to celebrate talents and craftsmanship. It’s a traditional time of year for craft festivals, and for skilled artisans to peddle their wares. In medieval Europe, guilds would arrange for their members to set up booths around a village green, festooned with bright ribbons and fall colors. Perhaps this is why so many modern Renaissance Festivals begin around this time of year!

  • Sickles and scythes, as well as other symbols of harvesting
  • Grapes and vines
  • Dried grains — sheafs of wheat, bowls of oats, etc.
  • Corn dolls — you can make these easily using dried husks
  • Early fall vegetables, such as squashes and pumpkins
  • Late summer fruits, like apples, plums and peaches

Lugh is also known in some traditions as the patron of bards and magicians. Now is a great time of year to work on honing your own talents. Learn a new craft, or get better at an old one. Put on a play, write a story or poem, take up a musical instrument, or sing a song. Whatever you choose to do, this is the right season for rebirth and renewal, so set August 1 as the day to share your new skill with your friends and family.

Imbolc Lore – Northern Hemisphere

Posted on February 2, 2015 by ladyoftheabyss

To all in the Northern Hemisphere I wish you a blessed Imbolc as you move towards the warmer months.  Blessed Be!

imbolc30

It is traditional upon Imbolc, at sunset or just after ritual, to light every lamp in the house-if only for a few moments. Or, light candles in each room in honor of the Sun’s rebirth. Alternately, light a kerosene lamp with a red chimney and place this in a prominent part of the home or in a window.

If snow lies on the ground outside, walk in it for a moment, recalling the warmth of summer. With your projective hand, trace an image of the Sun on the snow.

Foods appropriate to eat on this day include those from the dairy, since Imbolc marks the festival of calving. Sour cream dishes are fine. Spicy and full-bodied foods in honor of the Sun are equally attuned. Curries and all dishes made with peppers, onions, leeks, shallots, garlic or chives are appropriate. Spiced wines and dishes containing raisins-all foods symbolic of the Sun-are also traditional.

Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner
Scott Cunningham

Imbolc Ritual

By Scott Cunningham

A symbol of the season, such as a representation of a snowflake, a white flower, or perhaps some snow in a crystal container can be placed on the altar. An orange candle anointed with musk, cinnamon, frankincense or rosemary oil, unlit, should also be there. Snow can be melted and used for the water during the circle casting.

Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the Circle of Stones.

Recite the Blessing Chant.

Invoke the Goddess and God.

Say such words as the following:

This is the time of the feast of torches,
when every lamp blazes and shines
to welcome the rebirth of the God.
I celebrate the Goddess,
I celebrate the God;
All the Earth celebrates
Beneath its mantle of sleep.

Light the orange taper from the red candle on the altar (or at the Southern point of the circle). Slowly walk the circle clockwise, bearing the candle before you. Say these or similar words:

All the land is wrapped in winter.
The air is chilled and
frost envelopes the Earth.
But Lord of the Sun,
Horned One of animals and wild places,
Unseen you have been reborn of the gracious
Mother Goddess, Lady of all fertility.
Hail Great God! Hail and welcome!

Stop before the altar, holding aloft the candle. Gaze at its flame. Visualize your life blossoming with creativity, with renewed energy and strength.

If you need to look into the future or past, now is an ideal time.

Works of magic, if necessary, may follow.

Celebrate the Simple Feast.

The circle is released.

—Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner
Scott Cunningham

Whispering Woods Faery Lore Course: Lesson Two – Faery Fauna

Witches Of The Craft®

Whispering Woods Faery Lore Course

Lesson Two

Faery Fauna

There are of course far too many faery related fauna to list in this lesson. However we hope to give enough examples to help you familiarize yourself with the more common plants.

Ash:

(Fraxinus spp.)

The planting of Ash trees is said to protect ones home and livestock from mischievous faeries. It is said that placing ash buds on the cradle will prevent faeries from taking a child and leaving a changeling in its place. In Scandinavian lore, the first man “Askr” was made from Ash. And in some beliefs the Ash is the “axis mundi” or “World Tree”. In yet other belief systems it was from the Ash that “Yggdrasil” was created by Odin. Ash trees are believed to provide protection from fairies, which are said to be unable to harm anyone standing in the shadow of an ash tree.

View original post 1,341 more words

Whispering Woods Coven Faery Lore course: Lesson One – Faery Associations

Witches Of The Craft®

Whispering Woods Coven Faery Lore course

Lesson One

Faery Associations

“Remember when doing outside rituals to leave a libation for the wee folk. Milk and bread or cookies is fine.”

The Irish were known to have made knives of flint to protect against mischievous faeries. Small holes were drilled into the handle and the knife was hung by the door to keep out unwanted or undesirable faeries. By the same token arrow heads made out of flint were referred to as Elf -shot, Elf -arrow, or Faery-shot. It is thought that elves would hurl these arrow heads at mortals who then carried them off to their realm. In the victims place was left a changeling (Sithbheire) that was left to sicken and die.

It is from this that we get the term “Elf-stroke” or just “Stroke for short. These Elf-bolts are known as “Saighead sith”. And it is considered to…

View original post 769 more words

Whispering Woods Faery Lore Course

Witches Of The Craft®

I had a member ask me yesterday for some information on the Fae and some of their names. I didn’t want him to think I had forgotten him just my lunar activities had messed up my day time activities. I apologize for this and I remember Crick having an excellent course on the Fae. I use his information quite often and have permission to use his lessons. Some of his material is starting to disappear on Homestead and that is a terrible shame. He has done some wonderful research and is a valuable asset to the Pagan community.

I hope this gives those interested in the Fae some insight into them. Crick has several other courses that others might find of interest, you can check them out at Crick’s Free Pagan oriented courses.

 

Whispering Woods Faery Lore Course

This course is dedicated to Faeries, Gnomes, Sprites, Dryads and…

View original post 157 more words

WOTC Extra (b) Seasonal Spells

Witches Of The Craft®

06717896dc1a6e04ddab0c5131dee095

Seasonal Spells

This time I thought we would mix things up a bit – bit— instead of the usual spell candle setup, I decided it would be more interesting to work with the aroma lamps that are often used in aromatherapy. These small ceramic dishes are inexpensive and easily found in candle shops or arts and crafts stores. I picked one up for about five dollars. I have a friend who is an aromatherapist, and she uses these little lamps often. She asked me why I never wrote spells that included these handy little lamps, and the more I thought about it, the better I liked the idea.

After all, as she pointed out, the four elements are all represented neatly. The lamp itself is typically made of ceramic material (representing earth). The small tealight that is placed inside represents fire when it is lit. There is water that sits…

View original post 568 more words

Wassail Punch

Witches Of The Craft®


Yule Comments & Graphics

Wassail Punch

1 dozen apples; baked
1 cup water
4 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. freshly ground nutmeg
2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground mace
6 whole cloves
6 allspice berries
1 stick cinnamon
1 dozen eggs, separated
4 bottles sherry or Madeira wine
2 cups brandy

*Ancient England gave us the custom of “wassailing”. It is based on the tradition of friends gathering in a circle, whereupon the host drinks to the health of all present. He sips from a glass of hot punch or spiced ale, then passes the glass. A special bowl was used as the vessel. As each friend raises the vessel, before sipping he or she proclaims the Saxon toast, “Wass hael!” meaning “be whole” or “be well”. Although many versions exist, this one contains the symbolic ingredients: apples, representing fertility and health; spices, signifying riches and variety; eggs, a symbol of life and rebirth…

View original post 238 more words

Litha in Southern Hemisphere – Yule in Northern Hemisphere

Blessed Litha to those of us in the Southern Hemisphere, as we celebrate the longest day, may we stay safe and cool in these days of intense heat.

Blessed Be!

litha7

Litha – {Summer solstice}

Also known as ‘Midsummer Night’s Eve’, it is the longest day of the year. The Midsummer festival celebrates the kingly aspect of the God. It is a festival of passion and glory, a time to merge and commune with nature, sprites and fairies. In the Celtic traditions it is also a celebration of the Mother Goddess who is seen heavy with child, ready to deliver the fruits of the season so to speak.

Colours of red and maize yellow and gold are excellent decorations representing the Sun God, the masculine aspects of the season. Sunflowers and sunflower seeds are also excellent examples (provided you’ve planted them in early spring). Or replace the early spring wreath on your door with a new summer decoration of red feathers for sexuality and yellow feathers for prosperity, intertwined or braided with ivy. Altar candles should be of gold and red.

Money tree plants can be added to your mantle decorations for monetary wealth, (providing you once again have had an early planting season).

Yule – Winter Solstice – Northern Hemisphere

To those in the Northern Hemisphere, I wish you a blessed Yule, on this the shortest day of the year.  May you be safe and warm from the winter chills.

Blessed Be!

YULE11

 

The real “12 Days of Christmas”, Yule begins on “Mothers Night” and ends 12 days later on “Yule Night”. Typically starting on the 20th or 21st of December to December 31st (Northern Hemisphere), 20th or 21st of June to June 30th (Southern Hemisphere).

Yule is a time when the waxing sun overcomes the waning sun. The Holly King, which represents the death aspect of God, is overcome by the Oak King who represents the rebirth of the God. It is the time when you conclude the chapter of your life for the year and prepare for the rebirth of the New Year’s lessons and opportunities.

Celebrations vary from tradition to tradition, but there are some similarities that most people will probably recognise.

Dark red or Bayberry candles are used to decorate the home and ensure wealth and happiness for the coming year. Many Witches will place the candles as a centerpiece on their dining table and allow it to burn until it extinguishes by itself. A set of candles can also be placed on the mantle and lit at the beginning of the Yule ceremony.

The festival is associated with fire, and the Yule log. The fire is the tool that returns all to its beginnings, “ashes to ashes”. And prepares the soul for rebirth, the “rise of the Phoenix from the ashes”.

The season is also represented by the colors red (for the fire) and green (for the rebirth) process. The season includes the cutting of the Yule tree, decorating the home with a holy wreath (nature’s red and green bush) and decorating special cookies for celebrating the sweet joys of the year past and the sweetness for the year to come.

Finally the season includes the reindeer stag to represent the horned God, the Wiccan God of death and the final chapter of the year.