Ostara in Southern Hemisphere – Mabon in Northern Hemisphere

Many blessings to those of us in the Southern Hemisphere as we celebrate Ostara with the changing season. The cold weather is still around, although the days are getting longer, stay safe in this covid time, we here in Victoria are still in Stage Four lockdown, hopefully soon it will ease up a bit. Blessed Be!

This festival is named after the Anglo-Saxon Goddess Eostre, also known in Old German as Ostara. Little is known about this Goddess except that Her festival was celebrated at the Spring Equinox. She was a Goddess of Fertility and was connected with hares and eggs. She may have been a Goddess of the Dawn. She may also be connected with the Greek Eos and the Roman Aurora, both Dawn Goddesses, and with the Babylonian Ishtar and Phoenician Astarte, both who are Love Goddesses.

The Spring Equinox is a time both of fertility and new life, and of balance and harmony. Light and dark are here in balance, but the light is growing stronger. It is a time of birth, and of manifestation.

The days grow lighter and the Earth grows warmer. At Ostara, seeds may be blessed and planted. Seeds of wisdom, understanding and magikal skills may also be planted. Eggs are used for the creation of talismans, especially for fertility, or ritually eaten. The egg is a symbol of rebirth and its yolk represents the sun, and the white representing the White Goddess. This is a time of both growth and balance, a time to work on balancing yourself.

Ostara is a celebration of birth and new life. You will begin to see shoots of new growth and swelling buds on the trees. Energy is building as the days become warmer. This is the time of the official return of the young Goddess after Her Winter hibernation. The young God has now grown into manhood. It is believed that at Ostara the Goddess and the God consummated their love for one another. From this the Goddess became pregnant with the God to be reborn at Yule.

The Green Man is very predominate at this time of the year. He is a personification of all life that exist deep within Nature and is usually represented as the foliate mask made up of greenery, leaves growing from mouth and nose, and encircling the face as beard and hair. In some pictures He looks savage, ugly or threatening; in others He is benevolent and watchfully protective.

Blessed Be!

Mabon in Northern Hemisphere

Mabon blessings to all in the Northern Hemisphere as you get ready for the winter months, stay cosy, stay safe. Blessed Be!

Mabon is very much like Thanksgiving. Most of the crops have been reaped and abundance is more noticeable than ever! Mabon is the time when we reap the fruits of our labor and lessons, both crops and experiences. It is a time of joy, to celebrate that which is passing (for why should we mourn the beauty of the year or dwindling sunlight?), looking joyously at the experience the year has shared with us. And it is a time to gaze into the bright future. We are reminded once again of the cyclic universe; endings are merely new beginnings.

Since it is the time of dying sun, effort is also made to celebrate the dead with joyous remembrance. Natural energies are aligned towards protection, wealth, prosperity, security, and boosting self-confidence. Any spells or rituals centered around balance and harmony are appropriate.

Also, (from a variation in legend) the Equinox is the day of the year when the god of light, Lugh, is defeated by the god of darkness, Lugh’s twin and alter-ego, Tanist. The night conquers day. The tales state that the Equinox is the only day which Lugh is vulnerable and the possibility of his defeat exists. Lugh stands on the balance (Autumn Equinox-Libra) with one foot on the goat (Winter Solstice-Capricorn) and the other on the cauldron (Summer Solstice-Cancer). He is betrayed by Blodeuwedd, the Virgin (Virgo) and transformed into an Eagle (Scorpio).

Two events occur rapidly with Lugh’s defeat. Tanist, having beaten Lugh, now takes over Lugh’s place both as King of our world and lover to the Goddess Tailltiu. Although Tanist now sits on Lugh’s throne, his official induction does not take place for another six weeks at Samhain, the beginning of Winter, when he becomes the Dark King, the Winter Lord, the Lord of Misrule. He mates with Tailltiu, who conceives, and will give birth nine months later (at the Summer Solstice) to her son, another incarnation of Tanist himself, the Dark Child.

Yule in Southern Hemisphere – Litha in Northern Hemisphere

To all of us in the Southern Hemisphere I wish you a blessed Yule. I usually host a feast for a group of friends but because of the distancing situation we won’t be having it this year. I hope everybody stays safe, warm and healthy. Blessed Be!

yule dragon

YULE

Also known as Jul, Yuletide, Feill Fionnain, Alban Arthan.
Deities: Frey, Nerthus, Woden, Herne, Oak King, Holly King, Sul, Amaterasu, Isis, Osiris, Apollo.
Colours: Red, green, silver, gold, white.
Incense: Pine, cedar, frankincense and myrrh, cinnamon, orange.
Traditional Motifs: Evergreens, mistletoe, ivy, snowflakes, yule log, gifts, bells, solar disks, candles.

Yule comes from a Nordic word “Iul” meaning “wheel” and is a turning point, a point of change, where the tides of the year turn and begin to flow in the opposite direction. It is the darkest time of the year, the time of the longest night, but there is the promise of the return of light. Holly and mistletoe are often thought of at this time as they symbolise fertility – the mistletoe berries are white, representing the semen of the Horned God, and the holly berries are blood red, symbolising both the menstrual blood of the Goddess.

Evergreen trees also represent youth and freshness, and are symbols of the promise of spring. A Yule custom, still practised at Christmas (the time of Yule in the Northern Hemisphere) is to dress an evergreen tree, and make offerings. Pagans honour the spirit of the tree, and what it represents. The tree may be decorated with appropriate offerings such as fruit, pine cones, jewellery, symbols of the sun, symbols of fertility, etc. The star is put on the top of the tree as a sign of hope, the Goddess rising as the Star of the Sea, such as Isis, Ishtar, Aphrodite.

The God represents the Sun who passed away at Samhain, and will now be reborn after this long night to bring warmth and fertility to the land. The night belongs to the Goddess, and is a night of waiting, through Her pregnancy, for the Child of Promise. The Goddess turns the Wheel of the Year to its starting point for the morning after the longest night, Pagans greet the new Sun and celebrate the waxing year. The rising Sun brings the promise of Spring. It is still along time before the Sun will be strong. The Sun is now the Child of Promise, the young hero God. It is a time of making wishes and hopes for the coming year, and of setting resolutions. From the darkness comes light.

A popular custom at this time is the burning of the Yule log where a portion is saved for protection of the home during the coming year. The log is often decorated with holly and evergreens to symbolise the intertwining of the God and Goddess who are reunited on this day. The traditional roast pig served with an apple in its mouth represents the Goddess in Her dark aspect of Cerridwen, Freya, Astarte or Demeter to whom the pig is a sacred animal. The apple is sacred for it contains life itself, the essence of being, the soul which can be passed from one body to the other when eaten, the Goddess magick of immortality.

Litha – Northern Hemisphere

 To everyone in the Northern Hemisphere may you be blessed with the warmth of the sun and stay safe, healthy and socially distant.  Blessed Be!

litha-2

SUMMER SOLSTICE (Litha)

Southern Hemisphere: 21 December
Northern Hemisphere: 21 June

Also known as Alban Hefin.
Deities: Apollo, Balder, Oak King, Holly King, Sul, Isis, Hestia.
Colours: Sea green, red, gold, brown.
Incense: Frangipani, violet, cedar, St John’s Wort, basil.
Traditional Motifs: Oak leaves, acorns, antlers, straw wheels, bees, honey, floating candles, cauldrons, marigolds, ivy.

At the Summer Solstice the sun is at its highest and brightest and the day is at its longest. The Lord of Light has fought the powers of darkness, and is triumphant, ensuring fertility in the land. But in so doing, He sows the seeds of His own death. The Wheel turns and the Goddess shows Her Death-in-Life aspect, the Earth is fertile and all is in bloom, the Goddess reaches out to the fertilising Sun God at the height of His Powers. The Goddess is now heavily pregnant just as the Earth is full and ready to share Her bounty. The Summer Solstice is a time of fulfilment of love. Flowers are in bloom everywhere, ready for pollination, fertilisation, yet once fertilised they die so that the seeds and fruits may develop. At the same time, summer fruits appear, for a short but delicious season.

Although the days begin to grow shorter after Litha, the time of greatest abundance is still to come. The promises of the Goddess and God are still to be fulfilled. This is a time of beauty, love, strength, energy, rejoicing in the warmth of the sun, and the promise of the fruitfulness to come. It seems a carefree time, yet the knowledge of life is the knowledge of death, and beauty is but transitory. Pagans celebrate life, and the triumph of light, but also acknowledge death.

In many British Pagan traditions, the tale of the Oak and Holly King, the light and dark lords, is told. The Oak King represents the waxing year, Mid-Winter to Mid-Summer, while the Holly King represents the waning year, Mid-Summer to Mid-Winter. They are both necessary because without decay and destruction no new growth can begin. Twice a year they meet each other and fight. At Yule it was the Oak King who won the battle. At the Summer Solstice, although light is at its strength, it also is the peak of the Oak King’s reign, he is conquered by his darker twin, the Holly King, and the inevitable journey towards the darkness and the depths begins.

Samhain in Southern Hemisphere – Beltane in Northern Hemisphere

Many Samhain blessings in the Southern Hemisphere.  It is Halloween here so why not put up some decorations to make the time indoors more fun. It’s cold and the rain is pouring down and I have a cat draped over my legs.  The days are growing cold here and in these trying times we are all indoors.  We have been incredibly lucky with the numbers here in Australia.  So continue to take care and look out for each other.  Blessed Be!

SamhainGreetings1

Samhain Lore and Traditions

Also known as: November Eve, Feast of the Dead, Feast of Apples, Hallows
and All Hallows Eve.

Possibly the biggest festival of the Witches’ year, Samhain is a time to remember those who have passed on, celebrate the Summers end and prepare for Winter months ahead. The Sun God and earth fall into slumber, as the nights lengthen and winter begins.

Samhain, (pronounced SOW-in, SAH-vin, or SAM-hayne) means “End of Summer”, and is the third and final Harvest. The dark winter half of the year commences on this Sabbat.

Various other names for this Greater Sabbat are Third Harvest, Samana, Day of the Dead, Old Hallowmas (Scottish/Celtic), Vigil of Saman, Shadowfest (Strega), and Samhuinn. Also known as All Hallow’s Eve, (that day actually falls on November 7th), and Martinmas (that is celebrated November 11th), Samhain is now generally considered the Witch’s New Year.

It is generally celebrated on October 31st, but some traditions prefer November 1st.It is one of the two “spirit-nights” each year, the other being Beltane. It is a magical interval when the mundane laws of time and space are temporarily suspended, and the Thin Veil between the worlds is lifted. Communicating with ancestors and departed loved ones is easy at this time, for they journey through this world on their way to the Summerlands.

It is a time to study the Dark Mysteries and honor the Dark Mother and the Dark Father, symbolized by the Crone and her aged Consort. Tradition also teaches that the aid of spirits and guides from the other world was easily enlisted at this time, so in the increasing moonlight of longer nights, many used this time to hone their psychic and divinatory skills, especially with regard to love and marriage.

Originally known as the “Feast of the Dead” this sabbat was celebrated in Celtic countries by leaving food offerings on altars and doorsteps for the “wandering dead”.Today a lot of practitioners still carry out that tradition. Single candles were lit and left in a window to help guide the spirits of ancestors and loved ones home. Extra chairs were set to the table and around the hearth for the unseen guest. Apples were buried along roadsides and paths for spirits who were lost or had no descendants to provide for them. Turnips were hollowed out and carved to look like protective spirits, for this was a night of magic and chaos.

The Wee Folke became very active, pulling pranks on unsuspecting humans. Traveling after dark was was not advised. People dressed in white (like ghosts), wore disguises made of straw, or dressed as the opposite gender in order to fool the Nature spirits.

The Christian religion has adopted this day as All Saints Day, or All Hallows Day, celebrating the eve as All Hallows Eve, or Halloween. The superstition and misconception linked to this celebration by the early church, led people to take some unusual precautions to protect themselves. They adopted the tradition of dressing in frightening costumes or disguises, and displaying scary looking Jack-O-Lanterns to help protect them from spirits they considered to be evil. In the British Isles, the young people would disguise themselves with hideous masks and walk through the village, lighting their way with lanterns made from carved turnips.

This was also the time that the cattle and other livestock were slaughtered for eating in the ensuing winter months. Any crops still in the field on Samhain were considered taboo, and left as offerings to the Nature spirits. Bonfires were built, (originally called bone-fires, for after feasting, the bones were thrown in the fire as offerings for healthy and plentiful livestock in the New Year) and stones were marked with peoples names. Then they were thrown into the fire, to be retrieved in the morning. The condition of the retrieved stone foretold of that person’s fortune in the coming year. Hearth fires were also lit from the village bonfire to ensure unity, and the ashes were spread over the harvested fields to protect and bless the land.

Symbolism of Samhain:
Third Harvest, the Dark Mysteries, Rebirth through Death.

Symbols of Samhain:
Gourds, Apples, Black Cats, Jack-O-Lanterns, Besoms.

Herbs of Samhain:
Mugwort, Allspice, Broom, Catnip, Deadly Nightshade, Mandrake, Oak leaves, Sage and Straw.

Foods of Samhain:
Turnips, Apples, Gourds, Nuts, Mulled Wines, Beef, Pork, Poultry.

Incense of Samhain:
Heliotrope, Mint, Nutmeg.

Colors of Samhain:
Black, Orange, White, Silver, Gold.

Stones of Samhain:
All Black Stones, preferably jet or obsidian.

Traditional Foods:
Apples, Pears, Pomegranates, All Grains, Pumpkin-pie, Hazelnuts, Cakes for the dead, Corn, Cranberry muffins and breads, Ale, Cider, Herbal teas (especially Mugwort) and Meat unless vegetarian and then tofu will do.

Herbs:
Calendula, Cosmos, Chrysanthemum, Wormwood, Hazel, Thistle.

Incense:
Mint, Heliotrope, Nutmeg, Sage or Floral’s.

Woods and Herbs Burned:
Apple, Heliotrope, Mint, Nutmeg, Sage.

Sacred Gemstone:
Aquamarine.

For further information on rites and rituals to celebrate the sabbats, we recommend:

Pagan Holidays and Earth Magic by Kardia Zoe

However you choose to celebrate Samhain, be adventurous and investigate some of the older traditions. There is a large amount of interesting and sometimes comical lore surrounding this date. As an aside, it’s OK. to dress up as Witches’, Goblins and have fun with the more nonsense aspects of this holiday. It is good however to set aside some time to learn the true meaning behind this date and follow those observances as our ancestors did.

Blessed Be!

Reference: https://wicca.com/celtic/akasha/samhainlore.htm

Beltane in Northern Hemisphere

To all in the Northern Hemisphere I wish you a blessed Beltane.  Your days are growing warmer, which will be making it difficult not to got outside.  I wish you all well, please take care and hopefully things will begin to improve.  Blessed Be!

BeltaneBlessings

Beltane Festival is held in honour of the god Bel.

 In some modern traditions he is also known by the names, Beli, Belar, Balor, or Belenus.

In the myth of many modern traditions of wicca/witchcraft, Beltane marks the appearance of the Horned One, who is the rebirth of the Solar God slain during the Wheel of the Year. He then becomes consort to the Goddess, impregnating her with his seed, and thereby ensuring his own rebirth once again.

 Beltane marks the beginning of summer’s half and the pastoral growing season. The word “Beltane” literally means “bright fire”, and refers to the bonfires lit during this season.

It is also a time of beginnings, the beginnings of many new projects.

 Beltane is a fertility festival, concerned with Nature enchantments and offerings to wildlings and Elementals.

 The return of full-blown fertility is now very evident.

 The powers of elves and faeries are growing and will reach their height at the Summer Solstice.

 The celts respected faeries, active at this sabbat, and were sure that these Little People would come to the celebration disguised as humans to ask for a part of the fire, which, when freely given, would give the faeries some measure of power over the giver.

 Beltane is the cross quarter holiday between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice it is the time when the abundance of flowers and green is a welcome relief from winters drabness; it was traditionally a day for leaping the Beltane fires, which were lit to honour the sun god, and for celebrating fertility.

 Beltane celebrates the blessing between Mother Earth and Father Sky and honours all life.

 Both are times when the “veil” between the worlds is thought to be thinnest, and therefore magik can happen, such as visits from faeries or similar other-worldly occurrences.

 This is a good time for invoking our spirit guides to help us.

 A blessed Beltane to you!

Mabon in Southern Hemisphere – Ostara in Northern Hemisphere

Mabon blessings to us in the Southern Hemisphere, as we head towards winter and the cooler days ahead I wish for everybody to stay healthy and safe.  May the madness of the moment calm down and everybody go back to normal living. Blessed Be!

mabon

Mabon is very much like Thanksgiving. Most of the crops have been reaped and abundance is more noticeable than ever! Mabon is the time when we reap the fruits of our labor and lessons, both crops and experiences. It is a time of joy, to celebrate that which is passing (for why should we mourn the beauty of the year or dwindling sunlight?), looking joyously at the experience the year has shared with us. And it is a time to gaze into the bright future. We are reminded once again of the cyclic universe; endings are merely new beginnings.

Since it is the time of dying sun, effort is also made to celebrate the dead with joyous remembrance. Natural energies are aligned towards protection, wealth, prosperity, security, and boosting self-confidence. Any spells or rituals centered around balance and harmony are appropriate.

Also, (from a variation in legend) the Equinox is the day of the year when the god of light, Lugh, is defeated by the god of darkness, Lugh’s twin and alter-ego, Tanist. The night conquers day. The tales state that the Equinox is the only day which Lugh is vulnerable and the possibility of his defeat exists. Lugh stands on the balance (Autumn Equinox-Libra) with one foot on the goat (Winter Solstice-Capricorn) and the other on the cauldron (Summer Solstice-Cancer). He is betrayed by Blodeuwedd, the Virgin (Virgo) and transformed into an Eagle (Scorpio).

Two events occur rapidly with Lugh’s defeat. Tanist, having beaten Lugh, now takes over Lugh’s place both as King of our world and lover to the Goddess Tailltiu. Although Tanist now sits on Lugh’s throne, his official induction does not take place for another six weeks at Samhain, the beginning of Winter, when he becomes the Dark King, the Winter Lord, the Lord of Misrule. He mates with Tailltiu, who conceives, and will give birth nine months later (at the Summer Solstice) to her son, another incarnation of Tanist himself, the Dark Child.

 Ostara – Northern Hemisphere

To all in the Northern Hemisphere I wish you good health and please be kind to each other.  Blessed Ostara to you all. Blessed Be!

ostara-blessings

This festival is named after the Anglo-Saxon Goddess Eostre, also known in Old German as Ostara. Little is known about this Goddess except that Her festival was celebrated at the Spring Equinox. She was a Goddess of Fertility and was connected with hares and eggs. She may have been a Goddess of the Dawn. She may also be connected with the Greek Eos and the Roman Aurora, both Dawn Goddesses, and with the Babylonian Ishtar and Phoenician Astarte, both who are Love Goddesses.

The Spring Equinox is a time both of fertility and new life, and of balance and harmony. Light and dark are here in balance, but the light is growing stronger. It is a time of birth, and of manifestation.

The days grow lighter and the Earth grows warmer. At Ostara, seeds may be blessed and planted. Seeds of wisdom, understanding and magikal skills may also be planted. Eggs are used for the creation of talismans, especially for fertility, or ritually eaten. The egg is a symbol of rebirth and its yolk represents the sun, and the white representing the White Goddess. This is a time of both growth and balance, a time to work on balancing yourself.

Ostara is a celebration of birth and new life. You will begin to see shoots of new growth and swelling buds on the trees. Energy is building as the days become warmer. This is the time of the official return of the young Goddess after Her Winter hibernation. The young God has now grown into manhood. It is believed that at Ostara the Goddess and the God consummated their love for one another. From this the Goddess became pregnant with the God to be reborn at Yule.

The Green Man is very predominate at this time of the year. He is a personification of all life that exist deep within Nature and is usually represented as the foliate mask made up of greenery, leaves growing from mouth and nose, and encircling the face as beard and hair. In some pictures He looks savage, ugly or threatening; in others He is benevolent and watchfully protective.

Blessed Be!

Litha in Southern Hemisphere – Yule in Northern Hemisphere

For those of us in the Southern Hemisphere we are experiencing multiple weather conditions. Sadly fires are raging in many states and my heart goes out to those who have lost family and homes. The fire fighters are doing an exceptional job. So everybody have a wonderful Christmas and a Blessed Summer Solstice. Blesssed Be!

litha-2

This is the longest day of the year, and a time of joy and strength for the light. It is a time when the powers of nature are at their fullest. In the past this was often marked with bonfires and celebrants staying awake through the short night. To leap over the bonfire was to assure a good crop; some said the grain would grow as tall as the leapers could jump. Due to fire restrictions in Australia throughout summer, celebrations for this Sabbat tend to be quite different from those throughout the rest of the year. No candles can be lit, no cauldrons burned, and no open flames are allowed outside throughout much of the country. Litha falls in the dry stifling heat of summer in the southern part of our land, but in the north, Litha falls in the hot, wet season, and represents fruitfulness. In Australia the Sturt Desert Pea is a sacred flower of this time. This is a time of ascendancy of the God, at his most powerful now, while the burgeoning Goddess brings forth the bounty of the Earth.

Find out more about Litha from Wikipedia and the following pages in this section:

https://aussiewytch.wordpress.com/sabbats/litha-summer-solstice/

 

Yule in Northern Hemisphere

To all in the Northern Hemisphere, I see you are also experiencing extreme weather conditions, so stay safe and enjoy your Yule festivities as Winter Solstice and your shortest day arrives. Blessed Be!

yule dragon

Yule/Winter Solstice December 21st

At Samhain we honour, celebrate and welcome the descent into, and return of, the dark – the beginning of the New Year, acknowledging that all beginnings emerge from darkness. At the Winter Solstice we reach the depth of that darkness with the longest night of the year. Darkness has reached its peak.

“Now we start to wonder: will this continue? Will the Earth grow darker and colder as the Sun disappears into the south until only darkness is left? But at Yule a wonderful thing happens. The Sun stops its decline and for a few days it rises in about the same place. This is the crucial time, the cusp between events. The Sun stands still, and everyone waits for the turning.

In our heads we know the light will return. But in the darkness of Winter, can we be sure? do our hearts believe what our heads tell us? Will the light keep its promises? We all have moments of darkness, when we don’t know how much deeper we will go before the light starts to return (or even if it will). The world has moments too; it understands us, and lives as we do.

The Sun does start north again and the light comes back. In the world, in our lives, the light comes back. This is indeed something worth celebrating, and it has been celebrated throughout the Northern Hemisphere in remarkably similar ways.” (quote from The Pagan Family by Ceisiwr Serith)

The Festival of Rebirth and The Return of the Sun

With the end of the longest night the dark is defeated with the Return of the Sun, the return of light, hope and promise. The Goddess gives birth to the Sun/Sun God. The Sun begins to wax and the days grow longer. All that is hidden will begin to emerge. This is the Sun’s birthday! And it really is time to celebrate!

The Oak King and The Holly King

The Holly King rules over the dark part of the year from Midsummer to Yule, he is God of the Waning Year. At Yule he surrenders his life to the young light Oak King, God of the Waxing Year and his twin, who rules over the light part of the year from Yule to Midsummer. Both rule for half of the year, both fight for the favour and love of the Goddess and both surrender their life force for the well-being of the land. In truth, they are one.(Merayllah Allwood)

Traditions of Yule

Yule, or Winter Solstice traditions are many and generous, and are shared not only with Christianity with the birthday of the Christ Child, but with many pre-Christian Pagan traditions and indeed more recent ones. It is difficult sometimes to identify their sources, but they are all very familiar in our Western culture even if we don’t recognise the symbology behind them.

The Evergreen

Evergreens represent everlasting life and were traditionally hung around doorways and windows. Each has a symbolism of its own.

Mistletoe

Greatly revered by the Druids, this is the healer and protector. It is carefully cut to ensure it never touches the earth. It’s magical properties are believed to be connected to the fact that it lives between the worlds, between sky/heaven and earth. The white berries of mistletoe represent the fertile white semen of the life-giving male. Which is where kissing under the mistletoe comes from!

Holly

Another evergreen of protection, holly’s spiky bristles are believed to repel unwanted spirits. Newborn babies used to be sprinkled with ‘holly water’, water in which holly had been soaked, especially potent if left under a full moon overnight. Holly is sacred to Holle, the Germanic underworld goddess, and symbolizes everlasting life, goodwill and potent life energy. Its red berries represent feminine blood. Together, mistletoe and holly represent the Sacred Marriage at this time of year with the re-birth of the Sun/Son.

Ivy

Evergreen symbol of immortality and resurrection, growing in a spiral reminding us of reincarnation and rebirth. Sacred to Osiris, where His death and resurrection was a central theme in Egyptian religion. Sacred also to Dionysys, god of vegetation, blossoming and the Return of Spring.

Yew

Tree of regeneration and rebirth as no other – it sends up new trees from its roots and grows to a very great age. It is deeply connected with the spirit realms and the ancestors. Often used as the central ‘world tree’ in ritual spaces and was often planted in graveyards. Very poisonous.

Pine

Its branches bring healing and joy to the home, burning it will purify.

The Kissing Bough

At Yuletide it has often been customary to make a decoration using two hoops, one thrust through the other, and bound with evergreens, holly and ivy, and rosy cheeked apples specially reserved for the occasion. Inside, dolls are hung, male and female, with other brightly coloured baubles. At the bottom of the decoration a bunch of mistletoe is carefully tied, and the whole tableau is suspended in the middle of the room, the centre of attention. Every berry on the mistletoe bears the promise of a kiss, and for every kiss given or taken a berry is removed. When all the berries are gone, the kissing has to stop! (Hedingham Fair)

The Wreath

It was traditional to make wreaths from evergreen – the Wheel of Life as evergreen. These were hung on doors or laid horizontally and decorated with candles – later becoming the Christian Advent Wreath

The Yule Tree

Introduced into modern times apparently by the German Prince Albert in Victorian times and we love it. In ancient Rome, pine trees were an essential part of Goddess groves. On the eve of the Midwinter Solstice, Roman priests would cut down a pine tree, decorate it and carry it ceremonially to the temple celebrations. People decked their homes with boughs of evergreen trees and bushes in pots. Pines and firs were cherished as a symbol of rebirth and life in the depth of winter. It was the festival of Saturnalia. Pagan families would bring a live tree into the home so the wood spirits would have a place to keep warm in the cold winter months – food and treats were hung on the branches for the spirits to eat.

Candles

This is the festival of light out of darkness and the tradition of lighting candles is ever popular. Red, green and the gold of the Returning Sun are the colours of Yule. Deck your home and altar with evergreens and candles.

Gift Giving
This is THE Birthday of the Sun/Son! From ancient times the giving and exchanging of gifts has been a vibrant tradition of this festival.

Buttermilk Bread Charm for Yule.

You will need:

3 mugs of strong white flour
500 ml of Buttermilk (available from the supermarket)
I teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda
Yule ribbon in red & green or gold
4 dessertspoons of honey
3 dessertspoons of golden syrup
4 dessertspoons of mixed peel
3/4 cup of mixed dried fruit
3 pieces of ginger, roughly chopped (the type you get in syrup)
chopped walnuts and rich brown sugar for sprinkling

Place the flours in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre. Sieve in the blended salt and soda and pour in the buttermilk. Mix well all the remaining ingredients with a wooden spoon until the dough feels springy. You can add some of the preserved ginger syrup for extra stickyness and zing) If it feels too sloppy just add a little more flour. Turn it onto a board and cover with a fine dusting of flour. Pat it with your hands until you have a round shape. Take a sharp knife and score lightly into eight sections, one for each festival. Brush with milk and sprinkle with nuts and sugar.

Place onto a greased baking tray and pop your buttermilk bread into a moderate oven for about 20-25 minutes. Keep an eye on it. When the bread is ready it will change colour and it will sound hollow when you tap the bottom. Cool completely on a wire rack. When it is cool, tie it with Yule ribbon.

Take time to concentrate on the bread you have created and turn the loaf three times saying “From the fields and through the stones, into fire, Yule Bread, as the Wheel turns may all be fed. Goddess Bless.”

Now take your bread and share it with your family and friends and pass on the generous blessings of this festival of Rebirth! Eat it fresh, as soon as it is made if you can.

Recipe donated by the Counter Enchantress. Adapted by the Boss Lady with permission.

The Counter Enchantress is discovering that you can add almost anything appropriate to this simple bread recipe and it STILL WORKS beautifully. You can decide for yourself what the appropriate additions are for a particular festival, and just do it. There is much kitchen magic in working with one recipe through the Wheel of the Year just changing it a little as the wheel turns…..

Yuletide Charm

You need:
One wooden spoon
Thin red and green, or gold ribbon

Take the spoon in your right hand and say ‘Brightest blessings on this Yuletide Fare, give Love and Peace in equal share’. Tie the ribbon in a bow around the neck of the spoon and say ‘with Yuletide Warmth my Hearth be blessed, That lifts the Heart of Kin and Guest’.

Take your charm and place it in a suitable place in your kitchen. This charm can be extended in many ways, for example by tying a pouch of cinnamon together with the ribbon. Brilliant small gift – and you can do it yourself!
The Spirit of Yule

Above all, Yuletide is a Celebration of the Return of the Light, the promise fulfilled of Light birthing out of Darkness.
It is a time to share Love and Celebrate with our community of Family and Friends.
And the Wheel Turns…
Enjoy. xxx
All information offered is checked to the best of our ability, and whilst every effort has been made to make it accurate, no responsibility will be accepted for errors and omissions.


Any information displayed on our web site(s) or other printed matter from the shop is not regarded to be authoritative or certified as the best practice and is only considered to be useful supplementary advice to other certified codes of practice. All information on our web site is updated regularly.

https://www.goddessandgreenman.co.uk/yule

 

Beltane in Southern Hemisphere – Samhain in Northern Hemisphere

Beltane blessings to all of us in the Southern Hemisphere, we are heading towards summer and here in parts of Australia bush fires are raging already so we will be on high alert all throughout the summer.

It’s not really Halloween here, but as there is so much hype about it you can’t tell the children not to trick or treat, so they do. We have loads of kids come to our house, they love it.

Blessed Be! to all.

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Southern Hemisphere Beltane
The date for the Southern Hemispheric Beltane is October 31st and ‘May Day’ is November 1st. The climax of Spring!

Beltane is the peak of Spring, a celebration of fertility. In ancient times it was the Beltane Rites that reconnected each year the King to the Goddess, the masculine to the feminine.  It is a time for us to give thanks for our fertile lives, our creativity and our gender specific gifts and roles. Its a time to notice and honour the difference in the masculine and feminine. It is a time of increasing growth, building to almost full potential, of beauty and heightened passion.

Beltane Spiritual Practice
Your being, as part of the Earth, part of the cycle of the seasons, will be influenced by this energy whether you’re paying attention to it or not. If you pay some attention, you will feel it, and you can be in flow with it.

Think like the gardener, and align with the Earth energy of now, contemplate the growth that is peaking in your life, that is getting all the attention…if conditions support its final growth phase, this is what will eventually fruit.

So, how can you best nurture what is blossoming in your life now so that it will bear fruit?
What do you know you must do?
And if you are not doing it, why aren’t you?
Where is your desire leading you?

Suggested Ceremony for Beltane
Our community gathers at Beltane to honour and celebrate the rites of passage of our young folk as they grow from children to fertile young adults and to express ceremonially the specific and very different roles of the masculine and the feminine.

It’s a joyous time, much looked forward to. We camp for the weekend, sitting on the Earth. We live as a community together, all helping each other. We have separate women’s and men’s circles to conduct the rites of passage for the teenagers and then reunite as the sun sets dancing around a big fire, welcoming the new young adults back to the group in their new roles and status.

The next day, ‘May Day’, we have a May Pole ceremony. The May Pole is a beautiful ceremony for young and old and has deeper levels of significance the more you lend yourself to the symbology of all that it represents.

For the children it is a fun and playful game with their parents, dancing and singing, for the adults it is a re-enactment of the union of the masculine and the feminine and a chance to weave magic and love into that aspect of yourself within and without.

Here’s a suggestion for a simple ceremony to honour the Beltane energy with your family or by yourself:
Do what you do to make sacred space, call for protection, guidance and support and focus.

Go around the circle and each person can give thanks for all that is growing in their life, if you are alone, take your time and really feel this giving thanks process.

Choose one or two or three, you’ll know how many, specific things that are growing that you would like to focus on.

You could put something on your altar that represents this/these and light a candle for it/them.

Ask those there with you if they would be willing to support you in seeing this particular thing come to its fullness, and you could ask them for specific help if appropriate.

If you are doing this with your children it would probably be a good time to offer suggestions to them for what could help them.

And it is said that at Beltane, the veils between the worlds are thin and so you can see the fairies, so be sure to look out for them!

Blessed Be!

Source: https://janehardwickecollings.com/southern-hemisphere-beltane/

 

Samhain in Northern Hemisphere

To all in the Northern Hemisphere I wish you a Blessed Samhain, as the cold and snow begins to come your way may you stay warm and cosy. Enjoy Halloween and trick or treating. Blessed Be!

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Samhain or Hallowe’en is the third and final harvest festival of the year and falls on October 31st in the Northern Hemisphere. Samhain or Hallowe’en is actually the end of autumn and the beginning of winter. We move now deep into the yin part of the cycle and the pumpkin patch! And as Mother Earth teaches us, if you didn’t plant in Spring or if you didn’t care for the vulnerable sprouts or the growing vine (etc) during the growth cycle, then there will be no harvest, simple as that.

This is an invitation from Mother Nature to be with one of the greatest opportunities and lessons in life, to be present with what is, and at this point in the cycle what is happening is the slowing down, going inward, letting go of all that no longer serves you and moving toward your still quiet centre. This time ahead invites inner reflection and contemplation.

Samhain Spiritual Practice
At Samhain time all the Earth’s living beings commence their preparation for the decent into the colder darker season of winter and we as the gardeners, the caretakers, are not excluded from this process.

In our modern lives it is easy to miss this significant transition point, carrying on regardless. But do take the opportunity to connect deeply with the rhythm of the circle in the cycle of the seasons. Depending on how you feel about the dark and endings, will influence how you experience the energy of this season. The bottom line is that the letting go and the descent in to the dark is inevitable, so we may as well ‘go with the flow’, if we don’t, some how or other, Nature and our nature will take us there anyway.

The final harvest at Samhain time is most evident in of our Earth and feel what is.

Literally, its time to gather the firewood, harvest the last of the pumpkins from the vine, take stock and move our living and playing inside where its warmer.

Seeing this metaphorically, its also time to move to a more reflective, contemplative space within ourselves, very different to the ‘out there-ness’ of summer.

With reflection and contemplation comes a deeper sense of self-awareness and ‘awareness is curative’ so this is a ‘health-full’ place to come to consciously, and an important part of the cycle.

These final ‘fruits’ you are harvesting now, are what you have to sustain you through the winter months when there is no outward growth. ‘Find’ these ‘fruits’ when you look at your life both literally and metaphorically. Look at your health, your relationships, your work, your life situation, what looks like the fruits, the harvest?

Remember, the ‘fruits’ also hold the ‘seeds’ of what will grow in the next growth cycle, they hold the lessons available to be learned from all you’ve done this growth cycle so far, since the beginning back in Spring earlier in the year.

And these seeds will gestate over the Winter,
and be what will be reborn in the Spring.

This happens literally in the garden and metaphorically in our lives, and often unconsciously, this is what’s going on when its ‘the same old same old’ things happening in your life.

The idea is that you notice the patterns repeating and then bring your choice to it. For example on seeing the ‘seeds’ contained in the ‘fruits’ of this harvest, you might ‘learn the lessons’ from this ending growth cycle and change how you do things next growth cycle (Spring). This could be new ways you approach your work, relationships, health, where you put your energy etc.….you’ll know.

Make your life your spiritual practice.
Notice how you feel the energy of this part of the Earth’s season affecting you.

  • How does your body feel?
  • Do you have a dominant emotion?
  • And what are the messages from these?

Notice what you need to notice, learn what you need to learn, change what you need to change and heal what you need to heal. That’s the opportunity, that’s the gift. Journal as you go.

Suggested Ceremony for Samhain, Hallowe’en
Samhain is the final harvest festival marking the descent into winter. A time for us to carve pumpkins and hone our intuitive skills so we can discern the tricks from the treats!
In ancient times Samhain was known as a dark time, honoured but not feared. It was said that on this night the veils between the worlds were at their most thin making it possible to communicate with the dead and that loving ancestor’s spirits would return to connect with the living on this night.

The prejudices of our western patriarchal culture have, over the centuries, changed the messages of this powerful time from – respectful of the dark, the Crone and Wise Old Man and the death/rebirth part of the cycle – to fear, with the Crone represented as a scary witch and ancestor’s spirits as spooky ghosts.

At Samhain you can light a candle and call your dearly departed ones. Have a conversation, say what you wished you’d said, hear what they say to you. Perhaps create an altar in their honour and sit there in a meditative space and see what happens. You can do this with your children too, perhaps they wish to ‘speak’ to loved ones, pets included, that have passed away. Its important to include the reality of the ‘circle of life’ in children’s worlds.
With your community, gather the children and have fun dressing up and playing the traditional Hallowe’en games, and be sure to tell them the stories of the wisdom of the cycles that are playing out at the sabbats.

Blessed Be!

Source:   https://janehardwickecollings.com/samhain-halloween-northern-hemisphere/

Ostara in Southern Hemisphere – Mabon in Northern Hemisphere

Blessed Ostara to us in the Southern Hemisphere as we head towards summer.  May we stay safe throughout the long hot days. Blessed Be!

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Ostara — Spring or The Vernal Equinox
Also known as: Lady Day or Alban Eiler (Druidic)
As Spring reaches its midpoint, night and day stand in perfect balance, with light on the increase. The young Sun God now celebrates a hierogamy (sacred marriage) with the young Maiden Goddess, who conceives. In nine months, she will again become the Great Mother. It is a time of great fertility, new growth, and newborn animals.

The next full moon (a time of increased births) is called the Ostara and is sacred to Eostre the Saxon Lunar Goddess of fertility (from whence we get the word estrogen, whose two symbols were the egg and the rabbit.

The Christian religion adopted these emblems for Easter which is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox. The theme of the conception of the Goddess was adapted as the Feast of the Annunciation, occurring on the alternative fixed calendar date of March 25 Old Lady Day, the earlier date of the equinox. Lady Day may also refer to other goddesses (such as Venus and Aphrodite), many of whom have festivals celebrated at this time.

Traditional Foods:
Leafy green vegetables, Dairy foods, Nuts such as Pumpkin, Sunflower and Pine. Flower Dishes and Sprouts.

Herbs and Flowers:
Daffodil, Jonquils, Woodruff, Violet, Gorse, Olive, Peony, Iris, Narcissus and all spring flowers.

Incense:
Jasmine, Rose, Strawberry, Floral of any type.

Sacred Gemstone:
Jasper

Special Activities:
Planting seeds or starting a Magickal Herb Garden. Taking a long walk in nature with no intent other than reflecting on the Magick of nature and our Great Mother and her bounty.

By Herne

 

Mabon in Northern Hemisphere

I wish you a blessed Mabon as the days become cooler and you head into Autumn and Winter. Stay cosy and warm Blessed Be!

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Mabon
Autumn Equinox, 2nd Harvest, September 21st

Mabon, (pronounced MAY-bun, MAY-bone, MAH-boon, or MAH-bawn) is the Autumn Equinox. The Autumn Equinox divides the day and night equally, and we all take a moment to pay our respects to the impending dark. We also give thanks to the waning sunlight, as we store our harvest of this year’s crops. The Druids call this celebration, Mea’n Fo’mhair, and honor the The Green Man, the God of the Forest, by offering libations to trees. Offerings of ciders, wines, herbs and fertilizer are appropriate at this time. Wiccans celebrate the aging Goddess as she passes from Mother to Crone, and her consort the God as he prepares for death and re-birth.

Various other names for this Lesser Wiccan Sabbat are The Second Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest, Feast of Avalon, Equinozio di Autunno (Strega), Alben Elfed (Caledonii), or Cornucopia. The Teutonic name, Winter Finding, spans a period of time from the Sabbat to Oct. 15th, Winter’s Night, which is the Norse New Year.

At this festival it is appropriate to wear all of your finery and dine and celebrate in a lavish setting. It is the drawing to and of family as we prepare for the winding down of the year at Samhain. It is a time to finish old business as we ready for a period of rest, relaxation, and reflection.

Symbolism of Mabon:
Second Harvest, the Mysteries, Equality and Balance.

Symbols of Mabon:
wine, gourds, pine cones, acorns, grains, corn, apples, pomegranates, vines such as ivy, dried seeds, and horns of plenty.

Herbs of Maybon:
Acorn, benzoin, ferns, grains, honeysuckle, marigold, milkweed, myrrh, passionflower, rose, sage, solomon’s seal, tobacco, thistle, and vegetables.

Foods of Mabon:
Breads, nuts, apples, pomegranates, and vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and onions.

Incense of Mabon:
Autumn Blend-benzoin, myrrh, and sage.

Colors of Mabon:
Red, orange, russet, maroon, brown, and gold.

Stones of Mabon:
Sapphire, lapis lazuli, and yellow agates.

Activities of Mabon:
Making wine, gathering dried herbs, plants, seeds and seed pods, walking in the woods, scattering offerings in harvested fields, offering libations to trees, adorning burial sites with leaves, acorns, and pine cones to honor those who have passed over.

Spellworkings of Mabon:
Protection, prosperity, security, and self-confidence. Also those of harmony and balance.

Deities of Mabon:
Goddesses-Modron, Morgan, Epona, Persephone, Pamona and the Muses. Gods-Mabon, Thoth, Thor, Hermes, and The Green Man.

Mabon is considered a time of the Mysteries. It is a time to honor Aging Deities and the Spirit World. Considered a time of balance, it is when we stop and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether they be from toiling in our gardens, working at our jobs, raising our families, or just coping with the hussle-bussle of everyday life. May your Mabon be memorable, and your hearts and spirits be filled to overflowing!

By Akasha

 

 

Yule in Southern Hemisphere – Litha in Northern Hemisphere

Blessed Yule to all of us in the Southern Hemisphere.  It’s a cold and rainy day here as I prepare the house for our Yule feast. Stay warm and cosy. Blessed Be!

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Winter solstice or Yule is the shortest day, and also the longest night of the year. It marks the return of the Sun’s warmth and light, and the promise once again of a productive Earth. Pagans celebrate these aspects with candles, fire, greenery and feasting. At this time, Yule logs are burned. The Yule log must traditionally be the root of a hardwood tree, and in Australia mallee roots are ideal for this purpose, as are Tasmanian oaks and all types of Eucalyptus. The Yule log is burned down until nothing but a small piece remains, which is saved and kept to be used as a lighter for the following year’s Yule fire. A Yule tree is placed within the traditional Wiccan home, with a pentagram (five pointed star) at the top, symbolizing the five elements. Presents are exchanged and many Witches stay up all night to welcome the sun. This is symbolic of the Goddess giving birth to the God and then resting after her ordeal.

Southern Hemisphere Sabbat Dates

 

 

LITHA – NORTHERN HEMISPHERE

Blessed Litha to all in the Northern Hemisphere as you move into summer, enjoy the warmth and the new growth.  Blessed Be!

 

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Litha: Summer Solstice – 21st/22nd June

Litha (Midsummer, Gathering Day, Summer Solstice, Alban Heffyn, Feill-Sheathain)
Incense: Sage, mint, basil, Saint John’s Wort, sunflower, Lavender
Decorations: Dried herbs, potpourri, seashells, summer flowers, and fruits.
Colours: blue, green, and yellow

The Fire Festival of Litha

Midsummer or the Summer Solstice is the most powerful day of the year for the Sun God. Because this Sabbat glorifies the Sun God and the Sun, fire plays a very prominent role in this festival. The element of Fire is the most easily seen and immediately felt element of transformation. It can burn, consume, cook, shed light or purify and balefires still figure prominently at modern Midsummer rites.

Most cultures of the Northern Hemisphere mark Midsummer in some ritualised manner and from time immemorial people have acknowledged the rising of the sun on this day. At Stonehenge, the heelstone marks the midsummer sunrise as seen from the centre of the stone circle.

In ancient times, the Summer Solstice was a fire-festival of great importance when the burning of balefires ritually strengthened the sun. It was often marked with torchlight processions, by flaming tar barrels or by wheels bound with straw, which were set alight and rolled down steep hillsides. The Norse especially loved lengthy processions and would gather together their animals, families and lighted torches and parade through the countryside to the celebration site.

The use of fires, as well as providing magical aid to the sun, were also used to drive out evil and to bring fertility and prosperity to men, crops and herds. Blazing gorse or furze was carried around cattle to prevent disease and misfortune; while people would dance around the balefires or leap through the flames as a purifying or strengthening rite. The Celts would light balefires all over their lands from sunset the night before Midsummer until sunset the next day. Around these flames the festivities would take place.

In Cornwall up to the mid 18th century the number and appearance of fires seen from any given point was used as a form of divination and used to read the future.

Astronomically, it is the longest day of the year, representing the God at full power. Although the hottest days of the summer still lie ahead, from this point onward we enter the waning year, and each day the Sun will recede from the skies a little earlier, until Yule, when the days begin to become longer again.

Agriculturally, the crops are in full growth. They are reaching the pinnacles of maturity and coming closer to the harvest time. Most wild herbs are fully mature by Midsummer and this is the traditional time for gathering magickal and medicinal plants to dry and store for winter use. In Wales, Midsummer is called Gathering Day in honour of this practice.

Lithia - Summer SolsticeMagical Aspects

Since this sabbat revolves around the sun, a candle should be lit for the entire day, especially if it is cloudy or raining. The fire represents the sun and is a constant daily reminder of the power of the God. Rituals should be performed at noon, when the sun is highest in the sky. The best rituals to perform on Midsummer are those dealing with masculine issues, masculine energies, or issues dealing with solar influence.

Many pagans choose to make protective amulets, in the week before the Sabbat, which are later empowered over the Midsummer balefire. Some witches choose to bury their protective amulets each Midsummer’s eve and construct new ones. Rue, rowan and basil, tied together in a white or gold cloth, is a good protective trio that can be carried in your pocket year round.

Midsummer is the time to formalize any relationship and couples that have been together a year and a day since the previous Beltane can make their marriage final. This Sabbat is also an excellent time to re-new wedding vows.

Midsummer Incense

Sage, mint, basil, Saint John’s Wort, sunflower, mistletoe (specifically the berries which represent semen), oak, rowan, and fir.

http://www.thewhitegoddess.co.uk/the_wheel_of_the_year/litha_-_summer_solstice.asp

 

Samhain in Southern Hemisphere – Beltane in Norther Hemisphere

Blessed Samhain in the Southern Hemisphere as we move towards winter.  The days are cold here, one of the cats is curled up on my lap in the warmth, the other is draped across the heating vent as I type this. Blessed Be!

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Samhain (pronounced sow-een) is the Witches’ New Year, and it is from here that the Wheel of the Year is traditionally counted. It is a time for fireworks, sparklers and night-time celebrations, and a time to both say farewell to the old year, and to welcome in the new. Thyme (associated with departed souls), rue (the flower of repentance), and rosemary (for remembrance) are traditional herbs burned at Samhain In Australia, smudge sticks of eucalyptus leaves are also burned, and homes are ritually cleansed and purified.

Samhain is associated with Shadowfest (Italy/Latin/Strega), and Martinmas (Celtic/Scottish) and is commonly known as Halloween. The veils between the worlds of the dead and of the living, and of the realm of faery in between are very thin, and that at this time souls that are leaving this physical plane can pass out and souls that are reincarnating can pass in.

At Samhain, the darkness increases and the Goddess reigns in her powerful aspect of the Crone. The God, as Dark Lord, passes into the underworld to become reborn again at Yule, and his presence all but disappears for a time. It is common for Witches and common folk alike to prepare a Feast for the Dead on Samhain night, when offerings of food and drink are left for the spirits. Candles or lanterns are traditionally burned at each window of the house to guide friendly spirits home and keep away unfriendly souls.

Samhain is a time to reflect on the mortality that inevitably confronts us all, and to learn to deal with the fears that surround death. It is a time to reflect that life is cyclical, and that change is the natural order of things. It is a time to confront our own inner demons, and learn to face fear, and to grow stronger by acknowledging the fears that we have.

Wreaths are commonly found on Witches’ doors at Samhain, as a marker to wise ones that a Witch dwells within. Wreaths at this time traditionally contain eucalyptus leaves and rosemary spikes. The powers of divination, the Sight, and supernatural communication are strengthened on Samhain night, and it is considered a powerful but dangerous time to communicate with lost loved ones.

For altar decoration, Jack-o-lanterns, gourds, and autumn foliage are ideal, as are the barks of trees that are awake (non-deciduous/native Australian trees), and the resins and oils of trees that are awake during this time of the year.

In the Southern hemisphere, Samhain in celebrated on the 30th of April and the 1st of May, and in the Northern hemisphere it falls on the 31st of October.

Photograph by Jenwytch (me) and Samhain information from: Akasha Witchcraft (website no longer available)

 

Beltane in Northern Hemisphere

To all in the Northern Hemisphere Blessed Beltane.  After your long cold winter I hope you are enjoying the warmth of the Spring days.  Enjoy them as you head into summer. Blessed Be!

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Beltane Festival is held in honour of the god Bel.

In some modern traditions he is also known by the names, Beli, Belar, Balor, or Belenus.

In the myth of many modern traditions of wicca/witchcraft, Beltane marks the appearance of the Horned One, who is the rebirth of the Solar God slain during the Wheel of the Year. He then becomes consort to the Goddess, impregnating her with his seed, and thereby ensuring his own rebirth once again.

Beltane marks the beginning of summer’s half and the pastoral growing season. The word “Beltane” literally means “bright fire”, and refers to the bonfires lit during this season.

It is also a time of beginnings, the beginnings of many new projects.

Beltane is a fertility festival, concerned with Nature enchantments and offerings to wildlings and Elementals.

The return of full-blown fertility is now very evident.

The powers of elves and faeries are growing and will reach their height at the Summer Solstice.

The celts respected faeries, active at this sabbat, and were sure that these Little People would come to the celebration disguised as humans to ask for a part of the fire, which, when freely given, would give the faeries some measure of power over the giver.

Beltane is the cross quarter holiday between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice it is the time when the abundance of flowers and green is a welcome relief from winters drabness; it was traditionally a day for leaping the Beltane fires, which were lit to honour the sun god, and for celebrating fertility.

Beltane celebrates the blessing between Mother Earth and Father Sky and honours all life.

Both are times when the “veil” between the worlds is thought to be thinnest, and therefore magik can happen, such as visits from faeries or similar other-worldly occurrences.

This is a good time for invoking our spirit guides to help us.

Mabon – Southern Hemisphere – Ostara – Northern Hemisphere

Blessed Mabon to all of us in the Southern Hemisphere.  The days are cooling down and the threat of fires is lessening.  It has been a long hot summer and I for one am looking forward to the cooler days.  Blessed Be!

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Autumn Equinox
Late March is another strange time for Down Under witches, because the stores are filled with chocolate bunnies and eggs in preparation for Easter, the Christian holiday based on the spring festival of Ostara, which northern hemisphere witches are marking now. While most of the world – both pagan and non-magical – celebrates rebirth, resurrection and new life with the fertility goddess Ostara’s symbols of eggs and hares, in Australia it’s the middle of autumn, a time of crisp, chilly mornings, pale blue skies and a world aflame with colour as the trees turn a hundred shades of red-orange-yellow-brown.

Daylight savings ends, and from the autumn equinox onwards, which this year falls on March 20, the days start getting shorter and the weather cooler, but this day of equal light and dark is the moment of balance in nature and within – a time of harmony, joy and gentle calm.

While I certainly eat my share of chocolate eggs at this time, acknowledging on some level the energy of Ostara, I also prepare a harvest feast of richly coloured fruits and root vegetables, golden grains and heavy warm breads, and start drying my herbs. I feel immense joy as I skip through the crackling autumn leaves and chart the turning of the seasons by the patterns of leaves on the trees.

I give thanks for my metaphorical harvest, honouring my achievements, experiences and wisdom in a way that feels right to me, be it with a big celebration or a personal ritual of gratitude.

It’s a time of balance – my world is poised between summer and winter, and day and night are in harmony, which is reflected in the earth’s energy and within me.

Source:  https://witchesofthecraft.com/tag/southern-hemisphere/

OSTARA – NORTHERN HEMISPHERE

Blessed Ostara to all in the Northern Hemisphere, the snow is finally melting and you will begin to feel the warmth of the sun and the flowers will bloom.  Enjoy the new season. Blessed Be!

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The Witches Correspondence for Ostara/Spring Equinox

The second of the 3 spring festivals, Ostara is known also as the Spring Equinox, and Eostar. It is a time of new beginnings as new life bursts forth upon the earth. It is also a time of balance when light and dark are equal. In times past, people celebrated the arrival of spring and the Goddess Eostar or Eostre whose symbols were the hare and the egg.

Symbols:

The beginning of spring, new life and rebirth, the God and Goddess in Their youth, balance, fertility, flowers, eggs, rabbit/hare.

Decorations:

Four leaf clovers, cauldron of spring water, any and all spring flowers/blossoms/bulbs/sprouts, potted plants, eggs, butterflies, baskets, bunnies, chicks, colored ribbons

Activities/ Rituals/ spell intents:

Sunrise observances, collecting wildflowers, spring cleaning and purification, nature walks, seed blessing, garden blessing, planting, welcoming spring, coloring eggs, fertility rites, rituals of balance, herb work – magical, medicinal, cosmetic, culinary and artistic, spells for balance, communication, prosperity/fertility, action, new beginnings, potential, goals for future, banishment of bad ties, positive growth

Herbs/flowers/trees:

clover, lemongrass, mint, honeysuckle, iris, violets, peonies, lilies (Easter Lily), lilacs, acorn, celandine, cinquefoil, crocus, daffodil, dogwood, gorse, jasmine, jonquils, narcissus, olive, pine trees, rose, tansy, woodruff, primrose, forsythia

Incense/oils:

African violet, lotus, jasmine, rose, magnolia, sage, strawberry, lavender, narcissus, ginger.

Colors/Candles:

Gold, light green, robin’s egg blue, lemon yellow, pale pink, all pastels.

Stones:

amethyst, jasper, aquamarine, bloodstone, red jasper

Foods:

Seeds, leafy green vegetables, fresh fruits, hard-boiled eggs and any egg dishes, milk punch, dairy foods, apples, nuts, flower dishes, sprouts, jelly beans, chocolates, lamb, spiced or flower cupcakes, hot cross buns, honey cakes, unleavened bread, poultry, ham, roast beef, yellow cake with poppy seeds, banana nut bread, fruit juice or fruit liqueur, poppy seed or sesame seed rolls, sweet or honeyed wine

Animals :

Rabbits, hares /Easter bunny, chicks, robins, lambs, swallows, snakes, unicorns

Deities:

all love, virgin, and fertility Goddesses, all love, song & dance, and fertility Gods.

Source:  https://witchesofthecraft.com/2018/03/20/166780/