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

 

 

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/

Lammas Southern Hemisphere – Imbolc Northern Hemisphere

Many Lammas blessings to us in the Southern Hemisphere, may we be safe throughout these hot summer days.  Blessed Be!

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Witchcraft: The Festival of Lammas

Dates:
February 1st (southern hemisphere)
August 1st (northern hemisphere)

Lammas is the first of the three Harvest Festivals in a witch’s seasonal cycle, the others being Mabon, and Samhain. Also known as Lughnasadh, by Irish-Gaelic traditions, it marks the end of summer and the coming of autumn; the days slowly become shorter, giving way to the growing nights.

This festival symbolizes the fading power of the Sun God, and calls attention to his willingness to sacrifice himself to the Moon Goddess so that we can make it through the coming winter with the fruits of the first harvest, knowing all the while that he will return to us again as the cycle continues.

It’s a time to give thanks for the people and things that we have, to feel grateful for what we have and share it with others, therefore planting the seeds for a future harvest.

The most common theme associated with this Festival, is that of “eating, drinking, and making merry”. A baker’s oven goes into over-drive making loaves to be broken with friends and family, and the message is that of sharing what we have with others so that they might benefit from our good fortune as well.

Lammas Ritual for the Solitary Witch

  • Keep in mind that this ritual isn’t written in stone, you can change and adapt it to what best suits your needs as a witch.

Your altar and circle should be decorated with mostly grains, sheaves of wheat and barley, or, if you’re like me and like to use what you have on hand, a few handfuls of rolled oats will do in a pinch. The altar cloth should be red, or reddish-hued, while the altar candle should most certainly be orange. If you notice, the whole colour scheme is very “earthy” in nature.

Note: some witches prefer to have a ritual bath before they get started, that is, a quick dip in the tub to which herbs and salt have been added…it can help put you in the right frame of mind.

When you’re ready, cast your circle, call the elements and invoke the Gods, and then begin. Standing in front of your altar, take some of the grain or oats in your hand and hold it high.
Say something like:

Upon us is the First Harvest, a time when the fruits of nature sacrifice themselves so that we may survive. Now, as the Sun God prepares for death, I ask that his sacrifice helps me to understand and accept the sacrifices I must make in my own life.
Now, as the Moon Goddess’ power grows, I ask that she whispers her secrets and magickon the night winds, so that I can hear them and use her wisdom wisely.

Rub the oats between both hands so that it falls onto your altar. Then take a piece of fruit, like an apple, and bite into it, allowing yourself to fully experience the taste.
Then say something like:

I share in the fruits of the First Harvest, so that I might share in the wisdom it offers.
Goddess of the Moon, Mother of All
God of the Sun, Father to All
I thank you for that which you’ve given me. May I always remember “harm none”, and may all that I do be in reverence of you.

Now you can eat the rest of the fruit. Meditate, or reflect, on the good things that have happened to you thus far, and the sacrifices you had to make to get to this point. Think about how you’ve shared your good fortune with others, even if it only meant smiling at a stranger. Any magickal works should now be done, or write about your experiences in your Magickal Journal…if you have one.

Thank the Gods and the Elements for their attendance, and let them know that while you appreciate their presence, it’s now time to go. Release the circle, and then carry on with the Cakes and Ale ceremony, or so “eat, drink, and be merry” with some good friends.

Source:  http://www.witchcraft.com.au/festival-of-lammas.html

Imbolc – Northern Hemisphere

Many Imbolc blessings to all in the Northern Hemisphere, stay warm and cosy as you await the Spring.  Blessed Be!

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Imbloc (Candlemass, Imblog, Imbole) – February 2nd

Pronounced: EE-Molc
Incense: Rosemary, Frankincense, Myrrh, Cinnamon
Decorations: Corn Dolly, Besom, Spring Flowers
Colours: White, Orange, Red

This holiday is also known as Candlemas, or Brigid’s (pronounced BREED) Day. One of the 4 Celtic “Fire Festivals. Commemorates the changing of the Goddess from the Crone to the Maiden. Celebrates the first signs of Spring. Also called “Imbolc” (the old Celtic name).

This is the seasonal change where the first signs of spring and the return of the sun are noted, i.e. the first sprouting of leaves, the sprouting of the Crocus flowers etc. In other words, it is the festival commemorating the successful passing of winter and the beginning of the agricultural year. This Festival also marks the transition point of the threefold Goddess energies from those of Crone to Maiden.

It is the day that we celebrate the passing of Winter and make way for Spring. It is the day we honour the rebirth of the Sun and we may visualize the baby sun nursing from the Goddess’s breast. It is also a day of celebrating the Celtic Goddess Brigid. Brigid is the Goddess of Poetry, Healing, Smithcraft, and Midwifery. If you can make it with your hands, Brigid rules it. She is a triple Goddess, so we honour her in all her aspects. This is a time for communing with her, and tending the lighting of her sacred flame. At this time of year, Wiccans will light multiple candles, white for Brigid, for the god usually yellow or red, to remind us of the passing of winter and the entrance into spring, the time of the Sun. This is a good time for initiations, be they into covens or self-initiations.

Imbolc (February 2) marks the recovery of the Goddess after giving birth to the God. The lengthening periods of light awaken Her. The God is a young, lusty boy, but His power is felt in the longer days. The warmth fertilizes the Earth (the Goddess), and causes seeds to germinate and sprout. And so the earliest beginnings of Spring occur.

This is a Sabbat of purification after the shut-in life of Winter, through the renewing power of the Sun. It is also a festival of light and of fertility, once marked in Europe with huge blazes, torches and fire in every form. Fire here represents our own illumination and inspiration as much as light and warmth. Imbolc is also known as Feast of Torches, Oimelc, Lupercalia, Feast of Pan, Snowdrop Festival, Feast of the Waxing Light, Brighid’s Day, and probably by many other names. Some female Witches follow the old Scandinavian custom of wearing crowns of lit candles, but many more carry tapers during their invocations.

IMBOLC LORE

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 honour 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 honour 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.

Litha in Southern Hemisphere – Yule in Northern Hemisphere

Many Blessings to all in the Southern Hemisphere for Litha and the Summer Solstice.  To all those of us in the fire prone areas I wish a safe summer. Blessed Be!

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(This banner was created by Jenwytch for SOL’s free eMagazine, Axis Mundi.)

 

Yule – Northern Hemisphere

To all in the Northern Hemisphere I wish to you warmth and cosiness during the cold wintry months.  Blessed Be!

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Yule is celebrated at the winter solstice (Or the midpoint of winter). It is the shortest day of the year, and the longest night.

Yule comes from the Germanic “Iul” meaning “Wheel.” Yule celebrates Winter, and the rebirth of the Sun God. As Yule is the shortest day of the Year it marks the Suns low point, as after this the Sun will begin to grow stronger again. It is customary to have a Yule log – this is a log (Traditionally Oak or Pine) that you burn during this time, and keep it through the year for protection, and add it to the fire of the following year’s Yule log.

If you do not wish to have a fire, you can use a log with holes drilled into it as a candle holder which will represent the Yule fire.  It is also customary to light many lights and candles as sympathetic magik to bring the Sun back, persuading him to emerge from the womb of the Earth mother..

Holly is traditionally worn by men, and Ivy by women at this time.  The Yule tree (Also known as the Christmas tree) was a wishing tree, the wishes for the new year hang in the arms of the universe.

You can make a Pagan Yule tree by making decorations from Rose Buds, Cinnamon Sticks, Pop Corn, Bags of Herbs, Crystals suspended from wire, Apples, Oranges, Lemons etc.  After you have made the tree, dance around it Deosil (clockwise), singing and making wishes. A time for Rebirth, reflection, new ideas, dreams, hopes and giving.

Plants for Yule:  Holly, Mistletoe, Ivy, Evergreens, Pine, Cedar, Bay, Juniper, Rosemary, Pine, Apples, Oranges, Nutmeg, Lemon, Cinnamon, Frankincense.

Foods of Yule:  All “Christmas” foods (eg. Turkey, Roasts, Potatoes etc.), hearty Winter foods (Stew etc.), Nuts, Apples, Pears, Caraway, Pork, Hibiscus or Ginger tea.

Stones:  Onyx, Obsidian, Jet.

Colours:  Red, Green, Orange, White.

Element:  Earth.

Planet: Saturn

Zodiac: Capricorn.

Pagan belief:  The Goddess gives birth to the God.  Some traditions have a Holly King and an Oak King as the God, and they fight at Yule with the Oak King winning, and ruling until Litha.

Yule Goddesses: Fortuna, Gaia, Heket, Lilith, Frey, Ma’at, Pandora, Shekinah, Tiamat.

Yule Gods: Apollo, Balder, Cronos, Helios, Janus, Lugh, Oak King, Holly King, Ra, Sol, Attis, mithras, Odin, Saturn.

 

Beltane in Southern Hemisphere – Samhain in Northern Hemisphere

Many blessings to those of us in the Southern Hemisphere as we celebrate Beltane and welcome the summer days ahead.  Although it is not Halloween here, we do celebrate it as it would be difficult to explain to little children that it’s not the right time. Blessed Be!

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A blessed Beltane to you!

In the southern hemisphere, the first week of November brings the cross-quarter day that marks the end of spring and the start of the heat and energy of summer, and the festival of love. It’s a time of lovers and spells to attract love, and celebrating the fertility of life, not just physically, but also of our dreams and ambitions. Symbolically this day marks the igniting of the fires of creativity and passion, of the fertility of our desires being made manifest, as the universe bursts with a raw energy and power that we can tap in to simply by breathing it in.
In the northern hemisphere Beltane falls around May Day, and while it has no relevance to us in terms of timing, I have been part of a coven ritual that involved a maypole dance, to represent the union of god and goddess at this point in the Wheel of the Seasonal Year. I’ve also leapt over the Beltane fires, although that was before I met my husband, when I jumped over it with friends as part of a personal ritual of purification and preparation, leaping out of my past, burning away the relationship issues that had kept my heart closed, and towards a future where love was possible (I met my partner two months later).
While I’ve been known to dress up as a vampire or a fairy and go to a Halloween party on October 31, privately or with coven members or witchie friends I’m celebrating the new blossoms and the vitality and fertility of Beltane at this time.

So, while it’s perhaps a little easier for northern hemisphere goddess worshippers to celebrate the cycle of the seasons, given that so many of them are actually woven into “normal” life, when you tune in to the earth and the rhythms of nature it is easy to know when it’s the right time to celebrate any of the old festivals. Because whether you live in the north, where they began, or the south, adding your own personal meaning to the traditional forms of celebration, the sabbats are still relevant to our lives. Even today, when we no longer live in harmony with the earth’s rhythms or agricultural cycles, modern pagans celebrate the Wheel of the Year as an honouring of nature and an acknowledgement of the continuing cycle of life, death and rebirth, both literally and symbolically. Becoming aware of the seasonal shifts and the patterns of nature wherever you live, and celebrating these ancient but still relevant festivals, is a simple way to tap in to the magic of the universe and harness it for your own growth. We may no longer grow our own grain or purify the fields with fire, but these celebrations still have power, particularly in the symbolic form – planting the seeds of our dreams in the metaphorical spring, watching them grow and manifest in the world before we give thanks for our literal harvest, then allowing the things that no longer serve us to die off or be released in our own personal winter, then starting all over again with new dreams as we celebrate our own rebirth.
I’ve spent a few sabbats in the northern hemisphere, leaping the Beltane fires in Glastonbury’s Chalice Well Gardens, sitting inside the Great Pyramid on the morning of the summer solstice, watching the sun set over the Hill of Tara at Lughnasadh, and the energy of each season is intense, real and tangible no matter which hemisphere I am in. Whenever I celebrate these magical turning points of our planet I feel so strongly a part of the earth, at one with nature and the universe. And so, regardless of which half of the world I’m in, I always acknowledge the opposite festival as well, in some small way. Perhaps this isn’t as important for those in the north, but for me it seems right to acknowledge the turning seasons all over the world, the beautiful, gracefully balanced dance of light and dark, heat and cold, day and night, that makes up this world that we are all a part of.
We are all connected to the earth, no matter where we live, and we need to learn how to (and accept that we can) follow the seasons of nature in our own unique way, based on the rising and setting of the sun in our own home town, the cycles of the moon as it crosses our part of the sky, and the very personal language of nature that is so different – and yet so similar –according to our own unique landscape.


Serene Conneeley is a healer, writer and witch who lives in Sydney, Australia. She is a reconnective healing practitioner and has studied magical and medicinal herbalism, reiki and many other healing modalities, as well as politics and journalism. Her first book, Seven Sacred Sites: Magical Journeys That Will Change Your Life, has just been published.

 

Samhain  in Northern Hemisphere

Blessings to all my friends in the Northern Hemisphere as you celebrate Samhain and welcome the colder months. Blessed Be!

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Samhain Lore and Traditions

October 31 — Samhain Eve
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 reccommend:

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

Imbolc in Southern Hemisphere – Lammas in Northern Hemisphere

Firstly I am sorry I am a day late but I have been out with a crippling migraine for a couple of days.   So to all of us in the Southern Hemisphere I wish a Blessed Imbolc.  It is still cold and wintry here, I know I am looking forward to some warmer days.  Blessed Be!

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Northern Hemisphere Date: February 2nd
Also known as Imbolg, Candlemas, Feast of Torches, Oimelc, Lupercalia and Brigid’s Day.

Imbolc is the time of the beginning of beginnings, the time to consider carefully what you will do with the year stretching before you. Imbolc brings the awakening of the life force when the first green shoots of bulbs appear. Life is stirring again and this marks the Goddess recovering after giving birth while the newborn God is depicted as a small child nursing from his mother. The God is growing, spreading sunshine all around causing things to grow. It is a time to honour the feminine and get ready for spring. At lmbolc, the Australian forests are bright with the colour yellow, the Acacia trees coming into full flower. Until fairly recently, the 1st of August was “Wattle day” in Australia (it has now been moved to the 1st of September).

 

Lammas – Northern Hemisphere

To all in the Northern Hemisphere I wish you a blessed Lammas.  I hope that everyone is safe from the fires raging over there.  Hopefully things will cool soon and you will get rain to clear it all away.  Blessed Be!

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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.