The Sabbats

My interpretations and celebrations of the Sabbats

Samhain Eve 

Tonight the veils are thin. The dead, our ancestors, return home.  
Samhain Eve is my favorite night of the year.  It’s a pretty quiet one for me, but I find solitude to be the best way to spend this most sacred night. 

Quiet reflection on the year that has been, a very transformative one for me, this has been a year of growth and change.  A year of letting go and embracing the unknown. 
I sit quietly by candlelight and scry into my crystal ball.  I draw tarot spreads of reflection, studying the lessons that have been learnt. This year there have been many. 

I sit quietly among the spirits of my ancestors and listen for their words of wisdom.  I welcome the embrace of the Dark Mother and the lessons she has for me on this night. Having immersed myself in the cauldron of rebirth throughout this year, I feel ever closer to her.  

Blessed Samhain ūüéÉ

Categories: The Sabbats | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Beltane – Days Of The Greater Sun

The Fire Festival of Beltane marks the lengthening of days and beginning of Summer.

beltane_woman_fire_353x470

Beltane is fire and sexual heat, growth, vines and leaves, the bloom of a rose.

It is blue skies and electrical storms, warm days and cool nights.
Beltane is the scent of summer in the air, lush gardens and petals.
It is a time for nakedness, for sex and desire, for getting together for joyful celebration.
Beltane is a time of freedom, of cleansing, of growth and choice, of letting go with delightful abandon.
Beltane is creativity and creation, bringing ideas and plans to life.

In my part of the world, Beltane marks the beginning of the cherry harvest.
Cherries are a big deal here, the harvest attracting people from all over the world.
Our local Cherry Festival closely coincides with the Sabbat of Beltane, so it is easy to see the old Pagan roots of my town celebrating the big agricultural event of the district.

2014-10-29 01.37.03

So, cherries feature largely in my personal Beltane symbolism.

Cherries symbolize celebration, festivity and fertility, making them the perfect Beltane fruit.
You also have to wonder at the saying “to lose your cherry”.
If the cherry symbolizes virginity, the harvest of the cherries ties in well with the sexual overtones of Beltane.
You can bet that many ‘cherries’ have been lost during the celebration of this lustful Sabbat.

Beltane is when the native Australian bottlebrush bursts into flower.
The bottle brush is sacred to Aphrodite, and its bright red blush is reminiscent of both the Goddess Of Love and the days of ‘greater sun’ that is Beltane.

Beltane falls on the 31st of October in the Southern Hemisphere, officially beginning at moonrise/sunset, on that day.
Astrologically speaking, Beltane actually falls closer to the fifth of September, neatly on the cross-quarter day.
Beltane is an earth based Sabbat and is celebrated under the astrological sign of Taurus, when the sun reaches 15 degrees in the sign, marking the halfway point between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice.

Beltane - As Above Tarot

Beltane – As Above Tarot

Mythologically, Beltane is the Handfasting (Pagan marriage) of the God and Goddess.
The Horned God has now reached manhood , and the Great Rite is played out in nature, in the rampant reproduction and growth of plants and crops.
The God and Goddess make love amid the ripening crops and she conceives his child, ensuring the fruition of the harvest.
They make love so that we may have food for the year ahead, thus ensuring our survival and that of the Earth.
This Divine coming together also sparks great creative energy.
Beltane is a great time to begin a new creative project or hobby.

The seeds we planted at Yule, our goals for the year, have been gently nurtured up to this point and now is the time to give that extra effort for growth.
We may have to sacrifice some of our seedlings for the growth and health of the others.
Some of your plans may be coming along strongly, others are weak, some may have withered and died all together.
By now, you should have an idea which you would like to keep growing, the rest can be weeded out, so you can focus your attention on those that are most important to you.

cherry-cherry-farm-cherries-upick-pick-fruit-victo51

Like Samhain, which falls on the opposite side of the Wheel of the Year to Beltane, the veil to the other side is thin.

This makes Beltane a good time for ritual, divination and connection with the Divine.

At Samhain, we focus on contacting the dead, at Beltane we can work at connecting with the Divine, our personal Deities and the God and Goddess.

I have heard the idea that Beltane brings a thickening of the veil, where we are heavily divided from the other worlds.

This does make sense, in that we are on the opposite side of Samhain, when the veil is at its thinnest.

With this belief, we would focus on more worldly concerns, rather than the ethereal.

the-story-of-fairy-rings-has-always-intrigued-me-21513548

Beltane signifies the return of the Fairy Folk and other little creatures such as Gnomes and Leprechauns.

You can leave offerings to the Fae in your garden to welcome them back, or construct a fairy ring of your own.

There is much magic held within Beltane, a very bewitching magic, something the Fae are well-known for.

Beltane celebrations are held outdoors, a welcome return to nature, with the dark half of the year now firmly behind us.

One of the more well-known Beltane symbols is the May Pole.

The pole itself is a phallic symbol, the garland of flowers at the top symbolic of the Goddess.

The ribbons are colored in the spectrum of the rainbow, a symbol of hope and renewal.

The ribbons are entwined and wound together around the pole, representing the unity of male and female, God and Goddess.

Beltane May Pole

Beltane May Pole

A big part of Beltane tradition is sex.

Beltane being a celebration of love, passion and fertility, the sexual themes are strong, literally as well as symbolically.

On Beltane eve, you can do as the God and Goddess and make love in your orchard or garden.

As well as being a bit of  an adventure, this will ensure an abundance come harvest time.

Bonfires have always been a big part of Beltane celebration, as they are at all fire festivals.

At Beltane, the roaring flames welcome back the sun, the light and heat of summer days.

Those that hope to fall pregnant, can jump the flames of the fire, in hope of taking the Divine spark of fertility within themselves.

The Lovers - Victoria Frances Tarot

The Lovers – Victoria Frances Tarot

All Gods and Goddesses of love and fertility are honored at Beltane, as are the more lustful of the Gods, such as the Horned Gods and Satyrs.

Aphrodite and Pan are my personal Beltane Deities, Aphrodite bringing love, beauty and pleasure, Pan bringing lust, growth and abandon.

 

Looking skyward, Orion the Hunter and the Dog Star have returned to Southern skies.

Both of these constellations can be seen in the east after sunset.

Beside them, in the northeast, is Taurus the Bull, with the red star of Aldebaran and the starry cluster of the Pleiades being very noticable.

Pegasus is prominent in the North, straddling the meridian.

The constellation of Scorpio, which rides the night sky throughout the winter months, is now setting in the southwest.

 

Beltane Incense:

  • 3 pts Frankincense
  • 2 pts Sandalwood
  • 1 pt Rose Petals
  • 4 drops Jasmine Essential Oil
  • 4 drops Neroli Essential Oil

Colors:

  • Pink
  • Red
  • Green
  • Blue

Deities:

  • Aphrodite
  • Pan
  • Satyrs
  • Horned Gods
  • Herne
  • Cernunnos

rose_widescreen-wide

Symbols:

  • Cherries
  • May Pole
  • Bells
  • Ribbons
  • Roses
  • Vines
  • Bonfires
  • The Lovers – Tarot Card
  • The Heirophant – Tarot Card – Trump card of Taurus
  • Flower Garlands and Crowns
  • Broom
  • Cauldron
The High Priest of the Druidcraft Tarot. (The Hierophant) Trump card of Taurus

The High Priest of the Druidcraft Tarot. (The Hierophant) Trump card of Taurus

Stones & Gems:

Scents:

  • Rose
  • Frankincense
  • Lavender
  • Vanilla
  • Lilac
  • Wisteria
  • Sandalwood
  • Musk
  • Jasmine
  • Neroli

Herbs:

  • Almond pods and trees
  • Clover
  • Dittany of Crete
  • Elder
  • Foxglove
  • Hawthorn
  • Ivy
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Marigold, Mint, Mugwort
  • Rose, Rowan
  • Sorrel
  • Thyme
  • Woodruff

Nine Scared Woods:

  • Birch
  • Hazel
  • Oak
  • Rowan
  • Hawthorn
  • Fir
  • Willow
  • Apple
  • Vine

img_4240_lilacs

Categories: The Sabbats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Ostara – Spring Equinox

Ostara celebrates the high point of Spring and the perfect balance of night and day, dark and light.

 

From here on in, the days get longer, leading us out into the Summer months.

The earth has awakened from her winter slumber and is now in full bloom, cloaked in petals, a riot of color.

2014-09-18 04.44.27

At the Spring Equinox, the sun reaches its midpoint along the eastern horizon.

During the year, the sun travels from north to south and back again.

At the Winter Solstice the sun can be seen rising from its furthermost point of travel northward.

At the Summer Solstice the sun rises from its furthest point in the south.

If you are observant of the sun, you can clearly see the sun travel along the horizon as the year waxes and wanes.

As the sun reaches this point of balance, it brings us back into the light half of the year and leads us into summer.

2014-09-22 19.15.13

For me, Ostara is my Jasmine bushes, bursting into flower.

Ostara is the sweet scent of flowers on the breeze.

Ostara is gold and green, fields of canola and wheat, side by side.

It is my garden in bloom, a mass of color.

It is the buzzing of bees and the scent of a freshly mown lawn.

Ostara is the nostalgia of Summer, soon to come.

2013-09-29 15.12.43

Fertility is the main symbolism of Ostara.

The hare accompanies the Goddess, a symbol of rampant fertility, and a reference of the Lunar Goddess, as a Hare can be seen in the moon.

Eggs are a huge part of the symbolism of Ostara, of which the fertility reference cannot be ignored.

The egg is symbolic of the female reproductive egg and rebirth and renewal.

Ostara Maiden by art of the empath

Ostara Maiden by art of the empath

Another symbol of Ostara, is the snake.

Snakes are now emerging from hibernation, awakening and warming themselves in the growing heat of the sun.

A snake is also symbolic of renewal, as it sheds its skin, new life emerging from the old.

Many snakes lay eggs, giving birth to the fertility of spring.

hatching_snake_eggs

Ostara is the rebirth of Persephone.

Having made the long ascent from The Underworld, she has returned to her Mother, Demeter’s side.

Persephone is the petal, the flower, the fresh spring growth.

Demeter rejoices at the return of her Daughter, and blesses the earth with fertility, bringing forth the agricultural year.

2014-09-18 04.44.48

At Ostara, God and Goddess reach sexual maturity.

Their rising desire is all around us, the blooming of plants, awakening of the earth, the rising sap in the trees.

God and Goddess now come together and make love for the first time.

 

The fertility theme is incorporated into the very name of this Sabbat.

Eostre is an old lunar Goddess and is the origin of the word ‘estrogen’, the female hormone.

 

The Christian celebration of Easter is a shameless rip-off of the Ostara Sabbat.

The symbolism of the hare and Easter egg are overtly Pagan, and while the egg can easily be said to be a symbol of resurrection, Christians find the Easter Bunny a bit harder to explain!

20140914_044928

Ostara is at once a time of renewal and of letting go.

As the earth shrugs free from the chains of Winter, we too can take the opportunity to free ourselves of that which no longer serves us.

This is a good time to let go of bad habits and old resentments, so we can begin the light half of the year anew.

Just as the dark side of the wheel comes to a close, the light half now begins, so this is also the perfect time to start something new.

 

What do you need to free yourself of?

What do you wish to begin?

home-easter-eggs

Ostara Incense:

  • 3 part Frankincense
  • 2 pt Sandalwood
  • 1 pt Benzoin
  • 1 pt Cinnamon
  • Few Drops of Patchouli Oil

Deities:

  • Aphrodite
  • Cernunnos
  • Eostre
  • Green Man
  • Persephone
  • Gaia
  • Maiden Goddesses
  • Solar Goddesses
Spring altar of Gaia

Spring altar of Gaia

Colors:

  • Pink
  • Yellow
  • Pastels

Symbols:

  • Flowers
  • Light
  • Eggs
  • Jasmine
  • Snakes
  • Eostre baskets
  • Hares, Rabbits
  • Petals
  • Green Leaves
  • Blossoms

Stones:

  • Amethyst
  • Red Jasper

Herbs & Plants:

  • Jasmine
  • Lavender
  • Wisteria
  • Dandelion
  • Young Leaves
  • All flowering plants

2014-09-18 04.42.24

Categories: Pagan Blog Project, The Sabbats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

A View of Imbolc

In the depths of winter does the earth begin to stir.

Imbolc celebrates the gradual awakening of the earth, as the light of the sun strengthens.

This is Imbolc through my lens, in country Australia…

2014-08-13 12.03.41

The first early blooms of the season

14390086896261

As the light waxes, does Gaia awaken from her winter slumber

14384449457701

Lambing season begins and with it comes milk

14390072050261

Even in the grip of winter, the signs of flourishing life are all around

Fire- Element of Cleansing and Purification

Fire- Element of Cleansing and Purification

2014-08-02 04.46.32

The pure white blossoms of the Maiden Goddess

14390055448441

Imbolc ritual – celebrating the awakening of Gaia

2014-08-02 05.05.11

The paddocks are full of frolicking lambs

 

waxing 12%

Imbolc is equated with the waxing crescent moon

2014-08-02 05.44.22

The herald of Imbolc in country Australia, the golden-yellow blooms of wattle, symbol of the returning sun

 

The Goddess Awakens

The Goddess Awakens

 

Categories: Photography, The Sabbats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Imbolc – First Stirrings

The Sabbat of Imbolc is celebrated at the height of winter, but in contrast to the cold and dreary days, this is a celebration of the early signs of spring.

Imbolc (or Imbolg), translates to ‘In the belly’, a reference to the potential for life, held within the belly of the Great Mother, our earth.

Another version of Imbolc, is ‘Oimelc’, which means ‘Ewe’s Milk’, making reference to the lambing season which Imbolc coincides with.

 

Imbolc marks the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox.

The days are gradually growing longer, with the sun rising a few minutes earlier each morning.

The trees are beginning to bud and seeds begin to stir under the soil.

In the midst of winter, the promise of spring abounds.

Imbolc is a fire festival, though not a solar celebration, but a day when we celebrate a return to the light and the lengthening of the days.

Personally, Imbolc is a celebration of the quickening earth, a joyous recognition of the Great Mother awakening from her winter slumber.

The Goddess Awakens

The Goddess Awakens

I know when Imbolc has arrived, by the profusion of yellow across the countryside.

Wattle is the harbinger of spring for me.

It’s bright and cheery color is a welcome relief from the dreary winter landscape and brings with it the hope that the warmth and light of Spring shall soon be upon us.

The small yellow flowers of the wattle are symbolic of the sun.

Here in Australia, with our warm climate, the early signs of spring are very evident, as the almond and wild cherry trees blossom white, alongside the vibrant yellow of the wattle.

Platypus {Ornithorhynchus anatinus} swimming underwater

Imbolc sees the commencement of the breeding season of the platypus, the native monotreme unique to Australia.

The platypus is an extremely elusive animal, which lives in the creeks and streams.

I have lived in Australia my entire life, and have sighted the platypus only once in the wild.

2014-08-02 05.06.22

In rural Australia, Imbolc is lambing season.

This brings us the traditional roots of Imbolc: milk, cheese and dairy products.

Milk again begins to flow, as new life pops up in paddocks everywhere.

This would have been a festive time in the old days, having dairy products again, as winter food supplies began to dwindle.

The return of milk brought promise of the abundant food supplies soon to come.

 

Mythology-

The Goddess is evident in all three aspects.

She is the Maiden, young and playful, leading us out into Spring.

She is the Mother, nurturing her seeds within the Earth.

She is the Crone, retreating into the shadows of Winter.

Imbolc is sacred to Brighid, the Celtic Triple Goddess of Fire, Poetry, Metal Working, Crafts, Fertility and Healing.

Hestia, the Greek Goddess of the Hearth and Home, has several similarities to Brighid, and can be honored at Imbolc also.
Ask Hestia for assistance in ritually purifying the home, as part of your Imbolc celebrations.

Brighid by Jo Jayson

Brighid by Jo Jayson

The Great Goddess has now recovered from giving birth at Yule, the young God, the child at her breast.

He is reflected in the gradually growing sunlight which gently caresses the earth, the Maiden, the Mother,  in childlike innocence.

The Goddess is Mother, yet she turns to her aspect of Maiden at Imbolc, her innocence and fresh vitality reflected in the buds and early flowering blossoms.

2014-08-02 04.46.32

Persephone prepares to return from her time in The Underworld.

She will soon rejoin her Mother, Demeter, who will rejoice at her return, bringing the lush profusion of Spring upon the earth.

Persephone is the seed that lies in the soil, no longer dormant, but ready to burst forth under the light of the growing sun.

In The Underworld she has been renewed, life from death in the fecund earth that is the realm of the Queen of Corpses.

During Winter she presides over the shades of the dead, but upon her return she is the vibrant daughter, the bright petalled flower.

During Spring she is life just begun, life in all its infinite possibility.

Persephone Awakens

Persephone Awakens

Another myth of Imbolc is that of the Cailleach, the old crone that brings winter down upon the land.

It is said that the length of the winter can be determined by the weather on the day of Imbolc.

If she intends to make the winter last longer, she will need to replenish her wood pile to keep herself warm in the days ahead.

If the day is sunny, then the Cailleach will be out wood carting.

But if the day of Imbolc brings bad weather, the old woman sleeps, and will soon deplete her stock of wood, being forced to bring an end to winter.

The Cailleach - Altara The Dark

The Cailleach – Altara The Dark

Imbolc Activities- 

At Imbolc we plant the metaphorical seeds of our goals and plans, for the year ahead.

In practical terms, I will list my goals and the steps I need to take to achieve them.

I have many ideas floating around this year and need to decide which of them I wish to plant and nurture.

Imbolc is the perfect time to begin planning the achievements of your goals, working with the natural flow of the Earth.

It also sets a natural time of completion, of achievement, for the harvest Sabbats towards the end of the year, Lughnasadh, Mabon and Samhain.

Working with the natural rhythms of the earth and sun in this way, has brought about much success for me, and each year I look forward to harnessing this power to realize my ambitions.

20140801_040701

Imbolc is a time of purification, cleansing and new beginnings.

It is a good time to reflect on the bad habits you no longer wish to carry with you, and to perform banishing spells to free yourself of the burden.

Spell work of purification, rejuvenation, health and vitality, fertility and growth and renewal, are all the work of Imbolc.

Ritual purification and cleansing of the home should be performed, clearing the home of negativity and setting a positive trend for the year ahead.

Work that blesses your future endeavors, such as good luck and prosperity spells are appropriate.

This is also a good time to cleanse and rededicate your Craft tools and sacred spaces.

Fire- Element of Cleansing and Purification

Fire- Element of Cleansing and Purification

Imbolc is sometimes also known as Candlemas, which comes from the Christian festival.

Interesting in itself, because Brighid herself was made a Saint in the Catholic Church.

The name, Candlemas, can also be interpreted literally, as it is traditional Imbolc practice to light every candle in the house, or place a lit candle in every window, as a way to welcome back the light.

It is also a good time to cleanse and consecrate new candles for future ritual use.

Imbolc is a powerful time for working candle magick in all it’s forms.

A great Imbolc activity, is to actually make candles for future ritual and spell use.

Otherwise, cleanse and consecrate candles you have purchased for future use.

1fa5dcca41089baa68f825f038e4567a

As a time of beginnings, Imbolc is the perfect time for initiations into the Craft.

I like to use Imbolc as a time to rededicate myself to my practice and my Mother Goddess.

This is something I like to do annually, to renew my promise to myself and my Mother and to set new spiritual ideals for myself.

 

Imbolc Altar

Imbolc Altar

As Brighid is a Goddess of craft, you can also get creative at Imbolc.

Making Brighid’s crosses is traditional for Imbolc.

As is making a ‘bed’ for Brighid, to welcome her into the home.

You can also make a pine cone wand, which is a symbol of The God and represents the promise of God and Goddess coming together at Beltane.

Brighid's Cross

Brighid’s Cross

One of my favorite Imbolc traditions, is that of Brighid’s mantle.

Brighid taught the Irish to weave and is the Patron Goddess of Knitting and Crochet.

She would sit at her loom, beside the hearth, weaving the very flames into her work.

If you knit, crochet or quilt, make a blanket or shawl and leave it outside your house at Imbolc.

As Brighid passes, it will drawn her attention.

As she admires your handiwork, her touch will bless your creation and it will bestow her healing energy on anyone who wears it.

fcdc08bf085fd7456e77760ddf0ea774

On a more practical level, honor the spirit of Imbolc by spring cleaning your home and ridding yourself of possessions you no longer use.

Having a good spring clean is a good way to start a new, clutter-free, year.

 

Take the time for a walk through the countryside, keeping your eyes open for signs of the return of Spring.

Spring is discreet right now, but she is making her first appearance.

 

 

2014-08-02 05.44.22

Imbolc Incense:

  • 3pt Frankincense
  • 2pt Dragons Blood
  • 1/2pt Red Sandalwood
  • 1pt Cinnamon
  • Few drops Red Wine
  • Pinch of the first flower available (Dried)

 

Brandied Milk and Honey:

This is a traditional favorite for my family and I.

  • 375ml Full Cream Milk
  • 75g Honey
  • 75ml Brandy
  1. Stir milk and honey over low heat until honey dissolves.
  2. Bring to just below boiling. (Be very careful not to let it boil!)
  3. Remove from heat and stir through the brandy.
  4. Serve hot.

2014-08-04 00.05.15

Imbolc Colors:

  • White
  • Red
  • Pale Yellow
  • Silver
  • Pink

Herbs:

  • Basil
  • White Sage
  • Bay
  • Chamomile
  • Cinnamon
  • Crocus
  • Dandelion
  • Dill
  • Frankincense
  • Myrrh
  • Primrose
  • Rosemary
  • Wattle
  • First flowers of the year.

Symbols:

  • Lamps
  • Wells
  • Cauldrons
  • Candles
  • Besom
  • White Flowers
  • Candle Wheels
  • Brighid’s Bed
  • Brighid’s Crosses
  • Anything Iron, like horseshoes
  • The Star tarot card

Animals:

  • Lamb
  • Platypus
  • Snake
  • Swan

2014-08-02 05.48.24

Foods:

  • Curries
  • Onions
  • Chives
  • Garlic
  • Wine
  • Seeds
  • Honey Cakes
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese

Stones:

Deities:

2014-08-02 05.44.37

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: The Sabbats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Yule – The Winter Solstice

The day of the Winter Solstice marks the longest night, and shortest day, of the year.

The sun has reached its Northern most point along the horizon, where it will stay for a few days, before beginning its journey back Southward.

The sun rides low in the north, rising late and setting very early.

Days and nights are cold, dark and dreary.

The mornings are laid in frost and fog.

Winter is upon us.

The dreary days of Yule

The dreary days of Yule

Yule holds a little seed of hope, a seed of regeneration, a spark of light in the darkness.

For although the sun is now too far away to lend us it’s warming rays, Yule marks the beginning of¬†our return to the light and warmth of the summer¬†months.

 

In mythology, The Goddess is giving birth.

Her son, and future lover, is being reborn, returning us  into the waxing half of the year.

She labours to birth her son, her lover, the sun and the light.

 

The Goddess herself  is in her triple aspect.

She is the Crone, sleeping, tired and reflective, immersed in the dark days of winter.

She is the Mother, whom is giving birth.

She is the Maiden, regenerated, a seed dormant in the earth, awaiting the return of the light to call her to the surface.

demeter and demophoon

At Yule, with the dark days and long nights of winter upon us, we celebrate the promise of a return to the light and the beginning of a New Year.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the Sabbat of Yule coincides with Christmas, itself steeped in Pagan tradition.

The Christmas tree originates from Yule tradition.

By bringing  an evergreen tree into our home, a tree that has been grown and nurtured in the light of the sun throughout the year, we can bring that light and warmth into our homes.

Light plays a big part in Yule and Christmas celebrations, symbolizing our hope of the return to the light and the warmth that it brings with it.

2014-06-17 03.42.41

 

The Longest Night Of The Year is steeped in dark Pagan mythology.

One of the more well-known stories, is that of The Wild Hunt.

On this dark night, the Horned Gods shall ride with their band of lost souls.

Tearing through the countryside, they will take with them anyone that is unfortunate enough to cross their path.

Fire and light provides protection from the Wild Hunt, which rides only through the darkened places.

Bonfires, Yule lights and candles blaze, keeping safe those that reside within the confines of the light.

If you hear the wind screaming around the eaves on Solstice Night, chances are the Wild Hunt is passing nearby.

2014-06-26 11.01.06

 

 

 

Bonfires are traditional for this Fire Festival.

A fire kept burning throughout the darkest night of the year, ensures the return of the sun and keeps the Wild Hunt at bay.

You can make a Yule log to burn in the fire.

Tradition dictates this log comes from the root of a tree, or even the entire tree itself.

In Australia, the Yule Log is taken from the roots of a eucalypt tree.

 

wpid-june-moon-.jpg.jpeg

 

One of my personal markers of this Sabbat, is the first shoots of my Winter bulbs.

Planted in Autumn, they are now breaking ground, their tender green shoots sprout from the Earth.

I love Winter bulbs.

They bloom around Imbolc, during the height of winter days, a flash of colour breaking the gloomy surroundings.

Yule sees the potential of these winter bloomers, little shoots of hope.

2014-06-17 03.37.08

Yule is a time of pause and quiet.

A time to give thanks to our loved ones for their love and support during the past year.

A time to give thought to what we wish to achieve in the coming year.

Yule is when we first begin to form these plans, to let our hopes and dreams incubate and take shape.

This is not a time of action, but it is the first stirrings of our future actions.

What are you hoping to achieve this coming year?

Yule2015 (2)

During the dark days of Yule, look to the cold and the darkness which now surrounds us and take time to honor the eternal dance of the earth and the sun, the light and the dark.

Celebrate promise, hope and regeneration.

Merry Yule!

 

Yule Incense:

  • 2pt Frankincense
  • 2pt Pine Resin
  • 1pt Sandalwood
  • Ipt Juniper Berry
Cauldron Fire

Cauldron Fire

Colours:

  • Red
  • Green
  • Gold
  • White
  • Silver
  • Black

The symbolic colours of Yule are red, white and green.

Red for the rebirth of the sun and The God.

White for the regeneration of The Goddess.

Green for the regeneration of the Earth.

Deities:

  • Herne
  • Cernunnos
  • Hecate
  • Demeter
  • Green Man
  • Apollo
  • Lugh
  • Dionysus
  • Odin
  • Woden
  • Horned God
The Yule Tree is a bright and cheerful contrast to the gloomy winter weather

The Yule Tree is a bright and cheerful contrast to the gloomy winter weather

Symbols:

  • Yule Log
  • Evergreens & Ivy
  • Holly & Mistletoe
  • Fire
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Yule Tree
  • Pine & Pine Cones
  • Cauldron
  • Snow & Ice

Stones & Gems:

  • Bloodstone
  • Ruby
  • Emerald
  • Garnet
  • Diamond
  • Cats Eye
  • Tiger Eye

Scents:

  • Pine
  • Cedar
  • Cinnamon
  • Bayberry
  • Rosemary
  • Juniper
  • Frankincense
  • Sandalwood
  • Myrrh

Herbs:

  • Pine
  • Frankincense
  • Cedar
  • Cinnamon
  • Bayberry
  • Thistle
  • Holly
  • Oak
  • Sage
  • Poinsettia

 

 

 

Categories: The Sabbats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Shades Of Samhain

This is my Samhain:

Life held in death

Life held in death

The beautiful cloak of Autumn

The beautiful cloak of Autumn

Food is a big part of Samhain, and pumpkin pie is delicious

Food is a big part of Samhain, and pumpkin pie is delicious

2015-05-04 14.41.38

Samhain is sacred to Hecate.

Samhain is sacred to Hecate.

051

14310067429621

14312226272511

14311769144441

14303997638731

Traditional turnip Jack O lantern

Traditional turnip Jack O lantern

Categories: The Sabbats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Samhain ~ Summers End

Samhain is both an ending and a beginning.

It is truly Summers End, as Samhain was known by the Celts, as the shorter days and colder temperatures will attest.
The end of the sun, which has now retreated North of the equator, the end of the long light-filled days of summer, the end of heat and warmth.
It is the end of the fertile growing and harvest season of the Great Mother.
Samhain is Winter, the Dark Goddess drawing her black cloak down over the land.

Dark Cloak Of The Goddess

Dark Cloak Of The Goddess

Samhain is also a beginning, as well as an end.
Samhain is the ‘Witches New year’.
The year ends, and begins, in the womb of the Dark Goddess.
Her womb which is the tomb, death, slumber and solitude.
The great cauldron where all life begins and ends.
We begin in darkness and we return to darkness.

Samhain is great beauty.
Before the arrival of winter, we experience the earth cloaked in the splendor of her Autumn robes, gold, red, orange and brown.
Leaves, resplendent in colour, fall from the trees that have nurtured them throughout the year, carpeting the ground in a rich tapestry of autumnal colour.

Autumn Splendor

Autumn Splendor

The magic of Samhain floats on the chilly breeze, the smoke of many burn-off and home woodfires, the horizon a hazy fugue.
There is also the homey smell of winter stews and comfort foods, greeting us as we return home.
The welcoming warmth of home contrasting with the chilled Samhain winds.

Samhain is relief and reprieve, as the Autumn rains begin to fall, replenishing the parched and dessiccated land.
Land that has not seen rain in many moons, is once again, finally, flushed with green.
In Australia, even in the midst of death, there is new life.
The green shoots of fresh sprung blades of grass, a testament to the resilience of nature.

Samhain is the last of the three harvest Sabbats.
This is the season of apples, pumpkins and potatoes.
Growers rush to bring in these final harvests before the ground freezes, under a layer of the seasons first frost.

Lord Hades and Cerberus ~ Artist Unknown

Lord Hades and Cerberus ~ Artist Unknown

The Horned God has made his descent, he is Hades, Lord of The Underworld.
His Queen, the dreadful and dark Persephone, at his side.
They rule over the shades of the dead and their subterranean kingdom.
The bright Sun God is now the Dark Shadow Lord, returned to the womb of The Goddess to await his renewal.

5b422caf40fe7eecbdeec7d177f947c2

The Goddess is also in her shadow aspect.
She is Hekate.
She is Dark Persephone.
She stirs her bubbling cauldron, brewing atop her Samhain fire.
She is old and soon to be barren, but yet, she holds that seed of life within her belly.
The seed she was given at Beltane, as she lay with her lover.
Life within death, light within shadow.
She prepares to rest before she begins the eternal cycle once again.

6d5304dd9f791d5a011a8488c4121cd8

As Samhain is a Sabbat of shadow, we can also use this time to remember those that have gone before us.
Samhain is a time to honor our departed loved ones and our ancestors, whose blood flows through our veins.
It is traditional to place a candle on the windowsill for those we have lost, a light to guide them home.
If I have lost a loved one throughout the year, I will set them a place at our feast and extend the invitiation for them to join us.

As the veil between the worlds is thin at Samhain, all forms of divination have a great power on this night.
Tarot readings are especially insightful, scrying is more effective than usual.
It becomes easier to contact the other side, to tap into our intuition.
This can work both ways though, so take care when interacting with the spirit world on Samhain night, as it is not only benevolent spirits that have easier access to our world.
This is where the traditional jack-o-lantern comes in, as it’s frightful face is said to scare away those mischievious spirits.

Samhain altar, guarded by turnip Jack~O~Lantern

Samhain altar, guarded by turnip Jack~O~Lantern

In Australia, we don’t have access to easy to carve pumpkins, not at this time of year anyway.
Unless you fancy trying to carve into a tough old Queensland Blue (which is possible, but very difficult), a good alternative is to use turnips.
Turnips are much easier to hollow out and carve a face into.
They are also where the jack-o-lantern tradition began, before it reached America.

Samhain is a time of winding down, the earth preparing for her barren slumber.
This extends to people too, as nights in front of the tv and fire take the place of social activity.
We exercise less, we eat more, we sleep later in the mornings (or wish we could).

14283167332951

Samhain is year’s end, time to take stock of what we have achieved throughout the growing season.
What goals and plans have come to fruition?
What do we need to put aside to work on again in the coming year?
This is a time for self-evaluation, celebration of the year that has been and exploring the darker parts of ourselves.
A time for meditation, trance work and scrying by the fire.
It is a time for pause and rest, to take stock and be still before the year begins anew.

Samhain Incense-

  • 3pt Frankincense
  • 2pt Myrrh
  • 1pt Rosemary
  • 1pt Sandalwood
  • 1pt Juniper

ER-Skull-and-Pomegranates

Colours-

  • Orange
  • Black
  • Purple
  • Deep Red
  • Brown

Deities-

  • Hecate
  • Persephone
  • Hades
  • Ceridwen
  • Ereshkigal
  • Herne
  • Psyche
  • Lilith
  • Anubis
  • Cernunnos
  • Demeter
  • The Morrigan
  • Nephthys

Symbols-

  • Pumpkins
  • Apples
  • Besoms
  • Autumn Leaves
  • Waning Moon
  • Acorns
  • Black Cats
  • Skeletons
  • Snakes
  • Bats
  • Spiders
  • Crows
  • Pomegranates
  • Bones
  • Divination Tools
  • Oak Leaves
  • Scarecrows
  • Scythes

Stones & Gems-

  • Jet
  • Obsidian
  • Hematite
  • All black and dark stones

Scents-

  • Sandalwood
  • Myrrh
  • Patchouli
  • Benzoin
  • Sage
  • Wormwood
  • Heliotrope

Herbs-

  • Rosemary
  • Deadly nightshade
  • Mandrake
  • Oak Leaves
  • Apple
  • Bay Leaves
  • Cinnamon
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Pine Cones and Needles
  • Mugwort
  • Nettle

 

Categories: The Sabbats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A View To Mabon

Mabon through my lens.

My Autumnal Equinox in Country Australia.

The majestic cloak of Autumn

The majestic cloak of Autumn

Red, Orange and Gold. Colours of Mabon

Red, Orange and Gold. Colours of Mabon

Balance. Light and Dark. Liminal Time

Hekate of Earth. Seasonal shrine.

Hekate of Earth. Seasonal shrine

Herne The Hunter, seasonal shrine.

Herne The Hunter, seasonal shrine

Seasonal Apple Pie, Complete With Autumn Leaves Decoration

Seasonal Apple Pie, Complete With Autumn Leaves Decoration

Mabon, the beginning of the apple harvest

Mabon, the beginning of the apple harvest

2015-03-22 03.12.43

2015-03-22 03.18.24

2015-03-22 03.29.24

The Sun Sets On Summer

The Sun Sets On Summer

 

Categories: The Sabbats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mabon – The Autumnal Equinox

Mabon (or Harvest Home),  is the Autumnal Equinox, the shaded twin of  Ostara, the Spring Equinox.

Ostara is balance of night and day, the harbinger of Spring and Summer, the light half of the year.

Mabon also sees this balance of light and dark, but now we tip over into the dark half of the year, ushering in the shadows of Autumn and Winter.

From this point onwards the night shall reign, as the days grow ever shorter.

 

Mabon is a beautiful time of year.

The air, while not yet cold, does begin to take on a chill, particularly of a night and morning.

The leaves on the trees are beginning to turn, a stunning display of red, orange and gold.

You can smell Autumn in the air.

2015-03-16 03.16.13

Early Autumn Leaves Near My Home

Mabon is a very magical time, both in the air and the earth, the magic of the season is palpable.

Agriculturally, Mabon marks the beginning of the apple and grape harvest.

Many late season vegetables are now in season too.

Mabon is the second harvest Sabbat, a busy time for farmers and growers, bringing in the late harvests before the chill of winter descends.

With the abundance of the various harvests, Mabon is a time of thanksgiving.

We give our thanks to the Earth and the Sun, the God and Goddess, for the food that sustains us throughout the year.

We acknowledge that without the eternal cycles of birth, growth and death, there can be no life.

We can also extend our thanks to the men and women who nurture and grow the food that we eat.

 

Mabon is also a theme of death and descent.

Persephone has reached The Underworld, taking her throne beside her Husband, Hades.

Demeter mourns the loss of her Daughter once again, her grief seen all around us in the dying earth.

Hekate too, returns to The Underworld, having accompanied the Maiden Persephone on her journey down.

Both Persephone and Hekate take up their darker Underworld aspects at this time.

Persephone and Hades - Jynette Tigner

Persephone and Hades – Jynette Tigner

In Celtic mythology, the Oak King and Holly King fight their eternal battle, the Holly King emerging victorious.

He is the Lord of Winter, the Lord of Darkness, who shall preside over the dark days ahead.

 

The wounded God of Lughnasadh succumbs to his mortality.

He falls to the ground, amid the bounty of the harvest and breathes his last.

He turns to his shadowy aspect, a God in and of the shadows.

He too will soon make his descent to The Underworld and take his throne, The Lord of The Underworld, Hades himself.

 

Throughout the turning of the Great Wheel, we have observed the growth and maturation of the Horned God.

We celebrated his birth at Yule.

Watched him grow into his childhood at Imbolc, as the earth began to stir from its slumber and the first shoots broke ground.

We saw him as a young man at Ostara, as the earth burst into life and color.

We witnessed him lay with the Goddess and become a man at Beltane.

At Litha he was in his prime, strong and virile with the heat of the sun.

At Lughnasadh we wept alongside the Goddess, watching as he bled out into the earth.

We witnessed the God as the Sun King at Litha and the Corn King at Lughnasadh.

Now, at Mabon, we welcome the Lord Of The Vine, Dionysus.

Dionysus the God Of Wine, Song, Dance and Ecstasy.

 

The Goddess grows old, almost at the winter of her life.

She is weary and grieving for her soon to be lost love.

Soon she shall lay down to rest, retreating to the Underworld to await her renewal.

She does not die, but slumbers.

But for this time, Mabon, she is radiant and beautiful in her twilight years, cloaked in the majesty of Autumn.

Mabon Goddess - Bastet

Mabon Goddess – Bastet

Mabon is a time of liminality, between the worlds of light and dark.

Mabon is a time of balance and abundance.

We can reap the rewards of all we have gained throughout the year.

We can also think about how we can sustain these things throughout the fallow period of winter.

 

During the season of Mabon, take the time to do some Autumn Cleaning.

Much like Spring Cleaning, but instead of clearing and making room for new activities, opportunities and ideas, we clear out and make room for contemplating and reviewing the year that has been.

Mabon is a chance to rid ourselves of those things that we no longer need, that no longer bring us pleasure or work for us.

Like the opposing seasons of Spring and Autumn, we take a different approach to cleaning and clearing at Mabon.

Rather than clearing the material world, this is a good time to clear yourself of old habits, thoughts and friendships that no longer serve you.

Autumn Cleaning is more about making room for contemplation and meditation throughout the coming winter.

Rituals and meditations of balance and healing are a way to achieve this.

Clear your mind and your personality of all the things you would best be without.

 

As the Sun wanes, look to your own shadow aspect.

Acknowledge, embrace, the darkest side of your personality.

Know that without this darkness there can be no light.

Your dark and light half make up the whole of who you really are.

Achieving a balance of the two is what we need most desire at the Autumnal Equinox.

 

Most of all, get outdoors and soak up the magick of Mabon!

9bd81b1cf05c55848ceb413a3e89db3e

Autumn Leaves – Pinterest.

 

Mabon Incense:

  • 2pt Frankincense
  • 1pt Sandalwood
  • 1pt Cypress
  • 1pt Juniper
  • 1pt Pine
  • 1/2pt Oakmoss
  • 1 pinch of pulverized Oak Leaf

Colors:

  • Red
  • Gold
  • Orange
  • Brown

Deities:

  • Persephone
  • Demeter
  • Hekate
  • Dionysus
  • Zeus
  • Green Man
  • Hermes
  • Hades
Crossing - Pinterest

Crossing – Pinterest

Symbols:

  • Indian Corn
  • Cornucopia
  • Wine
  • Vines
  • Grapes
  • Apples
  • Pine Cones
  • Acorns
  • Pomegranates
  • Grain
  • Corn
  • Autumn Leaves
  • Dried Seeds
  • The Hanged Man Tarot Card

Stones & Gems:

  • Lapis Lazuli
  • Gold
  • Topaz
  • Peridot
  • Sapphire
  • Yellow Agate

Scents:

  • Sandalwood
  • Benzoin
  • Myrrh
  • Sage

Herbs:

  • Marigold
  • Rose
  • Tobacco
  • Vegetables
  • Oak Leaves
  • Grains
  • Honeysuckle

 

Unknown Photographer

Unknown Photographer

Categories: The Sabbats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: