Posts Tagged With: sabbats

Beltane – Days Of The Greater Sun

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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?

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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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

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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.

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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

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Foods:

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

Stones:

Deities:

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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?

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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

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Samhain is sacred to Hecate.

Samhain is sacred to Hecate.

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Traditional turnip Jack O lantern

Traditional turnip Jack O lantern

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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

Lughnasadh – The First Harvest

Lughnasadh, also known as Lammas,  marks the beginning of the first harvest.
Traditionally, this is the harvesting of grain crops.
In my area of Australia, grain crops such as wheat are sown as winter crops, to avoid the scorching heat and dry conditions of high summer.
Here grain crops are harvested before the Midsummer Solstice.

Although celebrating the harvest of grain just doesn’t fit here, Lughnasadh still marks the commencement of many a harvest in my area.
Depending on the time of sowing, corn is now being harvested, as are stone fruits.
For me, in Southern New South Wales, Lughnasadh is the Sabbat of fresh summer fruits.
Peaches, grapes, plums, prunes and berries are all being harvested at Lughnasadh.
This works well for us, still experiencing the heat of summer, as platters of fresh fruit are a treat on a summers’ eve celebration.

The sacrificial symbolism of Lughnasadh can also be seen in the sun, as it begins it’s slow journey North, toward the Autumn Equinox.
As the sun travels North, the days become shorter.
This is not that evident yet, but each day is two minutes shorter than the preceding day.
It is in the travels of the sun, that the aging and death of the God is evident, if not in the actual grain harvest.

Celtic Goddess & Horned God

Lughnasadh – Unholy Vault

Although we are still experiencing summer, Lughnasadh is an acknowledgement of the Pagan year drawing to a close.
It is endings, achievement and abundance, but it is also death and sacrifice.
The traditional meanings of Lughnasadh lie in the harvesting of the grain.
Symbolically, this is the sacrificial death of the God, who is cut down as the wheat stalk.
His blood allows us to be fed for the coming year, he gives his life for The Goddess, for the produce of the land, for us.

We must remember the God sacrifices his life willingly.
When he joined with The Goddess at Beltane, He knew what was to come, as She beckoned him to her in her sacred grove.
He came to her willingly, understanding the implications of his acceptance.

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We can see a very human aspect of The God at Lughnasadh.
He is like us, in that he has a lifespan, a certain amount of time in which to live, grow and accomplish.
He is born, he develops from childhood into adulthood.
He reaches his prime and then declines into old age.
He must come to terms with his mortality.
His is the life cycle of the mortal.

The Goddess is eternal, she does not die.
She ages and she slumbers, but her life force stays vital.
But this too has its price.
For she must watch all that she loves die.
Even worse for her, she must be the one that brings that death, to her Divine lover, to the trees and flowers, to the land, to her mortal children.
For death is a part of the endless cycle of life, without it there can be no renewal, no resurgence of life in the Spring.
Without death, there is no wheel, no cycle, no seasons, no life.

Demeter

At Lughnasadh, The Goddess is both Mother and Crone.
She is Demeter, walking the fields, crops ripening in her wake.
The Mother who gives life and sustenance.

She is also The Crone.
As her lover lies bleeding into the soil before her, she stands over him, sickle in hand, and she cries.
She is the bearer of death to the one she loved.
She wails at his loss, his selfless sacrifice to her life-giving forces.
His spilled blood upon her, she draws forth her veil of darkness and walks into the shadows.
The mourning of The Goddess will bring on the slumber of the Earth, Autumn and then Winter.

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In Greek mythology, Lughnasadh marks the descent of Persephone.
Having spent the light half of the year above ground, it is now time to fulfill her duties as the wife of Hades.
With Hecate leading the way with her flaming torches, Persephone begins the journey back to The Underworld, the realm of the dead.
Throughout the Autumn and Winter, Persephone will sit atop her throne, presiding over the Shades of the Dead.
Her Husband, the Dark Lord Hades, at her side.
Though Persephone will return in the Spring, her Mother, Demeter, will mourn the loss of her Daughter, as she does each year.
In her grief, she refuses to fertilise the earth, plunging us into the winter months where nothing grows without her Divine aid.
But first, we get to enjoy the last days of sunshine, warmth and growth.
Maybe more so, knowing that Winter is just around the corner

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The theme of Lughnasadh is death and sacrifice, but it is also acknowledging abundance in our lives.
At Yule, we set ourselves a goal, or goals, for the year ahead.
As the earth worked toward the culmination of the harvest, and the sun ascended, so too have we worked to bring our goals to fruition.
Lughnasadh is the first harvest festival, so we still have time to give that final push towards completion, some things take longer to grow than others.
But it is time to reflect on the year that has been and all that it has brought us.
What good things have come into your life throughout the year?
What can you give thanks for?

We can also look at the sacrifices that we have made, and those that need to be made.
Bad habits, old ways that no longer serve us, people who bring us nothing but problems, clutter that has accumulated in your home.
What do you need to rid yourself of?
Lughnasadh is a good time to look honestly at yourself, to be thankful for all that is good in your life and to cut away all that is negative or no longer serves your future growth.

Saturn - As Above Tarot

Saturn – As Above Tarot

 Lughnasadh Incense:

  • 2 parts Frankincense
  • 1 pt Benzoin
  • 1 pt Dragons Blood
  • 1/2 pt Nutmeg
  • 1/2 pt Blackberry leaf
  • 1/2 pt Orange Peel
  • 1/2 pt Rose Petal

 

Colors:

  • Red
  • Brown
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Gold
  • Bronze

 

Deities:

  • Lugh
  • Sun Gods
  • Epona
  • Demeter
  • Dark Persephone
  • Hecate
  • Cerridwen
  • Dionysus
  • Adonis
  • Hermes
  • Cronos
Strength - Steampunk Tarot

Strength – Steampunk Tarot

Symbols:

  • Athame
  • Sword
  • Sickle
  • Snake
  • Fruit
  • Grain
  • Strength – Tarot Card
  • Justice – Tarot Card
  • Seeds
  • Corn Dolls
  • Crows

 

Stones & Gems:

  • Carnelian
  • Citrine
  • Tigers Eye
  • Cats Eye

 

Scents:

  • Sandalwood
  • Frankincense

 

Herbs:

  • Grapes
  • Blackberry
  • Sandalwood
Categories: The Sabbats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Magick Of Midsummer

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The Height of Summer

 

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Litha – The Midsummer Solstice

Litha, also known as the Midsummer Solstice, marks the longest day of the year.
Litha is the peak of the sun’s power, the height of summer.
Litha is light, abundant energy and heat.

In Australia, the sun is very powerful, and at Midsummer the sun rules supreme.
The earth wilts under the relentless heat of the sun.
Water becomes scarce, as rain is not so common around this time of year.
Animals and humans alike, seek the shade, respite from the heat.
The sun rides high in the sky and the days are very long.

The Height of Summer

The Height of Summer

Pagans celebrate Litha as the prime of  life of the solar and vegetation gods.
At this time the God is strong, having reached the zenith of his manhood.
At Beltane he fertilized the Goddess with his seed, and now he nurtures both his lover and his unborn child.
Litha is a time of production and creative energy for God and Goddess.
They come together as one, to produce and sustain life for another year.
The warming rays of the sun, nurturing the growth and life of the earth.

The Goddess basks in the warming rays, preparing herself, as her time is yet to come.
She will become evident again as the harvest ripens in the fields, the bounty of another year coming to fruition.
The fruit, vegetables and grains that will sustain us for another year, another turn of the wheel.

God and Goddess harmonize at Litha, they are one, yet they are also opposites.
The God is the sun, the wild growth of vegetation.
The Goddess is the shade, the cool kiss of water in the heat, the productive soil.
They are sun and moon, light and shade, earth and solar energy.

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Magical Midsummer

 

In Australia, even non-pagans celebrate this time.
While some still cling to the Christmas traditions of a far-off country, for many, this is a time of enjoying the outdoors, of spending time with family over the holidays.
I have posted before about the non-sensical celebration of Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere, but Australians are gradually phasing over to a celebration more fitting to our Australian summer.
A lot of Aussie’s spend this time by the water, swimming and water skiing.
Barbecues in the sun, beer and plenty of food.
It is the summer holidays, a time to relax and enjoy these long days of light, heat and good cheer.

While Litha is a celebration of the sun, the culmination of the year, it is also a gateway into the dark half of the year.
The sun, having reached its height, will now begin to decline.
While we have yet to experience the hottest time of the year, the sun will now begin to slowly pull away from the earth.
The God will begin to grow old.
He will soon give of himself, a voluntary sacrifice, to ensure the life of the harvest to come.
A strange paradox, at the very pinnacle of the year, we enter the dark half of the year.
Again, light and dark, life and death.

In Celtic traditions, the eternal battle between the Oak King and the Holly King is once again fought.
During their Midsummer clash, the Oak King is defeated and the Holly King takes his dark throne.
The Lord of Winter has defeated the reign of Summer.

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Midsummer is a time of strong earth and fire magick, Litha being a fire festival.
Both earth and sun are radiating energy at this time, and this can be harnessed and channeled into love, good luck and prosperity spells.
The Faery folk are very active and alive at Midsummer, and this is the perfect time to connect and work with these powerful earth elementals.
Welcome the Fae to your garden and Midsummer celebrations.
Leave them offerings of milk, bread, water and honey.
Work with them to channel the radiant energy of earth and sun into spells of growth and abundance.

Most of all, get outside and enjoy the balmy days of summer.

A Bright and Happy Midsummer Solstice to you.

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Litha Incense:

  • 3pt Frankincense
  • 2pt Benzoin
  • 1pt Dragons Blood
  • 1pt Goat Weed (St. Johns Wort)
  • 1pt Blackberry (leaves or flowers)
  • 4 drops Neroli Oil

Colors:

  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Gold
  • Blue

Deities:

  • All Solar Gods
  • Horned Gods
  • Pan
  • Zeus
  • Prometheus
  • Ares
  • Helios
  • Llew
  • Athena
  • Eos
The Sun - Witches Tarot

The Sun – Witches Tarot

Symbols:

  • Sun Symbols
  • Solar Cross
  • Sun Dials
  • Sunflowers
  • Spirals
  • Vines
  • Athame & Swords
  • The Sun, Tarot Card
  • Flames
  • Stags and Wild Animals
  • Dragons

Stones & Gems:

  • Carnelian
  • Fire Opal
  • Red Tiger Eye
  • Red Jasper
  • Ruby
  • Citrine
  • Blood Stone
  • Amazonite
  • Aventurine

Scents:

  • Frankincense
  • Benzoin
  • Dragons Blood
  • Pine
  • Rose
  • Lavender
  • Geranium
  • Sage
  • Cedar

Herbs:

  • Rose
  • Honeysuckle
  • Oak
  • Mugwort
  • Lavender
  • Goat Weed ( St John’s Wort)
  • Blackberry
  • Pine

 

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

A View Of Beltane

This is my Beltane in country Australia, the beginning of summer.

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Fae Cakes

Fae Cakes

Rose Quartz is the stone of Beltane

Rose Quartz is the stone of Beltane

Beltane Eve

Beltane Eve

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

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