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Seasonal Celebrations

 


Imbolc


Ostara


Beltane


Midsummer


Lughnasadh


Mabon


Samhain


Yule

 

 


Artwork by Jos. a. Smith©
Used with the permission of the artist

 

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Next Holiday: Mabon September 21, 2018

Despite the bad publicity generated by Thomas Tryon’s novel, Harvest Home is the pleasantest of holidays. Admittedly, it does involve the concept of sacrifice, but one that is symbolic only. The sacrifice is that of the spirit of vegetation, John Barleycorn. Occurring one quarter of the year after Midsummer, Harvest Home represents midautumn, autumn’s height. It is also the autumnal equinox, one of the quarter days of the year, a Lesser Sabbat and a Low Holiday in modern Witchcraft. Recently, some Pagan groups have begun calling the holiday by the Welsh name ‘Mabon’, although there seems little historical justification for doing so. 

Technically, an equinox is an astronomical point and, due to the fact that our leap-year cycle causes dates to slip and then snap back into place, the date may vary by a few days depending on the year. The autumnal equinox occurs when the sun crosses the equator on its apparent journey southward, and we experience a day and a night that are of equal duration. Up until Harvest Home, the hours of daylight have been greater than the hours from dusk to dawn. But from now on, the reverse holds true. Astrologers know this as the date on which the sun enters the sign of Libra, the Scales (an appropriate symbol of a balanced day and night). 

However, since most European peasants were not accomplished at calculating the exact date of the equinox, they celebrated the event on a fixed calendar date, September 25, a holiday the medieval church Christianized under the name of “Michaelmas”, the feast of the archangel Michael. (One wonders if, at some point, the Roman Catholic Church contemplated assigning the four quarter days of the year to the four archangels, just as they assigned the four cross-quarter days to the four Gospel writers. Further evidence for this may be seen in the fact that there was a brief flirtation with calling the vernal equinox “Gabrielmas”, ostensibly to commemorate the archangel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary on Lady Day.) 

For the rest of Mike Nichols' article on Mabon click here.


Next Holiday Southern Hemisphere: Ostara
September 21, 2018

For an article on Ostara by Mike Nichols click here.

2018 Wiccan/Pagan Calendar


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Link's Lesson Book

Your Own Celebrations of Summer

There’s a village one year’s journey from here.  And in that village lives a woman with four children.  Like any family, all four children are kindred and similar -- yet very, very unique.  One is a feisty child, with brilliant golden hair, and a natural glow warmer than any other.  This child’s name is Summer.

In an entire year, perhaps the 91 days (and nights) of Summer seem to fly by the quickest…  When you think of summer, what comes to mind?

Summer is the peak, the pinnacle, the realization of what took root during the Spring.  One lesson the seasons teach is that many things in nature grow, mature, and then fade.  Imagine yourself old and gray and wise.  Look back upon your own life as if it were a single turn of the year.  What part of your life was your high point, your “Summer,” your peak?  Where did you shine your brightest, glow your hottest?

We too change like the seasons.  When Mother Nature puts on Her Summer wardrobe, so do we.  Except these wardrobes seem quite opposite.  In Summer, the forest grows more thickly covered, while we become less covered.  Summer is a season of short sleeves, short pants, short skirts and bare toes.  While the trees might wear their thick green coats, we often frolic clad with nothing but the sky!  More of our natural selves comes out in the Summer – arms, legs, skin – what we are beneath all those layers of cold Winter clothes can shine forth in the Summer.  Maybe we resemble our animal cousins, who also shed much of their fur and feathers in Summer.

 Read the rest of this article by clicking here     


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