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Seasonal Celebrations

 


Imbolc


Ostara


Beltane


Midsummer


Lughnasadh


Mabon


Samhain


Yule

 

 


Artwork by Jos. a. Smith©
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Next Holiday: Midsummer/Litha June 21, 2017

In addition to the four great festivals of the Pagan Celtic year, there are four lesser holidays as well: the two solstices, and the two equinoxes. In folklore, these are referred to as the four “quarter days” of the year, and modern Witches call them the four “Lesser Sabbats”, or the four “Low Holidays”. The summer solstice is one of them. 

Technically, a solstice is an astronomical point and, due to the calendar creep of the leap-year cycle, the date may vary by a few days depending on the year. The summer solstice occurs when the sun reaches the Tropic of Cancer, and we experience the longest day and the shortest night of the year. Astrologers know this as the date on which the sun enters the sign of Cancer. 

However, since most European peasants were not accomplished at reading an ephemeris or did not live close enough to Salisbury Plain to trot over toStonehenge and sight down its main avenue, they celebrated the event on a fixed calendar date, June 24. The slight forward displacement of the traditional date is the result of multitudinous calendrical changes down through the ages. It is analogous to the winter solstice celebration, which is astronomically on or about December 21, but is celebrated on the traditional date of December 25, Yule, later adopted by the Christians. 

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


Next Holiday Southern Hemisphere: Yule
June 21, 2017

For an article on Yule by Mike Nichols click here.

2017 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.

Summer’s warmth lets us enjoy a great many simple pleasures.  After a cold Winter, the freedom of just being outdoors is a true gift!  The increased energy of Summer brings increased activity of all kinds:  festivals, vacations, travel.  What special Summer gatherings do you look forward to?  All the adventure, experiences, learning, worship, fun, freedom, passion, celebration and joy that these festivals offer are the unique gifts of Summer!  

 Read the rest of this article by clicking here      


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