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Next Holiday: Beltane May 1, 2019

'Perhaps it's just as well that you won't be here...to be offended by the sight of our May Day celebrations.' --Lord Summerisle to Sgt. Howie from 'The Wicker Man'

There are four great festivals of the Pagan Celtic year and the modern Witches’ calendar, as well. The two greatest of these are Halloween (the beginning of winter) and May Day (the beginning of summer). Being opposite each other on the wheel of the year, they separate the year into halves. Halloween (also called Samhain) is the Celtic New Year and is generally considered the more important of the two, though May Day runs a close second. Indeed, in some areas—notably Wales—it is considered “the great holiday”.

May Day ushers in the fifth month of the modern calendar year, the month of May. This month is named in honor of the Goddess Maia, originally a Greek mountain nymph, later identified as the most beautiful of the Seven Sisters, the Pleiades. By Zeus, she is also the mother of Hermes, God of magic. Maia’s parents were Atlas and Pleione, a sea nymph. 

The old Celtic name for May Day is Beltane (in its most popular Anglicized form), which is derived from the Irish Gaelic Bealtaine or the Scottish Gaelic Bealtuinn, meaning “Bel-fire”, the fire of the Celtic God of Light (Bel, Beli, or Belinus). He, in turn, may be traced to the Middle Eastern God Baal. 

Other names for May Day include: Cetsamhain (opposite Samhain), Walpurgisnacht (inGermany), and Roodmas (the medieval church’s name). This last came from church fathers who were hoping to shift the common people’s allegiance from the Maypole (Pagan lingam—symbol of life) to the Holy Rood (the cross—Roman instrument of death). 

For the rest of Mike Nichols' article on Beltane click here


Next Holiday Southern Hemisphere: Samhain
May 1, 2019

For an article on Samhain by Mike Nichols click here.

2019 Wiccan/Pagan Calendar


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Your Own Celebrations of Spring

Three months.  Three glorious months.  After a long cold winter, it comes just when you need it most:  Spring.

We may not realize it, but we spend 25% of our lifetime experiencing Spring.  While many people mark the first day of Spring with ritual, Spring itself is a ritual; it is a celebration that lasts for three months.  You already may be celebrating the season in more ways than you think.

The Ghost of Springtimes Past

Keep a journal?  (Of course you do, even if it’s in your head!)  Page back through your memoirs of last Spring.  What was going on in your life?  What troubled you?  What filled you with joy or kept you busy during those months?  What was life like for you just a wheel’s turn ago?  Now page back even further, back into the memories of Springs long ago sprung.  How many Springtimes back does your journal go?  Two, three, a dozen?  Frolic through you own recollections of things that took place in late March, April, May and early June.  Do you see a pattern?  Do similar challenges keep springing into your life around this time of year?  Look at how your situation has changed since then, and see the progress you’ve made over the seasons.  Note both what has changed and what has stayed constant.  Now, after looking back at your own life through your journal, look ahead at what you might expect for this coming Spring?

Divination

If Springtime looks ahead toward things to come, why not try doing a special form of divination tailored for Spring?  How might divination methods vary with the seasons?  What method fits best for you, and with Springtime’s unique energy?  In addition to the time-tested traditional tools of divination, you might try using a few objects naturally associated with Spring.  Try using the seeds of seasonal fruit, ones that are abundant in your area come Spring.  Maybe you could scry into a bowl of water collected from April showers?  Or perhaps use petals from the May flowers?  (She loves me; she loves me not…only a daisy knows for sure!)

 Read the rest of this article by clicking here


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