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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: Mabon September 22, 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 22, 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 Autumn

It’s starting.  The gradual change into Autumn.  Some say the 13 weeks of Autumn are the most colorful time of the year.  Take a moment and look at some of the special rituals, customs and celebrations you do each Autumn.  Feel the magic of the season.  It might be more colorful than you think!

Autumn Begins

Technically, Autumn begins on the equinox day in September.  For many of us, the season may begin on a different day that fits the way we live.  “Back-to-School” sales signal Summer’s end for students.  For sports fans here in the US, Autumn is not official until the World Series or the start of Football as their own private signal that Autumn has finally arrived.  For some, Autumn begins on that first cool night where the windows get closed and the heat comes on.  When does Autumn begin for you?  And when does it end?

Back-to-School Lessons

Not only does Autumn begin with Back-to-School for students, but for parents as well.  Parents too are shaped by the school activities, social events and other seasonal needs of their children – all which renew themselves each September with the agrarian school calendar (Or as Pagans students might call it, the Wheel of the School Year.)

As the child grows, the parent grows too.  Back-to-School for a pre-schooler’s very first day is an unforgettable experience.  How many parents can still hear the tearful screams of “I don’t wanna go!!!”  (And how many parents secretly whispered “There’s a part of me that doesn’t really want you to go…but I know you need to go.”)  That Autumn day, the very first day school, marks a rite of passage for both the student, and the parent.  Imagine these same feelings when any loved one departs the world they share with us, headed for the next, moving on to the new lessons they face in the next life. “There’s a part of me that doesn’t really want you to go…but I know you need to go.”

 Read the rest of this article by clicking here     


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