Tag Archive | celebrations

2018 September Equinox

Celebrating Mabon and Ostara

The fall equinox occurs when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal. These equinox events vary in date and time by a few hours to a day. Generally the Fall Equinox occurs on or around September 21st or 22nd.

This year the Fall Equinox will occur at 9:54 PM (Eastern U.S.) on Saturday , September 22. Celebration for Pagans should begin at Sunset on Saturday. Whither you’re in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere, the timing would be the same. But the Holiday you celebrate depends on which side of the hemisphere you’re in.

The North is turning away from the Sun, so we’re heading into fall. But if we’re moving away from the Sun, the southern hemisphere is moving toward the Sun. So folks on that side of the planet are starting their Spring season.

Mabon; The Feast of Avalon In The Northern Hemisphere
The time of Giving thanks, take time for Reflection.
Here in the north we’re celebrating Mabon, the Feast of Avalon.  This pagan holiday is assumed to have originated in the Celtic lands. But some argue it is highly influenced by Norse traditions. Continue reading

The Legend of the Sacred King

Father Sun and Mother Earth

A Celtic Tale of Sacrifice and the Blood Moon

In ancient history, many cultures hold tales concerning a Sacred King. Back then a King was a form of deity, or was placed on a throne by Divine hands. As such they were worshiped as much as they were revered and honored. The Sacred King we’re going to talk about comes from the early pagan days of the Celts.

In this tale, the Sacred King is associated with the Sun, and in some variations with the Sun God Lugh who is honored during the 1st Harvest Festival known as Lughnasadh, celebrated on August 1st in Northern Hemisphere.  Elements of this story are scattered through pagan festivals throughout the year, and have been passed on through the generations of practitioners primarily through oral tales. Even today, most Pagans celebrate these events in our modern festivals and rituals, but often as separate events instead of one long story arc. 

In his writings, Sir James George Frazer describes in a book called The Golden Bough (1890–1915); the sacred king represented the spirit of vegetation. He came into being in the spring, reigned during the summer, and ritually died at harvest time, only to be reborn at the winter solstice to wax and rule again. 

Elements of Frazer’s book, document Pagan tales celebrated throughout the cycle of the year in one story. There are elements of the Holy and Oak King, who share governance of the seasons as they wax and wane between summer and winter. There’s the association of the fertile spring equinox when the Great God and Maiden Goddess unite and reign through the summer. And the outcome of that union in the fall, which provides for an abundant harvest season. Continue reading

Merry Samhain & Happy Halloween 2017

Image from: Megan Granata

Image from: Megan Granata

Merry Samhain

Samhain is a Gaelic word that literally translates to  “Summer’s End”. It’s pronounced as sow-en, sow-ween, and yes, for some the Americanized Sam-hain really is acceptable. The holiday reminds us that things change and that includes the words we use, how we use them and even how we say them.

For the Celts, it marks the new year and the renewal of the Wheel of Life. We remember that the only constant in the Divine Universe is that things change. How they change depends on you.

At this time of the year, it’s also a time for many to report on the History of Halloween. Most reports focus on the early Christian influences for All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day. Some really do try to explain the evolution of the early Pagan practices that evolved over time to modern secular celebrations of the scary American observances for kids and adults young at heart.

Today I read an article from one of my favorite magazines, The Old Farmer’s Almanac about the “Origins of Halloween Traditions“.  It’s a nice overview article and does have some good information. But like many similar articles, it skims over the Pagan influences. I get that. A lot of people really don’t want to link the modern holiday and American celebrations with Pagans. That might anger some Pagans out there. But I approach the issue in a “pick your battles” sort of way. Continue reading

Merry Samhain & Happy Halloween

Image from: Megan Granata

Image from: Megan Granata

Merry Samhain

Samhain is a Gaelic word that literally translates to  “Summer’s End”. It’s pronounced as sow-en, sow-ween, and yes, for some the Americanized Sam-hain really is acceptable. The holiday reminds us that things change and that includes the words we use, how we use them and even how we say them.

For the Celts, it marks the new year and the renewal of the Wheel of Life. We remember that all things move and change through observances of the changing seasons in the explosion of color (in fall or spring). The only constant in the Divine Universe is that things change. How they change depends on you. For what you think, say and do create the world around you.

Samhain is seen as the night when the dead come through the veil of the Otherworld and visit their living relatives and friends to join in ritual celebrations. This makes Samhain one of the most perfect times to communicate with spirits and honor the loved ones lost during this past year. Continue reading

Merry Samhain & Happy Halloween

Photo by Dennis Dow, Woodland Park Zoo.

Photo by Dennis Dow, Woodland Park Zoo

Merry Samhain

Samhain is a Gaelic word that literally translates to  “Summer’s End”. It’s pronounced as sow-en, sow-ween, and yes, for some the Americanized Sam-hain really is acceptable. The holiday reminds us that things change and that includes the words we use, how we use them and even how we say them.

For the Celts, it marks the new year and the renewal of the Wheel of Life. We remember that all things move and change through observances of the changing seasons in the explosion of color (in fall or spring). The only constant in the Divine Universe is that things change. How they change depends on you. For what you think, say and do create the world around you.

Samhain is seen as the night when the dead come through the veil of the Otherworld and visit their living relatives and friends to join in ritual celebrations. This makes Samhain one of the most perfect times to communicate with spirits and honor the loved ones lost during this past year.

For some this holiday is a festival that is celebrated over a period of days. From 1 night, to 3 or even a full week of 7. Some even take 9 full days to recognize the Triple Goddess of Maiden, Mother and Crone to honor the transitions of the Wheel, Circle or Cycle of life. Continue reading

The Pagan Sabbats

Image from: Megan Granata

Image from: Megan Granata

What Are They?

Sabbat {Greek – Sabatu – to rest}
The Pagan holidays, called Sabbats, are seasonal celebrations representing birth, life, death and rebirth, the cycle of life itself. These celebrations are a means to attune the physical human mind, body and spirit with the flow of natures’ energy and the essence of the Divine Spirit in one’s life. For Pagans that can be a God, Goddess, or a collective Divine consciousness or spirit, such as the Great Spirit or to some The GreatSpirits, with an emphasis on the plural.

It is a bonding time, a time to recognize the aspects of the season within the self. “To become one with nature” is a common metaphor for the overall purpose and intent of these holidays. They are almost always reverent, link the individual to the Divine force in their life, and reconnect to the Divine Universal energy around us that we are all part of.

You might think of it this way;
I am not the Goddess, you are not the God. But You and I And All things seen and unseen make up the Divine force in the Multi-verse of existence. We are connected and intertwined together to create the whole of the Divine Spirit.

Most Pagans believe that by joining forces with the Divine in our lives, we bring harmony, balance and order to our physical existence. These are necessary aspects of life for positive change and to create an atmosphere for spiritual learning and growth that lead toward enlightenment. Living in harmony and balance creates a daily connection to the Divine within an individual. It’s a connection that’s persistent, instead of only occurring during meditation or ritual. Continue reading

History Of Lughnasadh

The Fire Festival Of The Summer Sun
By Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D.  🐾

Arctic Wolf Fire

“Arctic Wolf Fire”
© Tom-in-Silence

This is the first of the Pagan Harvest Festivals. This is a time where we celebrate the Sun God Lugh, honor the rain and thank the magikal folk of the Tuatha Dé Danann for their help in our own gardens.

As local clans migrated, they took with them their religious and spiritual traditions. Many people believe that during these migrations, names of holidays also changed and Lughnasadh became Lammas. That’s not quite accurate however.

Lammas comes from the Old English word hlafmæsse, which  literally means “loaf mass,”. It was first used in the 15th and 17th centuries by the early Catholic Churches to celebrate the grain provided by the first harvest. In other words, it was another attempt by the early church to co-opt a pagan holiday, make it their own, in order to convert pagans.

Many Anglo-Saxon pagan clans, adopted the name, but still observed the original celebrations of Lugh and the original intent of the holiday. Must pagan purests prefer to ignore the Christianized version of the festival and stick with the early Celtic name of Lughnasadh. As with most things in the world of spirituality, your preferred name should ring true with you. It’s your festival to honor the Sun, the warmth of the summer and their blessings upon the fields. Call it what you feel most connected to, Lughnasadh or Lammas.
Continue reading

Celebrating the Summer Solstice

The Mid-Summer Festival
By Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D.  🐾

The Summer Solstice is a pre-Christian holiday and has been celebrated throughout Europe and many parts of the world for eons. The solstice itself has remained a special moment of the annual cycle of the year since Neolithic times.

In Anglo-Saxon form, the holiday is known as Litha. A Germanic word for June and meaning mid-summer. In Irish form Meitheam. (From Old Irish mithem (“midsummer, June”), from Proto-Celtic *medjo-samīno- (compare Welsh Mehefin)).

Today Solstice celebrations center around the astronomical timing of the summer solstice. But many pagans still hold to traditional lunar calendar celebrations holding the rite at sunset on June 20th, the 21st or June 24, the day of the solstice in Roman times.

Like most pagan holidays, the early Christian Church assimilated the holiday into their calendar and original Celtic celebrations slowly faded. The “new” holiday is associated with the nativity of John the Baptist, which is observed on, June 24. Knowing that pagans followed a lunar calendar and began their celebrations at sunset on the eve before the Gregorian calendar date, the early church established St John’s Eve on the evening of June 23. This is the eve of celebration before the Feast Day of St John the Baptist. Continue reading

Beltaine: The Fire Festival May 1st/May 6th

The Festival of Bel’s Fire
By Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D.  🐾

Arctic Wolf Fire

“Arctic Wolf Fire”
By Tom-in-Silence

Tonight at Sunset marks the beginning of a Pagan Metaphysical Sabbat (holiday) called Beltaine. By the Solar Calendar, the holiday is celebrated on May 1st. But by the Lunar Calendar it’s honored on May 6th. Many modern pagans prefer celebrating the holiday by the lunar calendar as this was probably more accurate to the original festivals of the ancient pagans. In some circles, the Sabbat is honored through out the week beginning on May 1st and ending at sunset on May 7th.

The Sabbat was practiced throughout the Celtic lands. Bel is well known from Italy (Cis-Alpine Gaul), Gaul,  Britain, Ireland and into northern Spain. Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of the Gaulish language (an early variety of Celtic) native to Gaul. Continue reading

The History of Friday The 13th – A Good Day For Pagans

Friday the 13th“Black Friday” or “Black Cat Day”

Fear of Friday the 13th is known as triskaidekaphobes.

When fear of the day started is up for debate. Some suggest little can be found about the day being negative or filled with bad luck prior to the late 1800s. But others link the phobia to older historical events and occurrences which symbolize the link between the number thirteen and Friday to disastrous events.

One thing many seem to agree to is that both the number thirteen and the sixth day of the week (Friday) have been associated with negative connotations from patriarchal societies and most definitely western cultures. Where as matriarchal societies associate both these objects with positive aspects and connotations.

Pagans Honor The 13th
We should begin with a short explanation for the layman about who and what are Pagans.

By academic definition, Pagans are any religion or spiritual path that does not follow Abrahamic doctrine. It’s a category of religions that would include Buddhism, Hinduism, Shamanism and Pagan Metaphysics (Witchcraft). It’s these last two that are largely associated with modern Paganism. Continue reading