Tag Archive | celebrations

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

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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. 

Celebrated on August 1st or 2nd in the Northern Hemisphere and on February 2nd in the Southern Hemisphere

Lughnasadh as a holiday, honors the Celtic hero Lugh also known as the Sun God along with the spirits of nature, such as the rain givers, and garden faeries. 

Tuatha Dé Danann (usually translated as “people/tribe of the goddess Danu“), also known by the earlier name Tuath Dé (“tribe of the gods”), are a race of supernaturally-gifted people in Irish mythology. They are said to be the offspring of the fallen angels. Often referred to magikal, mystical and very wise. Some even connect them to the beautiful faeries of the woodlands.

In legend, Lugh’s father is Cian of the Tuatha Dé Danann, and his mother is Ethniu, daughter of Balor, of the Fomorians. The Fomorians were a semi-divine sea-faring race from the north (in some legends they came from Northern Africa). They are often referred to as a race of Giants. They were a brutal race who invaded Ireland and rid the land of it’s first invaders, the Partholons, with a deadly plague. 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