Tag Archive | celebrations

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

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