Tag Archive | festival

Yule Time Begins

It’s That Time of Year Again

The winter solstice, also known as midwinter, is an astronomical phenomenon marking the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year. It occurs when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun. It happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere.

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, the solstice occurs on December 21st and marks the start of the Winter holiday for Pagans. The Solstice is known as Midwinter, Yule for Pagans, the Longest Night, and Jól for the Norse.

Yule for Pagans, is a 12 day celebration that honors the Goddess in all 3 of her forms, Maiden, Mother, and Crone. And the rebirth of the God, in the form of the Sun. Each one of these representations of the Divine is honored and observed for a 3 day period beginning with the Maiden. The Mother Goddess comes next, followed by the Sun God, and ending with the Crone. 

This year of 2018, Pagans will also enjoy a special occurrence of a Full Moon (read more at Space.com) AND a meteor shower during the Yuletide celebrations. The Ursid meteor shower is active each year around the December solstice. This year’s peak morning is probably December 22. Even under the full moon light, you should be able to see a little bit of the meteors. So if you’re up before sunrise, look up and check it out. (read more at EarthSky.org). Continue reading

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Lughnasadh / Imbolg And The Blue Moon

Lammas Blue Moon

Lammas Blue Moon

The Celtic Holiday Of Lugh Under The Blue Moon

Tonight in the Northern Hemisphere many Pagans will be celebrating the 1st harvest festival of the season, Lughnasadh, also known as Lammas. In the Southern Hemisphere Pagans are celebrating Imbog.

This is an exciting time for Pagans. As the sun sets on July 31st Northern Pagans will honor the Sun and his blessings upon the gardens and fields.  Lughnasadh is known as a Fire Festival and celebrates the Celtic hero Lugh as the Sun God who saved Ireland from its oppressors. Freeing the people from slavery and ensuring the land would always be fertile and abundant.

In the Southern Hemisphere, Imbolg can be seen as a celebration of the return of the Sun or “the return of the light from the dark of winter”. It is also associated with the slow return of spring (in this case early spring), when new life is formed. This makes the holiday one of the Fertility festivals for the new season.

But tonight we complement these observances under a special event, the arrival of a Blue Moon!

A Blue Moon occurs when a full moon falls within a single month twice. For July 2015, the first full moon fell on July 1st. Today on July 31st, we’ll once again see the full moon in the evening sky. Technically the Moon hit its full phase at 6:46am eastern U.S. time. In the world of energy, the moon’s effects can be felt 3 days prior to its official phase and 3 days after. And of course the closer you are to the ‘official’ phase time, the stronger the energy will be.

Keep in mind however, that the ancients who lived by the moon didn’t have the luxury of Naval Observatory and precision clocks the way we do today. For them, the official time was sunset when Grandmother Moon bathed Mother Earth with her loving glow.

In some pagan traditions the phases of the moon represent the transition of knowledge within the Triple Goddess. The quarter moons representing the Maiden Goddess, the New Moon the Mother Goddess, the Full Moon the Grand Mother Goddess (which maybe one reason we refer to the moon as “Grandmother Moon”). The Blue Moon then is seen as the transition of the Grandmother or Crone to the Divine level of existence. She becomes an expression of the evolution of wisdom, as well as an example of the circle of life. She moves from a tangible wise old Crone to a spiritual energy within the Divine force of the universe. Continue reading

The History Of Ostara – The ‘Spring Equinox’

newday-wolfThe Vernal Equinox – The Festival of Ēostre
By Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D.  🐾

The Spring Equinox festival is based in Germanic Paganism. Ēostre or Ostara (Northumbrian Old English: Ēostre; West Saxon Old English: Ēastre; Old High German: *Ôstara) is a goddess in Germanic paganism who, by way of the Germanic month bears her name.

As a pagan holiday Ostara is one of the more confusing and convoluted festivals in terms of its history. It’s claimed by German neo-Pagans, Norse, Saxon and Celt. Celts admit that holiday is not one of their original observances and therefore it’s accepted to be part of a reconstruction of old Celtic ways.

There is speculation that this holiday owes its roots to the Romans who took their holiday into the invasion of Ireland and even spread into Germanic cultures. However, this does not play out when one reviews Celtic or Germanic mythology and history. Continue reading

The History of Imbolg

Paganism

Imbolg – Celebration of the Maiden Goddess

The Festival of Lights & Brighid
By Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D.  🐾

Known as Imbolg or Imbolc. The Old Irish gaeilge  i mbolg translates to “in the belly”. Linguistic historians say this refers to the pregnancy of ewes and links the festival to fertility. As gaeilge progressed and evolved, Imbolg eventually becomes Imbolc. Thus the holiday is known by these two names. So either is correct.

Because the feis or festival is associated as the first spring holiday, it is linked to the returning of the sun, along with longer and warmer days. As such, it becomes known as Imbolc: the Festival of Lights.

In Celtic ceremony, Imbolg falls between the Winter solstice and the Spring equinox on February 1st or 2nd in the Northern Hemisphere and August 1st in the Southern Hemisphere. Continue reading

The History of Mabon – The Feast of Avalon

The Apple Feast

Celebrating The Fall Equinox
By Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D.  🐾

Mabon (May-bawn) is also known as the Feast of Avalon, the Festival of the Wine and the Festival of the Apple Harvest. Celebrated on the Fall Equinox.

To the Celts, Avalon is the mysterious place for the land of the dead and literally means the “land of apples”. Thus this is a holiday for celebrating the bounty of the harvest and the desire for the living to be reunited with their deceased loved ones. But the holiday is also named for the Welsh God Mabon.

Mabon translates to the “great son”, but some say it’s the “great sun” and relates to the waning reign of the Sun in the sky as summer fades and the season changes to beacon the darkness of fall and winter.

From mythology, Mabon the person was the son of Modred who was kidnapped at the age of 3 and later rescued by King Arthur. His life represents the innocence of youth, the strength of survival and the growing wisdom of the elderly. 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

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