Tag Archive | festivals

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

Advertisements

Merry Beltaine and Samhain

Merry Bealtaine!

May Day Bouquet

It’s May Day! 

Here in the northern hemisphere it’s May Day, the official start of spring. A time to celebrate the return of the Sun and the warm days of summer. To prepare for the growing season and the celebration of the return of life.

Known as the Festival of Fire, Beltaine honors both the union of male and female, and the return of the Sun God, Bel. By the Solar Calendar, the holiday is celebrated on May 1st. But by the Lunar Calendar it’s honored on May 6th. To learn more about this holiday, visit Beltaine: The Fire Festival.

The Old Farmers Almanac has this to say about May Day:
Ancient spring rites that related human fertility to crop fertility gave birth to most modern May Day festivities. May 1 is the traditional day to crown the May queen, dance around the maypole, perform mummers’ plays, and generally celebrate the return of spring. Although our Pilgrim fathers were horrified by these reminders of a pagan past and outlawed all such activities, the maypole dance remains an enduring event. In Great Britain, the custom of “bringing in the May” involves gathering “knots,” or branches with buds, on the eve or early morning of May 1. In England, a favorite branch is hawthorn. In Scotland and Wales, people choose the rowan, or mountain ash. In North America, we often select forsythia, lilac, or pussy willow branches to bring spring and the prospect of new life into our homes.

Making a May Day basket is also one of these fairly modern traditions that can be shared by Pagan and non-Pagan alike. One of my favorite celebration items is making a May Day bouquet. These flower filled bouquets are most often in a cone shape, hold blooming flowers of your liking and hung on the front door handle.

But what about the seasonal changes in the southern hemisphere? They’re entering into fall, not spring.  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

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