Tag Archive | northern

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

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The First of the 2015 Equinox Holidays

springtimeAstronomical and Meteorological Spring or Fall

In most parts of the world, we define the seasons in two ways. By the Astronomical or Meteorological dates. Astronomical seasons refer to the position of Earth’s orbit in relation to the sun taking into account equinoxes and solstices. Meteorological seasons are instead based on the annual temperature cycle and measure the meteorological state as well as coinciding with the calendar to determine a clear transition between the seasons. ~ MetOffice-UK

The Solstices and Equinoxes are considered to be the astronomical transition points between the seasons. Because they are connected to the Sun and Moon, they were important times to early Pagans.

Of course in the old days, our ancestors didn’t have the benefit of the Naval or Royal Observatories and Satellites to mark the exact second of the Equinox. They relied on Astronomical monuments, like Stonehenge as an example to tell them when the sun was nearing an equinox.

We have the benefit of technology and hundreds of years of study to help us out today.
The March equinox happens at the same moment across the world but is converted to local time. In 2015, it falls on March 20 at 6:45 P.M. EDT, 5:45 P.M. CDT, 4:45 P.M. MDT, and 3:45 P.M. PDT, for example. ~ Farmer’s Almanac Continue reading