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    Calendric Rituals

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    Soaring Bird
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    Calendric Rituals

    Post  Soaring Bird on Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:55 pm

    Imbolc

    Wiccans celebrate a variation of Imbolc as one of four "fire festivals", which make up half of the eight holidays (or "sabbats"), of the wheel of the year. Imbolc is defined as a cross-quarter day, midway between the winter solstice (Yule) and the spring equinox (Ostara). The precise astrological midpoint in the Northern hemisphere is when the sun reaches fifteen degrees of Aquarius. In the Southern hemisphere, if celebrated as the beginning of Spring, the date is the midpoint of Leo. Among Dianic Wiccans, Imbolc (also known as "Candlemas") is the traditional time for initiations.[16]Among Reclaiming-style Wiccans, Imbolc is considered a traditional time for rededication and pledges for the coming year



    Ostara

    Ostara is one of the eight major holidays, Wiccan sabbats or festivals of the Wheel of the Year, celebrated by largely Wiccan-influenced Neopagan groups. It is celebrated on the Spring Equinox, in the Northern hemisphere around March 21 and in the Southern hemisphere around September 23, depending upon the specific timing of the equinox. Among the Wiccan sabbats, it is preceded by Imbolc and followed by Beltane.

    The name is generally not used in British Traditional Wiccan traditions such as Gardnerianism, but Ostara, Eostra or other variants on that name are the most common names for the Sabbat in other modern Pagan witchcraft traditions.

    The holiday is a celebration of spring and growth, the renewal of life that appears on the earth after the winter. In the book Eight Sabbats for Witches it is characterized by the rejoining of the Mother Goddess and her lover-consort-son, who spent the winter months in death.

    Beltane

    Wiccans and Wiccan-inspired Neopagans celebrate a variation of Beltane as a sabbat, one of the eight solar holidays. Although the holiday may use features of the Gaelic Bealtaine, such as the bonfire, it bears more relation to the Germanic May Day festival, both in its significance (focusing on fertility) and its rituals (such as maypole dancing). Some Wiccans celebrate 'High Beltaine' by enacting a ritual union of the May Lord and Lady.[15]Among the Wiccan sabbats, Beltane is a cross-quarter day; it is celebrated in the northern hemisphere on May 1 and in the southern hemisphere on November 1. Beltane follows Ostara and precedes Midsummer (see the Wheel of the Year).[15]

    Midsummer

    Litha, is one of the eight solar holidays or sabbats observed by Wiccans, though the New Forest traditions (those referred to as British Traditional Wicca) tend to use the traditional name Midsummer. It is celebrated on the Summer Solstice or close to it. The holiday is considered the turning point at which summer reaches its height and the sun shines longest. Among the Wiccan sabbats, Midsummer is preceded by Beltane and followed by Lughnasadh or Lammas

    Lammas

    In Wicca, the name Lammas is used for one of the sabbats, taking place on August 1. This festival is also known as Lughnasadh, a feast to commemorate the funeral games (Tailtean Games) of Tailtiu, foster-mother of the Irish sun-god Lugh. Lammas is a cross-quarter day occurring 1/4 of a year after Beltane

    Mabon

    Mabon was not an authentic ancient festival either in name or date. There is little evidence that the autumnal equinox was celebrated in Celtic countries, while all that is known about Anglo-Saxon customs of that time was that September was known as haleg-monath or 'holy month'.The name Mabon has only been applied to the Neopagan festival of the autumn equinox very recently; the term may have been invented by Aidan Kelly in the 1970s as part of a religious studies project. (The use of Litha for the Summer Solstice is also attributed to Kelly). Previously, in Gardnerian Wicca the festival was simply known as the 'Autumnal Equinox', and many Neopagans still refer to it as such, or use alternative titles such as the neo-Druidical Aban Efed, a term invented by Iolo Morgannwg.The name Mabon was chosen to impart a more authentic-sounding "Celtic" feel to the event, since all the other festivals either had names deriving from genuine tradition, or had had names grafted on to them. The Spring Equinox had already been termed 'Ostara', and so only the Autumnal Equinox was left with a technical rather than an evocative title. Accordingly, the name Mabon was given to it, having been drawn from Welsh mythology.The use of the name Mabon is much more prevalent in America than Britain, where many Neopagans are dismissive of it as an unauthentic name. The increasing number of American Pagan publications sold in Britain by such publishers as Llewellyn has however resulted in some British Pagans adopting the term.

    Samhain

    Samhain is one of the eight annual holidays, often referred to as 'Sabbats', observed as part of the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. It is considered by most Wiccans to be the most important of the four 'greater Sabbats'. Its date is not universally agreed upon, as many Neopagan movements have no binding structure upon which all agree [citation needed]. It is generally observed on October 31 in the Northern Hemisphere. Samhain is considered by most Wiccans as a celebration of death and of the dead, and it often involves paying respect to ancestors, family members, elders of the faith, friends, pets and other loved ones who have died. In some rituals the spirits of the departed are invited to attend the festivities. It is seen as a festival of darkness and death, which is balanced at the opposite point of the wheel by the spring festival of Beltane, which Wiccans celebrate as a festival of life and fertility.[12]While the Wiccan version of Samhain is not a form of reconstruction, and is largely mixed with other traditions in a form of universalism, it is influenced by the Celtic holiday from which the name was taken.[4]

    Yule

    In particular, within Wiccan-influenced and New Age religions attempts at reconstruction are largely disregarded and the festival is only related to historical accounts by name, as a part the Wheel of the Year.In some Wiccan sects the holiday is observed in a manner that commemorates the death of the Holly King identified with the wren bird (symbolizing the old year and the shortened sun) at the hands of his son and successor, the robin redbreast Oak King (the new year and the new sun that begins to grow) (Farrar & Farrar [1989] 1998: 35-38)

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