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THE WHEEL OF THE YEAR

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NEXT FULL MOON

9 April 2009
14:56

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The eightfold wheel is an ancient division that goes back to the first agricultural societies though formalised by the Celts. It incorporates both the solar festivals that fall on the solstices and the equinoxes, the astronomical marker points. But where these solar markers dominate the pattern of the seasons, in the older eightfold division of the year, they are the minor festivals or sabbats as modern witches and pagans who celebrate the Celtic wheels refer to them.

The four greater sabbats were the old fire or lunar festivals and though their dates originally also varied slightly according to astronomical observations, they became associated with fixed celebrations that underpin modern festivals. So festivals fall every six weeks the greatest being the beginnings of Summer on what we now call May Eve and Day and the beginning of winter on what is now called Halloween.

The transition point of the Celtic day was at sunset, so the time when two periods meet is very magical. Each of the major festivals ran for three days from sunset to sunset, hence it is Halloween or evening itself that has retained its prominence, although the significance of this sacred and the ensuing days of the dead have been lost, except in some predominantly Catholic countries with modern commercialism.

The Wheel of the Year tells the story of the battle between darkness and light and the sacred marriage between the Earth Mother and her son/consort the Sun/ Corn God who originally was the Horned God of vegetation and animals and who appears in this guise around May Day as Jack o’ Green. The god of light is born at the winter solstice, His power increases as the days grow longer until his zenith on the summer solstice, the longest day. The god of darkness, born at the summer solstice, grows with the lengthening nights until he triumphs at the winter solstice, the longest night, only to be defeated by the rebirth of the Light.

CLICK TO GO TO DAWNING TIME RITUALS & INFORMATION CLICK TO GO TO TIME OF LIGHT RITUALS & INFORMATION CLICK TO GO TO TIME OF HARVEST RITUALS & INFORMATION CLICK TO GO TO SHADOW TIME RITUALS & INFORMATION

DAWNING

February 2, Imbolc - 30 April, Beltain The time of the Dawning.

In the middle of this period falls the Spring Equinox, equal day and night and April 30, May Eve, was the beginning of the Celtic summer when the great twin fires burned and the cattle were driven between them to purify them after the winter, when couples young gathered hawthorn blossoms and coupled in the fields to make the crops grow. New projects, travel, house moves, matters concerning babies, animals and children, friendships and changes of any kind can be undertaken with confidence, although results may not be immediate.

 

FESTIVALS & RITUALS

Imbolc

The Return of Light

This runs from sunset on January 31 - sunset February 2 and was a festival of candles. The Christian Candlemas on February 2 continues the custom of lighting candles to welcome the spring and the lambing season. Household candles were blessed, for the end of the long nights was at hand. Candle makers took a holiday and modern witches and pagans still sometimes follow the custom of placing a lighted candle in every window from sunset to sunrise (safely of course) to welcome Bride’s Eve or in some traditions the night of February 1.

The festival is in honour of the Celtic Brigit, the Triple-Goddess, patron of smiths, poets and healers who has the longest enduring cult in Ireland which merged into that of St Brigit of Kildare. Her name means ‘high one’ and she is sometimes seen as three sisters, daughters of the god Dagda, the Divine Father or as maiden, mother and crone. At Imbolc, Oilmec or Brigantia as the festival was called, the maiden aspect of the Goddess is celebrated and her first mating with the god of Light.

This is one of the major sabbats or fire festivals when sacred fires were lit on hilltops to welcome and encourage the growing light and warmth. In the US even today Groundhog Day recalls the ancient weather prophesies made to foretell whether it would be a good or hard spring.

On Bride’s Eve, January 31, a Bride’s Bed made from a sheaf of corn, sometimes with corn preserved from the last corn cut down at the first harvest at Lammas (end of July), would be decorated with ribbons to represent the Earth Goddess. It would also be adorned with any early Spring flowers.

The bed was made in front of the fire, and the inhabitants would shout: ‘Bride, come in, your bed is ready.’ The symbolic Bride maiden would leave her cows and a cauldron at the door, bringing in peace, fertility and plenty. From this we get the term a bride for a woman who is about to be married.

Milk and honey were poured over the bride bed by the women of the household. Originally the bed was laid in the home of the Chief of the village but in later times it was made in the main farm of an area. The menfolk were summoned and, having paid either a coin, a flower posy, or a kiss, would enter the circle of firelight and ask for help with their craft or agriculture and make a wish on the Bride Bed.

Brigit crosses were woven from straw or wheat to hang around the house for protection.

The festival of Imbolc is a time to carry out spells for new love, fertility and for any projects that start in a small way, using a circle of candles and a container of fresh milk.

Choose candles in pastel colours pale pink, green, blue and white, dark gemstones such as the garnet and bloodstone, but also amethysts and rose quartz and gentle moonstones for fertility and awakening feelings. Use the very first snowdrops or very early budding leaves or flowers, milk, seeds. The incenses and herbs of Brigantia, include angelica, basil, benzoin, celandine, heather and myrrh.

You can carry out Imbolc rituals whenever you are beginning with uncertainty or need fertility in your life.

An Imbolc festival for the beginning of trust

We all get hurt at some time whether a betrayal in love, by a family member or at work, Even the smallest barb may wound deeply and so this ritual is one for the slow rebuilding wither of trust with the betrayer or in a new situation. If possible begin this ritual in the early morning as it is just getting light.

  • Take a container of ice or snow ‑ ice cubes are fine if you need to carry out the ritual in midsummer or life in a warm climate

  • In a clear glass or crystal bowl place a few small moonstones or amethysts and cover with ice in a cool place.

  • Go out and search for any signs of rebirth in life, whether a budding twig, a straw dropped by a bird on its way to build its nest, anything that to you is a suggestion of renewal and bring it back to surround the bowl.

  • Light an Imbolc candle in a pale colour, blue is good for a worldly betrayal, pink for the family, green for love and say:

Burn candle burn

Melt the ice that has grown around my heart and let new life flow.

  • In a ceramic pot plant a basil, seedling or some seeds for new life and as you pat down the earth, say:

I bury the pain, the anger, the betrayal and plant the seeds of hope.

  • As the ice melts and the first water appears stir it, saying:

Flow waters flow to new life, trust and joy.

  • Leave the ice until it has melted, occupying yourself with positive tasks, answering correspondence, sorting financial affairs, clearing out a cluttered drawer or corner.

  • Once the water has appeared, pour a little on to your seedling or seeds, saying:

Grow hope, grow that my trust may bear fruit.

  • Tip the rest of the water on to the garden and extinguish your Imbolc candle, sending the light to any who have hurt you.

The Vernal or Spring Equinox

Six weeks later, at around March 21, comes the Vernal Equinox, mentioned earlier with light and darkness equal, but when light triumphs over darkness and the light year begins It is now that the Mother Goddess conceives a child, to be born at the next Winter Solstice. This links with the Christian Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, day that the angel Gabriel told Mary she was to conceive a son. This forms one of the Lesser Sabbats in modern Wiccan celebrations.

Beltane

from Sunset on April 30 to sunset on May 2

This is the second major festival or Sabbat of the Year. Beltane or Beltain is named after the Irish Bealtaine meaning ‘Bel-fire, the fire of the Celtic god of light, known as Bel, Beli or Belinus. Also known as May Eve, May Day, and Walpurgis Night, Beltane occurs at the beginning of May. It celebrates coming of the old summer and the flowering of life. The Goddess manifests as the May Queen and Flora, Goddess of Flowers whose festival was celebrated in Ancient Rome in early May.

Sundown on May Eve heralded the signal for Druids to kindle the great Bel-fires from nine different kinds of wood by turning an oaken spindle in an oaken sockets, on top of the nearest beacon hill, for example on Tara Hill, Co. Meath, in Ireland, former home of the Dagda the hero gods of old Ireland, (see fairy magic). As time went on every village would have its Beltane fires which were attributed with both fertility and healing powers.

Young couples leapt over the twin Beltane Fires, ran between them or danced clockwise. Cattle released from the barns after the long winter, were driven between two fires to cleanse them of disease and ensure their continuing fertility and rich milk yield for the coming months.

But the chief feature of the festival was the custom that dates back to the first farming communities and finds echoes worldwide of young couples going into the woods and fields to make love and bring back the first May or hawthorn blossoms to decorate homes and barns. May Day is the only time of year, according to tradition,  that hawthorn may be brought indoors.

 May Baskets filled with the first flowers of summer were left on doorsteps to friends, family, lovers and the elderly and infirm, a custom that is worthy of revival in every community and home.

Beltane is therefore a festival potent for fertility magic of all kinds, whether conceiving a child or financial or business ventures bearing fruit, for an improvement in health and an increase in energy as the light and warmth move into summer.

As a focus gather fresh greenery, especially hawthorn (indoors only on May 1), any flowers that are native to your region, placed in baskets; gather dew potent especially on May 1 morn when girls would bathe their faces in it, (see Dew Magic) or pure spring water left for a full sun and moon cycle in a crystal or glass container.

Light dark green, scarlet and silver candles and use sparkling citrines, clear crystal quartz, golden tiger’s eyes, amber and topaz.

The incenses and herbs of Beltane include almond, angelica, ash, cowslip, frankincense, hawthorn, lilac, marigold and roses for love.

A Beltane fertility ritual.

This can be carried at any time when you need fertility on any New moon or on Beltane Eve.

  • Take a tiny doll and make for it a cradle of flowers and greenery.

  • Place in the cradle symbols of increase, with golden coins, sparkling crystals, ears of corn , nuts, seeds.

  • Loop over the cradle, nine ribbons, red, yellow, green ,blue ribbons for the four seasons, silver for the Moon, gold for the Sun and white for the Earth Mother, purple for the Sky Father and pink for new life.

  • As you bind each ribbon clockwise say,

Grow strong in love,

Bear fruit and multiply,

Child of mine, (or substitute whatever it is you wish to increase)

From seed to fruition,

Be safe from all harm, all fear.

You whom I bind close with hope,

All the spiralling energies of earth, air, fire,

water, moon, sky and mother Earth

Who gives life to all,

Aid me.

  • Secure each ribbon underneath in a loose knot to another so they form threes; saying:

As one becomes two, becomes three,

So three to six to nine,

Winding, binding,

Babe of mine (or wish if it is another fertility matter).

  • Go into the open air and make love in a private place or of this is not possible go outdoors immediately afterwards and gather greenery to bring indoors. This is effective for the fertility of joint ventures as well as for conceiving an infant.

  • If you do not have a partner, gather greenery and flowers (even from a balcony or window box) and encircle yourself with them before you go to sleep.

  • In either case, have the cradle close to you while you sleep.

  • In the morning, sprinkle salt nine times clockwise over the cradle, then nine drops of water or Dew (May dew is most potent of all); burn a silver candle, a colour especially associated with fertility and pass it clockwise over the cradle being careful not to let any wax fall.

  • Finally waft the smoke of rose or frankincense incense clockwise.

  • Leave the cradle by your need either until the Full Moon or for fourteen days after Beltane Eve, replacing any greenery or flowers that are wilting with fresh ones.

  • After this period, bury all the greenery in the earth, and cover over the cradle.

  • Repeat monthly if necessary.

I have a knitted cradle that folds like a bag over the baby within, or you can buy large pottery or wooden hens used for holding eggs. But any lid will do - even the lid of a silver-coloured wok. Magic is all about adapting the available tools, rather than modifying or not carrying out a ritual. Our ancestors managed remarkably well with the hedgerows and fields as source material and much of today’s most potent magic has a simple countryside origin.

Spring Rituals

These rituals for new hopes, new beginnings, new relationships, fertility and life changes and anything to do with fertility, pregnancy, babies children and new flowering love are especially potent at the Spring Equinox as light supersedes day form this point on.

To harness Spring energies during this season or at any time of the year when you need a new beginning, use eggs, any spring flowers or leaves in bud, a sprouting pot of seeds, pottery or china rabbits, birds or feathers as a focus for your own spiralling energies. Carry sparkling yellow crystals, such as citrine, the strengthening stone, yellow beryl, the energizer or a yellow rutilated quartz with streaks of gold, the regenerator, for your Spring talisman.

Special flowers and herbs of the Spring Equinox are celandine, cinquefoil, crocus, daffodil, honeysuckle, primroses, sage, tansy, thyme and violets.

A Spring ritual for new hope and beginnings

This is an early morning ritual and if you can collect or buy your eggs from a market as the sun rises, then the ritual will be even more potent.

  • Take eggs as newly-laid as you can obtain and very gently boil them in a vegetable dye in shades of pale pink, blue and green.

  • Decorate the eggs with flower and leaf motifs and place them in a basket lined with spring flowers and leaves, if possible collected early morning when the dew is still on them.

  • In the centre of the basket place single agate egg in a pale cream, or if you cannot obtain one, a sparkling yellow sun crystal.

  • If the weather is dry carry out the ritual outdoors or of not near a window with an open vista.

  • Pick the egg that is yours and endow it with a single wish for a new beginning or hope for the spring by holding the egg between your cupped hands and saying:

Egg of spring,

New life, new hope

Bring me –

and this wish.

  • Whisper your wish so that none may hear except the breeze and return the egg to the basket

  • Name each of the other eggs for a friend or family and name a secret wish for each of them adapting the words above.

  • When you have filled each egg with wishes, make a cross like that on a hot cross bun, originally the old astrological sign of the earth with two tiny branches from a birch tree, tree of regeneration or any early budding tree.

  • Eat your egg at noon or if you cannot eat eggs give it to an animal of which you are very fond.

Eating the magic object is a very ancient way of absorbing magical energies and hot cross buns were in pagan times believed to endow the protection of the earth to the eater. This belief transferred in Christian times so that hot cross buns made on Good Friday are believed to protect sailors from drowning -the fossilised remains of buns can be seen on the rafters of churches in seagoing parishes.

  • Give each of the other eggs to the appropriate friend or family member, remembering that gifts come back threefold.

  • Leave your crystal egg with the flowers and leaves as an offering to new hope and each day add fresh flowers and leaves to replace dying ones, which should be buried.

 

TIME OF LIGHT

April 30, Beltane until Lughnasadh, July 31: the Time Of the Light
In the middle of this segment, on around June 21, falls the Summer Solstice or Longest Day. At Lughnasadh the Corn God was symbolically sacrificed in the last sheaf or corn cut, that the seeds might be scattered for the next year’s growth. A loaf was made with the last sheaf as symbol of abundance. Matters concerning young people, love and partnerships are especially favoured as are health issues. It is a period for maximising existing opportunities. However, some people believed that this was the time of the funerary games for the God of Light and that he was not in fact cut down until the second harvest at the Autumn Equinox. There are legends for both but my own research and many country practices favours the Corn God falling at Lammas.
FESTIVALS & RITUALS

Beltane from Sunset on April 30 to sunset on May 2

This is the second major festival or Sabbat of the Year. Beltane or Beltain is named after the Irish Bealtaine meaning ‘Bel-fire, the fire of the Celtic god of light, known as Bel, Beli or Belinus. Also known as May Eve, May Day, and Walpurgis Night, Beltane occurs at the beginning of May. It celebrates coming of the old summer and the flowering of life. The Goddess manifests as the May Queen and Flora, Goddess of Flowers whose festival was celebrated in Ancient Rome in early May.

Sundown on May Eve heralded the signal for Druids to kindle the great Bel-fires from nine different kinds of wood by turning an oaken spindle in an oaken sockets, on top of the nearest beacon hill, for example on Tara Hill, Co. Meath, in Ireland, former home of the Dagda the hero gods of old Ireland, (see fairy magic). As time went on every village would have its Beltane fires which were attributed with both fertility and healing powers.

Young couples leapt over the twin Beltane Fires, ran between them or danced clockwise. Cattle released from the barns after the long winter, were driven between two fires to cleanse them of disease and ensure their continuing fertility and rich milk yield for the coming months.

But the chief feature of the festival was the custom that dates back to the first farming communities and finds echoes worldwide of young couples going into the woods and fields to make love and bring back the first May or hawthorn blossoms to decorate homes and barns. May Day is the only time of year, according to tradition,  that hawthorn may be brought indoors.

 May Baskets filled with the first flowers of summer were left on doorsteps to friends, family, lovers and the elderly and infirm, a custom that is worthy of revival in every community and home.

Beltane is therefore a festival potent for fertility magic of all kinds, whether conceiving a child or financial or business ventures bearing fruit, for an improvement in health and an increase in energy as the light and warmth move into summer.

As a focus gather fresh greenery, especially hawthorn (indoors only on May 1), any flowers that are native to your region, placed in baskets; gather dew potent especially on May 1 morn when girls would bathe their faces in it, (see Dew Magic) or pure spring water left for a full sun and moon cycle in a crystal or glass container.

Light dark green, scarlet and silver candles and use sparkling citrines, clear crystal quartz, golden tiger’s eyes, amber and topaz.

The incenses and herbs of Beltane include almond, angelica, ash, cowslip, frankincense, hawthorn, lilac, marigold and roses for love.

A Beltane fertility ritual.

This can be carried at any time when you need fertility on any New moon or on Beltane Eve.

  • Take a tiny doll and make for it a cradle of flowers and greenery.

  • Place in the cradle symbols of increase, with golden coins, sparkling crystals, ears of corn , nuts, seeds.

  • Loop over the cradle, nine ribbons, red, yellow, green ,blue ribbons for the four seasons, silver for the Moon, gold for the Sun and white for the Earth Mother, purple for the Sky Father and pink for new life.

  • As you bind each ribbon clockwise say,

Grow strong in love,

Bear fruit and multiply,

Child of mine,(or substitute whatever it is you wish to increase)

From seed to fruition,

Be safe from all harm, all fear.

You whom I bind close with hope,

All the spiralling energies of earth, air, fire,

water, moon, sky and mother Earth

Who gives life to all,

Aid me.

  • Secure each ribbon underneath in a loose knot to another so they form threes; saying:

As one becomes two, becomes three,

So three to six to nine,

Winding, binding,

Babe of mine (or wish if it is another fertility matter).

  • Go into the open air and make love in a private place or of this is not possible go outdoors immediately afterwards and gather greenery to bring indoors. This is effective for the fertility of joint ventures as well as for conceiving an infant.

  • If you do not have a partner, gather greenery and flowers (even from a balcony or window box) and encircle yourself with them before you go to sleep.

  • In either case, have the cradle close to you while you sleep.

  • In the morning, sprinkle salt nine times clockwise over the cradle, then nine drops of water or Dew (May dew is most potent of all); burn a silver candle, a colour especially associated with fertility and pass it clockwise over the cradle being careful not to let any wax fall.

  • Finally waft the smoke of rose or frankincense incense clockwise.

  • Leave the cradle by your need either until the Full Moon or for fourteen days after Beltane Eve, replacing any greenery or flowers that are wilting with fresh ones.

  • After this period, bury all the greenery in the earth, and cover over the cradle.

  • Repeat monthly if necessary.

I have a knitted cradle that folds like a bag over the baby within, or you can buy large pottery or wooden hens used for holding eggs. But any lid will do - even the lid of a silver-coloured wok. Magic is all about adapting the available tools, rather than modifying or not carrying out a ritual. Our ancestors managed remarkably well with the hedgerows and fields as source material and much of today’s most potent magic has a simple countryside origin.

The Summer Solstice

Just as the Mid Winter solstice became Christmas with the spread of Christianity, so was the Summer Solstice linked with the feast of John the Baptist on June 24th. In mediaeval times on the day of St John the Baptist, June 24, bonfires were lit on the highest points to mark the highest position of the sun.

The golden herb of midsummer and symbol of the Summer Solstice , St John’s Wort if picked on the Eve of St John, June 23 at midnight or the actual Solstice Eve, offers fertility and powers to attract love if carried or placed under a pillow.

However , you can go to any stone circle, medicine wheel, rock carving or hilltop Barrow at Noon to feel the full power of the sun before its decline on the actual Longest Day. If you follow the old custom and it is safe to do so you, you can keep vigil on a hilltop from sunset on the Solstice Eve through to dawn and then to Noon, an exhausting experience but one worth doing at least once in a lifetime.

 If you find a dark glassy stone on the Solstice Day, you have discovered a Druid’s egg, said to be formed when snakes roll themselves into hissing balls on the Solstice Eve because they fear the Dawn of the day of pure light. It will endow you with incredible good fortune, wisdom and second sight ‑ so use your gifts wisely.

Lughnassadh

From July 31 at sunset to August 2

This is The Feast of Lugh., Celtic God of Light, and son of the Sun. The first harvest festival, to give thanks to the Earth for her bounty. In Irish Gaelic, the feast was referred to as Lugnassadh, a feast to commemorate the funeral games of Lugh. As I mentioned earlier, some argue that these were held to anticipate the death of the Sun God at the second harvest at the Autumn Equinox. If you wish to follow this tradition, simply transfer the material concerning the ritual cutting down of the last sheaf of Corn to the next festival. However it would seem that this was the first grain harvest in many areas and so the symbolic slaying of the Corn God seems more natural here.

Certainly the Christianised version, Lammas, which means Loaf-Mass was the medieval Christian name for the day on which loaves of bread were baked from the first grain harvest and placed on the altar to symbolise the first fruits.

It was considered unlucky to cut down the last sheaf of corn as this was thought to represent the Corn God who was willingly offering his life in sacrifice that the cycle of life, death and rebirth, planting, growth and harvesting might continue,. Harvesters would all hurl their sickles at the last sheaf so no one knew who had killed the Corn God. It has been suggested that the death of William Rufus while hunting on July 31,1100, was a ritual one engineered by himself because he was infertile.

This last sheaf was made into a corn dolly, symbol of the Earth Mother, and decorated with the scarlet ribbons of Cerridwen, the Celtic Mother Goddess. It would be hung over the hearth throughout winter.

As Lammas was a time for feasting and meeting for distant members of the tribe, it was a natural occasion for arranging marriages.

Trial marriages for a year and a day were frequently set up at Lammas. The young couple would thrust their hands through a holed stone and agree to stay together for a year and a day. The following Lammas they could renew the arrangement or to stand back to back and walk away from one another, bringing the marriage to a formal close.

Contracts were fixed at this time and the old name for the month was Claim-time. Roads were sufficiently dry for travelling during this period and courts of justice would travel round settling disputes and ordering the payment of debts.

Lammas rituals therefore focus on justice, rights, partnerships, both personal and legal, promotion and career advancement and the regularising of personal finances. With corn and corn dollies a feature of the time, fertility is also favoured, perhaps preparing for future ventures or getting healthy to have a child.

  • Use a straw object as your focus, such as a corn dolly, a corn knot or a straw hat, perhaps decorated with poppies of cornflowers or a container of mixed cereals.

  • Circle this with crystals of Lammas which include tiger’s eye, fossilised woods, amber, rutilated quartz or with dark yellow and brown stones.

  • Light golden brown or dark yellow candles and use herbs and incense such as cedarwood, cinnamon, fenugreek, ginger and heather, myrtle and sunflowers.

A Lammas ritual for resolving injustice

The injustice may involve official, business, domestic or personal issues. This ritual can also be used for overcoming official inertia in a matter of importance

  • Take a sharp pair of golden-coloured scissors or a sharp knife with a golden handle.

  • On a piece of yellow paper write down the matter with which you are concerned and you frustrations and the main obstacles in the path to justice.

  • Roll the paper into a scroll and tie it loosely with long grasses or ears of corn ,wheat or barley, wrapping in them the desire for a swift and positive ending to the matter.

  • Finally tie the bundle with a scarlet ribbon, colour of the Norse other Goddess Frigg who rules corn dollies, binding in it any residual negativity or doubts concerning the matter.

  • With your knife or scissors, cut through the ribbon saying:

Let the matter proceed with all swiftness to a positive conclusion that I may be free of its cords.

  • You can be as specific or general as you wish about the nature of the problem.

  • Catch the corn and paper on a large tray and continue to cut or shred the paper and corn until you have a pile of small pieces,

  • Throw the pieces on to a bonfire or fire in a domestic hearth and look into the embers to see pictures of a brighter tomorrow.

Summer rituals

Rituals for success, happiness, strength, identity, wealth, fertility, adolescents and young adults, career and travel are especially potent during the summer and on the Longest Day are most effective of all.

For Summer energies or when you need confidence and power at any time during the year, use brightly-coloured flowers, oak boughs, golden fern pollen that is said to reveal buried treasure wherever it falls, scarlet, orange and yellow ribbons, gold coloured coins, orange or red candles to evoke the power of the Sun and your own strength and potential, even in dark times. Carry brilliant red or orange crystals, stones of the sun, such as amber, carnelian or jasper as your summer talisman.

The herbs and incense of the Summer Solstice include chamomile, elder, fennel, lavender, St. John’s Wort and verbena.

A Summer ritual for success

This ritual must be carried out on high ground ‑ a hilltop or at least a high building, near Noon.

  • Light a large golden candle or better still if possible make a small fire in a safe spot where it will not spread to foliage or grass.

  • As you light it say:

Summer sun bright,

At your full height,

With your great power

This noonday hour

Sun of true might

Fill me with light,

Fill me with joy

Let me achieve

All in my sight

  • Take in turn five golden-coloured metal objects, a key, a ring, a small jug filled with mead, nectar or orange juice, a small golden dish containing some of the herbs of summer and a paper knife.

  • In front of the fire or candle in the earth draw the shape of an attracting pentagram (see Formal Magic for instructions how to create one).

  • Place each of the objects on order on the five points as you drew them. You can be specific about your aims in the words you use. I have suggested some general ones.

  • Hold the first key skywards towards the direction of the sun if it is shining and pass it through the golden candle or circle the fire nine times holding it between your hands, saying:

Key of the sun, open the door to my golden future.

  • Return the key to the second position as you lift the ring from it.

  • Take next the ring and hold it skywards towards the sun, again circling the candle or fire as you say:

Ring of sparkling solar orb, may my endeavours encircle me with success and roll on without cease to their completion.

  • Return the ring to the third position, taking up the jug filled with mead or juice.

  • Lift the jug towards the sun, passing it through the candle flame or circling the fire, saying as you drink from it:

Jug of the golden sun , fill me with fire and joy and unceasing enthusiasm for my endeavour.

  • Return the jug to the fourth position, lifting next the golden dish of herbs and scattering them in the fire or the candle flame, saying.

Fragrances of the sun, on your aromatic skyward trail, carry my plans to the cosmos that they may bear fruit.

  • Return the dish to the fifth position, lifting last the golden knife and drawing with it a circle in the air either around the candle flame or the fire clockwise, saying:

Golden blade of the sun, cut through my doubts, inertia and any obstacles I may encounter on my path to fulfilment.

  • Return the knife to the first position.

  • Extinguish the candle or fire, saying:

Golden flames give power to the sun that it may ever shine, warm and illumine my way and nourish all nature.

 

TIME OF HARVEST

Lughnasadh July 31 until Samhain October 31: The Time of Harvest.
In the middle of this period falls the Autumn Equinox, on about September 23.

Autumn

September 21 - December 21, from the Autumn Equinox to the Mid-Winter Solstice. Its direction is West and its colour blue. This is the quadrant of Water and augurs well for rituals of reconciliation and harmony both within and with others.

The Autumn Equinox or Time of Gathering was traditionally celebrated as the second ‘wild or green harvest’, a time of celebration for the fruits and vegetables of the earth and the Earth Mother. This is the time of the second harvest of vegetables, fruit and remaining crops, the harvest home. The harvest supper pre-dates Christianity. On the day when equal night and day heralded winter, the feast formed a sympathetic magical gesture to ensure that there would be enough food during the winter, by displaying and consuming the finest of the harvest.

 It is also a time when the Sky and Animal God is said to retreat for the long winter. Druids climb to the top of a hill to take leave of the summer sun as the nights will get longer.

Michaelmas, the day of St Michael, the Archangel of the Sun was celebrated on September 29 with a feast centred around a goose. Since St Michael was Patron Saint of high places and replaced the pagan Sun deities, he was an apt symbol for the last days of the summer sun.

The herbs and incense of the Autumn Equinox include ferns, geranium, myrrh, pine and Solomon’s Seal.

 

FESTIVALS & RITUALS

Lughnassadh from July 31 at sunset to August 2

This is The Feast of Lugh, Celtic God of Light, and son of the Sun. The first harvest festival, to give thanks to the Earth for her bounty. In Irish Gaelic, the feast was referred to as Lugnassadh, a feast to commemorate the funeral games of Lugh. As I mentioned earlier, some argue that these were held to anticipate the death of the Sun God at the second harvest at the Autumn Equinox. If you wish to follow this tradition, simply transfer the material concerning the ritual cutting down of the last sheaf of Corn to the next festival. However it would seem that this was the first grain harvest in many areas and so the symbolic slaying of the Corn God seems more natural here.

Certainly the Christianised version, Lammas, which means Loaf-Mass was the medieval Christian name for the day on which loaves of bread were baked from the first grain harvest and placed on the altar to symbolise the first fruits.

It was considered unlucky to cut down the last sheaf of corn as this was thought to represent the Corn God who was willingly offering his life in sacrifice that the cycle of life, death and rebirth, planting, growth and harvesting might continue,. Harvesters would all hurl their sickles at the last sheaf so no one knew who had killed the Corn God. It has been suggested that the death of William Rufus while hunting on July 31,1100, was a ritual one engineered by himself because he was infertile.

This last sheaf was made into a corn dolly, symbol of the Earth Mother, and decorated with the scarlet ribbons of Cerridwen, the Celtic Mother Goddess. It would be hung over the hearth throughout winter.

As Lammas was a time for feasting and meeting for distant members of the tribe, it was a natural occasion for arranging marriages.

Trial marriages for a year and a day were frequently set up at Lammas. The young couple would thrust their hands through a holed stone and agree to stay together for a year and a day. The following Lammas they could renew the arrangement or to stand back to back and walk away from one another, bringing the marriage to a formal close.

Contracts were fixed at this time and the old name for the month was Claim-time. Roads were sufficiently dry for travelling during this period and courts of justice would travel round settling disputes and ordering the payment of debts.

Lammas rituals therefore focus on justice, rights, partnerships, both personal and legal, promotion and career advancement and the regularising of personal finances. With corn and corn dollies a feature of the time, fertility is also favoured, perhaps preparing for future ventures or getting healthy to have a child.

  • Use a straw object as your focus, such as a corn dolly, a corn knot or a straw hat, perhaps decorated with poppies of cornflowers or a container of mixed cereals.

  • Circle this with crystals of Lammas which include tiger’s eye, fossilised woods, amber, rutilated quartz or with dark yellow and brown stones.

  • Light golden brown or dark yellow candles and use herbs and incense such as cedarwood, cinnamon, fenugreek, ginger and heather, myrtle and sunflowers.

A Lammas ritual for resolving injustice

The injustice may involve official, business, domestic or personal issues. This ritual can also be used for overcoming official inertia in a matter of importance

  • Take a sharp pair of golden-coloured scissors or a sharp knife with a golden handle.

  • On a piece of yellow paper write down the matter with which you are concerned and you frustrations and the main obstacles in the path to justice.

  • Roll the paper into a scroll and tie it loosely with long grasses or ears of corn ,wheat or barley, wrapping in them the desire for a swift and positive ending to the matter.

  • Finally tie the bundle with a scarlet ribbon, colour of the Norse other Goddess Frigg who rules corn dollies, binding in it any residual negativity or doubts concerning the matter.

  • With your knife or scissors, cut through the ribbon saying:

Let the matter proceed with all swiftness to a positive conclusion that I may be free of its cords.

You can be as specific or general as you wish about the nature of the problem.

Catch the corn and paper on a large tray and continue to cut or shred the paper and corn until you have a pile of small pieces,

Throw the pieces on to a bonfire or fire in a domestic hearth and look into the embers to see pictures of a brighter tomorrow.

The Autumn Equinox

The autumnal equinox falls around September 22 when the sun crosses the equator on its apparent journey southward. Day and night are of equal length and so it is one of the balance days, the other being the Spring or Vernal Equinox six months earlier. In the story of the year, the god of light is defeated by his twin and alter-ego, the god of darkness, but with the fruits of the second harvest gathered in and the harvest suppers are themselves a magical ritual to ensure that the table will be never empty during the ensuing months.

But the simplest and my favourite custom is on the Equinox Eve or Michaelmas Eve whichever you prefer, scatter seeds for the wild birds and they will being you fortune throughout the winter.

Autumn Rituals

These are for the fruition of long-term goals, for reaping the benefits of earlier input, for love and relationships, especially concerning the family, adult children, brothers and sisters, friendships and for material security for the months ahead.

For autumn energies or whenever you need to mend quarrels or seek harmony in your life, choose coppery, yellow or orange leaves, willow boughs, harvest fruits such as apples, and pottery or china geese. Use also as a focus knots of corn, wheat or barley from the earlier harvest and copper or bronze coins to ensure enough money and happy family relationships. Choose soft blue crystals, such as blue lace agate, blue beryl or azurite, as a talisman of autumn.

An Autumn ritual for a happy family

This is especially potent on the Autumn Equinox, but is good whenever there is a new addition to the family or after a period of domestic unrest.

  • Place a dish piled high with autumn harvest fruits, apples, pears, plums and soft fruits on the altar.

  • Surround it with a circle of family photos and mementoes.

  • Ring those with plaited ears of corn or dried grasses.

  • Finally make a square enclosing the circle with tiny blue crystals, blue glass nuggets and blue-tinged pebbles to mark the limits of any negative influences from the outside world.

  • At each of the four corners, place on fireproof trays or dishes deep blue candles, the colour of the water quadrant and light first the one in the north-east corner, saying:

I enclose my beloved family in the light of love and mature wisdom, that they may increasingly recognise the unique contribution of each part to the whole, grow closer every day with humour and compassion compensating for the others’ weaknesses and reaping the benefits of mutual love.

  • If there is a new member of the family add his or her image to the inner circle and dedicate a white candles as you light it, saying something like:

I welcome – to the midst of this family asking him/her to value what we are, to accept our vulnerabilities and blind spots and to change us with his/her special gifts that we may be enriched and strengthened by his/her presence.

  • Place the new candle in the centre at the top of the square.

  • Take an autumn leaf and bur it in the first candle you lit saying:

With this dying leaf, I banish all rancour from within the family, all unprovoked jealousy, unwarranted resentment and misunderstandings.

  • Take another autumn leaf and burn it in the second candle saying:

With this dying leaf I banish all external malice, interference and cold indifference that may wound any member of our family or threaten loyalty and unity.

  • Take a third leaf and burn it in the next candle, saying:

With this dying leaf, I banish all unfair actions, unkind or thoughtless words coldness and confrontations between the members of our kin that the family may be a sanctuary and a starting place for positive relationships beyond.

  • Take a fourth leaf and burn it in the final candle, saying:

With this dying leaf, I banish all possessiveness, guilt, over-sentimentality and stifling love that holds family members from finding love, fulfilment and independence in the world, letting go willingly so that each person will return willingly and in love.

  • Let the candles burn down naturally so that the light and protection will fall on the images and symbols of each member and the whole as symbolised by the fruit.

  • The next day place the fruit on the kitchen table to be taken when wanted by the family and all who are welcomed into the home over the ensuing days.

Samhain

from October 31 sunset until sunset on November 2

Samhain, which runs roughly from sunset on October 31 to sunset on November 2, means ‘summer's end’. This festival marked the beginning of the Celtic New Year. The Celts believed at this festival especially on the evening that we now celebrate as Hallowe’en, the family dead could be welcomed back for this special night. It was also a time for looking into the future, especially for matters of love.

The burial mounds of Ireland and other lands where Celtic influence held sway, such as Wales and Brittany burial mounds were opened and lighted torches placed on the walls, so that the good dead could find their way. Food would be laid on the hearth for these ghosts and henceforward a fire was kept burning continuously until the first day of the true Spring, marked by the Spring Equinox around March 21, for both dead and living.

In Catholic countries today from Mexico to France the Days of the Dead on November 1st and 2nd are a time of joy and family remembrance. In my book Ghost Encounters (Blandford, 1997) I describe a visit to Mont St Michel in Northern France on the Day of the Dead on November 1 where it was said in legend, dead souls gathered at what was believed to the Celtic Isle of the Blessed.

On All Hallows Eve masks and disguises were worn, especially by those returning from huts in the hills to the family home for the winter, so that evil spirits would not recognise them and spirit them away. Faces were blacked with soot and clothes worn inside out or back to front as a disguise.

Turnip heads holding a lighted candle were placed in windows to frighten off evil spirits (in America the pumpkin took over this role).

The lighted candle inside the turnip or pumpkin is a reminder of the Hallowe’en fires. In Britain, Bonfire Night on November 5, has replaced the Hallowe’en fires that still burn brightly on this night in Ireland and parts of Northern Europe. Formerly in Ireland, all fires were extinguished on All Hallow’s Eve and could be rekindled only from a ceremonial fire lit by the Druids on Tlachtga, (now the Hill of Ward).

Samhain rituals are potent for protection, overcoming fears, for laying old ghosts, psychological as well as psychic and for marking the natural transition between one stage of life and the next.

Light golden or huge orange candles and place them in a safe place facing a window to protect your home and light the way of those you love who may be absent. Burn from dusk until midnight on Halloween and any time when you feel under threat

Use dark crystals of deep blue, purple, brown and black, sodalite, dark amethysts, smoky quartz deep brown jasper and jet and obsidian (apache tear). Hold your apache tear up to the light of the candle and see the light shine through promising that winter - and sorrows or setbacks - will not last forever.

Use as a focus apples, that are a symbol of health and feature in Halloween love divination, a custom dating from Druidic times, pumpkins, nuts and autumn leaves, mingled with evergreens as a promise that life continues.

Herbs and Incense of Samhain include cypress, dittany, ferns, nutmeg, sage, and pine.

A Samhain Ritual for Banishing Fear

Begin work as dusk falls on Hallowe’en or whenever old fears and voices from the past come to haunt you.

  • Use a turnip or large golden swede, the forerunner of the Halloween pumpkin and hollow out the inside, placing the discarded vegetable in a bowl.

  • As you work, name your fears saying, between each one, words such as:

Out fear, out doubt, out pain, out phantoms from my past who seek to haunt me, out old voices that hold me back when I would go forward, out old faces that paralyse me with uncertainty and needless guilt.

  • When the shell is quite empty form eyes, nose and mouth, saying:

Enter Light and hope and new life

  • Light an orange candle and place it in the turnip or swede, letting it fill the growing darkness and banish the shadow.

  • Let the candle burn naturally away in a safe place, preferably near a window.

  • Sprinkle the discarded vegetables with sea salt, season with sage and a pinch of nutmeg. Cook and eat as a symbol of new coming from old and hope out of fear.

SHADOW TIME

October 31-2 February: The Shadow Time
This runs from Samhain, our Halloween the beginning of the Celtic winter and New Year when the cattle were brought from the hills by the herdsmen and it was believed that the family ghosts also came shivering home from the fields to be welcomed by their families. In the middle of this period, on about December 21, falls the Mid-Winter Solstice, the Shortest Day.
After this turning point, the days slowly became longer until the season ended at Imbolc, the festival of the maiden aspect of the Goddess Bride when the first ewe’s milk was available. This was the festival of early spring when snowdrops were pushing through the frozen earth and life stirring again.
This period is a naturally a time for domestic concerns older family members and issues of mortality, natural cycles, endings that clear the way for beginnings, tradition and secrets.

 

FESTIVALS & RITUALS

Samhain

from October 31 sunset until sunset on November 2

Samhain, which runs roughly from sunset on October 31 to sunset on November 2, means ‘summer's end’. This festival marked the beginning of the Celtic New Year. The Celts believed at this festival especially on the evening that we now celebrate as Hallowe’en, the family dead could be welcomed back for this special night. It was also a time for looking into the future, especially for matters of love.

The burial mounds of Ireland and other lands where Celtic influence held sway, such as Wales and Brittany burial mounds were opened and lighted torches placed on the walls, so that the good dead could find their way. Food would be laid on the hearth for these ghosts and henceforward a fire was kept burning continuously until the first day of the true Spring, marked by the Spring Equinox around March 21, for both dead and living.

In Catholic countries today from Mexico to France the Days of the Dead on November 1st and 2nd are a time of joy and family remembrance. In my book Ghost Encounters (Blandford, 1997) I describe a visit to Mont St Michel in Northern France on the Day of the Dead on November 1 where it was said in legend, dead souls gathered at what was believed to the Celtic Isle of the Blessed.

On All Hallows Eve masks and disguises were worn, especially by those returning from huts in the hills to the family home for the winter, so that evil spirits would not recognise them and spirit them away. Faces were blacked with soot and clothes worn inside out or back to front as a disguise.

Turnip heads holding a lighted candle were placed in windows to frighten off evil spirits (in America the pumpkin took over this role).

The lighted candle inside the turnip or pumpkin is a reminder of the Hallowe’en fires. In Britain, Bonfire Night on November 5, has replaced the Hallowe’en fires that still burn brightly on this night in Ireland and parts of Northern Europe. Formerly in Ireland, all fires were extinguished on All Hallow’s Eve and could be rekindled only from a ceremonial fire lit by the Druids on Tlachtga, (now the Hill of Ward).

Samhain rituals are potent for protection, overcoming fears, for laying old ghosts, psychological as well as psychic and for marking the natural transition between one stage of life and the next.

Light golden or huge orange candles and place them in a safe place facing a window to protect your home and light the way of those you love who may be absent. Burn from dusk until midnight on Halloween and any time when you feel under threat

Use dark crystals of deep blue, purple, brown and black, sodalite, dark amethysts, smoky quartz deep brown jasper and jet and obsidian (apache tear). Hold your apache tear up to the light of the candle and see the light shine through promising that winter-and ant sorrows or setbacks- will not last forever.

Use as a focus apples, that are a symbol of health and feature in Halloween love divination, a custom dating from Druidic times, pumpkins, nuts and autumn leaves, mingled with evergreens as a promise that life continues.

Herbs and Incense of Samhain include cypress, dittany, ferns, nutmeg, sage, and pine.

A Samhain Ritual for Banishing Fear

Begin work as dusk falls on Hallowe’en or whenever old fears and voices from the past come to haunt you.

  • Use a turnip or large golden swede, the forerunner of the Halloween pumpkin and hollow out the inside, placing the discarded vegetable in a bowl.

  • As you work, name your fears saying, between each one, words such as:

  • Out fear, out doubt, out pain, out phantoms from my past who seek to haunt me, out old voices that hold me back when I would go forward, out old faces that paralyse me with uncertainty and needless guilt.

  • When the shell is quite empty form eyes, nose and mouth, saying:

  • Enter Light and hope and new life

  • Light an orange candle and place it in the turnip or swede, letting it fill the growing darkness and banish the shadow.

  • Let the candle burn naturally away in a safe place, preferably near a window.

  • Sprinkle the discarded vegetables with sea salt, season with sage and a pinch of nutmeg. Cook and eat as a symbol of new coming from old and hope out of fear.

The Mid-Winter Solstice

December 20 - 21

The Winter Solstice marks the longest night and shortest day. As well as lighting your Yule log and Christmas candle to welcome light back in the world, the eve of the Solstice or Christmas Eve itself is an excellent time for following the old custom of making the Crib.

The crib was introduced by St Francis of Assisi in 1224 who was trying to remind people of the religious meaning of Christmas. He led the local people up the hills to a cave where he had created a scene complete with animals. In parts of France santons, clay figures, are made for the nativity scene that include models of local village characters and dignitaries.

Whether you are Christian, pagan or of a different or no religion, creating santons from clay to represent those you love encapsulates love in its widest and purest sense. As well as a Christ or Sun figure, a Holy Father and Mother or the Earth Mother and Sky Father, a crib or a cave from which the Unconquerable Sun was said by the Egyptians to be born each year at this time, animals and wise men and women, you can fashion rough images of all these you love, endowing each with wishes for a special secret Christmas gift that they most need, confidence, health, joy, a child.

As you work by candle or fire light enfold yourself in love or if you are lonely draw to you in the image of the unknown person or potential family figures you create out of clay to stand round the manger, your future source of strength and affection. The magic of love is most powerful of all at any season.

Imbolc: The Return of Light

This runs from sunset on January 31 - sunset February 2 and was a festival of candles. The Christian Candlemas on February 2 continues the custom of lighting candles to welcome the spring and the lambing season. Household candles were blessed, for the end of the long nights was at hand. Candle makers took a holiday and modern witches and pagans still sometimes follow the custom of placing a lighted candle in every window from sunset to sunrise (safely of course) to welcome Bride’s Eve or in some traditions the night of February 1.

The festival is in honour of the Celtic Brigit, the Triple-Goddess, patron of smiths, poets and healers who has the longest enduring cult in Ireland which merged into that of St Brigit of Kildare. Her name means ‘high one’ and she is sometimes seen as three sisters, daughters of the god Dagda, the Divine Father or as maiden, mother and crone. At Imbolc, Oilmec or Brigantia as the festival was called, the maiden aspect of the Goddess is celebrated and her first mating with the god of Light.

 This is one of the major sabbats or fire festivals when sacred fires were lit on hilltops to welcome and encourage the growing light and warmth. In the US even today Groundhog Day recalls the ancient weather prophesies made to foretell whether it would be a good or hard spring.

On Bride’s Eve, January 31, a Bride’s Bed made from a sheaf of corn, sometimes with corn preserved from the last corn cut down at the first harvest at Lammas (end of July), would be decorated with ribbons to represent the Earth Goddess. It would also be adorned with any early Spring flowers.

The bed was made in front of the fire, and the inhabitants would shout: ‘Bride, come in, your bed is ready.’ The symbolic Bride maiden would leave her cows and a cauldron at the door, bringing in peace, fertility and plenty. From this we get the term a bride for a woman who is about to be married.

Milk and honey were poured over the bride bed by the women of the household. Originally the bed was laid in the home of the Chief of the village but in later times it was made in the main farm of an area. The menfolk were summoned and, having paid either a coin, a flower posy, or a kiss, would enter the circle of firelight and ask for help with their craft or agriculture and make a wish on the Bride Bed.

 Brigit crosses were woven from straw or wheat to hang around the house for protection.

The festival of Imbolc is a time to carry out spells for new love, fertility and for any projects that start in a small way, using a circle of candles and a container of fresh milk.

Choose candles in pastel colours pale pink, green, blue and white, dark gemstones such as the garnet and bloodstone, but also amethysts and rose quartz and gentle moonstones for fertility and awakening feelings. Use the very first snowdrops or very early budding leaves or flowers, milk, seeds. The incenses and herbs of Brigantia, include angelica, basil, benzoin, celandine, heather and myrrh.

You can carry out Imbolc rituals whenever you are beginning with uncertainty or need fertility in your life.

An Imbolc festival for the beginning of trust

We all get hurt at some time whether a betrayal in love, by a family member or at work, Even the smallest barb may wound deeply and so this ritual is one for the slow rebuilding wither of trust with the betrayer or in a new situation. If possible begin this ritual in the early morning as it is just getting light.

  • Take a container of ice or snow ‑ ice cubes are fine if you need to carry out the ritual in midsummer or life in a warm climate

  • In a clear glass or crystal bowl place a few small moonstones or amethysts and cover with ice in a cool place.

  • Go out and search for any signs of rebirth in life, whether a budding twig, a straw dropped by a bird on its way to build its nest, anything that to you is a suggestion of renewal and bring it back to surround the bowl.

  • Light an Imbolc candle in a pale colour, blue is good for a worldly betrayal, pink for the family, green for love and say:

Burn candle burn

Melt the ice that has grown around my heart and let new life flow.

  • In a ceramic pot plant a basil, seedling or some seeds for new life and as you pat down the earth, say:

I bury the pain, the anger, the betrayal and plant the seeds of hope.

  • As the ice melts and the first water appears stir it, saying:

Flow waters flow to new life, trust and joy.

  • Leave the ice until it has melted, occupying yourself with positive tasks, answering correspondence, sorting financial affairs, clearing out a cluttered drawer or corner.

  • Once the water has appeared, pour a little on to your seedling or seeds, saying:

  • Grow hope, grow that my trust may bear fruit.

  • Tip the rest of the water on to the garden and extinguish your Imbolc candle, sending the light to any who have hurt you.

Winter Rituals

These are for removing unwanted influences and redundant phases, for home and long term money plans and for older members of the family.

For winter energies or when you feel pressurised, tired, or face hostility, choose evergreen boughs especially pine or fir, a circle of red and green candles, small logs of wood especially oak and ash found naturally, as a focus for faith that tomorrow is another day and for inner vision. Choose deep green stones such as aventurine, bloodstone, or amazonite as your Winter talisman.

The herbs and incense midwinter incense and herbs which include bay, cedar, feverfew, holly, juniper, pine and rosemary.

A Winter Ritual to ensure abundance

This is a lovely evening ritual in a candlelit room with alternate red and green candles and can be shared with friends or family. Alternate the actions so that everyone participates.

  • Before you begin leave simmering in the oven a casserole of root vegetables and if you eat meat, of turkey or pork.

  • Make bread to eat with it, stirring the dough thirteen times clockwise in the old tradition and leaving it to rise naturally before decorating with dough holly leaves. As you knead the dough, endow the bread with all your wishes for increase, your specific needs for abundance, your hopes for the future, your plans for personal and professional growth.

  • Decorate an evergreen bough with pine cones painted gold for the sun and with tiny red and green garlands in a shiny paper or foil. Hang from it small pieces of jewellery as a symbol of future prosperity.

  • Buy or make a large Yule candle in scarlet and decorate it with holly, ivy and mistletoe berries for abundance and fertility even in winter.

  • Place nine hazel nuts, traditional Celtic symbol of knowledge, around the candle, raisins to symbolise the fruits of the Earth, seeds to symbolise the grains of the Earth and silver coins to symbolise the metals of the Earth.

  • Blow out the candles one by one, welcoming the growing darkness that soon will be overcome by light, saying:

Darkness increase, that I become still, gestating within the womb of the earth mother whose fruits and grains surround the Yule tide candle, accepting the cycle of endings and beginnings, death and rebirth, for everything has a time and season, decrease before increase, loss before gain, dearth before abundance.

  • Sit quietly in the darkness, letting the ideas, the seeds of the future germinate in your mind, the shadows offering insights into your own self and soul.

  • When you are ready say:

The light is returning and with it life. The sun did not die, but only slumbered and now is reborn to the earth mother as I kindle this flame.

  • Light your Yule candle and from it take a taper to relight the other candles in turn saying:

Light from light, life from life, so abundance grows.

  • Eat now a few nuts , seed and raisins, for each one naming a need of growth and expansion in your life , saying for each:

As I take in the power of the growing light and the earth, so my own abundance grows.

  • Sit in the light of the candles, letting growing optimism flow through you. Trust in the future and in your own survival, just as man in ancient times in the depths of mid-winter trusted the sun would return.

  • Eat your casserole and warm bread by the light of the candles, letting thoughts or conversation if with others gently ebb and flow.

  • Leave the Yule candle in a safe place near an un-curtained window that it may light travellers on their way as does the Christmas candle that it still lit on Christmas Eve in places where Celtic descendants live to light the Virgin Mary on her way.

 

 

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