“The Wheel of the Year”
The Eight Wiccan and Pagan sabbats are ancient holidays that modern Witches and Pagans celebrate still today with feasting, ritual, magic and camaraderie. Each festival offers a captivating opportunity for the Wiccan magic spells and Pagan rituals best suited to the season. Many Wiccans and Pagans choose to begin the celebration of these holidays at sundown the day before the dates given below.
Wiccan and Pagan Sabbats and the Seasons
Each of these hallmarks of the Wheel of the Year has its own special feeling in large part due to the close association between Wicca and Paganism in the natural world and its seasons. For some it is found curious that the dates of the sabbats are reversed in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres however this is to show this close association between the Wiccan faith and the seasons. Some Wiccans and Pagans slightly alter the dates the Sabbat of Imbolc which marks the return of Spring, to show local seasonal variations.
The Sabbat of Imbolc
Imbolc is celebrated February 2, 2011 in the Northern Hemisphere and August 1, 2011 in the Southern Hemisphere. Imbolc is a time of renewal and celebration for the Wiccan and Pagan community. Celebrate the return of spring with these Imbolc Spells and Rituals.
The Sabbat of Ostara at the Spring Equinox
The Spring Equinox’s Ostara, (Wiccan Easter), takes place March 20, 2011 in the Northern Hemisphere, and September 23, 2011 in the South. Ostara is a time of growth symbolized by the Spring Hare.
The Sabbat of Beltane
May 1, 2011 in the Northern Hemisphere and November 1, 2011 in the Southern Hemisphere, Beltane is a festival of fertility symbolized by the union of the God and Goddess. Fires, socializing and being in nature are all fitting celebrations at this time.
The Sabbat of Litha at the Summer Solstice
Litha or the Summer Solstice falls on June 21, 2011 in the Northern Hemisphere and December 22, 2011 in the Southern Hemisphere. The Pagan and Wiccan Festival of Litha is an important point in the Wheel of the Year; a time for celebration of the abundance of summer, as well as time to prepare for the darkening to come.
The Sabbat of Lughnasadh or Lammas
Lughnasadh or Lammas falls on August 1, 2011 in the Northern Hemisphere, and February 2, 2011 in the Southern Hemisphere. The Celtic Festival of Lughnasadh or Lammas celebrates the fertility of the harvest while offering Wiccans and Pagans the opportunity to start change in their lives.
The Sabbat of Mabon at the Fall Equinox
The Autumn Equinox festival of Mabon is September 23, 2011 in the Northern Hemisphere and March 20, 2011 in the Southern Hemisphere. The Sabbat of Mabon is time of harmony marking the beginning of the turning within for inner spiritual work over the winter.
The Sabbat of Samhain
The day of Samhain is November 1, 2011 in the Northern Hemisphere, and May 1, 2011 in the Southern Hemisphere, however the Wiccan celebrations of Samhain often begin a sundown on the day before these dates. Samhain is a wonderful time for magic and ritual along the more familiar celebrations of Halloween.
The Sabbat of Yule at the Winter Solstice
The Sabbat of Yule falls on the Winter solstice on December 22, 2011 in the Northern Hemisphere, and on June 21, 2011 in the Southern Hemisphere. Wiccans choose what to take with them into the New Year, and what to leave behind at the evocative and magical festival of Yule, the Winter Solstice Wicca and Pagan Festival.
Together, Pagans and Wiccans collectively feel the inherent meaning associated with the sabbats. The interconnectedness with nature is celebrated by maintaining traditions and rites that date from centuries past.
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- 10 Excellent Resources for Printable Wiccan Calendars (brighthub.com)
- Lunar Eclipse To Coincide With Winter Solstice In Rare Event (pinkbananaworld.com)
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“If Winter comes, can spring be far behind?” – Percy Bysshe Shelley
I live in sunny Phoenix, Arizona. For those not familiar with our desert climate, we do in fact experience a period of winter weather. We can experience some very cold temperatures during the month of January; lows can dip to below freezing at night and only reach the low to mid 50’s during the day and a relative humidity in the negative. There remains however plenty of green and flowering plants to trick the mind when the eye shoots a quick look out the window and sees the majestic palms and the deep blue sky with seemingly unending sunshine. Occasionally those of us who grew up in the winter grasp of the Midwest begin to long for that time of hibernation. I know I do. I miss snow, bundling up with hats, coats, mittens, boots, scarves and more. I miss warming up the car and days when no one goes anywhere because the snow has us shut in for a day or two.
I have learned that we do not need to be afraid of winter. In winter nature lies fallow in preparation for the New Year. All life needs rest in order to grow with greater strength and winter is the time of withdrawal that precedes renewal.
Sometimes, it may seem that our lives have become dark and hopeless and we can’t see a way forward. I felt exactly as I’ve just described, many times over. Perhaps, it came when a relationship failed and I thought, “This really has to be the end”, or my business was going badly; money became a problem, or the loss of family ties or connections. I became lost in my melancholy and felt that things would never get better.
I knew that I could draw some strength from the wisdom of the seasons. Bare trees will become clothed in green and the hard earth will again yield harvests of plenty. I learned to appreciate this transformation as it happens every year and I take hope from it. I can see my life also as bound to change! From this wisdom of the seasons I grew this affirmation which is ready to be plucked from my jar of affirmations when the time is right: “Nothing in my life need defeat me, since I know that spring and summer will always come again”.
- Snowy Winter Photography (noupe.com)
- Gahl Eden Sasson: Christmas Grinch and Mercury Retrograde (huffingtonpost.com)
“To eat bread without hope is still slowly to starve to death.” – – Pearl S. Buck
This holiday season is one of little financial means for me and void of certain family and friends. I am beginning to feel an emptiness creep into my preparations for the holiday season. Without the usual seasonal hoopla and extravagances, a feeling began to evolve inside of me – a feeling of hopelessness. I quickly realized that if I continued to exist without hope I would surely lose my hold on life. I know from experience that without some form of love and intimacy I would move step-by-step into despair. I would retreat into my little world of selfish gratification and eventually forget what it means to be alive.
With this awareness, I have made great efforts to make this upcoming holiday special with plans to surround myself with my closest friends. When I look at these people whom I know to be on a strong path toward personal growth, I am struck by the sparkle in their eyes, the color in their cheeks, the spring in their step. They have come back to life. They have learned how to care again and to be unafraid of closeness. They have found life again in all its vibrancy and promise of change and renewal. That is what I strive for, and work towards.
This kind of energy is contagious, and forms one of the many advantages of building a network of other people working on their own spirituality and personal growth. I see people change and come back to life. Their growth touches my life and inspires me to come back out of the darkness of my dysfunction and unhealthy ways of thinking and into the clear light of the day. That is a gift so rich, yet so within reach. There is no need now for the exchange of material gifts when such special gifts have already been given. My life has changed through contact with my friends and “family of choice” and by developing my own traditions.
Uruz ~ Ur ~ Strength ~ Manhood ~ Womanhood ~ The Wild Ox
The Rune of terminations and new beginnings, drawing Uruz indicates that the life you have been living has outgrown its form. That form must die so that new energy can be released in a new form. This is a Rune of passage and, as such,part of the Cycle of Initiation.
Positive growth and change, however, may involve a descent into darkness as part of the cycle of perpetual renewal. As in nature, this progression consists of five aspects: death, decay, fertilization, gestation, and rebirth. Events occurring now may well prompt you to undergo a death within yourself. Since self-change is never coerced, we are always free to resist, remain mindful that the new life is always greater than the old.
Prepare then, for opportunity disguised as loss. It could involve the loss of someone of something to which you have an intense emotional bond, and through which you are living a part of your life, a part that must now be retrieved so you can live it out for yourself. In some way, that bond is being severed, a relationship radically changed, a way of life coming to an end. Seek among the ashes and discover a new perspective and new strength.
The ancient symbol for Uruz was the aurochs, a wild ox. When the wild ox was domesticated, an incredibly difficult task, it could transport heavy loads. Learn to adapt yourself to the demands of such a creative time. Firm principles attach to this Rune. At the same time humility is called for, since in order to rule you must learn how to serve. Uruz puts you on notice that your souls and the Universe support the new growth.
Without ears to hear and eyes to see, you may fail to take advantage of the moment. The result could well be an opportunity missed or the weakening of your position. I may seem that your own strength is being used against you.
For some, Uruz Reversed will serve to alert, offering clues in the form of minor failures and disappointments. For others, those more deeply unconscious or unaware, it may provide a hard jolt. Reversed, this Rune calls for serious thought about the quality of your relationship to your Self.
Take heart: Consider the constant cycling of death and rebirth, the endless going and return. Everything we experience has a beginning, middle and an end, and is followed by a new beginning. Therefore, do not draw back from the passage into darkness: When in deep water, become divers.
I see every thing I paint in this world, but everybody does not see alike. To the eyes of a miser a guinea is more beautiful than the sun, and a bag worn with the use of money has more beautiful proportions than a vine filled with grapes. – William Blake
My enjoyment of the arrival of spingtime may for another person bring painful memories of a life somehow unfulfilled. One person’s winter wonderland may bring to my mind a vision of a stark and hopeless landscape. One person’s summer beach party may bring a battle for another to avoid looking at starkly clad bodies. My ripe and tranquil autumn may bring to another thoughts of imminent death.
Each season of the year brings its own challenges. Many of us who are addicts feel sad or alone during different times of the year. For the alcoholic fall and winter may bring the challenge of maintaining sobriety through the holidays as they see others merry celebrations. A sex addict may feel sad or alone during the spring and summer when all around them they see people in love (not them). As addicts we often may think other people are happier than us. We may feel inadequate. So we struggle yet again with the same old feelings or memories.
I try to remind myself that even though the past continues to resonate in my heart, the present holds something different and better. If the eyes are opened to the particular beauty of the season, the reward will be its splendor.
I’ve never been one for Valentine’s Day. To me, it’s just another day fabricated by commercialism to sell more; sell more cards, candy, gifts and pressure. To me, romanticism comes more spontaneously throughout the year. Someone once said to me that each morning when he wakes up he says, “O.K. God, surprise me!”
Although each day brings new challenges, there is one thing it won’t bring – perfection. Today, I can expect a mixed bag of experiences with a wide range of emotions to match. I found this quote today, and would like to share it with you:
Every forward step we take we leave some phantom of ourselves behind– John Spalding
If we’re feeling discouraged or negative about our life, one way to cultivate an attitude of gratitude is to look back and see how far we’ve come. Remember, we seek progress, not perfection. There is always something to be grateful for, including the ability to find something to be grateful for.
When life is so bad that I want to cry, I’ll try laughing instead.