Thursday, September 12, 2013

What Are The Pagan And Wiccan Holidays?

There are 4 major and 4 minor holidays celebrated through out the year by many pagan traditions. These include the four major agricultural and pastoral festivals and the four minor solar festivals of the solstices and equinoxes. Major Sabbats occur at the peak or midpoint of the four seasons. These Sabbats originated from the Celtic harvest festivals which were religious, agricultural holidays. The Minor Sabbats occur at the beginning of each season. These are marked by astrological events. The Sabbats are generally felt to be a time for the entire community or families to gather together, give thanks, celebrate and be merry.
Many times individual magick is not performed on the Sabbats. More often, a symbolic ceremony is held to mark how the changing seasons reflect our changing lives. The wheel of the year also corresponds symbolically to the life cycle of the Goddess, from the Maiden in the spring, to the Mother in summer, and the Crone in late autumn and winter. It also marks the life, death, and re-birth of the God (Sun), who is born from the Goddess on Yule (Winter Solstice), grows to maturity by spring, is joined in union with the Goddess on Beltaine, and dies on Samhain, to be re-born once again at Winter Solstice. And so the wheel
Yule - (Winter Solstice)
December 20th - 23rd
This sabbath represents the rebirth of light. Here, on the longest night of the year, the Goddess gives birth to the Sun God and hope for new light is reborn.
Imbolc - (Candelas)
February 2nd
The older Pagan names were Imbolc and Oimelc. 'Imbolc' means, literally, 'in the belly' (of the Mother). For in the womb of Mother Earth, hidden from our mundane sight but sensed by a keener vision, there are stirrings. The seed that was planted in her womb at the solstice is quickening and the new year grows.
The holiday is also called 'Brigit's Day', in honor of the great Irish Goddess Brigit. She was considered a goddess of fire, poetry and healing.
Ostara - (Spring Equinox)
March 21st
The Spring Equinox celebrates the arrival of Spring, when light and darkness are in balance but the light is growing stronger. The forces of male and female are also in balance.
Beltane -
May 1st
Beltane is the time of the sacred marriage which honors the fertility of the Earth; it represents the divine union of the Lord and Lady.
Midsummer- (Summer Solstice)
June 21st
The Summer Solstice, the longest day, is a time of triumph for the light. This holiday represents the Sun King in all his glory.
Feast Day of Mary Magdalene - July 22nd
(Not a traditional Pagan Sabbat)
Lughnasadh - (Lammas)
August 1st
This is the celebration of the first fruits of the harvest. The Sun King, now Dark Lord, gives his energy to the crops to ensure life while the Mother prepares to give way to her aspect as the Crone.
Mabon - (Autumn Equinox)
September 21st
During Autumn, we begin to see the waning of the Sun more obviously now as the days continue to grow shorter until the Wheel of the Year spins around again to Yule. At the Autumn Equinox, the days and nights are equal. It is a time of balance, but light gives way to increased darkness.
Samhain -( End of Summer)
October 31
It is said to be the time when the veil between the worlds is very thin, when souls that are leaving this physical plane can pass out and souls that are reincarnating can pass in.
Darkness increases and the Goddess reigns as the Crone, part of the three-in-one that also includes the Maiden and Mother. Divination is heightened this night. This is the time of year for getting rid of weaknesses. A common Ritual practice calls for each Wiccan to write down his/her weaknesses on a piece of paper or parchment and toss it into the Cauldron fire. Jack-o-lanterns, gourds, cider, fall foliage can be used as altar decorations.
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