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Pagan Holidays
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Wheel of the Year

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spacer gif Samhain, pronounced sow-en and called Halloween today, is the ending of the Celtic year. The Celtic new year actually begins at sunset on October 31. This ritual is known as Ancestor Night or Feast of the Dead. Because the veil between the worlds is thinnest on this night, it was and is considered an excellent time for divinations. Feasts are made in remembrance of dead ancestors and as an affirmation of continuing life. A time for settling problems, throwing out old ideas and influences. This is either celebrated October 31, or the first Full Moon in Scorpio.

spacer gif Winter Solstice or Yule, occurs about December 21. This is the time of death and rebirth of the Sun God. The days are shortest, the Sun at its lowest point. The Full Moon after Yule is considered the most powerful of the whole year. This ritual is a light festival, with as many candles as possible on or near the altar in welcome of the Sun Child.

spacer gif Imbolc, February 1st or the first Full Moon in Aquarius, is a time of cleansing and newborn lambs. The name, Imbolc, comes from the word 'oimelc' or sheep's milk. It is a festival of the Maiden in preparation for growing and renewal.

spacer gif Spring Equinox or Ostara, around March 21, is when light and darkness are in balance but the light is growing stronger. Ostara was not originally a part of the Celtic year, and all of its associations were given to Beltaine until recent times. Because it was named for the Teutonic Goddess of Spring and New Life, Eostre, it is assumed that it was brought to prominence in the Celtic world by the Saxons.

spacer gif Beltaine, is May 1, or the first Full Moon in Taurus. Other names for it are May Day or Lady Day. It is primarily a fertility festival with nature enchantments and offerings to wildlings and Elementals. The powers of elves and faeries are growing and will reach their height at Summer Solstice. A time of great magic, it is good for all divinations and for establishing a woodland or garden shrine. The house guardians should be honored at this time.

spacer gif Summer Solstice or Litha, about June 21, is when the hours of daylight are longest. The Sun is at the highest before beginning its slide into darkness. Traditionally, herbs gathered on this day are said to be extrememly powerful. On this night elves and fairies abound in great numbers.

spacer gif Lughnassadh is August 1 or the first Full Moon in Leo. This is a preharvest festival, the turning point in Mother Earth's year. The last herbs are gathered. It is a celebration in honor of the god Lugh's wedding to Mother Earth.

spacer gif Autumn Equinox or Mabon, about September 21, was a time of rest after labor, completion of the harvest. Again the hours of day and night are in balance, with the darkness increasing. All preparations for the dark of the year and the year's ending were made, thus bringing us back to Samhain.

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For more information on the various sabbats, visit Mike Nichol's Site
'Witches Sabbats Banner'
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spacer gif The image I used to create the background for this page is called
Samhain Yule Imbolc Mabon Lughnasadh  Litha Beltaine Ostara Esbats