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Wheel of the year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Witchcraft, the seasonal course of the year is known as the "Wheel of the year". There are 4 major/greater, and 4 minor/lesser Sabbats, that make up the eight Wiccan /witches Sabbats per year. (They are also know respectively as Quarter days and cross-quarter days). Sabbats are celebrations based on seasonal changes and traditional harvest dates, and are SUN events. The word solstice means "the sun stands [still]". Put simply, the summer solstice is the day when there is the most "daylight" in that 24 hour period (Middle of summer), and the winter solstice is when there is the least (middle of winter).

 

As the days are growing longer (or shorter), there comes a time when the day is exactly as long as the night is. These are the two "Equinox" days (equi meaning "equal"; nox meaning "night"), and these two Equinoxes are also six months apart. The Greater Sabbats mark, therefore, half way points between the Lesser Sabbats, the Solstices and Equinoxes.

          Here in the Southern Hemisphere, we obviously celebrate these events opposite to the Northern hemisphere. I have added the Northern hemisphere dates in brackets for reference. A brief outline of each event is given below, inclusive of dates, traditions, and correspondences.

 

An Esbat is a gathering of Witches for ritual work and observance of the full moon, they are MOON events. It is a time for magical work rather than the more celebratory sabbat.

 

For more detailed information about individual Esbat's, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Eight Sabbats

 

 

The date's given in the more detailed information about the sabbats should be viewed as a guide only, or "Traditional" dates. Once in tune with Witchcraft and the seasonal shifts, you will know WHY a particular Sabbat is celebrated, and the actual date therefore may be on OR close to the date given. The first chart is a quick reference guide (in calendar month order), and includes this year's "exact" times and dates (AEST). In this chart, the moments are pinpointed by the cross-Quarter moments that are interpolated as the midway points between the Solstices and Equinoxes, measured in degrees along the ecliptic. (Information gathered from http://www.archaeoastronomy.com/2016.html ) The second Chart is a quick reference in Wheel of the year order.

The third chart is a directional chart.

 

Chart 1.

 
Sabbat Traditional Dates 'Exact' Date & Time

Lughnasadh/Lammas

February 2

February 4, 2016 7:30PM

Mabon (Autumnal Equinox)

March 21

March 20, 2016 2:30PM

Samhain

April 30/May 1

May 5, 2016 11:34AM

Yule (Winter Solstice)

June 21

June 21, 2016 8:34AM

Imbolc

August 1

August 7, 2016 11:54AM

Ostara (Vernal/Spring Equinox)

September 21

September 23, 2016 12:21AM

Beltaine

October 31

November 8, 2016 9:42AM

Litha (Summer Solstice)

December 21

December 21, 2016 8:44PM

 

 

Chart 2.

Samhain  - April 30

Yule (Winter Solstice) - June 20 - 22

Imbolc - August 1

Ostara - September 20 - 23

Beltane - November 1

Litha (Summer Solstice) - December 20 - 23

Lammas - February 1

Mabon - March 20 - 23

 

Chart.3

 

As you can see in the above diagram, the minor Sabbats are at the cardinal points, and are regarded as "Quarter days" (Dividing the wheel in quarters so to speak).

 

The major sabbats are located half way between each quarter point, and are regarded as "cross quarter days"

 

 

 

Breakdown of the Sabbats.

 

 

Samhain (Major Sabbat)

Southern Hemisphere: Around April 30 (Northern Hemisphere: Oct 31)

Halloween, All Hallows

Samhain (pronounced Sow-en) is the one Sabbat that is also widely celebrated amongst non-Pagans in the northern hemisphere. (In the Southern Hemisphere Halloween is at a different time to Samhain). It is the mid point between Autumn, and Winter. The God has died, and the Goddess mourns him until his rebirth at Yule. Therefore, it is a time to study the Dark Mysteries and honour the Dark Mother and the Dark Father, symbolized by the Crone and her aged Consort. Itís the last harvest festival, when the crops were safely stored for the coming Winter, and marks the beginning of the Wiccan year. As the veil between the worlds of life and death is thin on this night, we take this time to remember our beloved dead.  The Wheel of the Year is generally considered to start at Samhain, and is the Celtic Festival of the Dead. This idea originates in Irish Celtic traditions. The word "Samhain", literally means "End of Summer".

 

         

Traditions: Divination, ancestor altar, costumes, carving jack o' lanterns, spirit plate, the Feast of the Dead, feasting, paying debts, fairs, drying winter herbs, masks, bonfires, apple games, tricks, washing clothes, honouring the dead, prophesy, past life regressions, reflection & asking for guidance.    

 

Symbolism: Third Harvest, wisdom of the Crone, death of the God, reflection on our place in the Wheel of the Year, New Year, reincarnation, the dark mysteries, Rebirth after Death.

             

Correspondences: pumpkins, apples, sage, mugwort, gnomes.

 

Colours: Purple, black and orange.

 

Deities: The "darker" deities such as The Crone, Hecate(Greek), Cerridwen(Welsh-Scottish), Arianrhod (Welsh), Caillech (Irish-Scottish), Baba Yaga (Russian), Al-Ilat(persian), Bast (Egyptian), Persephone(Greek), Hel(Norse), Kali (Hindu), Anubis, Herne, Horned Hunter(European), Cernnunos(Greco-Celtic), Osiris(Egyptian), Hades(Greek), Gwynn ap Nudd (British), Anubis(Egyptian), Coyote Brother (Native American), Loki (Norse), Dis (Roman), Arawn (Welsh) all Death & Otherworld Gods & Goddesses
 

Herbs/incense: Rosemary, Hazelwood, copal, acacia, mugwort, sage, heather, mullein, patchouli

 

Food: turnips, apples, nuts, beef, pork, poultry, gingerbread, Mead, apple cider, mulled cider, mulled wines

 

Tools: Pentacles, various powders, salt, black altar cloth

 

Stones: Amber, beryl, bloodstone, carnelian, clear quartz, diamond, garnet, gold, granite, hematite, jasper, jet, marble, obsidian, opal, pyrite, rose sapphire, ruby, sandstone, smoky quartz, steel, tourmaline, turquoise

 

Creatures: Stag, jackal, cat, bat, ram, scorpion, heron, crow, robin, Goblins, harpies

 

Archangel: Ariel

 

Planetary Ruler: Pluto

 

Australia: This is the time of cool blue autumn skies, the end of the heat and the appearance of the silver Winter Sun. It is a poignant co-incidence that Australia and New Zealand's day of remembrance for those fallen in war, known as ANZAC Day, is on 25 April, should be so close to the Southern "Day of the dead". Some choose this day to celebrate Samhain on the 25th specifically for that reason. In my garden, the plants are going into Autumn colour, my chickens are moulting to grow a new and warmer coat of feathers for the cooler months, and other animals are showing a noticeably thicker coat of fur/fleece. I am harvesting pumpkins, canning apples and tomatoes, drying annual herbs, and planting winter crops.

 

 

 

 

Yule (Minor Sabbat)

Southern Hemisphere: Around June 21 (Northern Hemisphere: Dec 21)

Winter Solstice, Saturnalia, Alban

As the solstice, it is the longest night of the year, or the time of the greatest darkness. (ie the day with the shortest daylight hours, and consequently, the longest evening hours). It is the middle of winter, from this day forward, light begins to return and we celebrate the rebirth of the Sun God. It is predominantly a solar ritual when the Goddess gives birth to her son, the Sun God. The hours of darkness are long because the reborn Sun God is young and the world is still in the grip of winter's chill. We rejoice because our Sun God is reborn. We light fires or candles to welcome his returning light. At Yule, the Goddess's cycle of fertility has been completed. She has given birth and she must regenerate herself and the world throughout the winter in order to empower the land with fertility in the spring. Yule is a time of re-birth and the cycle has begun anew. Our predecessors noticed such occurrences and beseeched the forces of nature to lengthen the days and shorten the nights. A common Pagan theme is the ritual combat between the Holly King and his brother the Oak King. The Holly King rules the waning year from Midsummer until Yule. Now he has been slain by his brother and we celebrate the rise of the God of the waxing year, the Oak King. This is a time to be with loved ones. Yule is the remnant of early rituals celebrated to hurry the end of winter and to encourage the gift of spring, when food was again readily available. It serves to remind us that the cycle of death and rebirth is endless and that one phase must end for another to begin.
 

Traditions: lighting the Yule log, wreath making,  prayer sticks, Concentrate on the self,  lights, gift-exchanging, singing, feasting, resolutions, new fires kindled, strengthening family & friend bonds, generosity, yule log, hanging mistletoe, apple wassailing, burning candles, Yule tree decorating; kissing under mistletoe; needfire at dawn vigil; bell ringing/sleigh-bells; father yule

 

Symbolism: Rebirth of the Sun, hope born admidst the darkness

 

Correspondences: pine, holly, myrrh, cinnamon, Ivy, apples, oranges, nutmeg, lemons, evergreens of all sorts
 

Colours: White, gold, red, green, silver.

 

Deities: Oak King, Holly King,  Apollo, Arawn, Herne, Great Mother, Befana (strega), Holda (teutonic), Isis(egyptian), Triple Goddess, Mary(christian), Tonazin(mexican), Lucina(roman), St. Lucy (swedish),Bona Dea (roman), Mother Earth, Eve(Hebrew), Ops(roman Holy Mother), the Snow Queen, Hertha (German), Frey (Norse), Sun Child, Saturn(rome), Cronos (Greek), Horus/Ra(egyptian) , Mithras(persian), Balder(Norse), Santa Claus/Odin(teutonic),  Sol Invicta, Janus(God of Beginnings), Marduk (Babylonian)Old Man Winter
 

Herbs/incense: Holly, mistletoe, pine, cedar, frankincense, myrrh, cinnamon, orange, bayberry,  rosemary, juniper, sandalwood, blessed thistle, laurel, sage, yellow cedar.
 

Food: roasted turkey, nuts, apples, caraway rolls, dried fruit, fruitcakes, gingerbread men, mulled wine, eggnog, wassail


Tools: Bells, Candles

 

Stones: bloodstone, ruby, garnet, cat's eye

 

Creatures: stags, squirrels, wren/robin, phoenix, trolls

 

Australia: For the Yule log, many Witches use mallee roots, Tasmanian oaks and  Eucalyptus. In the Blue mountains west of Sydney, it is the time for the Magic festival!

 

Note: Even though most people consider June 21 as the date of the June Solstice, it can happen anytime between June 20 and June 22. June 22 Solstices are rare - the last June 22 Solstice in UTC time took place in 1975 and there won't be another one until 2203.

 

 

 

 

Imbolc (Major Sabbat)

Southern Hemisphere: Around August 1 (Northern Hemisphere: Feb 2)

Candlemas, Imbolg, Brigid's Day

It is a cross quarter, in between Winter Solstice and the spring Equinox. Imbolc represents the coming of spring. The days are getting longer. While it is still winter, changes are already taking place and spring will be here soon. It is an awakening of the earth and all of its creatures. It is also dedicated to the Celtic Goddess Brigid, who represents the goddess in her maiden form. She symbolizes new beginnings, purification, fire, and healing. She was honored in Ireland on this day by burning sacred bonfires in her name. The Roman Catholic Church later canonized her as St. Brigit and Imbolc became known as St. Brigitís day. Non-Pagans celebrate today as Groundhog Day in the Northern hemisphere. Imbolc traditions center around new beginnings and clearing out the old in anticipation of the new. Spring-cleaning typically takes place at this time. Some pagans will also use a sacred broom to sweep the house, symbolically clearing away old or useless energies. Any remaining Yule greens are taken out of the house and burned. It is also a time to ask forgiveness from those you have hurt, so the new season can be started with a clean slate. Imbolc is a festival of lights. Candles are lit at dusk on Imbolc eve and placed in every window of the house. They are kept burning until dawn. This is symbolic of lighting the way in to the future and the coming season of spring and renewal. It is a time for hatching new ideas, growth, travel and celebrating freedom. A great time to make some blessed/holy water for the coming year.       

               

Traditions: Burning fires & candles, Make new starts in life, "spring" cleaning, share poetry, make a bed for Brigid, bread, corn dolls. It is considered taboo to cut or pick plants during this time.    

 

Symbolism: renewal, grown, purification, fertility, out with the old - in with the new 

      

Correspondences: carnation, rosemary, chamomile, milk, sylphs

 

Colours: Silver, yellow, pink, white, red. light green & Brown.

 

Deities: Brigid, Persephone, Demeter etc.

 

Herbs/incense:  Lemon, birch, willow & red sandalwood, Asafoetida, Banana, Basil, Beetroot, Cactus, Chamomile, Caper, Caraway, Catnip, Chilli pepper, Cinchona, Cinnamon, Clove, Copal, Coriander, Crocus, Cumin, Dittany of Crete, Elderflower, Fennel, Fern, Foxglove, Frankincense, Garlic, Ginger, Ginseng, Grass, Ground Ivy, Heather, Hemp, Horse Radish, Hyacinth, Irish Moss, Ivy, Lavender, Lilac, Marjoram, Mint, Myrrh, Parsley, Pepper, Pomegranate, Rice, Rosemary, Saffron, Sage, Sesame, Shallot, Wisteria, Wormwood, vanilla, angelica, ashleaf, balsams, bay, benzoin, blackberry, celandine, coltsfoot, coriander, dragon's blood, iris, lemon, mastic, rose hips, sunflower, tansy, vervain, violets, wheat, witch hazel and all white or yellow flowers.


Foods: Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, poppy seed cakes, muffins, scones, and breads, all dairy products, peppers, onions, garlic, raisins, spiced wines and herbal teas.

 

Tools: Swords, oils (Basil, Bay, Camomile, Catnip, Cinnamon, Clove, Copal, Coriander, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Lavender, Lilac, Mint, Myrrh, Orange, Pine, Rosemary, Sandalwood.), incenses.

 

Stones: Amethyst, Bloodstone, Clear Quartz, Citrine, Garnet, Green Tourmaline, Hematite, Iron, Lodestone, Onyx, Red Zircon, Rose Quartz, Ruby, Turquoise, Yellow Tourmaline.

 

Creatures:  firebirds/phoenix, dragons

 

Archangel: Raphael

 

Planetary Ruler: Moon

 

Australia: Imbolc marks the "dawn" of the year, with the forests being bright with the colour yellow as the Acacia trees coming into full flower. Nature celebrates the new year with a mantle of yellow. It used to fit nicely into the Pagan calendar in Australia, that Wattle day was August 1st. The date of Wattle Day in New South Wales changed from 1 September to 1 August in 1916. The reason for this change was that it allowed the Red Cross to use the earlier flowering and more familiar Cootamundra Wattle (Acacia baileyana) rather than Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha) in their efforts to raise money to support the War effort. In 1992,  an agreement was reached between the Commonwealth and States to change it back to it's original - September 1. This is now considered the official date of Wattle day.

 

 

 

 

Ostara (Minor Sabbat)

Southern Hemisphere: Around Sept 21 (Northern Hemisphere: March 21)

Spring Equinox, Lady Day, festival of the trees.

Celebrated on the Vernal or Spring Equinox, this is another holiday that has been overlaid with Christian meanings (Easter in the Northern Hemisphere). Eggs & bunnies are typical symbols, representing new birth and new life. The winter, harsh and long, is now fading. The Earth is waking from her frozen slumber and it's time to rejoice in life, warmth and a renewal of the spirit. The name for this Sabbat actually comes from that of the Teutonic lunar Goddess, Eostre. Her chief symbols were the bunny (for fertility and because the Ancient Ones who worshipped her often saw the image of a rabbit in the full moon), and the egg (representing the cosmic egg of creation). This is where the customs of "Easter Eggs" and the "Easter Bunny" originated. Ostara is a time to celebrate the arrival of Spring, the renewal and rebirth of Nature herself, and the coming lushness of Summer. It is at this time when light and darkness are in balance, yet the light is growing stronger by the day. The forces of masculine and feminine energy, yin and yang, are also in balance at this time. At this time we think of renewing ourselves. We renew our thoughts, our dreams, and our aspirations. We think of renewing our relationships. This is an excellent time of year to begin anything new or to completely revitalize something. This is also an excellent month for prosperity rituals or rituals that have anything to do with growth. Plant the seeds (Physical & metaphoric) of long-term goals.

 

Traditions: Colouring eggs, decorating with flowers, decorating the altar with cocoons & Butterflies.        

 

Symbolism: The beginning of spring, new life and rebirth, the God and Goddess in Their youth, balance, fertility

                                  

Correspondences: jasmine, daffodil, lotus, new spring flowers

 

Colours: Lavender, white, pastel yellow & other pastels, light green.

 

Deities: All love, virgin, and fertility Goddesses - Venus, Persephone,   Eostre, Ostara, Kore, Maiden, Isis, Astarte, Ishtar, Minerva, Youthful Goddesses. Faerie Queen, Lady of the Lake, the Green Goddess, Anna Perenna, Athena,  Cybele, Blodeuwedd, Flidais, Gaia, Hera, Libera, Renpet, The Muses.

All love, song & dance, and fertility Gods - Atlas, Hare, Green Man, Youthful Gods, Warrior Gods, Taliesin, Lord of the Greenwood, Dagd, Cernunnos, Pan, Adonis, Attis, The Great Horned God, Liber, Mars, Mithras, Odin, Osiris, Thoth, Pan, the Green Man.
 

Herbs/incense: Violet, honeysuckle, lemongrass, spearmint, Heather, Rose, Lemon Verbena, Rosemary, Clove, Cinnamon, Dill, Lilac,  Jasmine, Carnation, Hibiscus, Geranium, Gardenia, Dragon's Blood, Ginger, Sweet Pea, Bay, Patchouli, Anise, Basil, Black Pepper, African violet, lotus, magnolia, sage lavender, narcissus, ginger, broom, strawberry, Acorn, Celandine, Cinquefoil, Dandelion, Dogwood, Iris, Tansy, ginger and any flower.

 

Foods: Hard-boiled eggs, honey cakes, fresh fruits, milk punch, leafy green vegetables, dairy foods, apples, nuts, flower dishes, sprouts
Plants & herbs: Acorn, celandine, cinquefoil, crocus, daffodil, dogwood, Easter lily, gorse, honeysuckle, iris, jasmine, jonquils, narcissus, olive, peony, rose, tansy, violets, woodruff and all spring flowers
.

Tools: pendulum

 

Stones: Amethyst, aquamarine, bloodstone, red jasper

 

Creatures: Rabbits, snakes, unicorns

 

Planetary ruler: Mars

 

Australia:

 

 

 

 

 

Beltane (Major Sabbat)

Sothern Hemisphere: Around November 1 (Northern Hemisphere May 1)

May Day, Walpurgis Night

Beltane is celebrated at the height of Spring and the flowering of life. The God born at Yule is now a man, and the sacred marriage between God and Goddess is consummated. The Goddess manifests as the May Queen and Flora. The God emerges as the May King and Jack in the Green. The danced Maypole represents Their unity, with the pole itself being the God and the ribbons that encompass it, the Goddess. The Colours are the Rainbow spectrum, and it is appropriate in Australia to use the symbolism of the rainbow serpent.  Beltane is a festival of flowers, growth, fertility, sensuality, love, passion and delight. However you celebrate Beltane, do it with joy and happiness!

 

Goddesses: all fertility, flower, song and dance, hunting, and virgin-mother Goddesses; Aphrodite (Greek), Artemis (Greek), Belili (Sumerian), Bloddeuwedd (Welsh), Cybele (Greek), Damara (English), Danu (Irish), Diana (Greek), Fand (Manx-Irish), Flidais (Irish), Flora (Roman), Frigg/Freya (Norse), Ishtar (Assyro-Babylonian), Rhea (Greek), Rhiannon (Welsh), Venus (Roman)

 

Gods: all fertility, love, hunting, and young father Gods; Baal (Phoenician), Bel (Sumerian), Cernunnos (Celtic), Cupid (Roman), Eros (Greek), Faunus (Roman), Frey (Norse), The Great Horned God (European), Herne (English), Orion (Greek), Pan (Greek)

 

Traditions: Handfastings,  maypole erection, dancing around the maypole, bonfires, jumping fire, mating, fairies, ribbons, picking flowers, making flower baskets and flower crowns, frolicking in the countryside, archery tournaments, sword dances, feasting, drinking & music, moving the herds to high pasture.

 

Symbolism: The Union of the Goddess and the God, Fertility in all things.
 

Correspondences: Rose, lilac, vanilla, salamanders

 

Colours: Red & white (symbolizing God and Goddess), dark green, dark yellow/gold rainbow spectrum, blue, pastels
 

Deities: - all fertility, lower, song and dance, hunting, and virgin-mother Goddesses: Aphrodite. Artemis, Belili, Bloddeuwedd, Cybele, Damara, Danu, Diana, Fand, Flidais, Flora, Frigg/Freya, Ishtar, Rhea, Rhiannon, Venus, Walpurga, Maia, Demeter, May Queen, Flower Goddesses, Lady of the Greenwood, Erzulie, Baubo, Rhea, Prithvi.

All fertility, love, hunting, and young father Gods: Baal, Bel, Cernunnos, Cupid, Eros, Faunus, Frey, The Great Horned God , Herne, Orion, Pan, Jack in the green, Greenman, May King.


 

Herbs/incense: Musk, vanilla, patchouli, clover flowers, oak, passion flower, frankincense, tuberose, lilac, almond, angelica, damiana, hawthorn, hibiscus, saffron, ash tree, bluebells, cinquefoil, daisy, hawthorn, ivy, marigold, meadowsweet, primrose, roses, satyrion root, woodruff, yellow cowslip, yarrow, elderflower, mugwort, mint, lily of the valley, foxglove, broom, thyme, sandalwood.

 

Food: dairy foods, foods made with flowers, red fruits such as strawberries and cherries, green herbal salads, red or pink wine punch, maybowl (an icebowl decorated with spring flowers and filled with maywine), large round oatmeal or barley cakes (also known as Beltane cakes), oysters, aphrodisiacs.
 

Tools: Ribbons, wand, chalice, candle/flames/lamps.

 

Stones: Emerald, malachite, carnelian, amber, sapphire, rose quartz.


Creatures: Faeries, Pegasus, satyrs, giants, bee, goat, cat, lynx, horse, leopard, swallow, dove, swan.

 

Archangel: Michael

 

Planetary ruler: Venus

 

Australia: This is the time when the brilliant red free-covering bell-flowers of the Flame Trees highlight our forests and gardens. The Melbourne Cup horse race is happily coincident with the Australian Beltane, being run on the second Tuesday in November, a day declared as a public holiday, even Parliament. In Australia, you might be told: "One thing you must remember, 'tis the merry month of November".

 

 

 

 

 

 

Litha (Minor Sabbat)

Pronounced Ly-tha.

Southern Hemisphere: Around December 21 (Northern Hemisphere: June 21)

Midsummer, Summer Solstice, Whitsun

Midsummer is the longest day of the year, and the strength of the Sun God begins to wane. The Goddess has left her Maiden form of Imbolc and is now in her Mother aspect. This Sabbat celebrates the abundance and beauty of the Earth. From this day on, the days will wane, growing shorter and shorter until Yule. It is a time to absorb the Sun's warming rays, and to celebrate the ending of the waxing year and beginning of the waning year in preparation for the harvest to come. Midsummer is another fertility Sabbat, not only for humans, but also for crops and animals. This is a time to celebrate work and leisure, to appreciate children and childlike play and to look internally at the seeds you've planted that should be at full bloom. Some people believe that at twilight on this day, the portals between worlds open and the faery folk pass into our world; welcome them on this day to receive their blessings. Refill your herb collection for the coming year, as herbs
gathered on this day are said to be extremely powerful.

 

Traditions: Fairy magick, collecting herbs. One way to express the cycle of the Earth's fertility that has persisted from early pagan to modern times is the myth of the Oak King and the Holly King, gods respectively of the Waxing and Waning Year. The Oak King rules from Midwinter to Midsummer, the period of fertility, expansion and growth, and the Holly King reigns from Midsummer to Midwinter, the period of harvest, withdrawal and wisdom. They are light and dark twins, each being the other's alternate self, thus being one. Each represents a necessary phase in the natural rhythm; therefore, both are good. At the two changeover points, they symbolically meet in combat. The incoming twin -- the Oak King at Midwinter, the Holly King at Midsummer --"slays" the outgoing one. But the defeated twin is not considered dead -- he has merely withdrawn during the six months of his brother's rule. On Midsummer Night, it is said that field and forest elves, sprites and faeries abound in great numbers, making this a great time to commune with them. Litha is considered a time of great magickal power, one of the best times to perform magicks of all kinds. Especially effective magick and spells now include those for love, healing and prosperity. Wreaths can be made for your door with yellow feathers for prosperity and red feathers for sexuality, intertwined and tied together with ivy. This is also a very good time to perform blessings and protection spells for pets or other animals. Nurturing and love are key actions related to Midsummer. Litha is a good time to perform a ceremony of self-dedication or rededication to your spiritual path as a part of your Sabbat celebration. Fire, the Sun, blades, balefires, Sun wheels, summertime flowers (especially sunflowers), summer fruits, seashells, faeries, wheels, circles, spirals.

 

Symbolism: Honouring the God at His peak, honouring the pregnant Goddess

 

Correspondences: Orange, lemon, honeysuckle,  mistletoe, oak trees,

 

Colours: White, red, maize yellow or golden yellow, sea green, blue, brown/tan

 

Deities: All father gods and mother goddesses, pregnant goddesses and Sun deities. Particular emphasis might be placed on the goddesses Aphrodite, Astarte, Freya, Hathor, Ishtar and Venus and other goddesses who preside over love, passion and beauty. Other Litha deities include the goddesses Athena, Artemis, Dana, Kali, Isis and Juno and the gods Apollo, Ares, Dagda, Gwydion, Helios, Llew, Oak/Holly King, Lugh, Ra, Sol, Zeus, Prometheus and Thor.

 

Herbs/incense: Basil, Cedar, Chamomile, cinquefoil, copal, elder, fennel, fern, frangipani,  frankincense, galangal, heliotrope, hemp, larkspur, laurel, lavender, lemon, mistletoe, mugwort, oak, pine, roses, saffron, St. John's wort, sandalwood, thyme, verbena, wisteria, ylang-ylang, oak, ivy, saffron, carnation, daisy, honeysuckle, lily, male fern,  verbena, vervain.

 

Foods: honey, fresh vegetables of all kinds and fresh fruits such as lemons and oranges, pumpernickel bread as well as Summer squash and any yellow or orange coloured foods. Flaming foods are also appropriate. Traditional drinks are ale, mead, and fresh fruit juice of any kind.

 

Tools: flower-ringed cauldron, athame, A Golden Yellow Alter Cloth

 

Stones: all green gemstones, especially emerald and jade, tiger's eye, lapus lazuli and diamonds.

 

Creatures: robins, wrens, all Summer birds, horses and cattle, satyrs, faeries, firebirds, dragons, thunderbirds and manticores.

 

Planetary Ruler:

 

Australia:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lammas/ Lughnasadh  (Major Sabbat)

Southern Hemisphere: Around Feb 1 (Northern Hemisphere: August 1)

As the first of the three harvest festivals, much of the symbolism for Lammas revolves around grains and bread.  Sacrifices were common, though mostly symbolic, in order to ensure the continued success of the  harvest. At this time, witches cast spells for connectedness, career, health, and financial gain. Spells for abundance are completely appropriate now. As the sun is growing weaker, it is a good time to do grounding and sun meditations, then use the golden rays of the sun (gathered during meditation) in spellcasting.
 

Traditions: Games, the traditional riding of poles/staves, country fairs, breaking bread with friends, making corn dolls, harvesting herbs for charms/rituals, Lughnasadh fire with sacred wood & dried herbs, feasting, competitions, Lammas towers (fire-building team competitions), spear tossing, gathering flowers for crowns, fencing/swordplay, games of skill, martial sports, chariot races, hand-fastings, trial marriages, dancing round a corn mother (doll)

 

Symbolism: First harvest festival; aging of the Deities, honouring of Sun Gods
 

Correspondences: corn, sandalwood, heather.

 

Colours: Golden Yellow, Orange, Green, and Light Brown

 

Deities: The Mother, Dana ( Lughs wife & queen ), Tailltiu, Demeter, Ceres, the Barley Mother, Seelu Corn Mother, Isis (Her birthday is celebrated about this time), Luna, other agricultural Goddesses, the waxing Goddess,

Johnny Barleycorn, Lugh, Arianrhods golden haired son Lleu ( Welsh God of the Sun & Corn where corn includes all grains, not just maize), Dagon, Tammuz/ Dummuzi, Dionysus, plus all sacrificial Gods who willingly shed blood/give their life that their people/lands may prosper, all vegetation Gods, Tanus, Taranis, Tina, the waning God
 

Herbs/incense: Wood aloes, rose, rose hips, rosemary, chamomile, eucalyptus, safflower, corn, passionflower, frankincense, sandalwood, acacia flowers, aloes, cornstalks, Grapes, Heather, Blackberries, Sloe, Crab Apples, Pears. goldenrod, peony, nasturtium, clover blossom, yarrow, heliotrope, boneset, vervain, Queen Anne's lace, myrtle, sunflower, poppy, milkweed, Irish moss, mushroom, wheat, corn, rye, oat, barley, rice, garlic, onion, basil, mint, aloe, meadowsweet, apple leaf, raspberry leaf, strawberry leaf, bilberry leaf, blueberry leaf, mugwort, hops, holly, comfrey, grape vine, ivy, hazelnut, blackthorn, elder, bee pollen

 

Food: Breads, grains, potatoes, summer squash, cider, blackberry pies and jellies, berries, apples, roasted lamb, elderberry wine, meadowsweet tea
 

Tools: Chalice (Of plenty), spear, cauldron, sickle, scythe, mirrors, magickal waters

 

Stones: Aventurine, citrine, peridot, sardonyx

 

Creatures: Roosters, calves, the Phoenix, griffins, basilisk, centaurs

 

Archangel: Gabriel

 

Planetary Ruler: The Sun

 

Australia: February marks the Australian Mid Summer, being the hottest month and the time of bushfires. Much festivity is coincident with the Australian Lammas, with Australia Day being held on 26 January. On this day in 1788 Europeans, including the convicts, first came ashore to establish the colony of New South Wales, and is seen as antecedent to the formation of Australia as a nation in the modern Western world. Today Australia Day sees a wide range of festivities including cultural celebrations of indigenous Aboriginals, as well as many of the immigrant cultures which make up this multi-cultural country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mabon (Minor Sabbat)

Southern Hemisphere: Around March 21 (Northern Hemisphere: Sept 21)

Autumn Equinox, Cornucopia

Mabon, (May-bon) is known as the Autumn Equinox, Harvest Home, Second Harvest, the Witches Thanksgiving and Siring Fate. (Mabon in Welsh means son.) This reference usually refers to the son of the Welsh goddess Madron, Mother and Son. The Mother and son aspect is the most common among the neo-pagans, and fits well with in the Wiccan perspective of the Holly King mythology. Autumn Equinox refers to a time of the year when day and night are equally balanced, and the weather grows colder as winter approaches. The sun is in the process of crossing the equator and in astrological terms is entering the sign of Libra. The sun is the focal point of energy (along with the moon) and such; its life force pushes us to discover more about ourselves. It is time for a cooperative outlook on that time of year, just what was needed by the communities, as they all worked together to complete the harvest. Harvest Home is an Anglo-Celtic version of the original Mabon, and fell in-between the First (Lugnasadh) and the Third (Samhain) Harvests. Harvests festivals were a very important part of the pre- industrialized culture. It was a time of relief and of rest. Relief that the crops were in and rest to catch their breath before the work of preparing for winter began. This was a time to give thanks, so take some time to think about what you are thankful for.   

 

Traditions: Making and drinking of wine (surplus fruit from the season), share with the less fortunate, gathering dried herbs, plants, seeds and seed pods, walking in the woods, scattering offerings in harvested fields, offering libations to trees, adorning burial sites with leaves, acorns, and pine cones to honor those who have passed over.

 

Symbolism: Second Harvest, the Mysteries, Equality and Balance.

          

Correspondences: grapes, blackberries, cedar.

 

Colours: Red, orange, russet, maroon, brown, and gold

 

Deities: Morgan, Epona, Lilitu, The Muses, Sophia, Modron, Mabon, Maponus, Herne, Cernunnos, Mannanan Mac Ler, Lord of Shadows, Ishtar, Isis, Demeter, Persephone, Grain Mother, Rhiannon, Dionysus, Bacchus, Hermes, Horned God, Mabon, Thoth
 

Herbs/incense: Clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, sage, juniper, pine, cedar, benzoin, milkweed, myrrh, solomon's seal, rose, passionflower, honeysuckle, marigold, ferns, tobacco, vegetables, thistle

 

Food: Breads, nuts, apples, pomegranates, grapes, acorns, wheat bread, goat, Indian corn, horn of plenty, cornbread, corn, root crops (ie onions, carrots, potatoes, etc.), dried fruits, apples, beans, and squash.
 

Tools: Bell, boline, red altar cloth

 

Stones: Sapphire, lapis lazuli, and yellow agates.

 

Creatures: Dogs, Wolves, Stag, Birds of Prey (especially the Blackbird, Owl, and Eagle), Salmon, Goat, Gnomes, Sphinx, Minotaurs, Cyclops, Andamans, and Gulons.

 

Planetary Ruler: Mercury

 

Australia:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uniquely Australian seasons

 

 

 

Australia is rather an unique country where the number of distinct seasons differs from two, six, eight to even more depending on the area. For example in the bottom half of our country (Particularly on the coasts), there are basically four seasons, so therefore is is easier to observes the four Greater and four Lesser Sabbats according to their seasonal significance to these parts of Australia. In other parts of the country, particularly in inland Australia and the Northern Territory, following the four seasons is almost impossible.

 

Therefore, the year in the top end of Australia is basically divided into two parts - the Wet (from November to April) and the Dry (from May to October). The local Aboriginal people, however, divided the year into six seasons ...

 

  • Gunumeleng (pre-monsoon storm season) = October to December.

    This is the pre-monsoon season of hot weather which becomes more and more humid. As this season progresses, thunderstorms build in the afternoons and scattered showers bring a tinge of green to the parched Earth. As the streams begin to run, "old water" washes into the billabongs from stagnating pools, causing localised fish kills. Waterbirds disperse as surface water and new growth becomes more widespread. Barramundi move out of the waterholes and downstream to the estuaries. This is the time for people to move camp from the floodplain, to shelter from the violent storms of the Wet Season.


     
  • Gudjewk (monsoon season) = January to February.
     

    The time of violent thunderstorms, heavy rain, and flooding. Heat and humidity generates an explosion of plant and animal life. Magpie geese nest among the sedgelands. It is egg gathering time. Flooding may cause goannas, snakes and possums to seek refuge in the trees where they are easily caught.


     
  • Bang-Gereng (knock 'em down storm season) = March.
     

    Most plants are fruiting and animals are caring for their young. Expanses of water recede and streams run clear. Violent storms flatten the 2 metre high spear grass.


     
  • Yekke (cooler but still humid season) = April to May.
     

    Early morning mists hang low over the plains and waterholes. The shallow wetlands and billabongs are carpeted with waterlillies. Drying winds signal it is time to commence burning the bush in patches to "clean" the country and to encourage new growth. Early season fires are insurance against destructive fires in the hotter, drier months. The woollybutt Eucalyptus miniata begins to flower and when the flowering ceases in early August, the fires are usually no longer lit.


     
  • Wurrgeng (cold weather season) = June to July.
     

    The "cold weather" time with low humidity, days of 30C and nights as low as 17C. Creeks cease to flow and floodplains quickly dry out. Magpie geese, fat and heavy after weeks of abundant food, crowd the diminishing billabongs with a myriad other waterbirds. Burning continues, dampened by the dew at night. By day the birds of prey patrol the firelines as insects and other small animals escape the flames.


     
  • Gurrung (hot dry weather season) = August to September.
     

    Windless and hot, the land seemingly lies dormant. It is still "goose time" but also a time to hunt file snakes and long necked turtles. Sea turtles lay their eggs on the sandy beach of Field Island where goannas rob the occasional nest. White breasted wood swallows arrive as the thunderheads build again with the return of Gunumeleng.
     

And the cycle repeats ...

 

 

NOTE: The above information on Aboriginal "Top end" seasons came my way with no origin source, if you know where it came from, please tell me, I would love to validate the information, & learn more!

 

 

 

 

 

For information on Esbat's, click here.

 

 

 

The 52 Week Calendar.

 

 

 

Many Witches like to work with the 52 week annual calander, because it follows the natural movements of the seasons and moon phases more closely. The 52~Weeks of the Year can be divided into 13 Months of 4 weeks each, or 4 Quarters of 13 Weeks. It doesnít retain the Months~to~Quarters symmetry that the Gregorian CE Calendar has, however, the above illustrates other, more pervasive symmetries that make this a more regular means of arranging the Days. This type of calendar is meant to simplify and enrich our lives. The regular ratio of Weeks~to~Months~to~Quarters creates a perpetual Year. You can work your magick around this Calendar of the common Gregorian one. It's up to you.

 

The advantages are not just magickal, imagine how much more simplistic our lives in general would be if everyone adopted this calendar? Some advantages include:

  • clearly defined periods Months = 4 Weeks = 28 Days, Quarters = 13 Weeks = 91 Days

  • people will be able to schedule ahead without having to consult a calendar

  • makes accounting easier, which will make commerce smoother, creating a solid foundation of steady progression upon which to build.

  • numbered Weeks, Months, Quarters and Years allows every community of Calendar Users to name them as they will, which encourages a richer cultural diversity, while still allowing us to communicate dates clearly.

  • These arrangements of 52 Weeks repeat themselves annually, whereas with the Gregorian Calendar, the cycles of Weekdays and Months repeats themselves every 400 Years (due to the Leap Year rule).

 

 

The above 52 week calendar information is from http://theabysmal.wordpress.com/2008/11/ I urge you to visit their site, I found it fascinating...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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