.....SEASONAL FESTIVAL  RITUALS.....

And the circle is complete

 

Yule (21st December)

The altar is adorned with evergreens such as pine, rosemary, bay, juniper and cedar, and the same can be laid to mark the circle. Dried leaves can also be placed on the altar.

The cauldron, resting on the altar on a heat-proof surface, should be filled with ignitable spirit (alcohol), or a red candle can be placed within it. At outdoor rites, lay a fire within the cauldron to be lit during ritual.

Arrange the altar, light the candles and incense, and cast the circle. Recite the Blessing Chant  Invoke the Goddess and God.  Stand before the cauldron and gaze within it.  Say these or similar words:

I sorrow not, though the world is wrapped in sleep.
I sorrow not, though the icy winds blast.
I sorrow not, though the snow falls hard and deep.
I sorrow not; this too shall soon be past.

Ignite the cauldron (or candle), using long matches or a taper. As the flames leap up say:

I light this fire in Your honor, Mother Goddess.
You have created life from death; warmth from cold;
The Sun lives once again; the time of light is
waxing. Welcome, ever-returning God of the Sun!
Hail Mother of All!

Circle the altar and cauldron slowly, clockwise, watching the flames. Say the following chant for some time:

The wheel turns; the power burns.

Meditate upon the Sun, on the hidden energies lying dormant in winter, not only in the Earth but within ourselves.  Think of birth not as the start of life but as its continuance.  Welcome the return of the God.

After a time cease and stand once again before the altar and flaming cauldron.  Say:

Great God of the Sun,
I welcome Your return.
May You shine brightly upon the Goddess;
May You shine brightly upon the Earth,
scattering seeds and fertilizing the land.
All blessings upon You,
Reborn One of the Sun!

Works of magic, if necessary, may follow.  Celebrate the Simple Feast The circle is released.

Yule Lore

One traditional Yuletide practice is the creation of a Yule tree.  This can be a living, potted tree which can later be planted in the ground, or a cut one.  The choice is yours.

Appropriate Wiccan decorations are fun to make, from strings of dried rosebuds and cinnamon sticks (or popcorn and cranberries) for garlands, to bags of fragrant spices which are hung from boughs.  Quartz crystals can be wrapped with shiny wire and suspended from sturdy branches to resemble icicles.    Apples, oranges and lemons hanging from boughs are strikingly beautiful, natural decorations, and were customary in ancient times.

Many enjoy the custom of lighting the Yule log.    This is a graphic representation of the rebirth of the God within the sacred fire of the Mother Goddess.  If you choose to burn one, select a proper log (traditionally of oak or pine.)  Carve or chalk a figure of the Sun (such as a rayed disc) or the God (a horned circle or a figure of a man) upon it, with your knife, and set it alight in the fireplace at dusk on Yule.  As the log burns, visualize the Sun shining within it and think of the coming warmer days.

As to food, nuts, fruits such as apples and pears, cakes of caraways soaked in cider, and (for non-vegeterians) pork are traditional fare.  Wassil, lambswool, hibiscus or ginger tea are fine drinks for the Simple Feast or Yule meals.

 

IMBOLC (2nd February)

A symbol of the season, such as a representation of a snowflake, a white flower, or perhaps some snow in a crystal container can be placed on the altar.  An orange candle anointed with musk, cinnamon, frankincense or rosemary oil, unlit, should also be there.  Snow can be melted and used for the water during the circle casting.

Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the circle. Recite the Blessing Chant  Invoke the Goddess and God.  Say such words as these:

This is the time of the feast of torches,
when every lamp blazes and shines
to welcome the rebirth of the God.
I celebrate the Goddess,
I celebrate the God;
All the Earth celebrates
Beneath its mantle of sleep.

Light the orange taper from the red candle on the altar.  Slowly walk the circle clockwise, bearing the candle before you.  Say these or similar words:

All the land is wrapped in winter.
The air is chilled and
frost envelopes the Earth.
But Lord of the Sun,
Horned One of animals and wild places,
Unseen you have been reborn
of the gracious Mother Goddess,
Lady of all fertility.
Hail Great God!
Hail and welcome!

Stop before the altar, holding aloft the candle.  Gaze at its flame.  Visualize your life blossoming with creativity, with renewed energy and strength.  If you need to look into the future or past, now is an ideal time.  Works of magic, if necessary, may follow.  Celebrate the Simple Feast The circle is released.

Imbolc Lore

It is traditional upon Imbolc, at sunset or just after ritual, to light every lamp in the house--if only for a few moments.  Or, light candles in each room in honor of the Sun's rebirth.  Alternately, light a kerosene lamp with a red chimney and place this in a prominent part of the home or in a window.If snow lies on the ground outside, walk in it for a moment, recalling the warmth of summer.  With your hand, trace an image of the Sun on the snow.
Foods appropriate to eat on this day include those from the dairy, since Imbolc marks the festival of calving. Sour cream dishes are fine.  Spicy and full-bodied foods in honor of the Sun are equally attuned.   Currie
s and all dishes made with peppers, onions, leeks, shallots, garlic or chives are appropriate.Spiced wines and dishes containing raisins--all foods symbolic of the Sun--are also traditional.

 

Ostara (21st March)

Flowers should be laid on the altar, place around the circle and strewn on the ground.  The cauldron can be filled with spring water and flowers, and buds and blossoms may be worn as well.  A small potted plant should be placed on the altar.

Arrange the altar, light the candles and incense, and cast the circle.  Recite the Blessing Chant  Invoke the Goddess and God in whatever words please you.  Stand before the altar and gaze upon the plant as you say:

O Great Goddess, you have freed yourself from the icy prison of
winter.  Now is the greening, when the fragrance of flowers drifts
on the breeze.  This is the beginning.  Life renews itself by Your
magic, Earth Goddess.  The God stretches and rises, eager in His
youth, and bursting with the promise of summer.

Touch the plant.  Connect with its energies and, through it, all nature.  Travel inside its leaves and stems through your visualization--from the center of your consciousness out through your arm and fingers and into the plant itself. Explore its inner nature; sense the miraculous processes of life at work within it.  After some time, still touching the plant, say:

I walk the earth in friendship, not in dominance.
Mother Goddess and Father God, instill within me
through this plant a warmth for all living things.
Teach me to revere the Earth and all its treasures.
May I never forget.

Meditate upon the changing of the seasons.    Feel the rousing of energies around you in the Earth.  Works of magic, if necessary, may follow.  Celebrate the Simple Feast  The circle is released.

Ostara Lore

A traditional Vernal Equinox pastime:  go to a field and randomly collect wildflowers.  Or, buy some from a florist, taking one or two of those that appeal to you.  Bring them home and divine their magical meanings.  The flowers you've chosen reveal your inner thoughts and emotions.

It is important at this time of renewed life to plan a walk through gardens, a park, woodlands, forest and other green places.  This is not simply exercise, and you should be on no other mission.  It isn't even just an appreciation of nature.  Make your walk celebratory, a ritual for nature itself.

Other traditional activities include planting seeds, working on magical gardens and practicing all forms of herb work--magical, medicinal, cosmetic, culinary and artistic.
Foods in tune with this day include those made of seeds, such as sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds, as well as pine nuts.  Sprouts are equally appropriate, as are leafy, green vegetables.

 

Beltane (30th April)

If possible, celebrate Beltane in a forest or near a living tree.  If this is impossible, bring a small tree within the circle, It can be of any type.

Create a small token or charm in honor of the wedding of the Goddess and God to hang upon the tree.  You can make several if you wish.  These tokens can be bags filled with fragrant flowers, strings of beads, carvings, flower garlands--whatever your talents and imagination can create.

Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the circle.  Recite the Blessing Chant  Invoke the Goddess and God.  Stand before the altar and say:

O Mother Goddess, Queen of the night and of the Earth;
O Father God, King of the day and of the forests;
I celebrate Your union as nature rejoices in a riotous
blaze of color and life.  Accept my gift, Mother Goddess
and Father God, in honor of Your union.

Place the token(s) on the tree.

From Your mating shall spring forth life anew;
a profusion of living creatures shall cover the lands,
and the winds will blow pure and sweet.
O Ancient Ones, I celebrate with You!

Works of magic, if necessary, may follow.   Celebrate the Simple Feast  The Circle is released.

Beltane Lore

Weaving and plaiting are traditional arts at this time of year, for the joining together of two substances to form a third is in the spirit of Beltane.
Foods traditionally come from the dairy, and dishes such as marigold custard and vanilla ice cream are fine.   Oatmeal cakes are also appropriate.

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Midsummer (21st June)

Before the rite, make up a small cloth pouch filled with herbs such as lavender, chamomile, St. John's Wort, vervain, or any of the Midsummer herbs listed in the  Herbal Grimoire   Mentally pour all your troubles, problems, pains, sorrows and illnesses, if any, into this pouch as you construct it.  Tie it shut with a red string.  Place this on the altar for use during the rite.  The cauldron should also be there or nearby.  Even if you use candles to mark the quarters, the red candle in a holder should also be on the altar.   For outdoor rituals, light a fire and drop the pouch into this.

Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the circle.  Recite the Blessing Chant Invoke the Goddess and God.  Stand before the altar and say:

I celebrate the noon of summer with mystic rites.
O great Goddess and God,
all nature vibrates with your energies
and the Earth is bathed with warmth and life.
Now is the time of forgetting past cares and banes;
Now is the time for purification.
O fiery Sun,
burn away the unuseful, the hurtful, the bane,
in your omnipotent power.
Purify me!  Purify me!  Purify me!

Take up the herbal pouch and light it in the red candle on the altar (or, if outdoors, the ritual fire).  When it is burning, drop it into the cauldron and say:

I banish you by the powers of the Goddess and God!
I banish you by the powers of the Sun, Moon and Stars!
I banish you by the powers of Earth, Air, Fire and Water!

Pause, seeing the hurts and pains burning into nothingness.  Then say:

O Gracious Goddess, O Gracious God,
on this night of Midsummer magic
I pray that you charge my life with
wonder and joy.  Help me in attuning with
the energies adrift on the enchanted night air.
I give thanks.

Reflect upon the purification you have undergone.  Feel the powers of nature flowing through you, washing you clean with divine energy. 

Works of magic, if necessary, may follow.  Celebrate the Simple Feast The Circle is released.

Midsummer Lore

Midsummer is practically the classic time to perform magic's of all kinds.  Healings, love magic and protections are especially suitable.  Herbs can be dried over the ritual fire if you're celebrating outdoors.  Leap the fire for purification and renewed energy.
Fresh fruits are standard fare for Midsummer.

 

Lughnasadh (1st August)

Place upon the altar sheaves of wheat, barley or oats, fruit and breads, perhaps a loaf fashioned in the figure of the Sun or a man to represent the God.  Corn dollies, symbolic of the Goddess, can be present as well.

Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the circle.  Recite the Blessisng Chant   Invoke the Goddess and God.  Stand before the altar and say:

Now is the time of the First Harvest,
when the bounties of nature give of themselves
so that we may survive.
O God of the ripening fields, Lord of the Grain,
grant me the understanding of sacrifice as you
prepare to deliver yourself under the sickle of the
Goddess and journey to the lands of eternal summer.
O Goddess of the Dark Moon,
teach me the secrets of rebirth
as the Sun loses its strength and the nights grow cold.

Rub the heads of the wheat with your fingers so that the grains fall onto the altar.  Lift a piece of fruit and bite it, savoring its flavor, and say:

I partake of the first harvest, mixing its energies
with mine that I may continue my quest for the starry
wisdom of perfection.
O Lady of the Moon and Lord of the Sun,
gracious ones before Whom the stars halt their courses,
I offer my thanks for the continuing fertility of the Earth.
May the nodding grain loose its seeds to be buried in
the Mother's breast, ensuring rebirth in the warmth
of the coming Spring.

Consume the rest of the fruit.  Works of magic, if necessary, may follow.  Celebrate the Simple Feast The Circle is released.

Lughnasadh Lore

It is appropriate to plant the seeds from the fruit consumed in ritual.  If they sprout, grow the plant with love and as a symbol of your connection with the Goddess and God.
Wheat weaving (the making of corn dollies, etc.) is an appropriate activity for Lughnasadh.  Visits to fields, orchards, lakes and wells are also traditional.
The foods of Lughnasadh include bread, blackberries and all berries, crab apples, all grains and locally ripe produce.  A cake is sometimes baked, and cider is used in place of wine.
If you do make a figure of the God from bread, it can be used for the Simple Feast.

 

Mabon   (21st September)

Decorate the altar with acorns, oak sprigs, pine and cypress cones, ears of corn, wheat stalks and other fruits and nuts.  Also place there a small rustic basket filled with dried leaves of various colors and kinds.

Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the circle.  Recite the Blessing Chant  Invoke the Goddess and God.  Stand before the altar, holding aloft the basket of leaves, and slowly scatter them so that they cascade to the ground within the circle.   Say:

Leaves fall,
the days grow cold.
The goddess pulls her mantle of Earth around Her
as You, O Great Sun God, sail toward the West
to the lands of eternal enchantment,
wrapped in the coolness of night.
Fruits ripen, seeds drop,
the hours of day and night are balanced.
Chill winds blow in from the North wailing laments.
In this seeming extinction of nature's power, O Blessed
Goddess, I know that life continues.
For spring is impossible without the second harvest,
as surely as life is impossible without death.
Blessings upon you, O Fallen God, as you journey into
the lands of winter and into the Goddess' loving arms.

Place the basket down and say:

O Gracious Goddess of all fertility, I have sown and
reaped the fruits of my actions, good and bane.
Grant me the courage to plant seeds of joy and love in
the coming year, banishing misery and hate.  Teach me the secrets
of wise existence upon this planet,
O luminous one of the night!

Works of magic, if necessary, may follow.    Celebrate the Simple Feast The Circle is released.

Mabon Lore

A traditional practice is to walk wild places and forests, gathering seed pods and dried plants.  Some of these can be used to decorate the home; others saved for future herbal magic.
The foods of Mabon consist of the second harvest's gleanings, so grains, fruit and vegetables predominate, especially corn.    Corn brad is traditional fare, as are beans and baked squash.

 

Samhain ( 31st October)

Place upon the altar apples, pomegranates, pumpkins, squashes and other late autumn fruits.  Autumn flowers such as marigolds and chrysanthemums are fine too.  Write on a piece of paper an aspect of your life which you wish to be free of:  anger, a baneful habit, misplaced feelings, disease.    The cauldron or some similar tool must be present before the altar as well.   A small, flat dish marked with an eight-spoked wheel symbol, should also be there.   You can create this wheel symbol by painting  a large circle onto a plate or dish.   Put a dot in the center of this circle and paint eight spokes radiating out from the dot to the larger circle.  Thus, you have a wheel symbol--a symbol of the Sabbats, a symbol of timelessness.

Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the circle.  Recite the Blessing Chant  Invoke the Goddess and God.  Lift one of the pomegranates and, with your knife, pierce the skin of the fruit.  Remove several seeds and place them on the wheel-marked dish.  Stand before the altar and say:

On this night of Samhain I mark your passing,
O Sun King, through the sunset into the Land of the Young.
I mark also the passing of all who have gone before,
and all who will go after.  O Gracious Goddess,
Eternal Mother, You who gives birth to the fallen,
teach me to know that in the time of the greatest
darkness there is the greatest light.

Taste the pomegranate seeds; burst them with your teeth and savor their sharp, bittersweet flavor.  Look down at the eight-spoked symbol on the pate; the wheel of the year, the cycle of the seasons, the end and beginning of all creation.

Light a fire within the cauldron.  Sit before it, holding the piece of paper, gazing at its flames.  Say:

Wise One of the Waning Moon,
Goddess of the starry night,
I create this fire within Your cauldron
to transform that which is plaguing me.
May the energies be reversed:
From darkness, light!
From bane, good!
From death, birth!

Light the paper in the cauldron's flames and drop it inside.  As it burns, know that your ill diminishes, lessens and finally leaves you as it is consumed within the universal fires.

If you wish, you may attempt scrying or some other form of divination, for this is a perfect time to look into the past or future.   Try to recall past lives too, if you will.  But leave the dead in peace.    Honor them with your memories but do not call them to you.  Release any pain and sense of loss you may feel into the cauldron's flames.

Works of magic, if necessary, may follow.   Celebrate the Simple Feast The Circle is released.

Samhain Lore

It is traditional on Samhain night to leave a plate of food outside the home for the souls of the dead.  A candle place in the window guides them to the lands of eternal summer, and burying apples in the hard-packed earth "feeds" the passed ones on their journey.
For food, beets, turnips, apples, corn, nuts, gingerbread, cider, mulled wines and pumpkin dishes are appropriate, as are meat dishes.

 

The Blessing Chant

May the powers of The One,
the source of all creation;
all-pervasive, omnipotent, eternal;
may the Goddess,
the Lady of the Moon;
and the God,
Horned Hunter of the Sun;
may the powers of the Spirits of the Stones,
rulers of the elemental realms;
may the powers of the stars above and the Earth below,

bless this place, and this time and I who am with you.
bless this place, and this time, and I who am with You.

The Simple Feast Chant

Hold up a cup of wine or some other liquid to the sky and say:

Gracious Goddess of Abundance,
Bless this wine and infuse it with Your love.
In Your names, Mother Goddess and Father God,
I bless this wine. (or brew, juice etc)

Hold up a plate of cakes (bread, biscuits) to the sky and say:

Powerful God of the Harvest,
Bless these cakes and infuse them with Your love.
In Your names, Mother Goddess and Father God,
I bless these cakes.

 

This beautiful music you are listening to is "Midnight Dream"

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Original music composed by Tom Williams III,
Copyright 1996-98 Dreamsharer Music, Ltd