Quality Herbals for Holistic Living

Posts tagged “Sabbat

Beltane Fire Incense!

Here is a quick and easy recipe for a fiery Beltane Incense!

2 parts Mugwort
1 Part Elder Flowers
1 Part Basil
1 Part Hawthorn Berries
1 Part Patchouli
1 Part Cinnamon
1/2 Part Dragon’s Blood Resin

Blend well! You can burn this blend on a piece of charcoal or toss it into your Beltane Fire!!

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Mabon Incense Recipe

Just in time for the season, you can make your mabon special by either purchasing one of our blends or making your own! For those of you that have never made one, here is an idea!

You will need:

2 parts sandalwood Powder
2 parts White Oak Bark
1 part rosemary
1 part cinnamon chips
1 part Apple Chips
1 part Frankincense

Grind them well in your mortar and pestle (or you can use a coffee grinder) and voilà! Your incense is ready to be burned on Charcoal!

Here is how you can burn loose incense on charcoal

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Sabbat Ritual Guide

This is a complete listing of the Sabbats – broken down by Month. This guide is available on our online BoS and I wanted to include it here as a reference. Enjoy!

January – None

February – Imbolc – 02/02

March – Ostara – 03/20

April – None

May
 – Beltane – 05/01
June – Litha – 06/21
July – None

August
 – Lammas/Lughnasadh – 08/02
September – Mabon/Autumn Equinox – 09/21
October – Samhain – 10/31

November – None

December – Yule – 12/21

 The Wheel of the YearThe Wheel of the Year

Imbolc/Candlemas Lore

Imbolc/Candlemas Lore

Imbolc is one of the four principal festivals of the Celtic calendar, celebrated either at the beginning of February or at the first local signs of Spring. Originally dedicated to the goddess Brighid, in the Christian period it was adopted as St Brigid’s Day. In Scotland the festival is also known as Latha Fhèill Brìghde, in Ireland as Lá Fhéile Bríde, and in Wales as Gwyl Ffraed.

While in the Northern Hemisphere Imbolc is conventionally celebrated on 1 February, in the Southern hemisphere it is sometimes celebrated on the calendar date, but those who see it primarily as a celebration of spring may move it to 1 August.Fire and purification is considered by many to be an important aspect of this festival. Brigid (also known as Brighid, Bríde, Brigit, Brìd) is the Goddess of poetry, healing and smithcraft. As both goddess and saint she is also associated with holy wells, sacred flames, and healing. To some, the lighting of candles and fires represents the return of warmth and the increasing power of the Sun over the coming months.

The holiday is a festival of the hearth and home, and a celebration of the lengthening days and the early signs of spring. Rituals often involve hearthfires, special foods, divination or simply watching for omens (whether performed in all seriousness or as children’s games), a great deal of candles, and perhaps an outdoor bonfire if the weather permits.

This season belongs to Brigid, the Celtic goddess who in later times became revered as a Christian saint. Originally, her festival on February 1 was known as Imbolc or Oimelc, two names which refer to the lactation of the ewes, the flow of milk that heralds the return of the life-giving forces of spring. Later, the Catholic Church replaced this festival with Candlemas Day on February 2, which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and features candlelight processions. The powerful figure of Brigid the Light-Bringer overlights both pagan and Christian celebrations.In keeping with the policy of the Catholic Church to subsume pagan festivals into Christian feast-days, the Day of Bride became equated with Candlemas on February 2nd, the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Certainly, the service most used for this day in the medieval church made much of this symbolism, playing upon images of the appearance of divine light in the darkness of human sin, of renewal and rebirth of light in the dark time of the year, and of the new light of heaven come to transform an old world.In Britain, Candlemas was celebrated with a festival of lights. In the dark and gloomy days of February, the shadowy recesses of medieval churches twinkled brightly as each member of the congregation carried a lighted candle in procession around the church, to be blessed by the priest. Afterwards, the candles were brought home to be used to keep away storms, demons and other evils.

This custom lasted in England until it was banned in the Reformation for promoting the veneration of magical objects. Even so, the symbol of the lighted candles had too strong a hold on the popular imagination to be entirely cast aside.

Finally, traces of the festival of the growing light can even be traced to modern America in the Groundhog Day custom on February 2.  If the groundhog sees his shadow on this morning, it means there will be six more weeks of winter. The custom comes directly from Europe, and Scotland in particular, where an old couplet goes:

If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
there’ll be two winters in the year.

Various other names for this Greater Sabbat are Imbolgc Brigantia (Caledonni), Imbolic (Celtic), Disting (Teutonic, Feb 14th), Lupercus (Strega), St. Bridget’s Day (Christian), Candlemas, Candlelaria (Mexican), the Snowdrop Festival. The Festival of Lights, or the Feast of the Virgin. All Virgin and Maiden Goddesses are honored at this time.

Deities of Imbolc

All Virgin/Maiden Goddesses, Brighid, Aradia, Athena, Inanna, Gaia, and Februa, and Gods of Love and Fertility, Aengus Og, Eros, and Februus.

Herbs of Imbolc

Angelica, Basil, Bay Laurel, Blackberry, Celandine, Coltsfoot, Heather, Iris, Myrrh, Tansy, Violets, and all white or yellow flowers.

Incense of Imbolc

Basil, Bay, Wisteria, Cinnamon, Violet, Vanilla, Myrrh. Imbolc/Candlemas

Incense Recipe

3 parts Frankincense
2 parts Dragon’s Blood
2 parts Sandalwood
1 part Cinnamon
a few drops Red Wine

Stones of Imbolc

Amethyst, Bloodstone, Garnet, Ruby, Onyx, Turquoise.

Foods of Imbolc:

Pumpkin seeds, Sunflower seeds, Poppyseed Cakes, muffins, scones, and breads, all dairy products, Peppers, Onions, Garlic, Raisins, Spiced Wines and Herbal Teas.

Imbolc Recipies

Honey Cakes

By Terry Paajanen

Little fried cakes, dipped in honey and nutmeg. A delightful sweet Imbolc treat.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup Riesling wine
1 egg
2/3 cup flour
1 cup honey
2 tbs sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Dash of salt

PREPARATION:

Beat the egg together with the wine. In another mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, sugar and salt. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Stir until blended through. Let sit for 30 minutes.

In another small bowl, mix the honey and nutmeg. In a skillet, heat up about a 1/2 inch of oil. Drop a tablespoon of batter into the oil and fry until golden brown. Drain off the oil, and dip into the honey mixture.

Poppy Seed Bread
By Terry Paajanen

Seeds are often used in any Imbolc recipe. Here is a simple seed bread that is just delicious.

INGREDIENTS:

5 eggs
3 3/4 cup flour
2 cups half n half
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cup poppy seeds
7 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

PREPARATION:

Preheat your oven to 350F. With a hand mixer, blend together the poppy seeds, oils, eggs, sugar, vanilla and half n half. Add flour and baking powder. Mix together on high speed for 30 seconds. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans.

Bake for one hour or until tops of loaves are brown.

Returning Sun Spice Bread
By Akasha

1 1/4 cup flour
1/8 cup poppyseeds
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup raisins, plain or golden
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup butter/margarine
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 cup Karo golden corn syrup
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 tbs. milk
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp. mixed spices**

**Equal parts of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

Sift the flour, soda, and baking powder into a non-metal bowl. Add the mixed spice and ginger. Next add the brown sugar and raisins. Mix. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and the syrup over a low heat, then pour liquid into the well in the middle of the flour mixture. Add the beaten egg and the milk, and mix very well. Pour into a well greased 2-lb loaf pan and bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for 40-50 minutes. This bread can be made the night before as it improves with age. Makes 8-10 servings.

Imbolc Ritual Cake
By Akahsha

13/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tbs. poppyseeds
1 tbs. grated lemon peel
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tbs. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
powdered sugar

This is all done in one pan, so clean up is a breeze! Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, sugar, poppyseeds, baking soda, and salt with a fork in an ungreased 9″x9″x2″ baking pan. Stir in the remaining ingredients, except the powdered sugar. Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, and the top is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes 8 servings.

Lamb Stew
By Terry Paajanen

A hearty Irish lamb stew that’s pretty easy to make.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 lbs bacon, diced
6 lbs boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup water
4 cups beef stock
1 cup white wine
4 cups carrots, diced
2 large onions, diced
3 potatoes
1 tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic, minced

PREPARATION:

Saute the bacon in a large skillet, and then set aside (save the meat and the fat). In a bowl, coat the lamb meat with salt, pepper and flour. Brown in the bacon fat. Remove the lamb from the pan and put in a large stock pot.

Leave about a quarter cup of fat in the pan. Saute the garlic and one chopped onion until soft. Add 1/2 cup of water to the pan to deglaze then pour pan contents into the stock pot along with the bacon, beef stock and sugar. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for another 20 minutes.

Imbolc Altar

Imbolc is a festival of light, reflecting the lengthening of the day and the hope of spring. White, the color of light and milk, appears predominantly. Use a white altar cloth, add white and yellow flowers and candles.  Use votives or tea lights in glass jars that the kids can decorate to get them to participate. Be sure to use extra caution with candles if you have little ones. You may even choose to abstain from lighting them altogether and just keep them on the altar unlit for symbolic reasons. If candles are absolutely out of the question, use strings of holiday lights or make candles out construction paper.

Colors of Imbolc

White, Pink, Red, Yellow, lt. Green, Brown.

Spellwork for Imbolc

Imbolc is good for psychic work: still the dark time of the year, but looking toward spring. It’s also a good time to make your space hospitable for such work, banishing old energy to clear the way for new. Traditionally, witches purify themselves and their space at Imbolc. Any kind of cleansing or banishing will do, but consider ones that include fire and water, sacred to Brighid. Once purified, you’re ready to go further; at Imbolc, covens initiate new witches.
The spark of summer dances in the future now; Imbolc is a good time to seek inspiration, especially for healers and smiths of words or metal.  Imbolc is a white time, burning with inspiration and protection, cool with healing and purification. Prophesy flares, painting luster on the dark. Light your candle, call on Brighid, and know that under the snow the seeds of spring stir.

This is a time for purity, growth and Renewal. Spells that celebrate the Reunion of the Goddess and the God, fertility, and dispensing of the old and making way for the new are appropriate during this time.

Imbolc Activities

* This is traditionally a time of purification — clean your house! If you have any Christmas greenery lingering, burn it now. Make your own Brighid’s crosses and hang them up, especially in the kitchen where her influence can bless your food.

* Put out food — cake, buttered bread and milk will do — outside your door: Brighid and her cow walk through the neighborhood tonight, and will appreciate your offering.

* Leave a silk ribbon on your doorstep for Brighid to bless: It can then be used for healing purposes.

* Meditate upon what you would like to see grow in health and strength this year: for yourself, your family, your community, the Earth, and ask for Bride’s blessing upon your prayers.

* Candle Lighting, Stone Gatherings, Snow Hiking and Searching for Signs of Spring, Making of Brideo’gas and Bride’s Beds, Making Priapic Wands, Decorating Ploughs, Feasting, and Bon Fires maybe lit.

* Light a candle and burn sandalwood incense.

* Make dream pillows for everyone in the family (great to do with kids!)

* On Imbolc Eve, leave buttered bread in a bowl indoors for the faeries who travel with the Lady of Greenwood. Next day, dispose of it as the “essence” will have been removed.

* Place three ears of corn on the door as a symbol of the Triple GOddess and leave until Ostara.

* Cleanse the area where you do card readings or scrying with a censor burning rosemary or vervain, and say:

“By the power of this smoke I wash away the negative
influences that this place be cleansed for the Lady and her babe.”

 


Imbolc/Candlemas Rituals

Simple Imbolc/Candlemas Ritual

Imbolc is a festival of lights to herald the coming of spring. A popular Imbolc activity is to prepare seed for spring planting. Lay out the altar with your regular altar tools and add these extras: a bowl of earth with a seed of some sort, as many white tapers on the altar as is safe, and seasonal decorations, such as evergreens, sun wheels, or a cup of melted snow. The altar cloth shall blue, and the altar candles shall be green and white.Cast the sacred circle, and invoke the God and the Goddess. Then bring the seed and dish of earth or planting pot to the front of the altar. Hold the seed in your hand, knowing that it is the beginnings of life. Bless it in this manner:

In my hands I hold the seed of beginnings,
of life, wisdom, and of coming spring.
I ask the God and the Goddess to place a blessing on it
so that it may prosper in the coming season.

Think of something you want. It could be a request of the God and the Goddess, or something you want from yourself. Concentrate on this as you hold the seed.

With this seed I plant a request,
and hope that with careful nurturing and daily care,
my goals may come to fruition in time.

Having said this, place the seed in the soil and cover it. What is to be done with it after this is up to you. Since the action is, for the most part, symbolic, you may choose to throw it away(a waste of a perfectly good seed, if you ask me) but many find it useful to grow the seed and keep the plant around as a reminder.Hold the simple feast, and then you may do any magic or seasonal activities that you had planned for this evening. One Imbolc tradition is to weave corn dollies. Banish the sacred circle.

References:

http://www.tryskelion.com/imbolc.htm


Imbolc/Candlemas Ritual
By Michael Hall

On your altar should be placed a circle of 13 stones and, within the circle of stones, a circle of 13 candles. Within the circle of candles should be spread some maize – i.e. corn meal – and in that a waxen female candle to symbolize the Goddess on your altar. On the eastern side of the altar should be placed a small sheaf of grain with a candle inserted inside it.

You should dress in your usual ceremonial garb for Magickal rites or skyclad, as you prefer.

Retire to bathe in salt-water (use sea salt) before the ritual. As you do so picture the water cleansing the soul and spirit, just as it cleanses the body. When you have dressed, anoint yourself with a holy oil. When you have prepared yourself, sit in a dim quiet place and light a candle – ONE THAT IS NOT BEING USED IN THE RITES – and meditate on how at this time of year the Goddess in her fiery aspect AS LIGHT was welcomed back into the Temples and the Homes of the land.

Take this candle and walk slowly to your altar. Place it in the circle of the 13 candles. Then light the two altar candles, which are separate from the circle of lights also, and the incense. (Incense should be stick or powdered incense on charcoal in a swinging burner.) Then light all the quarter candles in the 4 directions, starting in the east and going clockwise. Cast your circle in the usual manner, but Invoke the Goddess with the following:

“Sacred womb, giver of the secrets of Life,
Mother of all that exists in the Universe,
I ask your guardianship of this gathering
and your assistance in my work.
I am gathered in celebration of your gifts and my work is most holy.
SO MOTE IT BE”

and Invoke the God in the following manner:

“Fire of the sky, guardian of all that exists in the Universe,
I ask your guardianship of this gathering
and your assistance in my work.
I am gathered in celebration of your gifts and my work is most holy.
SO MOTE IT BE”

(continue with the circle casting if it is not already finished) Light the 13 candles and then the Goddess candle in the center and say:

“Warm and quickening Light
awaken and bring forth beauty
for thou art my pleasure and my bounty
LORD and LADY
OSiRIS AND ISIS”

(or you may substitute whatever names your circle uses for the God and the Goddess – or those you personally prefer)

Reflect a moment on the coming of the light and offer up the incense. say:

“O ancient Ones
Timeless Goddess and Sacred King
who art the heralds of springtime and it’s bounties
be with me now in celebration
Hail to Osiris and Isis
Harvest giver and blessed Lady
Let this be a time and a place sacred to your power and your beauty
SO MOTE IT BE”

Light the candle in the sheaf of grain and hold it up with the loaf of bread in the other hand and say: (or the cakes – whatever you or your tradition uses for the cakes and wine/juice ceremony)

“My Lord and Lady,
as the seed becomes the grain,
so the grain becomes the bread,
Mark the everlasting value of our seasons and their changes.”

Break a piece of the bread or cakes off and burn it as an offering in the central candle. Then say:

“In the deepest Icy Winter the seed of the Earth lies deep within the womb of the Great Mother. The Spring brings the heat of the Father and with their joining comes new life. The completion of the cycle brings food to the children of the world. As I taste the food I shall know the wisdom of the cycles and be blessed with the food of wisdom throughout my life”

Consecrate cakes and wine/juice in the usual manner and partake of them, but first raise your chalice or drinking horn and say:

“Hail to thee ISIS
Hail to thee Osiris
For thou art blessed”

After this commune in meditation with the Lord and lady for a while, then close the circle in your usual manner.

References:
http://www.witchway.net/ritual/imbsol.html

distributed by PAN – the Psychic Awareness Network – 1703-362-1139


Detailed Imbolc/Candlemas Ritual By Akasha

Tools:

In addition to your magick tools, you will need:

  • A White Altar Cloth
  • Light Green Taper Goddess Candle
  • Light Yellow Taper God Candle
  • 13 White 4″ Stick Candles
  • Brideo’ga*
  • Small Woven Basket with White Flowers
  • Pentacle Candle Wheel
  • Handful of Acorns
  • Cauldron
  • Snow/Crushed Ice
  • Small White Pillar Candle
  • Potpourri Holder
  • Tea Lite
  • Basil, Bay, Heather Flowers, Cinnamon and Vanilla Potpourri Blend
  • Long Wooden Stick Matches

Preparation:

Sweep area, moving in deosil direction. Outline your circle with white cord Angelica leaves. Place Pentacle Candle Wheel in the center of altar. Place the lt. green taper Goddess candle to the top left of altar and the lt. yellow taper God candle to the top right of altar. Put the white flowers in the basket as bedding for the Bride’s Bed, then place the Brideo’ga atop the flowers. Place the basket in front of the Goddess candle, to the left of the Pentacle Candle Wheel. Place the acorns in front of the God candle, to the right of the Pentacle Wheel. Place the tea lite in the bottom of potpourri holder, and put holder at front center of the alter. Place white pillar candle in the middle of the cauldron, fill cauldron about 1″-2″ with snow or crushed ice, and position on floor in front of altar. Put the container with potpourri where it can be reached easily. Place the rest of your tools and props according to personal preference. Bathe or shower for purification. Ground and center. When ready, put on some soothing music associated with this Sabbat and your ritual.

Cast circle by holding out your right hand and tracing over the cord or leaves in a clockwise direction. As you trace over the outline envision flames of pure white rising up along the perimeter. When the beginning and the end join the circle is complete. Step up to the cauldron and light the white pillar candle, saying:

“Amidst the darkness the Lady is stirring,
Gently awakening from frozen dreams,
All the world has awaited this moment The return of the Maiden,
And Her promise of oncoming Spring.”

Call Quarters. As this is a time to honor Mother Earth as she wakes from her winter’s recovery of giving rebirth to the Sun King at Yule, start with North, the element Earth. Pick up the container of potpourri, step up to the altar and pour some into the holder, saying:

“Powers of Earth, the Maiden awakens!
Come join the circle and share in the light.”

Put the container back where it was. Light the white candle at the North point of the Pentacle Candle Wheel. Continue, by waving your hand over the potpourri as if to create a breeze on which to carry the scent, saying:

“Powers of Air, the Maiden awakens!
Come join the circle and share in the light.”

Light the white candle at the East point of the Pentacle Candle Wheel. Light the tea candle in the bottom of the potpourri holder, saying:

“Powers of Fire, the Maiden awakens!
Come join the circle and share in the light.”

Light the white candle at the South point of the Pentacle Candle Wheel. Pour some water into the holder with the potpourri, saying:

“Powers of Water, the Maiden awakens!
Come join the circle and share in the light.”

Light the white candle at the West point of the Pentacle Candle Wheel. Remove the white candle from the top point of the Pentacle. Since Akasha is the omnipresent, it need not be invoked. Light the candle and invoke the Goddess and the God by lighting the lt. green Goddess candle and the lt. yellow God candle with the white candle. Place the white candle back in the top point of the Pentacle Candle Wheel, saying:

“Be with me now, oh Ancients, eternal,
Hear now my prayers, hopes and dreams.

The Goddess has wakened, once more as the Maiden
By loving caresses from the strengthened Sun King.”

Light the inner cross points of the Pentacle Candle Wheel, starting with the cross point to the right of the North point. Light all 5 cross points in succession, saying:

“The Earth now grows warmer, as the Wheel again turns
And as each passing day adds strength, To the Sun King’s rays
The Maiden, of his gift of life, now silently does yearn.”

Take a couple of the acorns from in front of the God candle and place them in the Bride’s Bed with the Brideo’ga. Light the three aspects of the Goddess candles. All aspects are white because She is the Triple Goddess appearing as the Maiden, pure, and renewed. Step back from the altar and contemplate the light that is brought about by the re-union of the God and the Goddess saying:

“Behold the God and Goddess,
Lord of the Forest and his Bride,
Once again the Earth is blessed
With life anew inside.
Seeds shall soon begin to sprout
And creatures shall young bear
For this is the Promise, the Cycle of Life
That is born of the love They share.”

Now is the time for meditation and any spellworkings. Spellworkings associated with Imbolc include those for fertility, defining and focusing on goals for the future, organization, health, and protection. Next, celebrate with Cakes and Ale (Poppyseed Cakes* and Spiced Tea*) Ceremony, saving some for the wee Folkes, outside. Thank the God and Goddess for Their presence snuff their candles. Thank and release the Quarters, saying:

“Though you leave this circle, tonight,
Water, Fire, Air, and Earth
Your symbols shall linger on a while
Blessing my home and hearth.
The herbs that scent this room tonight,
Were chosen with loving care,
To bless me, my family and my friends,
And my sisters and brothers everywhere.”

Snuff each of the white candles at the directional points of the Pentacle Candle Wheel, starting with the candle at the top point first, then the West point and working in a widdershins direction. Snuff the inner cross point candles also in a widdershins direction. Finally snuff the three aspects of the Goddess candles. Step back from the altar and face the cauldron with the white pillar candle still burning brightly saying:

“I honor Thee, Maiden, most blessed Bride
As your candle burns through this night
And thank you for the renewed life you offer us all
As you emerge from the dark to the light.”

Release the circle. Clean up, place the cauldron from the floor onto the middle of the alter. Let the candle burn out by itself. Place the potpourri in a spot where its scent and blessings fill the house. You are done.


Ostara/Spring Equinox Rituals

Ostara Light and Dark Ritual
(author unknown)

Purpose

To acknowledge the balance between light and dark; to revere the growing strength and energy of the Sun who is now strong enough to conquer darkness; to acknowledge the time of new beginnings; to bless new goals and projects; to thankfully reflect on the gifts of fertility

Tools

Staff, Athame, 4 sticks of incense, staff, blanket, ritual clothing, BOS, 1 hard-boiled egg, cauldron or bowl filled with water, fresh cut flowers

Time: Sunrise

Ritual

  1. Lay blanket on ground.
  2. Arrange the BOS, egg, cauldron, flowers, and athame on the blanket facing the Sun (East).
  3. Plant incense into the ground to represent the 4 quarters and light it.
  4. While standing, ground and center using the staff, then sit on the blanket
  5. Either mentally or verbally state the purpose of the ritual.
  6. Slowly, pull the petals from the flowers and place them in the cauldron while reflecting on the meaning of Ostara.
  7. For each goal or new project you want to begin working on:
  8. Hold a flower in your hands and focus on the end desire

o Break the stem off (put in a pile)
o Place the flower in the cauldron

  1. Stand up with your egg and throw it into the air as high as you can and let it fall to the ground. It is said that the higher the egg goes, the better your luck will be. Then sit back down.
  2. Peel the dirt and shell fragments off and put them in a pile with the stems.
  3. Eat the egg and let yourself become energized with healing and positive energy. It is said that if the egg is eaten at sunrise, you will gain much luck, health and happiness.
  4. Use the athame to dig a hole.
  5. Bury the stems and eggshells. This is an offering to the Earth, thanking her for fertility and the gifts she presents us with daily.
  6. Grab the cauldron of flowers and heave the contents upward and outward as hard as you can to bless your new projects and to return to the Earth that which is hers. Don’t be afraid to laugh or shout with joy. The season of wonder is now beginning.
    Settle back down on the blanket and ground leftover energy.
  7. Clean-up

Ostara Solitary Ritual
By Asiya

Needed

Paper and pen
Plant pot filled with soil
A large plant or flower seed
Light green candle

Ritual

Place the plant pot on the floor next to the left side of the altar. Place the paper, pen, and seed on the altar pentacle. Cast the circle. Ring the bell three times. Say:

“The Goddess has freed Herself from the icy prison of winter.
Now is the greening, when the fragrance of flowers drifts on the breeze.
The Maiden displays her beauty through colorful spring flowers and their sweet aromas.
The Sun wakes from His long winter’s nap.
The God stretches and rises, eager in His youth, bursting with the promise of summer.
I welcome thee, beautiful spring!”

Light the light green candle. Say:

“Springtime is seedtime. Now is the time to plant that which I wish to come to flower.
Spring brings hope and joy; expectations for desires realized; and inspiration for new ideas.
Life is brought into balance and I am reborn with the earth’s renewal.
Now the darkness of winter and the past is cast behind.
I look only to that which lies ahead and what I wish to bring forth.”

 

Sit in front of the altar and meditate on what seed of an idea you would like to plant, to grow into an opportunity. It could be a skill or personal quality you’d like to acquire, or an opportunity to do or create something. When you have decided what desire you’d like to nurture in the coming year, write it down on the paper. Stand up and say:

“Lord and Lady, receive this seed.
Let it germinate in my mind and heart.
Let it prosper and grow into maturity,
For I will care for it and encourage it in Your names.”

 

Light the paper from the light green candle, holding it so that as it burns, the ashes fall into the soil in the plant pot. With the athame, mix the ashes into the soil. Pick up the plant seed and concentrate on it and your desire. Place the seed in the center of the pot and close the soil over on top of it. Water it with blessed (“Holy”) water. Say:

“This seed I place in the womb of the earth
That it may become a part of that earth,
A part of life and a part of me.”

Ring the bell three times.

Cakes and Ale.
Close the circle.

Place the plant in a room you go into frequently, and take care of it whenever needed, knowing that as it grows and blossoms so too will your desire grow and blossom.


Ostara/Spring Equinox Lore

Spring or The Vernal Equinox
Provided By: Lady Celestial Storm

Also known as: Lady Day. Spring Equinox or Alban Eiler (Druidic)

As spring reaches its midpoint, night and day stand in perfect balance, with light on the increase. The young Sun God now celebrates a hierogamy (sacred marriage) with the young Maiden Goddess, who conceives. In nine months, she will again become the Great Mother. It is a time of great fertility, new growth, and newborn animals. The next full moon (a time of increased births) is called the Ostara and is sacred to Eostre the Saxon Lunar Goddess of fertility (from whence we get the word estrogen, whose two symbols were the egg and the rabbit. The Christian religion adopted these emblems for Easter which is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox. The theme of the conception of the Goddess was adapted as the Feast of the Annunciation, occurring on the alternative fixed calendar date of March 25 Old Lady Day, the earlier date of the equinox. Lady Day may also refer to other goddesses (such as Venus and Aphrodite), many of whom have festivals celebrated at this time.


Deities

Appropriate Deities for Ostara include all Youthful and Virile Gods and Goddesses; Sun Gods, Mother Goddesses, Love Goddesses, Moon Gods and Goddesses, and all Fertility Deities. Some Ostara Deities to mention by name here include Persephone, Blodeuwedd, Eostre, Aphrodite, Athena, Cybele, Gaia, Hera, Isis, Ishtar, Minerva, Venus, Robin of the Woods, the Green Man, Cernunnos, Lord of the Greenwood, The Dagda, Attis, The Great Horned God, Mithras, Odin, Thoth, Osiris, and Pan.


Magic

Key actions to keep in mind during this time in the Wheel of the Year include openings and new beginnings. Spellwork for improving communication and group interaction are recommended, as well as fertility and abundance. Ostara is a good time to start putting those plans and preparations you made at Imbolc into action. Start working towards physically manifesting your plans now. The most common colors associated with Ostara are lemon yellow, pale green and pale pink. However, also appropriate colors include grass green, all pastels, Robin’s egg blue, violet, and white. Stones to use during the Ostara celebration include aquamarine, rose quartz, and moonstone. Animals associated with Ostara are rabbits and snakes. Mythical beasts associated with Ostara include unicorns, merpeople, and Pegasus.


Traditional Foods:

  • Leafy green vegetables, Dairy foods, Nuts such as Pumpkin, Sunflower and Pine. Flower Dishes and Sprouts.
  • Ostara Recipe

Mint Tea Cakes

4 C. Flour
6 Eggs, beaten
11/2 C. Granulated Sugar
Crumbled, dried Mint leaves or 1/8 t. Mint flavoring
1 Quart Milk
2/3 C. softened Butter

Glaze:
1/2 C. Powdered Sugar
2 T. Milk

* Preheat oven to 350 F.
* Cream butter and sugar together until light.
* Beat eggs until very light. Add to butter and sugar mixture.
* Add mint flavoring – taste. Do you want the mint flavoring stronger?
* Add milk and mix well.
* Add flour and mix well.
* Pour into mini-muffin tins to fill each cup to halfway. Bake for approximately 10 minutes.
* Allow to cool completely. Remove from muffin tin.
* Leave tea cakes “upside down” and drizzle with glaze. Garnish with candied violets


Herbs and Flowers

  • Lily of the valley
  • Tansy
  • Lavender
  • Marjoram
  • Thyme
  • Tarragon
  • Lilac
  • Violets
  • Lemon balm
  • Dogwood
  • Honeysuckle
  • Oakmoss
  • Orrisroot
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Rose hips or petals
  • Oak
  • Elder Flower
  • Willow
  • Crocus
  • Daffodil
  • Jonquil
  • Tulip
  • Broom (Scotch or Iris)
  • Meadowsweet
  • Acorn
  • Trefoil (purple clover)

Incense:

  • Scents: Jasmine, Rose, Strawberry, Floral of any type.
  • Ostara Incense Recipe (By Scott Cunningham)
    2 Parts Frankincense
    1 Part Benzoin
    1 Part Dragon’s Blood
    1/2 Part Nutmeg
    1/2 part Violet flowers (or few drops violet oil)
    1/2 Part Orange peel
    1/2 Part Rose petals

Stones

  • Clear quartz crystal
  • Rose quartz
  • Agate
  • Lapis lazuli
  • Amazonite
  • Garnet

Altar

  • Candles should be light green.
  • Incense
  • Decorate the circle with spring wildflowers.
  • Place an earthenware or wooden bowl containing soil or a large seed of some kind on the altar.

Ideas

  • On Ostara Eve, light a purple or violet candle and burn patchouli incense. Carry them both through the house, and say: Farewell to wintry spirits and friends; on morrow we greet the spirits of spring. Our blessings to thee as your way we wend; and merry we’ll meet next winter again. Blow out the candle and say: Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again.
  • Plan a fertility ritual for your garden. Bury an Ostara egg in the east corner of your garden, or one egg for each direction, or dig an entire circle for them (depends on how much you hate egg-salad)
  • Planting seeds or starting a Magical Herb Garden
  • Taking a long walk in nature with no intent other than reflecting on the Magic of nature and our Great Mother and her bounty.
  • At this time, witches cast spells for careers, relationships, and love. It’s a time for planting new ideas. Seek harmony and balance in the incredible energy of the season, and project good health, good fortune, and confidence in achieving goals.

Personal Maypole Ritual for Beltane

I did this a few years back and it worked great – it can be done in solitary or in small groups. This is a Beltane Celebration.You will need:

* Small Branches (see below)
* Ribbons of all colors – mainly based on your intent
* Beltane or Fertility incense
* Beltane or Fertility Oil
* 1 Beltane Candle (can be a special Sabbat candle or a plain pink, lavender or yellow candle)
* 1 Pen that can write on the ribbon

Prep:

1) Walk near your home looking for loose branches. Its important that you use only branches that have falled already from a tree – do not break a branch off a tree. If like me you near maple trees, you will see plenty of branches. Pick one that is reasonably straight. Once you find the branch, say a small prayer of thanks to the tree that shed it.

2) Beltane is a time for fertility and growth. What we plant here we will collect in the spring. Appropriate things for this Sabbat are all things that you wish to increase – find a new job, open a new business, start a family, find new love, close that new deal, etc. All intents like this work well generally. Pick 3 ribbon colors that match your intent. For example, if you decide to look for a new job, pick white, green and yellow. If you are looking for love, pick white, pink and red etc. I always like to add white in for purity and good energy.

Once you are ready – perform your Ritual:

1) Cast your circle as normal

2) Anoint your Beltane candle. Think of the energy of the season – the planting of new things, a time for change – a time when anyone can start over no matter what. A time for new projects, new beginnings etc. Once your candle is properly anointed, place it on your altar at the center of your pentacle.

3) Take your ribbons, and write on each ribbon the things you want to bring into your life. For example, if you choose the ribbons for a new job you can do the following:

– Green – I wish to find a job that will pay me what I need to make to comfortably support myself and my family
– Yellow – I wish to do well in all job interviews I go on
– White – I want a job that will make me happy and satisfied and that will be for my highest good.

If you did the one for new love – you can do the following:

– Red – I wish to find a mate that inspires in me a passion for life, and for each other
– Pink – I wish to find a mate that is not only passionate, but considerate, kind, and who will be a good friend as well as a lover
– White – I wish to find the best relationship for me, that will bring me happiness and joy for my highest good.

You get the idea – once you write on each ribbon what you want, lay the ribbons out in front of you next to your branch.

4) Light your Beltane candle.

5) This is the tricky part – you want to use the wax from the candle to “anchor” the ribbons at the base of the branch. I like to do them one at a time. Once they are fairly secure (they will never be solidly glued – but will be in place enough for you to work), begin brading them down the length of your branch.

6) Take your time and be careful – don’t pull it too tight or it will come apart on you. Once the thread is braided all the way down, secure the end with knotting each ribbon around your branch (now your wand). I also like to take my Beltane candle and use the wax to “seal” both ends of my wand now – over the know at the end and over the start of the ribbons on the bottom.

7) Once done, place your wand on your altar and proceed with your ritual.

8) Cake and Ale

9) Close your circle

You can keep the keep the wand with you all year long. Anytime you wish to cast another spell relating to the same issue, use your wand to help imbue that spell with more energy. Once the year is done – you can choose to keep your wand or burn it and make a new one.

Enjoy!


Beltane Rituals

Beltane Solitary Outdoor Ritual

If possible, celebrate Beltane in a forest or near a living tree. If this is impossible, bring a small tree within the circle, preferably potted; 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 desire. These tokens can be bags filled with fragrant flowers, strings of beads, carvings, flower garlands – whatever your talents and imagination can conjure.

Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the Circle of Stones. Recite the Blessing Chant Invoke the Goddess and God. Stand before the altar and say, with wand upraised:

Mother Goddess,
Queen of the night and of the Earth;
Father God,
King of the day and of the forest,
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.
Ancient Ones,
I celebrate with You!

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


Beltane Solitary Ritual

Needed:

White ribbon
Red ribbon
Crown of flowers

 

Place the ribbons and crown on the altar pentacle. Cast the circle. Ring the bell seven times. Say:

“Today all life celebrates spring at its fullest.
The gate swings back and forth and all may freely pass through.
The God has awakened and fertilized the land.
The Goddess has completed her journey;
Flowers now abound from her foot steps.
This is a time for joy and a time for sharing.
The richness of the soil accepts the seed,
And now is the time for seeds to be spilled.
Togetherness brings joy and abundance fills the earth.”

Pick up the ribbons. Hold them between your fingers so that the the white ribbon crosses over the red one. Say:

“Now the Lord and Lady unite.
Through Their joy, may all be joyful,
Through Their fruitfulness, may all be fruitful.
May the Lord and Lady bless these ribbons,
Bringing new beginnings with opportunities to grow and blossom.”

Begin plaiting the ribbons together. This is a simplified and solitary version of the traditional maypole. While you are doing this, say:


“All life in all the world springs from the union of the God and the Goddess.

Blessed are they, the creators, the Ancient ones!”

When done, ring the bell three times. Stand in the God position, head bowed. Say:


“The Lord, with the Lady at his side,

Has brought the world through the darkness to the light.
It was a long journey that was not easy.
Yet the gods showed strength
And through Them, all has grown and prospered.
May They both continue.
May the Lady, with the Lord at her side,
Move on down the path,
Continuing to spread the light to all.”

Pick up the crown of flowers and place it on your head. Assume the Goddess position. Say:


“I am she who turns the wheel,

Bringing new life into the world
And beckoning those who pass along the ways.
In the coolness of the breeze you hear my sighs;
My heart is in the rushing of the wind.
When you thirst, let my tears fall upon you as gentle rain;
When you tire, pause to rest upon the earth that is my breast.
Warmth and comfort I give you
And ask for nothing in return,
Save that you love all things even as yourself.
Know that love is the spark of life.
It is always there, always with you if you but see it.
Yet you need not seek far, for love is the inner spark;
The light that burns without flicker;
The amber glow within.
Love is the beginning and the end of all things;
And I am love.”

Ring the bell three times. Cakes and ale. Close the circle.

 


Beltane Lore

Beltane Lore 

Also known as May Eve, May Day, and Walpurgis Night, happens at the beginning of May. It celebrates the height of Spring and the flowering of life. 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. Colors are the Rainbow spectrum. Beltane is a festival of flowers, fertility, sensuality, and delight.

Beltane, and its counterpart Samhain, divide the year into its two primary seasons, winter (Dark Part) and summer (Light Part). As Samhain is about honoring Death, Beltane, its counter part, is about honoring Life. It is the time when the sun is fully released from his bondage of winter and able to rule over summer and life once again. Beltane, like Samhain, is a time of “no time” when the veils between the two worlds are at their thinnest. No time is when the two worlds intermingle and unite and the magic abounds!

The beginning of summer heralds an important time, for the winter is a difficult journey and weariness and disheartenment set in, personally one is tired down to the soul. In times past the food stocks were low; variety was a distant memory. The drab non-color of winter’s end perfectly represents the dullness and fatigue that permeates on so many levels to this day. We need Beltane, as the earth needs the sun, for our very Spirit cries out for the renewal of summer jubilation.

Beltane marks the passage into the growing season, the immediate rousing of the earth from her gently awakening slumber, a time when the pleasures of the earth and self are fully awakened. It signals a time when the bounty of the earth will once again be had. May is a time when flowers bloom, trees are green and life has again returned from the barren landscape of winter, to the hope of bountiful harvests, not too far away, and the lighthearted bliss that only summer can bring.

Celebration includes frolicking throughout the countryside, maypole dancing, leaping over fires to ensure fertility, circling the fire three times (sun-wise) for good luck in the coming year, athletic tournaments feasting, music, drinking, children collecting the May: gathering flowers. children gathering flowers, hobby horses, May birching and folks go a maying”. Flowers, flower wreaths and garlands are typical decorations for this holiday, as well as ribbons and streamers. Flowers are a crucial symbol of Beltane, they signal the victory of Summer over Winter and the blossoming of sensuality in all of nature and the bounty it will bring.
As Beltane marks this handfasting (wedding) of the Goddess and God, it too marks the reawakening of the earth’s fertility in its fullest. This is the union between the Great Mother and her Young Consort, this coupling brings new life on earth. It is on a Spiritual level, the unifying of the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine to bring forth the third, consciousness. On the physical, it is the union of the Earth and Sun to bring about the fruitfulness of the growing season.

A wonderful reference for any sabbat Ritual is the book “A Year of Ritual” By Sandra Kynes.

Deities

All fertility, flower, song & 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).

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)

Magic

Youthful exuburance, sensuality, pleasure, crop blessings, creative endeavors.

Traditional Foods

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 (known as Beltane cakes or Bannocks), shellfish and other aphrodisiacs.

Recipes

May Wine

1 bottle of white wine (German is ideal)
1/2 cup strawberries, sliced
12 sprigs of woodruff, fresh

Pour wine into a wide mouth jar or carafe. Add the sliced strawberries and woodruff, and let sit for an hour or more. Strain and serve chilled.

Strawberry Cookies

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
red and green food coloring

Cream the sugar and shortening until fluffy, on medium speed if using an electronic mixer. Beat in egg, milk, zest, and extract. Sift flour and powder together in a bowl and gradually add to the other mix. Wrap dough in plastic and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350:F. Half dough and put the other half back in the fridge. Form dough into flattened balls and roll to 1/8 inch on a floured surface. Using strawberry-shaped cookie cutter, cut out cookies, and cut out little indentations like strawberry seeds if desired.

Put 1 tablespoon of water into each of two dishes and add a few drops of each color of food coloring. Paint the cookies with a paintbrush using the colors, making the body of the strawberry red and the stem and leaves green. Bake them on an ungreased cookie sheet for 8 minutes, then cool on racks. Repeat the process with the other half of the dough.

Yield: 5 dozen

Herbs and Flowers

Rose, elder, mugwort, mint, lily of the valley, foxglove, broom, hawthorne, almond, angelica, bluebells, daisy, marigold, frankincense, lilac, yellow cowslips, thyme.

Incense

Use lilac, passion flower, rose or vanilla. These can be used alone or blended as you like.

Incense Recipe – by Scott Cunningham

3 Parts frankincense
2 Parts Sandalwood
1 Part Woodruff
1 Part Rose Petals
a few drops Jasmine oil
a few drops neroli Oil

Burn during Wiccan rituals on Beltane or May Day for fortune & favors & to attune with the changing of the seasons.

Stones

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

Altar Decorations

Altars are generally adorned with seasonal flowers. Other appropriate altar decorations for the season include mirrors, a small May pole, phallic-shaped candles to represent fertility, and daisy chains.

Ideas and Activities

  • Arise at dawn and wash in the morning dew: the woman who washes her face in it will be beautiful; the man who washes his hands will be skilled with knots and nets.
  • If you live near water, make a garland or posy of spring flowers and cast it into stream, lake or river to bless the water spirits.
  • Prepare a May basket by filling it with flowers and goodwill, then give it to one in need of caring, such as a shut-in or elderly friend.
  • Beltane is one of the three “spirit-nights” of the year when the faeries can be seen. At dusk, twist a rowan sprig into a ring and look through it, and you may see them.
  • Make a wish as you jump a bonfire or candle flame for good luck-but make sure you tie up long skirts first!
  • Make a May bowl, wine or punch in which the flowers of sweet woodruff or other fragrant blossoms are soaked and drink with the one you love.

May Eve

Walpurgis Night, the time is right,
The ancient powers awake.
So dance and sing, around the ring,
And Beltane magic make.

Walpurgis Night, Walpurgis Night,
Upon the eve of May,
We’ll merry meet, and summer greet,
For ever and a day.

New life we see, in flower and tree,
And summer comes again.
Be free and fair, like earth and air,
The sunshine and the rain.

Walpurgis Night, Walpurgis Night,
Upon the eve of May,
We’ll merry meet, and summer greet,
For ever and a day.
This magic fire be our desire
To tread the pagan way,
And our true will find and fulfil,
As dawns a brighter day.

Walpurgis Night, Walpurgis Night,
Upon the eve of May,
We’ll merry meet, and summer greet,
For ever and a day.

The pagan powers this night be ours,
Let all the world be free,
And sorrows cast into the past,
And future blessed be!

Walpurgis Night, Walpurgis Night,
Upon the eve of May,
We’ll merry meet, and summer greet,
For ever and a day.

 Doreen Valiente
“Witchcraft For Tomorrow”, pp. 192-193


Litha/Midsummer Rituals

Litha/Midsummer Fire Purification Ritual

Here’s a very simple little spell that works great, especially around Midsummer.

Materials Needed:

1 Red or White Candle
1 Black Ink Pen
1 Small Square of White, Unlined Paper
1 Pair of tweezers or tongs

Timing: Noon on a day when the moon is in the waxing phase. Preferably as close to the Summer Solstice as possible.

Procedure:

1) Think of one bad habit you have that you would truely like to rid yourself of. Write it down in the center of the of paper.

2) Now fold the paper top to bottom, then left to right, so that it is folded into forths with the writing inside.

3) As you fold the paper, visualize that habit being trapped inside the paper.

4) Now light the candle and meditate on it’s flame for a moment.

5) When you are prepared to continue, hold the paper in a diamond shape, with the writing down at the bottom.

6) Now take the tweezers and hold the bottom tip of the diamond into the flame. Visualize the habit buring away with the flames. As the paper burns, chant the following or similar:


“Great spirits of fire, grow and consume

this habit of evil so goodness may bloom.”

 

7) This spell should be cast outside, so that the ashes of the paper can fall to the the earth. As they do so, visualize the earth as taking your habit and absorbing it. Be sure to leave a gift for the earth in exchange for taking your habit.

 

Note: This spell also works extremely well with balefires or the fire at your Litha ritual. Simply toss the paper into the flames and chant. Do not attempt to hold it over the flames as you would with a candle.


Litha/Midsummer Solitary Ritual

Before the rite, make up a small cloth pouch filled with herbs such as lavender, chamomile, St. John’s Wort, vervain, etc. Pour all your troubles, problems, pains, sorrows and illnesses, if any, into this petition as you construct it. Tie it shut with a red string. Place this on the altar for use during the rite.

Cast the circle.

“With the Sun God at the height of His power and majesty,
The waxing of the year is accomplished,
And the reign of the Oak King is ended.
With the Sun God at the height of His splendor,
The waning of the year begins.
The Holly King must slay His brother the Oak King,
And rule over the Goddess’ land until the depth of Winter,
When His brother shall be born again.”

 Litha Chant:

“The spirit of the Oak King is gone from us,
To rest in the Underworld;
Until, with the turning of the Wheel,
The season shall come when He shall return to rule again.”

 Ring the bell three times.

“Oh great Goddess and God,
All nature vibrates with Your energies
And the Earth is bathed with warmth and life.
Now is time of forgetting past cares and banes,
Now is the time for purification.
Oh fiery Sun,
Burn away the unuseful, the hurtful, the bane,
In Your glorious power.
Purify me! Purify me! Purify me!”

Pick up the pouch and light it. When it is burning, drop it into the cauldron. Say:

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

Watch your hurts and pains burn into nothingness. Then say:

 “Oh gracious Goddess, oh glorious God,
On this day of Midsummer magick
Charge my life with wonder and joy.
Help me to attune with Your divine energy.

Meditation. Ring the bell three times.

Plunge the athame into the chalice and hold it up, saying:

“The Spear to the Cauldron, the Lance to the Grail,
Spirit to Flesh, Man to Woman, Sun to Earth.”

 

Cakes and ale
The circle is released.


Litha/Midsummer Lore

A Midsummer Night’s Lore
by Melanie Fire Salamander

Cinquefoil, campion, lupine and foxglove nod on your doorstep; Nutka rose, salal bells, starflower and bleeding-heart hide in the woods,fully green now. Litha has come, longest day of the year, height of the sun. Of old, in Europe, Litha was the height too of pagan celebrations, the most important and widely honored of annual festivals.

Fire, love and magick wreathe ’round this time. As on Beltaine in Ireland, across Europe people of old leaped fires for fertility and luck on Midsummer Day, or on the night before, Midsummer Eve, according to Funk and Wagnall’s Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend. Farmers drove their cattle through the flames or smoke or ran with burning coals across the cattle pens. In the Scottish Highlands, herders nabulated their sheep with torches lit at the Midsummer fire.

People took burning brands around their fields also to ensure fertility, and in Ireland threw them into gardens and potato fields. Ashes from the fire were mixed with seeds yet to plant. In parts of England country folk thought the apple crop would fail if they didn’t light the Midsummer fires. People relit their house fires from the Midsummer bonfire, in celebration hurled flaming disks heavenward and rolled flaming wheels downhill, burning circles that hailed the sun at zenith.

Midsummer, too, was a lovers’ festival. Lovers clasped hands over the bonfire, tossed flowers across to each other, leaped the flames together. Those who wanted lovers performed love divination. In Scandinavia, girls laid bunches of flowers under their pillows on Midsummer Eve to induce dreams of love and ensure them coming true. In England, it was said if an unmarried girl fasted on Midsummer Eve and at midnight set her table with a clean cloth, bread, cheese and ale, then left her yard door open and waited, the boy she would marry, or his spirit, would come in and feast with her.

Magick crowns Midsummer. Divining rods cut on this night are more infallible, dreams more likely to come true. Dew gathered Midsummer Eve restores sight. Fern, which confers invisibility, was said to bloom at midnight on Midsummer Eve and is best picked then. Indeed, any magickal plants plucked on Midsummer Eve at midnight are doubly efficacious and keep better. You’d pick certain magickal herbs, namely St. Johnswort, hawkweed, vervain, orpine, mullein, wormwood and mistletoe, at midnight on Midsummer Eve or noon Midsummer Day, to use as a charm to protect your house from fire and lightning, your family from disease, negative witchcraft and disaster. A pagan gardener might consider cultivating some or all of these; it’s not too late to buy at herb-oriented nurseries, the Herbfarm outside Fall City the chief of these and a wonderful place to visit, if a tad pricey. Whichever of these herbs you find, a gentle snip into a cloth, a spell whispered over, and you have a charm you can consecrate in the height of the sun.

In northern Europe, the Wild Hunt was often seen on Midsummer Eve, hallooing in the sky, in some districts led by Cernunnos. Midsummer’s Night by European tradition is a fairies’ night, and a witches’ night too. Rhiannon Ryall writes in West Country Wicca that her coven, employing rites said to be handed down for centuries in England’s West Country, would on Midsummer Eve decorate their symbols of the God and Goddess with flowers, yellow for the God, white for the Goddess. The coven that night would draw down the moon into their high priestess, and at sunrise draw down the sun into their high priest. The priest and priestess then celebrated the Great Rite, known to the coven as the Rite of Joining or the Crossing Rite.

Some of Ryall’s elders called this ritual the Ridencrux Rite. They told how formerly in times of bad harvest or unseasonable weather, the High Priestess on the nights between the new and full moon would go to the nearest crossroads, wait for the first stranger traveling in the district. About this stranger the coven had done ritual beforehand, to ensure he embodied the God. The high priestess performed the Great Rite with him to make the next season’s sowing successful.

In the Middle Ages in Europe, traces of witchcraft and pagan remembrances were often linked with Midsummer. In Southern Estonia, Lutheran Church workers found a cottar’s wife accepting sacrifices on Midsummer Day, Juhan Kahk writes in Early Modern European Witchcraft: Centres and Peripheries, edited by Bengt Ankarloo and Gustave Henningsen. Likewise, on Midsummer Night in 1667, in Estonia’s Maarja-Magdaleena parish, peasants met at the country manor of Colonel Griefenspeer to perform a ritual to cure illnesses.

In Denmark, writes Jens Christian V. Johansen in another Early Modern European Witchcraft chapter, medieval witches were said to gather on Midsummer Day, and in Ribe on Midsummer Night. Inquisitors in the Middle Ages often said witches met on Corpus Christi, which some years fell close to Midsummer Eve, according to Witchcraft in the Middle Ages, by Jeffrey Burton Russell. The inquisitors explained witches chose the date to mock a central Christian festival, but Corpus Christi is no more important than a number of other Christian holidays, and it falls near a day traditionally associated with pagan worship. Coincidence? Probably not.

Anciently, pagans and witches hallowed Midsummer. Some burned for their right to observe their rites; we need not. But we can remember the past. In solidarity with those burned, we can collect our herbs at midnight; we can burn our bonfires and hail the sun.

Gods and Goddesses

Gods and goddesses: 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

Sage, mint, basil, fennel, chive, chervil, tarragon, parsley, rosemary,thyme, hyssop, honeysuckle, red heather, white heather, rue, sunflower, lavender, fern, mistletoe, St. John’s Wort, mugwort, vervain, meadowsweet, heartsease, feverfew, iris, rowan, oak, fir, pine, aniseed, hazelnut.

Stones

Ruby, garnet, diamond, seashell, Herkimer diamond, clear quartz crystal, amber, citrine, cat’s-eye, yellow topaz, yellow tourmaline, gold, silver, peridot, carnelian, calcite

Incense

Midsummer Incense #1:
Recipe by Scott Cunningham

2 parts Sandalwood
1 part mugwort
1 part Chamomile
1 part Gardenia Petals
a few drops Rose Oil
a few drops Lavender Oil
a few drops Yarrow Oil

Burn at Wiccan rituals at the Summer Solstice (circa June 21st) or at that time to attune with the seasons and the Sun.

Midsummer Incense #2:
Recipe by Scott Cunningham

3 parts Frankincense
2 parts Benzoin
1 part Dragon’s Blood
1 part Thyme
1 part rosemary
1 pinch Vervain
a few drops Red Wine

Recipes

Summer Pudding
Recipe by Jan Brodie

1 lb. Mixed Red Soft Fruits
4 oz. Sugar
Enough White Bread to line a Pudding Basin
Whipped Cream for serving

Trim the crusts off the bread and line the pudding basin with it, cutting a circle for the base. Ensure that the basin is lined without any gaps. Cook the fruits and sugar, without adding extra water, for a few minutes until the juices run. Drain the fruits and retain the juices. Fill the lined bowl with fruit and place a circle of bread on top, enclosing the fruit. Then put a plate on top held down with a weight on top. Place in fridge overnight. When ready to serve, turn out onto a plate and pour the reserved juices over the top. Serve with whipped cream. (The above recipe for “Summer Pudding” is from Jan Brodie’s book “Earth Dance: A Year of Pagan Rituals”, page 98-99, Capall Bann Publishing, 1995)

Cauldron Cookies
Recipe by Gerina Dunwich

3/4 cup Softened Butter
2 cups Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
2 teaspoons Grated Lemon Rind
2 cups Flour
1 cup Finely Chopped Pecans

Cream the butter in a large cast-iron cauldron (or mixing bowl). Gradually add the brown sugar, beating well. Add the eggs, lemon juice, and rind, and then beat by hand or with an electric mixer until the mixture is well blended. The next step is to stir in the flour and pecans. Cover the cauldron with a lid, aluminum foil, or plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

When ready, shape the dough into one-inch balls and place them about three inches apart on greased cookie sheets. Bake in a 375-degree preheated oven for approximately eight minutes. Remove from the oven and place on wire racks until completely cool. This recipe yields about 36 cookies which can be served at any of the eight Sabbats, as well as at Esbats and all other Witchy get-togethers.
(The above recipe for “Cauldron Cookies” is quoted directly from Gerina Dunwich’s book “The Wicca Spellbook: A Witch’s Collection of Wiccan Spells, Potions and Recipes”, page 167, A Citadel Press Book, Carol Publishing Group, 1994/1995)

Activities for Litha

* Tie a sprig of rowan, a sprig of rue, and three flowers of St. John’s Wort with red thread and hang over the door.

* Make amulets (simple charms) of protection out of herbs such as rue and rowan. If you make new amulets each year you can dispose of the old in the midsummer fire.

* Create a pouch for psychic dreams (mugwort and bay leaves in a cloth of lavender, blue, or yellow and sewn with red thread) and place under your pillow.

* Make a Solar Wheel as a terific family project – everyone can make one for their bedroom. Wind palm or grape vine into a circle, twisting as you go. Cut two short lengths of stem to be just a bit larger than the diaameter of the circle and place one across the back horizontally and the other vertically crossing in back on the horizontal one and coming forward to the front of the circle to secure both, then adorn with symbols of the elementals (stone, feathers, ashes in a pouch, or a small candle, and a shell) and festoon
with green and yellow ribbons. Hang in a tree outside or indoors at a reminder of the God’s protection.

* Make a Witch’s Ladder (another fun family project) using three colored yarns (red, black, and white for the Triple Goddess) braided together to be three feet long. Add nine feathers all the same color for a specific charm (such as green for money) or various colors for a more diverse charm, tie ends and hang up. Colors are red for vitality, blue for peace and protection, yellow for alertness and cheer, green for prosperity, brown for stability, black for wisdom, black and white for balance, patterned for clairvoyance, and iridescent for insight.

 

* Make a rue protection pouch out of white cotton. Add two or three sprigs of rue, bits of whole grain wheat bread, a pinch of salt, and two star anise seeds and hang indoors (can do one for each bedroom).

* Tie vervain, rosemary, and hyssop with white thread and dip the tips into a bowl of spring water (you can buy bottled spring water in grocery stores) and sprinkle the water about the house to chase out negativity, or sprinkle your tools to cleanse and purify.

* Soak thyme in olive oil, then lightly anoint your eyelids to see faery folk at night

* Tie a bunch of fennel with red ribbons and hang over the door for long life and protection of the home.

* Look for the faery folk under an elder tree, but don’t eat their food or you’ll have to remain with them for seven years! (Which could be a lot of fun, but will seriously wreck any plans you may have made!)

Litha Altar

* Think of warm summer days and sunny cloudless sky.
* Candles: blue, yellow-gold candle to represent the sun. Orange, gold, green
* Oils: violet, rose, orange, lime, thyme, citronella
* Altar cloth: red or gold

Spellwork

Faery magick, protection, purification, love/sex spells. Fire magick. Animal blessings or magick. A good time for scrying and divination. Traditionally the Great Rite, symbolic or actual, is enacted.

 


Personal Maypole for Beltane

I did this a few years back and it worked great – it can be done in solitary or in small groups. This is a Beltane Celebration.

You will need:

* Small Branches (see below)
* Ribbons of all colors – mainly based on your intent
* Beltane or Fertility incense
* Beltane or Fertility Oil
* 1 Beltane Candle (can be a special Sabbat candle or a plain pink, lavender or yellow candle)
* 1 Pen that can write on the ribbon

Prep:

1) Walk near your home looking for loose branches. Its important that you use only branches that have falled already from a tree – do not break a branch off a tree. If like me you near maple trees, you will see plenty of branches. Pick one that is reasonably straight. Once you find the branch, say a small prayer of thanks to the tree that shed it.

2) Beltane is a time for fertility and growth. What we plant here we will collect in the spring. Appropriate things for this Sabbat are all things that you wish to increase – find a new job, open a new business, start a family, find new love, close that new deal, etc. All intents like this work well generally. Pick 3 ribbon colors that match your intent. For example, if you decide to look for a new job, pick white, green and yellow. If you are looking for love, pick white, pink and red etc. I always like to add white in for purity and good energy.

Once you are ready – perform your Ritual:

1) Cast your circle as normal

2) Anoint your Beltane candle. Think of the energy of the season – the planting of new things, a time for change – a time when anyone can start over no matter what. A time for new projects, new beginnings etc. Once your candle is properly anointed, place it on your altar at the center of your pentacle.

3) Take your ribbons, and write on each ribbon the things you want to bring into your life. For example, if you choose the ribbons for a new job you can do the following:

– Green – I wish to find a job that will pay me what I need to make to comfortably support myself and my family
– Yellow – I wish to do well in all job interviews I go on
– White – I want a job that will make me happy and satisfied and that will be for my highest good.

If you did the one for new love – you can do the following:

– Red – I wish to find a mate that inspires in me a passion for life, and for each other
– Pink – I wish to find a mate that is not only passionate, but considerate, kind, and who will be a good friend as well as a lover
– White – I wish to find the best relationship for me, that will bring me happiness and joy for my highest good.

You get the idea – once you write on each ribbon what you want, lay the ribbons out in front of you next to your branch.

4) Light your Beltane candle.

5) This is the tricky part – you want to use the wax from the candle to “anchor” the ribbons at the base of the branch. I like to do them one at a time. Once they are fairly secure (they will never be solidly glued – but will be in place enough for you to work), begin brading them down the length of your branch.

6) Take your time and be careful – don’t pull it too tight or it will come apart on you. Once the thread is braided all the way down, secure the end with knotting each ribbon around your branch (now your wand). I also like to take my Beltane candle and use the wax to “seal” both ends of my wand now – over the know at the end and over the start of the ribbons on the bottom.

7) Once done, place your wand on your altar and proceed with your ritual.

8) Cake and Ale

9) Close your circle

You can keep the keep the wand with you all year long. Anytime you wish to cast another spell relating to the same issue, use your wand to help imbue that spell with more energy. Once the year is done – you can choose to keep your wand or burn it and make a new one.

Enjoy!


Beltane Cake

By MsWhitestang

In sauce pan heat 1 1/2 cups milk , 1 cups old fashioned oats,1/2 cup butter, a few pinches sea salt. Cook until thickened. let stand until room temp.Mix in 2 cups brown sugar, 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 1 1/3 cup unbleached flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cloves, 1/2 tsp ground ginger. bake in a well greased non metallic dish for 30 mins at 350.
I like this cake a day old , and I sprinkle it with 10x powered sugar.

Samhain Recipes

Here are a few recipes for Samhain:

BeWitching Apple Pancakes

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tbs. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1tsp. salt
2 well beaten egg yolks
2 cups milk
2 tbs. butter/margarine, melted
1 cup finely chopped apple, peeled and cored
2 stiffly beaten egg whites.

In a large non-metal bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl, combine the milk and egg yolks. Pour mixture into the dry ingredients and stir well. Stir in the butter/margarine and apple. Fold in the egg whites. Let the batter set up for a few minutes. Cook on a hot griddle or in a large frying pan, using 1/3 cup of batter per pancake. Use a spatula or spoon to spread batter evenly. Remove from heat, dot with butter, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and roll up into log. Top with slightly heated applesauce and a dash of cinnamon.

Makes 12 pancakes.

Spirited Cheese Stuffed Apples

1- 3oz package softened cream cheese
4 medium apples
1 1/3oz Apple Cheddar Cheese
1 tablespoon dry white wine

Beat together both cheeses and the wine, with an electric or rotary mixer, until smooth. Core the apples and hollow out, leaving apple shells about 1/2 inch thick. Fill the apples with the cheese mixture and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

Cut apples into 8 wedges.

Festival Fruited Ribs

3 pounds beef/pork ribs
2 tbs. shortening
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup red Burgundy
1 clove garlic, minced
1-11oz package mixed dried fruit
3 tbs. all purpose flour

Meaty side down, place in shallow roasting pan. Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. Season with a little salt and pepper. Add onion, carrot, garlic, and burgundy. Cover and reduce heat to 350 degrees, bake for another hour. Meanwhile, pour 1 1/2 cups of hot water over the fruit in a non-metal bowl. Let it stand for the hour. Drain the fruit, reserving the liquid. Place the fruit over the meat. Cover and bake for another 45 minutes. Remove meat and fruit to a platter. Skim fat from pan juices. Add reserved liquid to juices. Blend flour and 1/3 cup cold water in a sauce pan, stir in pan juice mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Pour over ribs and serve hot.

Makes 6 servings.

**If you’re going to have a bonfire, don’t forget to throw the bones into the fire for healthy livestock and prosperity.

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients

• 1 1/2 cups (12oz can) evaporated milk
• 2 eggs
• 1 3/4 cups (15oz can) pumpkin
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp ginger
• 3/4 tsp clove
• 9-inch pie crust

Preparation:

Stir together sugar, salt and spices. In another large bowl, beat eggs lightly. Then stir in pumpkin, spice mixture and then slowly stir in the evaporated milk. Pour mixture into pie shell and bake at 425F for 15 minutes.

Lower oven temperature to 350F and bake for another 40-50 minutes. Let cool for at least 2 hours before serving, to allow pie to set up


Lammas/Lughnasadh Lore

Lammas – The First Harvest

Also known as: Lammas, August Eve, The Festival of Bread, Elembiuos, Lunasa, Cornucopia (Strega), Thingtide (Teutonic), Lughnasadh

Lammas Lore

Lammas, the festival of the First Fruits of the Harvest, is the first festival of the Waning Year. It is celebrated on July 31 – August 2, while the climate (in the United States) is essentially still Summer. Never-the-less, technically, Lammas is the first day of Autumn.

This is the time of the first harvest, when the plants of spring wither and drop their fruits or seed for our use as well as to ensure future crops. Mystically, so too does the God lose His strength as the Sun rises farther in the South each day and the nights grow longer. The Goddess watches in sorrow and joy as she realizes that the God is dying, and yet lives on inside Her as Her child.

Gods and Goddesses

Goddesses: all grain, agriculture, and mother Goddesses; Alphito (Greek), Ashnan (Sumerian), Bast (Egyptian), Bau (Assyro-Babylonian), Ceres (Roman), Demeter (Greek), Gaia (Greek), Ishtar (Assyro-Babylonian), Isis (Egyptian), Libera (Roman), Persephone (Greek), Rhiannon (Welsh), Robigo (Roman), Tailtiu (Irish)Gods: all grain, agriculture, Sun, and father Gods; Cernunnos (Celtic), Dagon (Babylonian), Lahar (Sumerian), Liber (Roman), Llew (Welsh), Lugh (Irish), Neper (Egyptian), Ningirsu/Ninurta (Assyro-Babylonian), Odin (Norse), Osiris (Egyptian)

Herbs

Ash, camphor, caraway, fern, geranium, juniper, mandrake, marjoram, thyme, sunflowers, wheat

Stones

Aventurine, citrine, peridot, sardonyx

Incense

Single blend incenses: Allspice, carnation, rosemary, vanilla, sandalwood, aloe, rose

Lammas Incense Recipe

2 Parts Frankincense,
1 part Heather,
1 Part Apple Blossoms,
1 pich Blackberry leaves,
few drops Ambergris oil

Recipes

The foods of Lughnasadh include bread, blackberries and all berries, acorns (leached of their poisons first), crab apples, all grains and locally ripe produce. A cake is sometimes baked, and cider is used in place of wine.

Corn Bread Sticks

You can find a cast-iron mold shaped like little ears of corn in kitchen supply shops. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.1 cup flour
1/2 cup corn meal
1/4 cup of sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup shortening

Sift dry ingredients together, add eggs, milk, and shortening, and beat until smooth. Pour into molds and bake for 20-25 minutes

Activities

  • Make sand candles to honor the Goddes and the God of the sea. A great website with detailed instructions for this is located at: sand candle instructions
  • Create and bury a Witch’s Bottle. This is a glass jar with sharp pointy things inside to keep away harm. You can use needles, pins, thorns, thistles, nails, and bits of broken glass; it’s a good way to dispose of broken crockery, old sewing equipment, and the pins that come in new clothes. Bury it near the entry to the house (like next to the driveway or the front door), or inside a large planter.
  • Make a Corn Dolly to save for next Imbolc (good instructions with pictures here.  You can decorate the dolly with a dress and bonnet (the dress and bonnet may be made out of corn husks if you wish, or and cotton material is fine too).

Lammas Altar

Decorations: Corn, hay, gourds, corn dollies, shafts of grain, sun wheels
Candle Colors: Red, gold, yellow, orange

Spellwork

Spell/ritual work: Offering thanks, honoring fathers, prosperity, abundance, generosity, continued success, connectedness


Lammas/Lughnasadh Rituals

Lammas/Lughnasadh Basic Solitary Ritual

Decorate your Altar:

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 there as well.

1) Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast your circle.2) Recite the Blessing Chant. Invoke the Goddess and God.

3) Stand before the altar, holding aloft the sheaves of grain, saying these or similar words:

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 flavour, 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.
          

4) Consume the rest of the fruit.

5) Works of magick, if necessary, may follow.

6) The circle is released.


Lammas/Lughnasadh Celtic Solitary Ritual

Special Notes: the turning point in Mother Earth’s year; a harvest festival in the northen lands. The waning God and the waxing Goddess. Spellwork for good fortune and abundance is especially appropriate.

Altar Supplies: incense; burner; chalice of water; pentacle; dagger or sword; 4 Element candles; chalice of wine; plate of bread. Cauldron with an orange or yellow candle in it. Fall flowers, ivy and leaves for decoration

1) Cast your circle
2) Light the cauldron, say:

O Ancient Gods of the Celts,
I do ask your presence here.
For this is a time that is not a time,
In a place that is not a place,
On a day that is not a day,
And I await you.

3) Set the plate of bread on the pentacle. Stand still and breathe deeply for a few momenets. Concentrate upon the cleansing power of the breath and air. When you are ready, say:

I have purified myself by breathing
in the life force of the universe
and expelling all evil from me.

4) Lift the plate of bread high, then set it back on the altar. Say:

I know that every seed,
every grain is a record of ancient times,
and a promise to all of what shall be.
This bread respresents life eternal
through the cauldron of the Triple Goddess.

5) Eat a piece of bread. Put the chalice of wine on the pentacle. Hold high the wine chalice, then set it back on the altar. Say:

As the grape undergoes change to become wine,
So by the sacred cauldron of life shall I undergo change.
And as this wine can give man enchantment of the divine
Or sink him into the lower realms, so I do realize
That all humans rise or fall according to their strength and will.

6) Drink some of the wine. Say:

As in the bread and wine, so it is with me.
Within all forms is locked a record of the past
And a promise of the future.
I ask that you lay your blessings upon me,
Ancient Ones, that this season of wanting not be so heavy.
So mote it be!

7) Close your circle, thank the Gods for attending.


Lammas/Lughnadsadh Solitary Ritual
By AkashaTools:

In addition to your magic tools, you will need:

* Golden Yellow Center Cloth
* 1 Gold Candle
* 1 Silver Candle
* Summer Blend Incense (recipe from Litha Ritual)
* Harvest Vegetables
* Golden Stones or other Sun Symbols
* Cornbread Cupcakes
* Cauldron
* Apple Cider
* Any other personal items of choice

Preparation:
* Sweep area moving in a deosil manner. Outline the perimeter of your Circle with cornmeal or yellow sand.* Place Gold Center cloth on the alter and garnish with Harvest Vegetables, (Corn, Squash, etc), Grains, (Oats, Rice, Wheat, Rye, etc), and Fruits ( Apples, Berries, Cherries, Plums, etc), on the alter.

* Set the Gold God Candle to the top right of center, and surround with Gold Stones or Sun Symbols.

* Place the Silver Goddess Candle to the top left of center. Place your (cauldron, if coven) chalice full of Cider in the center and surround with Cornbread Cupcakes.

* Cast the circle and call Quarters… Pick up your wand with your right hand, face the North with arms stretched out above head, and say:

What will be is. What was will be.
The Wheel of the Year forever turns.
Dark to light, light to dark,
each season passes with lessons learned.
We plant with love, tend with respect,
and at Harvest time our yields reflect The bounty of our Mother Earth,
ripened by our Father Sun.
Now upon our humble hearth, gifts we offer the Two that are One.
As each day passes, shorter than the last.
May we each be reminded of the seasons that have passed.
The marriage and the seeding of the Goddess back in May,
Her womb swollen with life anew at Summer Solstice Day,
All this time the Father Sun has shone with so much pride.
Rising early, setting late,
and now that he’s supplied The warmth and light to bring to bear,
the Goddess and the lands He knows that his death is drawing near,
but this secret he understands,
that with the turning of the wheel, his rebirth has been planned.”

* Place you wand upon the alter and with both hands gesture to the Harvest Vegetables, Grains, and Fruits you have adorned the alter with.

 

“Truly blessed are we that receive the bounty of the Harvest,
Blessed be our Mother Earth,
Blessed be our Father Sun,
As he teaches us of life, death, and rebirth.
I honor Thee, The Two that are One.”

* Pick up one of the Cornbread Cupcakes, and offer up to the God/dess, saying:

“Blessed be the Harvest,
Blessed be the Corn Mother,
Blessed be the Grain God,
For together they nourish both body and soul.
Many blessings I have been given,
I count them now by this bread.”

* Now name all the things that you are currently grateful for. With each item that you name, break off a piece of the Cornbread Cupcake and eat it.

* Sip from the chalice filled with Apple Cider as well. When finished with list of blessings, take the a small handful of the Grain from you alter and hold it in you open hand at face level, saying:

“Guardian of the East, I pray for your indulgence.
Hear me now as I request your aid in the cycle of life.
As your winds blow through fields of ripened grain,
Carry loosened seeds upon your back That they may fall amidst the soil
that is our Mother Earth.

She will cover them in times of storm, protecting and nourishing Them

until they sprout next Spring, beginning life anew.”

* Blow gently across your hand as if imitating the wind taking the seeds air-born. Continue:

“I give thanks to the Great Mother,
Goddess of fertile land.
And to the Great Father,
Consort and Provider.

For as their bounty sustains my life,
so does their bounty sustain my brethren;
All living creatures of wood and field,
Of lake and stream, and of air.

Of these blessings I partake And share.
Blessed be this Harvest Night, The Givers and the gift.”
* Face the alter and assume the Goddess position, saying:
“All things have their season.
Again the wheel has turned and brought us To the season of the First Harvest.
A time when we think about sacrifices and reborn hope,
A time when we reflect on what we have sown by what we reap,
A time when we gather our memories,
And from those lessons that we have learned,
We plan for the future.

Blessed Be our Mother, whose womb contains and bears all life.
Blessed Be our Father, whose seed plants all life.
Blessed Be the Two that are One,
From Them life flows and flows back again.”

* Now is the time for meditation and spellworkings. If no spellworkings are to be done, proceed with the Cakes and Ale ceremony, followed by releasing the Circle.

* Place you wand upon the alter and with both hands gesture to the Harvest Vegetables, Grains, and Fruits you have adorned the alter with.

* Pick up one of the Cornbread Cupcakes, and offer up to the God/dess, saying:

* Now name all the things that you are currently grateful for. With each item that you name, break off a piece of the Cornbread Cupcake and eat it.

* Sip from the chalice filled with Apple Cider as well. When finished with list of blessings, take the a small handful of the Grain from you alter and hold it in you open hand at face level, saying:

* Blow gently across your hand as if imitating the wind taking the seeds air-born. Continue:

* Now is the time for meditation and spellworkings. If no spellworkings are to be done, proceed with the Cakes and Ale ceremony, followed by releasing the Circle.


Mabon/Autumn Equinox Lore

Mabon/Autumn Equinox Lore
By Akasha

Mabon, (pronounced MAY-bun, MAY-bone, MAH-boon, or MAH-bawn) is the Autumn Equinox. The Autumn Equinox divides the day and night equally, and we all take a moment to pay our respects to the impending dark. We also give thanks to the waning sunlight, as we store our harvest of this year’s crops. The Druids call this celebration, Mea’n Fo’mhair, and honor the The Green Man, the God of the Forest, by offering libations to trees. Offerings of ciders, wines, herbs and fertilizer are appropriate at this time. Wiccans celebrate the aging Goddess as she passes from Mother to Crone, and her consort the God as he prepares for death and re-birth.Various other names for this Lesser Wiccan Sabbat are The Second Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest, Feast of Avalon, Equinozio di Autunno (Strega), Alben Elfed (Caledonii), or Cornucopia. The Teutonic name, Winter Finding, spans a period of time from the Sabbat to Oct. 15th, Winter’s Night, which is the Norse New Year.At this festival it is appropriate to wear all of your finery and dine and celebrate in a lavish setting. It is the drawing to and of family as we prepare for the winding down of the year at Samhain. It is a time to finish old business as we ready for a period of rest, relaxation, and reflection.

Gods and Goddesses of Mabon

Some appropriate Goddesses: all grape, berry, fruit, and vegetable Goddesses; Ceres (Roman), Demeter (Greek), Harmonia (Greek), Ma’at (Egyptian), Modron (Welsh), Nikkal (Canaanite), Pomona (Greek), Persephone (Greek), Prosperpina (Roman), Rennutet (Egyptian)

Some appropriate Gods: all wine, fruit, and harvest Gods; Bacchus (Roman), Dionysus (Greek), The Great Horned God (European), Hauran (Canaanite), Hermes (Greek), Iacchus (Greek), Mabon (Welsh), Shai (Egyptian), Vertumnus (Roman), Yerikh (Canaanite)

Herbs of Mabon

Acorn, benzoin, ferns, grains, honeysuckle, marigold, milkweed, myrrh, passionflower, rose,sage, solomon’s seal, tobacco, thistle, and vegetables.

Mabon Incense
By Scott Cunningham

2 parts Frankincense
1 part Sandalwood
1 part Cypress
1 part Juniper
1 part Pine
2 part Oakmoss
1 pinch pulverized Oak Leaf

Stones of Mabon

Carnelian, lapis lazuli, sapphire, yellow agate

Foods of Mabon

Breads, nuts, apples, pomegranates, and vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and onions.

Harvest Morning Muffins

3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup grated apples
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbs. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 12-muffin tin or line it with paper liners. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend the eggs, sugar and oil until well combined. Stir in the grated apples and carrots. In a separate bowl, sift the flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Blend the dry ingredients with the apple mixture until just combined. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins and bake for 25 minutes.
Makes 12 muffins.

Mabon Caramel Apples

1 package Kraft* Caramels
6 red or green apples, destemmed
6 popsicle sticks

Melt caramels slowly in a double boiler. When runny in consistency, stick popsicle sticks into top center of apple, and dip apple into caramel sauce, making sure to cover entire apple with a coating of caramel. Place dipped apples, stick up on wax paper covered cookie sheet an refrigerate till caramel hardens.

Makes 6 servings.

Remember, an apple a day keeps the dentist, doctor, and dermatologist away!!!!

Mabon Altar

  • Colors: Red, orange, russet, maroon, brown, and gold.
  • Decorations: hazel, corn, aspen, acorns, oak sprigs, autumn leaves, wheat stalks, cypress cones, pine cones, harvest gleanings, grapes, wine, vines, garlands, gourds, burial cairns, rattles, horns of plenty, Indian corn, Sun wheels

Spellworkings of Mabon

Protection, prosperity, security, and self-confidence. Also those of harmony and balance.

Activities for Mabon

  • 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 magick.

Mabon/Autumn Equinox Rituals

Mabon/Autum Equinox Solitary Ritual

Special Notes: Balance of light and dark. Time of rest after labor, completion of the harvest, thanksgiving. A good time for meditations on reincarnation in preparation for Ancestor Night or Halloween (Samhain).

Altar Supplies:

Incense and burner
Chalice of water and salt
Pentacle and dagger (or sword)
4 Element candles
Chalice of wine and wand
Autumn-colored ribbons tied on the dagger
Autumn leaves for decoration.
Three candles (white, red, black) set around the cauldron.
Ivy in the cauldron.

Working

Cast your circle

Light the three candles around the cauldron. Say:

 

I call upon the blessed Lady, queen of the harvest,
Giver of life and plenty since before time began.
Bestow upon me your joy and beauty, power and prosperity.
I do ask.

Salute the ivy-filled cauldron with your dagger or sword. Say:

I call upon the Lord of the harvest, sacred King,
giver of riches and protection since before time began
Bestow upon me your strength and laughter, power and prosperity,
I do ask.

Take the ribbon-tied dagger in your power hand, the wine chalice in the other. Say:

Always has life fulfilled its cycle and led to
Life anew in the eternal chain of the living.
In honor of the Old Gods, I mark the fullness
Of my life and the harvest of this year’s lessons.

Walk three times clockwise around the circle, beginning in the east. Chant:

The year-wheel turns, and bounty comes.

Move back to the altar and lay aside the dagger. Set the wine chalice briefly on the pentacle. As you make the following toast, raise the chalice high each time before taking a sip.

To the good seasons that have gone,
And to the good ones yet to come.
Blessed Be!

To the Goddess! May she bring peace
And fulfillment to all her children.
Blessed Be!

To the God! May he protect his followers
And bring me prosperity and happiness.
Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again!
Blessed Be.


Another Mabon/Autumn Equinox Solitary Ritual

Tools

A red apple
A bolline

Working

Place the apple and the bolline on the pentacle. Cast the circle. Face the altar with arms stretched out above your head, and say: 

“I honor You, Autumn Queen, and Your consort, the God of the Harvest.
The Wheel has once more turned, and the change of season begins.
What will be is. What was will be.
The Equinox is upon us, and the time to reflect is at hand.
And I, but a moment in time,
Feel the change as we pass from one season to the next.
The second Harvest has been reaped, and the time of rest is deserved.”
“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.”

With arms still outstretched lower your head and close your eyes. Contemplate what you have just spoken. When ready, open your eyes and lower your arms. Pick up the apple and place it in the center of the pentacle. Cut it crosswise with the Bolline, to reveal the natural pentagram at its core. Then lift half the apple, pentagram up, as if in offering, while saying:

“As the Wheel turns, the seasons pass,
And the years give way to the next,
Guide me most Wise Ones, lest I forget
Every beginning has an ending
And every ending is a new beginning.”

Take a bite of the apple. Put the rest aside to share later with the wildlife. Close your eyes and feel the seasons pass within the circle from summer to autumn. When ready, say:

Between the worlds I stand in this sacred place.
All time is here and now.
As I leave this circle, the season shall have changed.
May I use the wintertime
To draw strength and power from within
As I quest for vision, understanding, and peace.”

Ring the bell thrice with your right hand, to toll the passing of the first three seasons of the year. Then ring it once with your left hand, to usher in the forth and last season of the year.

“In Life is Death, and in Death is Life.
The Sacred Dance goes on and on
From whence we came, we shall return,
And come again.
Seasons pass, and pass again,
The circle stays unbroken
Heed the words of Your child, here,
Through Your wisdom I have spoken.”

Meditation.Cakes and Ale.Close the circle.


Mabon Solitary Ritual

Tools

Incense
Candles (appropriate to the holiday)
Decorations

Preparation

  • 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.

Working

  1. Cast the Circle
  2. Recite the Blessing Chant.
  3. Invoke the Goddess and God.
  4. Stand before the altar, holding aloft the basket of leaves, and slowly scatter them so they cascade to the ground within the circle.

Leaves fall,
the days grow cold.
The Goddess pulls Her mantle of the 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!

  1. Works of magick, if necessary, may follow.
  2. Celebrate the Simple Feast.
  3. The circle is released.

Samhain Lore

Samhain, (pronounced SOW-in, SAH-vin, or SAM-hayne) means “End of Summer”, and is the third and final Harvest. The dark winter half of the year commences on this Sabbat.

Various other names for this Greater Sabbat are Third Harvest, Samana, Day of the Dead, Old Hallowmas (Scottish/Celtic), Vigil of Saman, Shadowfest (Strega), and Samhuinn. Also known as All Hallow’s Eve, (that day actually falls on November 7th), and Martinmas (that is celebrated November 11th), Samhain is now generally considered the Witch’s New Year.

It is generally celebrated on October 31st, but some traditions prefer November 1st. It is one of the two “spirit-nights” each year, the other being Beltane. It is a magical interval when the mundane laws of time and space are temporarily suspended, and the Thin Veil between the worlds is lifted. Communicating with ancestors and departed loved ones is easy at this time, for they journey through this world on their way to the Summerlands. It is a time to study the Dark Mysteries and honor the Dark Mother and the Dark Father, symbolized by the Crone and her aged Consort.

Originally the “Feast of the Dead” was celebrated in Celtic countries by leaving food offerings on altars and doorsteps for the “wandering dead”. Today a lot of practitioners still carry out that tradition. Single candles were lit and left in a window to help guide the spirits of ancestors and loved ones home. Extra chairs were set to the table and around the hearth for the unseen guest. Apples were buried along roadsides and paths for spirits who were lost or had no descendants to provide for them. Turnips were hollowed out and carved to look like protective spirits, for this was a night of magic and chaos. The Wee Folke became very active, pulling pranks on unsuspecting humans. Traveling after dark was not advised. People dressed in white (like ghosts), wore disguises made of straw, or dressed as the opposite gender in order to fool the Nature spirits.

This was the time that the cattle and other livestock were slaughtered for eating in the ensuing winter months. Any crops still in the field on Samhain were considered taboo, and left as offerings to the Nature spirits. Bonfires were built, (originally called bone-fires, for after feasting, the bones were thrown in the fire as offerings for healthy and plentiful livestock in the New Year) and stones were marked with peoples names. Then they were thrown into the fire, to be retrieved in the morning. The condition of the retrieved stone foretold of that person’s fortune in the coming year. Hearth fires were also lit from the village bonfire to ensure unity, and the ashes were spread over the harvested fields to protect and bless the land.

Gods/Goddesses of Samhain

Appropriate Samhain Goddesses are all Crone Goddesses and Underworld Goddesses. These include Hecate (Greek), Carlin (Scottish), Edda (Norse), Pamona (Roman), Crobh Dearg (Irish), Lilith (Hebrew), Psyche (Greek), the Morrigu/Morrigan (Celtic).

Appropriate Samhain Gods; are all Death Gods, Aged Gods and Underworld Gods. These include Arawn (Welsh), Dis (Roman), Kronos/Cronus (Greco-Phoenician), Xocatl (Aztec), Woden (Teutonic), Pluto (Greco-Roman), Hades (Greek), Neferturn (Egyptian).

Herbs of Samhain

Mugwort, Acorn/Oak, Apple, Corn, Dittany of Crete, Hazel, Fumitory, Gourds, Allspice, Broom, Catnip, Deadly Nightshade, Mandrake, Oak leaves, Sage and Straw

Samhain Incense

For Samhain incense and oil you can use any of the following scents, either blended together or alone: Frankincense, Basil, Yarrow, lilac, ylang-ylang, Clove, camphor.

Samhain incense
by Maria Kay Simms

•           2 parts Myrrh
•           2 parts Sandalwood
•           2 parts Lavender
•           1 part Frankincense
•           1 part Bay leaf
•           1 part Juniper
•           1 part Cinnamon

Samhain Incense
by Lady of the Earth

1 part cinnamon
1-1/2 part Clove
1/2 part Frankincense
1/2 part Myrrh
1/4 part Cedar
1/4 part Sandalwood
1/4 part Benzoin
4 parts pumpkin pie spice

Stones of Samhain

All Black Stones – preferably Jet or Obsidian, Onyx . Also  Carnelian

Animals of Samhain

Animals and mythical beasts associated with Samhain are: bats, cats, dogs, phooka, goblins, medusa,

Foods of Samhain

Turnips, Apples, Gourds, Nuts, Mulled Wines, Beef, Pork, Poultry.  apples, pumpkin pie, beets, turnips, hazelnuts, corn, gingerbread, pomegranates, cider, herbal teas, pork dishes.

BeWitching Apple Pancakes

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tbs. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1tsp. salt
2 well beaten egg yolks
2 cups milk
2 tbs. butter/margarine, melted
1 cup finely chopped apple, peeled and cored
2 stiffly beaten egg whites.

In a large non-metal bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl, combine the milk and egg yolks. Pour mixture into the dry ingredients and stir well. Stir in the butter/margarine and apple. Fold in the egg whites. Let the batter set up for a few minutes. Cook on a hot griddle or in a large frying pan, using 1/3 cup of batter per pancake. Use a spatula or spoon to spread batter evenly. Remove from heat, dot with butter, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and roll up into log. Top with slightly heated applesauce and a dash of cinnamon.

Makes 12 pancakes.

 Spirited Cheese Stuffed Apples

1- 3oz package softened cream cheese
4 medium apples
1 1/3oz Apple Cheddar Cheese
1 tablespoon dry white wine

Beat together both cheeses and the wine, with an electric or rotary mixer, until smooth. Core the apples and hollow out, leaving apple shells about 1/2 inch thick. Fill the apples with the cheese mixture and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

Cut apples into 8 wedges.

Festival Fruited Ribs

3 pounds beef/pork ribs
2 tbs. shortening
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup red Burgundy
1 clove garlic, minced
1-11oz package mixed dried fruit
3 tbs. all purpose flour

Meaty side down, place in shallow roasting pan. Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. Season with a little salt and pepper. Add onion, carrot, garlic, and burgundy. Cover and reduce heat to 350 degrees, bake for another hour. Meanwhile, pour 1 1/2 cups of hot water over the fruit in a non-metal bowl. Let it stand for the hour. Drain the fruit, reserving the liquid. Place the fruit over the meat. Cover and bake for another 45 minutes. Remove meat and fruit to a platter. Skim fat from pan juices. Add reserved liquid to juices. Blend flour and 1/3 cup cold water in a sauce pan, stir in pan juice mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Pour over ribs and serve hot.

Makes 6 servings.

**If you’re going to have a bonfire, don’t forget to throw the bones into the fire for healthy livestock and prosperity. The livestock may not be yours’, but nobody wants to eat tainted meat……

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients

•           1 1/2 cups (12oz can) evaporated milk
•           2 eggs
•           1 3/4 cups (15oz can) pumpkin
•           3/4 cup sugar
•           1/2 tsp salt
•           1 tsp cinnamon
•           1/2 tsp ginger
•           3/4 tsp clove
•           9-inch pie crust

Preparation:

Stir together sugar, salt and spices. In another large bowl, beat eggs lightly. Then stir in pumpkin, spice mixture and then slowly stir in the evaporated milk. Pour mixture into pie shell and bake at 425F for 15 minutes.

Lower oven temperature to 350F and bake for another 40-50 minutes. Let cool for at least 2 hours before serving, to allow pie to set up

Altar Decorations for Samhain

Colors: Black, Orange, White, Silver, Gold.

Altar decorations can consist of candles, small jack-‘o-lanterns. food, from the harvest, photographs of your loved ones who have departed this world, statue or figurine of the Goddess in her Crone aspect

Spellwork for Samhain

Spellwork should be for: protection, neutralizing harm, working with your ancestors, honoring the dead

Activities for Samhain

Traditional activities during Samhain consist of divination, past-life recall, spirit contact, drying of winter herbs.

The Apple the Mirror

Before the stroke of midnight, sit in front of a mirror in a room lit only by one candle or the moon. Go into the silence, and ask a question. Cut the apple into nine pieces. With your back to the mirror, eat eight of the pieces, and then throw the ninth over your left shoulder. Turn your head to look over the same shoulder, and you will see and in image or symbol in the mirror that will tell you your answer.

(When you look in the mirror, let your focus go “soft,” and allow the patterns made by the moon or candlelight and shadows to suggest forms, symbols and other dreamlike images that speak to your intuition.)

Dreaming Stones

Go to a boundary stream and with closed eyes, take from the water three stones between middle finger and thumb, saying these words as each is gathered:

I will lift the stone
As Mary lifted it for her Son,
For substance, virtue, and strength;
May this stone be in my hand
Till I reach my journey’s end.

(Scots Gaelic)

Togaidh mise chlach,
Mar a thog Moire da Mac,
Air bhrìgh, air bhuaidh, ‘s air neart;
Gun robh a chlachsa am dhòrn,
Gus an ruig mi mo cheann uidhe.

Carry them home carefully and place them under your pillow. That night, ask for a dream that will give you guidance or a solution to a problem, and the stones will bring it for you.

Making a Witch’s Cord

Witch’s cords are beautiful and make great decorations. The Samhain witches cord should be an expression of what you wish or hope for the New Year. Take three strands of ribbon or silk cord in three different colors, each about three feet long. Choose colors that symbolize your hopes for the New Year. Fold one end down about five inches and tie together in a knot to make a loop so the cord can be hung. Braid the strands together, reciting your wishes and hopes and tie at least three knots on the tail. You can add anything you want to the cords – feathers, stones, herbs, little toys, tokens in remembrance of a loved one, etc.

Find a wand

Samhain is a great time to look for a wand. Venture outdoors with your children, to a park perhaps, and look for branches or fallen pieces of wood. When you’ve found your wand, be sure to thank the tree and leave an offering. Once you’ve cleaned it up by whittling it and sanding it if necessary, let your child decorate it.


Samhain Rituals

Samhain Solitary Veil Ritual

This is designed for solitaries, but could be adapted for a group

Tools:

cauldron (if inside, make sure it’s on a heat-proof surface)
paper/pen
black and orange candles
incense and charcoal in censer
veil
rune stones or Tarot
apples or pumpkin bread, wine

Cast the circle

Invocation to the God and Goddess

Great Goddess
Dark Mother
I invite you to my circle
to assist and protect me in my Samhain rite

Great God
God of the universal cycle of birth, death and rebirth
I invite you to my circle
to assist and protect me in my Samhain rite

Statement of intentOn this night of Samhain
I mark your passing O Sun King
into the Land of the Young
I mark the passing of all who have gone before
and all who will go after
Gracious Goddess, Mother of us all
Teach me to know that in the time of the greatest darkness
there is greatest light

Scatter incense on the burning charcoal

Facing West, say:

Lord of Shadow
God of Life, and the Giver of Life
Open wide, I pray thee, the Gates
through which all must pass.
Let our dear ones who have gone before
Return this night to make merry with us.
And when our time comes, as it must,
O thou the Comforter, the Consoler, the Giver of Peace and Rest
We will enter thy realms gladly and unafraid;
For we know that when rested and refreshed among our dear ones
We will be reborn again by thy grace,
and the grace of the Great Mother.
Let it be in the same place and the same time as our beloved ones
And may we meet, and know, and remember and love them again.

Pull the veil over your face, Still facing west, say

Behold, the West is the Land of the Dead, to which many of my loved ones have
gone for rest and renewal.
On this night, I hold communion with them.
Spirits of the dead, you are welcome here tonight.

Begin spiraling widdershins to the center, taking three or four circuits to do so.

Those who come are truly welcome to my Festival. May they remain with me in
peace.

Time of communion with the dead
(set the veil aside when done)

On a small piece of paper, write some of the things you did since last Samhain that you regret. Fold the paper, light it and set it to burning in the cauldron. Say:

Wise Ones
Great Goddess, Powerful God
I create this fire to let go of the past
As the smoke rises, thus do my misfortunes and regrets of the past rise from this
place and disappear as the smoke disappears.
May the energies be reversed
From darkness, light!
From bane, good!
From death, birth!
So mote it be!

Meditate on the smoke until the paper is completely burned away.

Then light the black or orange candles, while thinking of those things you’ve done
in the past year that have brought you happiness. Say:

These are the lights of my successes and happiness
May they shine on
and bring joy and hope to all my loved ones
May these lights guide spirits to the Summerlands
Where they will rest before being reborn.

Rune casting or tarot to scry into the coming year.

Wine and cakes

Close the circle

When finished, leave the candles in the windows and set any remaining food
outside for the spirits.

References:
http://www.wiccanway.net/samhain.html


Samhain Solitary Ritual
By Akasha

Tools:

In addition to your magickal tools, you will need:

  • An Orange Alter Cloth
  • Cauldron
  • 1 Black Taper Goddess Candle
  • 1 Black Taper God Candle
  • 2 Carved Turnip Candle Holders
  • 1 Black Votive Candle
  • 1 White Pillar Candle
  • 1 Apple
  • A Bolline
  • A Plate of Fruit
  • Vegetables and Breads
  • Pictures or Mementos of Departed Loved Ones
  • Samhain Incense (Mint, Nutmeg, Apple)

Preparation:

Sweep area, moving in a deosil manner. Outline your circle with a black cord, fresh turned earth, or salt. Place the black taper Goddess Candle to the top left on altar. Place the black taper God candle to the top right on altar. Place the black votive candle in the cauldron, positioned on floor in front of the altar. Plate of Fruit, Vegetables, and Breads should be put in-between Goddess and God candles at top center of altar. Apple and Bolline should be placed in center of altar, on a Pentacle if possible. Arrange the rest of your tools and props according to personal preference. Bathe or shower for purification. If you have magickal jewelry or jewelry passed on to you by departed loved ones, this is the ritual to wear it all. Sit and meditate to ground and center. When ready to begin, play some appropriate soothing music for ambiance.

Cast the circle and call Quarters…… invoke the Crone aspect of the Goddess by lighting the black taper Goddess candle and saying:

“Dark Mother, ruler of the night, Goddess of death and rebirth, Hear and behold Your child this night as I honor Thee and Thy realm. I stand humbly before Thee, asking for Thy blessing and favor. Lift, now, the Veil between the worlds, as this time-out-of-time begins, That I may commune with my ancestors as they journey to the Summerlands.”

Step back from the altar and concentrate on the Goddess candle’s flame. Should it rise and flicker, proceed. If not, silently project your wish to commune with your loved ones that have passed on. When you feel that your wish has been acknowledged, invoke the God by lighting the black taper God candle and saying:

“Dark Father, aged Consort of the Crone, Lord of the Underworld, Hear and behold Your child this night as I honor Thee and Thy realm. I stand between Thee and Thy Lady, asking for blessing and favor. As this time-out-of-time approaches, stand ever guard as the Veil lifts, Keep safe my ancestors, and all of my loved ones As they journey to the Summerlands”

Step back from the altar and concentrate on the God candle’s flame. If it rises and flickers, proceed. If not, silently project your wishes that your loved ones be kept safe on their journey. When you feel that your request has been acknowledged, step back up to the alter and pick up the apple, saying:

“Tonight as the barrier between the two realms grows thin,
Spirits walk amongst us, once again.
They be family, friends and foes,
Pets and wildlife, fishes and crows.
But be we still mindful of the Wee Folke at play,
Elves, fey, brownies, and sidhe.”

Cut the apple crosswise with the Bolline to reveal the symbolic pentagram at the core. Take a bite of one half of the apple and set it back on the Pentacle. (This apple and others will be buried outside later, after the ritual is done) Continue:

“Some to trick, some to treat,
Some to purposely misguide our feet.
Stay we on the paths we know
As planting sacred apples we go.”

Now take your wand in your projective hand to bless the “Feast of the Dead”. Wave it over the plate of fruits, vegetables, and breads, saying:

“This Feast I shall leave on my doorstep all night.
In my window one candle shall burn bright,
To help my loved ones find their way
As they travel this eve, and this night, until day.
Bless my offering, both Lady and Lord
Of breads and fruits, greens and gourd.”

Replace the wand on the altar, step back and bow your head. Stay silent for a minute or two as the blessing is given. Proceed by lighting the black votive candle in the cauldron and saying:

“Dark Mother Your cauldron is a well of death and rebirth,
Dark Father Your sword both protects and annihilates.
Hear me now as the past year slowly dies, only to be reborn again.
Today, the last of the Harvests is complete.
This symbolic harvest is of my thought-seeds,
Planted and nurtured throughout this past year.
May the good come to pass and the bad be cast aside.
With Your divine guidance and protection,
I step into the New Year,
May I have good health, prosperity, and happiness.”

With the flame of the black votive candle light the white pillar candle, saying:

“As the New Year is born, we are all reborn
With new hopes and dreams.
Guide me in the future as in the past.
Give me strength and courage,
Knowledge and fulfillment,
Assist me as I attempt to achieve my goals.”

Snuff the black votive candle and replace it. Remove the white pillar candle from the cauldron and place it in the center of your altar. Stare in to the flame and think about the goals that you are setting for the upcoming year. When done, say:

“Every beginning has an ending,
And every ending is a new beginning.
In Life is Death, and in Death is Life.
Watch over me, my loved ones, and all of my
Brothers and Sisters, here and departed,
Who, tonight are joined together again for
Fellowship and celebration.
Bless us all as we light our bonfires, our hearth fires,
And the eternal fires in our hearts.
Guide us and protect us,
Tonight and throughout the coming year.
Blessed Be! Blessed Be!”

As you say “Blessed Be!” stretch out your arms over your alter as if to embrace all of your ancestors, your departed loved ones, and everyone on Earth. As you say “Blessed Be” again, embrace yourself with a reborn love and pride.

It is now time for meditation and spellworking. Associated spellworkings would include those for protection, self-confidence, and dissuading harm. If there is no spellworking, celebrate with Cakes and Ale, then release the Circle. Clean up. You are done. Leave the white pillar candle burning somewhere it won’t be disturbed. Some use it as the single candle in their window, but I leave it on my altar and use an electric candle in the window to dissuade a fire!

***This Samhain Ritual and Planner are dedicated to MyztkM’jyk as she begins her Year and a Day study. We wish her wisdom and fulfillment…

–Adapted by: Akasha Ap Emrys for all of her friends and those of like mind.–
Copyright © 1997-99 Akasha, Herne and The Celtic Connection wicca.com. All rights reserved.


Yule Lore

Also called: Yule, Jul, Saturnalia, Christmas, solar/secular New Year, Winster Solstice

Scientifically speaking, a solstice is either of the two events of the year when the sun is at its greatest distance from the equatorial plane. The name is derived from Latin sol (sun) andsistere (stand still), because at the solstice, the Sun reaches a maximum or a minimum.  The cause of the seasons is that the rotation axis of the Earth is not perpendicular to its orbital plane, but at an angle. As a consequence, for half a year the northern hemisphere tips to the Sun, with the maximum around 21 June (summer Soltice), while for the other half year the earth tips away from the sun, with the maximum around 21 December (winter solstice).   Spiritually, Yule is one of the four minor Sabbats, which celebrates the rebirth of the Sun, the Sun God and honors the Horned God. Yule is the longest night of the year, when the balance is suspended and then gives way to the coming light. It is a time to look on the past year’s achievements and to celebrate with family and friends. In ancient times, the Winter Solstice corresponded with the Roman Saturnalia (Dec. 17-24), pagans fertility rites and various rites of Sun worship. This day is the official first day of winter. The Goddess gives birth to the Sun Child and hope for new light is born. The origins of most of the Christian Christmas traditions come from the Pagan Yule celebration, such as the Christmas tree, the colors red and green and gift giving. Yule is also known as the Winter Solstice, Midwinter, Alban Arthan, Finn’s Day, Festival of Sol, Yuletide, Great Day of the Cauldron, and Festival of Growth.  Children were escorted from house to house with gifts of clove spiked apples and oranges which were laid in baskets of evergreen boughs and wheat stalks dusted with flour. The apples and oranges represented the sun, the boughs were symbolic of immortality, the wheat stalks portrayed the harvest, and the flour was accomplishment of triumph, light, and life. Holly, mistletoe, and ivy not only decorated the outside, but also the inside of homes. It was to extend invitation to Nature Sprites to come and join the celebration. A sprig of Holly was kept near the door all year long as a constant invitation for good fortune to pay visit to the residents.

The ceremonial Yule log was the highlight of the festival. In accordance to tradition, the log must either have been harvested from the householder’s land, or given as a gift – it must never have been bought. Once dragged into the house and placed in the fireplace it was decorated in seasonal greenery, doused with cider or ale, and dusted with flour before set ablaze by a piece of last years log, (held onto for just this purpose). The log would burn throughout the night, then smolder for 12 days after before being ceremonially put out. Ash is the traditional wood of the Yule log. It is the sacred wood of the world tree from Norse Mythology also known as Yggdrasil. An herb of the Sun, Ash brings light into the hearth at the Solstice.

Yule is the birth of the Sun God, who will eventually chase away winter and bring summer and life back into the planet.  Although winter looks bare and cold, it is a time of hope and joy – a celebration of the warm seasons that lay ahead.  The days will grow longer instead of shorter and we can look forward to warmth of the sun being brought back into our days and nights.

Yule Gods and Goddess

Goddesses: Albina (Tuscan), Angerona (Roman), Anna Perenna (Roman), Fortuna (Roman), Gaia (Greek), Grian (Irish), Heket (Egyptian), Isis (Egyptian), Kefa (Egyptian), Lucina (Roman), Persephone (Greek), Rhiannon (Welsh)

Gods: all reborn and Sun Gods; Apollo (Greco-Roman), Attis (Anatolian), Balder (Norse), Cronos (Greek), Helios (Greek), Hyperion (Greek), Janus (Roman), Lugh (Irish), Oak/Holly King (Anglo-Celtic), Odin (Norse), Osiris (Egyptian), Ra (Egyptian), Saturn (Roman), Sol (Roman)

Yule Herbs

Holly, mistletoe, evergreen, poinsettia, bay, pine, ginger, myrrh, valerian, cinnamon, nutmeg, oak, orange.

Yule Incense

Rosemary, myrrh, nutmeg, saffron, cedar, pine, wintergreen, ginger, bayberry.

Yule Incense Recipe
by Scott Cunningham

2 parts frankincense
2 parts pine needles or resin
1 part cedar
1 part juniper berries

Yule Incense
From Wylundt’s Book of Incense

1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. pine
1 tsp. cedar
1 tsp. frankincense
1 tsp. myrrh
few drops mulberry oil

Yule Incense
From Wylundt’s Book of Incense
1 part cypress
1 part oak bark
1 part juniper berries

Yule Stones

Bloodstone, ruby, garnet, cat’s eye, clear quartz, jet, ruby, diamond, garnet, alexandrite, kunzite, citrine, green tourmaline, blue topaz, pearls

Yule Animals

Stags, squirrels, wren/robin, phoenix, trolls, memecolion.

Yule Foods
Roasted turkey, nuts, apples, caraway rolls, dried fruit, fruitcakes, gingerbread men, mulled wine, eggnog, wassail.

Yule Gingerbread
by Terri Paajanen

Holiday cookie cutters can turn your gingerbread into a festive treat.

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup butter
3 eggs
4 tbs milk
1/2 cup light molasses
2 tbs dark molasses
2 tbs ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda

PREPARATION:

Preheat your oven to 375F. Combine all the dry ingredients (except baking soda) in a large mixing bowl. Add 3 tbs of milk into a large saucepan along with the molasses (both) and butter. Melt together over low heat.

Add beaten eggs and flour mixture to the melted ingredients. Dissolve baking soda in remaining 1 tbs of milk, then add to the batter. Pour batter into a greased 10-inch baking pan. Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.

 

Wassail
by Terri Paajanen

One variety of wassail, or hot mulled apple cider. Make up a batch of this before you go Yule carolling.

INGREDIENTS:

4 litres apple juice or cider
1 lemon, chopped
1 orange, chopped
1 lime, chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground anise

PREPARATION:

Mix ingredients in a large enamel pot, and simmer for about an hour. Serve hot. Adding brandy or rum is a nice touch when served for adults

Roast Port with Rosemary
By Terri Paajanen

A very simple recipe that can play center-stage on your Yule table.

INGREDIENTS:

4 lb pork roast
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Rosemary, dried
Olive oil

PREPARATION:

Preheat your oven to 325F. Place the roast in a pan, then rub the meat first with olive oil and then the chopped garlic and rosemary. Pierce the pork with a knife and stick in some pieces of garlic and rosemary.
Cook for approximately 35-40 minutes per pound of meat.

Yule Altar

Colors: red, green, white, gold.
Decorations: mistletoe, holly, small Yule log, strings of colored lights, a candle in the shape of Kris Kringle, homemade wreath, presents wrapped in colorful paper.

Yule Spells and Ritual Work

Peace, harmony, love, increased happiness, a healthier planet, Personal renewal, world peace, honoring family & friends

Yule Activities

Yule Log

The Yule log has not survived into modern celebrations for the most part, and for most modern Heathens would be difficult to do without a fireplace or wood burning stove. You may therefore wish to set up a symbolic Yule log. You can carve it with wishes for the New Year, garland it, do what you wish. If you have a place you can burn it outside during Yuletide, you may wish to do so. Traditionally, the Yule log was brought in on Mothers’ Night, it was then set ablaze and hoped to burn all Twelve Nights (remember this log was nearly an entire tree to be burned in the long pits of a long house). Different areas had different customs concerning the Yule log. Everywhere the log was garlanded and decorated with ribbons prior to the procession to the longhouse. The procession was, as most procession during the holidays, a joyous one. Once burning no one could squint in the presence of the log, nor were barefooted women allowed around it. In Yorkshire, England, they practiced what is called mumping or gooding. Children would go begging and singing from house to house as the log was brought in. In other areas, the children were allowed to wassail the log the first night and drink to it.

Sing Pagan Solstice Carols

There are hundreds of pagan carols out there.  I strongly suggest you search for some that your family will enjoy!

Here are a few examples:

Joy to the World
(It Came Upon a midnight clear..)
=================================
Joy to the World, the Light has come
Let every heart, prepare Him room
And Heaven and Nature sing
And Heaven and Nature sing
And He-av’n and Heaven and Nature
sing!
Welcome our Lord, who brings us Light
Our Lady gives him birth!
His Living Light, to warm our hearts,
And wake the sleeping Earth (x3)
Light we the fires to greet our Lord
Our Light, our Life, our Lord!
Let every voice, sing holy praise
And Heaven and Nature sing (x3)

 

Silent Night
============
Silent night, Solstice Night
All is calm, all is bright
Nature slumbers in forest and glen
Till in Springtime She wakes again
Sleeping spirits grow strong!
Sleeping spirits grow strong!

Silent night, Solstice Night
Silver moon shining bright
Snowfall blankets the slumbering Earth
Yule fires welcome the Sun’s rebirth
Hark, the Light is reborn!
Hark, the Light is reborn!


Silent night, Solstice Night
Quiet rest till the Light
Turning ever the rolling Wheel
Brings the Winter to comfort and heal
Rest your spirit in peace!
Rest your spirit in peace!

 

Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful!
==========================
Oh, come, all ye faithful
Gather round the Yule fire
Oh, come ye, oh, come ye,
To call the Sun!
Fires within us
Call the Fire above us
O, come, let us invoke Him!
O, come, let us invoke Him!
O, come, let us invoke Him!
Our Lord, the Sun!

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee!
Born again at Yuletide!
Yule fires and candles flames
Are lighted for You!
Come to thy children
Calling for thy blessing!
O, come, let us invoke Him! (x3)
Our Lord, the Sun!


Yule Rituals

A Simple Solitary Yule Ritual
By Scott Cunningham in “A Guide for the Solitary Practioner”

Tools:

The altar is adorned with evergreens such as pine, rosemary, bay, juniper and cedar, and the same can be laid to mark the Circle of Stones. Dried leaves can also be placed on the altar.  The cauldron, resting on the altar on a heat proof surface (or placed before it if too large), 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.

1)      Arrange the altar, light the candles and incense, and cast the Circle of Stones.

2)      Recite the Blessing Chant.

3)      Invoke the Goddess and God.

4)      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.

5)      Ignite the cauldron (or candle), using long matches or a taper. As the flame(s) 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!

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

The wheel turns; the power burns.

7)      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 caldron. 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!

8)      Works of magick, if necessary, may follow. Celebrate the Simple Feast, the release the Circle.

 


Solitary Yule Ritual
By Asiya

Tools Needed

Holly sprig
Mistletoe sprig
Black votive candle
Green candle
White candle
Gold candle
Cauldron

Preparation

1) Place the gold God candle at right top of altar, and the white Goddess candle at the top left.2) Place your Cauldron to the right of the altar, with the black votive candle, Holly sprig around it, inside.

3) Cover cauldron with lid or cover plate. Place the green candle and mistletoe where they will be behind you at the beginning of the ritual.

The Ritual

1) Cast the circle.

“From the darkness is born the light,
From void, fulfillment emerges.
The darkest night of the year is at the threshold,
Open now the door, and honor the darkness.”

2) Take the lid/plate off the cauldron and light the black votive candle inside. Give silent honor to the Holly King, the ruler of the dark half of the year. Meditate on the seasons of the past year, and how their lessons have brought you to where you are today. When ready, begin again:

 

“Dark my surroundings, and cold be this night
But Your labor, Blessed Mother, has reborn the sacred Light.
The child divine, the most honored Sun
Shall return with the sunrise again; Two will be One.”

3) Remove the holly from around the black votive candle. With your projective hand (right if you’re right-handed, left if you’re left-handed), present the holly to the four elements.4) Then place it behind you, to signify the death of the Holly King. Turn back to the altar.

5) With your receptive hand, reach behind you, and bring forward the mistletoe and the green candle.

6) Present them to the elements, slide the mistletoe over the green candle and place the candle in the cauldron. Light the green candle with the black votive candle and say:

“Behold the rebirth of the King of the Woodlands!
Behold the Oak King, strong and vital he rises!”

7) Snuff the black votive candle and with your projective hand, place it behind you. Turn back to the cauldron, close your eyes, and silently honor the Oak King. Begin again:

“Awake now Your Mother, Your Lover, Your Lady
Awake now the Goddess of Life, Death, Rebirth.”

8) Take the green candle out of the cauldron and light the white Goddess candle on the altar. Put the green candle back into the cauldron. Take the white Goddess candle with both hands and hold out at arm’s length over the cauldron:

“Awaken, my Lady, look upon Your divine child,
His rebirth while You slumbered was subtle and silent.
The Stag King, the Green Man, Lord of Fertility,
He awaits Your wakening, gentle and benevolent.”

9) Place the white Goddess candle back in its holder. Assume the Goddess position. Say:

“All hail the Oak King; His rebirth, a promise.
All hail the divine child, Giver of Life.
All hail the blessed Sun, reborn to the Mother
For He retakes His throne at the end of Solstice Night!”

10) Meditation. Cakes and Ale.

11) Face the cauldron and the green candle still burning bright.

“Before my circle tonight, I close with blessings
I ask for this house and my kin.
Tomorrow at daybreak, when I arise
A special flame I will carry within.
And a gold candle upon my altar I’ll light
Adding my will to the Sun King’s intent
To climb aloft in the vaulted skies.
And for strength back to me; the strength I’ve sent.”

12) Snuff the green candle. Place the mistletoe on the pentacle. Close the circle.

13) Leave the gold God candle on your altar to light upon rising in the morning.


Winter Solstice Ritual

Tools:
In addition to your usual tools, you will need:

  • A Green Altar Cloth
  • A Cauldron w/Lid or Cover Plate
  • Holly Sprig Wreath
  • Mistletoe Sprig Wreath
  • 12 Low Vibration Stones (flat oval river rock work well)
  • 1 Black Votive Candle, 1 Green 12″ Taper Candle, 1 White 12″ Taper Candle, 1 Gold (12hr) Pillar Candle
  • Pine or Yule Incense
  • Bowl of Water w/ Pine Sprig in it
  • Plate of Sand
  • Athame
  • Other Personal Items of choice

Preparation

This ritual showed be performed right after sunset. About an hour before, sweep area moving in a deosil manner. Yule symbols such as Poinsettias, Pine Cones, and even a decorated Yule Log nearby (if too big for altar) adds to the ambiance.

1) Place the proper candles and symbols at the four cardinal directions.
2) Place the gold God pillar candle at right top of altar.
3) Place the white Goddess taper candle at the top left.
4) Place your Pentacle (or a plate with a Pentagram drawn on it) in the center of the altar.
5) Place your Cauldron to the right of the altar, with the black votive candle, Holly sprig wreath around it , inside. Cover cauldron with lid or cover plate.
6) Place the green taper candle and mistletoe wreath where they will be behind you at the beginning of the ritual.
7) Outline your circle perimeter with 11 of the low vibration stones (save 12th to close circle when you enter.
8) Place the rest of your tools and props according to personal preference.
9) Take a shower or bath for purity. Sit quietly for a period to ground and center.
10) When ready put on some soothing music associated with the Sabbat and your ritual.
11) Enter the standing stone circle and close with 12th stone.

The Ritual

1) Cast circle by envisioning flames of Yule colors red, green, and gold coming up between the stones. When all become a continuous line, step up to the altar and begin:

“From the darkness is born the light, From void, fulfillment emerges… The darkest night of the year’s at the threshold, Open now the door, and honor the darkness.”

2) Take the lid/plate off the cauldron and light the black votive candle inside. Step back from the cauldron and give silent honor to the Holly King, the ruler of the dark half of the year. Call quarters, start by lighting yellow candle in the East:

“Powers of Air, step forth from the darkness, Enter my circle , as dark gives ‘way to light. Bring along with you the essence of pine trees, Remind me of Springtime As I face Solstice Night.”

3) Light the pine incense and place on Pentacle/Center Plate. Light the red candle in the South:

“Powers of Fire, step forth from the darkness, Enter my circle, as dark gives ‘way to light, Bring along with you the first glint of tomorrow, Remind me of Summer As I face Solstice Night.”

4) Pick up the Athame and brandish it in the flame of the candle to reflect the light. Place on the Pentacle/Center Plate. Light the blue candle in the West:

“Powers of Water, step forth from the darkness, Enter my circle, as dark gives ‘way to light, Bring along with you bittersweet memories Remind me of Autumn As I face Solstice Night.”

5) Pick up the bowl of water, sprinkle water with pine sprig in Pentacle/Center Plate. Light brown candle in the North:

“Powers of Earth, step forth from the darkness, Enter my circle, as dark gives ‘way to light, Bring along with you the land that now slumbers, Remind me of Winter And this cold Solstice Night.”

6) Pick up the plate of sand, sprinkle sand in a line around the other symbols. Step back from the alter for a moment and contemplate the seasons of the past year, and how their lessons have brought you to where you are today. When ready, begin again:

“Dark my surroundings, and cold be this night But Thy labor, Blessed Mother Has reborn the Sacred Light… The Child Divine, The most honored Sun Shall return with the sunrise Again, Two will be One.”

7) Remove the Holly wreath from around the black votive candle. With your right hand, present it to the four elements in a deosil manner.

8) Finally, in a clockwise motion, place it behind you, to signify the death, “passing”, of the Holly King.

9) Turn back to the altar. Then with your left hand, reach behind you, and in a clockwise motion bring forward the Mistletoe wreath and the green candle. Present them to the elements, slide the wreath over the green candle and place the candle in its holder in the cauldron. Light the green candle with the black votive candle:

“Hark! Behold the Rebirth of the King of the Woodlands! Behold the Oak King, strong and vital he rises!” Snuff the black votive candle and with your right hand, place it behind you in a clockwise motion. Turn back to the cauldron, close your eyes, and silently honor the Oak King. Begin again: “Awake now Thy Mother, Thy Lover, Thy Lady – Awake now Thy Goddess of Life, Death, Rebirth.”

10) Take the green candle out of the cauldron and light the white Goddess candle on the altar. Replace the green candle in the cauldron. Take the white Goddess candle with both hands and hold out at arm’s length over the cauldron:

“Awaken, my Lady, look upon Thyne Divine Child, His rebirth while You slumbered Was subtle and silent. The Stag King, the Green Man, Lord of Fertility, He awaits Thy wakening Gentle and benevolent”

11) Place the white Goddess candle back in its holder at the left top of altar. Step back and assume the Goddess position. In a bold voice:

“All hail the Oak King, His rebirth; a promise All hail the Divine Child, Giver of Life All hail the Blessed Sun, reborn to the Mother For he retakes His throne at the end of Solstice Night!”

12) Now is the time for meditation and any spellworkings. Spellworkings associated with Yule include those for peace, harmony, love, and happiness. Next celebrate with the Cakes and Ale (Fruitcake* and Spiced Cider *) ceremony, saving some for the wee Folkes, outside.

13) Thank the Goddess and snuff Her candle. Thank and release the elements:

“Carry sweet tidings, ’round the world and beyond, I charge thee as messengers Earth, Water, Fire, and Air Let all rejoice loudly in the Oak King’s return Teach all that you meet, with the glad tidings you bear.”

14) Snuff each Quarter candle in a widdershins manner. Step back and face the cauldron and the green candle still burning bright.

“Before my circle, tonight, I close Blessings I ask for this house and my kin Tomorrow at daybreak, when I arise A special flame I will carry, within… And a gold candle upon my altar I’ll light Adding my will to the Sun King’s intent To climb aloft in the vaulted skies And for strength back to me; three times, strength I’ve sent.”

15) Snuff the green candle. Take the Mistletoe wreath and place it on the other symbols on the Pentacle/Center Plate. Release the circle. Clean up, leaving the gold God pillar candle in center front to light upon rising in the morning.

You are done.

References:

Adapted by Akasha Ap Emrys to share with all her friends and those of like mind–
Copyright © 1997-99 Akasha, Herne and The Celtic Connection wicca.com. All rights
reserved.


Family Yule Ritual

Because this is not a supper ritual we don’t do the standard Circle casting and calling of the quarters for it. Instead we just establish sacred time and Welcome the Goddess and the God.

This candle ritual is based on one by Ceisiwr Serith in his book THE PAGAN FAMILY. The best part about this ritual is that the kids have such fun doing it. Now when we talk about getting ready for Yule they know which ritual it will be: “Oh, goody! We get to turn off all the lights!” Although it’s a “fun” ritual for them, they’re actually remembering that Yule is The Winter Solstice and that means the dark time is coming to an end. We’ve established a family tradition which I hope they’ll carry on with their own kids. )

SPECIAL NOTES: This is the Winter Solstice. Solstice means “sun stands still.” This is the longest night of the year, the night that darkness rules. It also marks the turning though. From here on the days will slowly be getting a little bit longer and the light a little bit stronger as the Wheel turns back towards Springtime. Yule is halfway around the Wheel Year from Midsummer, which is the Summer Solstice. It’s the first official day of Winter. Most of the customs that come to us today about Christmas originated in Pagan times with Yule. Like bringing a tree into the house, and decorating it with fruit and popcorn. Or putting candles in the windows. And let’s not forget the holly and the ivy. Or the songs, like Deck the Halls. Or the stories. One of our family’s favorites is “THE FIRST SONG.” It was written by Andras Arthen of MotherTongue and can be found on their album: THIS WINTER’S NIGHT. I will include it in a separate posting for those who would like it.

EXTRA SUPPLIES: Seasonal decorations, a bell, the Sun candle (we use a 9-inch yellow pillar candle), a small votive candle for each person at the table (it’s nice if your child can have their favorite color) and the safety lighter.

***

Begin by having the children turn off all the lights all over the house, to simulate the dark of the year.

Be sure to explain to younger kids why you’re doing this, before you start, so they don’t get scared. If you have an upstairs have them start there first. Making sure you leave a light on on the stairs so they can find their way back down. Younger children will probably need an escort, since the dark is scary for them, even if this ritual is supposed to be fun. Work your way back towards the ritual table, turning everything off as you go. When you’re ready everyone should be gathered around the table and the house should be in complete darkness, except for one candle to read by.

The Adult says quietly:

Tonight is the Winter Solstice
The night that we celebrate Yule.
Tonight is the longest night of the year
The night when darkness will rule.

Making sure the safety lighter is right at hand, the Adult blows out the last candle, plunging the room into darkness. Keep the little ones close so they don’t get scared because the house will be very dark and very quiet. Sit there in the quiet and let the dark grow. After a minute the adult says:

But the light will turn this night

Click the lighter and let flame burn brightly for a second. Then end with:

To return
And turn the dark to light once more.

The adult then lights the Sun candle and says:

Tonight the dark time ends.

Pause for a moment and then continue:

Since Midsummer the Wheel has turned
Bringing us into the dark time.
But tonight the dark ends.
It is Yule, the Winter Solstice.
And from here the days will get longer
The Sun will start to grow stronger
Winter’s hold will be loosened
And soon Spring will come back.

The adult lights his/her candle from the Sun candle and places it in the middle of the table saying:

The Wheel is turning
The light is returning!

Then each person at the table, starting with the adults and proceeding to each child from the oldest, lights their candle from the sun candle and repeats:

The Wheel is turning
The light is returning!

When everyone has had their turn and all the candles are lit, bask in the glow of the candle light. Now is a good time to talk about the importance of light to the different celebrations of this holiday season.

Pagans have the Yule log, Christians light Advent candles, Jews light the menorah for Hanukkah and African-Americans, the kinara for Kwanzaa. (If you’re looking for a neat holiday video for the kids, pick up THE PUZZLE PLACE Christmas tape. It doesn’t actually say “pagan” but it handles the whole light thing very nicely) The meaning of the light might vary from culture to culture but they have in common that all their rituals take place on or near the Winter Solstice. This then should be a time of great celebration and rejoicing. Yule might be the longest night of the year, but it marks the return of the Sun. The change won’t come over night of course, but the Wheel has turned and spring is on the way.

When you’re ready send the kids hurrying through the house to turn all the lights back on — and I mean ALL the lights. Every light in every room should be turned on (at least for a little while) to drive away all the darkness and shadows.

When everyone is back at the table the Adult says:

Winter is a time of darkness.
But it doesn’t last forever.
It is only a stop on the Wheel
And soon the Wheel will turn again
And bring us back to Spring.
This is the lesson the Earth teaches us,
That no matter how dark it gets
The light always returns.
The night will always end
And a new day begin.

Now you can put out the Yule candles. The Adult goes first and says:

May the light of the Yule candles
Burn in our hearts
All throughout the Winter
And through the coming year.
Blessings of the Season on us all.

Each person extinguishes their candle (using a candle snuffer or long metal spoon for safety) in the same order they lit them. As they put it out have them say: Blessings of the season on us all. The ritual is over!

References:

Excerpts from A WICCAN PRIMER: Rituals for Children ©1996 Wind*Dancer

 


Yule Songs

OH, COME, ALL YE FAITHFUL!
-Ellen Reed

Oh, come all ye faithful
Gather round the Yule Fire
Oh, come ye, oh, come ye,
To call the Sun!
Fires within us
Call the Fire above us
O, come, let us invoke Him!
O, come, let us invoke Him!
O, come, let us invoke Him!
Our Lord, the Sun!

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee!
Born again at Yuletide!
Yule fires and candle flames
Are lighted for You!
Come to thy children
Calling for thy blessing!
O, come let us invoke Him (x3)
Our Lord, the Sun!

SILENT NIGHT
-Ellen Reed

Silent night, Solstice Night
All is calm, all is bright
Nature slumbers in forest and glen
Till in Springtime She wakens again
Sleeping spirits grow strong!
Sleeping spirits grow strong!

Silent night, Solstice night
Silver moon shining bright
Snowfall blankets the slumbering Earth
Yule fireswelcome the Sun’s rebirth
Hark, the Light is reborn!
Hark, the Light is reborn!

Silent night, Solstice night
Quiet rest till the Light
Turning ever the rolling Wheel
Brings the Winter to comfort and heal
Rest your spirit in peace!
Rest your spirit in peace!

GLORY TO THE NEW BORN KING
-Ellen Reed (1st verse)

Brothers, sisters, come to sing
Glory to the new-born King!
Gardens peaceful, forests wild
Celebrate the Winter Child!
Now the time of glowing starts!
Joyful hands and joyful hearts!
Cheer the Yule log as it burns!
For once again the Sun returns!
Brothers, sisters, come and sing!
Glory to the new-born King!

Brothers, sisters, singing come
Glory to the newborn Sun
Through the wind and dark of night
Celebrate the coming light.
Suns glad rays through fear’s cold burns
Life through death the Wheel now turns
Gather round the Yule log and tree
Celebrate Life’s mystery
Brothers, sisters, singing come
Glory to the new-born Sun.

YE CHILDREN ALL OF MOTHER EARTH
-Ellen Reed
( Tune: “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear”)

Ye children all of Mother Earth
join hands and circle around
To celebrate the Solstice night
When our lost Lord is found.
Rejoice, the year has begun again
The Sun blesses skies up above
So share the season together now
In everlasting Love!

GLORIA
-Ellen Reed

Snow lies deep upon the Earth
Still our voices warmly sing
Heralding the glorious birth
Of the Child, the Winter King
Glo — ria!
In excelsis Deo!
Glo — ria!
In excelsis Dea!

Our triumphant voices claim
Joy and hope and love renewed
And our Lady’s glad refrain
Answer Winter’s solitude
Glo — ria!(etc.)

In Her arms a holy Child
Promises a glowing Light
Through the winter wind so wild
He proclaims the growing Light.
Glo — ria! (etc..)

Now the turning of the year
Of the greater Turning sings
Passing age of cold and fear
Soon our golden summer brings.
Glo — ria! (etc..)

HARK THE NEO-PAGANS SING
-“Sunblade”
(Tune: “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”)

Hark the neo-Pagans sing,
Glory to the Holly King!
Peace on Earth and mercy mild,
God and Goddess reconciled,
Hear us now as we proclaim:
We have risen from the flames!
Our ancient Craft now we reclaim,
In the God and Goddess’ names
Hark the neo-Pagans sing,
Glory to the Holly King!

Herne by highest love adored,
Herne the ever-reborn Lord,
At all times behold Him come,
Offspring of the Holy One,
Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see,
Hail Incarnate Deity!
Our ancient Craft now we reclaim,
in the God and Goddess’ names
Hark the neo-Pagans sing,
Glory to the Holly King!