Nature is ever changing – interweaving its sublime tapestry through our physical and spiritual lives. From ancient times the movements of the sun and moon, the migrations of animals and the growth and decay of crops and wild foods have all been marked and celebrated in some way or other.
Solar events such as the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes and the Summer and Winter Solstices were marked and honoured by our Ancestors. There is also evidence to suggest that the cross quarter days in between these solar events were also celebrated. In Celtic traditions these cross quarter events became known as fire festivals – Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain. They were often celebrated in conjunction with a full or new moon and a public bonfire and were of great significance to the people.
As well as reminding us about physical survival – sowing seed, reaping the harvest etc., these times also marked a shift in the veil between us and the Spirit World – they became a time of magick *. A time to honour the faeries, the nature spirits, gods, goddesses and of course the Ancestors. In short they were sacred times.
Many of us now seek to remember and draw upon these traditions once again for spiritual nourishment as modern society disconnects us from our Souls.
The Wheel of the Year – the turning of nature through the seasons – from the soft, sublime first shoots of Spring into the heat and abundance of Summer, moving into the fiery reds and oranges of the Autumnal displays to the dark and cold of Winter nights – it is a never-ending cycle of birth, growth, death and renewal.
Working in conjunction with the turning of the Wheel – a conscious celebration – aligns us with the natural rhythm of life – allowing us to walk in our Ancestors’ footsteps and to experience the magick and wonder of life all around us.
Celtic Spirituality was much like animist traditions such as Shamanism. It recognises the spirit in everything – the trees, rivers, stones, mountains, lakes, sky, sun, moon, … all have spirit. The Celts saw gods and goddesses in these things and honoured them accordingly. In Shamanic traditions we honour Great Spirit in everything and understand that everything is a part of the Great Spirit.
Despite this culture and viewpoint waning with the expansion of the Roman Empire and the introduction of Christianity, in Ireland and other Celtic areas such as Brittany, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man, the traditions persisted. The gods and goddesses may have been reduced to saints or faeries but the mythology and traditions of ceremony and magick are still practised – even in Christian households.
For example, the Christmas Tree is actually an ancient pagan tradition of celebrating Yule by bringing in an evergreen tree and decorating it with wishes for the new year, bells to attract and welcome the faeries, and lights to welcome the return of the Sun. Easter also has pagan roots – it is based on the celebration of the Spring Equinox, called Ostara in the Wiccan calendar. This is named after the Germanic Goddess Ostara – the Goddess of the Dawn. It is believed that eggs were ritually eaten and exchanged in her honour. Eggs are symbolic of creation and represent the cyclical rebirth of nature.
Another Goddess linked to that time of year is the Saxon Goddess, Eostre. She is the Goddess of Fertility and it is believed that rabbits were sacred to her. She is associated with dawn, rebirth and Spring. Even the name Easter appears to be derived from the goddess’ name, Eostre.
It is easy to see therefore that these Pagan traditions have found their way into our modern celebrations of Easter, with the Easter bunny and Easter Eggs! It is also interesting to note that in the Christian tradition Easter is a movable festival, depending on the moon (sounds very Pagan to me!) In 325 CE the Council of Nicaea established that Easter would be held on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox. From that point forward, the Easter date depended on the ecclesiastical approximation of March 21 for the vernal equinox. Easter is delayed by 1 week if the full moon is on Sunday, which decreases the chances of it falling on the same day as the Jewish Passover.
The more you look, the more you see – we have not lost our old traditions, they have just morphed into “Christianised” holidays.
As we move through the Wheel of the Year from January to December we celebrate 8 major Sabbat festivals – Imbolc in February, Ostara in March, Beltane in May, Litha in June, Lughnasadh in August, Mabon in September, Samhain in October and Yule in December.
Alongside these 8 Sabbat festivals are the esbats or celebrations of the 13 full moons of the year. Each moon has a name and a particular theme and throughout the year ritual plans will be offered to you as suggestions if you decide to join us on the course.
Crafts and recipes for the time of year will also be suggested alongside visualisations, ceremonies and much more.
If you want to –
- Discover magick with seasonal blessings, charms and spells;
- Re-discover the gods and goddesses, nature spirits and faeries and call them into your life;
- Work with the ever changing heavens – the stars, moon phases and sun cycles;
- Enjoy magickal crafts and herbal remedies; and
- Deepen your experiences with rituals, ceremonies, celebrations and visualisations;
then this membership course may be for you!
The content is currently being created and finalised but I’d love your input. To register your interest for the new course and to help put your stamp on the content please click here.
You will be taken to a sign up page (no obligation or payment details needed) – you will simply be asked for your name and email address and then you can log into a private area where you will be asked to answer 5 short questions.
Once you answer the questions you will receive an email with a free Ritual Planner in it as a thank you for your time and you will then be the first to be offered a spot on the course when it goes live in January 2020.
This course will be a monthly membership course at £9.99 per month which you can cancel at any time if you decide it is not for you. For those who wish to remain on the course it will have fresh content added each calendar month to help you work in alignment with the Wheel of the Year. Bonus content will be unlocked each month and you will also be invited to join our Wiccan Wishes Facebook Community – a private group where you can connect with like-minded souls and enjoy support and guidance.
* Note the spelling of magick with a ‘k’ separates the magickal practice of Wiccan tradition from the circus magic acts or TV magicians.