Northern Hemisphere: Dec 21 / Southern Hemisphere: June 21
From this day forward light begins to return
and we celebrate the rebirth of the Sun God.
Yule is the time to celebrate the return of the waxing sun. Light and life can be seen to be returning and conquering death. Yule is a turning point, a point of change, where the tides of the year turn and begin to flow in the opposite direction. It is the darkest time of the year, the time of the longest night, but there is the promise of the return of light.
Candlemas / Imbolc
Northern Hemisphere: Feb 2 / Southern Hemisphere: August 1
Celebrate the first glimpses of Spring.
It is also dedicated to the Celtic Goddess Brigid.
Non-Pagans celebrate today as Groundhog Day.
Now is the time for the banishing of Winter and the welcoming of Spring. We welcome the Goddess, reborn as the Flower Maiden. She has passed through her phase as the Hag, Crone or Wise One, and is a Maiden again. Bride or Brigid is a three-fold Celtic Goddess who has been Christianized into St. Brigid, whose day is celebrated on Imboc. What was born at the Solstice begins to manifest, and this is the time for individuation, as we each light our own light, and set ourselves tasks and challenges. We nurture and kindle our resolutions and begin to look outwards again, do outer activity, although first we must look deep within to discover what potential lies there waiting to be fulfilled.
Spring Equinox / Lady Day / Ostara
Northern Hemisphere: March 21 / Southern Hemisphere: Sept 21
A time of balance ; equal day and equal night; magic and rebirth.
This festival is named after the Anglo-Saxon Goddess Ostara or Eostre. The days grow lighter and the earth grows warmer. This is the time of spring's return, the joyful time, the seed time, when life bursts forth from the earth and the chains of winter are broken. It is a time of balance when all the elements within must be brought into New Harmony.
May Day / Beltane
Northern Hemisphere May 1 / Southern Hemisphere: November 1
A celebration of fertility, growth and dancing around the May Pole.
Beltane is also known as “Roodmas” or “Walpurgis Night”, and symbolizes the start of Spring, one of the most important festivals of the Pagan year. This is the time of year when crops begin to grow, when animals bear their young, and when people came out of houses after being cooped up during the long dark months of winter. One of the principal characters associated with the Beltane festivities is the “Queen of May”. The May Queen is usually a young maiden selected from the previous years “Maidens in Waiting” and crowned with a ring of fresh flowers. Among their duties were to lead the Beltane procession around the village, and start the day’s festivities and games, later awarding prizes to the victors.Perhaps the most recognised symbol associated with the Beltane festivities is the Maypole. To the Celts who started the custom, the Maypole was a phallic symbol representing fertility.
Northern Hemisphere: June 21 / Southern Hemisphere December 21
The longest day of the year, and the strength of the Sun begins to wane.
At the Summer Solstice the sun is at its highest and brightest and the day is at its longest. The Solstice is the celebration of light's triumph over darkness and that of the bountiful beauty that light brings into life. It a celebration with much joy and much feasting. In the past, bonfires were leapt to encourage fertility, purification, health and love. Midsummer is a time for magick of all kinds.
Northern Hemisphere: August 1 / Southern Hemisphere: Feb 1
The first of the three harvest festivals,
celebrating harvest grains and making of bread.
Lammas marks the middle of summer and beginning of the harvest season. Lammas is considered a time of thanksgiving and is the first of the three Pagan harvest festivals. The Sun's strength begins to wane and the plants of spring begin to wither and drop their fruits or seeds for our use as well as to ensure future crops. At this time, we become conscious of the sacrifice the Sun God is preparing to make. We experience a sense of abundance at the same time we begin to feel an urgency to prepare for the death of winter. First grains and fruits of the Earth are cut and stored for winter.
Autumn Equinox / Mabon
nnNorthern Hemisphere: Sept 21 / Southern Hemisphere: March 21
Day and night are equal again, and the weather grows colder as winter approaches.
The second harvest festival.
The Pagan Thanksgiving for the harvest. It's the season of changing colors; crisp air filled with the scent of wood smoke; and festivals offering wine, hot cider, and apple pie. At this time of equal day and night, we give thanks for the harvest that will sustain us through the dark winter months. Mabon is the second of the three harvests, and particularly as a celebration o the vine harvests and of wine. It is also associated with apples as symbols of life renewed.
All Hallows Eve / Samhain
Northern Hemisphere: Oct 31 / Southern Hemisphere: April 30
.The most widely celebrated amongst non-Pagans.
It is the last harvest festival. The end of the Witch’s year..
It is the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. At Samhain we look back and take stock of the past year and contemplate what we have learned. Samhain is also the time to face our shadow, the dark side of ourselves. Samhain is a time of transformation and inner work. It is also a time of remembrance. The veil is thinnest between the worlds and we call on the spirits of the dead and invite them to feast with us on this, It is a time of endings, but also a time of beginnings, as Samhain is the Pagan New Year's Eve festival.