Tag Archives: wheel of the year

Thoughts to the harvests

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We’ve passed the Zenith of the year (Midsummer) and must look to the Harvest holidays that soon approach.

Pagans celebrate three harvests in our solar year;

Lammas (or Lughnasadh)- August 1- also known as ‘loaf mass’ celebrates the harvest of the grains. This also celebrates Lugh, the mythic  Sun king, with fairs and games.

Mabon (autumn equinox)- September 23 2014, celebrates the fruits, such as apples and grapes, and the abundance in our lives. This holiday is named after Mabon son of Modron, which is mentioned in the Arthurian legends.

Samhain (October 31) celebrates the end of all harvest, when crops and herds are harvested for the winter months. Preparations for winter should be completed by this time. Samhain is also recognized as the Celtic New Year, with this day belonging to neither the old year or the new, where the Veil between the worlds of mortals and the dead/Fey is thinnest.

034I walk my dog every day down by the Potomac River, and I get to see the gradual changes of the season. I see fruits forming on Blackberry bushes, tomatoes in my back yard, and young Canadian geese full feathered and growing fast for the Autumn trek to the North.

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Our Concord Grape arbor is lush with fruit, not quite purple. When its ready, we make jelly and juice, and once we gave the harvest to a meadary which made a special mead for that season.

Not all pagans have literal gardens/harvests. There is also the symbolic crops we plant in the form of goals and dreams. Like gardens, those goals and wishes need tending, sometimes weeding, and occasionally, you might find some things just don’t come to fruition.

Failed harvests, whether real or symbolic, offers a lesson to learn to do better. I re-evaluate the goal, ask myself if I really wanted it in the first place, and face the facts if I gave enough effort to help it come to harvest.

Sometimes its because I didn’t put enough effort into it, while other times, its just how Life works. Either case, don’t let it drag you down- learn from it, and do better next time.

Its this attitude that helps me accomplish goals, even if takes much longer than expected.

What ‘seeds’ have you planted this year? Are you seeing results yet? Post in comments. I’d love to hear from you.

Book of Shadows Assignment: Write down what you’ve done to help the wishes and goals come to harvest. What more do you need to do? When do you hope to see the end product of your goal?

Harvest time

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Most American know Thanksgiving as a time to celebrate harvest but also the blessings in our lives. For pagans, we celebrate three harvests in the year;

Lammas– “Loaf Mass’ celebrates the first harvest of the grains. This is also called Lughnasadh,  Corn and wheat are symbols of the resurrecting god of the harvest, so breads and grain-based recipes are often included in ritual.

Mabon– (named after Mabon ap Madron) Celebrates the Autumn Equinox and the fruit harvests. Apples are very popular at this harvest as well as bonfires and lots of frolicking with dancing.

Samhain– The final harvest celebrates the final fruition of any and all harvests left in the field, and includes the culling of herds to ready for winter. This is the time to honor the dead.

I’ll be posting more of these holidays as they draw near.

Autumn Bucket List– I’m making one of my own lists to do this year. This link gave me lots of ideas.

Happy Bread Recipe– I want to try making this for Lammas. Just the look is enough for me. It looks like the sun.

Make an Autumn wreath for your door. You can use ribbon to add a pentacle as well.

Beltane activities 2013

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I’m loving this beautiful spring weather. Taking my dog on regular walks along the river offers ample opportunity to be around nature and enjoy the scent, sights, and sounds of Life.

The meetup group gathers at my house tomorrow (or rather tonight being its so late with typing this up), and we’re celebrating Beltane. Technically, the date is May 1st, but some members couldn’t join at that time. I’m pretty flexible, and I think its more important to accommodate a group than to recognize a specific date.

IMG_1968Beltane, which means Brilliant Fire, celebrates when the herds are moved to their summer pastures. It also marks the season of fertility where sex is prominent, when the god and goddess form a union to bring Life into the world.

Some prominent activities include dancing a May Pole (which represents the phallus), and jumping over or between fires to make wishes and be purified/protected.

I like this idea from cyberwitch.com;

Cakes played a major role in many Beltane customs. A popular one was called the ‘knobby cake’. A cake was baked with nine lumps or ‘knobs’ on it, each one dedicated to a Deity, or Supernatural Being, or to an animal which threatened livestock. Each participant broke off a knob and threw it over the left shoulder, into the fire, saying, for example: "This is for you, gnomes, don’t steal my milk," or "This is for you, fox, spare thou my lambs."

This is fun to do even now. Since we (most of us) don’t live in an agrarian society, we might say something like: "This is for you, (name of employer), spare me my job!" Just remember, when you re-create an old custom, it should have valid meaning today.

Other activities to consider;

Feasting– I love potlucks with friends. Its fun to be surprised with meal choices, and eating food with others provokes its own kind of magick. Mead, sparkling cider or juices, fruit, dairy foods and Irish dishes (being Beltane is an Irish holiday), and anything that makes the day special.

Crafts– Popular crafts for Beltane include May baskets, floral head wreaths, masks, build fairy houses, ribbon wands, dance ribbons, make an altar sized maypole (video), and other May activities (video.

Frolicking– This is a whimsical, magical holiday. Dance in the woods, be playful, join in games, a hike, a picnic, but most important- have fun.

What fun traditions do you enjoy at Beltane? Post in comments