Posts Tagged ‘sabbat’

Beltane—Stephen Reszler

July 30, 2012

May is the time of fertility and new beginnings after a long winter. The Faeries are afoot! They dance in the hills and roll in the grass, reveling in the joy of warm May breezes. Our spirits are high with the lust and heartiness of spring. New life is stirring and appetites are keen. -Laurie Cabot, Celebrate the Earth

 

Beltane, like Samhain, is a time of “no time” when the veils between the two worlds are at their thinnest. It is a time when the two worlds intermingle and unite and the magic abounds! It is the time when the Faeries return from their winter respite, carefree and full of faery mischief and faery delight. Beltane kicks off the merry month of May, and has a long history. This fire festival is celebrated on May 1 with bonfires, Maypoles, dancing, and lots intimate energy. The Celts honored the fertility of the Goddess with gifts and offerings. Cattle were driven through the smoke of the balefires, and blessed with health and fertility for the coming year and for the same reason people and especially couples would also walk between the fires. In Ireland, the fires of Tara were the first ones lit every year at Beltane, and all other fires were lit with a flame from Tara.

The Romans, always known for celebrating holidays in a big way, spent the first day of May paying tribute to their Lares, the gods of their household. They also celebrated the Floralia, or festival of flowers, which consisted of three days of unbridled sexual activity. Participants wore flowers in their hair (much like May Day celebrants later on), and there were plays, songs, and dances. At the end of the festivities, animals were set loose inside the Circus Maximus, and beans were scattered around to ensure fertility. The fire festival of Bona Dea was also celebrated on May 2nd.

The excitement and beauty of Beltane can not be better expressed than through the gaiety and joy of children. There is not doubt “spring fever” hits at Beltane, and hits hard. Children are full of unbridled energy charged up and ready to go! Children always amplify the seasonal energies and the thrill of their change, they bring richness and merriment wherever they go. It is the child’s unrestrained expression of bliss and delight that is what Beltane is all about. It is the sheer joy of running through fields, picking flowers, rupturing in the sunlight, delighting in the fragrance of spring, dancing in the fresh dew covered grass. Children guide us through the natural abandonment of our adult sensibilities and show us how to take grand pleasure, warmth and bliss from the gift of Beltane.

 

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Sabbat Ostara – Linda Kean

June 10, 2012

Ostara or Eostre in the Germanic tradition, is the celebration of the spring equinox and is celebrated on March 21st. This is a time for renewal of the earth. With the spring coming all of life on earth is renewed. The snow begins to melt and the world again beginnings to warm allowing the grass and trees and all of nature to awaken again from its slumber. It is the time to plant seedlings and to prepare the land for the late spring planting which will be harvested in the fall. It is the celebration of the balance of light and dark as the sun begins to shed more light in each day.  

Ostara is the Goddess of fertility and she bring renewal and new life. It is said that Ostara loved all creatures of the planet and was a mother to every one of them. One day she found a wounded bird and to save the it she transformed it into a hare. The transformation from bird to hare was complete except for the laying of eggs. This hare still laid eggs. For saving the animals life, the hare would take it’s eggs and decorate them as an offering to Ostara. On this Sabbat we color eggs and give them as an offering to her in honor of her life giving gifts. Ostara brings us new beginnings and renews life. She is the Goddess

 

What Samhain means to me—Sheila Santiago

June 10, 2012

 

Samhain aka Halloween has been my favorite holiday, and my favorite day of the year my entire life.

When I was younger it was to me the most fun and mysterious day of the year, I knew there was more to it than putting on a cool costume and trick or treating with my family and friends…I didn’t know what then but I knew I wanted to find out!

While I was in school it was the best time of the year because we got to dress up in school and have parties celebrating the day and then when we got home we got to party with our family and friends and go trick-or-treating around the neighborhood…all day and all night long the day was filled with laughter and joy and mischievous moments and I looked forward to it more than any other occasion all year long.

As I got older my love for this holiday grew in my heart even more and I even had this dream of one day getting married on my favorite day and making the celebration a permanent fixture in my life as not only my favorite holiday but also my anniversary!

I always knew that if I ever got married it would have to be to someone who shared my love for Halloween and who also understood that I now celebrated the day as Samhain after finally finding out the true meaning of the day and embracing my life as a Witch as a young adult. It took me a long time to find my path in life but when I discovered that being a Witch was more than just dressing up as one for Halloween I knew I was finally home. All those years I knew there was a reason I was so drawn to the Sabbats and to nature and the moon…and why I felt it was so important to celebrate Halloween, I know now it was because it is the mark of the Celtic New year for us Witches and also a time to remember those that have passed!

I was honoring that which I did not know for so many years, that when I finally found out it all made sense and I knew that I had always been a Witch and that I always will be.

I was still in search of love and hoping that I could find someone who shared my views or at least respected them and so I put my Witchy skills to use and made a Love summoning spell to bring me a love that shared my views and passion and before I knew it there he was AND he was a Witch! A match made in the cauldron and a love until the Summerland’s. And guess what else? His favorite holiday is also Samhain!

We were married on October 31st 2009 outside in a park and held a costume party reception and we hold big Halloween parties bash every year to commemorate not only our love for each other but our love of the most important day in our Witchy lives, Samhain!

 

Sabbat Ostara – Linda Kean-Lorman

May 4, 2010

Ostara or Eostre in the Germanic tradition, is the celebration of the spring equinox and is celebrated on March 21st. This is a time for renewal of the earth. With the spring coming all of life on earth is renewed. The snow begins to melt and the world again beginnings to warm allowing the grass and trees and all of nature to awaken again from its slumber. It is the time to plant seedlings and to prepare the land for the late spring planting which will be harvested in the fall. It is the celebration of the balance of light and dark as the sun begins to shed more light on each day.

Ostara is the Goddess of fertility and she bring renewal and new life. It is said that Ostara loved all creatures of the planet and was a mother to every one of them. One day she found a wounded bird and to save the it she transformed it into a hare. The transformation from bird to hare was complete except for the laying of eggs. This hare still laid eggs. For saving the animals life, the hare would take it’s eggs and decorate them as an offering to Ostara. On this Sabbat we color eggs and give them as an offering to her in honor of her life giving gfts. Ostara brings us new beginnings and renews life. She is the Goddess who helps us begin and live again.

SAMHAIN OCTOBER 31ST, AKA HALLOWEEN By: Sheila Santiago

October 16, 2008

 

Among the many meanings of Samhain there are these, it marks the end of the third and final harvest, it is a day to commune with and remember the dead, and it is a celebration of the eternal cycle of reincarnation as well as the Celtic New Year.

Samhain marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter for the Celts, with the day after Samhain being the official date of the Celtic New Year.

In European traditions, Samhain is the night when the old God dies and the crone Goddess mourns him deeply for the next 6 weeks. The popular image of her as the old Halloween hag menacingly stirring her cauldron comes from the Celtic belief that all dead souls return to her cauldron of Life, Death, and rebirth to await reincarnation.

Unfortunately our crone Goddess has been the object of fear and revulsion of modern societies, and this was definitely not the way our pagan ancestors viewed her.

Samhain is popularly known today as Halloween, a contraction of the words “Hallowed Evening,” and it retains much of the original form and meaning it had long ago in Celtic lands, despite the efforts of the church to turn it into an observance of feasting and prayer for their vast pantheon of saints.

Even after their efforts so much Samhain lore and practice remained within the popular culture that the church was finally forced to Diabolize Samhain into a night boiling with evil spirits.

The pagan Samhain is not, and never was, associated with evil or negativity.

The idea that evil spirits walk the earth at Samhain is a misinterpretation of the pagan belief that the veil of consciousness which separates the land of the living from the land of the dead is at its thinnest on this night.

In nearly all the western pagan traditions, deceased ancestors and other friendly spirits are invited to join the Sabbat festivities, and be reunited with loved ones who are otherwise separated by time and dimension of existence.

While it is true that Samhain is no more evil than any other holiday, it is also a fact that evil does exist, and pagans have always been aware of this.

Our ancestors sought to protect themselves on this night by carving faces in vegetables to place near windows or at the perimeters of their circle. These were the forerunners of our present day jack-o’-lanterns. Today it is still custom to leave candles in windows to guide the earth-walking spirits along their way and to leave plates of food out for the visiting spirits.

It was this custom of leaving out food which evolved into our modern trick or treat.

The jack-o’-lantern is at least two thousand years old. They were designed to frighten away evil spirits who were following deceased loved ones and blocking their way into the land of the dead, and also to protect the living.

Today they are seen as offering protection through the dark October nights.

The third and final harvest is in relation to livestock. The predominately herding cultures of Britain and Eastern Europe slaughtered much of their livestock before Samhain rather than trying to feed the animals on the foliage through the long winters.

A great Samhain feast would then have fresh meat, with Pig being a traditional meat especially in the Middle East where they were sacred to the Goddesses of that region. It was an effort to wipe out Goddess worship that the Jews (and later Muslims) banned the consumption of pork.

So what do we pagans/wiccans do on Samhain?

We gather to celebrate the lives of loved ones who have passed on and we invite their spirits to join us in the celebration. We gather to celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of winter. We gather to celebrate with our friends and families the end of the harvesting season.

Our children go trick or treating and carve pumpkins. We have parties, we drink apple cider and eat great feasts.

We celebrate life, death, and rebirth! Blessed Be!

 * An excerpt of this Samhain article was taken from the book: SABBATS By: Edain McCoy.