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Sabbats

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The Druid Sabbats

In the 1940's, Ross Nichols, a druid, discovered the eight primary sabbats while looking through celtic myths and legends. It wasnt until 1964 that these sabbats were recognized and accepted among the druid community. Now it is commonplace among not only druids, but wiccans and all pagans alike.

Samhuinn

Northern Hemisphere: October 31

Southern Hemisphere: May 6

Pronounced "Sow-inn", meaning 'summer's end', it is the beginning and the end of the Celtic year. In Welsh it is "Calan Gaeaf." The Celebration starts on the eve of October 31 and continues through November 1st. On the 31st, animals would be chosen from the herds to be slaughtered, and thanks given for their sacrifice. The meat was preserved and any late harvests would be completed. The veil that divides the earthly world from the otherworld is thinnest at this time and those who have died in the year past can make the journey most easily now. New spirits join the otherworld while ones who have already passed through may return to communicate. All those who have passed are honored with gifts and communications of love and thanks. At this time we sacrifice of ourselves and that which comes from deep introspection of what has transpired in the year past. We give thanks to those who have passed for all the inner aspects of ourselves, and for their knowledge passed down, and for everything that they have given and sacrificed for us. November 1st would bring great feasting and joy, for a new year and a new cycle. Samhuinn is the fold between the new and old, the time between life and rebirth. Samhuinn is the time to honor those who have passed and to acknowledge their return. This is the time of year when the veil between worlds/realms is thinnest. The time when spirits can cross between and humans are able to see them. It is also the time of the hunt, when meat is sought for the coming year. At the first of the new year each person is given mead and a toast is made. Often children are only given a spoonful. The toast is Bliadhna mhath ur dhuit "A good New Year to you." The response is Mar sin duit fhein is moran diu "The same to you, and many of them." "First-footing" is treated very seriously. The very first person to enter the house on New Year's Day should be a dark-haired man bearing gifts of a piece of coal or peat, and/or salt and bread. Many households will not allow anyone to enter the house until the appropriate first-footer has come.

This is the time to protect the house with good luck.

Duration: October 31-November 1

Symbol: gourds

Deity: cernunos and cailleach

Candle colors: black, orange

Food: meade, cider, meat,

Incense: nutmeg, mint, sage

Herbs: mint, nutmeg, sage

Tree: birch, alder, walnut

Flower: nightshade, ferns, broom, acorns

Crystal: hematite

Planet: Pluto

Animal: Owl

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Winter Solstice

Northern Hemisphere: Dec 21

Southern Hemisphere: June 21

Winter Solstice is also known as 'Midwinter' and is celebrated around December 21st. In Welsh it is called "Alban Arthuan" and "Alban Arthan" in honor of King Arthur. The days grow longer and reassurance has come that life is renewing itself. Midwinter celebrates a time of birth or re-birth. Which in some beliefs comes in the form of a male child of miraculous birth who brings a message of peace to all people. For the Iroquois it is Digonawida, for the Romans it is Mithras, for the Hebrew it is Jesus, and in Druidism he is the Sun, Mabon. We decorate with evergreens to remind us of the promise of life. Mistletoe is hung from the ceiling or given to bring prosperity, healing, protection and for those who meet beneath it, fertility. Candles symbolize the sun and light that is returning. The Yule log symbolizes the fire that brings warmth to family, friends and the community. We give gifts in representation of the greatest gift of all, children, that are given by the Great Mother. Winter Solstice is the time of the year when people come together in the realization that even though life may seem to have ended, it is meerly hybernating and gaining strength for rebirth. It is the turning point to when the days begin to grow longer and lighter. When night gives way to day; making it the day of rebirth. Homes are decorated with evergreens to show that life does not end but only renews itself. It is also a time of sharing what you have with others. Mistletoe is hung to bring healing and protection to those who pass under it. Large bonfires are lit and trees are lit with any form of light. (candles, lanterns, pelan tans).

Celebrated: Around December 21-23

Duration: 12 days starting December 19

Symbol: Evergreens, mistletoe, candles, gifts, children

Deity:Mabon

Candle colors: red, green, white

Foods: wild turkey or boar; fruit cakes;eggnog; mead

Crystals: emerald, ruby

Incense: Bayberry, pine, rosemary, cedar

Trees: Oak, Holly, Pine (fir can also be used)

Flower: pine cones

Planet: Sun

Animal: deer

Herbs: Mistletoe, bayberry, sage, frankinsense, myrrh, mint

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Imbolc/oimealg

Northern Hemisphere: February 2

Southern Hemisphere: August 1

Pronounced, "Im-molc", which basically means "in milk". Some people use the Christian term "Candlemas". Celebrated on February 2nd this holiday, is devoted solely to the Goddess. Imbolc is a celebration of birth, of new life stirring in the Earth. This festival is sacred to the Goddess, Brighid. Rushes are left out to be blessed and on Imbolc are woven into equal armed crosses (like an addition sign), known as a Brighid's Cross. These are hung on or above the doorways homes and barns for protection. Houses are adorned with the new flowers and candles and a special loaf of bread is baked. The loaf is braided into the shape of brighids cross. It is at this time that we bring our hopes for the future to light and partake of the bread. This is the time of year when everything is starting anew. The first signs of spring have come into view. Plants are beging to bud and bloom, and the first lambs have been born. Imbolc is the time of year for growth, renewal and new beginnings. It is the time when wishes and plans are made for the future. A candle is usually burned from dusk till dawn in representation of an eternal light of these new beginnings. All yule decorations must be put away at this time so that we are not clinging to winter, but welcoming spring.

Duration: Dawn of February 2 to dawn of February 3

Symbol: Candles and Brighids cross

Deity: Brighid

Candle colors: white, pink, red

Foods: Brighids Cross bread, Cakes and herbal teas

Crystals: Garnet, amethyst, turquoise, onyz

Incense: Basil, Myrrh, wisteria

Trees: Broom, willow, rowan

Flower: chamelia, crocus, violet, snowdrops

Herbs: Basil, myrrh, bay leaves, calendine, heather

Animal : green dragon, ground hog, snake

Planet: uranus

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Spring Equinox

Northern Hemisphere: March 21

Southern Hemisphere: September 21

In Welsh it is known as "Alban Eiler" or, "Light of the Earth." It is celebrated between March 20-23rd. It is also celebrated as "Eoster" or "Ostara" in honor of a German goddess of fertility. The Spring Equinox festival focuses on balance. Our potential for growth in the unfolding year can be found symbolically in the egg. An egg hunt featuring brightly colored eggs, inscribed with runes, ogham or other magical symbols are a form of divination. Baskets symbolize the womb or cauldron where we safely place our expectations, hopes and desires for the year. Seeds to be planted are blessed and gardens prepared. When the seeds meet again with mother earth, its gifts are replentished. This is the time of year when day is equilvalent to night..light to dark. The spring Equinox is when Fertility is abundent. The rabbit symbolizes this fertility as the egg symbolizes the potential. Eggs are decorated with magical symbols for divination

Duration: 3 days starting 3 days prior to equinox

Symbol: Rabbit and Egg

Deity: Eostre (hence the name easter)

Candle colors: all pastel

Foods:eggs, honey cakes, honey cookies

Crystals:Amethyst, aquamarine, bloodstone, red jasper

Incense: Violet, jasmine,rose, sage,strawberry

Tree: All fruit trees, dogwood, ash, alder, oak

Herb: calendine, cinquefoil

Flowers: Hyacinth, rose, daffodil, lily, honeysuckle, jasmine,acorn

Planet: Mars

Animal: rabbit

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Beltane

Northern Hemisphere: April 30

Southern Hemisphere: November 1

Beltaine or "The bright fire" is known in Welsh as "Calan Mai", the "Calends of May". Celebration begins on the eve of May 1st. According to Cormac's Glossary, all fires were extinguished at Beltaine and relit, from fires that were blessed by Druids. Twin bonfires were lit on the hillsides and livestock, as they were herded to their summer pastures, were driven between them to guard against disease and misfortune. Water divining occured at this time as well as well blessings, and gardens should be planted by this time. The twin fires symbolize the balance of opposite energies that come together, the duality of all nature, the source of all creativity, and balance in imbalance. The Maypole is the focal point to Beltaine. The pole is deeply imbedded into the Earth (mother Earth) while young girls dance around the pole, weaving red and white ribbons, bringing air and earth together. Some people jump the bon fire to bring creativity, good fortune and fertility. Beltane is the time for new connections and unions and for nurturing those in existence. This is usually the time for marriage proposals, new business dealings, and a time to ask for good fortune. We weave the web of life around the may pole, leap the beltane fire for luck. A dead tree (possibly one that was erected during yule) is decorated with ribbons or vines that are woven around it in a dance to show that it has not been forgotten, and though its body does not produce any more it will still nurture the new. The vines woven in a downward fashion symbolizes the bringing of energy (sky god)down to earth (goddess). Individual staffs are also woven with ribbons or vines, flowers and greenery. Pretty crowns of flowers and greenery are worn. Leaping over the fire will bless a union, bring fertility, and good fortune.

Duration: 1 day

Symbol: May Pole, twin fires

Deity:Mother Earth

Candle colors: red, green, yellow, orange, white

Food:Beltane cakes, mead, fruits

Herbs: cinquefoil, frankincense

Tree: ash, hawthorne, oak, willow, poplar

Flower: Primrose, daisy, blue bells, roses, lilac

Incense: Frankincense, lilac, rose

Crystal: Sapphire, emerald, rose quartz, orange carnelian

Planet: Moon

Animal: Cow/Cattle

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Summer Solstice

Northern Hemisphere: June 21

Southern Hemisphere: December 21

Midsummer is celebrated approximately June 21st. The Welsh call it "Alban Hefin" or "Alban Heruin," meaning "Bright Summer" and "Light of the Shore." This festival celebrates the sun at its peak of power, but also that its strength will soon weaken. The celebration starts at dusk the evening before the Solstice. Bonfires are lit to give strength to the sun. The power of the Oak King is celebrated with song, dance and the retelling of myths. As the dawn approaches, the celebration continues, but turning to give thanks and honor to the return of the Holly king. Noon marks the shift of power. Golden candles are lit in remembrance of the fallen king. A solar sun wheel, made from grapevines is displayed. Offerings of honey, as bright as sunshine and sweet mead are given with love and gratitude. This is the day we honor the changes and cycles in our lives.Summer solstice is the center point to when life has been seeded and harvest has not yet begun. It is the time when light gives way to dark, and day is longer than night. It is the time to celebrate with games and good times. This is when the Oak King, who represents the waxing year, is triumphed over by the Holly King, who represents the waning year. The two are one: the Oak King is the growing youth while the Holly King is the mature man. Wheels made of straw and dipped in pitch, are lit by the ritual bonfire and rolled down a hill to give power to the sun god. If the flame burns out before reaching the bottom, it would mean a bad harvest. Torches made from heather and lit by the bonfire are carried around fields, houses and barns in a clockwise fashion to ward off illnesses. 

Duration: Eve prior to and day of June 21st

Symbol: Gold candles and a circular vine wreath

Deity:Oak King and Holly King

Candle colors: blue and green

Food: Honey, Mead

Insence:Frankinsense, rose, wisteria, myrrh, pine

Tree: Oak and Holly

Flower: wisteria, heather

Crystal: emerald, jade

Planet: Jupiter

Animal:wolf/coyote

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Lughnassadh

Northern Hemisphere: August 2

Southern Hemisphere: February 2

Pronounced "Loo-nass-ah" and the Welsh call, "Gwyl Awst", or "The Feast of August". Celebrated on August 1st. This is the time that legal disputes would be settled, people would be hired for the year and marriages would be made. People would come from far and wide to take part in the festivities, to share stories, sell or trade crafts and take part in the music, games and feasting. This celebration was given by Lugh to honor his foster mother, Taillte. Taillte, single handedly cleared the land to be used for crops to sustain the people. So great were Her labors, that She perished from the effort. Sacrifice and or judgements occur at Lughnasadh. The "slay" the Wicker King (wicker man) to resolve all debts symbolizing forgiveness and/or acceptance, even if that means sacrificing our own profits or rewards. A loaf of bread is baked in the form of the sacrificed king, that we may partake of its bounty. We acknowledge that the year is ending but enjoy the bounty the first harvest has brought. Lughnassadh is the time of harvest, when one reaps what he has sown. It is also the time of judgements, passing of lineage and knowledge, and of correcting of errors. Wicker men and staw dolls are made then burned in the bonfire to symbolize the shedding or riddance of our grievances.

Duration: 1 Day

Symbol: Wicker Men, Bread

Deity:Lugh/Taillte

Candle colors:Yellow, browns, orange

Food: Breads, mead, berries, apples

Herbs: fenugreek

Incense:Sandlewood

Tree: Myrtle, oak, vine

Flower: Hollyhock, Acacia

Crystal:aventurine, citrine,peridot, sardonyx

Planet:earth

Animal:Boar

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Autumn Equinox

Northern Hemisphere: September 21

Southern Hemisphere: March 21

Known in Welsh as "Alban Elued" meaning, "Light of Water". This festival is celebrated between September 20th and 23rd. This is the second harvest festival and the time to make sure that all canning and preparations have been made for the winter ahead. It is the time we bear witness to the rewards of the hard work that was put into the harvest season and if it was successful. This is the time when all the people gather and trading is done to ensure balance of each ones abundance. The feast and trades are blessed and Mother Earth is praised. A small amount of each item is offered back to the Earth in gratitude. The selection usually being fruit, vegetable, and a loaf of bread. The circle is nearly complete and the wheel continues to turn us slowly toward home. A balance is reached when we trade what we have with what we need and offer gratitude to the ultimate source.This is the time of year when once again day and night are equal, but light is giving way to dark. The autumn equinox is a time to prepare for the coming year and to give thanks for what has been given in the past year. It is the time when all seeds and nuts have been gathered. Herbs and grains have been safely stored away. All foods have been stored away accordingly in preparation for the oncoming dark.

Duration: 1 day

Symbol:cornucopia, pinecones, acorns

Deity:Llyr

Candle colors:Orange, red, brown

Food:breads, nuts, root, vegetables

Tree:Oak, pine, Ivy, lime

Herbs:Myrrh rose sage

Flower:Thistle, Aster, Marigold, acorn

Insence:Benzoin, myrrh, sage

Crystal:Carnelia, Lapis,Lazuli, sapphire, yellow agate

Planet:Venus

Animal: Bear