December 22 - Jan 1
Yule begins as the end of the longest night, the dark, is defeated with the Return of the Sun, the return of light, hope and promise. The Goddess gives birth to the Sun/Sun God. The Sun begins to wax and the days grow longer. All that is hidden will begin to emerge.
This is the Sun's birthday! And it really is time to celebrate!
Yule, or Winter Solstice traditions are many and generous. Evergreens represent everlasting life and were traditionally hung around doorways and windows. Each has a symbolism of its own. Mistletoe, greatly revered by the Druids, this is the healer and protector. It is carefully cut to ensure it never touches the earth. It's magical properties are believed to be connected to the fact that it lives between the worlds, between sky/heaven and earth. The white berries of mistletoe represent the fertile white semen of the life-giving penis. Which is where kissing under the mistletoe comes from!
Candles, this is the festival of light out of darkness and the tradition of lighting candles is ever popular. Red, green and the gold of the Returning Sun are the colours of Yule. Deck your home and altar with evergreens and candles.
February 1 August 1
Imbolc, sometimes referred to as Candlemas, is a time for purification and cleaning, in anticipation of new life. Imbolc or Imbolg, also called Saint Brigid's Day, is a Gaelic traditional festival. It is held on 1 February, which is about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.
Open every window, and to clear any sluggish energies that have accumulated over the long winter, sound cleanse each room by clapping vigorously in each corner or ringing a bell.
Light a lot of flames and candles. The presence of flame is essential to this festivity.
Play the drums, dance, read poetry, engage in creative conversation, sing songs, join a chorus, enrol in a class, paint or sketch, and sow the seeds for new interests and talents.
Lamentia is a holiday in which we created together as a Coven.
The idea for Lamentia originated in the desire to have a solemn remembrance of the lives lost in the Holocaust and other war torn atrocities.
Since its inception, the idea of Lamentia has grown to focus our lament on all those lost to violence. Be it war, racism, homophobia, police brutality, transphobia or any senseless life lost.
Lamentia comes from the Latin word Lamenta, meaning "weeping or wailing".
April 30 - May 1
The night of April 30 marks Hexennacht, or “witches night.” It is celebrated to say goodbye to winter and welcome spring.
The night from April 30 to May 1 is considered to be the night when witches and demons held a big feast, especially on the Brocken, a hill in the Harz mountains, also known as Blocksberg, in Germany.
Hexennacht is a Satanic response to Walpurgis Nacht, an abbreviation of Saint Walpurgis Night. Walpurigs is the eve of the Christian feast day of Saint Walburga, an 8th century abbess in Francia.
Modern Witches and Satanists celebrate Hexennacht as a reminder to never let pseudoscience be the cause of torture and murder again. Thousands of humans and uncountable animals have been tortured and killed on accusation of witchcraft and satanic conspiring.
First Thursday of May
This observance is held in parallel with the National Day of Prayer, on the first Thursday in May each year. The goal of this effort is to celebrate reason—a concept all Americans can support—and to raise public awareness about the persistent threat to religious liberty posed by government intrusion into the private sphere of worship.
The Day of Reason also exists to inspire the secular community to be visible and active on this day to set the right example for how to effect positive change. Local organizations might use “Day of Reason” to label their events, or they might choose labels such as Day of Action, Day of Service, or Rational Day of Care.
The most important message is to provide a positive, useful, constitutional alternative to the already exclusionary National Day of Prayer.
June 21 December 21
Midsummer! Also called Litha, this summer solstice Sabbat honors the longest day of the year. Take advantage of the extra hours of daylight and spend as much time as you can outdoors! Depending on your individual "spiritual" path, there are many different ways you can celebrate Litha, but the focus is nearly always on celebrating the power of the sun. It's the time of year when the crops are growing heartily and the earth has warmed up. We can spend long sunny afternoons enjoying the outdoors, and getting back to nature under the long daylight hours. Hold a Midsummer Night's Fire Ritual, and celebrate the season with a big bonfire. As Litha approaches, you can decorate your home (and keep yourself entertained) with a number of easy craft projects. Celebrate the sun's energy with an elemental garden, a fiery incense blend, and a magic staff to use in ritual!
August 1 February 1
Lammas / Lughnasadh
It is now high summer and the union of Sun and Earth, of God and Goddess, has produced the First Harvest.
Lammas is the celebration of this first, Grain Harvest, a time for gathering in and giving thanks for abundance. We work with the cycle that Mabon or the Autumn Equinox is the Second Harvest of Fruit, and Samhain is the third and Final Harvest of Nuts and Berries.
The word 'Lammas' is derived from 'loaf mass' and is indicative of how central and honoured is the first grain and the first loaf of the harvesting cycle.
October 31 May 1
Samhain is a pagan religious festival originating from an ancient Celtic spiritual tradition. In modern times, Samhain (a Gaelic word pronounced “SAH-win”) is usually celebrated from October 31 to November 1 to welcome in the harvest and usher in “the dark half of the year.”
During this time of year, hearth fires in family homes were left to burn out while the harvest was gathered. After the harvest work was complete, celebrants joined with Druid priests to light a community fire using a wheel that would cause friction and spark flames. The wheel was considered a representation of the sun and used along with prayers. Participants took a flame from the communal bonfire back to their home to relight the hearth.
In Ireland, carved turnips called Jack-o-lanterns began to appear, attached by strings to sticks and embedded with coal. Later Irish tradition switched to pumpkins.
In Wales, men tossed burning wood at each other in violent games and set off fireworks. In Northern England, men paraded with noisemakers.
This Coven Holiday celebrates the uprising of Lucifer and his legions against the arbitrary authority of the tyrant god.
While Lucifer and his legions fell, they landed on their feet and gifted humanity with freewill and the thirst for knowledge.
It is better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven.
Descend, become Light-bringer.
January 16 - 19
This new Coven Holiday will celebrate the unending balance between the Earth, Moon, Sun and other Stars.
The sun gives us light and warmth, giving us the gift of sight and warmth.
The moon gives us the tides, and lights our paths at night.
The Earth carries the heavy burden of providing us with life giving food, water and shelter.
The stars hold fast in the sky offering us a guide and trillions of beacons of hope.
Hail the great balance!
Lupercalia, is an ancient Roman festival that was conducted annually between February 13-15 under the superintendence of a corporation of priests called Luperci.
The origins of the festival are obscure, although the likely derivation of its name from "lupus " (Latin: “wolf”) has variously suggested connection with an ancient deity who protected herds from wolves and with the legendary she-wolf who nursed Romulus and Remus.
As a fertility rite, the festival is also associated with the god Faunus.
March 20 September 22
Ostara is commonly thought of as the origin of the Christian Easter, Ostara is the festival of the Spring Equinox, a time to celebrate the moment between darkest winter and the height of summer.
Ostara is a time to celebrate rebirth and life on this mortal plane. For Wiccans, it is believed to be the day when the goddess (Mother Earth) matures and is united with the sun god in sacred marriage. It is a time when the goddess is in her maiden stage, crossing from childhood innocence to adult passion, with the potential of fertility and growth, as well as a readiness to be reborn.
This goes back to pagan mythology surrounding the festival, like the Celtic myths of Ceridwen and Herne the Hunter, or the Greek Persephone returning from the Underworld to bring life back to the world.
Ostara celebrates fertility and readiness to grow, and can be seen around us in the colour of flowers and blossom, so it is common practice to celebrate this time in nature observing the effects of the astrological union of sun and earth.
May 1 October 31
Beltane honours Life. It represents the peak of Spring and the beginning of Summer. Earth energies are at their strongest and most active. All of life is bursting with potent fertility and at this point in the Wheel of the Year, the potential becomes conception.
Beltane is a Fire Festival. The word 'Beltane' originates from the Celtic God 'Bel', meaning 'the bright one' and the Gaelic word 'teine' meaning fire. Together they make 'Bright Fire', or 'Goodly Fire' and traditionally bonfires were lit to honour the Sun and encourage the support of Bel and the Sun's light to nurture the emerging future harvest and protect the community. Bel had to be won over through human effort.
Traditionally all fires in the community were put out and a special fire was kindled for Beltane. "This was the Tein-eigen, the need fire. People jumped the fire to purify, cleanse and to bring fertility. Couples jumped the fire together to pledge themselves to each other.
As Beltane is the Great Wedding of the Goddess and the God, it is a popular time for pagan weddings or Handfastings, a traditional betrothal for 'a year and a day' after which the couple would either choose to stay together or part without recrimination. Today, the length of commitment is a matter of choice for the couple, and can often be for life.
The Maypole is a popular and familiar image of May Day and Beltane. A phallic pole, often made from birch, was inserted into the Earth representing the potency of the God. The ring of flowers at the top of the Maypole represents the fertile Goddess. Its many coloured ribbons and the ensuing weaving dance symbolise the spiral of Life and the union of the Goddess and God, the union between Earth and Sky.
Jubilee Day, or Juneteenth – is a holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States.
Originating in Galveston, Texas, it is now celebrated annually on June 19 throughout the United States, with varying official recognition. It is commemorated on the anniversary date of the June 19, 1865 announcement by Union Army general Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom from slavery in Texas.
Systemic racism, especially towards BIPOC is very much still prevalent in our world. Stopping for one day to honor those before that had all taken from them, is the least we can do.
This holiday is meant to inspire improvement and Black visibility.
Autonomia is a Coven holiday to celebrate the individual power over self.
Bodily autonomy is an inborn human right and it should be celebrated. Each individual can express and command their bodies as they see fit.
Autonomia is a day to celebrate choice, mortality, self-worth and our personal ownership of self: Race, Creed, Gender, etc.
September 22 March 21
Mabon is now named after the the God of Welsh mythology, Mabon. He is the Child of Light and the son of the Earth Mother Goddess, Modron. In truth, there is little evidence that Mabon was celebrated in Celtic countries and the term Mabon was applied as recently as the 1970's. All part of our reconstructed Paganism.
Night and day are again of equal length and in perfect equilibrium - dark and light, masculine and feminine, inner and outer, in balance. But we are again on the cusp of transition and from now the year now begins to wane and from this moment darkness begins to defeat the light.
The cycle of the natural world is moving towards completion, the Sun's power is waning and from now on the nights grow longer and the days are are shorter and cooler. The sap of trees returns back to their roots deep in the earth, changing the green of summer to the fire of autumn, to the flaming reds, oranges and golds.
We are returning to the dark from whence we came.
In the late 1800s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers than about ghosts, pranks and witchcraft. At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season and festive costumes.
The American Halloween tradition of trick-or-treating probably dates back to the early All Souls’ Day parades in England. During the festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called “soul cakes” in return for their promise to pray for the family’s dead relatives.
The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The practice, which was referred to as “going a-souling,” was eventually taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighborhood and be given ale, food and money.
We celebrate Halloween as a culmination of all the superstition and pseudoscience being accepted as a commercial success. The irony of Halloween, the aesthetic and good cheer that come with All Hallows Eve is the focus of this observance.
December 17 - 21
Saturnalia, as the name implies, is a holiday in honor of the agricultural god, Saturn. This week-long party typically begins around December 17th, so that it can end right around the day of the solstice.
Fertility rituals were performed at the temple of Saturn. In addition to the large public rites, many private citizens held ceremonies honoring Saturn in their homes.
One of the highlights of Saturnalia was the switching of traditional roles, particularly between a master and his slave. Everyone got to wear the red pileus, or freedman's hat, and slaves were free to be as impertinent as they wished to their owners. However, despite the appearance of a reversal of social order, there were actually some fairly strict boundaries. A master might serve his slaves dinner, but the slaves were the ones who prepared it — this kept Roman society in order, but still allowed everyone to have a good time.
Businesses and court proceedings closed up for the entire celebration, and food and drink were everywhere to be had. Elaborate feasts and banquets were held, and it wasn't unusual to exchange small gifts at these parties. A typical Saturnalia gift might be something like a writing tablet or tool, cups and spoons, clothing items, or food. Another popular present was the cerei, a tapered wax candle used in many temples and shrines.