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Holy Dayz In Wicca

There are formally 21 celebrations, although many Wiccans observe other days of celebration that honor their particular patron dieties.
Because the Moon was seen as a symbol of the Goddess, ceremonies of adoration and magick took place in its light. The waxing and waning symbolize the cycle of life and death, and the three aspects of the Goddess can be seen in the increase and decrease of the moon's light. The waxing moon was seen to represent the Goddess as Maiden, the full moon as Mother, and the waning moon as Crone. Wiccans do not respect any of these aspects over the other, but it is most common to celebrate the full moon because at that time the moon's energy is at its fullest.

The coming of winter, the first stirrings of spring, the warm summer and the advent of fall were also marked with rituals. Likewise these represent the never-ending cycle of life and death. We have cycles of growth, harvest, and winter sleep, which renews the world so that it may grow again. This seasonal change is evidenced by the sun.

Some Wiccans still associate the moon with the Goddess and the sun with the God. There is nothing wrong with this, but our coven likes to view the moon and sun as belonging equally to the Goddess and the God. For as the Goddess has three aspects that are represented by the lunar phases, so too does the God have the three aspects of Youth, Father, and Sage. Some Wiccans like to give the Dieties a fourth aspect, the Warrior and Warrioress, but our coven does not recognize this aspect. Those who do, associate this aspect with the new moon.

The sun was once thought to represent the God because of its fiery, radiating nature, but the Goddess too has the fiery power of creation. Therefore our coven recognizes the moon as the symbol of the Goddess and the sun as symbolic of the God, but we also recognize that these images can be switched and remain just as true.

To this day Wiccans celebrate the ancient rites of the full moon and observe the changing of the seasons, although the ceremonies contain as many elements of modern life as they do of our ancient ways. The Wiccan religious calendar contains 13 full moon celebrations and eight Sabbats or days of power based on the Sun.

Four of the Sabbats take place on the solstices and equinoxes, which are the times of the least and greatest balance between day and night, respectively. Yule (circa December 21) takes place at the winter solstice, Ostara (circa March 21) at the spring equinox, Litha (circa June 21) at the summer solstice, and Mabon (circa September 21) at the autumn equinox. These solstices and equinoxes are the astronomical beginnings of the seasons, and are considered by some Wiccans to be the lesser Sabbats. In our Tradition, they are not. All of the festivals are important to us, and all of the times of the year are sacred. The other four ritual occasions are based on old folk festivals associated with agriculture and the mating and bearing cycles of animals. These are Imbolc (February 1), Beltane (May 1), Lughnassadh (August 1), and Samhain (October 31). These names are Celtic and are quite common among Wiccans, though many other names exist. These are sometimes thought of as the greater Sabbats, although our coven tries to look at them all equally. The images of the Sabbats are more meaningful when you keep in mind that in some of the Sabbats the Goddess is the Earth and the God is the Sun, while in others they represent the cycles of the spirit; life, death, rest and rebirth.

These rituals give structure and order to the Wiccan year, and also remind us of the endless cycle that will continue long after we are gone. Many cultures all over the world celebrate similar holy days at similar times of the year.

Some of the old Pagan festivals, stripped of their once sacred qualities by the dominance of Christianity, have degenerated. Samhain, Yule, Ostara, and Twelfth Night are all exampes of once sacred days that were absorbed and changed by the dominance of Christianity or demonized by it.

Samhain (Sow-uhn), October 31, is the Wiccan New Year. Is is when the God departs and the Goddess mourns, but knows he will be reborn at Yule. This is a time of celebrating the mysteries of death and of contacting spirits, for it is one of the times of the year when the veil between the spirit world and the physical world is the thinnest. Some trads dress-up in costume in order to attract like energy to themselves.

The Catholic Church adopted this celebration with an All Hallows Eve Mass and calls the following morning All Souls Day. Although there are Protestant churches that consider Halloween satanic, they could be viewed as biased against Catholicism as much as anything occult, Wiccan or even satanic, as Catholics also keep it as a holy day. The Christian deity of evil is not part of the Witch's pantheon. Instead, the dark and the light are seen as a balance of positive and negative energies - every yin has its yang.

We have posted an eclectic Samhain Ritual. Soon we will be posting one entirely our own.

Yule (Yool), (circa) Dec. 21, is when the Goddess gives birth to the God (a familiar tale from which Christianity evolved one of its major holidays). This is a time of rebirth, and candles are lit to welcome the God who is the returning sun of the winter solstice. Gifts are given (especially to children) by the departing Holly King as he rides his solar sleigh, pulled by the eight Sabbats personified as reindeer, through the sky at Yule Eve. He was called Old Nick by the Pagan Norse, was usurped by Christianity and turned into a sainted bishop named Nicholas, and is recognized today as Santa Claus (while "Old Nick" became a name for the Christian deity of evil).

Imbolc (Em-bowl/g), Feb. 2, is the time when the Goddess recovers from the birth, rejuvenated, and the God is a spirited youth. This is the time of year when we begin to feel "cabin-fever" or a restlessness begins to grow in us. We are re-energized and become impatient for the weather to break, allowing us to spend more time out of doors.

Ostara (Oh-star-ah), (circa) Mar. 21, is the vernal equinox, when the God and Goddess walk the fields causing creatures to reproduce. The first day of spring is inspiration for renewal and creativity, translated into the Christian belief as the resurrection of life from death - the seed buried in the ground now begins to move back into the world.

Beltane (Bell-tayn), May 1, is when the Goddess and the God unite and is a celebration of fertility and healing. Beltane is when the God impregnates the Goddess. We celebrate May Day by beginning our outdoor planting season.

Please take a look at our Beltane Celebration.

Litha (Lee-thah), (circa) June 21, is the summer solstice, although referred to as "Midsummer." It is the peak of fertility, used to celebrate love, health, purification, and dedication. Today we celebrate the Handfasting of the Goddess and God.

Please take a look at out Litha Celebration.

Lughnassadh (Loo-nahs-ah), on Aug. 1, is when we commemorate the sacrifice of the God, and it is also the feast of bread and transformation. This is the first harvest of the year and it is customary to use grain from this first harvest in the making of the cakes (bread) for the celebration.

The name "Lughnassadh" means "commemoration of Lugh." Lugh is an Irish God who is sacrificed. His counterpart is the Welsh Llew Llaw Gyffes. Another name for this festival is Lammas, which means "loaf mass." "Lunasa" means "August" in Irish Gaelic.

Please take a look at our Lammas (Lughnassadh) Celebration.

Mabon (May-boon or Mah-boon ), (circa) Sept. 21, is the autumnal equinox, and the last harvest, when the God prepares to leave and the Goddess rests. This is celebrated today as the Harvest Home feast of Thanksgiving, which was moved to November by President Lincoln even though the Pilgrims celebrated it in September. It is a time to celebrate the abundance of the Earth with a loaded table and wine for everyone.

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