Samhain: 31st October
When the veil between this world and the spirit world is thinnest, communicating with those that have passed over and honouring our ancestors. Remembering, looking back and also looking forward to the future. Goodbye to the old year, end of a cycle and start of another. Goddess descends to the underworld. The earth mourns this time. Winter, dark, cold nights will begin. Take the time to connect with animal/nature guides, be open to spirituality, go outdoors and listen for a sign from nature. Crone and winter gods/goddesses, Erishkagel, Dagda, Morrigan (triple Goddess, Badb, Macha, Nemain) Plants include cypress, nutmeg, sage, thyme, pine, spices, mullein, apples, pumpkin, oak, ivy, harvest fruits and nuts. Tarot card is Death: Change, renewal, end of old cycle, start of new, empowerment, leaving, transformation, releasing negative energies, cleansing the past, starting over.
Winter solstice: 21st December
Night of the longest dark. The point of the deepest winter/dark. Returning, birth of new life. And the return of light and hope. Earth will begin to awaken from this point. Celebration of returning light (and the Goddess reborn). Energies will reappear and strengthen. The old dark winter (gods/goddesses) will fade and wane. The seeds of rebirth, hidden energies will emerge. The gods/goddesses of this festival are Lucina, Callieach, Danu, Diana, Arianhod, Cerridwen, Dagda (Some) plants/herbs are Yew, evergreens, chamomile, juniper, frankincense, rosemary, holly and myrrh. Tarot card is the Temperance: Balance, self-realisation, creativity, reconciliation, equalness, harmony.
Candlemass (Imbolc): 2nd February
Celebrating the return of the light. The Goddess returns. Farewell to the Cailleach. We welcome the maiden. Re-awakening of the earth after the long/dark/cold. Festival of Bridget (goddess of fertility) and the growing season. Light and energy within us: The maiden goddess brings us hope and promise. New shoots of joy and renewal to follow. Gods/goddesses of this festival include: Bridget, Britania, Virgin Mary and, all maiden goddesses (Often regarded as a women’s festival). Tarot card is the Star: inspiration, optimism, faith, trust, direction. Some plants/herbs: Crocus, snowdrop, basil, violet, coltsfoot, angelica, tansy, ash tree.
Spring equinox: 21st March
A time of perfect harmony. Day and night are equal. New beginnings and opportunities. Ideas begin to blossom and flower (fertility/conception/birth) Mythologically, the maiden opens the doors to spring and mates with the god. Light and dark have fought, light returns, Sun grows in power. Farewell to dark. Energies are equally balanced. Healing, cleansing and renewing. Gods/goddesses include: Bran, Boand, Cybelle, Ostara, and all Goddesses/gods of spring and dawn. The tarot card is the moon: the subconscious mind, karma, inspiration, emotions, inuition, magic and mysteries. Some plants/herbs include: Jasmine, violet, dandelion, roses and petals, honeysuckle, sage and thyme.
Beltaine: 1st May
Celebrating the growth, balance, and fertility of life: Goddesses/gods are in union and symbolising the mystery of the sacred marriage. Passion, love, creativity, optimism. Light and sun become even stronger: Vitality/energy increases. Start of the light half of the year. Associated with the British Goddess Blodeuwedd, created from 9 flowers (broom, primrose, bean, nettle, meadowsweet, cockle, oak, hawthorn, chestnut blossom) we welcome the four elements also. Goddesses/gods include Flora, Llew, Olwan, Rhiannon, The Green man. Fire gods and flower goddesses. Tarot card is the High Priestess: veiled and hidden issues, dreams, mystical wisdom, inner voice, occult.
Summer solstice: 21st June
The longest day andshortest night. Point of the suns peak, power, vitality. Energies will begin to wane after this period as the sun loses its strength. But for now, a time to seize and maximise chances, opportunities and have fun. Problem solving. Self-healing and healing the earth. All nature is open to power, life, happiness, joy. Festivals and outside gatherings and celebrations. But also a slight sense of sadness as the Goddess will soon return to the underworld. All sun goddesses/gods: Domnu, Sulla, Rhea, Vesta. All summer flowers/herbs: sage, orange, fennel, vervain, St. Johns wort, chickweed, jasmine and all trees. The tarot card is the Chariot: Clarity, purpose, inner balance, peace, staying focused and centred.
Lughnasadh: 1st August
Giving thanks to the generosity of the harvest Goddess. The mystery of nature. Spiritually (and symbolically) what you have sown, you may now reap. Summer strength has been cut down. Light is becoming weaker. Dark, a little stronger, symbolically, the Green Man sacrifices himself every year so that the cycle of life turns and returns. The light that has given us power, resources is growing less. Now we must start to gather our own resources for the coming dark/cold. Use our creativity, self-expression and especially include young children in celebrations of plenty, food, parties. Gods and Goddesses harvest and grain. Mother Earth, Cerridwen, Ceres, Demeter. Plants include mints, cedarwood, hollyhock, berries, frankincense, sunflower, oats, and fenugreek. Tarot card is strength: indicating inner power, gentle force, overcoming obstacles, non-violence, empowerment, freedom from abuse.
Autumn Equinox: 21st September
Day and night stand equal. We pay our respects to the oncoming dark, the power of the Cailleach who gives us the gifts of wisdom and insight. We thank the waning light for all its gifts and blessings. Dark takes over, energies shift and we celebrate these changes and look forward once again. What may not have worked out for us we blow away. And be patient for our wishes to be granted next time. It is also a time for forgiveness. Balance and moving ever onwards. Keeping what we need/want discarding what is no longer needed necessary. Gods/Goddesses of nature and animals, Niskai, Diana, Rhiannon. Plants/herbs include sage, roses, grains, sandalwood, geranium, marigold, honeysuckle, rose hips, and autumn berries. Tarot card is the Hermit: Self-discovery, insight, time alone, wisdom, reflection, retrospect, patience.