Pagan Celtic Calendar
We enjoy following and celebrating these ancient festivals….honouring each one, observing the cyclic changes and using them as a good reason to gather together around the fire and focus on prayer, intention and release. Here is a basic overview of the Celtic yearly celebrations...
Samhain, called Halloween today, is the ending of the Celtic year and is either celebrated October 31 as the Celtic new year actually begins at sunset on this day. This ritual is known as Ancestor Night, Day of the Dead or Feast of the Dead. Because the veil between the worlds is thinnest on this night, it was considered the best night for communication with ancestors and departed loved-ones. Feasts are made in their remembrance and as an affirmation of continuing life. A time for settling problems, throwing out old ideas and influences, entering into the phase of introspection and for visiting tombstones in honour of the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.
Winter Solstice or Yule, occurs about December 21 - the shortest day and the longest night. This is the time of death and rebirth of the Sun God, as the Sun at its lowest point. This ritual is a festival of light, with as many candles as possible on or near the altar in welcome of the Sun Child and the slight stirrings from the Winter darkness and introspection.
Imbolc, February 1st or the first Full Moon in Aquarius, is a time of cleansing and newborn lambs. It is the union of the inner wisdom of the dark months and the active phase of Springtime renewal. It is a festival of the fertile maiden in preparation for growing and renewal and of the Goddess Birgit, saint of healing, midwifery and poetry.
Spring Equinox or Ostara, around March 21, is when light and darkness are in equal length all over the world but the light is growing stronger in the northern hemisphere. It is a festival of balance - light and dark - using the symbol of the egg (the cosmic egg) for the balance between all polarities and for the hatching of the ideas which have been germinating there. It is also a celebration of fertility and of the Goddess of Light - Oestre.
Beltaine, is May 1, or the first Full Moon in Taurus. Other names for it are May Day or Lady Day. It is primarily a festival of sexuality and fertility and honouring the wildness in all beings and nature. The powers of elves and faeries are growing now and it’s a time of great magic and spiritual transformation. Generally this is a time for dance, music and outward expression at the peak of Springtime bloom.
Summer Solstice or Litha, about June 21, is when the hours of daylight are longest but from now on they will start to shorten in the northern hemisphere. Traditionally people would stay up all night to watch the sunrise and go to bed with the sunset. Herbs gathered on this day are said to be extrememly powerful. On this night elves and fairies sre around in great numbers as we celebrate the peak of our active, solar energy and all that we manifest and create in positivity.
Lammas is August 1 or the first Full Moon in Leo. This is a preharvest festival, the turning point in Mother Earth's year, honouring the corn or grain mother. female energy now transform from the virgin fertile goddess to the earth mother. The door to the inner realms starts to open, after the activity of Summer, and we begin the process of renewing our spirit and taking time for reflection..e reap the seeds we have sown in Springtime.
Autumn Equinox or Mabon, about September 21, was a time of rest after labor, completion of the harvest. Again the hours of day and night are in perfect balance all over the world, with the darkness increasing in the northern hemisphere. A time to release the past and move on, adapt to the changes of Winter approaching and enter the dark womb of the spiritual world - internalising, sleeping, resting and renewing old-selves and patterns. A celebration of gratitude and of welcoming of change.