It is the time when the God of the Greenwood and the Goddess as Mother Earth unite in holy matrimony. Denoting the start of the planting cycle, this ancient fertility festival is celebrated to make sure we have a healthy growing season with a bountiful harvest. As a way of practicing gratitude and appreciating the fertility of spring, the celebrations begin on the evening of April 30th with the lighting of a ceremonial bonfire and end with dancing the maypole while wearing flower crowns on May 1st. During this festival, spells on fertility, union, shared intimacy, vitality, and purification are cast by witches and practitioners.
5. Litha, Summer Solstice (June 19-23)
Litha, also known as midsummer, is a celebration of the longest day & the shortest night of the year. During this ceremonial beginning of summer, the Sun God is believed to be the most powerful. With light and life encompassing everything around us, there is enough light for everyone to complete their work during the daytime and even find time to celebrate afterward. Considered as the handfasting or coupling season, marriages and unions are held during this time. Blessings & happiness are found in abundance during midsummer.
This is a joyous sabbat that is epitomized by the Sun God as well as the Lord of the Forest. As Summer Solstice is a celebration of the sun, it is a great time to use the longer days to connect with nature, practice gratitude, reaffirm vows and appreciate life. Herbs like wild thyme, chamomile, lavender, honeysuckle and mugwort are usually used to decorate the altar, create potions and even burned as incense around the house. According to traditions, bonfires are lit and torchlight processions are held to embolden the sun to keep shining as it will wane gradually in the coming season. Rituals for modern pagans include getting together with their covens and inner circles to celebrate midsummer. Solitary practitioners can set intentions individually and meditate out in nature under the sun.
6. Lammas, First Harvest (July 31-August 1)
Lammas, also known as Lughnasadh, is a commemoration of the end of summer and the first harvest of crops, fruits, and grains. It is the very first celebration of the 3 autumnal harvest festivals. The midpoint of summer and autumn, the festival of Lughnasadh is named after Lugh, the Celtic god of light. Lammas, usually held on July 31st or August 1st, is when pagans honor the God and Goddess and thank them for the crops and pray for a new harvest. This celebration of the circle of life is a time of hope & anxiety. Wiccans hope for abundant food through a bountiful harvest, however, they worry that the harvest just might not be enough to last through the cold months.
During Lammas, modern pagans primarily focus on self-development like learning new skills, facing their fears and taking measures to protect themselves, their loved ones and their homes. It is all about being thankful, appreciating what you have and being grateful for your life. Herbs like heather and sandalwood, along with wheat and fruit baskets are used to decorate altars by practitioners. Many witches also use this time to dry various herbs so that they may use them later. They also store various seeds, bless the seedlings to plant them during the next spring. Wiccans also hold feasts with their circles and covens to celebrate the festival.
7. Mabon, Autumnal Equinox (Sep 21-24)
Mabon, also popular as Harvest Home or Fall Equinox, marks the official arrival of autumn, the reaping of the bountiful harvest and acknowledging the preparations for the coming winter. It is the second harvest commemorated during the fall and celebrates the benefits of the work and effort put in till now. During the Autumnal Equinox, there is a divine balance as the days & nights are exactly the same in length. Mabon is the time when Wiccans remind themselves that “you reap what you sow”. So it is about realizing that whatever energy you are sending out to the universe, whether positive or negative, is exactly what the universe will give back to you. This is the time for pagans to relax, reflect and recuperate.