Tag: wheel of the year

Seeker’s Guide to Learning Wicca to the First Degree in the Southern Hemisphere, by Amethyst Treleven

By Mike Gleason | April 4, 2009 | 1 comment

Seeker’s Guide to Learning Wicca: Training to First Degree in the Southern Hemisphere, by Amethyst Treleven
Oak and Mistletoe Australia, 9780980581812, 208 pp., 2008

This is the second of two reviews of this book, since it has been published in two separate editions – One for the Northern Hemisphere and one for the Southern Hemisphere. The only differences in the books are in the introduction and in Chapter Four – The Wheel of the Year. So pick the applicable book review and jump in.

This book, like Continue reading


Seeker’s Guide to Learning Wicca to the First Degree in the Northern Hemisphere, by Amethyst Treleven

By Mike Gleason | April 4, 2009 | Leave a comment

Seeker’s Guide to Learning Wicca: Training to First Degree in the Northern Hemisphere, by Amethyst Treleven
Oak and Mistletoe Australia, 9780980581829, 204 pp., 2008

This is the first of two reviews of this book, since it has been published in two separate editions – One for the Northern Hemisphere and one for the Southern Hemisphere. The only differences in the books are in the introduction and in Chapter Four – The Wheel of the Year. So pick the applicable book review and jump in. I admit it; I’m a hemisphere-ist. This was actually the second version of this book, but since I live in the U.S., I naturally grabbed it first.

This book, like most “101” (or introductory) books is full of information which is extremely basic, and which has been published dozens, if not hundreds of times already. It does not conform to Continue reading


Divine Comedy of Neophyte Corax and Goddess Morrigan, by Payam Nabarz

By Mike Gleason | January 11, 2009 | Leave a comment

Divine Comedy of Neophyte Corax and Goddess Morrigan, by Payam Nabarz Divine Comedy of Neophyte Corax and Goddess Morrigan, by Payam Nabarz
Web of Wyrd, 9780955685804, 64 pp., 2008

This is a strange little play, or series of plays, with a unique view of the Wheel of the Year. In a truly ecumenical spirit the protagonist is a Mithraic neophyte, the Goddess is Celtic, and the supporting cast is drawn from the animal world and the worlds of mythology in all its varied aspects.

I have attended a number of mystery plays (in the religious sense) over the years. I have read others. This comedic offering, by a Persian-born member of the OBOD and the Pagan Federation is, without doubt, the most entertaining. It does not skimp on symbolism, nor on knowledge revealed. Continue reading


Beltane

By Psyche | May 1, 2006 | Leave a comment

A celebration of spring, the third and culminating fertility festival, and one of the eight major festivals in the Wheel of the Year.

The third fertility festival, after Imbolg and Ostara, Beltane is one of the four Greater Sabbats in the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. It’s opposite on the Wheel is Samhain, the third harvest. In the northern hemisphere we observe this day on April 30th through May 1st, and in the southern hemisphere, on October 31st through November 1st. As at Samhain, at Beltane the veils between the worlds are said to be thin. Though where Samhain is a celebration of Death, at Beltane we celebrate Life renewed.

There are a variety of spellings for this holiday, depending on which regional variation of Galic is used. It is also known as Beltain, Bealtaine, Bealtainn, among others. Beltane roughly translates to ‘bright fire’, ‘shining fire’, or ‘Bel’s fire’.

Fire plays an important part in Beltane celebrations as it is symbolic of the Sun God’s growing strength and warmth of the season. Fire is a sacred representation of purity and healing, and Wiccans traditionally jump through the fire, or dance around it.

Beltane marks the true end of winter: summer has now begun in earnest. Trees and bushes sprout new leaves, flowers and fruit blossoms bloom, crops are new and the pleasures of the Earth seem bountiful again. Life has again returned to the Earth.

The Young God has grown into manhood, and the Goddess is fertile, to be ripe with his fruit. Handfastings are popular at Beltane, in sympathy of the union of the Goddess and God as queen and consort.

Of course, one of the more well known traditions is the Maypole dance. The Maypole is representative of the phallus and the sacred union between Earth and Sky, the pole standing between the worlds. As the sexual union of the Goddess and God are played out at this time, so do couples fertilize the fields with their sacred unions at this time, ensuring the fecundity of the Earth, and bountiful harvests to come.

The altar is often decorated with local blossoms and flowers from asked plants.

It is a time to celebrate the fruitfulness of the Earth, and productivity in your life.

First published on Suite101.com on 1 May 2006. (Unfortunately.)


Ostara

By Psyche | March 20, 2006 | Leave a comment

Ostara is one of the eight major sabbats or holy days of the Wiccan Wheel of the Year or calendar and is one of the four Lesser Feasts. It is celebrated on the vernal equinox, which is around March 20-21st in the northern hemisphere, and around September 21-22 in the southern hemisphere. This year it falls on the 20th where I live in the northern hemisphere.

The word for this festival come from the name of the Teutonic goddess of spring and the dawn. It is more traditionally spelled ‘Oestre’, or ‘Oestare’, though neo-pagans today usually use the ‘Ostara’ spelling found here. It is from this root that Christianity later derived its word for ‘Easter’, and many of the customs we associate with that holiday today.

As there are three harvests, the first beginning at Lughnassadh after Midsummer, continuing through Mabon and culminating at Samhain, there are also three fertility festivals on the Wheel. Ostara is the second, with Imbolg being the first, and Beltane being the grande finale of the saga.

The vernal equinox physically demonstrates a balance of light and dark in the day, and this theme of balance returning is evident in our celebration, along with the knowledge that the pendulum is about to swing in the other direction, bringing more light and growth in the months to come.

The young God, who was reborn at Yule and grew to a budding youth at Imbolg, is now a young man. The Goddess and God are both youthful and vibrant with Their potential, and budding fertility.

Symbols of fertility abound on this day, eggs being one of the most potent symbols. Eggs are painted in vibrant colours, or inscribed with messages to manifest in the coming months. The hare or rabbit are other obvious symbols of fertility, representing Oestare’s more well-known familiars.

The altar is often decorated with budding flowers, eggs, seasonal fruits and other symbols of renewal. Seeds for planting may be blessed on this day and formal Ostara rituals and pageantry are practised by many covens and solitaries.

It is a time of growth and expectation.

Happy Ostara!

First published on Suite101.com on 20 March 2006. (Unfortunately.)


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