YULE (Winter Solstice -- 21 December)
Darkness (night) and Light (daytime) are of equal length on this day, the celebration of Winter Solstice, the turning of the night from waxing to waning (the word itsef is from the old Norse word "yul" which means "wheel").   The waning night is symbolic of light emerging victorious over darkness; Winter will soon be vanquished and Spring will bring new life to the frozen earth.  This is the obervance usurped by Christians to be  celebrated as the birth of Christ.  It might have become smothered in commercialism and trappings of baby in manger and shepherds, but the underlying idea has remained the same:  Light's triumph over Darkness.  The christmas tree and yule log, symbolic of this feast, also have their origins in ancient Pagan practice.
Colours: Red, Green, White, Gold, Silver, Yellow, Orange.
Herbs:  Bayberry, Thistle, Evergreen (Pine), Frankincense, Laurel, Sage, Mistletoe, Juniper, Arborvitae, Ash.
Incense:
Pine, Cinnamon, Cedar, Heather, Sage, dried Apple Leaf, Chamomile.
Gems: Rubies, Diamonds, Garnets, Emeralds, Hematite.

Click  HERE for my Yule page with Mike Nichols' article about the origins of Yule, YULE GREETINGS to my friends, or CHILHOOD MEMORIES of Christmas in Germany.
IMBOLC (Oimelc, Candlemas -- 02 February)
The celebration of the growing power and warmth of the sun, called Candlemas in some traditions because we light candles to celebrate the growing llight.  We honour the virgin and maiden aspects of the growing Goddess, the future bride of the Sun God.  The name Imbolc is probably derived from the Gaelic "oimelc" meaning "ewes milk" because this is the time when herd animals give birth and are therefore lactating.  It marks the half-point of the dark half of the year.  In Celtic tradition, it is the holy day of Brigid, Goddess of fire, healing and fertility, the muse of poets. It is a fire celebration, but we celebrate the light more than the warmth of the flame, the light gaining on darkness (the gradual return of the sun).
Colours: A light Shade of Green, Brown, White, Yellow, Pink, Red.
Herbs and Flowers:  Basil, Bayleaf, Blackberry, Heather, Iris, Myrrh, Violets, Pansy, Wisteria, Angelica, Benzoin, Celandine, Coltsfoot.
Incense:
Cinnamon, Heather, Sage, Vanilla, Myrrh.
Gems: Amethyst, Hematite, Garnet, Turquoise, Onyx, Ruby.

Click HERE for my Imbolc page with an article by Mike Nichols or HERE for my Valentine's Greetings to my friends.  The Nichols article explains the connection between Imbolc and "Valentine's" and "Groundhog Day"
LADY DAY (The Vernal Equinox, Ostara -- 25 March)
The celebration of Spring, the Goddess Iduna (Norse) and her lifegiving mead; the Goddess Ostara (Teutonic), Patron of Fruitfulness and Desire (as reflected in the things that are sacred to her, the Egg and the Rabbit, both symbols of fertility).  It is the celebration of the union between the young Goddess and the God; the Goddess conceives and in nine month will turn into the Great Mother (symbolic of the time of sowing to the time of reaping).
Colours: Green, Brown, White, Yellow, Pink, Red.
Herbs and Flowers:  Iris, Narcissus, Daffodils (any spring flower), also Acorn, Celandine, Cinquefoil, Dandelion, Dogwood, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Rose, Pansy, Violet.
Incense:  Patchouli, Strawberry, any fresh floral (especially Lavender, Verbainum).
Gems: Jasper.

Click HERE for my Lady Day page with an article by Mike Nichols about the origins of this holiday, and HERE's a Spring Greeting to my friends.
BELTANE (May Day, Walpurgis Night, 01 May)
The celebration of the blossoming of Spring -- of sexuality and fertility.  Beltane is in-your-face sexuality, as symbolised by the Maypole with its white (Goddess) and Red (God) streamers.  The celebrants weave the streamers around the pole, clockwise the red and widdershins the white, your hopes for the coming year are woven into your life.  This is a day for fun and feasting.
Colour: Orange, Red and White.
Herbs and Flowers: Hawthorn, Spring Greenery, Marjoram, Nettle, Almond, Belladonna, Clover, Frankincense, Ivy, Marigold, Meadowsweet, Orchid Root, Rose, Rowan, Sorrel, Woodruff
Incense: Marjoram, Nettle, Woodruff, Dana Oil.
Gems: Stones with holes through them.

Click
HERE for my Beltane page with an article by Mike Nichols about the origins of this holiday.
LITHA (Summer Solstice, Midsummer Night -- 21 June)
The celebration of Summer Solstice, the opposite of Yule (the longest day with the shortest night).  We honour the sun at its peak, an abundance of light and life, but also remember that this marks the time of returning darkness as the nights will again gain on the days.
Herbs and Flowers: Carnation, Heather, Lilly, Honeysuckle, Rose, Fern, Daisy, Chamomile, Chickweed, Chicory, Delphinium, Dogwood, Elderflower, Fennel, Figwort, Hemp, Lavender, Male Fern, Meadowsweet, Mistletoe, Mugwort, Pine, Rose, St. John's Wort, Vervain.
Incense: Heather, Rosemary, Lemon, Rose, Sandalwood, Wheat, Oak Leaves.
Gem: Emerald.

Click HERE for my Litha page with an article by Mike Nichols about the origins of this holiday.
LAMMAS (01 August)
The first harvest.  Lammas (loaf mass) celebrates the grain that is now harvested and promises sustenance during the coming winter.  It is also a reminder of the dying God, as darkness keeps taking over the light of day (the beginning of Autumn).  Traditionally, the seeds from the fruits consumed during the feast are saved, and any sprout is planted in honour of the God and Goddess.
Herbs and Flowers: Grains, Grapes, Sloes, Pears, Heather, Blackberry (all Berries), Fenugreek, Frankincense, Heather, Hollyhock, Mistletoe, Oak, Oat, Sunflower.
Incense: Dried Rose Petals, Aloe, Sandalwood, Barley, Basil.
Gem: Carnelian.

Click HERE for my Lammas page with an article by Mike Nichols about the origins of this holiday.
HARVEST HOME  (aka Mabon, The Autumnal Equinox -- 21 Sept.)
The time to pay our respect to the impending darkness and give thanks the waning sunlight.  The Goddess passes from Mother to Crone and her Consort prepares for death and rebirth.  It is a time for lavish feasting, for family and friends to re-affirm their bonds, and to finish old business as winter, the time of rest and reflection, draws nearer.
Colors: Brown, Red, Russet, Maroon, Orange, Gold.
Herbs and Flowers: Acorns, Grains, Ferns, Honeysuckle, Heather, Marigold, Milkweed, Myrrh, Passion Flower, Rose, Sage, Solomon's Seal, Thistle, Vegatables.
Incense: Myrrh, Frankincense, Sage, Fern, Dried Apple, Dried Oak Leaves, Marigold, Passion Flower, Wheat.

Click HERE for my Harvest Home  page with an article by Mike Nichols about the origins of this holiday.
SAMHAIN (01 November)
The Pagan New Year, the most important of the Sabbats.  The wheel has come full turn, signifying the end of the harvest that will ensure survival during the coming time of darkness, Winter.  It is also at this time that the separation between the physical and the spiritual world is at its most tenuous, hence a time for paying homage to the spirits of our ancestors, who may walk among us.  The tradition of "trick or treat" has its roots in the custom of children going from door to door asking for "soul cakes" to gain and maintain the goodwill of wandering spirits.
Colours: Brown, Black, Orange.
Incense: Nettle, Bayleaf, Tarragon, Sage, Oak Leave, Calendula, Frankincense, Myrrh.
Herbs: Acorn, Oak, Apple, Arborvitae, Corn, Hazel, Mullein, Nightshade, Pumpkin, Sage, Turnip, Wormwood.
Gems: Hematite, Opal, Topaz.

Click  HERE for Samhain invocations to the Goddess and God, or HERE for my Samhain page with an article by Mike Nichols about the origins of this holiday .  Click HERE for a little Halloween Fun
The Pagan Year

The Great Sabbats:

Imbolc
Beltane
Lammas (Lughnasadh)
Samhain


The Esbats or Lesser Sabbats:
Spring Equinox: Ostara
Summer Solstice: Litha
Autumn Equinox: Harvest Home (Mabon)
Winter Solstice: Yule

The dates given are for the Northern Hemisphere
add 6 months to the dates for Sabbat observation in the Southern Hemisphere
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