Sacred Texts  Index  Previous  Next 

sacred-texts |  Web | Powered by Google

Internet Book of Shadows, (Various Authors), [1999], at

           Within  the Pagan  community  there  are  many holidays  and  Sabbats
     celebrated  for various means, and not all celebrate each holiday/Sabbat in
     the same exact way or for the same reasons. The following is a general list
     of the Holidays most common between all the Sects within Neo-Paganisim.

     YULE   (Winter Solstice, December 20-23 (varies according to the particular
             date on the standard calendar according to when the Solstice will
                     occurastronomically)).Longest nightof theyear, theturning  
                point whenthe days shall afterwardsgrow longer as winterbegins  
                   its passageinto thecoming spring.It is,inthe Goddessworship, 
     the time when she gives forth again to the birth of the Divine Sun         
     child who shall be both child and eventually lover and father of           
     the next child in the cycle. Winter Solstice for pagans is a time          
     of feasting and the exchanging of gifts and is the original Holiday        
     that the Christian religions modified into their own Christmas,            
     even upto the birth of the child (Most theologians who have spent          
     time studying the birth of Jesus admit he was born in either March         
     or April, not the celebrated Christmas date we all know from the           
     standard calendar - it was moved to this date to help induce Pagans      to
     give up their old ways yet allow them their holidays during the      spread
     of Christianity thru Europe and the British Isles).                        
     Traditional adornments are a Yule Log, usually of oak, and a               
     combination of mistletoe and holly (also all later plagiarized into        
     Christian ways).

     CANDLEMAS  (Brigid's Day, February  2nd) Not common to  all pagans, this is
     very popular with Wiccans and various Celtic sects. Brigid is the 
     Celtic goddess of fire and inspiration (Poetry, smithcraft and   healing)
     as well as yet another representation of the Fertility of   Femininity  and
     Love.  Brigid had such a strong following among the    Celtics   that   the
     Christian church decided it was easier to assimilate   her  into their  own
     system, and so there came about the making of Saint    Brigit  and all  the
     stories they created about her so that her   followers  would  leave  their
     old beliefs enough so they would not side    with  the   Druids,  who  were
     known at that time as 'the snakes' because   of  their   tendency  to  have
     tamed snakes that were used to help produce  various  healing  mixtures via
     their venom, and who were violently     opposing  the  Catholic church.  In
     History, of 
          course, the druids lost against the overwhelming odds presented by the
          church, led by a man who would then be himself sainted by the church, 
          their Saint Patrick (who was no clergyman but a warrior). Thus 
     Christian rule of various sorts came into Ireland. Handcrafts are     often
     sacrificed to Brigid or dedicated to her as they are started on  this  day.
     Its celebration is done with many candles and as usual much      feasting.
     The Christians also took, moved slightly and used this      d a t e     b y
     creating St. Valentine and using the day for one of chaste  l   o   v   e


     Eostar Ritual (Spring Equinox, March 20-23 dependant on actual astronomical
          event) This is the start in the pagan year of spring, at least among
          Wiccans and Celtics. The first flowers are praised and the Gods and
          Goddesses thanked for the true return to happier times for all. Eostar
               is oneof the more colorful holidays, not one of the somber colors
     found in Yule and Candlemas. Feasting and socializing are the    important
     factors in this holiday as well as the celebration of the   return of color
     to the natural world. In the Christian  calendar,      again to  draw early
     worshipers, they marked this as the final days and     rebirth   of   Jesus
     (when according to history he died in June!)
     Beltane (May Eve, April 30th-May 1st) Most important to pagans, save  f o r
     Samhain, I don't know of any Pagan group that doesn't celebrate  t  h  i  s
     holiday in some way.  Beltane is the  great Fertility rite  of life,       
     starting at dusk on the 30th and continuing until the dawn of the 1st.     
     The union of the God and Goddess to conceive the sun-child to be takes     
     place upon this holiday, no matter which tradition of paganisim is 
          involved. Beltane is the one holiday most discouraged by the 
     Christians, who didn't even use it as a point for a holiday of their  o w n
     because the power and nature of the day involved. Still, even in 
     Christianized Ireland the May day dance of the Maypole remained, as   d i d
     the giving of flowers to those you loved or cared for as friends.     T h e
     Maypole is a symbol of the union of the God and Goddess to create     life,
     the pole itself a phallic symbol while the dancers and their     streamers
     or vines of flowers represent the fertile womb of the goddess    a s    i t
     takes in the Phallus of the god and takes in his seed. Besides   t   h   e
     Maypole often a bonfire is present, and members of the group are 
     encouraged to jump the flames for luck and their own fertility. Food, drink
     and love are the order of the evening. In most sects the    celebration  of
     Beltane will become one large orgy as the participants      are  encouraged
     to enact their own unions of love. Beltane is the time      o f     m a n y
     marriages/handfastings in the pagan community (in some it is     the  point
     where one chooses to begin and end relationships of a  physical    nature).
     Clothing is very optional in most get togethers on     this   holiday,  and
     mostly it is sensual and colorful. Even those sects    that   are   prudish
     about things tend to accept the rules of the holiday,  as it is the holiday
     of free love. It is said that a child conceived   on this day will  grow up
     to wield great power and knowledge and to be      healthier  than upon  any
     Litha (Summer Solstice, June 20-23, dependant on actual astronomical event)
          Held on the longest day of the year, the Solstice is the celebration 
          of lights triumph over darkness and that of the bountiful beauty that
          light brings into life. Flowers are common in the circle, roses and
               brightcheerful wildflowers are upon the altar and usually worn by
     all.   It is  the changing point  of the  year, and the  celebration of the
     spiral dance of the year is common among Wiccans. It a celebration    with
     much joy, and much feasting. Many wiccans will attire themselves      i   n
     bright colors and equally bright adornments of flowers. Litha'   usual food
     fare may include honeycakes or cornbread. Litha is not      celebrated   by
     all sects nor in the same way.


     Lughnasad (August 1st)  The great corn ritual  of Wiccan belief (in  Celtic
     realms this is the celebration of the wheat god, corn is an 
     Americanization and it is possible there is an American Indian 
     traditional holiday near this date that was borrowed by the American 
     Neopagans). THis is the big celebration of the harvest (Sort of a     Pagan
     Thanksgiving, but the time clock is different as is that of the  Celtics).
     Much feasting and dancing occur, thou it is a bit more      somber     than
     many of the other holidays.  Some Pagans celebrate this     day  as  merely
     the day to bake their bread and cakes for the coming   winter  and  do   no
     actual rituals save that of blessing the foods    prepared.
     Mabon (Fall Equinox, Sept. 20-23, dependant on actual astronomical event)
          A lesser holiday, this is not widely celebrated and is most come with
          Pure wiccan groups, especially those who are based in the works of 
          Starhawk and other Dianic sects. This is the weavers festival, and a
          braiding of cords are done in the process of casting a spell to
          add to ones life from what it is, each person weaving unto themselves
          what they wish and the coven as a whole weaving all the cords together
          to unite the power and efforts symbolically.
     SAMHAIN  (Halloween Oct 31st) THe year ends traditionally in Wiccan beliefs
          with  this holiday. Samhain is said to be  the period of time when the
     gates between the worlds are least guarded and the veils their   thinnest.
     It is a time for dimensional openings and workings, and     a l s o   t h e
     celebration of the death of the year king. It is a somber   holiday, one of
     dark clothes and thoughts for the dead, it is said to  be  the  time   when
     those of necromantic talents can speak with the dead   and it is certainly
     a time to remember ones dead. It is a time of     endings  of relationships
     and bad situations and it is the time when   one  can  see  the glimmer  of
     hope in the future. THere are as many   concepts  attached to  this holiday
     as any other.




Next: Fool