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Litha~Summer Solstice

“Summer set lip to earth’s bosom bare, and left the flushed print in a poppy there.” Francis Thompson

Many have varying views on summer and it’s significance to them. Take a moment to think about what summer means to you. Perhaps it’s warmth, tank tops and flip-flops, fireworks, road trips, BBQs, and bonfires. There’s excitement, energy, a joy for life, wanting to go-go-go! This type of energy present is very masculine, very active, and very bursting with fruition! There’s still a potentiality in the air though we are beginning to witness intentions set at the new year blossom and grow into manifestation. Amazing, huh?

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4th of July Celebration @ Fairview Park | Centralia | Illinois | United States

Well, the very first day of summer (the summer solstice) marks the celebration of all of this and more. Also known as Litha, this sabbat is overflowing with light, passion, creativity, and oh so much more. It’s when the Sun God is at His height of power and this is evident by this being the longest day of the year. He is basking and shining radiantly upon all His children. The Goddess is pregnant with (1) the harvest we’ll reap in the fall and (2) the Sun God who’ll be reborn at Yule. While it’s most certainly a festival of celebration and enjoyment, it is also tinged with a underlying sadness as we understand that after this the God will be in decline as we enter the dark half of the year. Night begins growing once more as we head towards Mabon (the autumn equinox) where day and night are equal. After that, the nights are longer than the days.

No reason not to celebrate what we have presently though which is definitely a beautiful lesson in being present, gratitude, and making the best of any situation.

“The great gift of the energy of the Summer Solstice is that it’s designed to move you from one phase to the next on your terms.” Deborah King

Litha occurs anywhere from the 20th to the 23rd of June (I just use a farmer’s almanac to 3dcb427f44466b32c9a293a04021e247find the Summer Solstice) though traditionally it happened when the sun was in 1 degree of Cancer. Wait, what? Yeah, I was confused as well. A solar festival—like the BIGGEST solar festival—is during a water sign?! However, I soon realized that was the beauty of it! It’s when the Sun God is at his pinnacle point in the year and alongside Him, equal, is His consort, His wife, the Goddess. Neither one is pushed aside for the other. They both stand together in harmony and brilliance.

“Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August.” Jenny Han, The Summer I Turned Pretty

This is the classic time for magick! One example would be how the morning dew of this day was supposed to be powerful for glamour so young ladies would venture out to bathe in this dew for a youthful appearance. Herbs collected at Midday (when the Sun is at His height of the day) today are incredibly potent. It is also on this day the fairies are 2196a0ced2774b8a0929007a3679ce3dout as they too revel in delight. Invoke their aid and do not forget to thank them—not so much with words but perhaps a bowl of milk or butter! You do not want to offend the Good Folk. Any spells for protection are great for today.

On this day the Oak and Holly Kings dual again with the Holly King winning. This also marks the transition of the Sun God into the Grain God who will be sacrificed during the harvest. The Goddess is mostly seen as Gaia who nourishes and sustains us daily. However, all solar deities are appropriate  as well as Father Gods, Mother Goddesses, and Pregnant Deities.

Local flowers—especially sunflowers, bright colors, and all things that symbolize summer are welcomed on the altar as well as décor around the home. Think of colors you naturally turn to during this time of year and more than likely most of them can be found in nature during this time which means go for them when decorating. Yellow, Orange, Red, Gold, ad Green are traditional with blue being great for Cancer. However, brown and/or tan is also permissible. I like to use many reds and yellows alongside greens for this particular sabbat.

Quick Correspondence List:

  • Symbols: Fire, The Sun, Blades, Oak Trees, Bonfires, Sun Wheels, and Fairies.
  • Animals: Horses, Cattles, and Summer Birds
  • Crystals/Stones: Emerald, Tiger’s Eye, Lapis Lazuli, and Ruby
  • Herbs: Frankincense, Lemon, Sandalwood, Copal, Saffron, Cinnamon, Laurel, and Orange

This is a sabbat of duality. Not only are we celebrating and honoring the Sun God in all His glory but also preparing for the harvest we know is coming. We honor the Pregnant Goddess and the beginning of the waning year. We delight in the light while acknowledging the beginning of the dark half of the year.

 

Some Activities:

  • Watch the Sun Rise and Set
  • Bask in the Summer Heat. Get outside!
  • Give Offerings to the Fairies.—Make Some Fairy Butter!
  • Bless Fathers                                          download
  • Tie Cinnamon Bundles for Protection
  • Create Protective Herbal Blends
  • Communicate with the Fairies
  • Create Smudge Bundles
  • Have a Bonfire
  • Take a Walk
  • Have a Picnic
  • Make Sun Tea (this is a favorite of mine!)

Some Resources:

These are where I got loads of my information. Check them out! 😊

  • Sabbats: A Witch’s Approach to Living the Old Ways by Edain McCoy
  • Solitary Witch: The Ultimate Book of Shadows by Silver Ravenwolf
  • Wicca by Scott Cunningham
  • Wicca by D.J. Conway
  • The Simple Sabbat: A Family-Friendly Approach to the Eight Pagan Holidays by M. Flora Peterson
  • Litha-The Witch’s Zodiac with Laura Daligan and Zoe Hind
  • CharmingPixieFlora’s videos (I don’t think they are still available)

A song that I found on youtube that really reasonates with this Sabbat and connects me to it is: Celtic Woman-Tir Na Nog

I had class on Litha last summer and I listened to this song on repeat on my drive there and back (no joking lol I LOVE it) and it helped keep the vibe going. 😊

 

The Brightest of Summer Blessings,

The Autumn Witch

 

AW Litha

 

 

 

LITHA!!!!!

Litha.Summer Solstice

We are coming upon one of my favorite sabbats–alright, they all are my favorite but each has so much to offer and teach us so how can I possibly choose? (I actually do have an absolute fav but that’s not the point lol.) I won’t lie: I used to HATE summer and the Litha was one of my least favorites. It being too hot and mosquitoes–uh, no thank you! However, last year I was ALL about Litha and I am already getting excited once more!

Because Litha is ONE MONTH AWAY from today (this wasn’t even planned either!) I will be posting a post a week that deal with Litha from now until then. There may be one or two extra–we’ll see how the creative juices flow. 🙂

 

Brightest of Blessings,

The Autumn Witch

Blessed Beltane!

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Bonfires scattered throughout countryside,
flames flickering and dancing in rhythm,
to an ancient tune only heard by a few.
Flowers and plants bud and bloom,
in celebration and joy,
as the spirits of nature revel in such magick.
What then could be the cause
of such delight and merriment?
Only the union of our Lord and Lady,
two lovers now forever connected,
whole and complete now together.
Abundance as nature now thrives
is ours to enjoy–if we know the way
in which to partake of this sacred day.
Our spirits become fertile alongside our Lady,
whether that be physically or creatively,
so that we too may share in such rites.
On this Beltane day, we celebrate the
Sun God and Earth Goddess.
King and Queen of May,
from whom all life springs forth.
So, come dance the Maypole
while the Fae sing enchanting tunes,
so that once the day is done,
masculine and feminine are as one.

–The Autumn Witch

May your Beltane be abundant with love, light, joy and celebration. ❤

My Beltane Aha! Moment–Beltane 2015

So this past weekend has been full of me trying to really rediscover myself as well as understand some issues that keep cropping up in my life. Mix that in with family drama, the mess that life can be, being sick, and some major changes of self–well I was in a right mess. I knew it had something to do with my perception and felt that I already knew the answer. I later logged onto my Facebook account and was sort of spring cleaning it–unliking no longer relevant pages, groups, and the like before realizing I had some notes on my personal page. One was a schedule from my senior year in high school back in 2009/2010–WOAH! Then I happened upon a note from Beltane 2015 that I’d completely forgotten about and within it was the lesson I was in need of hearing once more. I’ve felt compelled to share it with ya’ll in case you too may be in the same mindset. 🙂

My Beltane Aha! Moment–Beltane ’15

Hope everyone had a wonderful Beltane and if you’re celebrating the entire weekend, then I wish your celebration is full of beauty and love. My Beltane definitely didn’t go as I had planned. Yesterday, 1 May, was also my mother’s birthday and I had a job interview so talk about busy! The night before I’d grown quite restless and perhaps only managed four hours of sleep which only made me very grumpy in the morning. It didn’t help that the grumpy bug had bitten everyone else in the house either. I’d decided because I wasn’t in the mindset for ritual to skip that and instead celebrate in small ways throughout the day which will carry on into today as well. Long story short, it seemed as if everything I had planned yesterday just wasn’t working. Even just watching the sunrise didn’t happen as it was rainy and very dreary–which definitely didn’t help my mood! In fact, my mood didn’t even improve until later that afternoon after my interview. It wasn’t the prospects of perhaps acquiring this job after searching for a while that had made me smile. No, it was something so small that normally is taken for granted. 

On my drive back home, I had turned the radio from the usual country station I always have it on to the hip-hop/rap station that I hadn’t really listened to since leaving college. I just wanted to listen to something much more upbeat which would definitely be keeping with the energy of Beltane–even though I didn’t give it a thought at the time! Actually I didn’t even think about it until I realized I was still listening to said station at this very moment! Funny how it works like that at times! However, I digress. As I continued my drive home, I paid attention to the passing fields and yards that, though damp, were lush and green! BAM! In my head popped the four and five of Chalices! The Four of Chalices came to my mind first but as I stopped and thought about it the Five really stood out so I’m going to start with that card and what it taught me yesterday.

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To me, the five of chalices typically represents not being fully present in the moment, being detached and unaware, and even oblivious. It’s about not being attentive to a situation (or life in this case) and that around you. As can be seen in the card, the man is only paying attention to the spilled chalices, therefore completely oblivious to the two good ones. He’s instead only choosing to put his focus and energy towards that which 1) is on the more negative side, 2) that which he cannot control, 3) the depressing smaller picture instead of the bigger picture that everything’s alright, and 4) not letting go that which no longer serves him. This really hit me because instead of paying attention to the beauty around me, the joy of it all, I was only choosing to focus on a small part of the big picture. I was choosing to instead focus on the negative side of things–the rain, the attitudes, the lack of sleep, etc. I was completely missing the BIG picture! For one, we really need the rain as without rain nothing can grow. Two, everyone has bad days but it’s how you decide to handle them that counts. Instead of grumbling and feeding that grumpy, moody energy I needed to take a few deep breaths and just say a few things I was grateful for as that is an instant mood lifter in my opinion. It really makes you thankful for every day you’ve been blessed with. Going back to the rain, looking at the green earth I realized just how much it contrasted with the dark, gray sky which in turn made everything seem greener and beautiful. On sunny days, though I am aware of the green surrounding me, I definitely don’t appreciate it as much as I should. This allowed me to focus instead on that appreciation and wonder that comes from nature. This card really reminded me of choosing where I focus my attention and energy.

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The other card was the Four of Chalices. This card was the first that floated–not floated, more like bolted!–into my mind. This card is sort of similar to me as the one above in that it’s about not paying attention. It’s about missing out on an opportunity because you are solely focused on the situation or even the future. Paying attention will allow you to be aware of the opportunities and blessings surrounding you. Instead of worrying about what’s to come (as the Chalices are in front of and not next to the person), look around, be fully present, and open yourself to the Universe who will provide what you need. This card stuck out to me as I’d been very much worried about the future with my bills, going back to school, and the long term accomplishments I’d be able to achieve with this job if I get it. Of course it’s always a good idea to make some sort of goals and a list of what you want to accomplish but sometimes we get so wrapped up in that worry and anxiety that we don’t pay attention to the now. This is the only moment guaranteed. How are you spending it? I was constantly in the mindset of the future that I wasn’t paying any attention to the here and now. This reminded me to slow down, take a deep breath, and just enjoy the moment now. I’d even become stressed and frustrated with how I wanted to celebrate Beltane throughout the day instead of simply sitting with the energy of the day, with the God and Goddess, and just enjoying life! I was so angry that my day wasn’t going according to plan that I wasn’t allowing the day to unfold as it should. I was to focused ahead that I was almost rushing through those small moments of celebration that I did do because to me they weren’t what I thought of as celebration.

This was my little aha moments for the day and remembering that I’ve got to stop and smell the roses which even goes with the energy of Taurus. Everything is connected and works together, we just have to stop and allow the present to penetrate our spirit and by doing that, we are in constant celebration.

 

I hope this lesson I learned may be helpful to some of you as I feel we can have the horrible tendency to allow the little things to ruin our perception of the day when there is so much to be joyous of–so much to celebrate! We also need to remember that we need to be fully present in each moment–allowing ourselves to pause and really enjoy life. ❤

Blessed Beltane and Brightest of Blessings,

The Autumn Witch

 

Beltane

Good Morning, Beautiful Spirits! Today I would like to share some information regarding Beltane which is the 1st of May. It is officially less than a week away–it’s this coming Monday!!!! Mark your calendars!

Beltane was traditionally celebrated when the hawthorn trees bloomed, however now it is instead celebrated on the first of May or whenever the sun is in 15 degrees of Taurus. I typically celebrate it either on the 30th or the 2nd because my mother’s birthday is on the 1st. This has always made it easier for me, however this year I will be celebrating it on the 1st along with my mother’s birthday as I’ve learned how to efficiently multitask–well, sort of ;). This festival is also known as May Day, Bealtinne, Rudemas, and Walpurgisnacht alongside other names. As this sabbat occurs during the midpoint of Taurus, the ruling planet is Venus which will be of no surprise in just a moment! You may already know then where I am headed. For the ancient Celts, this marked the beginning of summer while Samhain would’ve marked the beginning of winter.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. But what does it celebrate?! Beltane celebrates love, lust, sexuality, sensuality, and the burgeoning of life force and is a time for love and union. This is when the young God marries and fertilizes the young Goddess with the upcoming harvest as well as himself which will be reborn at Yule. It’s not as weird as you think! This is the time when everything is growing green, plants are budding, and our seedlings begin to sprout (they’ll come to full harvest in the fall) but for this to happen the sun (the God) must fertilize the land (the Goddess). In addition, following the solar festivals, since this is the time in which the God is fertilizing the land, he also impregnates her with the Divine Child which will be born at Yule. Remember, the sun god sacrifices himself as the harvest so that we may survive the winter (the sun’s power and warmth dwindles during this time as we turn towards the colder months). Therefore, the sun must be reborn somehow, right?

Hence this is a fertility festival which is also evident in some of the symbols of this sabbat. You’ve probably already seem pictures of the Maypole. This is a symbol that represents the unification of the masculine and feminine with the traditional color of the ribbons being red (menstrual blood) and white (semen) which is necessary in order to produce life. By the dancing and weaving of the ribbons, the two are united and the land is fertilized.

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There is also the Great Rite which is an enactment of this Divine Union–don’t worry! No one is saying you must great freaky with someone else! Instead, one can simply perform the Rite by lowering an athame (ritual knife) into a chalice, with a few words of course.

Okay. So far, so good. Which Gods then are appropriate for this Sabbat? Well, Gods and Goddesses whom are either married or have a sexual union are appropriate such as Isis and Osiris, Hathor and Horus, Zeus and Hera…you get my drift. Bel would be a good choice since this festival was named after Him. Also, a God most appropriate, in fact this is when he emerges, is the GreenMan who is by far one of my favorites. He’s the spirit of vegetation and I highly recommend you do a bit of research on him.
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This is a great time to get in touch with fairies as the veil between the worlds grows thin, just like at Samhain. For me, this means also giving an offering to my ancestors but it’s not necessarily as solemn an event as the October festivities. Due to this thinning, divination is great for this time so pull out your divination tools–runes, tarot, pendulums, etc.

Let me give a list of some basics now before telling you some of the things I do to celebrate this beautiful and sacred sabbat as well as some other activities you may wish to include.

  • Colors: Red and white are traditional, however blue, lavender, warm pink, white, green and lemon yellow may also be used.
  • Traditionally dairy dishes were served–though I’m certain green leafy vegetables were just as good!
  • Beltane can be used for magick concerning relationships, love, prosperity, healing, success, career advancement, and changing jobs.
  • Incense–either floral or woodsy. I’ve gone both ways and this year will be using Patchouli which is just a very earthy scent and one I do connect with Taurus. Don’t ask why, I just do. 🙂
  • Stones: Moss Agate, Citrine, Emerald, Green Aventurine, Rose Quartz, and Carnelian
  • Mythological Creatures: Fairies and Satyrs
  • Animals: Cows, Goats, Cats, Swans, and Honey Bees
  • Symbols: Maypoles, Baskets, Flowers, Candles, Eggs, Cauldrons, Mortar and Pestles. Decorate your altar and sacred space for the day!
  • Herbs/Flowers: Marigold, Daisy, Bluebells, Hawthorne, Primrose, Rose, and Wildflowers. Decorate that space! Be careful and ensure anything poisonous or toxic won’t accidentally be consumed by children, adults, or pets!

 

Some ways in which to celebrate this sabbat :

  • Watch the sunrise and set. I always try to do this as it really grounds and connects me into the day.
  • Perform The Great Rite–remember you do NOT have to do this so please don’t allow anyone to pressure or force you into this. Though this is a fertility festival based around sexuality, consent is still a HUGE MUST!
  • Jump over a balefire or candle for luck and fertility
  • Create and dance the Maypole. I created a small Maypole centerpiece for my altar but one day I will dance around one!
  • Go on a nature walk. Get out and see what’s happening in nature!
  • Pleasure yourself-bubble bath, do your nails, etc.
  • Set out crystals for the fairies in your yard.
  • Make a dairy dish–cheesecake is my plan 😉
  • Enjoy life!

Some resources that I used and that you may choose to check out yourself–and I HIGHLY recommend you do as I’ve only touched upon this sabbat. I just wanted to give you a starting point for your own learning and research. Remember: knowledge is power! 🙂

I will try to include links where ever I possibly can.

YouTube Videos:

Books:

*Links go to the Amazon Book sales page*

 

I wish you all the most blessed Beltane, abundant with love and light!

The Autumn Witch

 

**Just a side note, because I forgot it above, fertility doesn’t have to relate solely to physical fertility but creative as well. 😉

Ostara Blessings!

I want to wish you all a day abundant with love, light, and balance as we welcome this day of equal day and night. Don’t forget that today doesn’t have to be the beginning and end of your festivities. Instead celebrate it all week long! Dye and hunt eggs. Have an Ostara ritual. Seek Balance.

Brightest of Blessings,

The Autumn Witch

Keeping with the theme of new beginnings and rebirth, this blog will be getting a face lift and I will have plenty of new posts and materials headed your way so follow my blog to stay in touch!

Blessed Ostara

Imbolc

Imbolc was always one of the sabbats when I first started upon my path which didn’t resonate with me nor did it spark any interest within my spirit. I repeatedly skipped over it until I happened upon a video that for some reason really shifted this forgotten sabbat into the forefront for me. Indeed, now I constantly find myself excitedly preparing for this festival of purification and rebirth. I feel it’s one that has slipped into the background for most who simply aren’t certain how to go about celebrating it. This was my problem and hopefully, this post will rectify that for many. This is information I have either gleaned from other sources and compiled or have intuitively decided upon.

Take a moment and let’s imagine: we’ve traveled in time. The winters are harsh and bleak and a good harvest season meant life or death. The food is steadily dwindling, the weather is bitter and cold and yet, despite all of this, you’ve noticed the sun is slowly lingering in the sky but for a moment or two longer. You glance outside and notice a few snowdrops beginning to push their way through the snow. How does that make you feel? You glance up and notice the seagulls are returning and it’s then you realize there are just as many seagulls now as there are blackbirds who have been some of your only animal companions throughout this season. I guarantee one of the feelings you’d be overcome with is relief. Relief as you know spring is coming. It might be a ways off, but sure enough it’ll come.

Very Aquarian sort of energy-the visionary-who can see off and know change is coming. At least, that’s how I understand it and indeed, Imbolc occurs when the sun is in 15 degrees of Aquarius. Typically this is around the 2nd of February and this year this holy day falls upon 1 February 2017. It’s fast approaching and after the revelry of Yule, Christmas, and New Year’s, this sabbat can sneak up on you without much warning! Perhaps, though, that’s because we’ve become to focused and busy on our resolutions and life that we forget to pause and look around at what’s happening in nature. I’ve recently noticed a gathering of seagulls in the Walmart parking lot and laughed because I knew they return near Imbolc. However, I hadn’t realized the date and thought they’d returned a bit too early. Nope. Right on time, as always….or at least where I live at, anyways.

Thinking on seagulls, snow, ice, the cold winter, and snowdrops, it’s easy to figure out the colors for this sabbat which are blue and white. You could say gold or yellow for the sun whose light is slowing returning but green, a deep and dark green, is a traditional color as this is the color of Brigit’s cloak who is honored during this sabbat. One of the other names for this time is St. Brighid’s Day as well as Candlemas. These are the three most popular though there are many others.

Though any Maiden Goddess would be appropriate, and even Mother Goddesses, Brighid is traditionally honored. This made Imbolc also a day I didn’t feel any sort of connection to as I didn’t really follow a Celtic path-though there certainly are Pagans who follow the Wheel of the Year while they walk on different paths. I will do another post on Brighid later, before tomorrow, so you may explore Her a bit more. 🙂 Now, if we look more into what Imbolc means, we find many translate it as “ewe’s milk” since this is when the ewe’s begin lactating which would’ve been a very much welcomed occurrence. Due to the origin of the word, it’s only natural ewes and lambs would be symbols of this sabbat but we also find robins, deer, and burrowing animals. Think-any animals you see at this time of year.

Yes, yes, but what does this sabbat celebrate?! Imbolc marks the halfway mark between the Winter Solstice (Yule) and the Spring Equinox (Ostara). It’s about the returning light, purification, rebirth, and cleansing. This is a good time to make offerings to the Gods. Symbols for this sabbat are candles, The Bride, Burrowing Animals, The Equal-armed cross, spirals, Grain Dolly, Sun Wheels, and Candlewheels. Want to add some kitchen witchery into the mix? Food for this Sabbat are milk, anything dairy, sour cream dishes, spicy food, spiced wine, food with raisins, honey cakes,  honey, poultry, pork and lamb.

This is just a brief picture of this exceptionally bright and exciting time. Following is a list of some activities to celebrate as well as a list of my sources. 🙂

  • Watch the sun rise and set
  • Make Honey Cake
  • Cleanse and Dedicate Tools
  • Give Offerings
  • Perform spells with snow and ice
  • Self-Dedications
  • Use Candles throughout the home
  • Light candles in every room or have the lights on in every room for a few moments to welcome light back
  • Visit any magickal wells within your neighborhood
  • Research Brighid

 

Sources:

 

Brightest of Blessings and Blessed Imbolc,

The Autumn Witch