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With 7 days to go before Litha, tonight is the Sixth Esbat or Full Moon after Yule. The full moon this month has a few names, it goes by The Strong Sun Moon in many folkloric traditions, but it’s also known as the Lover’s Moon, the Strawberry Moon, the Boon Moon (ancient celtic) or the Dyad Moon.
- COLOURS: sun colours – gold, yellow, orange
- CRYSTALS: topaz, agate
- PLANTS: oak, maple
- GODDESSES: Isis, Cerridwen, Persephone
- HERBS: parsley, mosses, skullcap, mugwort
- ELEMENT: Earth
December Full Moon
Now is a time for bonding with those who are important to us, nurture these relationships, your garden, your career, and you soul this month.
Because the nights are short, it is also a good time to tap into solar energy, and it’s not uncommon for the full moom to be visible in the sky before the sun has actually set. Take advantage of this and embrace the power of the sun and the moon at the same time. Making it a perfect blend of opposites and balance – sun and moon, masculine and feminine, day and night.
This is the month where magickal workings are well suited to maintaining and enhancing things you already have. Take time to let your personal life blossom – focus on things that improve your job or education, as well as your relationships with family and friends.
The sixth Esbat (Dyad Moon) is a time of duality and growth, it represents the halfway point along the path of the moon. Traditionally people would ask for gifts from the Goddess, and she would grant them the boon, depending on the person’s good and bad deeds during the year.
The word dyad stems from the Greek word dyas, meaning “two” (or “couple”) – the human and the divine, seperate but One.
Dyad Moon Ritual
For the Dyad Moon, the couple is the God and Goddess. They represent two polarities coming together in a sacred union of Oneness.
In this spell you are bringing the divine masculine and feminine energies of the God and Goddess together, and in their union, you ask for your boon.
You will need:
- Two candles (red and green)
- Two sticks (about 20cm long)
- A piece of white string (about 40 cm long)
Begin by casting a circle of light, and lightening the green and red candles. As you do this, invite the divine into your circle:
Divine Goddess and God, sacred Mother and Father of all, please hear my call and bless this circle with your light.
Around the two sticks, wind the piece of string, tying them securely together. Drip 6 drops of wax, three from each of the candles, onto the sticks and string, and say:
What was once two, is now one. Dear Lady, see what I’ve done. Should you find me worthy, then please grant my boon to me [state your desire]. Ayea! Ayea! Ayea! Blessed be!
After you have completed any other spell work, thank the God and Goddess, close your circle, and allow the candles to safely burn down.
The Turning of the Wheel is extremely important. Some Wiccans keep to the traditional timing of the Northern Hemisphere seasonal changes. This is mainly due to avoid confusion . Ultimately, it is a personal decision for you. Do what feels right. Research well and discover your own ways to celebrate the Sabbats. Using your Book of Shadows, or another journal specific for this task, record daily weather. This could include wind direction, temperatures, rainfall and humidity. You may also like to include your observations of the habits of your local flora and fauna. In time, you will develop an extensive and personal reference tool for your local area.
Samhain: Pagan New Years Eve, Halloween (Northen Hemisphere)
April 30 – May 1
The Pagan year begins (and ends) with Samhain (pronounced sow-en). It is a time of reflection, of looking back over the last year. This is the time when the boundry is thinnest between the worlds of living and dead; the powers of divination, the Sight, and supernatural communication are strengthened on Samhain night, and it is considered a powerful but dangerous time to communicate with lost loved ones. Pagans celebrate Samhain as an acknowledgment that without death, there can be o rebirth. At Samhain, the darkness increases and the Goddess reigns in her powerful aspect of the Crone. The God passes into the underworld to become reborn of the Goddess again at Yuke. It is a time to honour those who have hone before us and it is poignant co-incidence that Australoia and New Zealand’s day of Remembrance for their fallen in war, ANZAC Day on April 25, should be so close to the southern Samhain.
Samhain in Australia:
Samhain symbolises death, slumber and wisdom. For you in the Southern Hemisphere, it is an intense period of introspection. Are you living your life authentically? How can you move yourself forward? It is a time for planning, organising and connecting with ancient wisdom. By doing so, when the Circle turns once more, you can step forward with full confidence.
Across New South Wales, the red ironbark is flowering. This tree is an important resource to beekeepers as the honey is greatly prized. Wombats begin to emerge from their holes in the ground to bask and graze in the sun. Male lyrebirds dance their courtship rituals.
Arum, goddess and gillea lilies as well as many introduced bulb species such as tulips and daffodils begin to flower during Samhain. Kale, with its unique green and purple leaves, is ready for harvesting and inclusion in your autumn salads. Gooseberries begin to form their pods of delicious fruit. The Geraldton wax (the floral symbol for Western Australia) begins its flowering season.
Emus begin their breeding season between April and November. Normally emus are silent birds. During breeding season, however, the female can be heard to make a deep booming noise.
Broad–leaved paperbarks of Queensland are flowering –their strongly scented blossoms attract the rainbow lorikeets. During the day, these birds will feast on the sweet nectar until they literally become drunk! Paperbarks are considered sacred across much of Australia. They represent wisdom, creativity and learning.
Oleanders are flowering prolifically –sprays of pink and white flowers. These plants are known to be poisonous and best enjoyed from afar.
Wedge–tailed eagles prepare their nest for the eggs laid during Samhain. The same nest is used over and over but needs a thorough ‘clean out’in preparation for the new brood.
Mother’s Day, in Australia, is held during the season of Samhain. Why not use this season to honour the Goddess and those women who offer love and support in your life?
Samhain provides an opportunity to:
- Leave offerings outside your door (and in your garden) for the Fae and also for animals.
- Hold a New Year’s Party with a spare chair for your loved ones’spirits.
- Bury an apple or pomegranate in the garden –these are believed to assist Spirits who are waiting for their rebirth.
- Complete divination rituals with your favourite methods.
- Display photographs or mementos of your loved ones. Tell or write down their stories so they may be remembered.
- Make pumpkin pie, apple cider and dry/ smoke your own meat.
- Craft your own besom or a witch’s ladder.
- Carve jack–o–lanterns to light the way for the spirits who walk during Samhain.
- Finish any incomplete projects as a symbol of finishing the old year.
- ANIMALS: Eagle, emu, lyrebird, wombat, rainbow lorikeet, cat, owl, boar
- COLOURS: Black, orange, red, gold
- CRYSTALS: All black crystals – obsidian, onyx, apache tears, chrysanthemum stone
- FOODS: Pumpkin, root vegetables, apples, nuts, allspice, sage, rosemary, corn; Meats – beef, poultry, pork; wine, cider
- GODDESSES: Kali, Morrigan, Brighid, Hecate, Persephone, Cailleach, Cerridwen, Ishtar, Isis, Kore, Lilith
- GODS: Cernunnos, Arawn, Gywnn ap Nudd, Osiris, Anubis, Bran, Odin
- INCENSE: Nutmeg, mint, cinnamon, patchouli
- INTENTIONS: Spells to remember and celebrate the Ancestors; releasing negativity; forgiveness. A perfect time for Candle Magick, Mirror Magick and divination
- PLANTS: Straw, nightshade, oak, corn
- SYMBOLS: Black cats, pumpkins, besoms, gourds, candles
Yule: Winter Solstice
June 20 – 23
Winter solstice or Yule is the shortest day, and also the longest night of the year. It marks the return of the Sun’s warmth and light, and the promise once again of a productive Earth. Pagans celebrate these aspects with candles, fire, greenery, and feasting. At this time, Yule logs are burned. The Yulelog must traditionally be the root of a hardwood tree, and in Australia mallee roots are ideal for this purpose, as are Tasmanian oaks and all types of Eucalyptus. The Yule log is burned down until nothing but a small piece remains, which is saved and kept to be used as a lighter for the following year’s Yule fire. A Yule tree is placed within the traditional Wiccan home, with a pentagram at the top, symbolising the five elements. Presents are exchanged and many Withes stay up all night to welcome the sun. This is symbolic of the Goddess giving birth to the God and then resting after her ordeal.
Yule in Australia:
We are taught winter is a time when all things fall into a deep sleep and trees lose their leaves. Looking around the countryside in Australia, you can see this is far from our land’s truth. For many native plants, winter is a season for growth. As the sun’s strength is weaker, many plants take the opportunity to sprout and grow.
Temperatures drop with some areas even receiving snow! Even with cold nights and cooler days, rain will fall. For us in South–East Queensland, we look westwards to the Great Dividing Range. This is the direction from which the rains will come. The westerly winds blow from the inlands, the grazing lands and the greater desert of inland Australia.
Because of the cooler weather, Yule is a great time for repair and maintenance in the garden as well as lifestyle, career and relationships. The sky turns a beautiful shade of blue –crisper and more vibrant. The horizon becomes crystal clear as the eucalyptus haze lifts. Rather fitting for a season of contemplation!
Traditionally, a fire was kept burning during the night and the sunrise was greeted as a way of welcoming the Sun’s longer days of light and growing warmth. You may like to sit outside on Yule morning with a cup of hot ginger tea and watch the sunrise. Chat with your garden and its Spirits.
Instead of an oak Yule Log, you may like to collect Tasmanian oak or eucalyptus trees. If you are unable to set a fire due to fire restrictions or lack of a fireplace, you may like to decorate the branch with symbols. The tea-tree (or small leaf paperbark) blossoms with its bushy white flowers at this time. Tea-tree is greatly sought after for the medicinal properties of its oil.
The cherry Ballarat tree begins to fruit –the seed forms on the end of the fruit and looks like an inside out cherry. Birds of paradise are beginning to flower. The flowers of the grevilleas and wattles are attracting insects and birds.
In the past, the Aboriginal People would travel from the riverbanks to higher land. Koalas, possums and wombats would supplement their bush tucker foods. The centre of soft tree ferns were an integral part of their diet.
Wedge-tailed eagles lay their eggs and begin to protect the nests aggressively. The platypus mating season begins (although this does depend on the geographic area).
Aboriginal astronomers knew Arcturus and Vega would appear in the night-time sky. This was a sign for fish traps to be made and for wood ant pupas to be harvested. When the Pleiades –or Seven Sisters –appeared in the night-time sky, it was a sign to begin dingo-hunting.
Yule provides an opportunity to:
- Celebrate with a Yule feast. Invite your family and friends.
- Reflect, meditate and act on the blending and balancing of masculine and feminine energies within.
- Act on those projects you planned and started during Samhain.
- Light your own bonfire (check your local fire regulations). When the fire is finished, scatter a few of the ashes to the four winds from a hilltop or open space, sending your wishes for the future with them. Bury the rest.
- Choose and decorate your own Yule tree to represent the World Tree. Traditionally, this tree or log is burned on December 31st. The fire is lit with the previous year’s Yule log. When the fire is finished, a part of the burnt log is kept for next year’s Yule. If there is a total ban on fires, you can make your own log from clay or make one from cake!
- Make a wreath as a symbol of the everlasting cycle of life. Hang it on your front door.
- Create baskets of goodwill –to donate to local charities or to leave on the doorstep of those in need.
- ANIMALS: Wombat, koala, possum, ant, dingo, goose, boar, wren, cardinal
- COLOURS: Green, yellow, brown, gold, red, white, silver
- CRYSTALS: Ruby, peridot, gold, citrine, bloodstone, garnet, emerald
- FOODS: Cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, winter vegetables, berries, apple, cherries, orange, Yule log (cake), pavlova, fruit cake; roast meats; mead, eggnog, wassail
- GODDESSES: Mother/ Lady, Demeter, Brighid, Isis, Alcyone, Ameratasu, Bona Dea
- GODS: The Sun God, Lugh, Odin, the Oak King, Cernunnos Baldur, Mithras
- INCENSE: Frankincense, myrrh
- INTENTIONS: Any magick enhancing peace, love, harmony and/ or happiness
- PLANTS: Ash, yew, holly, pine tree, poinsettia , mistletoe, juniper berries, cherry Ballarat, tea tree, grevillea, wattle
- SYMBOLS: Sun, star, holly, mistletoe, evergreen wreaths/garlands, candles, bells, snowflakes
Imbolc: Imbolg, Candlemas, Feast of Torches, Oimelc, Lupercalia, and Brigid’s Day
July 31 – August 1
Imbolc (pronounced im-molk) is the time of the beginning of beginnings, the time to consider carefully what you will do with the year stretching before you. Imbolc brings the awakening of the life force when the first green shoots of bulbs appear. Life is stirring again and this marks the Goddess recovering after giving birth, while the newborn God is depicted as a small child nursing from his mother. The God is growing, spreading sunshine all around, causing things to grow. It is a time to honour the feminine and get ready for spring. At Imbolc, the Australian forests are bright with the colour yellow, the Acacia trees coming into foll flower. Until fairly recently, the 1st of August was “Wattle Day” in Australia (it has now been moved to the 1st of September).
Imbolc in Australia:
Although frosts and late snowfalls are common in some parts of Australia during August, in our corner of South–East Queensland, we look for the westerly winds. These winds bring two to three weeks of bitter cold weather. Once this has occurred, winter is ‘finished’. People begin to pack their jumpers and fleecy lined jackets back into mothballs for next year!
Throughout Australia, many of the acacia (wattle) trees are flowering. In general, you will also see many yellow, lavender and mauve native (and introduced) species flowering throughout the landscape. Wildflowers are abundant. In particular, the silver wattle and the guling (an Aboriginal word for orchids) are rich with colourful blossoms. Strychnine trees begin fruiting with their toxic orange fruits in Northern Queensland.
The red sandalwood tree’s fruit will begin to ripen during Imbolc. The fruit is a sickle–shaped pod –changing from green to black in colour as it matures. Once fully ripened, it will split on two sides, then curl and twist to reveal up to a dozen hard and bright red coloured seeds. These seeds are wonderful for craft work.
The caterpillars of the common brown butterfly are feeding during Imbolc. The platypus breeding season is now halfway through its four month course. Echidnas begin their breeding season. If you live close to koala territory, you will hear them bellowing throughout the night. It’s certainly an ‘interesting’mating call!
Noisy miners, a vocal and flock–orientated bird, begins its mating season as well. They gather together in large groups and act aggressively to eagles and magpies especially. Preferring to nest in prickly or leafy trees, you may look for their nests in eucalypts, wattles, banksia, mistletoe and jacaranda trees. White cockatoos become noisier as they seek out white cedar trees.
The Australian raven –the world’s largest raven –begins its mating season. Nests are built high up in the trees where three to four pale green eggs will be laid. The Noongar people of Western Australia believed the Australian raven helped to carry the spirits of the dead across the sea to the afterlife at Kurannup (an idyllic place over the horizon).
Imbolc provides an opportunity to:
- Spring clean! This festival reminds you of all the little tasks to be completed before the ‘busy’ seasons arrive.
- Plant seeds; prepare for the fire season in Australia; fertilise, mulch and prune.
- Nurture the inner seeds of personal growth as well as the physical seeds of the Earth.
- Reflect on personal goals and dreams.
- Bless and burn candles; tell stories, write poetry, take photographs of nature.
- Participate in Earth healing or personal healing activities.
- Perform divination for your future.
- Feast and frolic.
- Be creative. Weaving, dyeing and candle-making may interest you.
- ANIMALS: Koala, platypus, echidna, Australian raven, swan. Any birthing and lactating animals.
- COLOURS: White, lavender, greens, blues and golds
- CRYSTALS: Amethyst, rose quartz, pearls, turquoise, clear quartz
- FOODS: Basil, lavender, blackberry, angelica, iris, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, poppy seed cakes, muffins, scones, any dairy products, garlic; spiced beverages, herbal beverages
- GODDESSES: All Maiden Goddesses; Gaia, Brighid, Aphrodite
- GODS: Gods of love and fertility; Eros, Aengus Og, Faunus, Pan
- INCENSE: Cinnamon, vanilla, myrrh, violet
- INTENTIONS: Candle Magick; divination through Tarot & Runes; hands on healing
- PLANTS: Crocus flowers, violets, heather, wattle, fresh flowers, ash tree (sacred to brighid), silver wattle, red sandalwood
- SYMBOLS: Brighid’s Cross, corn dollies, candle wheels, ploughs, flowers
Ostara: Eostre, Spring/Vernal Equinox
September 20 – 23
The Equinoxes are the balancing points in the cycle of the seasons, when the day and night are of equal length, reminding us of the harmony of the whole. Buds of flower and leaf; all manner of eggs and just-born life are celebrated in decorations and imagery as Pagans rejoice in the Earth’s reawakening. The urge of spring is to do, create and bring in the new. Here light overcomes darkness with lightening days bringing the magick of new growth. Ostara is associated with childhood and new life, and the God and Goddess are percieved as children, personifying youth and innocense before their entry into adulthood. The Goddess, as the Maiden, covers the earth with flowers and love while the God grows to maturity. This is a time to honour the masculine and to celebrate everything that is great about being alive.
Ostara in Australia:
For you in the Southern Hemisphere, celebrating ‘Easter’in September may feel ‘weird’at first. We like to think of Ostara and Yule as having almost a double celebration within the European calendar. As Wiccans, we choose to celebrate Easter in March/ April and Ostara in September. Double the blessing and double the chocolate! Of course, this is a choice for you to make. Our choice is a reflection of catering to family and personal belief systems in a non-judgemental way.
You can duplicate the Easter traditions during Ostara but there is so much more you can do to celebrate the union of the Goddess and her consort. To the First People, the spring equinox signalled the beginning of a new year. As such, it is a suitable time to begin a year and a day of study.
In tune with the season of spring, reflect on the renewing of your life –thoughts, dreams, aspirations and relationships. It is a time to ‘sow the seeds’for all things new and to celebrate prosperity and growth. Orchids bloom profusely as the bromeliads finish their flowering season. Orchids represent wealth, strength, love and luxurious beauty.
The bilby has become a symbol for Easter within Australia. It is worthy to include them as a symbol at this time (although their mating season is normally March till May) as they are endangered. The focus on renewing and growing can be applied to fundraising or learning more about the Australian animals facing extinction.
Currawongs will call loudly… again and again and again. They return to higher grounds during spring. The lyrebirds have finished their mating season displays. Aussies begin to don protective head gear as Australia’s most accomplished songbird begins its breeding season –the magpie. Their protective swooping habits can turn the bravest person’s knees to jelly.
For many Aboriginal tribes, yam tubers are ready to collect and eat. Water gums begin to flower with abundant, beautiful small yellow blossoms. White cedar trees also begin to flower. Their mauve scented flowers appear in spring and are followed by olive shaped fruit turning yellow when ripe. The white cockatoos feast on the fruit; making a huge mess of the tree itself.
The native white elderberry begins to grow large brackets of white flowers. Purple round berries will follow. Kookaburras are nesting. Their call, according to some Dreaming stories, calls the Sun up each day.
In Queensland, the Bunya Trees are beginning to pollinate. This sacred tree forms the centre piece for Bunya Festivals during the season of Litha when its football-sized nuts will be ready to harvest.
Ostara provides an opportunity to:
- Dye Ostara eggs together. Either hardboiled or raw –add food colouring and a teaspoon of vinegar to hot water for colouring. Play traditional Easter games such as egg and spoon races.
- Honour the Earth by collecting seasonal flowers and leaves for a celebratory centrepiece. Remember to ask permission and to leave a token of thanks. Decorate your living space lavishly.
- Divine, dowse or sense the meaning of the wildflowers in your local area. Write this into your BoSaL. Taking pictures of flowering plants can help you identify when they are in flower and also as a reference for finding out their names.
- Feel the sun on your skin and smell the scents of spring in the air. Walk to your local park. Pick up litter.
- Weed the gardens or any other little tasks to keep the area looking pristine. Plant some seeds or seedlings. Research Moon gardening.
- Meditate at dawn to welcome the Sun’s vital life-force into your life. Light black and white candles to represent the perfect balance night and day.
- Explore Australian Bush Flower Essences, herbs and essential oils for their healing properties.
- ANIMALS: Bilby, currawong, lyrebird, magpie, rabbit, hare, chicken; any nesting animals
- COLOURS: Any bright, fresh colours
- CRYSTALS: Aquamarine, rose quartz, moonstone, moss agate, jasper
- FOODS: Sage, any herbs, ginger, buns, oranges, leafy green vegetables, eggs, yams
- GODDESSES: Persephone, Eostre, Aphrodite, Isis, Ishtar, Flora, Ma-ku, Asase Yaa
- GODS: The Green Man, Cernunnos, Mithras, Odin, Osiris, Ovis
- INCENSE: Frankincense, jasmine, dragon’s blood, cinnamon
- INTENTION: Any magick for abundance, new beginnings, releasing inhibitions
- PLANTS: All plants from bulbs, daffodils, jasmine, roses, lilacs
- SYMBOLS: Rabbits, hot cross buns, eggs, flags and ribbons in bright colours
Beltane: Bealtaine, Walpurgusnacht, May Day (Northen Hemisphere), Novey Eve (Southern Hempisphere)
Beltane, the beginning of the summer months is at the November cross-quarter. This is the festical of the Great Rite – of sexual union between the Goddess and God. Beltane is the spring fertility festival and there is feasting and celebration – a great festival for lovers! Beltane is the most popular time for witches to be handfasted. This is the time when the brilliant red flowers of the Flame Trees highlight Australian forests and gardens.
Beltane in Australia:
Eastern water dragons (lizards) begin their breeding season. During Beltane and Litha, they will lay their clutches of eggs depending on the onset of warmer weather. Torresian crows also begin their mating season by creating stick nests in tall eucalypts.
Small bats, flying foxes and possums become more active. Fruit crops need to be protected from their foraging.
European honey bees will begin swarming from September through to December. Native Australian bees begin collecting honey stores as they prepare for the upcoming summer and then the winter months which follow. The honey is stored in small resinous bags brought together in clusters. They look like a bunch of grapes and are called sugarbags.
The male common brown butterfly begins to fly and waits for the females to come out of their hibernation. The tawny frogmouths are in the middle of their breeding season –usually only one or two eggs –the breeding pair can be heard beating their wings on their nest.
Jacaranda trees are in full bloom; leaving their purple carpets of blossom on the ground. Lilac is blooming and in high demand for wedding bouquets.
The rain season begins; particularly in far north Australian regions. In the Southern regions of New South Wales, the trees begin to shed their bark (known as Bark Fall) to prepare for the Australian Summer. The weeping paperbark (also known as a tea-tree) begins its flowering period –each blossom is formed as a cream spike (similar to a bottle brush). For a short period during Beltane, the silky oak tree loses nearly all of its foliage followed by the formation of vivid bright yellow and orange coloured flowers.
Some local communities still celebrate the arrival of warmer weather with parades, parties and open gardens. In Toowoomba, you can attend the Festival of Flowers or in Canberra, you can view the Floriade.
The last sightings of the humpback whale occur during November as they complete their migration to Antarctica.
Beltane provides the opportunity to:
- Be ‘child-like’. Fun and activity promote vital energies. Make your own Maypole or decorate a tree/ branch with Beltane symbols. Dance around it as if no one is watching you.
- Leave small baskets of flowers or Blessing Bags on doorsteps to spread the abundance of the season.
- Renew your vows or begin a new relationship. Light your own bonfire (as long as it is within local fire regulations). When the fire is finished, scatter the ashes to the four winds from a hilltop or open space, sending your wishes for the future with them. Alternatively, light a large scarlet candle embedded in sand or dirt. Drop dried rosemary, lavender or rose petals into the flame. Ask the Universe to send you what you need most.
- Create a flower garland or fill a vase with flowers (nine is traditional). Research their meanings and make a heart-felt wish on each flower. Save any fragrant flowers or herbs and turn them into potpourri.
- Visit a local pond or lake just before sunrise. Walk round it three times sunwise (deosil), asking for healing for yourself or loved ones.
- Organise a Green Thumb party. Ask your friends to bring along plants to exchange.
- ANIMALS: Eastern water dragon, humpback whale, bat, butterfly, tawny frogmouth, bees, lamb, deer, stag, calf
- COLOURS: White, colours of the rainbow
- CRYSTALS: Malachite, golden tiger eye, amber, topaz, citrine
- FOODS: All nuts and seeds, honey, grapes, cinnamon, strawberries; wine, juices
- GODDESSES: Aphrodite, Freya, Flora, Rhianna, Artemis, Bes, Xochiquetzal
- GODS: The Horned God, Cernunnos, the Green Man, Bacchus, Kokopelli
- INCENSE: Frankincense, vanilla, rose
- INTENTION: All Magick concerning love, fertility, good fortune, abundance
- PLANTS: Jacaranda, rose, daffodil, jasmine, gardenia, oak, silky oak
- SYMBOLS: Ribbons, flowers, beads, cattle, apples, bonfires, may pole, garlands
Litha: Summer Solstice, Midsummer
December 20 – 23
This is the longest day of the year, and a time of joy and strength for the light. It is a ime when the powers of nature are at their fullest. In the past this was often marked with bonfires and celebrants staying awake through the short nhight. To leap over the bonfire was to assure a good crop; some said the grain would grow as tall as the leapers could jump. Due to fire restrictions in Australia throughout summer, celebrations for this Sabbat tend to be quite different from those throughout much of the year. No candles can be lit, no cauldrons burned, and no open flames are allowed outside throughout much of the country. Litha falls in the dry stifling heat of summer in the southern part of our land, but in the north, Litha falls in the hot, wet season, and represents fruitfulness. In Australia the Sturt Desert Pea is a sacred flower of this time. This is a time of ascendcy of the God, at his most powerful now, while the burgeoning Goddess brings forth the bounty of the Earth.
Litha in Australia:
Litha is the season where most mainstream households in Australia celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Schools are out for the summer holidays. Mugginess and mosquitoes are on the rise. Families experience an extended period of time where routines are different from normal. While some retreat into their air-conditioned homes, many will use this opportunity to spend time in their gardens, go camping or visit beaches, dams or lakes –with a focus on spending time with loved ones.
With the growing heat, it is important to stay cool and hydrated during the day. Think of your animals and the local wildlife. Put terracotta bowls (low lipped) out in your garden. Place some on the ground and some at higher levels. This caters for many different types of wildlife.
Mangoes, nectarines, peaches, cherries and apricots begin to appear fresh from the farm on supermarket shelves.
Goannas are active as they search for the eggs of other reptiles and birds. Blue-tongued lizards give birth to their live young during Litha. Christmas beetles (a type of scarab beetle) are hatching and flying clumsily into outside lights during evening barbeques and parties.
In the southern parts of Australia, the sulphur-crested cockatoo will finish its breeding season in January. These beautiful birds are incredibly curious and very intelligent. They are one of the few native animals which have adapted well to European settlement.
The cherry Ballarat and kangaroo apple trees are fruiting. Frangipani, dwarf apple (a type of eucalypt) and buckhamia trees are covered with creamy white flowers. Pink bloodwood and tallowood trees are beginning to blossom. Aboriginals believed the bloodwood to be sacred to the Goddess as the sap was similar to a women’s menstrual flow. Water gums and forest maples begin to grow their fruits.
Kangaroos do not have a particular breeding season as the female of the species is continually pregnant. However we have chosen to place the kangaroo here in our Litha observations as the kangaroo’s behaviour is similar to many Australians during the season. The kangaroo rests in the shade during the day and comes out to eat during the late afternoon and night when it’s much cooler. Ideal behaviour in hot weather!
The kangaroo is also wonderful animal medicine for moving forward. The kangaroo is unable to move backwards. Litha encourages you to move forward in leaps and bounds like the kangaroo.
Bunya Festivals were held during January. These Festivals were important to the Aboriginal People. In Queensland, the Bunya Trees are ready to release their football-sized nuts.
If you ever go to the Bunya Mountains, take heed of the signs reminding you to stay away from the trees during Nut-Fall season! Once upon a time, tribal delegates would be sent out to invite surrounding people to feast on this sacred tree’s fruit. The Aboriginals would travel far and wide along their Song Lines to find the Meeting Place. These meetings involved ceremonies, dispute settlements, marriage arrangements and the trading of goods.
Today, the Bunya Nut festivals are a way for many people to connect with the Land and also learn more of Aboriginal culture.
As a Wiccan, it is your choice whether to celebrate Christmas alongside your Litha celebrations or not. This season seeks to shine light, truth and celebration into your spiritual life, relationships and daily living. Honour the strength of the Sun within you and your environment.
Litha provides an opportunity to:
- Bless your home with a eucalyptus wreath, decorated with red and yellow feathers or flowers. This invites prosperity into your home.
- Spice up your life! Go on a hike and/ or picnic with family and friends. Have a dance or drum circle. Invite some friends over and have fun while you raise the energy!
- Bless and protect your animals by doing something for them –a special wash or maybe a new collar with an engraved tag.
- Collect magickal water during thunder and lightning storms.
- Place garlands of St. John’s wort over doors or windows and a sprig in the car for protection.
- Create a mobile of dried lemons, oranges and cinnamon sticks.
- With the increased heat, you can help care for animals by placing water bowls at differing heights in your garden or on your veranda.
- Do something to help someone else… whether it be on a large or small scale.
**Collecting Magickal Water: Collect your water in a glass or porcelain container, never metal. Metal conducts lightning! Store it on a shelf tightly sealed. If you place it on the ground, the energy will ground itself. Feel free to add coral, shells and rocks to the water to increase its energy during this time. This water is for magickal use and not for drinking purposes. After six months, pour the unused portion back onto the ground.
- ANIMALS: Goanna, eagle, kangaroo, sulphur–crested cockatoo, horse, wren, birds of song, any sort of pet, dragons
- COLOURS: White, green, blue, red, yellow
- CRYSTALS: Jade, emerald, lapis lazuli, diamond, opal, golden tiger eye
- FOODS: Fresh stone fruits and vegetables of the season, pumpernickel bread, chamomile, wild thyme, fennel, mugwort, spicy foods
- GODDESSES: All Mother Goddesses ruling over love, passion and beauty; Aine, Cerridwen, Aphrodite, Astarte, Freya, Hathor, Ishtar, Venus, Kali
- GODS: All Soldier Gods; Helios, Llew, The Holly King, Lugh, Ra, Sol, Zeus, Aten, Apollo, Horus, Huitzilopochtli
- INCENSE: Lemon, myrrh, pine, sandalwood, lotus
- INTENTION: Magick of all kinds –especially those for healing, love, prosperity and those for the protection for your pets
- PLANTS: Cherry Ballarat, kangaroo apple, lily, oak, ferns, elder, carnations, rose, wildflowers, citrus trees, mistletoe, oak, pink bloodwood, bunya, buckhamia
- SYMBOLS: Fires, mistletoe, fairies, the sun, blades, sunflowers, cauldron
Lughnasadh: Lammas, Lunasa
Lughnasadh is the ‘cross-quarter’ day marking the first harvest of early grain, where the first load of the bread from the harvest is broken and shared in the name of the Goddess. All crops associated with grain and of the season are sacred to this time. Much fertility is coincident with Lughnasadh in Australia, with Australia Day being marked on January 26. It is a time to reflect on the successes of the year and to reward yourself for jobs will done. Lughnasadh magick can be magick of facing up to change. The God gives gis energy to the crops to ensure life while the Goddess, as Mother, prepares to transform into her aspect as the Crone. The God loses his strength as the days grow shorter.
Lughnasadh in Australia:
In Australia, Lughnasadh doesn’t feel particularly like you are preparing for autumn or cooler weather. Instead, they days of Lughnasadh are filled with searing heat and high humidity where both animals and people are seeking cooling comfort where they can.
For many Australians, Lughnasadh coincides with the excitement of beginning a new school year as well as beach parties, barbeques and watching copious amounts of cricket and tennis (either on the field or on the television).
As a season of cyclones, electrical storms, windy weather and bushfires, Lughnasadh represents both regeneration and new growth where once there was desolation. Power outages are common at this time. A supply of candles, matches and torches should always be kept handy.
Australian farmers will be harvesting their winter crops –grains, cereals and legumes. Others will be planting sorghum, sunflowers and soybeans.
For many Australians the concept of harvesting is symbolic rather than physical. With many homeowners installing rainwater tanks, this is an ideal time to remember to service your tanks so you can ‘harvest’more rainwater. Of course, at this time of year, parents are hurriedly collecting school supplies for the new school year. This could be considered symbolic of harvesting too. Parents are certainly in a ‘mad rush’to get the job done!
The mango trees have finished fruiting and new growth is shooting forth. This new growth is green, gold, red, orange and yellow. The Queen Mum agapanthus will flower during February. This particular flower was called ‘Aggie-put-your-pants-on’by older generations of Australians. The native umbrella tree flowers during Lughnasadh –sending out long, red spikes of blossom which appear similar to the spokes of an umbrella. Lilly pillys’fruit turns from white to pink and to purple during Lughnasadh. They are a reminder to grow up, get stuck into living and be grateful for all the blessings surrounding you.
An outstanding rainforest tree which flowers during Lughnasadh is the fire wheel tree. Its flowers are a vibrant yellow and red. As they mature, they form an open wheel. The tree becomes heavily laden with these flowers. It will appear as if it is alight in the last rays of the setting sun.
In some Aboriginal stories, the storms and lightning were produced by a male gecko. He ate the grasses near the sacred swamp, drank the water and then spat the combined mixture into the sky to make rainclouds. The thunder was his appreciation for the rain to come. Another Aboriginal story tells of Marmagan, a Sky God, who rides the clouds and throws lightning bolts. By rubbing two stones together, he created rain. In many Aboriginal stories, cyclones and electrical storms were seen as being judgements for disturbing the balance of Sacred Spaces.
You may also hear the Kookaburra at dawn –staking their claims on their territory before the new season of mating.
An old bush tale states: If the kookaburra laughs between ten and two, A weather change is coming through!
In your backyard, look to the ants for signs of coming rain. Or perhaps, look for the black cockatoo flying from the mountains to the coast. As a totem of rain and joy, the habits of the black cockatoo is a favourite bushcraft weather indicator. Goannas are on the move –seeking out the newly laid nests of lizards in the warm soil. Eastern water dragons will be hatching from their eggs. Lastly, look for the common brown butterfly –the females are about to come out of hibernation and begin to lay their eggs.
Filled with delight and possible destruction, Lughnasadh’s Mother Goddess energy, is strong in its power and regenerative in its care and nourishment.
Lughnasadh provides an opportunity to:
- Make corn dolls, popcorn and popcorn chains or craft projects using seasonal fruits and vegetables.
- Bake gingerbread, muffins and/ or bread for a feast.
- Visit a farm to pick fruit (or gather it from your own garden).
- Complete releasing ceremonies/ blessings for yourself and your relationships.
- Care for those who may not be able to escape the heat. Observe the young, the elderly, the sick and disadvantaged –whether they be human, furred, feathered or finned.
- Participate in Clean Up Australia Day (usually held in early March) and honour our Mother Earth by beautifying her surrounds.
- Make colourful pinwheels for your garden decorations to honour the setting of the sun.
- Celebrate with a barbeque (great symbolism of a need–fire). Serve fresh bread, grilled corn, pumpkin salad and finish with a mouth-watering fruit salad!
- ANIMALS: Common brown butterfly, kookaburra, black cockatoo, gecko, sows, roosters, calves, goanna, ant
- COLOURS: Orange, green, brown
- CRYSTALS: Moonstone, carnelian, fossilised wood, dark yellow and any brown jasper, banded agates, greenstone, mookaite, Botswana agate, titanium aura, fossils
- FOODS: Bread, grains, berries, grapes, plums; lamb, salmon; ale, mead
- GODDESSES: Demeter, Hestia, Brighid, Freya, Cerridwen, Anu, Ishtar, Danu
- GODS: The Green Man, Tammuz, Adonis, Lugh, Cronus, Sobek
- INCENSE: Sandalwood, rose, aloe
- INTENTION: All magick relating to cleansing, letting go, harvesting and empowerment
- PLANTS: Fruit trees, hazel tree, hollyhock, sunflowers
- SYMBOLS: Corn, barley, hazel tree, bread, corn dollies, harvesting tools, gloves
Mabon: Autumn Equinox, Madron
March 20 – 23
Mabon is a balancing point in the light and dark of the year, the day when the sun has equal hours in and out of the sky. It is also the second harvest. At this time food is prepared for storage, jams and pickles are made, and fruits are candied and preserved for the coming winter. Pagans celebrate this as a rite of Thanksgiving, a celebration of harvest abundance, an appreciation of hearth, home, and family. It is a time to reflect on what it means to be a witch and re-affirm your commitment to the Craft. This is the time when the Goddess is mourning the God even though she carries him within her, to be born again at Yule.
Mabon in Australia:
Here in Australia, the season of Mabon brings cool mornings and warm, still days. By some Aboriginal groups, it is called the eel season as they are fat and ready to harvest as they head out to sea for breeding. The birds begin their migration patterns, the possums and dingos begin their breeding seasons. The skinks and tortoises begin their hibernation. Red-tailed black cockatoos begin to chip away inside dead trees to create their nesting spaces.
The ribbon gum begins its flowering season. You can recognise these eucalypts by their blazing white bark. At the base of their trunk, the bark seems to fall away in ribbons –hanging like the petals of a flower and the branches shooting straight into the air like a 40 metre tall stamen.
If the weather conditions are right, rainfall is a high possibility. Autumn is known in the Northern Hemisphere as the season of fall –where the leaves fall from the trees. Here in South-East Queensland, only a few trees lose their leaves. The black bean or Moreton Bay chestnut begins flowering (these beans are highly toxic causing diarrhoea and vomiting). Velvet leaf or callicarpa bushes will slowly turn their inconspicuous, small, green berries a stunning, bright purple. Brush cherry trees and Moreton Bay fig trees are growing their edible fruits. Native fruit trees provide important fruit for native animals. Interestingly, each of the native fig trees have their own particular type of wasp which contributes to their pollination.
In gardens, native banksia bushes are flowering. Non–natives such as the purple tibouchina and the Easter May (the cassia) are flowering as well. The mulberry and gooseberry bushes are fruiting and will be ready for harvesting in the coming weeks.
This is a season for getting out into the garden. The sun is not as hot and there is still some daylight in the early evening to weed, prune and sing to your plants. It is a time to prepare the vegetable beds. Some will require fallow (or rest) time while others may be planted with your next crop. It is also a time for nurturing the land of your home –de-clutter both inside and out.
The common ringtail possum begins its breeding season during Mabon. Possum awareness week is usually in early April. In particular, awareness is focussed on the Leadbeater’s possum or fairy possum. Once considered extinct, it was rediscovered on April 3 1961. Sadly, bushfires, logging and development have caused it to become endangered again. The mountain pygmy possum begins to prepare for its winter hibernation. It is the only Australian marsupial which hibernates for a long period of time.
Wombats give birth during Mabon. Baby wombats are called joeys are carried by their mother for twenty-five weeks.
As a season of rainfall, you may wish to work with water goddesses, the colours of the ribbon gum (silvery white, blue and pink) or the medicine of the eel and possum.
Of course, many people will be celebrating Easter. You may choose to follow both the energy of mass consciousness alongside your Mabon celebrations. Do what feels right for you and your intention for being in connection with the cycle of time. Easter can become just a fun time of sharing chocolate while Ostara can be something more profound.
Mabon provides an opportunity to:
- Initiate a food drive or assist a charity.
- Participate in Clean Up Australia Day, International Women’s Day or Pagan Pride Day.
- Pick apples in an orchard; make pickles, jams and preserves.
- Complete a gratitude list for your BoSaL or journal.
- Turn off the TV and tell stories!
- Make apple candleholders, apple wreaths and apple garlands.
- Weave a God’s Eye.
- Make a scarecrow for your garden.
- Turn your household rake into a beautiful wall hanging by decorating it with Mabon symbols.
- ANIMALS: Eel, possum, dingo, wombat, tortoise, red-tailed black cockatoo, owl, stag, wolf, birds of prey
- COLOURS: Autumnal colours, red orange, gold, brown
- CRYSTALS: Blue lace agate, chalcedony, aqua aura, rose quartz and all calcites, yellow agate, ruby, lapis lazuli, amethyst
- FOODS: Acorn, grain, corn, pomegranate, bread, root vegetables, sage, myrrh, passionflower; soups and stews; wine
- GODDESSES: Morgan Le Fay, Persephone, Demeter, Hecate, Epona, Inanna
- GODS: The Green Man, Thor, Hermes, Dionysus, Bacchus, Mabon, Dagda
- INCENSE: Myrrh, sage
- INTENTION: Protection, harmony, self-confidence, gratitude Plants Acorn, hazel, hops, grain, ivy, marigold
- SYMBOLS: Wine, pine cones, gourds, corn, apples, dried seeds, ivy, pomegranate
I will continue to add to this list!
- Wiccan Spell a Night: 365 Spells, Charms, and Potions for the Whole Year. By Sirona Knight
- Celtic Lore and Spellcraft of the Dark Goddess. By Stephanie Woodfield
- The Modern Witchcraft Spellbook: Your Complete Guide to Crafting & Casting Spells. By Skye Alexander
- Queen of the Night: Rediscovering the Celtic Moon Goddess. By Sharynne MacLeod NicMhacha
- Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft. By Raymond Buckland
- A Beginner’s Guide to Tarot: Your Guide to the Cards. By Kathleen Olmstead
- A Beginner’s Guide to Tarot: You Guide to Spreads. By Kathleen Olmstead
- Wiccan’s Walk in Oz: Perspectives from the Southern Hemisphere. By Rebecca Major & Caithe Cameron
- The Ultimate Book of Shadows for the New Generation Solitary Witch. By Silver Raven Wolf
New Moon: 29th First Quarter: 7th Full Moon: Strong Sun Moon 14th Last Quarter: 21st
New Moon: 28th First Quarter: 6th Full Moon: Blessing Moon 12th Last Quarter: 20th
New Moon: 27th First Quarter: 4th Full Moon: Corn Moon 11th Last Quarter: 19th
New Moon: 28th First Quarter: 5th Full Moon: Harvest Moon 13th Last Quarter: 21st
New Moon: 26th First Quarter: 4th Full Moon: Blood Moon 11th Last Quarter: 19th
New Moon: 26th First Quarter: 3rd Full Moon: Mourning Moon 11th Last Quarter: 19th
JUNE – Yule (First Esbat)
New Moon: 24th First Quarter: 1st Full Moon: Long Nights Moon 9th Last Quarter: 17th
New Moon: 23rd First Quarter: 1st Full Moon: Cold Moon 9th Last Quarter: 17th
New Moon: 22nd First Quarter: 29th Full Moon: Quickening Moon 8th Last Quarter: 15th
New Moon: 20th First Quarter: 28th Full Moon: Storm Moon 6th Last Quarter: 13th
New Moon: 20th First Quarter: 28th Full Moon: Wind Moon 6th Last Quarter: 12th
New Moon: 18th First Quarter: 27th Full Moon: Flower Moon 4th Last Quarter: 11th
New Moon:18th First Quarter: 16th Full Moon: Strong Sun Moon 4th Last Quarter: 10th
It should be noted that the names of the full moons vary in different cultures/countries. I have used Celtic Pagan names as that is what I am draw to the most.
This is going to be sort of a master post that compiles information from books, blogs, and websites that I frequent. I am going to include information about the Sabbat, ritual/activity ideas for the solitary witch, as well as ideas on how to include children/family in the celebration of the Summer Solstice. I hope you get some great ideas on how you want to celebrate Litha while being in the Southern Hemisphere.
In the Southern Hemisphere Litha (also known as Midsummer’s Night, Alben Heruin, the Celtic Oak Festival, and Feast of the Fairies) is celebrated between December 20th – 23rd. It is the longest day of the year, and a time of joy and strength for the light. It is a time when the powers of nature are at their fullest.
This is the time of the battle between the Holly and Oak Kings. The Oak King and the Holly King as considered dual aspects of he Horned God in some Wiccan traditions. Each aspect rules for half of the year. The Oak King rules from Midwinter to Midsummer and his twin, the Holly King rules from Midsummer to Midwinter. When they meet at Litha, there is a great battle between them. The Holly King win’s and the Sun’s strength begins to wane. The Oak King is symbolically considered to be dead.
I thank the waves as they crash upon the beach. I thank the wind blowing through the trees. I thank the fire as it crackles through midsummer. I thank the Earth for its richness and bounty. I thank the Gods and Goddesses for Litha’s blessings of love, health and prosperity.
In the past this was often marked with bonfires and celebrants staying awake through the short night. To leap over the bonfire was to assure a good crop; some said the grain would grow as tall as the leapers could jump. Due to the frire restrictions in Australia throughout summer, celebrations for this Sabbat tend to be quite different from those throughout the rest of the yer. No candles can be lit, no cauldrons burned, and no open flames are allowed outside throughout much of the country. Litha falls in the dry stifiling heat of summer in the southern part of our land, but in the north, Litha falls in the hot, wet season and represents fruitfulness. In Australia the Sturt Desert Pea is a sacred flower of this time. This is a time of ascendancy of the God, at his most powerful now, while the burgeoning Goddess brings forth the bounty of the Earth.
It is a time to celebrate your reams coming to fruition. Dreams are traditionally more lucid on this night; ensure you have a journal ready. To help remember your dream experiences and the information presented in the dream state, try using crystals such as nephrite, moonstone, blue kyanite, and/or strawberry quartz tucked into your pillow or placed on your bedside table.
As a Wiccan, it is your choice whether or not to celebrate Christmas alongside your Litha celebrations or not. This season seeks to shine light, truth and celebration to your spiritual life, relationships and daily living. Honour the strength of the sun within you and your enviroment.
Litha provides an opportunity to:
- Bless your home with a eucalyptus wreath, decorated with red and yellow feathers or flowers. This invites prosperity into your home.
- Spice up your life! Go on a hike and/or picnic with family and friends.
- Have a dance or drum circle. Invite some friends over and have fun while you raise your energy.
- Bless and protect your animals by doing something for them – a special wash or maybe a bew collar with an engraved tag
- Collect magickal water during thunder and lightening storms. Collect your water in a glass or porcelain container, never metwal. Metal conducts lightening! Store it on a shelf tightly sealed. If you place it on the ground, the energy will ground itself. Feel free to add coral, shells and rocks to the water to increase its energy during this time. This water is for magickal use and not for drinking purposes. After six months, pour the unused portion back onto the ground.
- Place a garland of St. John’s wort over doors or windows and a sprig in the car for protection.
- Create a mobile of dried lemons, oranged and cinnamon sticks.
- With increased heat, you can help care for animals by placing water bowls at differing heights in your garden or on your veranda.
- Do something to help someone else… whether it be on a large or small stage.
- ANIMALS: Goanna, eagle, kangaroo, sulpher-crested cockatoo, horse, wren, birds of song, any sort of pet, dragons
- COLOURS: White, green, blue, red, yellow
- CRYSTALS: Jade, emerald, lapis lazuli, diamond, opal, golden tiger eye
- FOODS: Fresh stone fruits and vegetables of the season, pumpernickel bread, chamomile, wild thyme, fennel, mugwort, spicy foods
- GODDESSES: All Mother Goddesses ruling over love, passion and beauty; Aine, Cerridwen, Aphrodite, Astarte, Freya, Hathor, Ishtar, Venus, Kali
- GODS: All Soldier Gods; Helios, Llew, The Holly King, Lugh, Ra, Sol, Zeus, Aten, Apollo, Horus, Huitzilopochtli
- INCENSE: Lemon, myrrh, pine, sandlewood, lotus
- INTENTION: Magick of all – especially those for healing, love, properity and those for the protection for your pets
- PLANTS: Cherry Ballarat, kangaroo apple, lily, oak, ferns, elder, carnations, rose, wildflowers, citrus trees, mistletoe, oak, pink bloodwood, bunya, buckamia
- SYMBOLS: Fires, mistletoe, fairies, the sun, blades, sunflowers, cauldron
Midsummer Night Fire Ritual
If your tradition requires you to cast a circle, consecrate a space, or call the quarters, now is the time to do so.
This ritual is a great one to perform outside, so if you have the opportunity to do so without scaring the neighbours, take advantage of it.
Begin this ritual by preparing the wood for the fire without lighting it yet. While the ideal situation would have you setting a huge bonfire alight, realistically not everyone can do this (especially in the Southern Hemisphere). If you’re limited, use a table top brazier or fire-safe pot, and light your fire there instead.
Say either to yourself or out loud:
Today, to celebrate Midsummer, I honor the Earth itself. I am surrounded by tall trees. There is a clear sky above me and cool dirt beneath me, I am connected to all three. I light this fire as the Ancients did so long ago.
At this point, start your fire. Say:
The Wheel of the Year has turned once more. The light has grown for six long months until today.
Today is called Litha, called Alben Heruin by my ancestors. A time for celebration. Tomorrow the light will begin to fade as the Wheel of the Year turns on and ever on.
Turn to the East, and say:
From the east comes the wind, cool and clear. It brings new seeds to the garden, bees to the pollen, and birds to the trees.
Turn to face South, and say:
The sun rises high in the summer sky and lights our way even into the night. Today the sun casts three rays. The light of fire upon the land, the sea, and the heavens.
Turn to face West, and saying:
From the west, the mist rolls in bringing rain and fog. The life-giving water without which we would cease to be.
Finally, turn to the North, and say:
Beneath my feet is the Earth, soil dark and fertile. The womb in which life begins and will later die, then return anew.
Build up the fire even more (if possible), so that you have a good strong blaze going.
If you wish to make an offering to the gods, now is the time to do it. For this version of the ritual I have included the use of a triple goddess in the invocation, but you should substitute the names of the deities of your own personal tradition.
Alben Heruin is a time of rededication to the gods. The triple goddess watches over me. She is known by many names. She is Morrígan, Brighid, and Cerridwen. She is the washer at the ford, She is the guardian of the hearth, She is the one who stirs the cauldron of inspiration.
I give honour to You, O mighty ones, by all your names, known and unknown. Bless me with Your wisdom and give life and abundance to me as the sun gives life and abundance to the Earth.
I make this offering to you. To show my allegiance. To show my honour. To show my dedication. To You.
Cast your offering into the fire. Conclude the ritual by saying:
Today, at Litha, I celebrate the life, and love of the gods, and of the Earth and Sun.
Take a few moments to reflect upon what you have offered, and what the gifts of the gods mean to you. When you are ready, if you have cast a circle, dismantle it or dismiss the quarters at this time. Allow your fire to go out on its own.
Sun Ritual for Midsummer
Litha is a great time of year to get outside, enjoy the extra hours of daylight, and cfelebrate the season with family and friends. You can do this ritual as a group or adapt it to perform as a solitary practitioner.
You will need:
- A larger candle to represent the sun
- An individual candle for each participant to hold
Also, be sure to decorate your alter with symbols of the season – solar symbols, fresh flowers, in-season summer produce and crops that you have harvested. You should do this ritual outside if at all possible, so you can take advantage of the sun’s light and energy.
If your tradition requires you to cast a circle, go ahead and do that first.
Take a moment to ground and centre, and get yourself focused. Bask in the rays of the sun, feeling its warmth on your face, and welcoming its power into you.
The person who is leading the ritual – for ease of purpose, shall be referred to as HPs – should stand at the alter.
HPs: We are here today to celebrate the power and energy of the sun. The sun is the source of warmth and light around the world. Today, at Litha, the summer solstice, we mark the longest day of the year. From Yule until this day, the sun has been moving ever closer to the earth. Flowers are blooming, crops are growing, and life has retuned once more. Today we honour the gods and goddesses of the sun.
The HPs lights the sun candle on the alter.
HPs: The sun is the ultimate source of fire and light. Like all sources of light, the sun shines brightly and spreads around the world. Even as it gives its light and power to each of us, it is never diminished by the sharing of that energy. The sun passes over us each day, in the never-ending circle of light. Today, we share that light with each other, passing it around the circle, forming a ring of light.
Using the sun candle, the HPs lights her own candle, and turns to the next person in the circle. As she lights the next person’s candle, she says: May you be warmed and rejuvenated by the light of the sun.
The second person turns to the third, lighting their candle, and passing along the blessing. Continue until the last candle in the circle has been lit, returning back to the HPs.
Remember, this is a joyous celebration – feel free to include dancing, clapping, music or even a drum circle as you enjoy the power of the sun!
As each person in the group holds their lit candle, the HPs calls upon the gods and goddesses of the sun. Feel free to add or substitute different solar deities as your tradition or needs require.
HPs: Gods who bring us light, we honour you! Hail Ra, whose mighty chariot bring us light each morning!
All: Hail Ra!
HPs: Hail Apollo, who brings us the healing energies of the sun!
All: Hail Apollo!
HPs: Hail Saule, whose fertility blooms as the sun gains in strength!
All: Hail Saule!
HPs: Hail Helios, whose great steeds race the flames across the sky!
All: Hail Helios!
HPs: Hail Hestia, whose sacred flame lights our way in the darkness!
All: Hail Hestia!
HPs: Hail Sunna, who is sister of the moon, and bringer of light!
All: Hail Sunna!
HPs: We call upon you today, thanking you for your blessings, accepting your gifts. We draw upon your strength, your energy, your healing light, and your life giving power! Hail to you, mighty gods and goddesses of the sun!
Each member of the group should now place their candles on the alter, surrounding the sun candle.
HPs: The sun radiates out, never dying, never fading. The light and warmth of today will stay with us, even as the days begin to grow shorter, and the nights grow cold once more. Hail gods of the sun!
Invite everyone to take in the warmth of the sun once more, and when you are done, end the ritual as you normally would.
Backyard Barbecue Ritual for Litha
Start by decorating your back yard with symbols of the season. If your tradition normally casts circle prior to ritual, consider placing some unusual items on your alter and at the four points:
- North (Earth): a sandbox, potted flowers, your garden
- East (Air): fans, pinwheels, hula hoops, a swingset
- South (Fire): sparklers, your bbq, a large fire bowl or pit
- West (Water): water guns, buckets of water, a sprinkler, a wading pool
Instead of casting a circle in the traditional way, invite your guests to help you invoke the elements in a way that celebrates the Litha season, using some of the symbols above. Wave a sparkler in the air when it’s time to invoke fire, or jump in the pool to represent the element of water.
Plan on preparing your food ahead of time – preferably using some method of flame or fire, such as your bbq. Time your ceremony that it begins when the food is ready. Prepare a platter with a few samples of each item on it – corn cobs, hot dogs, burgers, etc. – and place it on the alter, and ask your guests to form a circle surrounding it.
Begin by welcoming your friends and family members. If your traditions honours specific deities, invite them to join you for a feast. If you simply wish to celebrate the season, you can just pay homage to the spirits of the land, or thank the earth and sun for the bounty in front of you.
You can also incorperate this Litha prayer to the sun into your ceremony:
The sun is high above us shining down upon the land and sea, making things grow and bloom. Great and powerful fun, we honour you this day and thank you for your gifts. Ra, Helios, Sol Invictus, Aten, Svarog, you are known by many names. You are the light over the crops, the heat that warms the earth, the hope that springs eternal, the bringer of life. We welcome you, and we honour you this day, celebrating your light, as we begin our journey once more into the darkness.
Once you have honoured the sun and the power it brings, invite each guest to approach the alter. At this time, they can make an offering to individual deities, to the sun itself, or to the local spirits of the garden and land.
Finally, ask the gods of your tradition to bless the food on the alter. Everyone should take a moment to bask in the sun’s rays, and then dismiss the circle – it’s time to dig into your summer feast!!
Ritual to Celebrate Fathers
During Litha we are celebrating and welcoming the God of your tradition, now is the perfect time to honour the men who are important to you. This simple rite also offers your menfolk a chance to get out there and dance, and to celebrate the masculine within themselves.
Prior to the ritual, make a headdress for each male that will be present. This can include horns, antlers, branches, feathers, and other symbols of fertility and masculinity. Headdresses are fairly simple to make – use a strip of heavy fabric or cardboard cut to size, and just glue items on it. If your boys are younger, this is a fan craft project. Assign one male to act out the part of the Horned God in the ritual.
Also, give each memeber of the group some sort of noisemaker – drums, rattles, bells, etc.
This is a ritual best performed in a group, either as a family or coven. If you normally cast a circle, or call the Quarters in a ceremony, do so at this time. Light a red or gold candle in the centre of your alter to represent the Sun.
The High Priestess (HPs) or whoever is leading the ritual should face the sun, and say:
We are here as a family (or coven) on this longest of days. The power of the Sun is above us, and its heat and strength reminds us of the power of the God.
At this point, the group members should shake their rattles, bang their drums, ring their bells. Do so slowly, almost at the tempo of a heartbeat.
The HPs continues:
The God is strong and powerful, he is virile and fertile. He is the Lord of the Hunt, the King of the Forest, and with the Goddess, together they create Life.
At this point, speed up the beat of the drums and rattles just a bit. We honour the God today, and celebrate the masculine within him.
The HPs goes on and says:
I call upon the Horned God! Cernunnos, Herne, Apollo! We ask you to honour us with your presence!
Now the drumming should speed up even more. The man or boy chosen to be the Horned God leads the male members of the group around the alter clockwise in a dance, keeping up with the rhythm of the drums and rattles. As the males circle the alter, they should move faster each time.
Allow the men and boys to dance around the alter as many times as they like. As the dance gets faster, the music will get faster too, until there is a palpable hum of energy. This sensation is often indicative of the presence of the Divine. Let the music run its course – it will end when it’s ready to end, and at that time, the dance should stop too.
Once the dancing and drumming as ceased, the HPs should call out:
Horned one, God of the Hunt, Lord of the Forest! We honour you tonight, on this longest day. We celebrate the men in out lives, those who raised us, those who love us, those that we are raising. We honour them in Your name.
Each memeber of the group may make an offering at this time. If you have a fire burning, throw your offerings into the flames. If you don’t have a fire, place your offerings on the alter instead.
Take a few moments to reflect upon the balance of men and women in your life, and in the world. Think about the men you ahve known, and those you will know in the future. Recognise the qualities that make them honourable and worthy of your love.
When you are ready, dismiss the quarters or close the circle.
- Decorate your alter with the colours of midsumer – golds and reds and yellows. You’ll also want a candle in one of those colours.
- If you don’t have drums, rattles or bells, clap your hands or clack two sticks together!
5 Fun Ways to Celebrate Litha with Children
Becuase Litha falls around December 21 (southern hemisphere) children are on a break from school, this means it is the perfect time to celebrate the sabbat with them. It is the longest day of the year, many of us are playing outside and enjoying the warmer weather. Here are some children appropriate and family friendly ideas.
1. An Outdoor Adventure
Depending on where you live, and what’s readily available nearby, the summer solstice can be a great time to get back to nature. Do you have a nearby forest that you can hike in? How about a beach? Even a field, meadow, or park will do – or even your own backyard! This about the natural elements that fit into the area you’re going to visit, and come up with ideas for how you can use this as a teaching experience.
For older chikldren, try going wildcrafting in the woods. Be sure to grab a book or pamphlet with local edible herbs tha you can find in that area. Use this as an opportunity to look for wild berries, regional fruits, or magickal herbs.
If your children are younger, try a scavenger hunt – look for interesting rocks and sticks, seedpods, pinecones and even animal tracks.
If you have a beach nearby consider taking your little ones out for a bit of beach magick. Gather shells, bits of driftwood, or other interesting goodies that you can use for magickal purposes.
If you don’t have a lot of free time, or you can’t get to a forest or beach, there is plenty you can do in your own yard. Look for butterflies, check out the things that are growing in your garden, and see what you can learn about the sun as it travels overhead. If your children can stay up late enough, try a backyard campout on a clear night and watch the starts and moon.
2. Hold a Family Friendly Ritual
Sometimes its tricky to get through a ritual with small children. The best way to keep them interested is keeping them involved and occupied – this usually meand rethinking ritual ideas so that they can be fun as well as spiritual. Why not hold a ritual that incorporates a backyard barbeque? If you your chikldren have a father or male role models in their lives, hold a ritual that honours fatherhood/important men. For older children who understand fire safety, you can hold a bonfire ritual – this is great for teens after the little ones have gone to bed.
3. Solar Crafts
For a bit of scientific fun, build a sundial in your backyard to see if your children can use it to tell the time. All you need are some rocks and a sturdy stick.
Make a sun wheel out of four sticks and some yellow yarn and fabric, craft some hod’s eyes in bright sunny colours, or gather some sunflowers and make a decorative candle ring for your table.
4. Get Into the Garden
Gardening is a great activity for children, and in the summer time, all those seeds you planted back around Beltane should be growing heartily. If you’ve got food growing, some of it may be ready by Litha – strawberries are often in full bloom, and so are your leafy greens like kale and spinach and lettuce. Teach your young ones how to harvest the food that they’ll be eating
Older children can be put to work weeding and tidying around your plants, and can be shown how to identify the different herbs you’ve planted.
If your herbs have grown enough to harvest a few sprigs here and there, show your children how to pick them and hang them up for drying.
Don’t have room for garden? Don’t worry – you can still plant things in containers. There are plenty of plants that grow well in containers! Give each child a pot of his or her own, and put them in charge of the of a plant. Even though Litha is a few weeks past the optimum planting time, if you get some seedlings in now, they’ll be ready to pick later in the season.
If you are lucky enough to have a nearby farm, see if you can go for a tour of the fields, so your children can see where so much of our food comes from, and how much farmers rely on the cycles of the natural world for agricultural markers.
5. Get Active!
Summer is the perfect time for outdoor activities. If it is very hot during the day in your area, plan your activities for the cooler morning hours or later in the day near sundown.
Put on your favourite music and dance around the yard, or host a drum circle. In addition to being entertaining (and a great stress reliever), a drum circle or a ritualised dance serves another purpose – that of raising energy.
The more you build, the more people will feed off of it. Invite a group of friends overm let them know there will be music and dance, and see what happens. Be sure to provide refreshments for afterwards – drumming and dancing can be draining for some people.
Don’t have enough people for a dance or drumming? Run around the neighborhood looking for fireflies, butterglies, or other summer critters.
Use your imagination and creativity, almost every Litha ritual can be adjusted to be family or child friendly, you just have to be creative!
Starts: 5 December 2016 10:24 am
Ends: 6 December 2016 11:23 am
Moon Phase: Waxing Crescent – 28.5% full
Moon Day: 6
Lunar Month: 7th day
Symbols: Magic Wand, Wind Rose, Wind Vane
Characteristics: The day is connected with the deeper use of prayers, mantras, verbal magick, work with spirits, and elements of nature. A day when prayers have the magick power of faith. Everything we say, and wish for ourselves and others, has the potential to become reality.
Recommendations: Today nature, which surrounds us, is very receptive to what we say, even unintentionally, and because of this we have to work on our verbal skills. Sincere prayers and good wishes will come true. This day is great for practicing yogic asanas (physical exercise), and doing work with our hands.
Precautions: It is, however, a provocative day so be careful what you say and wish. It is important to avoid lying; it is always better to keep silent than to speak lies. Speak less, avoid idle chatter, empty promises, use of meaningless and repetitive words. Protect your lungs and be careful not to catch cold.
Moon in Sign: Aquarius
Sign Element: Air
Characteristics: The moon in Aquarius bring feelings of inner freedom and openness, allowing our emotions to become more alive and to be expressed more freely. Inner feelings of independence become a main priority, rebelling against any percieved pressure or imposed limitations. Because of this we tend to allow ourselves more freedom: like giving into the desire to splurge in shopping or food, the desire for something new, as well as indulging in unexpected actions and behaviors. It is a good time for reforms, experiments, implementing new ideas, even risky projects. Spend more time among people, with friends, colleagues and acquaintances. The most important thing is not to go overboard with the desire to show off.
Health: Vulnerable – legs, nervous system, sense organs. Avoid prolonged walks, straining legs, and nervous system stress. Not recommended – legs and joints surgery/therapy, as well as operations on the sense organs – especially eyes.
The heart becomes stronger so it’s a good time for necessary surgical procedures on heart, as well as vigorous physical training and exercises.
Lunar Horoscope: People born when the Moon is in Aquarius are eccentric, capricious, moody, with a strong need to feel independent. They like everything new, are inventive themselves and in turn support other inventors. They are usually friendly and open to others, always ready to help, they also like and appreciate themselves. They are great survivors, easily adapt and feel comfortable everywhere, but may feel somewhat bored without changes.
Beauty Care: This period is characterized by attention to everything unusual and original, such as fantasy makeup, and exciting fragrances or cosmetic devices with new design.
Sagittarius should consider their diet in the morning, refuse strong tea or coffee and make daily routine maximally free. Aries and Pisces will be able to increase the intensity of physical activity and wellness exercises. Exercises for the neck will be useful for Leo.
The hosts of this period – Aquarius – can use sharp, spicy seasonings in food and cosmetic procedures. Grated fresh onion will help in the treatment of varicose veins.
Fatigue can adversely effect the health of Gemini – it would be good to take baths with the addition of sea salt for blood circulation.
Aries should reconsider applying decorative cosmetics and taking any medications that can cause weight change, Cancers should avoid the use of alcohol-based tonics because skin can be easily irritated at this time. The use of hardware cosmetology (vacuum cleansing, warming massage, magnetic comb, cryotherapy) should be taken with caution for those who are having the procedure for the first time.
Anti-stress masks and balms, facials, soothing herbal preparations, vitamin A, C and E, citrus fruits in diet and beauty masks/creams which include silicon have great value in cosmetic procedures.
Aquarius and Aries should especially cherish their vision and protect their eyes from direct sunlight. Libra and Capricorn will need sunscreen for their skin and should use a day cream with UV filters. Compresses with infusions of parsley, black tea and carrot juice will give a similar effect. It is not recommended that Leos get a suntan of any kind, whether under the sun or in a solarium.
It is easy to lighten pigment spots and freckles on these days. You can use the juice or infusion of fresh flowers of dandelion for this purpose in spring, and lemon or cucumber juice at other times of the year. Steam baths, facial cleanings, contrasting temperatures are not recommended for women of the fire signs.
Procedures that enhance skin regeneration are useless at this time, and for the most part of plastic surgery will not have a positive result.
Anyone who is considering cutting their hair should consider that there may be risks of hair loss, baldness and loss of connection with the Cosmos.
Dental surgery, removal of tumors, pedicure, manicure, and permanent makeup is permitted.
Starts: 6 December 2016 11:52am
Ends: 7 December 2016 12:49pm
Moon Phase: First Quarter – 39.5 full
Moon Day: 7
Lunar Month: 8th day
Symbols: Flame, Fire, Phoenix, Butterfly
Characteristics: This is a day of humility, forgiveness, purity, and transformation. It is a day of the inner fire that cleanses and purifies us.
Recommendations: Today we have to strive to be pure, selfless, to free ourselves from the weight of problems, and everything that holds us back. Visit close friends and relatives, to forgive, bring positive new changes, and build better relationships. Today is also a good time to meditate while focusing on an open flame, as well as to cleanse your home with the burning of candles.
Precautions: You may meet with unreliable people and stress/strain should be avoided if at all possible. Try to be careful with fire. Sex is not recommended.
Business: Free yourself from the weight if problems, and things that hold you back. Try to move forward.
Personal Life: This is a great time for sincere prayers. Try to speak less and avoid idle chatter.
Health: Cleansing and fasting is recommended at this time.
Hair Care: A haircut will bring you luck, good health, and could make your life better. Hair colouring – you could undermine your credibility if you colour your hair on this day. Manipulation with hair – if you have curly hair and wish to better capture natural energy you could straighten your curls.
Moon Sign: Pisces
Sign Element: Water
Characteristics: The moon in Pisces brings romantic feelings, heightened intuition, dreamy mystical moods, as well as an interest in religion and the magickal or unknown. At this time people may become softer, tender, more sentimental, speak kind words, and give compliments to loved ones. During this time we tend to have a deeper understanding of the hidden meaning of life and events, as well as a more intimate perception of beauty, art, poetry, and music. It is a perfect time to visit the theater, museum, art exhibition, to watch a good film, or read a favourite book. It is a time to go a little deeper, to tune into things that can touch your soul.
Health: Vulnerable – feet, toes, and immune system. Try to walk less, and if possible wear only comfortable shoes. Our body becomes more sensitive so everything we put inside (alcohol, legal/illicit drugs) can produce a much stronger effect and therefore must be used with more caution. Not recommended – feet surgery/therapy, and due to the overall body sensitivity any operations should be avoided (if possible). Diet – carbohydrates are recommended but in moderation.
Lunar Horoscope: This is the best positioning for the Moon in the whole Zodiac. People born when the moon is in Pisces are affected very strongly in a positive way. They are blessed with powerful intuition, live rich inner lives, often have extraordinary abilities, are great learners, can be very patient, and are always ready to help. They are very kind, selfless, and usually have very happy lives. People born with the Moon in Pisces very often become great musicians.
Beauty Care: It is important to regulate your energy costs and keep daily rituals focused on self-care. It is advisable for health and beauty to follow a diet that stimulates the excretory functions of the body, eliminating toxins and waste. It can be useful for Aries, Virgo, and Libra to take a kidney tea to reduce water retention; alcohol should be excluded. Water treatments can be useful for all characters except Capricorn.
It is desirable to use only soft products – gels, cosmetic milk, oatmeal or a slice of fresh cucumber for skin cleansing.
Moisturizer for the face and body, as well as herbal infusions and water compresses/team baths work well at this time.
Cosmetic masks that are made from natural organic ingredients will help you to keep the purity and freshness of your skin.
A haircut made at this time may lead to the formation of dandruff. Shampooing could also give the same result. You should abandon all desires for a haircut during the days of Pisces. Treatment of acne, inflammation of a non-infectious nature will be effective. In the process of beauty treatments at home try to observe sterility – if possible visit a beauty salon instead.
Surgery on the feet, removal of corns/ingrown nails, and treatment of the nail plates is not recommended. However, elective surgery of abdominoplasty will be safe.
You should not use new aromatic substances during this time because of the increased likelihood of allergic reactions. But if you feel lost without perfume, use lavender oil. Try to devote any free minutes in the evening to relaxation and meditation. The magick stone olivine (peridot) may help to release the body and spirit from all unnecessary things that are disturbing your joyful approach to life. A good way to relieve fatigue, and depression is meditation on your favourite colour scale.