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