Beltane


For once I got my research into the festival finished, but only just before the festival so it didn’t leave me much time to prepare.

I was going to do a May bush which is used to ward off fairies on Beltane and try and catch the May dew to wash my face with it, but were unable to organise these in time.

Instead I did my ritual and took the day off.

I was also going watch Doctor Who and The Daemons as it’s based at Beltane and is pagany, but we didn’t have the episodes on DVD.

This is an example of a festival which just didn’t happen.

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Spring Equinox


A couple of weeks ago I celebrated the Spring Equinox.

A lot of Celtic practitioners don’t celebrate the equinoxes and solstices as there is no evidence that the Celts celebrated them. I believe that the stone circles and barrows etc of which the sun strikes them at a certain point on equinox or solstice predate the Celts.

I know of no evidence in myth or folklore of celebrating equinoxes or solstices, so I have to conclude that the Celts didn’t celebrate them.

So why do I celebrate them? It’s because I believe they are an intrinsic part of our lives which denote certain points when the balance of the earth swings towards the summer or winter, or is equally balanced.

Imbolc


I missed last Imbolc, as I was in hospital waiting to start labour and give birth to my son, which seems appropriate for the start of Spring.

This time I did my ritual and thanked Brigit for my son, who will be one year old in a couple of days. As he is now mobile I waited until he was asleep and did the ritual in the bathroom, as my current baby monitor’s range will not stretch to the garden, which is something that needs to be remedied.

Afterwards I made my Brigit cross which is currently hanging over the front door and tried to put the old one up into the loft to ward against fire. Unfortunately I could not get the loft ladder down, which is yet another thing to look at soon.

Samhain


This was the first year in a long time I have not carved turnips for Samhain. I did not get organised in time and as I have a baby son I would have needed LED tealights, which I couldn’t buy in time.

In the morning I did my Samhain ritual and finished writing the ritual to introduce our son to the ancestors. It was appropriate that he is nine months old this Samhain.

I watched the film Ghost. A lot of people watch horror films at Samhain; I don’t like horror movies as I am easily scared but I thought this film was appropriate.

Afterwards I went to a party in the afternoon and we went out for a meal as my husband had just finished an exam.

Then we introduced our son to the ancestors. We first consecrated a candle using his touch, spit and breath. This candle will be put away and used for any rituals involving him. Then we said a short piece telling the ancestors about his names and lastly we asked them to help us bring him up.

Autumn Equinox


It’s a bit late to be writing about this, but last week went mental and I didn’t get time to post.

Unfortunately I also didn’t get to plan out my ritual, but had to do my usual standard one. I have seriously got to start researching the festivals again before I celebrate them, or I risk my celebrations becoming stagnant.

It went well, despite having a baby around. At first I was going to put the baby monitor on and do the ritual outside, with him inside. Then I realised he’d try to roll over in his playpen, get stuck, yell and I’d have to go back inside to sort him out just in case he was yelling for something else e.g. feeding or wanting Mummy cuddles.

So I took him into the circle as he hasn’t yet learnt to crawl and he was as good as gold. He’ll probably be crawling by Samhain, but I’ll worry about that when I get to it.

Lughnasadh


This year, I chose to celebrate Lughnasadh by having lunch with non-pagan friends. This did not work, because since we didn’t talk about Lughnasadh or pagan subjects, it felt like I wasn’t celebrating the festival. I will not be repeating this again.

I did my usual circle and ritual, but had not left myself time for anything else, as meeting up and lunch took six hours out of the day and we were also scheduled to pick the cat up from the cattery in the evening.

All in all, not one of my better celebrations.

Summer Solstice


Yesterday was the Summer Solstice and the first festival I celebrated this year. During Imbolc I was being induced in hospital, while during the Spring Equinox and Beltane I was coping with the demands of a newborn baby. I totally missed the Spring Equinox and didn’t get it together enough to celebrate Beltane, which is a pity as I enjoy Beltane.

This also means that I need to catch up on the house protections I do at Imbolc and the spell for the cat’s health I do at Beltane. Thankfully I don’t have to do these spells then, but it is appropriate and helps me remember.

Sunday evening I got all the equipment I needed by the back door in case my son woke up at four in the morning, when I could feed him, put him back in his cot with my husband sleeping beside him in case anything happened and go and do my ritual. Of course, sod’s law intervened and he slept right through till half past six!

I got up and found it was raining. After feeding my son I gave up all hope of celebrating the festival outside, as it is difficult enough getting him out at the best of times and this certainly wasn’t one of them. I hope to make it outside for a ritual at a later date, but we will see.

I ended up doing it in the bathroom, as that was the only place with a big enough space to draw a circle. I ran three taps to simulate the natural world while doing the ritual.

I cast my usual circle and celebrated the day as the longest day and also Áine’s feast day. Áine is one of the Irish deities connected with love and I asked her for her help. She asked for an offering and I danced for her, as her court would dance on the hill of Knockainey, which seemed to be sufficient.

After that I wound down the circle and when I had done that my son woke up, so it was back to the real world…

Midwinter Solstice


I realise that it’s a couple of weeks since the Midwinter Solstice, but I’ve been busy with Christmas preparations, social activities and sleeping as I’m in my third trimester and very tired.

As you know, I usually cast a circle with jars which contain milk, salt and a candle. For more information, search for my blog post on circle casting. This time I couldn’t do it as my pregnancy makes it very difficult to bend down. So I resorted to just drawing a circle on the ground. It worked just as well, but I prefer to use the milk, salt and candle method, especially as it makes a physical boundary which is easier to see.

I did my usual ritual and afterwards wassailed the elder tree in my back garden. I usually wassail all the guardian trees in the district, but again pregnancy prevented this so I did a symbolic wassailing for all of them.

Samhain


The day before Samhain I bought turnips for turnip lanterns and started carving them. As with everything, you get better with practice and this is no exception as I’m now able to do more detailed carving on the lanterns.

I made two; one for the front door and one for the back and put a protection spell on each. I’ve recently learnt that the protection spell isn’t needed, but since I went to all the trouble of writing it I’m going to keep using it.

I did a ritual where I honoured The Dagda and The Morrigan and gave tribute to the land, as the Tuatha De Danaan did to the Fomorri each Samhain. In the tales Samhain is a time of destruction, usually by fire, but I could not find a way of re-creating this. If I had researched into the festival more ahead of time instead of the day before I probably would have found something.

We also watched the Doctor Who classic “The Daemons” which was appropriate for Samhain even though the action takes place at Beltane! I don’t know why it was relocated in the script as they mention Samhain. This story also features a witch (who says she’s white) and is seen muttering a successful spell again the forces which are trying to knock her out.

I made Homity Pie and Apple Dappy, which are traditional foods my mother’s ancestors would have eaten and both have apples in them. I also try to use imperial measurements which I know they used as Mum taught to me cook using imperial. Converters can be found for free on the net, it’s just a matter of typing the amounts in.

I had trouble with the pie, as I was using gluten-free flour to make it for the first time as hubby has been put on this diet by his doctor’s surgery. If you roll the pastry out as normal when you try and put it in the receptacle it fragments. After three times trying this I just bunged it in and stuck it together with water. It worked, but I’ll try making more pastry and making it thicker next time.

Autumn Equinox


While I was setting up for my ritual in my back garden I saw a flash of pink under the elder tree. To my delight it was the cyclamen I had planted in the spring, which is unseasonably flowering.
This is a good sign as I am currently pregnant and regular readers will know that I suffered a miscarriage two years ago. I thought I had killed the cyclamen off because I didn’t water it enough. However, it may just die off naturally – I know little about gardening. The other good thing about it is that I bought a white variety, instead of the pink I wanted as that was all the garden centre had. It’s flowered pink.

I did the ritual as normal and I asked my ancestors, my gods and the gods of my ancestors for a natural birth, as well as thanking them for getting this far and that my baby has been measured and is in the normal range for development.

To celebrate the Autumn Equinox I usually go berry-picking. However, I recently filled the remaining space in the freezer with elderberries for a cough and cold syrup called Elder Rob, as well as having blackberries from last year, so hubby not unreasonably put his foot down and said that we’re not putting anything else in the freezer. So I picked the odd blackberry and some elderberries to eat in the woods and talked to my tribal tree.

I also reviewed the tenets of my faith and while I didn’t delete any I added a new one. I will post these next time for people to digest.

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