Yule is the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. Traditionally, this night is honored by keeping vigil throughout the long cold night, tending the yule fire to coax the return of the Sun. After Yule, the nights begin growing shorter as the dark half of the year begins to wane, making ready for the light.
Here at MoonShine, we also recognize the night of Yule as New Year's Eve.
Symbols and Themes of Yule
Yule Log, Sun, Yule Fire, Mistletoe, longest night, darkest night,
starry moonless night
Colors of Yule
red and green, silver and gold, white
Solar System Necklace
Are you looking for something to do while you're sitting vigil on the longest night of the year? With a little experience in beading, you can construct this beautiful necklace and carry all the powers of the Milky Way around your neck. Purchasing all the materials can be a little pricey, but beginning your project well in advance would give you time to gather the materials slowly, and allow time to charge each "planet" with the appropriate energy.
Make a Witch Ball
These work great as ornaments on the tree, decorations around the house, or as Yule gifts. Use the magic all year 'round!
Deities and Archetypes of Yule
Father Gods, Holly King, Pagan Santa, Resurrected/Returning Hero
Imbolc is a cross quarter day, between the Winter Solstice (Yule) and the Spring Equinox (Ostara). At Imbolc, the Earth is seemingly in slumber. But far beneath the frozen ground, nestled in their warm beds, are the seeds that will bloom in spring. Imbolc is a festival of light, a time of preparation for the coming season, a gestation period for the plans and dreams that we will manifest in the coming months.
*note: Candlemas is *not* the same as Imbolc. Candlemas is a Catholic observance.
Colors of Imbolc
white and silver,
green (like fresh growth)
Deities and Archetypes of Imbolc
Symbols and Themes of Imbolc
snakes (serpents), swans, candle flame, silver spiral, silver wheel, "potential", un-manifested energy, the wheel of fortune
For the Birds
It may be cold outside, but why not bring some nature to you? Make this bird feeder and hang it out side near a window. Have fun bird watching at the window, and try to identify all the winter birds that come to feed.
It's really easy! Just take a pine cone, cover it with peanut butter, and then pour on the bird seed! To make it more magical, be sure to bless the feeder before hanging.
Tair Cacen Lleath
...means "Three Milk Cake". Nurturing Mother's Milk is a symbol of Imbolc, and this recipe is perfect for an Imbolc offering
Make Some Candles
Making candles are a perfect way to celebrate Imbolc. They're fun, pretty easy, and you can use many different kinds of containers for your candles - glasses, jars, buckets, cups, bowls and more. It just has to be leak proof and fire proof! Add a magic touch by incorporating stones, herbs, and your own energy to the wax, and you've got a nearly unlimited variety of possibilities.
This "tea" is actually warm milk, but it is an appropriate toast to the Goddess on the Sabbat (and a pretty good drink, too!) The honey adds a nod to the Sun, to help coax his return.
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a ceramic or glass mug, combine the milk, honey and vanilla. Microwave on HIGH for about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir.
Feeling frisky? Add a shot of Bailey's Irish Cream.
If you aren't quite ready to design your own ritual. try this one written by Patti Wigington from About.com -
Hundreds of years ago, when our ancestors relied upon the sun as their only source of light, the end of winter was met with much celebration. Although it is still cold in February, often the sun shines brightly above us, and the skies are often crisp and clear. As a festival of light, Imbolc came to be called Candlemas. On this evening, when the sun has set once more, call it back by lighting the seven candles of this ritual.
The second of the three fertility festivals, Ostara arrives in burst of color and birdsong. This sabbat is a celebration of rebirth, renewal, and the fertility of Mother Earth. The day is celebrated on the Spring Equinox, a day of balance between light and dark; after which the scales tip toward the light, and nature begins to reawaken after her winter slumber.
Colors of Ostara
Any pastel or spring color - think "robin's egg" blue, mint green, "cotton candy" pink...
Deities and Archetypes of Ostara
Maiden as Virgin
Cleanse and Bless Your Space
It’s time for some serious spring cleaning! Before you break out the sweetgrass and sage, take the time to physically clean your home, room by room. Start with an intensive de-clutter, and then move on to some serious cleaning and sanitizing, then the big finish: A thorough blessing and spiritual fortification of your home and property.
Hummingbird Cake is a traditional southern recipe full of fruits, nuts, and spices and covered in a delicious cream cheese frosting. It’s the perfect way to welcome the warm days of Spring.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs
Okay, I admit it: Reese’s Cups are my downfall. In case the Ostara bunny forgets to deliver yours, here is a great recipe to make some scrumptious treats for yourself!
Draw Birds and Butterflies to Your Home
Now that the Sun has returned and the days are getting warmer, the birds and butterflies will begin to appear. Take the time to research which species are native to your area, and follow these tips to encourage them to visit you often!
Symbols and Themes of Ostara
chicks, bunnies, spring flowers, grass, eggs, birth, re-birth, dawn
newborns (animal and human),
bird nests, cradles
balance, turning to light
Coloring Ostara Eggs
During Ostara, eggs symbolize birth and renewal, as well as the "cosmic egg" of the universe. Here are some ideas to decorate your eggs organically.
Strawberry, Goat Cheese, & Wild Violet Salad
This is a great way to incorporate the spirit of spring into a brunch or after-ritual dinner. If you are collecting the flowers yourself, be sure you are identifying the flowers correctly, and from a place where they are not sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals. You also want to steer clear of flowers growing near a road, as they will be exposed to exhaust fumes from passing cars.
Beltane, the last of the three fertility festivals, is all about fire, passion, and fertilization. Many people celebrate this sabbat on April 31st (May Eve), but traditionally, Beltane is a cross-quarter day, occurring exactly between Ostara (the spring equinox), and Litha (the summer solstice). In 2014, Beltane falls on May 5.
On the Wheel of the Year, Beltane sits opposite Samhain, which means they share many attributes, one is the flip side of the other. Beltane, like Samhain, is a night when the Veil is particularly thin, but the danger on Beltane night is stumbling unbeknownst into the world of Faery, and becoming trapped.
Symbols and Themes of Beltane
Fertility and fertilization, sex, phallic symbols, growth, faerie rings, the Fae Court.
Colors of Beltane
all the bright colors of summer: bold blues, reds, yellows, greens, orange, etc.
May Queen's Crown
If you're holding any kind of Beltane celebration at all, it's all about the flowers! Be sure to jazz up your festivities with a crown of flowers -- it looks beautiful on any woman, and really brings out the goddess within. Not only that, it's pretty heavy on the fertility symbolism as well. A floral crown is easy to make with just a few basic craft supplies.
Make a Mini-Maypole
For many people, a Maypole Dance is the best way ever to celebrate the fertility holiday of Beltane… but let's face it, you may not have the ability to do that. Not everyone can stick a 20-foot pole in their yard, or you may not even know enough other Pagans (or Pagan-friendly non-Pagans) to have a Maypole Dance in the first place. If that's the case, there's a much smaller alternative.
Deities and Archetypes of Beltane
Cernunnos, Bacchus, Dionysus, Pan, Priapus, Artemis, Floralia, Bel, Diana, Freya, Vesta, the Green Man
The Language of Flowers
In the Victorian era, it became popular to send people messages told in the language of flowers. There was a fairly standard list, so if you received a bouquet of lemon blossoms, for example, you'd know that someone was promising you fidelity and faithfulness in their love for you. Many of these centuries-old flower meanings translate well into modern Paganism and Wicca -- after all, if magic uses symbolism, we can take this language of flowers and incorporate it into our day-to-day magical living.
An old May Day tradition is to leave baskets on your neighbors doors.
You can make this basket and fill it with the flower that sends the message you want to send along. Hang it on the door of someone special!
On the Summer Solstice, we celebrate Litha, or Midsummer. This is the longest day of the year, and the Sun is at the height of his power. Litha is the time to celebrate the masculine in all its forms. Visions of the Green Man and the Lord of the Forest take center stage. It is a time to revel in the outdoors, soaking up the energy of the Sun.
Colors of Midsummer
yellow, red, orange, gold
Symbols and Themes of Midsummer
Solar symbols, fire, pinwheels, Faery rings, acorns, sunflowers
Deities and Archetypes of Midsummer
Backyard Barbeque Ritual
Midsummer falls in the middle of summer, right before things start to get unbearably hot in most parts of the world, so it’s a perfect time to celebrate by having friends and family over for a cookout. Why not take advantage of this get-together and turn it into a fun celebration of the summer solstice? After all, if summer is about having fun with the people you love, a backyard barbeque is the perfect way to mark the season!
Super easy and delicious, citrus salad is a perfect treat for Midsummer. Oranges and grapefruit are very solar, and oranges attract happiness and abundance while grapefruit cleanses and purifies. This recipe is from Giada De Laurentiis at the Food Network.
In early August, our thoughts begin toward preparation for the coming winter, and the next three sabbats are festivals of the harvest.
Lughnassadh is another cross-quarter day, falling between the summer solstice (Litha) and the autumn equinox (Mabon). It is known as the "Harvest of the Grain" because this is the time when the first of the summer crops are ready to be brought in from the fields. Wheat, corn, barley, and rye, along with other grains are harvested and play an important role in the Lughnassadh feast. On this day we celebrate the abundance of the Goddess.
Colors of Lughnassadh
darker shades of yellow, gold, yellow-brown, bronze
Symbols and Themes of Lughnassadh
Deities and Archetypes of Lughnassadh
Wild Blackberry Thumbprint Cookies
Berries, and especially blackberries, are a common theme for Lughnassadh. Here in the south, blackberries grow everywhere in the wild, and I can remember gorging on them all summer as a child. For a great treat, try this delicious cookie recipe from Southern Living.
Make Your Own Paper
Here’s a great green way to make your own paper for your Book of Shadows, for written spells, or for correspondence. It seems pretty complicated at first, but if you follow one step at a time, it’s really not so hard. Look for ways to add a little magic to your paper-making process!
This is an awesome idea I found on the internet. You can use this painting technique on any type of pastry. Use it to draw symbols, runes, or words on to your bread. Remember to use your magical intent! The recipe is for very delicious sandwich buns.
Mabon marks the autumnal equinox, and is the point where nighttime begins growing longer than day. This is the beginning of the dark half of the year. Energy slowly shifts direction, ebbing inward.
Mabon is celebrated as the "Witches' Thanksgiving", and is also the second harvest festival, the Harvest of the Vine.
Colors of Mabon
Think autumn leaves: browns, golds, rust, yellows, maroon, etc...
Symbols and Themes of Mabon
Balance, turning dark
Preparing for descent into underworld
Root and Vine Vegetables
Nuts and Seeds
Grapes, grape vines
Deities and Archetypes of Mabon
Mabon ap Modron
the "Prodigal Son"
Cardamom Honey Caramel Pears
These treats are perfect for after-ritual.
I love this drink for the equinox because it is the perfect balance of summer and winter, and it looks so pretty in the glass!
Make Your Own Incense
There aren't many activities better than making a batch of incense to get my witchy vibe humming… Basic directions are to pulverize herbs and resins with the mortar and pestle, then mix them to make the perfect balance of scent. It's a great way to kick off the dark half of the year.
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars
Just as the creatures of the forest are busy now gathering food stores for the coming winter, we can take some time to do the same. Make-your-own energy bars are pretty chic this season, and here is a recipe that is quick, easy and delicious. (Consider making several batches and freezing them for later!)
Construct a Book of Shadows
Your Book of Shadows can be as simple as a spiral notebook or a manilla folder stuffed with notes, or as elaborate as an oversized leather-bound, jewel-encrusted tome. OF course, some people go the electronic route: a special folder on their pc desktop, all the way to a complex database system with cross references and collating capabilities.
Moist Caramel Apple Cake
Really easy and delicious...
Try this wonderful cake recipe straight from the kitchens at Kraft.
Everyone knows about Halloween. Trick or treating, costumes, parties and scary movies. But the sabbat of Samhain is a little more than the revelries of Halloween.
Samhain is the third and final harvest festival, and any food left in the fields after sundown on this day are considered unfit for human consumption - they are left for the Fae, and any other spirits that might happen by. Samhain is an intensely personal time, a time to honor the ancestors and those that have passed before us. For some of us, it marks the time of going within - the beginning of a journey though our own inner spaces to take stock of the past season and integrate the lessons we have learned.
Samhain is another cross-quarter day, falling between the autumnal equinox (Mabon) and the winter solstice (Yule). In my personal practice, I celebrate the Sabbat on its true day, saving October 31 for the Halloween festivities.
Colors of Samhain
orange, black, purple, blood red, burgundy - colors of root vegetables: eggplant, pumpkins, gourds, etc...
Deities and Archetypes of Samhain
Cerridwen, Arawn, Hecate, Hel,
Meng Po, Morrighan
Grim Reaper, Crone
Article by Stitchilicious at MookyChick.
Whether you love arts and crafts – or spellwork – or both, we’ll show you how to make your own crafty inks and oils. If you wish, we’ll also show you how to imbue them with magickal properties for spell crafting and prayer books.
© MoonShine, Inc. Yule, 2017