From our inbox to you, From Patti Wigginton on: Handfasting

SGC Admin: Yep it`s getting to that time of the year when it`s most popular for “tying the knot`… If you have ever wondered what goes into the Pagan celebration of hand-fasting (or getting married) check out Patti`s article below… 🙂 

Hands tied with ribbon at wedding hand fasting ceremony Stock Photo - 3337510

Handfasting Season is Here!
Looking for information on how to hold a Pagan handfasting ceremony? Here’s where we’ve got it all covered, from the origins of handfastings to jumping the broom to selecting your cake! Also, be sure to learn about magical handfasting favors to give your guests, how to make sure you’ll have a magical ceremony, and who can actually perform your handfasting!

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Patti Wigington
Paganism/Wicca Expert
Handfasting History: An Old Tradition Made New  
Handfasting was common centuries ago in the British Isles, and then vanished for a while. Now, however, it’s seeing a rising popularity among Pagan couples who are interested in tying the knot. Many Pagan couples choose to have a handfasting ritual instead of a traditional wedding ceremony. READ NOW
Handfasting Tips: How to Have a Magical Ceremony  
Spring is here, and love is in the air! For many people of Pagan faiths, this is the time of year for a handfasting ceremony. If you’re lucky enough to have someone you love this much, there are a few things you may want to keep in mind while planning your handfasting ceremony. READ NOW
Handfasting Favors: Magical Gifts for Your Guests  
t’s become traditional to give each of your guests a small wedding favor. Typically, these are small trinkets with either the date of the event or the couples’ names on them. However, if you’re having a Pagan or Wiccan handfasting, rather than a traditional wedding ceremony, why not come up with an idea that celebrates your spiritual path, as well as announcing your commitment to the community? READ NOW
Who Can Perform a Handfasting?  
Handfastings are becoming more and more popular, as Pagan and Wiccan couples are seeing that there is indeed an alternative for non-Christians who want more than just a courthouse wedding. A common question among Pagans is that of who can actually perform the handfasting ceremony itself? READ NOW
More About Handfasting  
Wondering about jumping the broom, handfasting bonfire safety, deities of marriage, and how to choose the perfect cake? We’ve got it all here, including a sample ceremony template that you can use!

How to Choose Your Handfasting Cake
Jumping the Broom: A Besom Wedding
Handfasting Bonfires: What You Need to Know
Deities of Marriage and Love

Sample Handfasting Ceremony Template
Handfasting Basket (Thirteen Blessings)

READ NOW

 

About Paganism/Wicca 

Summer Solstice June 21 2015… Happy Summer Folks… Lots of ideas from Patti Wigington AboutPagan.com

A Blessed Solstice to You All!
June 21 is Litha, the summer solstice, for our northern hemisphere readers. The gardens are blooming, and summer is in full swing. Fire up the barbeque, turn on the sprinkler, and enjoy the celebrations of Midsummer! This Sabbat honors the longest day of the year. Take advantage of the extra hours of daylight and spend as much time as you can outdoors.

If you’re one of our readers below the equator, it’s Yule, the winter solstice, and the longest night of the year. Be sure to scroll down for info on how you can celebrate the return of the sun.

No matter which of these you may be celebrating this weekend, may your solstice be a magical and blessed one.

Litha Rites & Rituals
Depending on your individual spiritual path, there are many different ways you can celebrate Litha, but the focus is nearly always on celebrating the power of the sun. It’s the time of year when the crops are growing heartily and the earth has warmed up. we can spend long sunny afternoons enjoying the outdoors, and getting back to nature under the long daylight hours.

Here are a few rituals you may want to think about trying — and remember, any of them can be adapted for either a solitary practitioner or a small group, with just a little planning ahead.

Midsummer Night’s Fire Ritual
Midsummer Sun Celebration
Hold a Backyard Barbecue Ritual
Amergin Nature Meditation
Celebrate Fathers
Tool Recharging Ritual
Prayers for Litha
Seven Ways to Use Beach Magic
Ten Great Ways to Celebrate Litha
5 Fun Ways to Celebrate Litha with Kids

Customs, Traditions and Folklore of Litha
Interested in learning about some of the history behind Litha? Here’s some background on Midsummer celebrations – learn who the gods and goddesses of summer are, how they’ve been honored throughout the centuries, and about the magic of stone circles!

Litha History
Deities of the Summer Solstice
Litha Folklore and Customs
Setting up Your Litha Altar
Litha Altar Photo Gallery
The Oak King vs. the Holly King
Germanic Pagans and Aerra Litha
The Romans Honor Juno and Vesta
The Vestalia Celebration
Ra, the Sun God
Sun Magic, Myth and Folklore
Sun Worship
The Sun Dance
Stone Circles
Sacred Springs and Holy Wells
Firefly Magic & Folklore
Wildcrafting Herbs
Summer Reading: Witchy Fiction

Craft Ideas and Projects for the Summer Solstice
As Litha approaches, you can decorate your home (and keep your kids entertained) with a number of easy craft projects. Celebrate the sun’s energy with an elemental garden, a fiery incense blend, and a magic staff to use in ritual!

5 Easy Decorating Ideas for Litha
Create an Elemental Garden
Sunflower Candle Ring
Midsummer fire incense
Summer of Love Incense Blend
Handfasting Basket (13 Blessings)
Make a Set of Ogham Staves
Make a Magic Staff
Stone Circle Sundial
Lavender Dream Pillow
Litha Blessing Besom
Make a Summer Solstice Herb Pouch

Feasting and Food

No Pagan celebration is complete without a meal to go along with it. For Litha, celebrate with foods that honor the fire and energy of the sun. Enjoy light summery snack wraps, some fiery grilled salmon, spicy and sweet candied ginger, and more.

Lemon Balm Tea
Savory Snack Wraps
Fresh Fruit Fennel Salad
Fiery Grilled Salmon
Grilled Summer Veggies
Candied Ginger
Brew a Batch of Midsummer Mead

For Our Southern Hemisphere Readers: Celebrating Yule
For people of nearly any religious background, the time of the winter solstice is a time when we gather with family and loved ones. For Pagans and Wiccans, it’s often celebrated as Yule, but there are literally dozens of ways you can enjoy the season.

Rituals and Ceremonies
Yule Magic
Yule Traditions and Trends

Celebrating With Family and Friends
Crafts and Creations
Feasting and Food

MORE FROM ABOUT.COM
• 10 Things Pagans Want You to Know
• Make a Summer Solstice Herb Pouch
• Are Pagans & Wiccans Devil Worshipers?
• Make a Set of Ogham Staves for Divination
• Do Pagans & Wiccans Recruit New Members?
• Legends of Litha, the Summer Solstice
• Create an Elemental Garden for Lith

Patti Wigington Beltane Rituals & Ceremonies: Beltane May 1 2015: The Magical Blend (Montreal) Beltane Traditions and Rituals

 

maypole with twisted ribbons Stock Photo - 21955904
http://www.123rf.com: Copyright : Paul Wishart

Beltane Rituals & Ceremonies

Patti Wigington
Paganism/Wicca Expert

Depending on your particular tradition, there are many different ways you can celebrate Beltane, but the focus is nearly always on fertility. It’s the time when the earth mother opens up to the fertility god, and their union brings about healthy livestock, strong crops, and new life all around. Here are a few rituals you may want to think about trying — and remember, any of them can be adapted for either a solitary practitioner or a small group, with just a little planning ahead.

April’s showers have given way to rich and fertile earth, and as the land greens, there are few celebrations as representative of fertility as Beltane. Observed on May 1st, festivities typically begin the evening before, on the last night of April. It’s a time to welcome the abundance of the fertile earth, and a day that has a long (and sometimes scandalous) history. Try some of these rituals and ceremonies for your Beltane sabbat celebration.

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Candles on the altar, selective focus on candle, candlelight time Stock Photo - 36170232
http://www.123rf.com: Copyright : Elizabeth Bakusov

Setting Up Your Beltane Altar
It’s Beltane, the Sabbat where many Pagans choose to celebrate the fertility of the earth. This Sabbat is about new life, fire, passion and rebirth, so there are all kinds of creative ways you can set up for the season. Try some of these ideas to get your altar ready for your celebrations!

READ NOW

A maypole with ribbons Stock Photo - 19960439
http://www.123rf.com: Copyright : Tim W

Beltane Prayers
By the time Beltane rolls around, sprouts and seedlings are appearing, grass is growing, and the forests are alive with new life. If you’re looking for prayers to say at your Beltane ceremony, try these simple ones that celebrate the greening of the earth during the fertility feast of Beltane.

READ NOW

Stickman Illustration of Girls Dancing Around a Maypole Stock Illustration - 36586611
http://www.123rf.com: Copyright : Lorelyn Medina

5 Ways to Celebrate Beltane With Kids
Every year, when Beltane rolls around, we get emails from folks who are comfortable with the sexual fertility aspect of the season for adults, but who’d like to reign things in just a little when it comes to practicing with their young children. Don’t worry! Here are five fun and easy ideas for celebrating the season with your kiddos.

READ NOW

Maypole_1500 - Image by Matt Cardy/Getty Images News
Image by Matt Cardy/Getty Images News

 

Beltane History – Celebrating May Day

Beltane kicks off the merry month of May, and has a long history. This fire festival is celebrated on May 1 with bonfires, Maypoles, dancing, and lots of good old-fashioned sexual energy. Let’s look at the history behind the Beltane season

READ NOW »

WomanArcher_1500 - Image by Vladimir Pcholkin/The Image Bank/Getty Images
Image by Vladimir Pcholkin/The Image Bank/Getty Images

 

Deities of the Season

There are numerous deities associated with the Beltane season, as well as a number of folkloric characters.

READ NOW »

Interested in learning about some of the traditions behind the celebrations of May Day? Learn why the Romans had a big party, why we dance around a Maypole, what a hobby horse is, and the reasoning behind all those bonfires.

READ NOW »

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The Magical Blend Montreal

Beltane traditions, rituals and Correspondences

May 1 will be the sabbat Beltane, also known as May Day or Walpurgisnacht. Beltane begins at sundown on April 30. Traditionally, couples stay out overnight “bringing in the May,” or gathering spring flowers and greenery with which to create garlands, crowns, and bouquets. It is a time of joyous celebration of the fertility displayed by the land as it further opens to the touch of the sun: trees have put forth new leaves and are now flowering, the new grass is lush and thick; the days grow ever longer, and the rains nourish the new crops in the fields.

This festival is opposite Samhain on the Wheel of the Year, and like that Sabbat, it is a night of divination as the veils between worlds grow thin. The ancient Celts recognized only two seasons– summer and winter– and as Samhain was the beginning of Winter, the dark half of the year, so Beltane recognizes the beginning of Summer, or the light half of the year.

Beltane is also called Walpurgisnacht in Germany. Foods associated with Beltane include anything dairy– as the livestock is now feeding on new grass which improves the quality of milk and cream– as well as mead and other alcoholic beverages.

Traditions and Rituals

Beltane is considered a sexually licentious time. It is the beginning of the season favoured for marriages and handfastings, as well as for re-enactment of the Great Rite, the union between the God and the Goddess. Much poetry and folklore exists describing the abandonment with which dancing, singing, and playing leads to lovemaking. Children conceived on this night are called “children of the Gods,” and are said to be blessed.

The Maypole is perhaps the most recognizable accessory to Mayday celebration. A dancing game in which mean and women interweave ribbons attached to a high pole (passing one another with plenty of kisses), this action is another form of the Great Rite, the pole representing the God, and the ribbons which slowly enfold it representing the Goddess.

Correspondences

  • Colors: Blue, Green, Pink, Red, Yellow, White.
  • Gemstones: Amber, Malachite, Orange Carnelian, Sapphire, Rose Quartz.
  • Decorations: Flowers, Greenery, Maypole, Ribbon, Cauldrons & Fires, Fertility, Plants, Brooms.
  • Deities: Aphrodite, Asherah, Belili, Beltene, Brigid, Cernunnos, Cupid/Eros, Danu, Freya, Flora, Gwenhwyvar, Hina, Ishtar, Maia, Manawyddan, Mary, Oiwyn, Oshun, Ostara, Pan, Sappha, Tonantzin, Vesta.
  • Foods & Offerings: Strawberries, Cherries, Fruits, Salads, Wine, Dairy, Breads, Cereals.
  • Animals: Swallow, Dove, Swan, Cats, Lynx, Leopard.
  • Herbs: Almond, Broom, Clover, Dittany of Crete, Elder, Flowers, Foxglove, Hawthorne, Ivy, Lily of the Valley, Marigold, Meadowsweet, Mint, Mugwort, Rose, Rowan, Sorrel, Thyme, Woodruff, Yarrow.
  • Scents: Frankincense, Lavender, Lilac, Myrrh, Rose, Vanilla.
  • Spells: Love for Yourself and for your Partner, Union, Fertility, Deep Thought, Intuition, Renewal, Nurturing your Goals.

 

Your guide to Paganism/Wicca with Patti Wigington: Imbloc:

From Patti Wigington, your Guide to Paganism/Wicca

As we get ready to celebrate Imbolc in the northern hemisphere, for many Pagans, it’s a time to honor Brighid. She’s a Celtic goddess of the forge and the hearth, and has come to symbolize, for many people, the blessings of domestic life. She’s also the patroness of poets and bards, artisans and craftspeople, as well as those with healing gifts. Obviously, not all traditions celebrate Brighid this time year, but if yours does, this is a perfect opportunity to get to know her better.

For our southern hemisphere readers, it’s nearly Lammas, also called Lughnasadh. This harvest sabbat not only marks the season of the threshing of grain – in some traditions, it’s a season to honor Lugh, the Celtic craftsman god. Like Brighid, he is a patron of artisans and crafters. Be sure to read the links at the very bottom for some information on Lugh, and how you can honor him during this time of year.

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Who is Brighid?

In Irish mythological cycles, Brighid (or Brighit), whose name is derived from the Celtic brig or “exalted one”, is the daughter of the Dagda, and therefore one of the Tuatha de Dannan. Her two sisters were also called Brighid, and were associated with healing and crafts. Read more about Brighid here. 
Search Related Topics:  brighid  pagan goddesses  celtic paganism
Rituals to Honor Brighid

• Brighid’s Crossroads Divination

Not sure where you’re headed these days? In addition to being a goddess of hearth and home, Brighid is also representative of the crossroads. Let her guide you and inspire you with this simple divination ritual technique.

• Prayers to Brighid

While Brighid may be primarily honored at Imbolc, you can celebrate her magic and power any time of the year. Try these simple prayers honoring Brighid in her many aspects.

• Group Ritual to Honor Brighid

Imbolc is a time when the days suddenly seem to be getting longer, and the snow is beginning to melt, showing us small patches of earth and green. At this time of returning spring, our ancestors lit bonfires and candles to celebrate the rebirth of the land. Celebrate the many aspects of Brighid with this simple group rite.

The Legend of Brighid’s Mantle

According to legend, Brighid’s mantle, or cloak, was a magical piece of material indeed. Learn about the story of Brighid’s mantle, and how you can incorporate this aspect of her myth cycle into your magical practice. 
Search Related Topics:  imbolc  folkore  brighid
Crafts to Honor Brighid

For many of us, getting crafty and creative is a great way to honor our spirituality. Try some of these simple craft projects to celebrate Brighid during the Imbolc season.

• Brighid’s Cross

Brighid’s cross has a wide range of symbolism to many different people. While it figures prominently in many Christian legends, it is also a popular symbol in many Pagan religious paths. Here’s how you can make a Brighid’s cross of your own to decorate your home or altar. More »

Make a Brighid’s Bed

In many traditions, the goddess Brighid is welcomed into the home at Imbolc. In addition to making a Brighid doll, she is given a bed near the hearth fire. Make a Brighid’s bed to welcome this goddess into your own house.

Make a Brighid Corn Doll

In some magical traditions, a corn doll representing the goddess Brighid is placed in a position of honor in the home – usually in the kitchen or near the fireplace. Here’s how you can craft a simple corn doll to symbolize Brighid’s presence in your house.

Brighid’s Crown

Imbolc reminds us that spring is on the way, so why not make a floral crown to honor her? Use it on your Imbolc altar, or as a decoration in your home to bring spring’s colors indoors on a chilly day?

 

 

Happy Lamas :) A brief history with Patti Wigington….

SGC Admin: Check out the history of Lammas, A pagan celebration from Patti Wigington … sourced from her “About.com” page… 🙂

Happy Lammas Everyone…

Vintage postcard for the harvest festival Stock Photo - 14862974
http://www.123rf.com: illustrator: Irina Volosina

Lammas History:

Welcoming the Harvest

By ,

Beginning of the Harvest:

At Lammas, also called Lughnasadh, the hot days of August are upon us, much of the earth is dry and parched, but we still know that the bright reds and yellows of the harvest season are just around the corner. Apples are beginning to ripen in the trees, our summer vegetables have been picked, corn is tall and green, waiting for us to come gather the bounty of the crop fields. Now is the time to begin reaping what we have sown, and gathering up the first harvests of grain, wheat, oats, and more.

This holiday can be celebrated either as a way to honour the god Lugh, or as a celebration of the harvest.

Celebrating Grain in Ancient Cultures:

Grain has held a place of importance in civilization back nearly to the beginning of time. Grain became associated with the cycle of death and rebirth. The Sumerian god Tammuz was slain and his lover Ishtar grieved so heartily that nature stopped producing. Ishtar mourned Tammuz, and followed him to the Underworld to bring him back, similar to the story of Demeter and Persephone.

In Greek legend, the grain god was Adonis. Two goddesses, Aphrodite and Persephone, battled for his love. To end the fighting, Zeus ordered Adonis to spend six months with Persephone in the Underworld, and the rest with Aphrodite.

A Feast of Bread:

In early Ireland, it was a bad idea to harvest your grain any time before Lammas — it meant that the previous year’s harvest had run out early, and that was a serious failing in agricultural communities. However, on August 1, the first sheafs of grain were cut by the farmer, and by nightfall his wife had made the first loaves of bread of the season.

The word Lammas derives from the Old English phrase hlaf-maesse, which translates to loaf mass. In early Christian times, the first loaves of the season were blessed by the Church. 

Honoring Lugh, the Skillful God:

In some Wiccan and modern Pagan traditions, Lammas is also a day of honoring Lugh, the Celtic craftsman god. He is a god of many skills, and was honoured in various aspects by societies both in the British Isles and in Europe. Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-NAS-ah) is still celebrated in many parts of the world today. Lugh’s influence appears in the names of several European towns.

Celebrating Lammas Today:

Honouring the Past

In our modern world, it’s often easy to forget the trials and tribulations our ancestors had to endure. For us, if we need a loaf of bread, we simply drive over to the local grocery store and buy a few bags of pre-packaged bread. If we run out, it’s no big deal, we just go and get more. When our ancestors lived, hundreds and thousands of years ago, the harvesting and processing of grain was crucial. If crops were left in the fields too long, or the bread not baked in time, families could starve. Taking care of one’s crops meant the difference between life and death.

By celebrating Lammas as a harvest holiday, we honour our ancestors and the hard work they must have had to do in order to survive. This is a good time to give thanks for the abundance we have in our lives, and to be grateful for the food on our tables.

Lammas is a time of transformation, of rebirth and new beginnings.

Continue reading “Happy Lamas 🙂 A brief history with Patti Wigington….”