Lughnasadh marks the beginning of the long awaited harvest as well as being one of the four greater fire festivals. The Goddess slowly transforms from Mother into Crone. Traditionally celebrated on the Second day of February we also see the Sun God also slowly once again disappearing.
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 a time to give thanks to the waning sunlight, for all the reapings of our spring sowing.
The Pagan year begins (and ends) with Samhain. It is a time of reflection, of looking back over the last year. This is the time when the boundary is thinnest between the worlds of living and dead. Samhain is considered as a time to celebrate the lives of those who have passed on and paying respect to our ancestors.
Yule marks the winter Solstice and is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. As a fire festival a popular custom at this time is the burning of the Yule logs. The Yule log 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.
Imbolc 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.
Ostara is the official time of spring’s return; a joyful time, a time when life bursts forth from the earth and the chains of winter are finally broken. The Spring Equinox is a time both of fertility and new life, and of balance and harmony. It is a time of birth, and of manifestation. At this time we think of renewing ourselves.
Beltane, the beginning of the summer months is at the November cross-quarter. This is the festival of the Great Rite – of sexual union between 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 to be handfasted.
Litha marks the Summer Solstice, this is when the sun is at its highest in the sky, it is the longest day and shortest night 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.