3 Ways Wiccans Celebrate Summer

With the festivities of the Summer Solstice behind us, many witches are curious how to take advantage of the warmer climate and incorporate it into their Wiccan practice. Here is a small list I’ve compiled of fun ways for Wiccans to enjoy the summer.

Outdoor Meditation
Doing meditation outdoors can be very beneficial, especially during the summer. The different sounds of nature enhanced by the smells of the season will allow the meditation to be heightened. Find a place outdoors that will allow you to be completely relaxed and get the best out of your meditation. Ideally, look for a place that is quiet but allows you to surround yourself by nature.

A Day to Celebrate the Elements: Earth, Water, Fire and Air.
Throw an outdoor party with some of your friends. Find a way to bring Earth, Fire and Water elements into the party. You could fly a kite with your fellow practitioners. You can swim in the pool during the day. If you don’t have a pool you can do something more simplistic such as water balloons or turning on sprinklers and playing fun water activities. If you haven’t had a fellowship with the members of your coven or community try to organize one. A summer’s eve is perfect for dancing and communing around the bonfire. wiccan summer

Oftentimes ceremonies involve dancing within the Wiccan Community. Have a dancing portion of your outdoor party and allow the energy to rise as you dance in nature. You can play different musical styles and allow yourself to be lost in the sound.

Nature Walk
Summer is a time where everything is at its absolute prime. The foods are more abundant. Fruits are sweeter and flavorful and flowers are brighter than ever. Wiccan traditions around the world celebrate the summer season as time of growth and renewal.

Use summer as a time to explore nature during the longest days of the year. Go outside and walk through nature, find a park or a meadow. Take time to stop and smell the roses and enjoy all the nature that is around you. Allow yourself to escape and go to a very serene state of mind. This will connect you to Mother Earth and fill your energy reserves for magickal workings.

There are many other fun activities for Wiccans to enjoy during the summer.

How is YOUR summer going? Leave a comment us lets know how you celebrate! Don’t forget to join the Wiccan forum.

Why celebrate the Summer Solstice?

Summer is an exceptionally spiritual time for Wiccans. The most important event during this time is the Summer Solstice, also called Midsummer, which is the longest day of the year. The solstice represents the eventual, slow descent of the warm sun into the cold days of winter.

The essentials surrounding Wiccan Midsummer are fairly simple, candles should be colors that reflect the embers of the sun, red, yellow, and orange. Lavender and elder oils are used heavily in spells during this time of the year. Summer rituals are all about connecting to the earth and worshiping and respecting the blessings the Sun Gods have brought throughout this season. The sun is the center focus of Wicca, the Sun provides us with bounty, with warmth, with life, and with spirit. The summer is a time to reflect and give thanks in honor of what the sun provides.

Wiccan Solstice

Wiccan Solstice

Midsummer rituals can involve small offerings such as fruit or wine, or can be more complex including spells, chants, and altar worship. It is often practice to intertwine a carefully collected meal with the ritual, representing all the bounty that season has to offer. There are two quintessential icons associated with the holiday of the Solstice. The symbol of the Son (the Sun-God is represented here) is a spear, while the symbol of the Goddess is a cauldron. It is also considered that these two represent the male and female components of nature (the spear represents the male, the cauldron representing the female), creating a balanced, bountiful season.

A popular ritual for beginners and advanced Wiccans alike is the Midsummer Manifestation Ritual. This involves creating a list of everything wished to personally manifest with the start of the descent into winter. Harnessing the power of this day, the greatest and longest day of light, in trying to manifest desires during the coming harvest.

How to Throw a Summer Solstice Party

Summertime is here and for most people that means summertime activities. Barbeques, pools, fireworks and lots of time outside are just some of the activities that many enjoy. However, for those of the Wicca or Pagan religions, this time of year means something more ceremonial.

sweden_paganThe Summer Solstice Sabbat, or Litha as it is referred to by Wiccan or Pagans, is the festival of the sun and the longest day of the year. With annual gatherings occurring around the world, people celebrate the crops in full bloom and the earth warmed by the sun.

Beginning with the Druids and other Scandinavian cultures, many still honor this day with celebrations, rituals and sometimes just parties. Here is some information on how to throw a Summer Solstice Party whether you want to be traditional or just have a good time.

A common Wiccan ritual is the Midsummer Night’s Fire Ritual. For the more traditional, before the ritual would be the appropriate time to Call the Corners, Consecrate a Space or Cast a Circle. With words spoken during and after the lighting of either a large bonfire or a small wood pile, an offering can be made to the love of the gods and to the sun. There are also authorities, priests or priestesses, that are sometimes called upon to lead these ceremonies. Here is a list of other rituals that can be performed at your Summer Solstice Party;

Celebrate Fathers
Midsummer Sun Celebration
Hold a Backyard Barbecue Ritual
Midsummer Night’s Fire Ritual
Amergin Nature Meditation
Tool Recharging Ritual
Prayers for Litha

Summer Solstice Party activities can include barbeques, sparklers, live music, nature walks, etc. For more on the party side, you can serve Scandinavian foods, for the Druid influence, decorate the backyard with suns and anything nature themed including candles and ivy.

Minor Pagan Festivals

Minor Pagan Festivals

The Wheel of the Year depicts the annual cycle of holidays celebrated in various Pagan religions. Although holidays like Yule and Samhain are familiar to most Pagans, there are several minor holidays that are scattered throughout the year. The following holidays are mostly celebrated by Germanic pagan religions such as Ásatrú.

minor pagan

Ancestors’ Blót – November 11

Ancestors’ Blót may seem self explanatory but the celebration that occurs on November 11th differs from other traditional ancestor honoring holidays. This holiday focuses both on the ancestral group who cared for the land during in past times, as well as a time to honor the wights that live in the physical area surrounding their homes.

Valris Blót – February 14

Also known as the Feast of Váli or The Festival of Kin. Váli is a god of righteous vengeance and love between friends, family, and partners. It is on this day that Váli, son of Odin and the giantess Rindr, avenged the death of his brother Baldr by slaying Höðr. Valris Blot is often celebrated by feasting with close friends and family, as well as showing them affection and honor in the name of Váli.

Yggdrasil Day – April 22

Though not an ancient holiday, Yggdrasil Day has become an important tradition created by northern neo-pagans. Yggdrasil Day is a time to respect nature and take action to reseed the land. It is customary to plant a tree during the celebrations, preferably an ash tree.

Summer Feast – June 20

The longest day and shortest night of the year is known as the Summer Feast. Sunna rides her sun chariot as high as it can go in the sky before it makes its decline into the darkness that comes for the winter months. Great bonfires are burned and feasts are dined upon. It is a time to send praise to Sunna so that one might receive her blessings in return.

Winter Blót – October 15

Winter Blót is a day in which the days of summer and winter remain in balance. This is a time to leave offerings for Deities to ask their assistance in the harsher season of Winter. Ancestors and Deities are both honored with toasts of mead, ale, and cider.

The Wiccan Esbats

An esbat is a ritual that is related to the practice of the Wicca religion. Wicca is a modern, pagan religion previously referred to as witchcraft. The name Wicca was first introduced in the 1950s by an English anthropologist and archeologist named Gerald Broussea Gardner. Wiccan practitioners do not acknowledge a central authority and therefore there is a varied interpretation of how Wicca is defined. A universal agreement across denominations is that Wicca is a pagan form of religious practice that focuses on the natural world for its belief system. Wicca is primarily a duotheistic religion, worshiping two gods, one representing feminine and the other representing masculine.

The Wiccan Esbats

Most Wiccans believe in magic, a force that can manipulate nature through witchcraft, sorcery or spells. A Wiccan code of morality states that you should do no harm to others through magic and if you do you will suffer negative consequences. Belief in an afterlife among Wiccans includes reincarnation of the human soul which returns to Earth to learn and advance the spiritual self.

Wicca is based in natural elements and many traditional Wiccans hold the five classical elements of spirit, water, air, earth and fire in high regard. Natural cycles play a major role in Wiccan rituals and ceremonies and often coincide with phases of the moon and changing of the seasons.

Esbats are ritual observances that occur in conjunction with phases of the moon. Unlike the more formal Sabbats, celebrations of the equinoxes and solstices, esbats are less formal meetings of a coven, or group of Wiccans. Some Wiccan denominations prefer to hold esbats during the full moon but esbats can be observed during any phase of the moon. There is an esbat for each full moon so Wiccans observe 12 esbats a year. Some practitioners observe a thirteenth esbat in observation of the blue moon. A blue moon is the occurrence of a second full moon within a one month period. The reason a blue moon occurs is due to the natural lunar cycle which takes an average of 28 days. Approximately every 28 lunar cycles extra days accumulate because the Roman calendar is longer than then the natural cycles. When enough days have accumulated a blue moon is observed.

Wiccan Autumnal Equinox/Mabon

Autumnal Equinox/Mabon

Mabon or the autumnal equinox is one of the eight Sabbats or celebrations based on the cycles of the sun that is observed by pagans and Wiccans alike. Wiccans have a deep respect for nature along with a pantheistic worldview. Some practice some form of ritual magic that is almost always considered good or constructive. Some Wiccans are solitary practitioners; others belong to covens. The Autumnal Equinox or Mabon is a time for Wiccans to celebrate the harvest and a time to reflect on and honor the changing seasons. mabon-altar-2

Our biological connection to the earth’s seasonal cycles call us to ponder the gift of the bounty of the fields along with the many blessings in our lives. There is a balance at this time of year between light and dark when the Sun crosses the celestial equator from north to south as the fall equinox takes place on or about September 21. The term equinox is derived from the Latin and means “equal night”. This transitional period of the year allows us to experience and to enjoy equal amounts of light and dark. It is a perfect time to reflect on the many blessings in our lives and to take notice of what we may do better and how we may make our lives more purposeful and productive.

As the earth gives us food so should we strive to give of ourselves to others thus as we take care of the harvest, so should we take care of those currently in our lives and those who we are yet to meet. It is a time for giving thanks for what we have and a time to contemplate what we can give to others. The Autumnal Equinox is also a time to remember that all life is sacred and to know that when we do good in the world it is destined to return to us threefold. It is a perfect time to plan a feast or celebration to enjoy the bounty of the harvest with friends and family and to share and to give thanks for all of the blessings in our lives.

Wiccan Lammas

Wiccan Lammas

Lammas is a Pagan festival which is celebrated within various parts of the world. The Lammas is usually celebrated on the last day of July or the first day of August. This celebration focuses on the many blessings received as well as gratitude. This is considered a very important and meaningful celebration within the Pagan religion. Lammas is generally a celebration of the relationship between human beings and the divine.

Wiccan Lammas

Festival of Lughnasa is an in depth analysis of the celtic festival which marks the beginning of the harvest season. This festival was made quite popular by Maire Mac Neil and is celebrated today by Irish country people. The Lughnasa normally takes place at the end of July. This celebration clearly marks the end of the summer as well as the onset or beginning of the plentiful harvest season ahead. A tasty meal is normally prepared with food grown locally.

The “Daily Bread Celebration” is an important event especially within the Pagan religion. Grains have always been a food that was consumed by Pagans on almost a daily basis. Pagans celebrate this special day by thanking the grain gods and goddesses by feasting and making special relics and icons from corn stalks. The “Daily Bread Celebration” is also practiced by some Christian faiths depending upon which country you reside.

Labyrinth at Lammas serves as a powerful tool for both mediation as well as ritual. Pagans honor the spirit of the Divine Feminine as well as her serpent. Labyrinth at Lammas represents both fertility and regeneration. Fertility and regeneration are very important to Pagans as a means of keeping the population going.

Lughnasadh is a Gaelic name for the feast which celebrates funeral games of Lugh. Lugh is the Celtic God of Light. In ancient times it was believed that Lugh transferred his powers into the grains. Once Lugh transfers his power into the existing grains he is then sacrificed once the grain is harvested. This belief is still held sacred by most Pagans even today.

Many of the ancient festivals are still celebrated regularly by the Pagans. Many of the ancient traditions and customs have been handed down and still hold great significance within the Wiccan culture.

Midsummer – Litha

Midsummer- A Time for Light and Life

Midsummer is the day that is the peak of summer. It is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, the time when the power of the sun is the strongest. Also known as Litha, Midsummer is a time of inner power and light. It is a celebration of life, a thank you for the bounty given during the growing season, and a preparation for the decline to come.

midsummer
There are a lot of differences in the way Litha is observed. Some scholars deny that the ancients celebrated Midsummer, and others say it was imported. Druids celebrate the day, but call it Alban Hefin. In their lore, it represents the battle between the Oak King and the Holly King, and represents the Wheel of The Year in its completeness. Stonehenge has a gateway aligned with the rising midsummer sun, and is a popular place for modern druid enthusiasts to go.

For modern Wiccans, it is one of the lesser Sabbats, and is called Litha in tribute to the Lord of the Light. It is a day and night of celebrating, being thankful for the summer. Many Wiccans spend the day outdoors, swimming and enjoying the sun. Historically there would be nude dancing around bonfires from sunrise to after sunset, but that is not practical for many Wiccans in today’s society.

To honor the day today, just go outside. Take the children out, go to the beach, the park, the woods. Wear braided circlets of clover and flowers at the wrists and ankles for the ladies, and oaken crowns for the men. Do a barbeque or have an outdoor fire to end the day, and stay up into the night. Watch the sun set, and give thanks for the bounty of the season.

Many Wiccans will make protective charms prior to Litha so they can be charged during the day since Midsummer is the most powerful day for the sun. Acknowledge any relationships during this time as June is the month for marriage and commitment.

Also, the fairies are more prevalent during Midsummer, and it is traditional to leave out offerings of fresh herbs like lavender, chamomile and rose petals in the evening for them.

Wiccan Beltane /Floralia

Wiccan Beltane /Floralia

Beltane is a Gaelic festival that marks the beginning of the Spring and is typically held anywhere from April 30th to May 1st (falling in between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice) when the livestock is sent out into the Summer pastures to graze; a celebration of bonfires, flowers and the fertility of Spring the time of sowing seeds of all kinds. It is one of Ireland’s oldest festivals and has its roots in an ancient Roman festival, Floralia, which celebrated flowers and sexuality.

Wiccan Beltane Floralia
Having faded into obscurity by the mid-century it has been revived by Wiccans and Celtic Neopagans and is a celebration of fertility and hope for the coming period of growth leading up to the fruition of the fall harvest. Loose flowers, garlands and bouquets are a symbol of this and are used for decoration everywhere, inside the home and pasture, braided in hair and on the animals, often mirroring the color of the flames serving to remind everyone of the blessings of nature and of the season.

Beltane serves to protect and enhance the ties between the people, the gods of the home and the land. Large bonfires are lit in the fields while the people and their animals walk around them, between two or leap over them. These fires can be started with what is called a May Bush, usually made from a small tree or shrub with thorned branches and covered with decorations evocative of fire in color or form.

Today Beltane festivals are as much a cultural celebration as a religious time of offerings and rituals. The current Wiccan festivals, in addition to the traditions above, includes maypole dancing and the symbolic marriage of a May Lord and May Lady with their wedding feast following. It is one of the eight Wheel of the Year Sabbats, falling before Midsummer and after Ostara. Wiccan Beltane focuses on the fertility of the season and the cycle of life. The foods of the feast reflect this cycle in the whole grains, beans, dairy and honeyed treats that are popular.

Incorporating a number of spring traditions from many cultures the Wiccan Beltane maintains and honors its ancient roots of hope, abundance and fertility to this day.

Ostara

What is Ostara all about?

Throughout the dark winter months, nature holds back. It’s a time when the abundance of nature is not available, and our ancestors worked hard to survive it. When spring arrives, the world wakes up and the cycle of life begins anew with the promise of prosperity. The coming of spring is marked by the vernal equinox, when the Earth’s axis tilts neither toward nor away from the sun. The days will become longer, and the land becomes fertile once more.

Ostara winter

This is an important time of year because it reminds us that we are alive. It is relief from the dark uncertainty of winter and the affirmation of new growth. Ostara is a celebration of all these things – the coming of spring, life, fertility, revitalization. The God and the Goddess are joined so that the Goddess may conceive.

There are many ways to celebrate Ostara, but many traditions developed from the old agricultural way of life in Europe. At this time of year, animals come out of hibernation, and leafy vegetables begin to grow. People did not need to rely on their winter stores, so they might serve the best of the cured meats and root vegetables that they had preserved for the winter. Many people continue this tradition by serving ham, eggs, fruit, and honey cakes. Some people fast or perform a spring cleaning because they’ve been cooped up all winter.

This is also a time to focus on new beginnings in your life. Warm weather and sunlight banish the “winter blues” and many people become more active. It’s a good time to get in shape, plant a garden, and perform magick. Our own selves reflect the changes that the Earth is going through, and we can access that vigor, that lust for life. We should also take the time to reflect on the wonder and abundance that is around us and to make note of the many overlooked things that make our lives easier.

Ostara is the beginning of spring and relief from winter. It’s the fertile time of year and best for planting seeds – be they flowers, vegetables, or your intentions. Celebrate life and be thankful for the gifts of the Earth.