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The annual festivals Wicca

The annual festivals Wicca are eight festivals that reflect the change of seasons and the cycle of life and death in nature. They are part of the Wicca religion, a new religious movement that sees itself as a nature-based spirituality and mystery religion.

The eight annual festivals are:

  • Samhain: The festival of death and ancestors, celebrated on October 31st or November 1st, ≈ 15° ♏ (Scorpion). It marks the end of summer and the beginning of winter. It is a time to honor the past, divine the future and pierce the veils between worlds.

  • Jul: The festival of rebirth and light, celebrated on December 21st or 22nd, 0° ♑ (Capricorn). It marks the winter solstice, the longest night and shortest day of the year. It is a time to celebrate the return of the sun, dispel darkness and renew hope.

  • Imbolc: The festival of purification and renewal, celebrated on February 1st or 2nd, ≈ 15° ♒ (Aquarius). It marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It is a time to honor the Goddess in her maiden form, clean the house and make new plans.

  • Ostara: The festival of fertility and balance celebrated on March 20 or 21, 0° ♈ (Aries). It marks the spring equinox, the day when day and night are of equal length. It's a time to celebrate life, enjoy nature and find balance.

  • Beltane: The festival of love and union celebrated on April 30th or May 1st ≈ 15° ♉ (Taurus). It marks the peak of spring and the beginning of summer. It is a time to celebrate the union of the God and Goddess, ignite passion and promote fertility.

  • Litha: The festival of power and fire, celebrated on June 21st or 22nd 0° ♋ (Cancer). It marks the summer solstice, the longest day and shortest night of the year. It is a time to harness the full power of the sun, honor fire and amplify magic.

  • Lughnasadh: The festival of harvest and sacrifice celebrated on August 1st or 2nd ≈ 15° ♌ (Leo). It marks the beginning of autumn and the end of summer. It is a time to give thanks for the first harvest, to bake the bread and to honor the God's sacrifice.

  • Mabon: The festival of gratitude and balance, celebrated on September 22nd or 23rd 0° ♎ (Libra). It marks the autumnal equinox, the day when day and night are of equal length. It is a time to give thanks for the second harvest, share the abundance and find balance.

Wicca annual cycle

Wiccan seasonal festivals are a modern combination of various ancient traditions relating to the changing of the seasons and the cycle of life and death in nature. They were introduced by Gerald Gardner, the founder of the Wicca religion, in the first half of the 20th century, who drew inspiration from Celtic, Germanic and Hermetic sources. The eight festivals consist of four Celtic high festivals or fire festivals Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh and four sun festivals or equinoxes Jul, Ostara, Litha and Mabon. The names and meanings of these festivals vary depending on Wicca tradition and personal interpretation.

The development of the Wicca annual cycle was a process of adaptation, synthesis and innovation. Gardner initially adopted the four Celtic high festivals from the work of Margaret Murray, a British anthropologist who claimed that there was a secret witch cult tradition in Europe. He then added the four solar festivals, which he borrowed from various occult and astrological sources. He called these festivals Sabbaths, a word he adopted from medieval witchcraft. He also gave these festivals various names, some of which came from historical names and some of which were reinvented. For example, the name Mabon for the Fall Festival is a new creation by Wicca author Aidan Kelly in the 1970s.

The Wicca seasonal festivals are not directly derived from ancient pagan practices, but are a modern creation that combines various influences. However, they reflect the appreciation of nature, worship of the divine in many forms, and respect for diversity that are characteristic of the Wicca religion. They are also an opportunity for Wiccans to practice their magic, strengthen their community and promote their personal development.

In addition to the Sabbaths come the Esbats.

The Esbats are neo-pagan holidays and rituals in the witch religion and Wicca. They are celebrated in honor of the goddess on full moon nights (sometimes black moon nights). In witchcraft belief, Esbat is a working day (in contrast to the witches' Sabbath as a holiday). Since the energy of the full moon is used for magical work, these are lunar festivals.

The Esbats are a modern combination of various ancient traditions that relate to the changing of the seasons and the cycle of life and death in nature, just like the Sabbats.

An esbat is a ritual observance that a Wiccan has on a regular (or at least semi-regular) basis. The ritual can be as simple or elaborate as Wiccans desire. The ritual would normally involve creating a sacred space, forming a circle, invoking gods and/or goddesses, prayers/rites, meditations, a “simple feast,” and then a ritual conclusion. Many Wiccans also like to plan their magical work during an esbat, but in general there is more to an esbat than just casting spells.

The names of the 13 Esbate are:

  1. Wolf Moon – January

  2. Storm Moon – February

  3. Pure Moon (Chaste Moon) – March

  4. Seed Moon – April

  5. Hare Moon – May

  6. Dyad Moon – June

  7. Honeywine Moon (Mead Moon) – July

  8. Destiny Moon (Word Moon) – August

  9. Barley Moon (Harvest Moon) – September

  10. Blood Moon – October

  11. Snow Moon (Fog Moon) – November

  12. Oak Moon – December

I hope I was able to explain the wheel of the year with its annual celebrations to you as well as possible today and what it is all about and wish you a nice time celebrating and carrying out rituals, whether alone or in a coven with others.

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