Post by Madame Monpetit
I am new to the world of neo-paganism and I must say that I do like
the solitary way
in which you recently celebrated Imbolc. I consider myself to be a
of Germanic/Celtic neo-paganism, although I do not self-identify as a
I am not a Wiccan either.
Post by Madame Monpetit
I was wondering if I could ask you for a huge favour...could you
please briefly recommend
how I could go about observing Ostara, Beltane, Midsummer, Lughnasadh,
Samhain and Yule respectively, in a solitary manner?. I plan to do
exactly the same
thing as you next Imbolc: "I lit my three candles in front of the
fireplace in my bedroom".
Any suggestions for what I could do for the other sabats on the Wheel
of the Year?.
I live in a small apartment with no balcony in a large city, so I do
not have access to
a garden, ect.
Any suggestions for each sabbat would be greatly appreciated. I am
looking for simple
and subtle things, but which reflect the spirit of each sabbat, like
your three candles do
for the Triple Goddess.
Well, I didn't mean a triple Brigid by the three
candles. One candle represents Sola or Sun,
one represents Cosma or Universe, and one,
shaped like a ship, which I call my Ship of Fools
candle, has a symbol of the moon on the prow and
a symbol of the earth on the stern, so the candle
represents the earth moon system. However in
September 1994 before I had this Ship of Fools
candle I had a double candlestick representing
the earth and moon, and another candle representing
the sun, so the triple goddess of Earth, Moon and Sun.
But you should feel free to let your three candles
represent the triple goddess Brigid if you like.
The ancient celts generally celebrated the
cross-quarter days (or the eves of them)
and not the equinoxes or solstices. So
personally I consider the cross-quarter days
to be more important than the equinoxes and
solstices but I do celebrate all eight.
For the cross-quarter days (Samhain, Imbolc,
Beltane, and Lughnasadh) generally fires are
always appropriate, so a fire in a fireplace
if you have one, or else I guess candles,
though I guess it would be a lot easier to
leap over a candle than a campfire. I just
lit candles the other night but this evening
(which was the halfway mark between winter
solstice and spring equinox) my sister lit and
I tended a fire in the living room fireplace.
Fire is an attribute of Brigid, the celtic
goddess of smithing, poetry, and midwifery/healing,
who is associated with Imbolc. So some form
of fire, and ideally some poetry or poetic songs,
are appropriate for Imbolc.
I generally light my candles representing earth
and moon and sun and universe for all eight
of the sabbats. Also I try to find appropriate
music for each sabbat. Also I try to observe
the positions of the sun at noon and sunset
(and rarely sunrise unless I've been up all
night) for each sabbat.
For Samhain when I am alone I would play recorded
music by dead musicians, and think of an honour
those who have gone beyond. If I was a musician
I would play music by dead musicians. Also
Samhain is viewed as the celtic new year, and
was a time of feasting. Many of the customs
associated with Hallowe'en are also appropriate,
such as masks and jack o'lanterns. Samhain is
considered the most important sabbat.
For Yule you might want to make a Yule log and
burn it in your fireplace if you have one. When
I was a chid in a Christian school I made a
decorated half log triple candlestick which would
be appropriate if you don't have a fireplace. And
you could decorate a Yule tree. It is also a
time for new beginnings so you can make wishes
of things you want to see birthed in the coming year.
Those on alt.religion.asatru might have more suggestions.
For Imbolc I recommend a fire or candles, and I guess
you could have three candles to represent the triple
goddess Brigid. And again poetry and music should
be featured. And in Michele Morgan's Simple Wicca
she says it is a time to cast off outworn things
of the past year to make room for the new (so maybe
give away or recycle some old clothes and get some new).
She also says it is a time for spring cleaning.
For Ostara celebrate the balance of the seasons,
paint some eggs, have some fresh spring flowers,
and bless the seeds for your garden (or for
houseplants since you have no garden). Celebrate
the arrival of spring (though it might still be
snowy then here in Newfoundland, even though
we are south of Ireland).
For Beltane, considered second most important after
Samhain, again have a fire if possible (a campfire
or in a fireplace) or have some candles. Leap over
the fire to purify yourself. Wear bright colours.
Celebrate fertility and passion, ideally through
sex with a partner but failing that it is OK to
masturbate. If you have some friends it would be
a good idea to do a Maypole with ribbons, and to
have the campfire.
For Midsummer, Sun is at a peak and about to begin
a decline. Again a ritual bonfire or fireplace fire
or just candles are appropriate. Morgan says
this is when the realm of faerie is most astir,
so it is a good time to try and communicate with
the fairies (ideally on an outdoor walk in a park)
and perhaps leave a gift of food out for them.
For Lughnasadh I generally celebrate with celtic
music since the local folk festival is near then.
But also give thanks for the early harvest and
check out local farmers' markets.
For Mabon again celebrate the balance of the seasons,
and the second harvest, maybe with a potluck feast
with friends. Also try completing tasks left
unfinished before the cold comes, and do harvest
related preparations for winter, like making jam.
But generally there is always an element of improvisation.
Also even if you are not Wiccan you would probably
be welcome at a Wiccan sabbat ritual. I used to
participate in Newfoundland Pagan Society potlucks
and rituals on a regular basis (there were some
Wiccans, one Asatru, one druid, a native-influenced
neopagan, and me) but I have lost touch with them
in recent years. But you could find other individuals
and groups near you through http://www.witchvox.org/ .
David Dalton ***@nfld.com http://www.nfld.com/~dalton (home page)
http://www.nfld.com/~dalton/nf.html Newfoundland&Labrador Travel & Music
http://www.nfld.com/~dalton/dtales.html Salmon on the Thorns (mystic page)
"Here I go again...back into the flame" (Sarah McLachlan)