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The History of the Maypole

When it comes to celebrating Beltane, perhaps the most significant symbol of the season you will see is the Maypole. The Maypole dance is regarded as a time of joy where couples, friends, and families can come together in a dance that will strengthen their bonds of love. While the Maypole may seem like just a time to dance, it holds a long-standing symbolism that traditions aim to retain. To get a better idea of how vital the Maypole is for us Witches and Beltane, we will be diving into its origins, history, how other cultures use the Maypole, and even how to make and use one today!

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Magickal Weaving and Braiding

Harkening back to the ancient crone deities that maintain the thread of mortal life, weaving and braiding have been important aspects within magickal craft and ritual. Often overlooked in favor of herbs, crystals, or candle work, adding braiding or weaving to one’s spellbook can diversify one’s magickal knowledge. Both the creation and use of braids can be for ritual or spell work, from the moment one starts braiding to the braid’s use in a separate spell. From Penelope with her meditative weaving and destruction of Laertes’ burial shroud as she waited for Odyssius, to the modern practitioner braiding a basket to hold items on their altar, braids are a central piece of magickal work. The repetitive motion works best at an even pace and lends itself well to rituals and spell work. The modern practitioner is not just limited to yarns for their projects as many different materials can be used. If it is flexible enough that it can be bent quite a bit without breaking, then it can be used for magickal weaving and braiding

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What is a Faerie Garden?

The Fae have a reputation for being sneaky and tricky. Like the Djinn, if you aren’t careful with your words when dealing with Fae, you’ll find yourself dealing with more than you bargained for. The veil between our world and the Fae world is thin at Beltane, allowing them to visit. If you want to show faeries, the most well-known of the Fae, that they are welcome without risking a debt you can’t pay, making a Faerie Garden is a great Beltane activity. A welcoming area just for them also keeps them from wandering about your home causing mischief and pocketing shiny things.

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Spring Equinox Around the World

The Spring Equinox has long been celebrated around the world. Occurring in late March in the Northern Hemisphere and late September in the Southern Hemisphere, the Vernal Equinox is the 1st time in the calendar year that lightness and darkness happen in equal measure in the day. It marks the beginning of the lengthening of daylight as Summer quickly approaches. Celebrated as the first day of Spring the world over, modern Wiccans celebrate this sabbat as Ostara, after a German goddess of the season.

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The Importance of Light and Fire on Imbolc

In February, the wheel of the year turns once again to Imbolc. Imbolc is a celebration taken from the roots of the ancient Celtic fire festivals and marking the return of the maiden for Wiccans. This Sabbat for Wiccans is time to give thanks for the ever-increasing daylight. The goddess is in her form as the maiden, and the god is coming into his strength and power through puberty. The heat and warmth of the sun from the growing light germinates seeds deep within the earth’s soil, awakening them to sprout forth shoots of new life. In many places, the Crocus flowers have sprung forth and broken through the frozen ground. New life is stirring just underneath the surface of the cold and dark winter. Nature’s rhythms pulse once again from the light of the sun ready to emerge in the coming months.

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Why We Honor the Sun’s Return at Midwinter

Since ancient times, humans have watched the earth revolve around the sun. Since the dawn of time, we have traversed this path and watched in awe as the sun has ebbed and flowed throughout the seasons. The longest night of the year is the winter solstice — the pivotal day when the sun shifts and begins to journey back towards the earth. Ancient and modern people honor the sun’s return at the midwinter by celebrating and rejoicing in its return. Warmer days are ahead, and the earth will soon begin to awake as the animals come out of hibernation, and tiny seedlings sprout once again. As the warmth increases, animals will become abundant and lush plant life will cover the ground.

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Reflecting On Your Ancestors

Across cultures and time, the Halloween season has been associated with remembering, honoring, and reflecting on our loved ones and ancestors that have passed on. Samhain is a time for remembering the dead for Wiccans as well. It is our New Year, our last harvest festival, a time when the lines between realms are weak and open. It is a time for celebration, for looking forward to the new year, but it is also a time for reflection. Death is part of the wheel of the year, part of the balance of nature, and Samhain is a time to honor its place in the circle of life.We honor the dead at Samhain because it is the time of death in the wheel of the year. Summer is ending and winter is beginning. Winter is the time the earth is seen as dead. Life and nature are dormant, waiting for new life to be born in Spring. We honor death at this time because we need to respect its place in the wheel of the year. Without death, there is no life. Death is inevitable and transformational. It is not to be feared because it comes for us all. It is due respect and honor, so Samhain is a time to respect and honor death itself.

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Are Pagan Holidays More Than A Seasonal Clock?

When people who aren’t of a magickal orientation ask me about Witchcraft, I usually tell them that the Craft is an Art, Science, and a Lifestyle. The magickal skeptics never dispute the art aspect or the lifestyle aspect. But they usually object loudly about the science aspect, claiming there is no science associated with witchcraft. I beg to differ. What follows is one of my discussions about how some of the mystical aspects of the Craft are confirmed by science; and where understanding the science actually benefits the Craft practitioner.

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Pomona – Goddess of Fruits And Orchards

As a Harvest Sabbat, Mabon is a time to honor the goddesses and gods that are the patrons of agriculture. Some bless agriculture as a whole, some are specific to the harvest, and others have particular focuses such as grain or wine grapes. Pomona, a goddess of the Roman pantheon, is the goddess of fruits and orchards. Unlike most deities of the Roman pantheon, Pomona has no Greek counterpart. She is often associated with Demeter, but while there are similarities, they are not the same. Pomona is not a harvest deity but one of cultivation. She oversees and blesses the growing of orchards, protecting them and helping them flourish. She and her husband Vertumnus had a join festival held around August 13th each year. 

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The Witches of Pendle Forest

Mention witch trials and most people think of Salem, Massachusetts, and Puritans. America wasn’t the only place witches were being hunted and executed, however. One of the most famous – and most deadly – witch trials happened in England in 1612. The Witches of Pendle Forest, as they have come to be called, were ten women and two men who were accused of witchcraft and tried. Also at the trials of 1612 were eight others, the Samlesbury Witches. The aspects of the trial were documented and published, allowing us to have insight into what occurred. The Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster, by the clerk of the court Thomas Potts, provides detail that would otherwise be lost to legend and myth

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