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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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The Greek Goddess, Gaia 

Gaia, or Gaea, is the Greek Goddess of the Earth and was believed to have been a deity who governed the universe before the Titans were created. Over time, Gaia has been giving the title of “Mother Earth” due to her responsibility for creating all life on Earth, her inability to see people suffering and her natural nurturing personality. Even though she is a Greek Goddess, her power and influence are still highly respected amongst Witches and other Pagan religions. She is one of the most important Goddesses since, without her, none of the other Gods and Goddesses, much fewer humans, would have existed. Let’s go over who exactly Gaia is, her influences, and how she is worshiped on Modern Paganism.

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Freja, Goddess of Love and Death

Freyja—who may have also been known as Frigg depending on where one gets their information—is the most renowned of all the Norse goddesses. She is one of the few deities that has a foot in the two divine clans of Norse mythology, the Aesir, and the Vanir. Her mother is unknown, though believed by some to be Nethys, but her father is Njord. Her twin brother is Frey. Her husband is none other than Odin himself. She is sometimes seen as a devoted witch and wise Queen, and sometimes she is depicted as a wild woman who likes nothing but lovemaking and thrilling pleasure, especially once she was viewed through the lens of ancient historians, who were often religious, for whom the ideal woman was virginal and lacked in her own sensual interests.

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