Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Mystical Calendar

The mystical calendar of festivals throughout the year celebrate the never-ending cycle of life in our world, and has done so since ancient times.

The eight festivals are:
Yule - Winter solstice (around December 21st) marking the shortest day of the year, which marks the crowning of the Holly King. Evergreen decorations are magically protective, alive in the deadest part of the year.

Imbolc - February 1st heralds the potential of spring, so it centers on light and purification as the life cycle begins again. Candles mark the return of the sun and healing.

Ostara - Vernal equinox (around March 21st) marks the turn from the dark half of the year to the light half. It celebrates the triumph of light over dark and portends rebirth and regeneration in the world.

Beltane - May 1st calls the beginning of summer, the brightest part of the year, a joyful celebration of growth. In ancient times, nine sacred woods were used to light a fire both people and animals leapt through for purification.

Litha - Summer solstice (around June 21st), the opposite of Yule, marks the longest day of the year, a midsummer magic brought to life by the crowning of the Oak King.

Lughnasadh - August 1st marks the ending of the summer cycle and the surrender to the darker side of the year. Harvesting is celebrated, along with winnowing seed to plant in the spring when the sun comes back into its own.

Mabon - Autumnal equinox (around September 21st) is the midpoint of autumn, when days and nights are of equal length, a balance to make the final harvest and prepare for winter.

Samhain - November 1st marks the start of winter, beginning on October 31st when the souls of the dead walk the night. This night also calls the Wild Hunt from Faerie to gather the souls of those who wander in the darkness without protection.

Maybe one of these seasons and the stories associated with it - and I don't mean just Halloween - will give you some exciting story ideas.