DRUIDIC FESTIVALS

The Old Celts and Draoithe (Druids) subscribed a three-fold year and only four holidays in the beginning but later accepted and inducted four more holidays which were the equinoxes and solstices. I however choose to observe the original four from Celtic culture (Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh). I have however included the equinoxes and solstices for those who wish to adhere to all eight.


WINTER SOLSTICE / ALBAN ARTHUAN / MEAN GEIMHRIDH (Pronounced moon gerry)

INCENSE ASSOCIATIONS: ROSEMARY PINE CEDAR

COLOUR ASSOCIATIONS: GREEN RED GOLD WHITE

GEMSTONES ASSOCIATIONS: RED STONES INCLUDING: RUBY, ALSO ROSE QUARTZ

From December 21st through to 31st ~ encompassing the shortest day of the year and the longest night. During this festival we celebrate love, family, family togetherness, and unity. We think on the past year's accomplishments. A yule log is burned ~ it should be Oak, and must be lit with the remnant of the previous years yule log. The remnant of the log is kept each year, protecting the home and the family that dwells within. This festival is also the Celtic New Year, and red candles are lit to represent the ensuring of wealth and also happiness throughout the coming year.


CANDLEMAS / IMBOLG/ OIMELC / IMBOLC (Pronounced EEM-Bowl-G

INCENSE ASSOCIATIONS: BASIL

COLOUR ASSOCIATIONS: PINKS RED BROWN

GEMSTONES ASSOCIATIONS: AMETHYST BUT ALSO ONYX AND GARNET

February 2nd ~ This Festival marks a time when we welcome and celebrate the coming of Spring. It's a festival that celebrates fertility and light, but also new beginnings and self (or spiritual) growth. The besom is used as a symbol of sweeping out the old to make room for the new, and we make time to dwell on self-dedication(Also where we get the term "Spring Cleaning" as this is an ancient ritual for defusing negative energies and bad elements we may have accumulated over the past year). If it snows at this time, go outside at the first light of dawn and draw an image in the snow with a fallen branch. The image you trace in the freshly laid snow should be of the sun ~ to welcome the light and joy to your life. When indoors, on the eve of Imbolg, light a candle in every window of the home as a welcome and to bring good wishes. This is one of the four Celtic fire festivals and is sacred to the goddess Brighid as well. Many in Ireland still pay homage to their Matron Saint Brigit on this day.


SPRING EQUINOX / ALBAN EILER / MEAN EARRAIGH (Pronounced moon erric)
INCENSE ASSOCIATIONS: JASMINE ROSE SAGE 

COLOUR ASSOCIATIONS: PALE GREENS PINKS YELLOWS AND GOLD

GEMSTONES ASSOCIATIONS: JASPER BLOODSTONE AMETHYST

March 21st ~ Marking the first day of spring. Known by almost every religion and path as a time for new beginnings and rebirth. The night and day are of equal length, and so now is a time of balance, and for long-term plans ~ for making plans and magick now that will come to fruition in the future. Also known as the "Vernal Equinox" and the "Festival of the Trees". Many paint eggs and place on their altar as magickal talismans, and also tread carefully through meadows to harvest wild flowers (when taking anything from nature, please ask permission, take only what you need, and leave a token of thanks). Noting carefully the plants you have chosen to pick will reflect upon your inner thoughts and desires, by arranging them by magickal properties

BELTANE / MAYDAY / (Pronounced BELL-TAIN) or in the traditional Gaelic tongue (Pronounced BEL-CHIN-UH) which translates literally to the month of May.

INCENSE ASSOCIATIONS: LILAC ROSE (SOMETIMES FRANKINCENSE)

COLOUR ASSOCIATIONS: DARK HUES OF GREEN

GEMSTONES ASSOCIATIONS: ALL DARK GREEN STONES

May 1st ~ traditionally a fertility festival. As with Samhain, this is a time where the two worlds between the living and dead is breached, so acts of joy and hi-jinxs are apparent with carnivals and faires. These festivals are to show our appreciation of the warmer weather and enjoyment of the world around us. This signifies the beginning of Summer, and flower petals are strewn about the house for good luck and to welcome warmth and emotion of this season into our homes. This is also a time to celebrate unions and marriage. Maypoles are traditionally erected and the Queen of the May Dance is performed by taking in hand the ribbons of the Maypole and Dancing Deosil (clockwise) around the pole. Second of the Celtic Fire Festivals. This day was the day of the joining of the god and goddess and symbolic of fertility, but more so for crops and the like and NOT actually conceiving children on this day, as that is purely the concept of Neo-Pagan misconception. To be honest if you thought about it if a child was conceived on Beltane, the child would be born in the middle of the winter which would not be a wise idea to ancient celts. Besides the fact that documentation shows that Lughnasadh was the time to enter contracts and marriage IS indeed a contract and a rite of senuality and sexulaity as well. Hence, a lot of traditionally performed rights of passage WERE preformed on this date but not the marriages and sensual romps that are put out as factual information. Upon the 1st May, according to the Leabhar Gabhála, the Tuatha de Danann landed in Ireland. Other key events also occur at that date.

MIDSUMMER / SUMMER SOLSTICE / ALBAN HERUIN / MEAN SAMHRADH (Pronounced moon SOW-RAH)

INCENSE ASSOCIATIONS: ROSE LEMON MYRRH

COLOUR ASSOCIATIONS: BLUE GREEN GOLD RED

GEMSTONES ASSOCIATIONS: ALL GREEN AND YELLOW GEMS INCLUDING: JADE EMERALD YELLOW CITRINE AND YELLOW TOPAZ

June 21st ~ the longest day of the year. A classic time for magickal workings of all kinds. It is believed that whatever you dream of on this night will come true. It is a celebration of passion, sexual love, and success. Also, at Midsummer, for just a few days the sun appears to be at a standstill ~ setting in the same place in the evening sky each day. Many Pagans keep vigil on the night of June 21st, leaving their homes at dusk to travel to a place that is sacred to them, and awaiting the sunrise to welcome the dawn. It is said that this day is sacred to the Sidhe. At Stonehenge in Salisbury, England the Stones are set up in a fashion that pays specific attention to the moon (outer stones) and also aligns with the Midsummer sun as well (inner stones).

LUGHNASADH (Pronounced LOO-NAH-SAH)

INCENSE ASSOCIATIONS: ROSE SANDALWOOD

COLOUR ASSOCIATIONS: ORANGE YELLOW DARK RED

GEMSTONES ASSOCIATIONS: CITRINE PERIDOT AVENTURINE GARNET

August 2nd ~ the sun rises further in the south each day, and the nights start to lengthen. Lughnasadh is the festival of the harvest, but specifically grain. Many traditions weave corn dollies, brooms and wreaths with corn stalks ~ these corn dollies are used as a symbolic sacrifice of the corn to assure a good harvest the coming year, and so is for the good of the community. We are reminded as the season changes, that nothing is constant. Also the Holiday in Celtic tradition as the Festival of Lugh, The God of Light. (See my Celtic Deities section). Another of the Druidic Fire Festivals. Also a time for contracts and hence also marriage as well as much as Beltane is a fertility rite it was more for crops than actual marriage. Aug 1-2 (Lughnasadh/Lughnsad/Lughsnaad/other spellings/; Lammas/Loafday/Loafmass; Bron Trogain; Thanksgiving; Harvest Home) The first day of the Trogan month.

Beginning of Foghamhr, or the 4th quarter of the year. Lughnasadh, the Gaelic for "festival of Lugh" (Some people maintain that the Scots dialect says it "LOO-nah-soo.") Lammas is Anglo-Saxon/English for "Loaf-Mass" or "half-mass", and is pronounced "LAH-mus."

*Interpretations*

* The first day of the harvest season, the first time that you recognize a change in the length of day. The ripening grain heralds the coming of Autumn. It is a festival of plenty and prosperity.

* Celebration of the Sun God.

* An ancient festival associated with Trograinn, the son of Griann, in the areas where They were venerated called Bron Trograinn (the Rage of Trograinn).

* Celebration of the Sun God Lugh's victory over Chrom Dubh and granting Corn to his people.

* It is the feast of the marriage of the god Lugh, and the time of the Harvest Fair.

* This is the time of the marriage of the Human Consort or the Sacred King to the Goddess of the Land and Sovereignty.

* A time of sacrifices for Increase and Plenty

* The time of recognizing the Earth's sorrowing in autumn.

* To some people, this is a festival honoring Lugh, and the Goddess Aine.
* According to some sources, this is the time of the maiming of the King, as the force of growth is taken from Him. One way this purportedly took place was for the king to be tied by his hair to an Oak tree with one foot on the cauldron, and his other on the back of a Horse or a Sow (Boths are representative of Goddess of Sovereignty). The support of Sovereignty was then driven from him, causing him to be maimed in such a way to destroy His fertility but not His life. In some cases, his life was not taken until the three days before Samhain when his Tanaise, or heir began his reign. The King embodied the fertility of the land, which he had come to be through his marriage to the Goddess of Sovereignty. This fertility, at times had to be stopped to allow ripening to take place.

* A festival representing the great fair of Tailltenn (now called Teltown) dedicated to honor Lugh's foster mother Tailltiu (pronounced Telsha), and established by Lugh Himself, after she died clearing the plain that is named for her (according to some, she is a Goddess of the land and Sovereignty).

* The warriors returned from the fields of battle to begin harvesting the crops. At this time fairs were held (although some fairs were only held once every three years).

* Tailltean marriages; The date of many handfastings, or trial marriages lasting a year and a day. After that time the couple had to return to the same place at the fair the following year to make their contract a permanent one. They also had the right to declare themselves divorced by walking in opposite directions away from each other.

* Tailltean Games: there were many games and races (foot and horse).

* Recitations of poems, genealogies and romantic tales. Music was provided by cruits (harps), timpans, trumpets, horns and cuisig or piob (pipes). Feats of horsemanship were performed. There were also jugglers and clowns. It seems that there were usually three distinct market places; one for food and clothes, one for livestock and another for luxury goods. If it rained during this festival, it was believed that Lugh himself was present.

* Bonfires.

* Gathering on sacred hills, and visiting the sacred wells. Tie red or blue threads onto the tails of cattle, while repeating incantations. This they did for the milk to retain its goodness, a ball of cow's hair or ronag was put into the milk pail on this day. Curds and cheese were specially prepared from that day's milk.

* Driving of horses (the embodiment of the Goddess of Sovereignty) down to the beach and into the sea.

* Closely associated with the common folk and agriculture; "the festival of first fruits"; As the People were still by and large living on the stores of the previous years harvest, this was the time when the stores were at the least. It was a time of looking forward to the harvest time just starting.

* Celebration of the Corn King. It must be pointed out that either the festival is in veneration of Tailltiu or Lugh (in which case it has no connection to any concept of Corn Kings or English harvest festivals) or it's an English harvest festival.

* 'Lammas' was the medieval Christian name for the holiday and it means 'loaf-mass', for this was the day on which loaves of bread were baked from the first grain harvest and laid on the church altars as offerings. It was a day representative of 'first fruits' and early harvest.

* Lammastide was a time of year for medieval craft guilds to create elaborate displays of their wares, decorating their shops and themselves in bright colors and ribbons, marching in parades, and performing strange, ceremonial plays and dances.

* The 'Catherine wheel' was rolled in honor of St. Catherine's feast day. A large wagon wheel was taken to the top of a near-by hill, covered with tar, set aflame, and ceremoniously rolled down the hill.

* Picnics and parties, breaking bread with friends. State Fairs in agricultural areas. Make a corn dolly charm out of the first grain you harvest or acquire. Bake a sacred loaf bread and give a portion of it to Mother Earth with a prayer of appreciation. Make prayers for a good harvest season. Do prosperity magic. Harvest herbs in a sacred way for use in charms and rituals. Kindle a Lammas fire with sacred wood and dried herbs. If you live in or near a farming region, attend a public harvest festival, such as a corn or apple festival.

AUTUMN EQUINOX / ALBAN ELVED / MEAN FOGHAMAR (Pronounced moon FOW-er)

INCENSE ASSOCIATIONS: SAGE MYRHH

COLOUR ASSOCIATIONS: AUTUMNAL COLOURS: BROWN ORANGE YELLOW DARK REDS

GEMSTONES ASSOCIATIONS: LAPIS LAZULI SAPPHIRE YELLOW AGATE

September 21st ~ whereas Lughnasadh signifies the first harvest, the Grain Harvest, Mabon marks the completion of the harvest, The Wine Harvest. A time for giving thanks for the bounty, but also for meditation. Stones that were gathered from the beds of streams and rivers are now empowered for use in magickal and spell workings. Now is the time for the herb harvest, to collect and dry herbs (seeds, flowers, root, leaves, bark) to not only decorate the home, but also to be saved and stored for use in magickal workings during the winter months when the herbs may be scarce.

SAMHAIN / HALLOWEEN / ALL HALLOWS EVE / HALLOWSTIDE / ALL SOULS EVE (Pronounced SOW-WHEN and literally means 1st of November in Gaelic)

INCENSE ASSOCIATIONS: APPLE MINT SAGE NUTMEG

COLOUR ASSOCIATIONS: BLACK ORANGE CRIMSON SILVER

GEMSTONES ASSOCIATIONS: ALL BLACK GEMS, INCLUDING: ONYX JET

The Celtic New Year, the Meat Harvest when herders slaughtered their remaining livestock to prepare for the long, grooling wintery months ahead, the Festival of the Dead and possibly THE most significant festival for Pagans as well as the ancient Celts and Druids. It is said that the veil between the realms is the thinnest during this time of year. When the Dead come back to revisit their living counterparts and the fae come out to play and all sorts of hosts ghouls goblins and the like manifest in this world to wreak havoc. The eve of the Dark Lord and Dark Mother Oct. 31st through Nov.1 is bonfire night in Ireland. Bonfires and masks were traditionally worn on this eve to ward off evil, restless spirits and daemons etc. Also a time when divination is said to be very strong. Tribal assemblies were held then, rulers and warriors conferred and laws were made. In the Yellow Book of Lecan, a high medieval text preserving some early medieval tales, it is said that the common people called Samhain 'the feast of Mongfind' instead. Legend made Mongfind a witch-queen married to an early king of Tara, but the fact that the same source states that the people still prayed to her on 31 October indicates that we are dealing here with another goddess. One of the oldest holidays still celebrated by many many tradition and faiths in the world most people don't even realize they are practicing Pagan traditions. Ancient, arcane energies abound on this eve so keep the bonfires burning til the next sunrise