by Susan Eaton
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is a joyous yet reverent philosophy which everyone can share in
- for there is not a person alive in the world today who is not
descended from Pagan ancestors.
of us who follow this path describe ourselves as "Neopagans"
because we've taken the most worthwhile philosophies and practices
of the Pagan religions of ancient times and adapted them to modern
needs and life-styles.
Pagans and "Neopagans" believe that Divinity or "God-force"
is contained within all living beings and in the material world
as well, and honour and observe the cycles of nature.
our Pagan ancestors honoured - even deified - natural forces in
their religions, they did so because their lives were dependent
upon these forces for successful hunting and a good harvest. Today,
life is very much changed, and the average person is practically
divorced from nature, and it would not be feasible for most modern
Pagans to try to return to the life-styles of the past. Therefore,
modern Paganism concentrates on a more spiritual ideal, striving
for higher consciousness and spirituality. We continue to revere
the Earth-Mother, the power and beauty of the natural Universe,
and the universal Archetypes within ourselves. By living in harmony
with the rhythms, the tides, and the forces of the Cosmos, we
will be more complete persons ... enjoying health of body, strength
of mind, and greatness of soul.
time to stop and appreciate all that is about you. Smell the earth,
the trees, the leaves. Absorb their energies and send them yours.
Make contact with the earth. Feel it; absorb it. Show your respect
and love for nature and live with nature.
the same way, live with other people. There are many whom you
meet, in the course of your life, who could benefit from their
encounter with you. Always be ready to help others in any way
you can. Don't ignore anyone, or look the other way when you know
they need help. If you can give assistance, give it gladly.
the past, when people lived with nature, the turning of the seasons
and the monthly cycle of the Moon had a profound impact on religious
ceremonies. Because the Moon was seen as a symbol of the Mother
Goddess, ceremonies of adoration and magic took place in its light.
The coming of winter, the first stirrings of spring, the warm
summer, and the advent of fall were also marked with rituals.
still celebrate the phases of the moon and observe the changing
of the seasons with eight "days of power" - the endless
cycle of the "wheel of the year."
of these days are determined by the solstices and equinoxes, the
astronomical beginnings of the seasons. The other four - even
older - were associated with agriculture and the bearing cycles
of animals. They are Imbolc or Candlemas - February 2; Beltane
or May Day - April 30; Lughnasadh or Lammas - August 1; and Samhain
or Halloween - October 31.
take a look at the two holidays which are celebrated during the
or May Day
marks the return of vitality, of passion, and hopes consummated
after the bleakness and introspection of the winter.
has long been marked with feasts and rituals. May poles were the
focal point of old English village rituals. Many people rose at
dawn to gather flowers and green branches from the fields and
gardens, using them to decorate the May Pole, their homes and
themselves and Bel-fires were lit on the hilltops to celebrate
the return of life and fertility to the world.
Invocation -adapted - Ray Buckland
She who turns the Wheel,
Bringing new life into the world
and beckoning those who pass along the ways.
In the coolness of the breeze you hear my sighs;
My heart is in the rushing of the wind.
When you thirst, let my tears fall upon you as gentle rain;
When you tire, pause to rest upon the earth that is my breast.
Warmth and comfort do I give thee
And ask for nothing in return
Save that you love all things even as yourself.
Know that Love is the spark of Life.
It is always there; always with you if you but see it.
Yet you need not seek afar, for Love is the inner spark;
The light that burns without flicker;
The amber glow within.
Love is the beginning and the end of all things
And I am Love.
summer solstice is the time when the daylight is the longest,
and the night is the shortest. This usually happens on or near
June 21 of each year. At this time, Neopagans celebrate the continued
growth and development of plant and animal life, of ourselves
and of our Mother - the Earth. This includes aspects both physical
Solstice Flower Seeds Ritual
participants are asked to choose a packet of flower seeds from
the selection provided.The leader says:
the seeds which we have all chosen, there lie hidden the future
flowers. Each flower is different but neither less nor more than
the others. Let us recognize this as symbolic of ourselves - with
all our varied lives, our different gifts and talents, we are
equally a part of the whole, the interconnected web of all existence.
We each have something unique and vital to contribute. To represent
that contribution, please bring your seeds to the bowl in the
centre of the circle.
the seeds are being brought to the centre, the group chants:
are a circle, a living circle
With no beginning and never ending
every participant has emptied their packet of seeds, the leader
we not let awareness of another's talents discourage us; rather
realize and celebrate that whatever we can do, great or small,
is needed in the world. We depend on each other for support and
nurturing. Now the seeds are all mixed together. We celebrate
ourselves and each other by taking some of these mixed seeds.
Plant them and with them plant seeds of love and caring. And when
you see the varied blooms, remember the many faces of caring.
participant is then asked to choose some seeds from the bowl in
the centre of the circle. While the seeds are being chosen by
the participants, the group chants:
Spirit, Earth, Air, Sky and Sea,
You are inside and all around me.
"Eight Sabbats for Witches," by Janet and Stewart
Farrar, Robert Hale Ltd., 1981
"Magical Rites from the Crystal Well," by Ed Fitch and
Janine Renee, Llewellyn Publications, 1986
"Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft," by Raymond
Buckland, Llewellyn Publications, 1990
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