Tag Archives: Pagan Holidays

Celebrating Winter Solstice — Renewal In Silence, Gathering With Friends

Image from our Fractal Cosmos 2018 wall calendar featuring artwork by Alice Kelley. Click for more info.

Many years ago I read in the Oxford Companion to the Year that December 21 was when the Romans celebrated Angerona, the goddess who advocates for silence with her finger to her lips. The connection between the shortest day of the year and silence intrigued me and led me to develop my favorite Solstice ritual: I spend the day in silence and without using any electricity. I don’t watch television or listen to the radio or work on my computer. I don’t turn on the lights. I don’t answer my phone. At dusk, I go for a long walk in the park near my home. At night, I light candles, take a bubble bath, and go to bed early. I love the way this practice places me inside a delicious pool of quiet and serenity, allowing me to move more slowly and to listen to my own thoughts and feelings more closely. My other Winter Solstice tradition is to host a Solstice party on the Sunday closest to Solstice. Continue reading

Saturnalia: A Golden Time

The Book of Awakening 2017 wall calendar

Image from The Book of Awakening 2017 wall calendar. Eurasian Bullfinch on frozen branches © Markus Varesvuo. Click image for more info.

This Roman holiday is sometimes viewed as the pagan version of Christmas, even though it was certainly being acknowledged long before the Biblical events that are celebrated around the time of the Winter Solstice.

Saturnalia, as it was practiced in Rome for centuries before the birth of Christ, has many elements found in other end-of-year rituals, including Hanukkah and Twelfth Night. This seven-day festival, which begins on December 17, was a time when courts did not meet and war could not be declared, so it was a time outside of time, like the Halcyon Days. Continue reading

Mabon: Autumn Harvest

As a calendar publisher, we immerse ourselves in information about all kinds of holidays and their related traditions. Changes of the season are especially ripe with many celebrations around the world. Today is the Autumnal Equinox also known to some as Mabon. Here’s a bit more about Mabon:

Image from our Celtic Mandala 2018 wall calendar featuring artwork by Jen Delyth. Click for more info.

Archaeological findings of prehistoric cultures in the British Isles reveal that important festivals observed the year’s equinoxes and solstices. In ancient history, Celtic peoples observed these days as the four Quarter Days: Ostara (Vernal Equinox), Litha (Summer Solstice), Yule (Winter Solstice), and Mabon (Autumnal Equinox). Today, Wiccans and Neo-pagans, who draw many traditions from Celtic culture, retain the Mabon tradition. Some communities refer to the day simply as “autumn harvest” or “autumn sabbat. ” Continue reading

The Flame Endures: Brigid the Saint

Image by Jen Delyth

Image from our Celtic Mandala 2019 wall calendar featuring artwork by Jen Delyth. Click for more info.

Imbolc is a time to celebrate the coming of spring and is also the feast day of Saint Brigid (February 1). We’re delighted to share a post from Lunaea Weatherstone, a long-time Amber Lotus contributor and author of Tending Brigid’s Flame: Awaken to the Celtic Goddess of Hearth, Temple, and Forge. The following is an excerpt from Chapter One of Tending Brigid’s Flame. ~Amber Lotus

Why include a saint in a book largely intended for Pagan readers? To put it plainly, it’s because the saint and the goddess are one and the same. She never left. No other Western goddess has an unbroken history of worship. No other goddess has been clung to so passionately by her devotees, no matter what other canons of faith they accepted. To write a book about Brigid without including her saint aspect would be denying half her powers:

  • The power of endurance
  • The power of practical love
  • The power of bridging differences

As a Pagan, there was a time when I assumed that the goddess Brigid had simply been co-opted and whitewashed by the Church into something more manageable, less powerful. I see it somewhat differently now. Continue reading