Samhain (sow-in or sowen) Oct 31st
Also known as Halloween and The Feast of the Dead, is the Witches' New Year. It signifies the end of summer, honoring the dead and temporary fair well to The God until He is reborn of the Goddess again at Yule. It's a time where it is said that the veil between worlds is at it's thinnest. Candles are lit and cakes and wine are left out as an offering to the dead. Altars can be decorated with colorful fall leaves, an apple and a pomegranate (if you can find one). Pumpkins are obviously quite popular as well. It is a time for reflection. A time to look back at events that have taken place in the last turn of the wheel and how you have grown from them. During my ritual I like to read out loud the list of those who were killed during the burning times (a list of victims can be found on my links page) along with others that I wish to remember. After your ritual, bury your apple outside as an offering. If you cannot go outdoors, bury it in a planter of soil. Colors are red and black.
The winter solstice celebrates renewal and rebirth during winter. It is the shortest day of the year when the Goddess gives birth to the God which marks the return of the sun. Candles and fires are lit and small potted trees are decorated to welcome it's return. As Samhain represents death this turn of the wheel celebrates rebirth. If you can't make a fire you might want to get a Yule log, carve holes and place candles in it. Take every precaution to make sure the log doesn't catch fire. Colors are green and red. * Yule is commonly celebrated on Dec 21.
Imbolc (im-BULK)- Feb 1st
Also known as Candlemas, Festival of Lights, Feast of Torches & Brigid's day marks the lengthening of days and light encouraging the renewal of the sun. It is a time of purification. It's a traditional time for initiations into covens, self dedication and renewing your dedication. Seeds for planting are placed on the altar and a ritual is performed to bless the seeds. Some place a lamp or candle in every room to encourage to return of the sun. A dish of snow along with evergreens and candles decorate the altar. Colors are white, green and white, or blue
Spring Equinox-March 21st
Also known as Ostara (oh-STAR-ah) is the beginning of Spring. The light of day and darkness of night are equal. The Earth is charged with the fertility of the Goddess and the mating of the Goddess and God compel the wilderness to do the same (Spring fever?). It is a time for new beginnings and letting go of things holding you back. A potted plant decorates the altar and a cauldron or bonfire is lit. Mirrors are displayed. The color is white. At this time of year it is traditional to wonder through forests, gardens and the like as a celebration of nature.
Also known as May Day is the time of fertility when the Goddess becomes pregnant of the God. The symbol of Her fertility is celebrated in ritual and feast. Witches joyously dance and weave the May pole which along with homes can be decorated with flowers, branches and other greenery. Wearing a wreath of flowers upon your head is also traditional. Fresh flowers are placed in the cauldron. Color is white.