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For summer festivals such as the Summer Solstice on June 21, you should honor the deities who gift us with such plenty. Light yellow and green candles at your altar and on the feast table and offer this appeal:
Oh, Lady of Summer
Who brings and sun and life-giving rains,
May each harvest bring the crops that fill our cups.
The rivers and oceans, fields and farms are yours.
We honor you today and give thanks to you for all we have.
A toast to thee, blessed be!
Candlemas, also known as Imbolc, is the highest point between the winter solstice and spring equinox. This festival anticipates the coming of spring with banquets and blessings. Tradition holds that milk must be served, and modern pagans have expanded that to butter cookies, ice cream, cheeses and any related foods. It is an important time to welcome new members of your spiritual circle and new witches into a coven. Candlemas is a heartwarming occasion, but it is still a wintry time, so kindling for the hearth or bonfire should include cedar, pine, juniper and holly along with wreaths of the same to mark the four directions alongside white candles in glass votives. Strong incense such as cedar, nag champa or frankincense will bless the space. The circle leader shall begin the ritual by lighting incense from the fire and begin by facing each direction, saying:
Welcome Guardians of the East, bringing your fresh winds and breath of life. Come to the circle of Imbolc.
Welcome Guardians of South, you bring us heart and health. Come to the circle on this Holy Day.
Welcome Guardian’s of the West, place of setting sun and mighty mountains. Come to us.
Welcome Guardians of the North, land of life-giving rains and snow. Come to our circle on this sacred day.
The leader should welcome each member of the circle and speak to the gifts they bring to the community. Everyone should acknowledge each other with toasts and blessings and break bread together in this time of the coming season.
This major sabbat denotes the high point of the year; the crops are in their fullness, weather is warm and the countryside is bursting forth with the beauty of life. Pagans know we have the heavens above to thank for this and the gods of nature must be acknowledged for their generosity with a gathering of the tribe and a feast, ideally in the great outdoors. Ask invitees to bring harvest- themed offerings for the altar: gourds, pumpkins, bundles of wheat stalks and corn, or fresh pickings from their garden, and food to share in thanksgiving made from the same, like pies, tomato salads, cucumber pickles, green beans, corn pudding, watermelon, lemon cakes, berry cucumber, apple cider and beer brewed from wheat, hops and barley. This celebration of the reaping from summer season should reflect what you have grown with your own hands. Fill your cauldron or a big beautiful colored glass bowl half-full with freshly-drawn water. Get packets of tiny votive candles for floating in the water. At the feast table, make sure to have a place- setting for the godly guest Lugh who watched over the plantings to ensure this bounty. Place loaves of Lammas bread by his plate.
When all guests have arrived, everyone should add a food offering to the plate of the god and light a candle to float in the cauldron. Cut a slice of Lammas bread for Lugh and begin the ceremony with this prayer of thanks:
Oh, ancient Lugh of the fields and farms,
We invite you here with open arms,
In this place between worlds, in flowering fields of hay.
You have brought the blessings we receive this Lammas Day.
Begin the feast and before the dessert course, everyone should go around the table and speak to their gratitude for the gifts of the year. Storytelling, singing, spiral dances and all manner of merriment is part of Lammas Day.
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