Wicca - Paganism. Celts

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    Wicca is not traditional folk magic and all magic is not necessarily Wiccan, anymore than all people who pray belong to any particular religion.

    "The Burning Times" is the term used by many modern Neo-Pagans and feminists to refer to the great European witch-hunts of the early modern period, coincident with the time of the reformation and seen by many as a crucial step in Christianity's crushing of the Pagan religions, driving these underground. Some authors claim as many as ten million people were killed in these hunts, while more recent scholars put the number of documented deaths at 20-100 thousands, 80-90% of these women. Sometimes these numbers are doubled to account for non-judicial killings and deaths from torture, suicide, etc. Whatever the numbers, however, victims of these hunts are perceived as martyrs by Wiccans today, with the lessons of intolerance, misogyny and religious terror clearly noted.



    WICCAN HOLIDAYS

      SAMHAIN
    - (sow-in) Falling on October 31, this day has numerous reasons of importance. It is the eve of the Celtic New Year and the first day of Winter. Samhain is also the Irish Gaelic word for November. On this Great Sabbat night, it is said, the veil between the Material and Spiritual Worlds are thinnest, and neither human or spirit need any special magick or password to cross. Spirits of loved ones will also congregate around the Samhain fires to gain warmth and communion with their living kin.

      YULE
    - (yool ) December 21 or 22 , marks the night of Winter Solstice, witches celebrate the darkest and longest night of the year. On this night we are reminded that our God is reborn in order to bring light and warmth back to the earth.

      IMBOLG
    - (im-molg) Also known as "Candlemas" falls on February 2. This Greater Sabbat is the quickening of the year, the first stirrings of the Spring. It is a f ire festival that emphasizes the light returning to the world. It is the celebration of the three phases of the Goddess: the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone (or Enchantment, Ripeness and Wisdom).

      OSTARA
    - (o-star-a) Lands on the Vernal Equinox - March 21 or 22. On this Lesser Sabbat, we are reminded that light and dark are in perfect balance. However, light is mastering dark. The days are growing longer while the nights are growing shorter.

      BELTANE
    - (bell-tane) Falling on May l, otherwise known as May Day, this is the Celts f first day of Summer. The original meaning of he word has a Gaelic derivation of "Bel-fire". Bel is the name of the Celtic God of Light and Fire. Bel, or Balor is known as "the Bright One". Fires were lit to commemorate the return of life and fertility to the world. This day has been adopted by many other cultures and today many people still perform a May Pole Dance, feast at picnics and remember why people fall in love.

      LITHA
    - (leetha) Also named Midsummer of Summer Solstice, this is a Sabbat strictly for the sun. On June 21 or 22, witches acknowledge the God's light and warmth on the day when he shines the highest, brightest and longest. This is a time to rejoice in the full flood of the years abundance.

      LAMMAS
    - Primarily this Sabbat is called LUGHNASADH (loon-na- sah). Come August l, the land reminds us that it is time for harvesting and preparations for the winter. The Celtic God and Warrior Lugh, spares the life of his enemy in exchange for the Secrets of Agricultural Prosperity. Therefore, Lammas is the first of three harvesting celebrations. The first being , the harvest of wheat and corn.

      MABON
    - (may-bin) Also called the Autumnal Equinox, September 21 or 22 is a joyous day that again is remembered for having equal hours of light and dark. However, this time, dark is the master over light. This day is also the celebration of the second harvest. From here, the wheel of the year ends with the third and final harvesting and the beginning of another year of Samhain.



    PAGANISM

    The words 'Paganism' and 'Pagan' come from the Latin 'paganus,' meaning 'country dweller. In simplest terms - Paganism is a religion of place, or a native religion, for example the Native American's religion is Pagan, Hinduism is a form of Paganism. All Pagan religions are characterized by a connection and reverence for nature, and are usually polytheistic i.e. have many Gods and/or Goddesses.

    Paganism is a religion of nature, in other words Pagans revere Nature. Pagans see the divine as immanent in the whole of life and the universe; in every tree, plant, animal and object, man and woman and in the dark side of life as much as in the light. Pagans live their lives attuned to the cycles of Nature, the seasons, life and death.

    Unlike the patriarchal religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) the divine is female as well as male and therefore there is a Goddess as well as a God. These deities are within us as well as without us (immanent); they are us. They are not simply substitutes for the Muslim or Judeo-Christian God. This is because the Gods of the major religions tend to be super-natural i.e. above nature whereas Pagan deities are natural, symbolizing aspects of nature or human nature. Having said that God and Goddess are split from the Great Spirit or Akashka which probably equates to the God of the patriarchal religions.

    The Goddess represents all that is female and the God represents all that is male.





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    Maya:
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    Wicca - Paganism
    Celtic civilization
    Celts, another overview
    Celtic Knotwork: celtic knots

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