As the world turns
A long time ago, religion was different. The old world religion was based on the agricultural cycles and the rhythms of the Earth. The cycle of the natural year bought to light lessons from each season, a model of spiritual growth and renewal after dormancy. Paganism can be considered the oldest religion of the world and refers to an Earth centred religion which formed the foundation for the majority of indigenous cultures around the world, especially from old world Northern Europe, Persia, Egypt, Greece and Rome. Knowledge of Gods and Goddesses were passed down through stories from Mother to Daughter and Father to Son, sharing their strengths and lessons based on the turn of the wheel of the year.
Being a polytheistic religion, this means that there are many forms of the God and Goddess, unlike the monotheistic religion of Christianity for example, where it is recognised that there is only one God. Paganism recognises there are many faces to the divine and they can portray different traits or energetic profiles. Just like the many personalities we know from the community of Goddesses and Gods that live in Greek mythology. The deities of paganism, can be seen as the diversity of nature, with many strands connected to the origin and source of all things - something I call the universe, or source energy or the Divine.
Pagans can follow in particular traditions or they can follow their own vision of the divine combining Nature with the God and Goddess - there are no rules!
For me Paganism recognises the Goddess in equality with the God, worshipping each other from a basis of respect and admiration. Paganism brings no judgement and shows acceptance towards all genders, races, sexual preferences and religions. Paganism will harm none. It is respect for nature, our Earth Mother and all her creatures and understands that nature is a manifestation of the divine which leads to the belief that the divine world will answer a genuine request for information and support for those that stop to listen.
The Pagan 'Wheel of the Year' consists of 8 Sabbats, coming from the meaning 'to celebrate'. They are Fire festivals or Days of Power that celebrate the coming and going of seasons associated with planting, harvesting and hunting as well as the movements of the Goddess Moon and Sun God around the equinoxes and solstices. They allow the energy of the God and Goddess to flow back and forth, maintaining their balance of power and each Sabbat will have a story or legend that follows with a moral and lesson to learn from.
At first there were only two Sabbats, falling directly opposite each other, Beltane and Samhain to welcome and bid farewell to the seasons in representation of birth and death. Both times when the veil is thin between the realm we live in day to day and the other worlds such as the afterlife and that of the elementals or Fae. As Pagan tradition originated in the Northern Hemisphere these dates coincide with May day and Halloween respectively but as we base our celebrations on the seasons, our celebrations are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere to match the time for harvesting in autumn and the time for rebirth in Spring.
Moving forwards through time, Lammas and Imbolgc were added to the greater sabbats as well as the Summer solstice known as Litha and Winter solstice, Yule as well as the Autumn Equinox known as Mabon and the Spring Equinox, Ostara.
With each festival there comes the stories of the God and Goddess energy moving in and out, the traditions and rituals of the land that comes with the planting of crops, nurturing fields and harvesting the fruits of labour. To learn more about each Sabbat join me throughout the year in our learning circles as we explore the depths of each season and what the turn of the earth can teach us on an energetic level in our spiritual journey.