Note: Refer to arrangements announced for each Celebration.
Tara Celebrations get-togethers are founded and anchored on 8 solar
festivals. These mark an annual cycle through the year in the western
European traditions - often, nowadays, talked of as the Celtic Year.
This is a holistic world view observing and honouring our lives on
earth and all beings place in the wider universe. It realises that we
are a vast network of inter-connected, interdependent, beings with
conscious shared experiences.
Thomas Berry: “the Universe is a communion of subjects not a collection of objects”
Breathe a Day
The rhythm of rise and fall in the height of the overhead sun each day can be likened to the rise and fall of the breath. You will have a feel for working with the sun now, so you might like to try this one.
aware of your position on the earth and face northwards. Looking to
your right, the east, breathe in, gently turning your head look up to
the sky, straight above you at the deepest part of the breath,
equating to noon. Then release the breath as your turn your head to
the left, the west. Pause in your breath as you look down to the
floor and rotate your head back to facing the right again, ready to
repeat the cycle, or in solar terms, start a new day.
|Eanáir - January||Feabhra - February||Márta - March||Aibreán - April|
Bealtaine - May
|Meitheamh - June|
Iúil - July
Lúnasa - August
Meán Fómhair - September
|Deireadh Fómhair - October|
Samhain - November
Nollaig - December
The Seasons 24-11-'38 - From the School's Collection - Duchas.ie
Spring is the season of growth, all growing things awake. The hedges are covered over with tiny buds; the sap goes up to the top of the trees. Flocks of birds come flying across the seas. The frost melts away on account of the sunny days of spring. The plough tears through the brown earth, and the farmer sows his seeds.
In Summer we have long sunny days and short warm nights. The wheat and corn grow up tall. The potatoes are covered with blossoms. The cornfields are dotted with wild poppies, and all flowers are in bloom. There are wild raspberries in every ditch and yellow gooseberries.
In Autumn the golden corn is reaped. The leaves fall off the trees and cover the roads and fields with a yellow and golden colour. The farmer is heard reaping in the field, and the geese go rambling through the stubbles. The apples have a yellow and rosey colour.
In the season of Winter we have hard frost, snow and ice. The big turf fires would roast you. All people sit within beside the fire telling stores and playing games. The moon winks on the frost and ice. The nights are very long and days are very short.
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Seasons --- All times are for Dublin, Ireland.
Imbolc - 1 February
Imbolc - 1 February
Many take the cross-quarter days as the 1st of the month, set every year, or a similar set date depending on the tradition.
However, others also take the day as the mid-point between the
adjacent solstice / equinox, eg. Winter Solstice to Spring Equinox with
Thus we have the alternatives of:
2023 ... Imbolc - 4th February, Beltaine - 5th May, Lughnasadh - 7th August, Samhain - 7th November.
|Around the world others, either in community or individually, also celebrate the eight-fold year. |
We draw on and gain inspiration from them and all cultures celebrating our lives on earth.
Your spirit is welcome to join with us. If you cannot attend in person you are invited to light a candle and link in spiritually.
Seasonal names - Etymology of Irish words is complicated. Words may be Old or Modern Irish, the latter being standardised as the Caighdeán Oifigiúil in the 1950s and 60s. Often there is no simple translation between the Irish and English words as Irish is a much more descriptive language than English.
Lughnasadh – there seems to be no direct translation to English but the season and particularly 1 August is associated with the god Lugh.
Samhain – usually translated from the Irish as Summer's End. The Leabhar Breac - Speckled Book - and Leabhar Buidhe Lecain - Yellow Book of Lecan, both written in medieval times, comprise two of the manuscripts of the Sanas Cormaic, known as Cormac's Glossary. In this Samhain is also called Féile Moingfhinne, that is Festival of Mongfhionn, a goddess of Samhain.
Imbolc – comes from the Old Irish for 'in the belly'.
Bealtaine – often taken as meaning 'bright fire'.
|Looking at the eastern horizon we notice that each day the sun rises in a different place, |
slowly moving up and down from the extremes of the solstices...
|.... and at mid-day the sun is low in the sky at winter solstice moving to be high and above us in the summer. |
We are fortunate in this part of the world to experience a seasonal cycle of extended daylight and extended darkness. There are no seasons at the Equator as the sunlight arrives onto the earth at about the same angle every day. At the North and South Pole extremes rule the day - in the Northern summer there is all day sunlight and all is darkness in the winter. These differences are caused by the tilt of the earth.
And, of course, we are based in the Northern Hemisphere of earth. When the sun is low in the sky and rising in the south east, our winter time, those in the southern lands are basking in the hot days of the summer.
Thus the 8 celebrations focus on the effect of the sun's movement as changes in the landscape. We notice how the bare trees of winter sprout their vibrant spring foliage, become lush and green in summer, hiding bird's nests and providing shelter for hot sheep. Then, as the sun moves south, the land cools, shadows lengthen and fruits form from summer's abundant flowers. We gather a harvest, ready for the return to the bareness and bleak cold of winter.
Living in tune with our local natural world often leads to a better understanding of what is occuring in our own physical, emotional, mental and spiritual life. As we move through the seasons, experiencing their rhythms and qualities, we come to understand the challenges and joys of our own lives.
The energies of the dawn, east, spring and our infant projects.
The energies of noon, south, summer and our growing projects.
The energies of the sunset, west, autumn and our mature projects.
The energies of the night, north, winter and our completed projects, our births and rebirths on the spiralling cycle of our lives.
A note on actual timings of celebrations:
Together we set out on our journey through the seasons of the year, starting at the first of four transformational Fire Festivals, Samhain.
And immediately we are faced with a conundrum. When pre-planning for a celebration one of the choices is whether to hold it on the 'old' or 'new' date. The background to this is Pope Gregory XIII 's decision,in 1582, to introduce a new calendar.
The outcome being that since1752 most of Europe and subsequently the world, has measured the days by this Gregorian system. Hence, two calendar days might be attached to festivals, the 'old' Julian date and the 'new' Gregorian. For instance:
Samhain Eve is generally accepted as 31 October, yet many recognise 11 November, St. Martin's Day, as the correct date.
Gregory really liked to stir things up and another major change was that the start of the year moved to 1January from 'old' Julian25 March. Another was that, in 1752, 10 days were taken out of that year.
|Time and again, we celebrate these changes in our environment. |
We notice that our lives often reflect change happening in a cycle.
As I mature I think, I have been in this situation before.
I look back and see the pattern of my life. Humans love finding patterns.
Many thanks to Anne for sharing these cards she drew on 27th October 2019 - the day of the New Moon in Scorpio. They are from the Earth Magic deck by Stephen D. Farmer.
Perfect cards as we change from Summer time to Winter time and a reminder of the ebb and flow between two solstices. Perfect depiction of the concept of the waxing and waning of the apparent changing strength of the sun in it's annual cycle.
Samhain ceremony is now closed. What is done, is done. With every ending comes a new beginning. We now make way for new opportunities and energies to enter our lives.
Global Spiritual Wheel - Connect
Changes in life-style due to the Covid pandemic mean that folk hesitate to meet face to face and not all celebrations are group gatherings.
Samhain is the dark start of the new yearly cycle. Celebrations at this time in the annual cycle initiate the season of Samhain (Winter time) which is ruled by the Cailleach form of the Feminine energy.
The year seems at its most oppressive. But into this darkness the light is re-born.
At Imbolc we loose the shackles of dark Samhain. It's the time when the seed splits it's shell and starts on it's new journey.
Brighter days are on their way. We are coming out of the days of darkness and into increasing day light.
Flowers, leaves and buds erupt and proclaim the vibrancy of life. The underlying energies sponsor expasion, growth, fun, play, joy, bounty and invigoration.
The light of the sun on the wheel of the year stands in the mid-point, before moving into the Darkening.
Festival of the first harvest - grain. Gardens are in full blossom and heavy with nature's bounty. Preparations begin for the long cold months to come and there is already a nip in the air.
The harvest continues with the sharing of the abundance of our year's efforts in seeding, nurturing and feeding our crops.
Samhain - Pleiades, Winter Solstice - the Nativity, Imbolc - Sirius, Spring Equinox - Ursa Major, Lughnasadh - Milky Way, Autumn Equinox - Sun and Moon : work in progress for 2023
Join Bernadette Mac and her celebration, as she shares the changing energies of the Moon.