Around June 21st
Also; Midsummer, Summer Solstice, Alban Hefin
Today is a celebration of the glory of the Sun God. The Oak King is defeated at his peak by the Holly King, and the daylight hours begin to wain. The powers of nature are at their highest point, and this season is the best time for all types of magick and spell-casting, though healings and love magick are especially favoured.
Bonfires are lit to promote fertility, health and love on this; the longest day of the year. Midsummer Night's Eve is reputedly a good time to commune with spirits and faeries. Herbs for use at this time are vervain, chamomile, rose, lavender, daisy, carnation and lilly.
Also; Lammas, Cornucopia, Thingtide
In the midst of the abundance we find the days are shortening. We have a wake for the Oak King and gather the first fruits of the harvest (celebrating the early part of the year when we sowed the seeds). The Holly King and Goddess (who watches the God lose his strength and prepares to give way to her aspect as the Crone) make union so that he may be born again next Ostara.
This holiday was originally observed on the day of the first reaping; nothing in nature remains constant. Lughnasadh is the time to share the fruits of your knowledge and experience by teaching that which you have learnt.
Activities include wheat weaving (for example the making of corn dolls). The harvest is stored for the long winter. We decorate the altar with wheat, oates, fruits and vegetables of the harvest, and freshly baked bread. It is traditional to plant the seeds from the fruits eaten during this celebration.
Around September 20th
Also; Autumnal Equinox, Winter Finding, Alban Elfed
Here at the second harvest the Goddess mourns her fallen companion, the Oak King. Although this is once more a time of balance, the light now gives way to increased darkness. The emphasis here is on a celebration of the rebirth found in the harvest seeds, and the abundance that life has given us.
We take rest after our labor during the planting and harvesting, animals get ready to hibernate, and nature prepares for winter.
This is a good time for walking through forests and wild environments to gather dried plants for altar decoration and herbal magick. We place acorns, corn stalks, pine cones, autumn leaves and cornbread. Cider and cornbread are favourable sustenance.
Also; Shadowfest, Martinmas, Halloween, All Hollows Eve, Feast Of The Dead
Samhain is the Wiccan new year. The Oak King passes into the underworld, and the veil between the worlds is removed. The Goddess reigns as the Crone.
This is a time of reflection of the past year and the coming of one of life's greatest changes - death. We remember friends and relatives who have passed before us. The spirit world is closer to the mundane than at any other point on the wheel of the year. At this time of year souls that leave our physical plane can pass out and those who are reincarnated pass back in. Divination is heightened this night.
A feast for the dead with food and drink is traditionally prepared by Pagans and left outside for the souls of those who have passed away. Apples are buried in the earth to feed them in their journey. A candle is placed in a window to guide them to the lands eternal summer. We decorate the altar with Jack-o-lanterns, gourds, cider, autumn foilage and fruits. Meat dishes are eaten along with beets, apples, corn and nuts. This is a good time for magick to rid one's self of bad habits.