Day 12: Know What You Need to Thrive 
Day 14: Record Your Touchstones 

Day 13: Observe and Celebrate Sacred Seasons 

Day 13 

Observe and Celebrate Sacred Seasons 

Pause 

breathe in for a count of... 

hold for a count of ... 

breathe out for a count of ... 

hold for a count of... 

Forever I have been exploring other faiths in my heart. When I began to dive deeper into how to experience a more intimate connection with Source, no pre-existing framework felt authentic for me. I am a Knower. I passionately Know that for me the core of Life is about Joy, Love, Kindness, and Expressing our Authentic Creativity. All Knowers intrinsically strive to maintain a feeling of Steady Joy. The way to consistently experience Steady Joy is through our intimate connection to Source (God, Inner-being) We all need reminders and tools to stay in the realm of Steady Joy. 

My explorations brought me to Paganism. There are as many sects of Paganism as there are any other major religion; all with their own history, beliefs, and rituals. I read and researched blogs, books, and articles to gain my knowledge. I do not count myself as an expert or feel there is one right way. Everyone must decide for themselves what path they feel called to follow or whether they want to pioneer their own. Ardent Pagan is the name I made up to express how I observe and celebrate the sacred seasons of life. Although the dictionary definition of pagan means a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions, I do not consider Ardent Pagan my religion. Ardent Pagan is one piece of my Steady Joy lifestyle.  

In 2013 I read in depth about the Wheel of the Year and immediately knew I would integrate Observing and Celebrating these holy days into my life. Within mine and my husband’s large Catholic extended families we still recognize the other traditional holidays like Christmas with Santa and Easter Baskets filled with candy, but as a nuclear family we also celebrate the eight solar cycles that make up Wheel of the Year. I like the structure of having specific days that I am encouraged to praise and rejoice in Mother Nature. 

The seasonal festivals that make up the Wheel of the Year are broken down into 8 Sabbats: 

Samhain - 10/31 
Yule - 12/19 
Imbolc- 2/2 
Ostara – 3/20 
Beltane – 5/1 
Litha – 6/21 
Lughnasadh – 8/2 
Mabon – 9/23 

Throughout my time as a facilitator, I have been frequently asked how I integrated being an Ardent Pagan into my life. Over the years my observation and celebration style has evolved but the intention of honoring the solar cycles are the same. 

Samhain  
Celebrated: ~ November 1st 
Significance: The final harvest before the long winter. The day the veil between the physical and nonphysical is the thinnest. Celebration of death as a Continuation of Life. A time to honor our ancestors and embrace the darker half of the year. 
On My Inaugural Altar: black scarf, mementos from the deceased; a silver tray from my paternal grandmother and a glass vessel from my maternal, white candles. 
My Inaugural Tradition: passing bread around the table, each taking a piece and remembering someone who past that year, an extra place setting for loved ones who are no longer in their physical bodies. 

Yule 
Celebrated: ~ December 20th 
Significance: The winter solstice. The shortest day of the year with the shortest hours of daylight. After Yule, we celebrate the sun returning. 
On My Inaugural Altar: White and silver cloth napkin, glass tray with Yule log and snippets from our Christmas tree, white and silver candles. 
My Inaugural Tradition: At our Yule dinner feast we all took turns writing in black permanent marker on the Yule log our intention for the year. This can be a great time to pick your word of the year. We created our Yule Log from last year’s Christmas Tree. The Yule log took center stage on our festive table. After I moved the Yule log to my altar. 

Imbolc  
Celebrated: ~ February 1st 
Significance: Marks the midpoint between winter and spring. 
On My Inaugural Altar: angel from my grandmother, white candles, white wedding candle in gold holder, metal bucket filled with sea salt, feathers, small Buddha. 
My Inaugural Tradition: Burned the Yule log in our fireplace, made bird seed ornaments with the children and friends then hung them on our Christmas tree that we kept on our back deck. 

Ostara  
Celebrated: ~ March 20th 
Significance: Celebration of the Spring Equinox. Hours of day and night are equal. 
On My Inaugural Altar: Black and white candles to represent day and night, blue baby quilt to represent new life, fresh flowers, Willow tree angel with a sunflower, shell full of seeds. 
My Inaugural Tradition: Deep cleaning my altar area. Painting eggs, meals together with family and friends. 

Beltane 
Celebrated: ~ May 1st 
Significance: Honoring Life, the halfway point of the year, the veil between the worlds is thin, a time of cleansing, the summer overtakes the winter. 
On My Inaugural Altar: Red, white, roses, baskets, arrows, horns, lances, cherries, oats, milk, honey. 
My Inaugural Tradition: smudging our home with the windows open, holding a fire outside, eating fruit, building fairy houses. 

Litha 
Celebrated: ~ June 21st 
Significance: Longest day of the year, the sun is at its highest point before slipping into darkness, middle of summer, Summer solstice 
On My Inaugural Altar: Yellow and blue cloth, blue horse, yellow candles, lavender candles, a clean, light feeling. 
My Inaugural Tradition: Creating a festive table, giving each family member a candle. Lighting the candle and saying our intention for the summer, dinner together. 
Other ways to Celebrate: Going to a farmer’s market hosting an outdoor party, creating an altar outside. 

Lughnasadh 
Celebrated: ~ August 1st 
Significance: Celebration of the harvest, a time to be thankful for abundance. 
On My Inaugural Altar: white, blue, green covering, shells, gifts from the sea, red candles to rep the upcoming harvest, wings, a dried sunflower, ocean water. 
My Inaugural Tradition: beer with dinner, harvest foods from the farmer’s market: chicken with squash and micro-greens, grilled parmesan bread. Family walk on the beach, first born gathering Full Blue Moon water. 

Mabon 
Celebrated: ~ September 21st 
Significance: Autumn Equinox. The days and nights are equal. 
On My Inaugural Altar: brown, red, gold, horn of plenty, leaves 
My Inaugural Tradition: Elaborate meal, making lists of what you are thankful for. 

 
Each seasonal festival is based on the position of the sun and therefore the actual date changes sometimes by a day or two from year to year. There is a wealth of information available online regarding the Wheel of the Year and the folklore behind each turn. I always give my children the option of participating in whatever ceremony I have conjured. I focus on the seasonal aspect of each Sabbat and how the ritual invokes intimacy into my life. Some of my favorite ways of celebrating are making bird seed ornaments at Imbolc, cooking a meal from ingredients bought at a farmer’s market on Litha, and writing our intentions for the year on our Yule log during Winter Solstice. The awareness and Pause in recognizing the seasons give me something to plan, to look forward to, and then commune with Source and family on that day. Connection and Celebration sustains my feelings of Steady Joy. 

Each morning I draw the current moon’s phase in my everyday journal while sitting in my Sacred Space and in the evening, I draw it again in my Steady Joy Tracker. Drawing the moon gives me an opportunity to Pause and ponder on how the moon's cycle affects my own.  

A moon's basic cycle lasts 29.5 days: 

new moon (not visible) ~ Observation: cleanse, smudge, and begin something new 
waxing crescent ~ organize 
first quarter (half a moon) ~ take action 
waxing gibbous ~ check in 
full moon ~ Celebration: Create (collage) 
waning gibbous ~ release 
third quarter ~ be gentle, have grace 
waning crescent ~ return to stillness 

To honor the Moon’s phase, I use a water vessel that I keep on my main altar. My water vessel is a glass candy dish that was my maternal Grandmother, Sip's. I fill it with water or snow and leave it on our back deck during the New and Full Moon. The ritual reminds me to Pause, be present, and breathe Her in. When we lived on Cape Cod, we would often go for a family walk on the beach during the Full Moon. Another way I have honored the moon is to create an intention collage during the Full or New Moon to call forth the energy I want to sustain during that time.  

The following are the Moon names I like and use. Sometimes the name changes based on the way each Moon falls in a month, for example, the Harvest Moon is the one closest to the autumn equinox, it is usually in September, but sometimes it is in October. A Blue Moon occurs when there are two Full Moons in the same month, the second one will be called Blue Moon. A Black Moon occurs when there are two New Moons in the same month, the second one is called a Black Moon. 

January – Full Wolf Moon 
February – Full Bone Moon 
March – Full Crow Moon 
April – Full Pink Moon 
May – Full Flower Moon 
June – Full Strawberry Moon 
July - Full Buck Moon 
August - Full Sturgeon Moon 
September -Full Corn (usually Harvest) Moon 
October - Full Hunter Moon 
November - Full Beaver Moon 
December -Full Cold Moon 

Observing the moon daily fosters an intentional intimate Pause between myself and Source. 

How do you Observe and Celebrate the Sacred Seasons? 

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