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Woodlarking Blackthorn

The wheel of the year keeps turning.

As we observe and celebrate the seasonal cycle and as we mark another of the Pagan Sabbats it's customary for us as at Spirit Of Old, and as Woodlarkers, to gather certain materials for crafting on these special days. There's a great deal of materials that get foraged at times such as these, and it just seems fitting, it's something that's become ingrained in us over the many years that we've been crafting Pagan and Shamanic ritual items and the materials we gather add to the meaning and intent of each amulet, figure or tool that's crafted. Many of the areas we wander hold spiritual significance, they've been in use since prehistoric times and still have many traces of that use.

We're wandering (Woodlarking) in the footsteps of the ancestors.

We feel it's very important to mark these times and weave them into what we create,

and I really think that comes across in the final product. I know many people use these amulets, figures and tools I craft as part of their practice in rituals connected with nature spirituality, and it's a very timely thing for them too.

We're a part of the land around here and this means we follow closely the cycle of growth and decay of Mother Nature during her seasons that are tied to our Sun's annual ritual cycle of death and rebirth.

The great wheel of the seasonal year is turning towards Spring.

Blackthorn gathered on Imbolc for use in amulets.

What are the eight Pagan Sabbats?

You'll often see me refer to "The Wheel of the Year". For those who don't know, I'm referring to Mother Nature, the flow of the seasons and the Pagan calendar. It's made up eight celebrations or festivals. Four of these celebrations are Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas, and Samhain. There's also four others that are considered more major ones which are more representative of the Sun's location, Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Autumn Equinox, and Winter Solstice.

Then there are the Cross Quarter Days, also know as Fire Festivals.

The Cross Quarter Days are Imbolc, Lammas, Samhain and Beltane are all associated with the element of fire. Beltane in particular is known as a fire festival with the burning of the Wicker Man... (Beltane is the ancient Celtic celebration to mark the beginning of summer, with music, dancing and the burning of the giant Wickerman)

Something for another post...

As a guide, here's the Pagan Wheel of the Year laid out.

I start with Yule in Midwinter because it's when the Sun returns to us here in Britain.

Generally marked around the 21st of December, this date holds significance as a major turning point in the year since prehistoric times. The return of the light and warmth, the land starts to slowly heat again and life returns.

Just look at all those megalithic structures with solar alignments!

  • Yule/Winter Solstice: December 19th - 23rd

  • Imbolc: February 1st - 2nd

  • Ostara/Spring Equinox: March 19th - 23rd

  • Beltane: April 30th - May1st

  • Litha/Summer Solstice: June19th - 23rd

  • Lammas/Lughnasadh: August 1st - 2nd

  • Mabon/Autumn Equinox: September 20th - 24th

  • Samhain: October 31st - November1st

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