YULE (circa December 21)

     The altar is adorned with evergreens such as pine, rosemary, bay, juniper and cedar, and the same can be laid to mark the Circle of Stones.  Dried leaves can also be placed on the altar.
     The cauldron, resting on the altar on a heat-proof surface (or placed before it if too large), should be filled with ignitable spirit (alcohol), or a red candle can be placed within it.  At outdoor rites, lay a fire within the cauldron to be lit during ritual.
     Arrange the altar, light the candles and incense, and cast the Circle of Stones.
     Recite the Blessing Chant.
     Invoke the Goddess and God.
     Stand before the cauldron and gaze within it. Say these or similar words:

     I sorrow not,
        though the world is wrapped in sleep.
     I sorrow not,
        though the icy winds blast.
     I sorrow not,
        though the snow falls hard and deep.
     I sorrow not,
        this too shall soon be past.

     Ignite the cauldron (or candle), using long matches or a taper.  As the flame(s) leap up say:

     I light this fire in Your honor,
        Mother Goddess
     You have created life from death;
        warmth from cold;
        The Sun lives once again;
        the time of light is waxing.
        ever-returning God of the Sun!
     Hail Mother of All!

     Circle the altar and cauldron slowly, clockwise, watching the flames.  Say the following chant for some time:

     The wheel turns; the power burns.

     Meditate upon the Sun, on the hidden energies lying dormant in winter, not only in the Earth but within ourselves.  Think of birth not as the start of life but as its continuance.  Welcome the return of the God.
     After a time cease and stand once again before the altar and flaming caldron.  Say:

     Great God of the Sun,
        I welcome Your return.
     May You shine brightly upon the Goddess;
        may You shine brightly upon the Earth,
        scattering seeds and fertilizing the land.
     All blessings upon You,
        reborn One of the Sun!

     Works of magick, if necessary, may follow.
     Celebrate the Simple Feast.
     The circle is released.


     One traditional Yuletide practice is the creation of a Yule tree.  This can be a living, potted tree which can later be planter in the ground, or a cut one.  The choice is yours.
     Appropriate Pagan decorations are fun to make, from strings of dried rosebuds and cinnamon sticks (or popcorn and cranberries) for garlands, to bags of fragrant spices which are hung from boughs.  Quartz crystals can be wrapped with shiny wire and suspended from sturdy branches to resemble icicles.  Apples, oranges and lemons hanging from boughs are strikingly beautiful, natural decorations, and were customary in ancient times.
     Many enjoy the custom of lighting the Yule log.  This is a graphic representation of the rebirth of the God within the sacred fire of the Mother Goddess.  If you choose to burn one, select a proper log (traditionally of oak or pine).  Carve or chalk a figure of the Sun (sush as a rayed disc) or the God (a horned circle or a figure of a man) upon it, with the Boline, and set it alight in the fireplace at dusk on Yule.  As the log burns, visualize the Sun shining within it and think of the coming warmer days.
     As to food, nuts, fruits such as apples and pears, cakes of carraways soaked in cider, and (for non-vegetarians) pork are traditional fare.  Wassil, lambswool, hibiscus or ginger tea and fine drinks for the Simple Feast or Yule Meals.

IMBOLC (February 2)

     A symbol of the season, such as a representation of a snow flake, a white flower, or perhaps some snow in a crystal container can be placed on the altar.  An orange candle anointed with musk, cinnamon, frankincense or rosemary oil, unlit, should also be there.  Snow can be melted and used for the water during the circle casting.
     Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the Circle of Stones.
     Recite the Blessing Chant.
     Invoke the Goddess and God.
     Say such words as the following:

     This is the time of the feast of torches,
        when every lamp blazes and shines
        to welcome the rebirth of the God.
     I celebrate the Goddess,
        I celebrate the God;
        all Earth celebrates
        Beneath its mantle of sleep.

     Light the orange taper from the red candle on the altar (or at the Southern point of the circle).  Slowly walk the circle clockwise, bearing the candle before you.  Say these or simular words:

     All the land is wrapped in winter.
     The air is chilled and frost envolopes the            Earth.
     But Lord of the Sun,
        Horned One of animals and wild places,
        unseen you have been reborn of the                 gracious Mother Goddess,
     Lady of all fertility.
     Hail Great God!
     Hail and welcome!

     Stop before the altar, holding aloft the candle.  Gaze at its flame.  Visualize your life blossoming with creativity, with renewed energy and strength.
     If you need to look into the future or past, now is an ideal time.
     Works of magic, if necessary, may follow.
     Celebrate the Simple Feast.
     The circle is released.


     It is traditional upon Imbolc, at sunset or just after ritual, to light every lamp in the house - if only for a few moments.  Or, light candles in each room in honor of the Sun's rebirth.  Alternately, light a kerosene lamp with a red chimmney and place this in a prominent part of the home or in a window.
     If snow lies on the ground outside, walk in it for a moment, recalling the warmth of summer.  With your projective hand, trace an image of the Sun on the snow.
     Foods appropriate to eat on this day include those from the dairy, since Imbolc marks the festival of calving.  Sour cream dishes are fine.  Spicy and full-bodied foods in honor of the Sun are equally attuned.  Curries and all dishes made with peppers, onions, leeks, shallots, garlic or chives are appropriate.  Spiced wines and dishes containing raisins - all foods symbolic of the Sun - are also traditional.

OSTARA (circa March 21)

     Flowers should be laid on the altar, placed around the circle and strewn on the ground.  The cauldron can be filled with spring water and flowers, and buds and blossoms may be worn as well.  A small potted plant should be placed on the altar.
     Arrange the altar, light the candles and incense, and cast the Circle of Stones.
     Recite the Blessing Chant.
     Invoke the Goddess and God in whatever words please you.
     Stand before the altar and gaze upon the plant as you say:

     O Great Goddess,
        you have freed yourself from the icy               prison of winter.
     Now is the greening,
        when the fragrance of flowers drifts on            the breeze.
     This is the  beginning.
     Life renews itself by Your magick,
        the Earth Goddess.
     The God stretches and rises,
       eager in His youth,
       and bursting with the promise of summer.

     Touch the plant.  Connect with its energies and, through it, all nature.  Travel inside its leaves and stems through your visualization - from the center of your consciousness out through your arm and fingers and into the plant itself.  Explore its inner nature; sense the miraculous processes of life at work within it.
     After a time, still touching the plant, say:

     I walk the Earth in friendship,
        not in dominance.
     Mother Goddess and Father God,
        instill within me through this plant a             warmth for all living things.
     Teach me to rever the Earth and all its               treasures.
     May I never forget.

     Meditate upon the changing of the seasons.  Feel the rousing of energies around you in the Earth.
     Works of magick, if necessary, may follow.
     Celebrate the Simple Feast.
     The circle is released.


     A traditional Vernal Equinox pastime: go to a field and randomly collect wildflowers [Thank the flowers for their sacrifice before picking them, using a collection formula such as can be found in "An Herbal Grimoire" elsewhere in this Book of Shadows].  Or buy some from a florist, taking one or two of those that appeal to you.  Then bring them home and divine their magickal meanings by the use of books, your own intuition, a pendulum or by other means.  The flowers you've chosen reveal your inner thoughts and emotions.
     It is important at this time of renewed life to plan a walk (or a ride) through gardens, a park, woodlands, forest and other green places.  This is not simply exercise, and you should be on no other mission.  It isn't even just an appreciation of nature.  Make your walk celebratory, a ritual for nature itself.
     Other traditional activities include planting seeds, working on magickal gardens and practising all forms of herb work - magickal, medicinal, cosmetic, culinary and artistic.
     Foods in tune with this day (linking your meals with the seasons is a fine way of attuning with nature) include those made of seeds, such as sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds, as well as pine nuts.  Sprouts are equally appropriate, as are leafy, green vegetables.  Flower dishes such as stuffed naturiums or carnation cupcakes also find their place here. [Find a book of flower cooking or simply make spice cupcakes.  Ice with pink frosting and place a fresh carnation petal on each cupcake.  Stuff nasturium blossoms with a mixture made with cream cheese, chopped nuts, chives and watercress.]

BELTANE (April 30)

     If possible, celebrate Beltane in a forest or near a living tree.  If this is impossible, bring a small tree within the circle, preferably potted; it can be of any type.
     Create a small token or charm in honour of the wedding of the Goddess and God to hang upon the tree.  You can make several if you desire.  These tokens can be bags filled with fragrant flowers, strings of beads, carvings, flower garlands - whatever your talents and imagination can conjure.
     Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the Circle of Stones.
     Recite the Blessing Chant
     Invoke the Goddess and God.
     Stand before the altar and say, with wand upraised:

     O Mother Goddess,
        Queen of the night and of the Earth;
     O Father God,
        King of the day and of the forest,
        I celebrate Your union as nature rejoices          in a riotous blaze of colour and life.
     Accept my gift,
        Mother Goddess and Father God,
        in honour of Your union.

     Place the token(s) on the tree.

     From Your mating shall spring forth life              anew;
        a profusion of living creatures shall              cover the lands,
        and the winds will blow pure and sweet.
     O Ancient Ones,
        I celebrate with You!

     Works of magick, if necessary, may follow.
     Celebrate the Simple Feast.
     The circle is released.


     Weaving and plaiting are traditional arts at this time of year, for the joining together of two substances to form a third is in the spirit of Beltane.
     Foods traditionally come from the dairy, and dishes such as marigold custard (see recipies - food) and vanilla ice cream are fine.  Oatmeal cakes are also appropriate.

MIDSUMMER (circa June 21)

     Before the rite, make up a small cloth pouch filled with herbs such as lavender, chamomile, St. John's Wort, vervain, or any of the Midsummer herbs listed in "An Herbal Grmoire."  Mentally pour all your troubles, problems, pains, sorrows and illnesses, if any, into this petition as you construct it.  Tie it shut with a red string.  Place this on the altar for use during the rite.  The cauldron should also be there or nearby.  Even if you use candles to mark the quarters, the red candle in a holder should also be on the altar.  For outdoor rituals, light a fire - however small - and drop the pouch into this.
     Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the Circle of Stones.
     Recite the Blessing Chant.
     Invoke the Goddess and God.
     Stand before the altar and say, with wand upraised:

     I celebrate the noon of summer with mystic            rites.
     O great Goddess and God,
        all nature vibrates with Your energies and         the Earth is bathed with warmth and life.
     Now is the time of forgetting past cares and          banes;
        O firey Sun,
        burn away the unuseful,
        the hurtful,
        the bane,
        in Your omnipotent power.
     Purify me!
     Purify me!
     Purify me!

     Lay the wand on the altar.  Take up the herbal petition and light it in the red candle on the altar (or, if outdoors, the ritual fire).
When it is burning drop it into the cauldron (or some other heat-proof container) and say:

     I banish you by the powers of the Goddess and         God!
     I banish you by the powers of the Sun,
        Moon and Stars!
     I banish you by the powers of the Earth,
        Fire and Water!

     Pause, seeing the hurts and pains burning into nothingness.  Then say:

     O Gracious Goddess,
        O Gracious God,
        on this night of Midsummer magick I pray           that You charge my life with wonder and            joy.
     Help me in attuning with the energies adrift          on the  enchanted night air.
     I give thanks.

     Reflect upon the purification you have undergone.  Feel the powers of nature flowing through you, washing you clean with divine energy.
     Works of magick, if necessary, may follow.
     Celebrate the Simple Feast.
     The circle is released.


     Midsummer is practically the classic time to perform magicks of all kinds.  Healings, love magick and protections are especially suitable.  Herbs can be dried over the ritual fire if you're celebrating outdoors.  Leap the fire for purification and renewed energy.
     Fresh fruits are standard fare for Midsummer.


     Place upon the altar sheaves of wheat, barley or oats, fruit and breads, perhaps a loaf fashioned in the figure of the Sun or a man to represent the God.  Corn dollies, symbolic of the Goddess, can be present there as well.
     Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the Circle of Stones.
     Recite the Blessing Chant.
     Invoke the Goddess and God.
     Stand before the altar, holding aloft the sheaves of grain, saying these or simular words:

     Now is the time of the First Harvest,
        when the bounties of nature give of                themselves so that we may survive.
     O God of the ripening fields,
        Lord of the Grain,
        grant me the understanding of sacrifice as         You prepare to deliver Yourself under the          sickle of the Goddess and journey to the           lands of eternal summer.
     O Goddess of the Dark Moon,
        teach me the secrets of rebirth as the Sun         loses its strength and the nights grow             cold.

     Rub the heads of the wheat with your fingers so that the grains fall onto the altar.  Lift a piece of fruit and bite it, savouring its flavour, and say:

     I partake of the first harvest,
        mixing its energies with mine that I may           continue my quest for the starry wisdom of         perfection.
     O Lady of the Moon and Lord of the Sun,
        gracious ones before Whom the stars halt           their courses,
        I offer my thanks for the continuing               fertility of the Earth.
     May the nodding grain loose its seeds to be           buried in the Mother's breast,
        ensuring rebirth in the warmth of the              coming Spring.

     Consume the rest of the fruit.

     Works of magick, if necessary, may follow.
     Celebrate the Simple Feast.
     The circle is released.


     It is appropriate to plant the seeds from the fruit consumed ib ritual.  If they sprout, grow the plant with love and as a symbol of your connection with the Goddess and God.
     Wheat weaving (the making of corn dollies, etc.) is an appropriate activity for Lughnasadh.  Visits to fields, orchards, lakes and wells are also traditional.
     The foods of Lughnasadh include bread, blackberries and all berries, acorns (leached of their poisons first), crab apples, all grains and locally ripe produce.  A cake is sometimes baked, and cider is used in place of wine.
     If you do make a figure of the God from bread, it can be used for the Simple Feast.

MABON (circa September 21)

     Decorate the altar with acorns, oak sprigs, pine and cypress cones, ears of corn, wheat stalks and other fruits and nuts.  Also place there a small rustic basket filled with dried leaves of various colours and kinds.
     Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the Circle of Stones.
     Recite the Blessing Chant.
     Invoke the Goddess and God.
     Stand before the altar, holding aloft the basket of leaves, and slowly scatter them so that they cascade to the ground within the circle.  Say such words as these:

     Leaves fall,
        the days grow cold.
     The Goddess pulls Her mantle of the Earth             around Her as You,
        O Great Sun God,
        sail toward the West to the lands of
        Eternal Enchantment.,
        wrapped in the coolness of night.
     Fruits ripen,
        seeds drop,
        the hours of day and night are balanced.
     Chill winds blow in from the North wailing            laments.
     In this seeming extinction of nature's power,
        O Blessed Goddess,
        I know that life continues.
     For spring is impossible without the second
        as surely as life is impossible without            death.
     Blessings upon You,
        O Fallen God,
        as You journey into the lands of winter
        and into the Goddess' loving arms.

     Place the basket down and say:

     O Gracious Goddess of all fertility,
        I have sown and reaped the fruits of my            actions,
        good and bane.
     Grant me the courage to plant seeds of joy            and love in the coming year,
        banishing misery and hate.
     Teach me the secrets of wise existence upon           this planet,
        O Luminous One of the Night!

     Works of magick, if necessary, may follow.
     Celebrate the Simple Feast.
     The circle is released.


     A traditional practise is to walk wild places and forests, gathering seed pods and dried plants. Some of these can be used to decorate the home; others saved for furture herbal magick.
     The foods of Mabon consist of the second harvest's gleanings, so grains, fruit and vegtables predoninate, especially corn.  Corn bread is traditional fare, as are beans and baked squash.

Samhain (October 31)

     Place upon the altar apples, pomegranetes, pumpkins, squashes and other late autumn fruits.  Autumn flowers such as marigolds and chrysanthemums are fine too.  Write on a piece of paper an aspect of your life which you may wish to be free of; anger, a baneful habit, misplaced feelings, desease.  The cauldron or some simular tool must be present before the altar as well, on a trivet or some other heat-proof surface (if the legs aren't long enough).  A small, flat dish marked with an eight-spoked wheel symbol should also be there.  [This is just what it sounds like. On a flat plate or dish, paint a large circle.  Put a dot in the center of this circle and paint eight spokes radiating out from the dot to the larger circle.  Thus, you have a wheel symbol - a symbol of the Sabbats, a symbol of timelessness.]
     Prior to ritual, sit quietly and think of friends and loved ones who have passed away.  Do not dispair.  Know that they have gone on to greater things.  Keep firmly in mind that the physical isn't the absolute reality, and souls never die.
     Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the Circle of Stones.
     Recite the Blessing Chant.
     Invoke the Goddess and God.
     Lift one of the pomegranates and, with your freshly-washed Boline, pierce the skin of the fruit.  Remove several seeds and place them on the wheel-marked dish.
     Raise your wand, face the altar and say:

     On this night of Samhain I mark Your passing,
        O Sun King,
        through the sunset into the Land of the            Young.
     I mark also the passing of all who have gone          before,
        and all who will go after.
     O Gracious Goddess,
        Eternal Mother,
        You who gives birth to the fallen,
        teach me to know that in the time of the           greatest darkness there is the greatest            light.

     Taste the pomegranate seeds; burst them with your teeth and savour their sharp, bittersweet flavour.  Look down as the eight-spoked symbol on the plate; the Wheel of the Year, the Cycle of the Seasons, the End and Beginning of all Creation.
     Light a fire within the cauldron (a candle is fine).  Sit before it, holding the piece of paper, gazing at its flames.  Say:

     Wise One of the Waning Moon,
        Goddess of the Starry Night,
        I create this fire within Your cauldron to         transform that which is plaguing me.
     May the energies be reversed:
        From the darkness, light!
        From bane, good!
        From death, birth!

     Light the paper in the cauldron's flames and drop it inside.  As it burns, know that your ill diminishes, lessens and finally leaves you as it is consumed within the universal fires.  [The cauldron, seen as the Goddess.]
     If you wish, you may attempt scrying or some other form of divination, for this is a perfect time to look into the past or future.  Try to recall past lives too, if you will.  But leave the dead in peace.  Honour them with your memories but do not call them to you.  [Many Pagans do attempt to communicate with their deceased ancestors and friends at this time, but it seems to me that if we accept the doctrine of reincarnation, this is a rather strange practise.  Perhaps the personalities that we knew still exist, but if the soul is currently incarnate in another body, communication would be difficult, to say the least.  Thus, it seems best to remember them with peace and love - but do not call them up.]  Realease any pain and sense of loss you may feel into the cauldron's flames.
     Works of magick, if necessary, may follow.
     Celebrate the Simple Feast.
     The circle is released.


     It is traditional on Samhain night to leave a plate of food outside the home for the souls of the dead.  A candle placed in the window guides them to the Lands of Eternal Summer, and burying apples in the hard-packed earth "feeds" the passed ones on their journey.
     For food, beets, turnips, apples, corn, nuts, gingerbread, cider, mulled wines and pumpkin dishes are appropriate, as are meat dishes (once again, if you're not vegetarian.  If so, tofu seems ritually correct).


     Stand in the ritual area.  Still your thoughts.  Breathe deeply for half a minute or so until composed and calm.  Turn your mind to our Deities.
     Face North.  Lift both hands to waist height, palms down.  Press your fingers together, creating two solid, flat planes.  Sense solidity, foundation, fertility.  Invoke the powers of the Earth through the gesture.
     Moments Later, turn toward the East.  Raise your hands a foot higher, your palms facing away from you (no longer parallel with the ground), and elbows slightly bent.  Spread your fingers and hold this position, sensing movement and communication.  Invoke the forces of Air through the gesture.
     Face South.  Lift your hands fully above your head.  Keeping the elbows straight, grasp your fingers into tight fists.  Feel force, power, creation and destruction.  Invoke the forces of Fire through the gesture.
     Turn to the West.  Lower your hands a foot or so.  Bend the elbows, turn your palms upward and cup them, pressing the thumbs against the forefingers.  Sense fluidity, the ocean, liquidity.  Invoke the forces of Water through the gesture.
     Face North again.  Trow your head back and raise both hands to the sky, palms up, fingers spread.  Drink in the essence of The One, the unknowable, upapproachable ultimate source of all. Sense the mysteries within the universe.
     Lower your projective hand (your writing hand) but keep your receptive hand high.  Pressing the third, forth and fifth fingers against the palm, lift the forefinger and thumb to create a rough cresent shape.  Sense the reality of the Goddess.  Sense Her love, Her fertility, Her compassion.  Sense the powers of the Moon in the gesture; the force of the eternal seas - the presence of the Goddess.
     Lower your receptive hand; lift your projestive hand.  Bend down the middle and forth fingers toward the palm, and trap them with the thumb.  Lift the forefinger and little finger up to the sky, creating a horned image.  Sense the reality of the God.  Sense the power of the Sun in the gesture; the untamed energies of the woodlands - the presence of the God.
     Lower your projective hand.  Lay down flat.  Spread your legs and arms until you've created the pattern of a pentagram.  Sense the powers of the elements running through you; merging and coalescing into your being.  Sense them as emanations from The One, the Goddess and God.
     Meditate.  Commune.  Communicate.
     When finished, simply stand up.  Your rite of gestures is over.


     1. The Power shall not be used to bring harm, to injure or control others.  But if the need rises, the Power shall be used to protect your life or the life of others.
     2. The Power is used only as need dictates.
     3. The Power can be used for your own gain, as long as by doing so you harm none.
     4. It is unwise to accept money for the use of the Power, for it quickly controls its taker.  Be not as those of other religions.
     5. Use not the Power for prideful gain, for such cheapens the mysteries of the Craft and magick.
     6. Ever remember that the Power is a sacred gift of the Goddess and God, and should never be misused or abused.
     7. And this is the Law of the Power.


Air, Fire, Water, Earth,
Elements of Astral birth,
I call you now; attend to me!

In the circle, rightly cast,
Safe from psychic curse or blast,
I call you now, attend to me!

From cave and desert, sea and hill,
By blade and wand, cup and pentacle,
I call you now; attend to me!
This is my will, so mote it be!

[This invocation may be chanted while moving or dancing around the altar to raise elemental energy for magickal workings.]

                    OF AND TO
               THE GODDESS AND GOD

     These prayers can be used to invoke the Goddess and God during ritual, just after the circle casting.  Of course, any which you compose or are inspired to say and be used as well.
     A few chants are also included to raise energy or to commune with the deities.
     Some of these invocations rhyme, and some do not.  But recall the power of rhyme - it linke our conscious mind to the unconcious or psychic mind, thereby producing ritual conciousness.
     Some of these are related to specific deities but, as Dion Fortune wrote: "All the gods are one god; and all the goddesses are one goddess, and there is only one initiator."


Cresent One of the starry skies, Flowered One of the fertile plan,
Flowing One of the ocean's sighs,
Blessed One of the gentle rain;
Hear my chant 'midst the standing stones,
Open me to your mystic light;
Waken me to your silver tones,
Be with me in my sacred rite!


O Great God Pan,
Beast and man,
Shepherd of goats and Lord of the Land,
I call you to attend my rites
On this most magickal of nights.
God of the wine,
God of the vine,
God of the fields and God of the kine,
Attend my circle with your love
And send Your blessings from above.
Help me to heal;
Help me to feel;
Help me to bring forth love and weal.
Pan of the forests, Pan of the glade,
Be with me as my magick is made!


Isis of the Moon,
You who are all that ever was,
All that is,
And all that shall be:
Come, veiled Queen of Night!
Come as the scent of the sacred lotus
Charging my circle
With love and magick.
Do descend upon my circle,
I pray,
O Blessed Isis!


Horned One of the wilderness,
Winged One of the shining skies,
Rayed One of the spen'drous Sun,
Fallen One of the Samhain cries-
I call amidst the standing stones
Praying that You, O Ancient One,
Will deign to bless my mystic rites-
O fiery Lord of the Bazing Sun!


Waxing, waxing, growing, growing-
Diana's power is flowing, flowing.


Ancient God of the forest deeps,
Master of beast and Sun;
Here where the world is hushed and sleeps
Now that the day is done.
I call You in the ancient way
Here in my circle round,
Asking that You will hear me pray
And send Your Sun force down.


Gracious Goddess,
You who are the Queen of the Gods,
The lamp of night,
the creator of all that is wild and free;
Mother of woman and man;
Lover of the Horned God and protectress of all the    Craft:
Descend, I pray,
With Your Lunar ray of power
Upon my circle here!