Category: Sabbats

  • A Mabon Ritual

    A Mabon Ritual

    The Mabon ritual welcomes the coming second harvest and gives thanks for the first harvest. A designated leader may say the words that guide the group through the ritual or the speaking portions may be divided among group members. If you enjoy this ritual, you can learn more about the CUSP (Climbing Up the Spiral Pathway) tradition at our website or in the book called CUSP: A New Way to Walk An Old Path. (more…)

  • A Lammas Ritual

    A Lammas Ritual

    Set Up: The ritual area is decorated with sheaves of wheat, corn on the husks, fresh vegetables, and brooms. The participants make corn dollies ahead of time. Corn dollies are actually, in our limited artistic ability, more often “corn joints” than “corn dollies,” so the aesthetics are not vital to the magic. We use corn husks, purchased in the Hispanic section of the grocery store for tamale making, as the wrapper for our corn dollies, then combine aromatic herbs affiliated with each of the five elements (earth, air, fire, water and spirit) into five different potpourri blends. I recommend books like The Master Book of Herbalism by Paul Bereyl and The Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham to determine the elemental affiliation of different herbs. Sympathetic essential oils may also be added for increased scent. (more…)

  • Harvest: Bringing In Those Sheaves

    Harvest: Bringing In Those Sheaves

    For those of us who follow the CUSP (Climbing Up the Spiral Pathway) spiritual tradition, Harvest is a time of reward and celebration when all of our hard work through the year pays off. During this time, the “crops” are tall and strong in the field, heavy with the fruit of the first harvest. Far from a time to rest at the end of the cycle, harvest is when we work harder than we have at any other time of the year. The next twelve weeks of harvest between now and its ends on October 31st will be challenging to say the least. We harvest until we feel as though our backs will break and our legs will give out on us…then we harvest some more. Few of us are agricultural farmers beyond a small, backyard production and it is rare that ability to survive the winter rests on the success of the harvest as it did in more ancient times. Instead, we harvest positive life goals that we planned through the winter and planted in the spring. (more…)

  • Midsummer Ritual: How I Kick It Litha-Style

    Midsummer Ritual: How I Kick It Litha-Style

    Author’s Note:  My group and my spiritual path are both called CUSP (Climbing Up the Spiral Pathway), detailed in the books CUSP: A New Way to Walk the Old PathThe Real Magic, and Energy Magic Compleat and on the website, We use the ancient agricultural cycle of planning, planting, nurturing, and harvesting in conjunction with the eight high holidays to create a process of manifestation that makes life improvements every singling year, building on the manifestations of the previous year. We invest magical energy into what we wish to harvest in the fall and also invest physical energy into making that happen. By using the blend of magical efforts and mundane follow-through, we work aggressively toward creating the best life available, tuning into our own manifest destiny and taking full accountability for our own life experiences. (more…)

  • Midsummer: Purge, Protect, & Burn Stuff

    Midsummer: Purge, Protect, & Burn Stuff

    Of all of the holidays, it can be argued that most cultures at some time or another celebrated Midsummer. The Sun reigns at its full power and dominates the sky for the longest day of the year on Litha. It is commonly believed that the Faeries are most active during this time and that idea was perpetuated by William Shakespeare’s famous play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The power of herbs and plants is said to be strongest at this time, so many of the summer herbs are harvested on this day. (more…)

  • Spring’s Promise

    Spring’s Promise

    At last in the area of Central California where I live, far up into the mountains of the El Dorado National Forest, we feel the touch of Spring. Although we have had snow in June before, by this time, we usually accept that the threat is gone and the biting chill in the air gives way to fragrant and fresh mountain air. The active time of the year begins and we feel the stirrings of new life and new beginnings within. (more…)

  • A Beltane Ritual Salute

    A Beltane Ritual Salute


    In this salute, a group leader and representatives of the Earth, Air, Fire, and Water quarters participate in a round of  enthusiastic blessings for the high holiday of Beltane. Our group uses it to start the Beltane ritual and get it off to a strong energy launch. (more…)

  • Beltane Then and Now

    Beltane Then and Now

    The word “Beltane” comes from the Irish Gaelic word “Bealtaine” and in the Common Celtic language means “bright fire.” “Bel,” the root word, comes from “bale” which means “white” or “shining.” “Tene” means “fire.” The traditional astrological date for Beltane is the midpoint of the Sun’s movement between Ostara/Spring Equinox and Litha/Summer Solstice. This generally occurs between May 5 – May 7; however, the common celebration time is May 1. In Celtic mythology, Beltane marked the beginning of summer and of the light half of the year, which is why the Summer Solstice is referred to as “Midsummer.” Great bonfires (balefires), lit for purification and transitioning the year from dark to light, were the centerpieces of celebrations. Villagers drove herds of cattle between the fires to purify them for the year and ensure their safety and fertility. Ashes from the balefires joined the ashes of the Yule log and were spread through the fields to bless the coming harvest. In Wales, it was customary to place a bit of the balefire ashes in one’s shoe for good luck. The hearth fire, which has burned through the winter, was extinguished at this time, officially welcoming summer. Beltane is the counterpart to Samhain and together they mark the beginning of summer and winter respectively according to the old Celtic calendar. For some ancient Europeans who were involved with animal husbandry as well as agriculture, this festival heralded in the pastoral growing season. (more…)

  • All Hail the May Hole

    All Hail the May Hole

    In our circle, we work a strong duality between male and female energies and although we love the traditional celebrations, we always like to put our own spin on things. Beltane is a delicious High Holiday, ribald with innuendo and fun, celebrating the union between the masculine and feminine archetypes. In this blessed time of coming together, we honor the fertilization of the land and revel in the pleasures brought to us by earthly existence. That being the case, we always thought it as a little one-sided to ritualize this sacred day with only a maypole, the representation of male virility, thrusting its mighty prominence up out of the ripened land. (more…)

  • A Woman’s Beltane Drinking Song

    A Woman’s Beltane Drinking Song

    How often is it that we ladies get a drinking song all our own? Not often enough, so back in 1995, I wrote one for you and here it is. (more…)

  • An Ostara Blessing

    An Ostara Blessing

    To the seasons of life and beginnings

    To the egg, the bud, and the seed

    To a successful harvest yet to come

    And the meeting of every need

    Ita fiat!

    To all earth’s beings great and small

    To promise of blessings to be

    We lift our cup in sacred praise

    And honor results we can’t yet see.

    Ita fiat!

    We plant our seeds; they germinate

    In our hearts and in our minds

    They manifest in reality

    And The Gods respond in kind.

    Ita fiat!

    Our seeds prosper and grow to greatest good

    With the care and love we give

    With the blessings of Water, Earth, Fire, and Air

    A better life to live!

    Ita fiat!

    We ask the Ancient Ones of old

    The Lord and Lady of the Field

    To bless our harvest in this seed

    The best results to yield.

    Ita fiat!

  • UnOstara: Celebrating An Unplanting

    UnOstara: Celebrating An Unplanting

    In my own spiritual practice, CUSP, the time between Imbolc and Spring Equinox is critical to our harvest process and the manifestation of positive life change for the coming year. This is especially true of the final few days before Ostara when we officially plant our goals. At Imbolc, we submit our list of desired outcomes for the harvest season and we spend the next six weeks tuned into the Universe to receive confirmations that what we intend to plant is for our greatest good and redirects that tells us, “No, do not plant this…plant this instead.” Redirects may come because what we intend is not in our best interest or perhaps what we plan is already on the verge of manifesting for us and the magical energy we would use for that purpose could go elsewhere. (more…)

  • Ostara, Then and Now

    Ostara, Then and Now

    Pagans are big on history and gleaning the ancient origins and practices of our holidays is akin to sifting through piles of sand to find the handful of diamond flecks that might be scattered within. Much of our “history” actually comes from inferences derived from literature and the smattering of observational accounts that managed to survive thousands of years of war and the overt pissiness of nations. It becomes the odious task of modern day readers and scholars to sort out what happened from what we think happened or what we hoped happened during these celebrations of old. So here we go… (more…)

  • On the CUSP

    On the CUSP

    Eighteen years ago, my priest/husband/co-author and I outlined a spiritual path that got to the bare bones of the agricultural sabbat cycle and created a plan for positive life change through magical manifestation. What was born of those long nights of drinking, writing, drinking, researching, drinking, and plotting was CUSP (Climbing Up the Spiral Pathway). Little did we realize that it would turn into a practice used worldwide and by practitioners of many faiths. It influences our lives daily. (more…)