the Sabbats, it is an ancient festival generally celebrated on January 31, February 1, or February 2. It is also known as Candlemas, Brighid (“breed/bride”), and Oimelc (“EE-mulk”) which means ewe’s milk. It is the time of year halfway between December 21, the winter Solstice (Yule) and March 21, the spring Equinox (Ostara). Imbolc is in the middle of winter, but is the optimism of spring.The Egyptians and the Romans also celebrated this time, as it was the earth goddess giving birth to the Sun God. The time to ready seeds for the planting of food. A time of planning weddings, love, and romance. Days are getting longer and hope is renewed. The celebration is to light candles. Night of white candles turns the darkness into light.
Curling up with a good book
Quiet & Comfortable space
Be present – all thoughts of past & future aside
This is a time to restore your balance and gain your equilibrium. Learning how to unwind. We must know when to de-stress. Our bodies can’t help us unless we are fine tuning our consciousness, this is self-care. The cycles are a roadmap.
rewards, it is also a day of feasting. Lugh, is the Celtic God of Light and this Pagan Sabbat is the midpoint between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox. Some bake a figure of the “corn god” in bread, and then symbolically sacrifice and eat it. The tradition of eating and sharing the first fruits, vegetables and grains of the season started with Lughnasadh in Ireland. In England, it became the medieval festival known as Lammas day. In keeping with the Lughnasadh tradition, the first grains were offered to the gods, the form of a baked loaf of bread. The loaf was blessed and cut into four pieces, with one piece placed in each corner of the home for good luck.
The non-sporting competitions in festivals were singing, dancing, poetry-reading and storytelling. Trial marriages were performed, couples would join hands through a hole in a slab of wood. The experimental marriage would last one year and a day, after which it was annulled without question.
Celtic festivals like Lughnasadh was an opportune time to make political, social and economic deals. All weapons and rivalry’s were laid down so the neighbors could get to know one another. Chieftains held important meetings, farmers would make trade agreements about crops or cattle for the coming season.
A common tradition of Celtic festivals were to visit holy wells. People would give offerings to the wells and decorate them with flowers and garlands, they could leave coins or clooties (cloth). They would walk around the well in a sun-wise direction praying to the Gods.
Preheat oven to 375°. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add broccoli and onion; cook and stir until broccoli is crisp-tender. Stir in greens and garlic; cook and stir 4-5 minutes longer or until greens are wilted.
Unroll pastry sheet into a 9-in. pie plate; flute edge. Fill with
broccoli mixture. In a small bowl, whisk eggs, milk, rosemary, salt and pepper. Stir in 1/4 cup cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup Swiss cheese; pour over vegetables. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses.
Bake 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.
In a large saucepan, saute onion in butter until tender. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper until blended. Gradually stir in broth; bring to a boil. Boil and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Stir in the cream, chicken, rice, mushrooms, pimientos and parsley; heat through.
Transfer to a greased 2-1/2-qt. baking dish. Sprinkle with almonds. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly.
White Spaghetti Casserole
4 ounces spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces
1 large egg
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 can (2.8 ounces) french-fried onions, divided
Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat egg. Add sour cream, Parmesan cheese and garlic powder. Drain spaghetti; add to egg mixture with Monterey Jack cheese, spinach and half of the onions. Pour into a greased 2-qt. baking dish. Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until heated though. Top with remaining onions; return to the oven for 5 minutes or until onions are golden brown.
Pasta Pizza Skillet Casserole
8 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 can (15 ounces) pizza sauce
1/4 cup sliced ripe olives
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Preheat oven to 400°. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
In a large cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms, green pepper and onion; saute until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Increase heat to medium-high. In same skillet, heat remaining oil. Spread pasta evenly in skillet to form a crust. Cook until lightly browned, 5-7 minutes.
Turn crust onto a large plate. Reduce heat to medium; slide crust back into skillet. Top with pizza sauce, sauteed vegetables and olives; sprinkle with cheese and Italian seasoning. Bake until cheese is melted, 10-12 minutes.
Layered Fruit Salad
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
2/3 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups cubed fresh pineapple
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
2 medium kiwifruit, peeled and sliced
3 medium bananas, sliced
2 medium oranges, peeled and sectioned
1 medium red grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
1 cup seedless red grapes
Place first 6 ingredients in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. Cool completely. Remove cinnamon stick.
Layer fruit in a large glass bowl. Pour juice mixture over top. Refrigerate, covered, several hours.
5 cups fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 (15 ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts
1 cup sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon sugar
Sprinkle berries with lemon juice; set aside.
Fit half of pastry in a 9-inch pie plate according to package directions.
Combine 1 cup sugar and next 3 ingredients; add to berries, stirring well.
Pour into pastry shell, and dot with butter.
Unfold remaining pastry on a lightly floured surface; roll gently with rolling pin to remove creases in pastry.
Place pastry over filling; seal and crimp edges.
Cut slits in top of crust to allow steam to escape.
Brush top of pastry with beaten egg, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar
Bake at 400° for 35 minutes or until golden.
Cover edges with aluminum foil to prevent over browning, if necessary.
Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.
Lughnasadh or Lammas is a harvest festival. In other languages:
Irish – Lá Lúnasa
Welsh – Gwyl Awst (August Feast)
English – Apple Day (drinking Apple juice, Apple cider, or Mead
Lughnasadh Harvest Spell
sit down in the middle of a circle of candles (tealight)
Cup your hands ready to receive
Thank you Mother Earth and our Amazing Land
Thank you for the seeds creating the food
Thank the nourishment feeding everyone we love, Thank the Farmer for tending the crops
Thank the handlers to get the crops to market, Thank you for the market representatves
Thank you Food Preparers, Thankful for Food. Let us Pray. So Much to Be Thankful For
The Sustenence, the Healing, The nourishing and the nurturing. Blessed Be
Spring Equinox, Ostara, Eostre, Easter, Vernal Equinox
By Tara Sutphen
21st March Spring Equinox marks the mid-point of the Waxing Year, the nights and days are balanced once again; the time when Kore, (Persephone) was believed to have returned from the Underworld where she had ruled throughout the Winter. The spark of light, born at Winter Solstice has reached maturity, and from here onwards, the days progressively grow longer than the nights. Western culture proclaims this the first day of Spring.Older traditions called the Spring Equinox, Ostara; the time of the festivals of the Grecian Goddess, Eostre, and the Germanic Ostara, both fertility Goddesses of Dawn. These influenced the naming of the modern-day Easter Holiday. New greenery bursts forth from sleeping seeds in the countryside, as metaphorically, pagans also plant their own seeds for future goals, future projects and growth at this time.Decorated eggs, being symbols of fertility are symbolic of Ostara. In days gone, Europeans gave gifts of decorated eggs to new brides, in the hope that they would bear many children. Similarly, bowls filled with eggs were given to farm workers by the farmer’s wife, to ensure a rich harvest. Most all cultures see the egg as a symbol of Life; the actual home of the Soul. In Russia, decorated eggs are still given as gifts to loved ones and buried in graves to ensure rebirth.
The women gathered the eggs only from hens which were around a rooster and decorated them, allowing no one to watch them work as they transferred the goodness of the household to the designs on the eggs, thus keeping evil away. Dyes were mixed to secret family recipes and special blessings placed on each egg.
Colors of Ostara Eggs:
Wisdom, a successful Harvest, or Spirituality
Spring, rebirth, wealth, youth, growth, happiness
Good health, clear skies
Power endurance, ambition, courage
Happiness, hope, passion, nobility, bravery, enthusiasm, love
Enrichment, good harvest, happiness
Faith, trust, power
Success, friendship, love
The custom of eating Hot Cross Buns also has pagan origins. The Saxons ate buns that were marked with a cross in honor of Eostre; Ancient Greeks consumed these types of buns in their celebrations of Artemis, Goddess of the hunt, and the Egyptians ate a similar cake in their worship of the Goddess Isis.
There are conflicting ideas as to what the cross symbol represents. One suggestion is that it is a Christianisation of horn symbols that were stamped on cakes to represent an ox, which used to be sacrificed at the time of the Spring Equinox. Another theory relates to Moon worship; the bun representing the full Moon, and the cross, its four quarters. Christianity gave new meanings to the symbolism of the buns, saying the cross represented the Crucifixion Cross. Thus, superstitions arose crediting these buns as being charms against evil, so after Good Friday, people would save one or two of them to hang in their homes as amulets. During the festival season and indeed, for a long time afterwards, fishermen would carry these Easter buns in their boats, for protection.
The Spring Equinox defines the season where Spring reaches it’s peak, with the powers of light increasing. The God of Light, (Llew), now gains victory over his twin, the God of Darkness. Llew was reborn at the Winter Solstice and is now old and strong enough to vanquish his rival twin and mate with his Mother Goddess. The great Mother Goddess, who returned to her Virgin aspect at Imbolc, welcomes the young Sun God’s attentions and conceives a child. The child will be born nine months from now, at the next Winter Solstice, when the cycle closes, only to begin anew.
The Easter Bunny is another symbol which has obvious links to fertility, rebirth, and the abundance of life which is evident in Spring.
Eostre was a playful Goddess whose reign over the earth began in Spring when the Sun King journeyed across the sky in his chariot, bringing the end of Winter. Eostre came down to Earth then, appearing as a beautiful maiden with a basket of bright colorful eggs. Eostre’s magical companion was a rabbit who accompanied her as she brought new life to dying plants and flowers by hiding the eggs in the fields.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Nuts such as Pumpkin
Hot Cross Buns
SproutsHerbs and Flowers
Hot Cross Buns
1/4 cup apple juice, beer or rum
1 cup raisins, dried currants, or dried cranberries
1 1/4 cups milk
3 large eggs, 1 separated
6 tablespoons soft butter
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup & 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
4 teaspoons milk
2 3/4 cups flour
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup beer or apple juice
1 tablespoon butter
2 1/2 tablespoon honey
9×5 Bread Pan
Mix the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast
Beer or Apple juice and other ingredients
warm the beer/ingredients on the stove.
Add egg last – cover & let raise 30 mins.
Kneed on flour surface, cover & let raise another 20 mins
Grease pan: place in pan, cover & let “another” 20 mins
Lavender Goat Cheese Figs
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1/4 cup goat cheese
1/4 teaspoon dried lavender
1/2 tablespoons honey
cut figs in half, spoon in cheese/lavender mixture
Dec 21: The Winter Solstice is a celebration of the heart, vessel of our dreams. Through the darkest time on the planet we are to find solace once again, returning to our inner resting place. Gallantly gazing upon our life’s daily uncertainty and unknowing future. May the earth fold us in comfort away from any harshness. As the light dims we are to harmonize and begin to sincerely replenish our hearts and minds. The pagans called this holiday Yule, where the people of Europe and Scandinavia made festive. It is not considered religious. The pagans were naturalists, such as the Native Americans and other indigenous communities around the world. They followed the course of the sun, the moon and cycles of the seasons for planting food and generally planning survival strategy. As winter comes we recognize our need to rest our minds, hearts and bodies while warming at the hearth. And as we come back out of the darkest day-night of the year and begin to gain more minutes of sunlight and replenishment each day. We linger for a glimmer of light to awaken, reconnecting our spark to life, to the sun and the conviviality of our own beating heart.
Recipes for Winter Solstice & Yule
Hot Apple Cider
Juice Apples or Buy Apple Cider
6 cups Apple Cider
½ tsp whole cloves
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
3 cinnamon sticks
Heat ingredients, simmer, strain & serve hot
1 ½ pounds Beef stew meat
¼ c. flour
Add tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, onion
1 tsp thyme
2 tbsp mustard
Cook until meat is cooked and vegetables are tender
This can be a vegetarian dish if you prefer
6 c. diced yellow squash or zucchini
Butter or oil
Add into casserole dish
Bake 325* bake until squash is tender 20-45 mins
Alternative added ingredients into squash casserole
Yule Log Cake
10×15 inch jelly roll pan – line with parchment paper & butter the paper.
Pre-heat oven 400*
4 eggs room temperature
2/3 c. sugar — 7 minutes beat eggs while adding sugar 1 tbsp at a time
Add sifted flour ½ c, to batter – stir don’t beat
Add other ½ c. of flour – stir
Pour into pan – BAKE 10 min. Do not overcook
While hot- put cake into clean dish towel sprinkled with powdered sugar so it doesn’t stick.
Remove parchment paper, still warm – roll the cake with the dishtowel in. Let cake cake cool.
Unroll cake – spread desired filling, jam, or frosting onto cake and re-roll cake.
Frost outside & decorate, Refrigerate to set overnight