Observances

This is a list of Observances for Sanctuary of the Phoenix.

Table of Contents:
1. The 8 Sabbats
2. Esbats
3. Path Observances
4. Awareness Observances
5. Full Moons
6. Celtic Tree Months
7. Notes


The 8 Sabbats

The 8 Sabbats are for many Pagans the primary holidays of their beliefs. Solstices, equinoxes, and cross quarters are astrological events. Though The 8 Sabbats are a modern inventions with modern roots through contributions from Gerald Gardner and Aleister Crowley, they became solidified around 1974 by Aiden Kelly’s Wheel of the Year.
Aiden Kelly’s Wheel of the Year was largely based on the work of Gerald Gardner and Aleister Crowley, but extended and enhanced to fill in unfinished and undefined aspects. Unfortunately, Aiden Kelly’s invention of The Wheel of the Year was very broken and inconsistent with facts, further departing those who choose to observe it from the actual ancient roots of these observances and the religious significance they hold. It is known, that astrological alignments were observed as Holy Days by ancient Pagans of various beliefs around the world. The significance of these 8 astrological alignments varied by region and beliefs. What we do know, is that the ancients used the position of the Sun to determine when to hold these observances. They did not use static days or the Gregorian Calendar, it was the alignment that was significant.

At Sanctuary of the Phoenix we have worked hard to repair and revise The Wheel of the Year to be more consistent with the timing the ancients would use and at least a little more consistent with known Pagan observances in the ancient world by omitting known modern inaccuracies. Aiden Kelly did the best they could at the time with the knowledge they had to devise a solid way to bring the Pagan community together. We respect this spirit and hope our revised version can bring us together in accuracy with knowledge that has since come to light.

In our Sanctuary, we generally hold our Open Rituals the Saturday before or Saturday of the alignment.
In some rare cases, Open Rituals may be held earlier or later than the standard Saturday plan.
We intend to help people prepare for their own observances the day of a Sabbat just as much as providing a religious service through our Open Rituals. Our Open Rituals are usually less formal as we welcome questions from viewers and participants and often have discussions.
In areas where we have a building or other property, we may elect to provide Closed Rituals on the exact date of alignments for Coven members.

Imbolc – Cross Quarter

Northern Hemisphere: Sun at 15° Aquarius – 315° Solar Ecliptic Longitude
Typical Date Range: February 3rd – 5th

Southern Hemisphere: Sun at 15° Leo – 135° Solar Ecliptic Longitude
Typical Date Range: August 6th – 8th

Summary:
Details coming soon.

Ostara – Vernal Equinox

Northern Hemisphere: Sun at 0° Aries – 0° Solar Ecliptic Longitude
Typical Date Range: March 19th – 22nd

Southern Hemisphere: Sun at 0° Libra – 180° Solar Ecliptic Longitude
Typical Date Range: September 21st – 24th

Summary:
Details coming soon.

Beltane – Cross Quarter

Northern Hemisphere: Sun at 15° Taurus – 45° Solar Ecliptic Longitude
Typical Date Range: May 4th – 6th

Southern Hemisphere: Sun at 15° Scorpio – 225° Solar Ecliptic Longitude
Typical Date Range: November 6th – 8th

Summary:
Details coming soon.

Litha – Summer Solstice

Northern Hemisphere: Sun at 0° Cancer – 90° Solar Ecliptic Longitude
Typical Date Range: June 19th – 23rd

Southern Hemisphere: Sun at 0° Capricorn – 270° Solar Ecliptic Longitude
Typical Date Range: December 20th – 23rd

Summary:
Details coming soon.

Lughnasadh – Cross Quarter

Northern Hemisphere: Sun at 15° Leo – 135° Solar Ecliptic Longitude
Typical Date Range: August 6th – 8th

Southern Hemisphere: Sun at 15° Aquarius – 315° Solar Ecliptic Longitude
Typical Date Range: February 3rd – 5th

Summary:
Pronounced (LOO-nuh-sah)
First Fruits – the first harvest Sabbat of the year.
Sacred to the God Lugh and the Goddess Tailtiu.
We celebrate the bounty of the first harvest, berries and grains.
Colors: Yellow, Gold, Orange, Brown, Green.
Direction: West.
Altar Tools: A Boline or a Scythe to represent the harvest. A Cup or Chalice to represent the abundance.
Symbolism: Corn, Wheat, Bread, Lugh’s spear, Solar Symbols, Corn Dollies, Sacrificial God Symbols.
Stories: John Barleycorn.

Autumnal Equinox

Northern Hemisphere: Sun at 0° Libra – 180° Solar Ecliptic Longitude
Typical Date Range: September 21st – 24th

Southern Hemisphere: Sun at 0° Aries – 0° Solar Ecliptic Longitude
Typical Date Range: March 19th – 22nd

Summary:
Details coming soon.

Samhain – Cross Quarter

Northern Hemisphere: Sun at 15° Scorpio – 225° Solar Ecliptic Longitude
Typical Date Range: November 6th – 8th

Southern Hemisphere: Sun at 15° Taurus – 45° Solar Ecliptic Longitude
Typical Date Range: May 4th – 6th

Summary:
Pronounced (Saa-win)
Details coming soon.

Winter Solstice

Northern Hemisphere: Sun at 0° Capricorn – 270° Solar Ecliptic Longitude
Typical Date Range: December 20th – 23rd

Southern Hemisphere: Sun at 0° Cancer – 90° Solar Ecliptic Longitude
Typical Date Range: June 19th – 23rd

Summary:
Details coming soon.


Esbats

An Esbat is generally accepted as any meeting of a Coven that is not for a Sabbat. This could include initiations, moon rituals, rank advancement, and general business handling.


Path Observances

Many Paths of Paganism also have observances of their own. We will be compiling many of those observances into this list over time.

Heathen

Yule

Northern Hemisphere: Starts on day before December Solstice
Southern Hemisphere: Starts on day before June Solstice

Our observance of Yule is a modern variation. We observe 12 nights +1 day starting on the day before winter solstice relative to the hemisphere you are located in. The additional day is a day of rest. In antiquity, after Yule there would be gathering of the remains of the Yule Log to be the starter for the next year’s Yule Log. It was also a day in antiquity when contracts entered would begin and take effect. We will provide more details on the meanings of each day of Yule soon, and we will also provide information on the timing of Ancient Yule soon.

Night of YuleMeaning
1st Night of YuleMother’s Night
Sacred to Mothers, Frigg, Freya and the Disir
2nd Night of YuleThe Wild Hunt
Sacred to Odin and Ancestors
3rd Night of YuleDarkness
Sacred to Mani
4th Night of YuleCompassion
Sacred to Aegir, Njord and Freyr
5th Night of YuleFriendship
Sacred to Community
6th Night of YuleHealth
Sacred to Eir and Healing
7th Night of YuleChildren
Sacred to Thor and Protection of Children
8th Night of YuleHunting
Sacred to Skadi and Ullr
9th Night of YuleFathers Night
Sacred to Fathers and Odin
10th Night of YuleLight
Sacred to Sunna
11th Night of YuleFamily in Arms
Sacred to the Valkyries and Warriors
12th Night of YuleWassail
Sacred to all Divine, Friends, and Oath Night
Day after YuleDay of Rest
Sacred to Recovery and New Beginnings

The meaning behind most Nights of Yule are subject to reforms as we further develop meanings that work best for our Sanctuary.
Currently we follow a mix of traditions, observances, and meanings derived from the many variants in the greater Heathen community.


Awareness Observances

Awareness ObservanceCalendar Date
Feast of Lovers / Heart DayFebruary 14th
All Snakes Day / Celtic Paganism Awareness DayMarch 17th

Full Moons

MonthMoon Name
JanuaryWolf Moon
FebruarySnow Moon
MarchWorm Moon
AprilPink Moon
MayFlower Moon
JuneStrawberry Moon
JulyBuck Moon
AugustSturgeon Moon
SeptemberCorn Moon
OctoberHunter Moon
NovemberBeaver Moon
DecemberCold Moon

Celtic Tree Months

Tree MonthCalendar Dates
ReedOctober 28th to November 24th
ElderNovember 25th to December 23rd *
BirchDecember 24th to January 20th
RowanJanuary 21st to February 17th
AshFebruary 18th to March 17th
AlderMarch 18th to April 14th
WillowApril 15th to May 12th
HawthornMay 13th to June 9th
OakJune 10th to July 7th
HollyJuly 8th to August 4th
HazelAugust 5th to September 1st
VineSeptember 2nd to September 29th
IvySeptember 30th to October 27th

* Graves’ version uses the dates November 25 to December 22 to add an extra day between months. This is to make “A Year and a Day”.
We omit this. The reason we omit this is due to inconsistencies. The Celtic New Year was Samhain is an example of such inconsistency.


Notes

As with all of Pagan History that is now known, it is fraught with inaccuracies. Some inaccuracies were malevolently done by Abrahamic Colonialism, some by ancient wars, and some histories were just not diligently kept or were written from what was left of a fading and inaccurate oral tradition. This has had a devastating effect on what is known about ancient observances and their timing, often we rely on archeology to iron out inaccuracies and inconsistencies presented in various texts. It is important to realize, that often the people writing the history were of a different faith, often an aggressor of their writing subject. They often used calendars that were different from that of the subjects they were writing about, and in earlier writings, using calendars we do not use today. For some of these writers, they purposefully got dates and descriptions wrong as the faiths and beliefs they were writing about were being eradicated by their conversion efforts and they wanted the only record remaining to be their very broken account so reconstruction or resurgence of a faith was less likely. This is why written history is often not consistent with archeological evidence. This is also an issue in academia, in academics we know these things, we know that they were looking at the position of the Sun for when observances like the 8 Sabbats took place, but they also perpetuate information they know to be false and inconsistent with what historians know and with archeology. Such as Imbolc taking place from February 1 through sundown February 2 being widely accepted. Academia is well aware this is false as well as many other similar subjects, but contesting these would be an attack on the validity of this or that monk and thus make all their writings subject to further scrutiny and renewed peer review, so it gets swept under the academic rug for various non-academic and Abrahamic religious reasons. Often, these very broken and inaccurate accounts are all we have until there is archeological evidence. This being the case, it makes Pagan religious history in effect a very corrupted and inaccurate topic that is unlikely to be sorted out by accepted academia in our lifetime. It is up to us as the faithful to in the meantime look at the whole picture and find the ring of truth in all the evidence and new discoveries we have until academia catches up.