It is a common enough phrase these days and used to describe all kinds of situations. Maybe it is the time in the afternoon that your toddler melts down each day without fail. Maybe it is when you see the most animal activity in your yard. It is even used to describe the last hour of stock trading on Wall Street. Whatever the situation, many people use the term “Witching Hour” to describe a wide range of things, from the peculiar to the outright dreadful. But the Witching Hour is real for Wiccans; it is a good thing, and it has real power. Like most things with Wicca, there’s the history, what others think, and where we are today. So, let’s look at when the Witching Hour is, why it holds power, how you can use that power, and why the Witching Hour at Samhain is particularly powerful.
A time for new beginnings, Mabon is a great time to look to the future. When we look to the future we may be looking to know of successes, obstacles, troubles, or gifts. Different sabbats hold strengths over different types of divinations. Weather predictions and love divinations have roots in Mabon festivities and have more strength at this sabbat.
The second of the harvest festivals on the Wheel of the Year, Mabon is a time for celebration. There are a great many gods and goddesses of grain and other harvest staples who should be acknowledged during this time. But there is also a key ingredient to many celebrations and ceremonies that should be honored during harvest. The grapes that make our wine.
Root vegetables play a key role in harvest festivals because they store so well for use throughout the winter. Lasting for several months when stored in a root cellar, root vegetables provide important nutrition in months when harvesting isn’t possible due to cold temperatures. Like most things in nature, root vegetables also have inherent magickal properties that make them perfect for kitchen witchery.
The Fae have a reputation for being sneaky and tricky. Like the Djinn, if you aren’t careful with your words when dealing with Fae, you’ll find yourself dealing with more than you bargained for. The veil between our world and the Fae world is thin at Beltane, allowing them to visit. If you want to show faeries, the most well-known of the Fae, that they are welcome without risking a debt you can’t pay, making a Faerie Garden is a great Beltane activity. A welcoming area just for them also keeps them from wandering about your home causing mischief and pocketing shiny things.
The Spring Equinox has long been celebrated around the world. Occurring in late March in the Northern Hemisphere and late September in the Southern Hemisphere, the Vernal Equinox is the 1st time in the calendar year that lightness and darkness happen in equal measure in the day. It marks the beginning of the lengthening of daylight as Summer quickly approaches. Celebrated as the first day of Spring the world over, modern Wiccans celebrate this sabbat as Ostara, after a German goddess of the season.
Across cultures and time, the Halloween season has been associated with remembering, honoring, and reflecting on our loved ones and ancestors that have passed on. Samhain is a time for remembering the dead for Wiccans as well. It is our New Year, our last harvest festival, a time when the lines between realms are weak and open. It is a time for celebration, for looking forward to the new year, but it is also a time for reflection. Death is part of the wheel of the year, part of the balance of nature, and Samhain is a time to honor its place in the circle of life.We honor the dead at Samhain because it is the time of death in the wheel of the year. Summer is ending and winter is beginning. Winter is the time the earth is seen as dead. Life and nature are dormant, waiting for new life to be born in Spring. We honor death at this time because we need to respect its place in the wheel of the year. Without death, there is no life. Death is inevitable and transformational. It is not to be feared because it comes for us all. It is due respect and honor, so Samhain is a time to respect and honor death itself.
As a Harvest Sabbat, Mabon is a time to honor the goddesses and gods that are the patrons of agriculture. Some bless agriculture as a whole, some are specific to the harvest, and others have particular focuses such as grain or wine grapes. Pomona, a goddess of the Roman pantheon, is the goddess of fruits and orchards. Unlike most deities of the Roman pantheon, Pomona has no Greek counterpart. She is often associated with Demeter, but while there are similarities, they are not the same. Pomona is not a harvest deity but one of cultivation. She oversees and blesses the growing of orchards, protecting them and helping them flourish. She and her husband Vertumnus had a join festival held around August 13th each year.
Mention witch trials and most people think of Salem, Massachusetts, and Puritans. America wasn’t the only place witches were being hunted and executed, however. One of the most famous – and most deadly – witch trials happened in England in 1612. The Witches of Pendle Forest, as they have come to be called, were ten women and two men who were accused of witchcraft and tried. Also at the trials of 1612 were eight others, the Samlesbury Witches. The aspects of the trial were documented and published, allowing us to have insight into what occurred. The Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster, by the clerk of the court Thomas Potts, provides detail that would otherwise be lost to legend and myth
Deities of the Harvest Wicca is a profoundly personal [...]