This is one of the eight great Festivals of the year. Here is a list with typical dates:
There are the four Celtic Fire Festivals of:
Samhain Nov 1st (October 31st) Imbolc Feb 1st / 2nd Beltain May 1st Lughnasadh Aug 1st
And there are the four Cross-Quarter solar Festivals of:
Winter Solstice Dec 21st
Spring Equinox Mar 21st Summer Solstice Jun 21st
Autumn Equinox Sep 21st
The Spring Equinox, or Vernal Equinox, known in the Welsh Druid Tradition as Alban Eilir, occurs when the Sun enters the tropical zodiac sign of Aries on or around March 21st. It marks the time where the day’s length for the first time equals the length of the night. And from this time on, the days will get longer than the nights, until the day of the Summer Solstice, the longest day, around June 21st.
The key energy of the Spring Equinox is therefore the power and standing of the Sun, and the defeat, banishing and diminishment of Winter and darkness.
And in celebrating the growing power of the Sun, we celebrate the growing solar power in ourself, the ending of the more inward time of winter in our lives, and the appearance of new life on the earth: green leaves bursting everywhere, lambs and flowers, ploughing and planting in full swing. And in human culture: contests and games.
But in celebrating this we also honour the principle of divine cycles, and of the underlying important of Balance.
In terms of the ancient Irish, little has survived of the celebration of the Spring Equinox Festival because it got overlayed by the Catholic Easter, sand three Celtic Saints’ Days: Saint Patrick, Saint David and Saint Piran.
But as a pointer to the ancient recognition of this point in the yearly Sun-cycle, many Irish ancient monuments of the Neolithic and Bronze Ages are aligned to the Solstices, and one at least to the Spring Equinox: Lough Crew Cairns, near Oldcastle, County Meath, which are two hours east from Foxford or an hour west from Dublin. Lough Crew was built about 3,200 BC, has alignment to the solstices as well, but on either equinox, the Sun rises in the same place and illumines down a passage on to the carvings on the passage back stone
So the Spring Equinox celebration needs to include the following factors. Start to plan from say the end of February which you will do and when. Plan how and when you will take these steps. Some might be appropriate to work with as the Festival approaches. All will be pulled together on the day of your Festival Celebration Ritual. Keep a record. Go through your planning with me. Share with me afterwards how the celebration ritual went: what it achieved, what steps need to be taken to implement and consolidate the ‘new You’ start to choose and develop your focuses for the celebration, to support your healing, transformation and empowerment:
The Sun: Celebration of the Sun, his nature and the fact of his rise in powered and brightness, inspiration and life-giving. We can visualise and share in his rise from the new-born Sun of the Winter Solstice, to the child of Promise, to, now: the young King: Arthur or Fionn: The Mabon in Welsh druid path.
The Earth: Make contact with and celebrate the consequences for the earth and life on earth of the new power of the Sun. we visualise the growing abundant giving of the Earth under the light of the Sun, from the barrenness of Winter, to the first snowdrops of Imbolc to now the first flowers, buds and catkins; The lambs, the calves; the new births. The life-giving Goddess. Sovereignty.
Plan your ritual place: Choose the place: in nature preferably.
Sense the energies of the place you choose: The Irish Celts saw a soul in everything, Interlapping Otherwords. Spirts of place. Great Energies placed in the Earth by the Earth Shapers.
How will you deck the altar or the site? What physical arrangement will need to be put in place?
Develop in a shared way a little timetable of parts you might want to include n the ritual. But no scripted speeches, and allow for authenticity of personal expression and breakthrough. Allow for the unexpected. If your celebration is in a group, some members might want to take responsibility for preparation for a certain facet of the celebration.
Festival Preparations: Plan the preparations and the parts of the ritual itself: visualising, energy work, food and drink. Start to prepare from end of February onwards. As always, before and during the ritual, it is good, healing and empowering to greet the risen Sun, to shire the fact that you too will rise, and to honour the four quarters and what each gives to your body and your life, and to honour Land, Sea and Sky.
Focuses for your Preparation and for the Festival Celebration:
Your Body: Vision and Energy work: Check out your own body energies and decide if changes are needed:
Lie down and visualise yourself under the rise of the strengthening Sun. scan your body energies. Note impressions you receive of illness, disease, weakness and strength. Do you need healing? Do you need changes in lifestyle in the light of what you see?
Soak up the rays and warmth of the Sun using your visionary eye. Allow the needed movement of the Sun energies through your body. Direct your body energies to this end.
Your Life: Create a space to take stock on your life: to meditate or vision-journey on the personal questions related to this rise in the Sun, namely:
Where have I been putting my energies, and do I need to re-focus because of the rise of the light and the longer days and warmer weather?
Do I need to move from a more inward to a more outward period of my life?
Do I need to increase my power and the expression of my vitality and talents?
Do new directions, values and attitude need to arise now in my life. Do I need to create new planning and strategy?
And are there things I should let die?
Do vision journey with this intention. See what arises to your mind.
Your Solar Self: See how you were before the ritual, and how you are after it. Visualise your intention of who you will become. Make a transition to health and healing. Leave sense of woundedness behind as the Sun rises to his glory. Afterwards it can be a good idea to draw before and after and share the drawings with loved ones, Group members, etc.
Fight between light and darkness: your celebration could include recognition of the fight between light and darkness, maybe even the fight between the Winter King and the Summer King. Maybe a game or contest between human contestants representing the two sides, with Light destined to win: this time! Light crosses the goal-line this day! With the light now arising triumphant, and all the new life now emerging on the earth: food, flowers, and the altar can be decked accordingly.
So these are the factors. On my course, you can make your plans with me before the Festival ritual, you can share the results, and I cross-refer to your western and Vedic Astrology: the destinies and psychological drives in your natal astrology, and the energies of the current time in your predictive astrology.
Please bear with the occasional wind noise during the group’s working in late January at the battlefield of the Second Battle of Moytura. The earth energies and the vision of the ancient Irish Gods makes the whole event so powerful, beautiful and special.
The group was left with such a sense of power and beauty by the place, and also working to meet the Call of Llugh: to be and express the spark you incarnated to be. To let no one suppress your special skills and beauties.
Lough Arrow and the battlefield is only 35 miles from the Healing Centre and airbnb that Maggie Pashley and I run in Foxford in beautiful County Mayo in the stupendously beautiful far West of Ireland, where we offer holidays, holidays with healings, retreats and Sacred Ireland Tours.
At the Iron Age Irish Second Battle of Moytura, the Tuatha de Danaan, the People of Skill, the people of the Goddess Danu, overthrew the Forces of Darkness: the brutish Formorians. A group with the Druid Forest School Courses to meet the Gods and Goddesses of the Ancient Irish set out to find the site of the great battle. Enroll on the Course.
This January, the group of us climbed to the exalted mountain top where the second Moytura battle was fought, high above Loch Arrow.
The earth energies are stupendous. The rocks austere and black. You look across the loch to the late stone age tombs of Carrowkeel. You look the other way to the sacred earth energies of Carrowmoor, Knocknarea, Ben Bulben and the Atlantic Ocean. See: www.foxfordairbnb.com
Such powerful and healing earth energies are in the rocks of the sacred places round here.
The site of the Battle is only 35 miles from the Healing Centre and airbnb that Maggie Pashley and I run in Foxford in beautiful County Mayo in the stupendously beautiful far West of Ireland, where we offer holidays, holidays with healings, retreats and Sacred Ireland Tours.
See this video:
The Book of Invasions was written down in the Middle Ages and records the oral Druid Teaching that had been passed on from the Iron Age. The Book records how the Tuatha de Danaan were pushed out of Ireland where they had their home in the Iron Age. Although a people of commanding gifts, talents and skills, the Tuatha de Danaan were oppressed by the piratical, dark and earthy Formorians who lived on this land and its seas from even more ancient times. And so, the Tuatha could stand the oppression no longer and they departed and they spent years sailing the seas learning great skills and magical arts.
The Book of Invasions records how they then decided to return and reclaim their homeland.
You are supported to find your own true path in these courses. They are not imposed. This is totally personal sacred exploration on your part – with all the support you need from me. Here are reports from my very able students of vision world connection to Quert: The Apple Tree:
It feel as if the apple grove, that sweet, heavy scented landscape swaying in the breeze, was lowly humming a lullaby. It talked of past battles, of overcome pains, of the redemptive quality that reach those who have dared to learn and cared not to suffer in exchange, and have gladly paid debts and broken all bondages. The trees stood together, holding and stretching their laden branches, as if hugging each other. The air carried along petals like a harmless snowstorm. The boughs held both blossoms and fully grown, crisp apples. There were no seasons, just a continuous flow of time suspended into eternity where abundance and decay coexisted in an ever revolving cycle.
I could feel presences dancing among the grove, in tune with the music. Presences that left a trail of the aroma of the blossoms that they stirred in their dance. As I leaned below a tree, a ripe apple felt directly on the palm of my hand. Such delight, such juiciness, what a delicate nectar, such generosity embodied in that humble fruit.
I feel grateful that I was able to reach the Apple grove and learn that energies cannot only be restored but are free from shortage. I will take this renewed joy along with me.
How does the Ogham Course work?
For each Ogham letter you receive an audio recording download with information about the letter and the relevant tree, any relevant spiritual weapon, pathway and beings, plus a second audiofile which is a guided meditation with opportunity for trance drumming and chanting and divination.
You can either use our drumming journey, or you can branch out from this and proceed to use your own drumming.
You then correspond with myself as guide, friend and counsellor as your personal spiritual and life-journey progresses, helped through the trees and mystical Celtic Otherworlds.
This correspondence is completely personal and individual to you. The Course is Certificated.
Importantly, each journey always starts (and ends) at your Divine Centre here on Middle Earth, which you learn to visualise.
You also receive maps showing the place of each Ogham pathway in the Celtic Cosmology: the pathway that each letter represents through the Celtic Otherworlds.
Thus, the course is not at all taught with any time-frame in mind. The goal is achieving excellence of the experience, excellence of connection, excellence of utterance, rather than any time table.
People are not advised to study more that an Ogham letter per week, though, as it definitely takes time for the energy to assimilate with anyone – even in the most foundation way.
The first step is to establish your Divine Centre, your special place of being, where each journey will begin and end, so you start off with a sound file being sent to you to help you do this.
The order of study is that determined by pathways stretching out across the three worlds of ancient Irish cosmology.
In other words, you start with the Ogham tree letters for the four pathways that radiate out from your Divine Centre in the centre of this world, which was called Bith or ‘Middle Earth’.
But progressively you extend further and further outwards from your Divine Centre to the tree letters for the pathways leading to the realms of the Upper World (Magh Mor) and also the realms of the Lower World (Tir Andomain), and ultimately to the letters for journeying across the Upper World and the Lower World.
Please go to my website for more details and to Enroll:
And you may like to visit or stay at our Healing Centre in the West of Ireland and do some Ogham work with us here. Just go to the website and see the utter loveliness of this ancient sacred landscape, its beaches, mountains and deeply sacred earth energies: http://www.foxfordairbnb.com/
I look forward to hearing from you and to working with you,
We are coming up to the Festival of Imbolc, and I have been sending out suggestions about preparing for the Festival as part of my worldwide Druid Forest School. And so the issue of ‘how do you create sacred space?’ arose in my mind.
I myself feel happiest with genuine and authentic attunement to the place where workings are to be held. I feel this is a beautiful and healing way to prepare to celebrate a festival of do a vision journey etc.
What are the energies of the rocks?
What are the energies in the trees?
What are the energies in individual trees?
What are the alignments to the Sun to sacred energy places in the neighbourhood?
What are the energies from sea or river?
What are the energy flows in that particular place?
Have beings implanted special spiritual energies there to assist our evolution and spiritual growth? (and indeed, have dark or hostile energies been left in the land)?
And, having done the attunement to place, then I would feel happy to do the great healing and empowering workings and unforgettable vision paths of the particular Festival or other event.
I personally feel I have left behind use of the cast circle to create sacred space for ritual. This is because I do feel it is dualistic, and it is imposed on the sacred land itself. I feel it carries dualisitc energies of ‘good inside’ the circle and ‘bad outside the circle’, and so this carries all the risks of scapegoating, of dualistic conscious, of ‘banishment mentality’ and even power-stealing. The practice of the casting of the circle actually came down to the neopagan working in the modern west through kabala – and kabala drew on the sacred spatial practice of the ancient Jews at the time of Exodus.
The point is that the ancient Jews were wandering in the wilderness. They were disconnected from the land. And so, the sacredness was wherever they parked the Ark of the Covenant on any particular day in their banishment wandering of Exodus; it had nothing to do with the inherent sacred energies of the place.
Indeed, the Exodus Jews left a legacy of graded sense of sacredness. The holiest was inside the Holy of Holies, where the ark of the Covenant was lodged for the day. This was so holy an area that only the High Priest could enter. And indeed, in the case of the Temple in Jerusalem, the High Priest alone could enter the Holy of Holies, and he only on one day per year.
But I feel instead, it is important not to impose a sense of sacred space onto the land: it is more beautiful, healing and empowering to open yourself to the sacredness of the land where the ritual is taking place.
My background in writing this, is that I completed a five year field study based at Bristol University: a social anthropology or ‘ethnography’ of spiritual forms new to the modern west. The method of Ethnography was created by Bronislaw Malinowski during the First World War, and its method involves living in in the communities or institutions one studies, and – most importantly – giving the people studied their own voice.
So, relevant to the issue of sacred spatial practice, whilst completing this five-year ethnography, I studied in Glastonbury a Wiccan Coven, a Druid grove within the Fellowship of Isis, as well as a shamanic group, several Buddhist centers of different types and a Hindu Ashram, plus a Utopian Community: a Bender Site (tread lightly on the Earth). And it was here that I did this study of sacred spatial practice. And now that I live and work in Ireland, I am glad to share the understanding I came to through my Druid Forest School worldwide courses.
These are very caring courses. When you have completed a piece of work, you email me how you got on. I then reply to you and we hold discussion.
Maggie and I also run a Healing Centre in the West of Ireland with linked airbnb, so you can come to this sacred land in person as well. See: http://maggiepashley.com/ http://www.foxfordairbnb.com/
Celebrate the Festivals of the ancient Irish with The Druid Forest School.
in this worldwide caring course, you are helped to prepare for the Festivals, and we share and discuss how your celebration of the Festival went: what vision, healing and power was achieved!
These Festivals are immensely powerful representations and gateways into the natural rhythms – and connection to our ideal self.
If we celebrate them authentically and creatively in the way that is right for us each as an individual, they contribute greatly to our lives with power, healing and fulfillment of who we were born to become.
From at least as early as the Bronze Age, our ancestors felt great significance in the turning of the seasons, their link to the fertility of the land and the connection of the rhythm of the Earth to the astronomical dates. They put stupendous effort into constructing monuments with exact astronomical alignments. They felt it was of crucial importance to be one with the great cycles of energy of the stars, the Sun and the Moon.
The modern West has received the practice of the Eight Great Festivals of the Year. And of course, there are also important local alignments as well such as The Bohea Stone and Croagh Patrick Mountain, and also the winter solstice alignment to that Mountain from Kill Dangan.
Make your own personal, honest and authentic understanding of the festivals. You can study them through either, or both of the course modules:
Module 5: The Fire Festivals and/or
Module 6: The Solstice and Equinox Festivals.
Develop your own genuine personal and enriching understanding and practice.
Enable their true flame to grow in our hearts and minds so we can express and speak our vision and truth.
How deeply you study the material is up to you. You may want to ‘keep it simple’ or you may wish to pursue great learning. What really matters is that your life is enriched and made more vital and connected, successful and loving and inspired.
Let’s share connection to the great cycles of the Earth and the Heavens.
We share the deep wisdom of the many facets of the Druid mystical practice of the ancient Irish and their sacred heritage.
We share visionary connection to the Goddesses and Gods of the ancient Irish.
And we share genuine and powerful visionary and energetic connection to the sacred energies of the Land, the waters, the rocks and the trees, and ancient sacred energies held in place there – energies which can so help humanity.
When you have completed a piece of work, you email me how you got on. I then reply to you and we hold discussion.
Maggie and I also run a Healing Centre in the West of Ireland with linked airbnb, so you can come to this sacred land in person as well: http://maggiepashley.com/ http://www.foxfordairbnb.com/