Imbolc is when new life appears and the days start to get longer. The Goddess is back into the land. Altars should use snowdrops and candles. White is the colour. This is the time to plan and make first steps towards realising projects. Many describe Samhain as the start of the Wiccan year but some see the first annual festival as the one of new beginnings. Magic is to cleanse and bring about the new..Open up the ground, ready for the next celebratory festival of the year It is also about the purity of the maiden in readiness for her fertility.
Spring Equinox is even more about fertility. Again it is the time for newness and beginnings, like sowing seeds. So ideally you have seed cake on the altar, along with pussy willow,Arum lillies(cuckoo pint) catkins, along with the garden flowers that appear, like daffodils and painted ostara eggs. The colour is green and the magic is about material beginnings. a time not only to plant seeds in real life and soft ground, but the seeds of thought and for projects about to start.to be fulfilled later in the year.
Beltane is a time of fertility and full sexual energy The Green Man/ Jack in the Green appears covered in his robes of green leaves.The altar should bedecked with blossom and coloured ribbons. This ritual is potently sexual and about both enjoyment and reproduction. A time when the birds and beasts choose partners build nests and there are many pairings in nature. Wiccans 'marry' by handfasting and jumping the broomstick and running handfasted , between or over the twin beltane fires. traditionally these handfastings last for only a year and a day, but many people opt for longer: sometimes for life.
Summer Solstice/ Litha is the time for the God the sun king to prepare himself for the service of the Goddess. Magic for material good fortune. Altars can be adorned with oak leaves, Ox -eye daisies and dog roses. The colours are yellow, red and green. Magic is male and in this world of material activity, this is the time for evaluation, seeing how the year is going and getting ready for any'battles which have yet to come'. a time of resting and feasting, in readiment...A time to show opulence and wealth in all its guises
Autumn Equinox is also a spiritual time, an inner world time. Some spiritual projects begun at Lammas start to show fruit at this equinox. A time of the hidden and the secret and sacred,. Also,of course, a time to hide things. in spellwork. a time for teaching and passing things on . A moment to reflect upon the inner spirit Altars should be dressed with apples, fallen leaves and pine cones.pomegranates, hawthorn berries,with Elder berries for the Goddess as she goes to visit the underworld. Candles and paper with hopes and dreams written upon them can be set alight and floated down a stream to wish farewell to the sun.
Samhain then, because much of the wheel of the year is past and seen going and gone, is a festival of the dead. Mirrors are often blackened with smoke, and placed on altars, along with twigs, spirals of apples skins for divination, crystal balls and cauldrons. People honour the dead and the past. Ancestors are important and are welcomed in spirit to the celebrations. Colours are brown and black and really dark shades of purple blue and green.. Magic is about things passed.
Yule is the Winter Solstice. Winter is a risky time in Nature (illness is rife, some die of the cold , poverty or neglect, and animals and other creatures also have a difficult time or are hibernating.)preparing for that risk all should eat well and be joyous, putting colour and light into where everything else seems drab and humdrum, at peace in the knowledge that the wheel of the year has turned and the nights will grow a little shorter and the days a little longer from now on.. It is a time when there are many colours: black and white and gold and red and green. It is about the belief that to show abundance will welcome abundance to return. Magic is about celebration,health and hope for the future.