gaelic festival

✨🌿Imbolc Tarot Spread for Goal Setting🌿🕯

Imbolc/Candlemas (February 2nd in the Northern Hemisphere) is a Gaelic festival to celebrate the first signs of spring. This sabbat is the perfect time for introspection and setting goals as we prepare for the upcoming season. Here is a tarot spread to incorporate into your Imbolc celebration! Enjoy~

1. Seed - What seeds do I need to plant this season?

2. Purification - What needs to be cleared away in order to grow this seed?

3. Spark - What can I do to nurture this seed?

4. Flame - What is the ultimate outcome of the seeds I’ve planted?

🌱💜Imbolc Tarot Spread of Personal Growth 💜🌱

Imbolc or Candlemas is a Gaelic traditional festival marking the beginning of spring. It’s a wonderful time to set goals for yourself and become grounded for the awakening of spring. What are your goals for this year? How do you want to grow? Happy Imbolc, friends!

The First Card: You are just a seedling at the start of Spring and so are your goals! How can you ground yourself so you are ready to grow strong this spring?

The Second Card: For plants to grow strong and healthy you need to give the proper nutrients and make sure nothing is blocking them from receiving sunlight. What is something you need to let go of, to properly grow and reach your goals?

The Third Card: As for the proper nutrients, what can you do to properly nurture and take care of yourself? The third card represents an act of self-care to help you nurture your soul and mind so you can reach your goals. 

The Fourth Card: With Imbolc on our doorstep we leave behind Winter and welcome Spring. What changes come with the changing of seasons?

You can see some of my readings and spreads here and you can get your own reading by me here. 💖


Brighid’s Night begins tonight so that means making offerings (honeyed milk, sherry and scones), making a “brat bhride” doll (in this case, one of my altar idols) and bed, inviting Brighid into your house, blessing the St. Brighid’s crosses in the house and anointing them with juniper oil (representing purification and the approaching spring) and hanging clootie strips that can be used to “heal” and get rid of negativity and problems.

So, here are some pictures at my attempt at celebrating said holiday.

Blessed Imbolc!

The púca is a fey creature from Celtic folklore. It can change shape, but often appears as a black goat, horse or hare. There are conflicting stories about the creature’s nature, with some claiming it is malevolent, and others saying it brings good fortune.

Thomas Crofton Croker claimed that púca are “wicked-minded, black-looking bad things” who would harm unwary travellers. On the other hand, Irish poet Lady Wilde related a tale of a púca who helped a young farmhand with his work.

The púca is associated with the Gaelic harvest festival of Samhain, and some farmers will leave a small amount of produce in the fields to placate the púca.

Image source.

Monster master list.

Suggest a spook.


Beltany Stone Circle, County Donegal, Ireland

It has been suggested that the name of the site is linked to the Celtic festival of fertility known as ‘Beltane’, the anglicized name for the Gaelic May Day festival, commonly held on May 1st and historically observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man.

Beltany is a neolithic stone circle that dates from around 1400-800 BC and comprises 64 stones around a tumulus situated at the summit of Tops Hill. One stone is decorated with cup marks and many of the stones stand at an angle after being disturbed around a hundred years ago. There may originally have been about 80 stones. A single stone about 6.5 feet high stands to the southeast of the circle. It probably had some function related to the rites or ceremonies in the circle. A stone head was found at Beltany, probably carved between 400 BC and 400 AD. This may indicate that the stone circle was used for many centuries.

Truth about Samhain and Halloween

If you’re interested in the Celtic or Gaelic festival of Samhain, please observe it correctly. October is not actually Samhain’s month. The festival begins on the night of the 31st of October but the month of Samhain is November. Its beginning corresponds with secular Halloween and that’s why we think of it as an October thing today. In modern society, Halloween is spreading into all of October because, in my opinion regarding America, November is all about Thanksgiving.

Here’s the basic truth.

Firstly, Samhain is not pronounced sam-hane. Don’t do that. It’s disrespectful to keep mispronouncing words after you’ve been properly taught. Irish-speaking people tend to say sow-an (my source is Trinity College Dublin) and some dialects of Gaelic-speaking people have said it’s like sahv-in, sow-een, shahvin, sowin (with “ow” like in “glow”). The Scots Gaelic spelling is Samhuin or Samhuinn. Since my people were mostly Irish, I stick with the example Trinity College Dublin offered.

Samhain is something that often got misidentified before as a “Celtic Death God”, which is not true. There was no such god and the story was, in fact, invented in the 18th century and propagated largely by Protestants nervous about pagans. Samhain is simply the initiation of the winter, the end of the harvest period, and a time to honor the dead in the pre-Christian Irish calendar. Traditions reflect the beliefs of Irish and some Scottish people in “in between” times when seasonal changes coincide with the unseen world and the death of the earth. The last day of October into the first day of November is an in between time, between life and death.

Keep reading

“actually, the holiday we now consider as halloween is an amalgamation of different holidays and traditions and sell outs. traditionally people beileve that most of halloween’s imagery draws from the gaelic festival of samhain, which marked the end of fall and the beginning of ‘winter’, or the dark part of the year. it was believed that the festival of samhain allowed spirits and otherworldly beings to cross to and from the mortal plane.”

“the more modern versions of halloween stem from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.”  spencer paused, neck going red, “but–yeah–it’s a great holiday, you know?”


Beltane or Beltainis the Gaelic May Day festival. Most commonly it is held on 1 May, or about halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. In Irish it is Bealtaine, in Scottish Gaelic Bealltainn and in Manx Gaelic Boaltinn or Boaldyn. It is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals—along with Samhain, Imbolc and Lughnasadh—and is similar to the Welsh Calan Mai.

Beltane is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and it is associated with important events in Irish mythology. It marked the beginning of summer and was when cattle were driven out to the summer pastures. Rituals were performed to protect the cattle, crops and people, and to encourage growth. Special bonfires were kindled, and their flames, smoke and ashes were deemed to have protective powers. The people and their cattle would walk around the bonfire, or between two bonfires, and sometimes leap over the flames or embers. All household fires would be doused and then re-lit from the Beltane bonfire. These gatherings would be accompanied by a feast, and some of the food and drink would be offered to the aos sí. Doors, windows, byres and the cattle themselves would be decorated with yellow May flowers, perhaps because they evoked fire. In parts of Ireland, people would make a May Bush; a thorn bush decorated with flowers, ribbons and bright shells. Holy wells were also visited, while Beltane dew was thought to bring beauty and maintain youthfulness. Many of these customs were part of May Day or Midsummer festivals in other parts of Great Britain and Europe.

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Poetry Riot Prompt (Week One Hundred Four) 10/24 - 10/30

The prompt for this week is:

Samhein (A Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the “darker half” of the year.)

The only taboo word this week is Samhein. You may not use it as either the title or within the piece. You may use a metaphor or synonym, but not the prompt word itself. If you do use it, your piece will not be reblogged or included in the recap. It’s bit more challenging, but we know you can handle it.

As always tag your work with #poetryriotprompt. If you do not see your work reblogged within 72 hours, please send us a message with a link to it. If the tag is used but the idea or theme of the prompt isn’t, your piece will not be reblogged.

As a reminder: short stories and blackouts are acceptable and encouraged for the prompt.  

You may write as many pieces as you like for the prompt, only the first one you post will be reblogged. 

If you haven’t already, please read our post about the prompts and triggering topics. And please use the tag #poetryriot for pieces that are not prompt related and #riotprompts for past prompts. Thank you.

Messages (1): Sarah

[7:37 PM] found some creepy vintage looking masks @ the thrift store 4 tonight. totally reminiscent of eyes wide shut. thought u would dig it 👻🎃🕸

Tonight, he thought apprehensively, which was, by the 7:42 p.m. reading on his laptop, approximately 18 minutes and 34 seconds away from being considered as such. He’d been reluctant to consent to an event which involved ritualistic socializing in the form of apple-bobbing, orchestrated haunted houses, ghost stories, and pumpkin carving. But Sarah had always had a sort of Burtonian degree of fondness for the holiday, so he had agreed, albeit with reluctance, to stay until approximately 10:30. No earlier than that, and certainly no later.

In the meantime, with the now 15 minutes and 47 seconds of free time that he had on his hands, Ari was delving into the history of the Gaelic festival of Samhein; the true beginning of it all. He imagined how differently their own ‘festival’ would be if Christian dogma hadn’t eventually wormed it’s way (as it always did) into the equation by creating the mongrelized, but understandably more civilized, holiday that they knew today as ‘Halloween’. To think that in an alternate, devolved universe, in place of candy offerings for the sake of social customs, and dressing as ghosts by virtue of scaring people, they would instead be propitiating their crops for ‘gods’ to ensure that their livestock wouldn’t be slaughtered, and setting places at their dinner tables to appease the legitimate wandering souls of the dead that might pass through, honestly had Ari’s mind reeling. Possible violent consequences aside, he almost preferred Samhein– as he would, at least, not be required to leave the comfort of his own home in order to participate.

In theory, Halloween seemed like a concept that he could have actually enjoyed. Liked, even. The whole idea of draping one’s true identity over a hanger for the night, in exchange for a temporary costume, and, a new ‘persona’ was naturally one that appealed a great deal to Ari. The internet, or rather the anonymity of the internet, in it’s own right, was similar to Halloween in that way. An overweight, middle-aged man could pretend to be a twenty-something year old frat boy who could, physically, pass as the subject of a Michelangelo sculpture. Introverts could pretend to be extroverts. Everyday people could paint themselves as movie-esque vigilantes, saving the world one keystroke at a time. 

Ari paused. Immediately, he was reminded of Agnes.

He once again glanced at his phone, scrolling through all two of his contacts to the freshly added Agnes Ensler.

He didn’t actually go through with what his mind was proposing. Shortly after, his sister showed up. As promised, she came with masks, and an awaiting car (not her red Prius) parked outside of their apartment. Apparently, she had found a date to accompany her for the night. A date with a Ben Richards beard, a beer belly, and a large Chevy truck to compliment the two. But you’ll be okay on your own, right? Or you could just ask that girl to come hang out with you. She had brought Agnes up more than a few times on the drive over; clearly, still angry with him for the other night.

“I’m leaving at 10:30,” he told her once they had found an appropriate parking spot near the ‘pumpkin-carving station’. She was too busy raving over the (seemingly professional looking) Kylo Ren pumpkin that was on a proud display for the whole town to see, to actually hear him. He’d shut the door behind him without saying goodbye and began to wander around aimlessly, somewhere between the face-painting crowd and the beginning of the hay rides. Again, he thought of Agnes. Of the phone that was in his pocket. Of Sarah’s nagging about her being a bad influence for keeping him out so late. He threw his hood over his head, retrieved his phone, and pulled up her contact again. He hadn’t texted her since that night. But an idea suddenly struck his mind.

Contact: Agnes Ensler (delivered)

[8:07 PM] Hello, Agnes.

Was that too formal of a greeting to send to her? Hadn’t they passed the point of formalities the other night? Ari continued typing.

[8:09 PM] I might require a cab at 10:30 p.m. if you are working tonight.

He pressed his lips together in thought, mulling something over to himself for awhile before he sent his final (that actually turned out to be a penultimate) message.

[8:15 PM] If you’re not then maybe we could. Hang out.

He was reminded of his sister, of the sardonic way that she had used the phrase ‘hang out’. Really, all she had done was supply Ari with a current term that wouldn’t make him sound like he belonged in an exaggerated depiction of an Oscar Wilde novel. ‘Do you yearn to partake in the festivities with me, Agnes?’ He cringed at the thought of ever saying such a thing aloud. Although, his anxiety sometimes took him to strange places.

[8:18 PM] I’m at this festival if you’re up for it. I can even give you my coordinates if needed.