While television and movie witches are bathed in special effects, real life is much different. Seasonal gatherings and community celebrations mark events connected to fertile crops, fertile stock animals, fertile humans and human survival. Since most witches no longer live in farming communities, and we have enough people on earth, the focus has shifted to fertile minds, instead of fertile bodies. These celebrations now reflect our mental and emotional progress from one season to another, with our capacity to learn and understand being paramount.
If you know any witches, you may hear them mention the wheel of the year. It is a simplified circular calendar , read counter clockwise, illustrating the major and minor holidays. Celtic versions of the wheel are most common, but each tradition may have its own version featuring holiday names and dates specific to each. Since these holidays reflect planting, harvesting and fallow, witches can also use The Farmers’ Almanac to schedule holiday celebrations.
As every coven and community is different, their celebrations may feature different highlights, but most celebrations consist of a meal, with participants contributing a dish, followed by the appropriate ritual. Rituals can present concepts as metaphor and/or act out myths that are handed down or reconstructed. You may have witnessed rituals without knowing it. There are places where people, who are not witches, still dance the Maypole around May first. The participants dance, unaware that they are performing part of a Beltaine fertility ritual.