Of the eight times, four are lunar and four are solar to create a balance between masculine and feminine powers. The solstice and equinox celebrations are determined by the cycles of the sun. The cross-quarter days or "in between times" used to be determined by when the full moon fell within the month. Now it is calculated by the eve of an inbetween month. The solar observances, particularly the Summer Solstice ceremonies at Stonehenge, are associated with Modern Druidism. The eight festivals are: Alban Heffyn (Midsummer Day or Summer Solstice) on June 21, Lugnassad (August-eve) on July 30, Alban Elved (Fall Equinox) on September 21, Samhain (November-eve, Halloween) on October 31, Alban Arthan (Midwinter Day, Winter Solstice, or the Light of Arthur according to O.B.O.D. tradition) on December 21, Imbolc (February-eve) on the eve of February 1, Alban Eiler (Spring Equinox) on March 21, and Beltane (May-eve) on the eve of May 1st, (Monroe 13).
According to the O.B.O.D., the Solstices are when the Sun is revered at its time of apparent death at midwinter, when the days are shortest, and at its maximum power at midsummer, when the days are longest. At the Equinoxes, day and night are balanced between equal hours of light and dark. The Spring Equinox is when the power of the sun is on the rise and the time of sowing is celebrated along with preperations for summer. Durring the Autumnal Equinox, day and night hours are balanced but the suns power is waneing toward dark. Thanks is given for the harvest and preperations are made for the winter. There four festivals are astronomical observances. Evidence that these days were observed by ancient Celts is seen in the megaliths and stone circles of Europe, which have their points oriented with the sunrise and sunset. These structures where built by pastoral people, and times of sowing and reaping were vital to their survival. Many of the Modern Druidic traditions reflect this attitude, but the meaning has changed to simply include an observance of the natural cycles of life.
Miller, Tara "Druidry: Knowledge of the Oak"
Monroe, Douglas. The 21 Lessons of Merlyn: A Study in Druid Magic and Lore. Llewellyn Publications: St. Paul, MN, 1992.
Official Web Site of the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids. http://www.obod.co.uk/obod
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