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The Mystery of the Tides by Sylvia Brallier

Second Degree

Seasonal Cycles

The Sabbats we celebrate are observances of the changing of the seasons. They are also based on the growth of crops and livestock.

Since plant growth is dependent on the sun, Druids marked the solar cycle. Yule, or Winter Solstice, marks the end of the nut harvest and the return of the sun. It is also a time for making candy.

Imbolc marks the time when seeds are planted, after the last frost. Ostara, or Spring Equinox, marks the time when plants begin to grow.

Beltane is when livestock are released into pastures to graze and reproduce. Thus, they are blessed for reproduction by running them between two Bel-fires on a hilltop.

Litha, or Summer Solstice, marks the time when the plants and sun are at their peak. It is a time when berries, flowers, and herbs are harvested and the fishing season starts, or in some areas Litha marks the middle. It is also a time when pigs, that were conceived during Samhain, are slaughtered. Thus, Litha is the first harvest. A luau is usually the best way to honor Litha.

Lughnasadh marks the grain harvest. Mabon, or Autumn Equinox, marks the vegetable harvest.

Samhain is the meat harvest and the second pig slaughter for those who were conceived during Beltane. It marks the time when livestock are brought into their pens and butchered in preparation for winter. It also marks the death of the Sun.

There is no set date or time for the Nut Harvest. It occurs in November after the first frost and is celebrated until and during Yule because it takes about a month or more to gather all the different varieties or amount of nuts, and to de-hull and clean them to make them ready for candy making during Yule.

The trees which are honored by the Druids or Celts in general were used by the Celts in their daily lives.

They used the wood for fire, shelter, and to make things that they needed. They also used certain parts of these trees to make fabric dye.

The first magic practiced by these ancient people was not really magic; it was medicine. A lot of the herbs used in Wicca today were the same herbs that the Celts used to heal people, at least the ones native to the area.

Many herbs that were once common and used for magic during their time are now rare, protected, or endangered. For this reason, I stress the use of substitutes for what we consider High Order magical herbs or items.

The same rule applies to precious stones as well. Secondly, if the property of a stone is not known, one should rely on color correspondence to make the correct choice of which stone to use for a spell or other magical work



The Yule tree is erected and a new Yule log is blessed for the coming year, while last year's log is burned to represent the waxing light of the Sun. The Witch's Rune is performed to restore light in the dark cloak of winter. The Crystal Wish game is played to teach people how to give and receive gracefully. Candy, especially Divinity, is made throughout the season. The Twelve Days of Yule begins on the eve of the Winter Solstice and ends on January first, marking the Druid solar New Year. It is one if the major sabbats held in honor of the Sun's return.


Seeds are blessed for planting and Brighid's Crosses are made in honor of Brighid. A crown of lights is worn, and candles abound to welcome the waxing light of the Sun bringing the end of winter. A groundhog or bear is watched as a means of prophecy for the continuation of winter, or the beginning of spring. Imbolc is one of the minor sabbats, during which the Triple Goddess is honored in the form of Brighid. She is Maiden because the year is new and young. She is Mother because the earth is pregnant with the dormant perennial seeds of life. She is Crone because it is the winter season.


Seeds and trees are planted in honor of Ostere or Epona, Maiden Goddess of Renewal. A young child beats the Earth with a stick three times and asks the Earth to wake up from Her long winter nap. Fertility and other symbols are painted on red and pastel colored eggs and are hunted by children. Ostara is one of the major sabbats, which marks the birth of the Oak King and Spring.


The Bel-fire is lit in honor of the Sun God Bel. A small candle is placed inside a Cauldron, and couples or women who wish to conceive a child, jump over it. Two Bel-fires are lit on a hilltop and livestock are driven between them to ensure fertility of the animals as they are released to pastures. The Maypole Dance is performed to bring people together and create balance and harmony in the world. The Great Rite is performed to ensure fertility of the land and prosperity of the Celtic race. Beltane is one of the Great Sabbats; Samhain is the other.


Faery gardens or altars are erected and much time is spent in and around water. Luaus are usually the means by which this sabbat is celebrated. Harvest fish, pigs, berries, flowers, and herbs. Dry herbs and flowers or make oils with them, and make jams, preserves, and jellies. Litha is one of the major sabbats held in honor of the Sun God or Oak King before He begins to wane.


Grain is ground into flour or left whole in preparation for winter. Corn husk dolls are made in honor of the season. Lughnasadh is a minor sabbat held in honor of Lugh.


Aluminum, plastic, paper, and other materials collected throughout the year are recycled. Shrunken heads are made of apples; besoms are made; culinary oils, vinegars, and potpourri is made. Vegetables are canned or dried in preparation for winter. Mabon marks the vegetable harvest and is one of the major sabbats held in honor of the birth of the Holly King, which occurs during the waning life of the Oak King.


The white and black fox exchange places, turning the Wheel of the Year. We honor the dead, and sometimes communicate with them. We also perform rites of divination. Costumes are worn, which portray our wishes for our lives during the coming year, and we take treats to our friends and neighbors. It is the meat harvest, during which livestock and pigs are butchered in preparation for winter. It is also popular belief among most Witches that Samhain is the Celtic New Year. It is held in honor of the Holly King's reign and the Oak King's death. It is one of the Great Sabbats; Beltane is the other. The Great Rite is performed to commemorate the union of the Dagda and the Morrighan, which created the Tuatha de Danann.

Nut Harvest

Conducted after the first frost in November, it marks the final harvest of the year. Nuts of all available varieties, especially pecans, are gathered and roasted if necessary, hulled and cleaned in preparation for candy making during Yule. Roasted nuts may be left in the shell.

Sacred Trees

Alder: Sovereignty and strength. Life-in-Death aspect because it does not die in winter. Its flowers make green dye, and its bark makes red dye. Its wood is used for wands.

Apple: Healing and helps sleep. It is the Sacred tree of Avalon and the Tree of Know-ledge.

Ash: Protection, strength, power, and healing. It is never cut down by the Celts. Its wood is used for staffs and besoms.

Blackthorn: Protection and neutralizing energy. Its wood is also used for staffs and besoms.

Cottonwood: Relieve pain, control weather, helps pass on to Avalon. Its wood is used for weather wands.

Elder: Skills, arts, and stability. It is the symbol of the Dagda. Its berries are used to make dye and wine.

Fir: Sovereignty and gift of knowledge. It is the Tree of Life and Death. It is Merlin and Vivian's tree.

Hawthorn: Music, poetry, and psychic ability. The tree harbors Faeries and should never be destroyed. It is only brought into the house during Beltane.

Hazel: Helps one become a person of many arts and skills. Heightens the five senses.

Oak: Strength, fertility, invisibility, and magical power. An Oak struck by lightning is very powerful. It is Merlin?s favorite tree.

Rowan: Divination and protection. Its berries feed the Faeries. Its wood is used for wands and cauldron fires.

Willow: Beauty and love. Its wood is used for wedding wands and binding besoms.

Yew: Death and eternal cycle of life. Its wood is used to make death wands.

Source: (Celebrate the Earth, 267-9)


Astral Projection: Dittany of Crete (Dictamnus origanoides)

Courage: Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

Divination: Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

Dreams: Jasmine (Jasminum officinale)

Exorcism: Garlic (Allium sativum)

Faeries: Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)

Fertility: White Oak Bark (Quercus alba)

Good Luck: Irish Moss (Chondrus crispus)

Healing: Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)

Immortality: Life Everlasting (Gnaphalium polycephalum)

Legal Matters: Buckthorn Bark (Rhamnus frangula)

Love: Rose Petals (Rosa spp.)

Lunar Magic: Bladderwrack (Nereocystis phaeophyceae)

Money: Patchouly (Pogostemon cablin)

Peace: Myrtle Leaves (Myrtus communis)

Protection: Valerian Root (Valeriana officinalis)

Psychic Develop.: Mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris)

Purification: Sage (Salvia officinalis)

Shape Shifting: Morning Glory Seed (Ipomoea praecox)

Solar Magic: Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon citratus)

Success: Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)

Weather: Lobelia (Lobelia inflata)

Wisdom: White Willow Bark (Salix alba)

Wish Magic: Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officinale)

Witchcraft: Any and all herbs.

Source: (Cunnigham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, passim)


Beauty: Geode (Silicon Dioxide)

Cleansing: Quartz Crystal (Silicon Dioxide)

Divination: Obsidian (Volcanic Glass)

Dreams: Blue Goldstone (Man-made Glass)

Exorcism: Sulphur (Non-metal Element)

Faeries: Flourite (Calcium Flouride)

Fertility: Carnelian (Silicon Dioxide)

Good Luck: Green Aventurine (Silicon Dioxide)

Grounding: Black Onyx (Silicon Dioxide)

Healing: Blue Turquoise (Hydrous Copper Aluminum Phosphate)

Immortality: Amber (Fossilized Pine Resin)

Love: Rose Quartz (Silicon Dioxide)

Lunar Magic: Moonstone (Potassium Aluminum Silicate)

Mental Clarity: Citrine (Silicon Dioxide)

Money: Malachite (Copper Hydroxyl Carbonate)

Peace: Calcite (Calcium Carbonate)

Protection: Hematite (Iron Oxide)

Psychic Develop.: Lapis Lazuli (Sodium Calcium Aluminum Sulfate Silicate)

Purification: Snowflake Obsidian (Volcanic Glass with Ash)

Solar Magic: Sunstone (Sodium Aluminum Silicate)

Strength: Iron Pyrite (Iron Sulfate)

Success: Amethyst (Silicon Dioxide)

Weather: Bloodstone (Silicon Dioxide)

Wisdom: Jade (Sodium Aluminum Silicate)

Witchcraft: Any and all stones.

Source: (The Book of Sacred Stones, passim)

Second Degree Test

This test must be given orally or hand written. Each student must score at least 90% in order to qualify for their Second Degree. Each section is worth 25 points.


Describe all eight Sabbats and explain why they are celebrated:

Beltane, Imbolc, Litha, Lughnasadh, Mabon, Nut Harvest, Ostara, Samhain, Yule.

Sacred Trees

List the magical properties of all the Druid Sacred Trees:

Blackthorn, Cottonwood, Elder, Fir, Hawthorn, Hazel, Oak, Rowan, Willow, Yew


List only one herb which corresponds with the following purposes. Each herb can only listed once. Do not list High Order herbs.:

Astral Projection, Courage, Divination, Dreams, Exorcism, Faeries, Fertility, Good Luck, Healing, Immortality, Legal Matters, Love, Lunar Magic, Money, Peace, Protection, Psychic Development, Purification, Shape Shifting, Solar Magic, Success, Weather, Wisdom, Wish Magic, Witchcraft.


List only one stone which corresponds with the following purposes. Each stone can be listed only once. Do not list Precious stones or metals.:

Beauty, Cleansing, Divination, Dreams, Exorcism, Faeries, Fertility, Good Luck, Grounding, Healing, Immortality, Love, Lunar Magic, Mental Clarity, Money, Peace, Protection, Psychic Development, Purification, Solar Magic, Strength, Success, Weather, Wisdom, Witchcraft.

Second Degree Initiation

Initiate should bring his/her Wand and personal Crystal for consecration.

Nar.: ?We are met in this Circle to recognize the acquired knowledge of (mag.?). His/her perseverance has made us proud. Thus, we acknowledge (mag.?) for his/her achievement.

P.O. consecrates Initiate's Wand and Crystal.

P.O.: I ask the Goddess Brighid to suffuse this magical Wand and Crystal with Her loving energy by the powers of Earth and Water.

I ask the God Cernnunos to suffuse this magical Wand and Crystal with His strong energy by the powers of Fire and Air.

May this Wand and Crystal be used correctly and for the good of all. So mote it be.

(Mag.?), I present you with your second most personal and magical tools. Use them wisely and guard them well. I also present you with an Oak Tree. It is the Life and Foundation of the Craft.

Nar.: Let it be known to all in this Circle that (mag.?) has completed his/her Second Degree. He/she has been presented with a consecrated Wand and Crystal, and carries the Life and Foundation of the Craft. May he/she be steadfast in his/her endeavors. So mote it be.


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