Rituals & Holidays

b179289542Most of the new blogs at Patheos Pagan have some sort of underlying theme. When Raise the Horns launched in the Summer of 2012 there was no theme. Two years later and there’s still no theme. When this blog started up I thought I’d be writing a lot about the convergence of rock and roll and the occult. I always kind of thought I’d write about the sabbats to some degree, but I never thought those posts would make up a large percentage of this blog. I was wrong about that, and most of them are among my most read pieces.

Somewhat related are the rituals I’ve shared here over the years. I think there’s now finally a sabbat ritual for every spoke of the Wheel buried somewhere on this page. Many of those holidays even have two complete rituals up on these page. So for those of you looking for sabbat ritauls or a little something more on the origin of our holidays, here it is all in one easy to find place.


Samhain Ritual 2012 A very big, Witchy ritual designed for large groups.

Samhain Ritual 2014 Originally meant to be a condensed for smaller groups of the ritual above, this rite evolved into something else entirely. Perfect for covens!

Yule Ritual 2012 Lots of fun Yule and Christmas-themed ideas here. Presents, the rebirth of the Sun, Yule Logs, Santa Claus, if you can imagine it, it’s probably here.

Maxine-Alex-Sanders-1960sImbolc Ritual 2013 This is a Northern California Imbolc rite about the return of the rain and the green. For some climates it would probably work better at Ostara.

Imbolc Ritual 2014 An Imbolc rite focused on cleansing and preparation.

Ostara 2014 A ritual full of whimsy and delight, but also a drawing down of the Goddess.

Beltane Ritual 2013 A ritual almost completely in rhyme celebrating the union of Lady and Lord. This is one of the oldest pieces of Jason writing on RtH.

leafpent_ashBeltane Ritual 2014 A Beltane designed for covens celebrating the sabbat as a solar festival.

Midsummer 2014 I’m not good at writing Summertime rituals, but this is a lovely Midsummer complete with a part for the fey.

Lammas 2014 A Lughnasadh ritual based on traditional Scottish rites and customs.

John_Linnell_-_The_Harvest_CradleMabon 2013 A Fall Equinox Ritual designed for the Upper Great Lakes. When I tried to use it in California in September it didn’t quite work.

A Hellenic-Style Ritual I’m not a Greek Reconstructionist but I play one on TV. OK, I don’t really, but I love the Greek gods and sometimes do ritual in a more Hellenic style in their honor.

A Community Ritual My wife and I led this ritual at ConVocation in Detroit last February. It’s a ritual exercise in community building.

The 1899 Ritual A ritual imagining what Pagan style ritual might have looked like in the year 1899.


A Halloween History A history of Halloween and by extension Samhain.

Samhain Past: History, Myth, and Mystery A history focused exclusively on the very little we know about Samhain as practiced by the Celtis in Ireland.

The Origins of Halloween Things A bit more thorough look at Jack-o’-lanterns, trick or treat, bobbing for apples, and how we got to the word Halloween.

Christmas Is Not Yours or Mine: The True Origins of the Holiday Season Some Pagans get really bent out of shape that I like Christmas, but why shouldn’t I like Christmas? It’s a giant secular holiday with a few religious influences, and mostly always has been.

Christmas Traditions: Pagan or Christian? Some Christmas traditions are Christian, some are Pagan, some are even secular.

Beyond Santa Claus: The Other Gift Givers Holiday gift givers who aren’t Santa.

9ac227dfe50dab7e0513adee5bc37b70The History & Origins of Santa Claus From Odin to Christian Saint to fat guy at Macy’s.

The Confusion of Imbolc Thoughts on the origins of Imbolc and why I’ve often found the holiday sort of bewildering.

Reasons for Celebrating Imbolc We shouldn’t celebrate something “just because,” reasons are nice.

Encountering Brighid A little bit about everyone’s favorite Imbolc goddess.

Eostre, Easter, Ostara, Eggs, and Bunnies Just what it sounds like, a look at the origins of Ostara and Easter and all the things associated with the two holidays.

Easter Myths Stuff about the bunny, Eostre the goddess, and more.

Beltane Traditions Maypoles, Morris Dancing, Jack in the Green, Kings and Queens of the May . . . . if it’s associated with Beltane it’s right here.

10306240_10152326543563232_1147607012900954498_nBeltane, Maypoles, and Spring into Summer Much less Buzzfeedy than the post above, the real origins of Beltane.

The Ancient Nature of Midsummer Midsummer is a truly ancient holiday with traditions and concepts stretching back thousands and thousands of years.

Names of the Summer Solstice Some call it Litha, some call it Midsummer . . . the origins of the names of the Summer Solstice.

Looking For Lughnassa Lugh, grain, games, and other things . . . . the traditions and customs associated with the first harvest.

Lammas: First Fruits & A Sort of Christian Feast Using Lammas as a springboard to write about just how blended Christianity and ancient paganisms were in the British Isles.

girl and a witch 1886-1917 beatrice offorReflections on the Autumn Equinox From Harvest Home to Mabon and back again. This probably would have had more readers with a better title.

The Triumph of the Mabon A look at the origins of the word Mabon, why it works and doesn’t work, and how all seven sabbats got their “Pagan names.”


Writing Group Ritual A guide to writing rituals for larger groups.

Your Responsibilities in Ritual Just because you aren’t leading the ritual doesn’t mean you should simply check out of things.

IMG_193610 Tips for Large Group Ritual Ideas when writing for twenty or more folks.

10 Responsibilities of a Host Are you hosting something? Then please take care of your stuff.

Solitary, Coven, and Circle Rituals There are differences between these three types of ritual.