July doesn’t have any major modern witchcraft festivals, however, it is a magically powerful month, nonetheless.
The first half of the month falls under Cancer, the only astrological sign ruled by the moon. It’s an excellent time to honor, celebrate, and petition lunar spirits including Artemis, Aynia, Diana, Khonsu, Lilith, and Selene. The last half of the month falls under Leo, the only astrological sign ruled by the sun. This is a great time to honor, celebrate, and petition solar spirits including Aine, Amaterasu, Apollo, Ra, and Sekhmet.
This month is also full of celebrations of some of the most goddess-like saints: Anne, Margaret, Mary Magdalene, Martha, and Sarah.
Below is a bit of information about lunar spirits to honor and celebrate this month:
Mistress of Animals, She of the Wild, the Lady of the Wild Mountains, Opener of the Womb
Artemis is one of the most ancient indigenous spirits of Greece. She is a goddess of the moon, women, fertility, and wild nature. She is the goddess of hunting who protects the balance between predators’ need to eat and prey animals’ need to survive. She is considered an initiatory spirit who presides over rites of initiation for both men and women. Artemis is both loved and feared. She grants fertility to those unable to conceive but is also held responsible for the deaths of women in childbirth. She may be invoked for a swift, merciful death, as well as for prosperity, good health, and longevity.
Artemis is a magician and shapeshifter who takes many forms. She commonly manifests as a young female athlete, typically accompanied by a stag and/or a pack of hunting hounds. She may wear a horned headdress or a headdress ornamented with a crescent moon. She also sometimes manifests as a mermaid, but can manifest into the form of any animal especially wolves, does, and bears. Artemis's realm is wild grooves and forests; she is also closely associated with freshwater, including mountain springs, lakes, rivers, and streams.
She is the matron of athletes, especially female athletes, archers, runners, and swimmers. Her sacred animals are bears, dogs, wolves, deer, bees, dolphins, goats, fish, cats, and boar; but Artemis is the Lady of the Beasts and the guardian of all creatures. Her colors are silver and white, like the moon. Her trees are walnut, willow, cedar, myrtle, fire, oak, wild fig, and bay laurel. And her plants are the Artemesia family of plants, named in her honor, mugwort, wormwood, southernwood, and tarragon.
The Moon is Artemis' spinning wheel, upon which she spins the fate of humans. She carries with her a silver bow and arrows and a shield bearing the image of a wolf.
The sixth day of each month is sacred to the Greek goddess Artemis and 6 is her number. Artemis is described as a solitary spirit, however, she is often found in the company of others. In addition to her animal companions, she has a band of Nymphs who serve and accompany her. And her cousin Hekate is her favorite companion. When honoring Artemis, offer her honey cakes, pure spring water, and donations and good deeds on behalf of wild nature and animals.
The Luminous One, Mother of the Forest, Lady of the Grove, Lady of the Wild Creatures
Diana a primordial goddess, is believed to originate in Italy. Her earliest known incarnations may be Etruscan or Latin. She preceded the Romans in the region, however having embraced her, it was their armies who spread her veneration throughout Europe. She may have once been the preeminent goddess in the Roman pantheon, ruling the night while Jupiter ruled the day.
Diana is an ecstatic, shamanic, wild, independent goddess. Diana has dominion over the moon, fire, water, magic, witchcraft, wilderness, wild nature and animals, women, children, fertility, and freedom.
Over the centuries, Diana came to be identified with the Greek lunar goddess Artemis, their names often used interchangeably. However, they are not identical; Diana is a more flexible goddess, having urban and rural incarnations, unlike Artemis. Also, unlike Artemis, Diana has male consorts and a vast community of male devotees. It’s believed that the original werewolves (not the Hollywood variety) were lunar priests of Diana, wolf-shamans who would congregate to howl at the full moons.
No deity was more associated with witchcraft during the Inquisition's Burning Times. However, devotion to Diana survived the witch hunts. She is among the most beloved of contemporary deities and is central to the Italian witchcraft tradition, Stregheria.
Diana is the matron goddess of witches, shamans, fortune-tellers, dream interpreters, outlaws, slaves, and thieves. She has dominion over women but does not have a contentious relationship with men, as does Artemis, who worship her just as passionately as women. Diana's sacred sites are oak groves, forests, the famous witches' walnut tree in Benevento, Italy, Lake Nemi and the entire forest of Nemi, Temple on Rome's Aventine Hill, and the present Cathedral of Saint Etienne in Metz, France.
The festival of Torches, beginning August 13, was held annually in Diana's honor. Women carried torches to her temple in Nemi. On August 15 women would journey to the Arician Woods, accompanied by crowned and leashed hunting dogs, to offer thanks and pray to Diana for future blessing. Friday the 13th, falling in the month of August is considered especially sacred to Diana.
Diana’s colors are those of the moon: silver and white. She is a Lady of the Beasts, a lover of all animals, especially hounds, wolves, deer, and black cats. And her elements are fire and water. Diana likes a drink! Offer her Strega liquor, a drink supposedly inspired by an Italian witches' recipe or grappa. It’s traditional to offer her round cakes lit with candles. At Diana's festival, the meal included wine, roasted young goat, cakes served on hot plates of leaves, and apples. Offerings on behalf of wolves, wild creatures, and preservation of wilderness may be appreciated by Diana.
Below is a bit of information about solar spirits to honor and celebrate this month:
Descended from the She-Wolf, Wolf-like, Lord of the Storehouse, Lord of the Sun, Distant Deadly Archer
A beautiful and extremely complex spirit is most commonly associated with the Olympian pantheon’s golden boy, son of Zeus and twin brother of Artemis. A master healer, Apollo sends and removes plagues and epidemics of all kinds. He is also an oracular spirit, capable of bestowing enhanced psychic skills. Apollo is the patron of healers, musicians, poets, philosophers, Leos, mediums, psychics, diviners, those who protect wolves, and handsome men.
Apollo is the Greek male deity with the greatest number of male lovers. His relationships with men are happier than those with women. Apollo's devotion spread to Rome, where he was worshipped as a healing spirit. Devotion of him became widespread when Augustus Caesar claimed him as his personal patron. Apollo protects his worshippers and their cattle and livestock. He is loyal to those he loves. He is a master healer, as mentioned, and can heal anyone except those he's slain himself. He is the spirits' doctor too, healing them when they are ailing.
His sacred animals include wolves, rats, mice, dolphins, ravens, crows, and swans. Apollo’s number is 7. On July 7, the seventh day of the seventh month is Apollo’s birthday, however, the seventh day of every month is sacred to Apollo, as is the waxing half-moon. His plants are St. John's wort, bay laurel, apple trees, and mistletoe. Apollo's gem is amber and his sacred places are Delphi, Delos, shrines in Anatolia (now modern Turkey), and Italy, and healing sanctuaries in Gaul.
Burn 7-day candles for him, and offer him wine, incense, and amber. He is a gregarious spirit, happy to share altar space, especially with his mother and sister.
the Mighty One, Lion Goddess, Great of Magic, Lady of Terror, Lady of Action, The One Before Whom Evil Flees, Mistress Dead, Lady of Flame, the Scarlet Women
Sekhmet radiates the fierce, blinding power of the sun at full strength. She is the goddess of war, justice, destruction, and healing. Her name derives from a root word interpreted as meaning 'to be strong, mighty, or violent,' and she is among the manifestations of the Eye of Ra. She is a fierce guardian goddess of Upper Egypt. She is associated with plagues and diseases; illnesses that blew in on the desert winds. Descriptions of Sekhmet typically emphasize her destructive aspects, however, she is among Egypt's most significant healing deities and remains an active healer today.
Her priests were once the finest physicians in Egypt. She may be asked to heal any illness, except eye disorders. She is strongly associated with blood disorders and will heal menstrual and reproductive disorders, but pregnancy is not under her domain. Most spirits and saints must be asked before they will heal, not because they are unwilling, but perhaps because the request serves as an activation or go-ahead. Sekhmet is unusual in that regard, as numerous attest to receiving spontaneous healings from her in dreams and during visionary experiences. If Sekhmet heals you without being asked, offerings to her are certainly in order!
Sekhmet is an intense and proactive healer. She is the matron goddess of Reiki. She manifests as a woman with a lion's head or as a lioness. She is traditionally depicted crowned with a solar disc encircled by an upright cobra, symbolic of divine authority.
Sekhmet’s color is scarlet, and her element is fire. Offer her beer, by itself or blended with pomegranate juice or syrup, arrows, silver medical tools, and incense.
Below is a bit of information about the goddess-like saints celebrated in the month of July:
Among the most beloved, controversial, and mysterious saints, she played an integral part in the story of Jesus. The most controversial explanation is that Mary Magdalene was a wealthy follower of Jesus, whose devotion was rewarded, as she was the first to witness the resurrection. She may also have been one of his disciples, however, this information was suppressed by the Church. She may have been Jesus’s spiritual partner, and most controversially, Mary Magdalene and Jesus may have been married and she may be the mother of his children.
Mary Magdelene is a secret keeper. She is a repository of sacred mysteries. Some believe she is the founder of an alternative and now secret spiritual tradition. More recently, Mary Magdalene has emerged as an independent goddess, worshiped by goddess devotees around the world. Whether as a saint or goddess, Mary Magdalene is invoked for miracles in love, romance, safety, and fertility.
Mary Magdalene's feast day is July 22 and she is the matron saint of beauticians, hairdressers, sex workers, refugees, perfumers, aromatherapists, pharmacists, lovers, and prisoners.
She is traditionally depicted with a skull, a chalice, an alabaster box, or brandishing an egg, often a red one. Her plant is Spikenard and is identified with the constellation Virgo, seen as resembling a lone woman holding the divine child. Offer Mary candles, French wine, sugar skulls, alabaster or other ornamental eggs, Faberge for a true miracle (if you can afford it), and burn myrrh incense in her honor.
Sarah or Sara La Kali:
The Black Queen, Saint Sarah, Sarah Kali, Sara the Egyptian
Sara La Kali is the single most signifi
cant sacred being worshiped by the Romani (Gypsy) people, who flock to her shrine from around the world. Her identity is, however, subject to much debate: she may be the Egyptian servant who accompanied Mary Magdalene, Mary Jacobe, and Mary Salome to France; she may be a Romani priestess who greeted them upon their arrival to Provence; she may be the daughter of Mary Magdalene and Jesus; she may be the Black Madonna; she may be the goddess Isis; she may be the goddess Kali, who accompanied the Romani from their origins in India.
Sara La Kali means 'Sara the Black'. Although commonly referred to as Saint Sarah, she is in fact no a canonized saint. More recently she has emerged as an international goddess, not only worshipped by the Romani anymore. Sara La Kali may be petitioned for anything, but her specialties are healing and fertility.
Sara's statue is carved from dark brown wood. She is crowned and has long black hair and expressive eyes. Her sacred site is her shrine in the French town of Les-Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. Her feast day i July 13, but she shares a pilgrimage at the end of May with Mary Salome and Mary Jacobe.
It is traditional to place clothing belonging to those suffering from illness or in need of healing on Sara's statue. It's said that as the fabric absorbs the deity's power, healing is transmitted to the petitioner.