The Wheel of The Year

The Wheel of The Year is a representation of the eight Pagan Holidays or Wiccan Sabbats, which honour and celebrate the seasons and cycles of life. The Holidays or Sabbats are representations of the start of each season and midway points between them, split up evenly throughout the year.

 

Each of the eight segments, Sabbats, or celebrations which compose the Wheel of the Year have ancient ties. The 8 Phases of the Wheel of the Year come from a combination of the harvest, fire, and solar festivals from ancient Romans, Greeks, Celts, and Germanic cultures of northern Europe.

 

It is the ancient science of the universe. This endless cyclical change is possible because of endless cyclical interplay between Father Sky (Sun) and Mother Earth, which is at the core of the old European belief system.

 

The Eight Sabbats

 

The eight Sabbats were originally a time when the community came together to celebrate and give thanks to the gods and goddesses they ascribed to the various seasons and harvests of the land.  At these festivals, they performed a ritual and gave offerings to the various deities whom they considered were responsible for keeping things in balance, or not.

 

Samhain: November 1

Alban Arthan: Winter Solstice, December 21

Imbolc: February 1 to 2

Alban Eilir: Spring Equinox, March 20/21

Beltaine: May 1

Alban Heruin: Summer Solstice, June 20 – 22

Lughnasadh: August 1

Alban Elfed: Autumn Equinox, September 22 – 24

 

The Celtic Calendar

 

The Celtic year was divided into two halves: Samhain was the beginning of the dark half and its counterpart Beltane was the beginning the light half. Between these two portals fell Imbolc and Lughnasadh (or Lammas), quartering the Celtic year. These quarters were again divided by the Solstices and Equinoxes, which were known as the four Albans.

 

At Samhain, livestock for whom there was insufficient fodder were slaughtered and stored and the community honored the dead. At Imbolc, the lambs were born. At Beltaine, it was the time of mating and of the passing of the livestock through the two Beltaine fires for purification. Lughnasadh/Lammas was the time which marked the link between the agricultural and the livestock cycle and is the Druid festival of the Harvest.

 

Imbolc: the beginning of the Spring

Bealtaine: the beginning of the Summer

Lughnasadh:  the beginning of the Autumn

Samhain: the beginning of the Winter

 

The Four Equinoxes

 

Winter Solstice

Alban Arthuan, ‘The Light of Arthur’: Also referred to as Yule, Mabon, Saturnalia, or Christmas.  King Arthur was believed to have been born on this day in Tintagel in Cornwall. Alban Arthan was a festival of peace which celebrated the waxing of the solar light.

 

Spring Equinox

Alban Eiler, ‘The Light of the Earth’: The first official day of Spring, a time of transition and for planting crops. The balance of night and day provides a powerful time for magic to the ancient Druids.

 

Summer Solstice

Alban Hefin, ‘The Light of the Shore’: The Druid festival of the longest day of the year, which is referred to as Litha or Midsummers Day. It was traditionally celebrated out of doors with picnics and games and large bonfires.

 

Autumn Equinox

Alban Elfed, ‘Light of the Water’: When the sun began to wane once more as the dark half of the year drew near.

 

The Four Seasons

 

Spring (Yang)

Spring is the time for romance and to plant and carry out the instructions gleaned from your winter experience. From having spent time with God, you will have the spiritual and physical energy to break up your fallow ground. Spring is the time to come out of the darkness of winter and see the first signs of vigor and life returning to the earth. Spring reminds us of the eternal cycle of death and rebirth and renewed life. Spring is the re-emergence of life and indicates a balance of growth and decay, youth and maturity, innocence and experience.

Dates

Beltane Monday: May 1st, 2017

Symbolism

  • Balance

  • Rebirth

  • New Beginnings

  • Emergence

  • Fertility

  • Creativity

  • Growth

  • Pleasure

  • Joy

 

Summer (Yang)

Summer is a time of spiritual development and fruit bearing. Applied to your personal spiritual development, you may receive strategic insights. Summer is the time to water what has been planted during the spring and weed out what shouldn't be there. Summer is a time of both growth and of stillness; of hard work in the fields and of relaxing in the cool of the day. Summer is the time to pause and reflect. It is the time to play, relax and enjoy some leisure time after you have planted your seeds. It is a time to plow up and cultivate the soil.

Dates

Summer Solstice: June 20 – 22

Symbolism

  • Outward-Focus

  • Doing

  • Growing

  • Celebrating Peak Moments

  • Inner Fire

  • Confidence

  • Yang/Masculine Energy

  • Abundance

  • Culmination

 

Autumn (Yin)

Autumn is the time of harvest and when you see evidence of your hard work. It is a time of harvesting and storing up for the winter and abundance. Autumn helps us see the passage of time; where we have come from and where we need to go. This is the season filled with anticipation and we will reap a harvest of what we’ve planted and cultivated. Autumn is a season of fruition and reaping, of thanksgiving and celebration of abundance and goodness of the earth. It is a season of encouragement as we witness the changes in God’s earth.

Dates

Autumn Equinox: September 22 – 24

Samhain: October 31

Symbolism

  • Harvest

  • Gratitude

  • Letting Go

  • Death and Dying

  • Magic and Mystery

  • Remembering our Ancestors

Winter (Yin)

Winter is for rest and the time for evaluation, planning, and preparation. It is where you have reached the end and prepare for fresh beginnings. Winter is when tiny buds of new life are stirring deep within.

Dates

Winter Solstice: December 21

Imbolc: February 1 to 2

Symbolism

  • Rest

  • Dreaming

  • Exploring your shadows

  • Embracing your Divine Feminine

  • New hopes and ideas

  • Being tested in order to grow