A blog for a life long journey of Witchcraft in the eyes of a 20 year old Pagan

Wheel of the Year

The Wheel of the Year is a Neopagan term for the annual cycle of the Earth's seasons, consisting of eight festivals spaced at even intervals throughout the year. The festivals are called Sabbats, and originate from the Celtic and Germanic pre-Christian feasts. It has now developed into a combination of the two cultures' solstice and equinox celebrations.

Yule, Midwinter, Mother's Night, Alban Arthan, Cuidle, Winter Rite, Gwyl Galan Gaeaf
          North-December 19th-23rd
          South-June 19th-23rd

  • Yule is a winter festival that was originally celebrated by the Germanic people as a Pagan religious festival. It was absorbed into the Christian observations surrounding Christmas. The Sabbat consists of a fertility sacrifice for "a fertile and peaceful season". In most forms of Wicca the holiday is celebrated at the winter solstice to honor the rebirth of the great horned hunter god, who is seen as the new born solstice sun. Wiccans often involve in their festivities the burning of a Yule log to honor the Horned God. The log is decorated with holly and other symbolic paraphernalia.

Imbolc, Candlemas, Oimelc, Brigit, Brigid's Day, Bride's Day, Brigantia, Gwyl y Canhwyllau
          North-February 1st-2nd
          South-August 1st-2nd

  • Imbolc is an Irish festivity with symbolizes the beginning of Spring. It was observed in the Middle Ages in Gaelic Ireland, in honor of the goddess Brigid. This is a festival of the hearth and home and a celebration of the days lengthening. Celebration often involved divination and looking for omens. Imbolc is the day that the Gaelic hag gathered her firewood for the rest of the winter. The legend says that if she intended to make the winter last a good while longer she would make sure the weather on Imbolc day was bright and sunny that way she could collect as much wood as she wanted. Foul weather meant that winter would come to an end soon.

Ostara, Vernal Equinox, Lady Day, Earrach, Alban Eilir, Festival of Trees, Gwyl Ganol y Gwanwyn
          North-March 19th-23rd
          South-September 19th-23rd

  • Ostara is the name given to the festival of Easter. It originates from the goddess Eostre, a Germanic goddess of the Spring. For early Pagans this was a time to celebrate planting and the new crop season. Most Pagans plant small magical herb gardens during this Sabbat.

Beltane, Beltaine, May Day, Gwyl Galan Mai
          North-May 1st
          South-October 31st-November 2nd

  • Beltane was originally a Gaelic festival celebrated in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. It is considered a cross-quarter day, marking the midpoint in the Sun's progress between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. The Sabbat focused on fertility rituals which were important for connecting with the powers of the sun.

Litha, Midsummer, Samradh, Alban Hefin, Aerra Litha, Gwyl Ganol yr Haf
          North-June 19th-23rd
          South-December 19th-23rd

  • Litha is the longest day of the year, life and light are abundant. It is believed that at this point the Sun God has reached his greatest stength. Some people believed that the mid-summer plants had miraculous healing powers and took this night to pick them. Bonfires were lit to protect against evil which was believed to roam freely as the sun was turning southwards again. The travels of the sun were recorded. Stone circles such as Stonehenge were oriented to highlight the rising of the sun on this day.

Lammas, Lughnasadh, 1st Harvest, Bread Harvest, Festival of the First Fruits, Gwyl Galan Awst
          North-August 1st-2nd
          South-December 19th-23rd

  • Lammas is known as the festival of the wheat harvest, where the reaping of grain is celebrated. It is considered a time of thanksgiving. This Sabbat also represents the culmination of the marriage between the God and Goddess that took place on Beltane. It was believed that the God then became the product of the union and had to be sacrificed. He became the personification of the crops that were to be harvested for the survival of the people. It was meant to symbolize rebirth; the Corn God had to die in order to return, and without his sacrifice it was believed that the cycle would stop.

Mabon, Autumnal Equinox, Foghar, Alban Elfed, Harvest Home, 2nd Harvest, Fruit Harvest, Wine Harvest, Gwyl Ganol yr Hydref
          North-September 20th-24th
          South-March 20th-23rd

  • This Sabbat is to prepare for the long winter months ahead. The Druids celebrated it to honor the Green Man, the God of the Forest. They felt that offering cider, wine, herbs, and fertilizer were appropriate for this time. Wiccans celebrate the aging Goddess as she turns from Mother to Crone. It is a time to finish business while prepairing for a period of rest, relaxation, and reflection. Mabon is considered a time of balance and mysteries. 

Samhain, All Hallow's Eve, Last/Blood Harvest, Ancestor Night, Feast of the Dead, Nos Galan Gaeaf
          North-October 31st-November 2nd
          South-May 1st

  • Samhain was originally a Gaelic harvest festival. For the Irish it was celebrated over several days and resembled the Festival of the Dead. Some Neopagans have elaborate rituals to honor the dead and the deities associated with the dead in their particular culture or tradition. According to Celtic lore Samhain is a time when the boundaries between the world of the living and the world of the dead become thinner, allowing spirits and other supernatural entities to pass between the worlds to socialize with humans. It is the time of year where ancestors and other departed souls are honored. It is seen as a festival of darkness.