The Wheel of the Year is a spiritually potent symbol of the 8 seasonal festivals. I include the Germanic Sacred Nights making it 9. Following nature's calendar is a way to honor it's cycles providing us insightful opportunities to give thanks, set intention and release. A time to carve out space for reflection of what is currently happening in nature, and how we can tap into that energy to create a life we love.
The Wheel of the Year includes the following festivals in the Northern Hemisphere:
Samhain 31 October
Winter Solstice (Yule) 21-22 December
12 Sacred Nights - 25 December - 6 January
Imbolc 2 February
Spring Equinox (Ostara) 21-22 March
Beltane 1 May
Summer Solstice (Litha) 21-22 June
Lughnasadh 1 August
Autumn Equinox (Mabon) 21-22 September
For the Southern Hemisphere:
Samhain 30 April
Winter Solstice (Yule) 21-22 June
Imbolc 2 August
Spring Equinox (Ostara) 21-22 September
Beltane 1 November
Summer Solstice (Litha) 21-22 December
Lughnasadh 1 February
Autumn Equinox (Mabon) 21-22 March
These dates help anchor in our energies in order to bring in a new wind of air with every transition that occurs in nature. It helps wind down energy into the moment and reflect about what was and what wasn't.
There is no indications that this wheel was used in ancient times, however became increasingly popular in the wicca movement around the 50's.
Marks the beginning of the cycle in the wheel of the year. it is what we know as the new year and means summer's end. It symbolizes the end of the season of light and the beginning of the season of darkness. It holds the same date as halloween, where many rituals were originally from. It is known as a time where the veil is extremely thin between the living and the dead. Rituals to honor the dead and our ancestors is a powerful way to honor this day.
Also known as Yule - a celebration to honor the shortest day of the year and longest night. During these festivities trees were honored. Typcially a tree was decorated outdoors, and a bonfire to honor the rebirth of new beginnings. People gathered around the bonfire and tree to sing songs and burn holly. A piece of log was saved to start the New Year's fire symbolizing continuity. Gifts were offered during this time. As you might have picked up on - something we typically do in Christmas traditions.
12 Sacred Nights
Known as the darkest nights of the year. A mystical time to protect your home with incense and candles by the windows, as the spirit world is more active than usual. A time to go within, honor your home, and reflect about the past year and what you desire to manifest in the year ahead. These nights invite you to journey inward and let your dreams deliver omens to the New Year. Every night represents one of the 12 months. Every year I guide a group through a ritual during these 12 Sacred Nights.
A celebration of fertility, rebirth and purification. Marks the mid-way point between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Imbolc holds special ties to the celtic Goddess, Brigid. a time to gather with friends around fire, engage in nature arts and crafts and visit a natural water source to complete a cleansing ritual.
Named after the German Goddess, Eostre, this day marks the retun of the light. Winter is now officially over. A major sign of fertility bringing with it a symbol of rabbits, eggs and chicks. Flowers are another big symbol for this time. The new budding of life. Spring cleaning, bringing in flowers into your home or altar, planting seeds, or having creative brainstorm sessions for future projects are all beautiful things you can do on this day.
Now is the time to honor the Goddess within. This day marks light, fertility, sensual activities such as dance, ceremony, pleasure. It is a celebration for the season to come representing passion and desires. Dancing is a major part of this day. It typically took place around a tree, which later on developed into a maypole. It is said that fairies awoke during this day.
Marks the longest day of the year. Typically bonfires, dancing, eating honeycake were all common celebrations do undertake on this day. It was said that on this day mischief could easily happen on this day, as the fairies are more active now than ever. A self-protection ritual was something that was often done on this day. A day to spend outdoors under the sun, swimming and enjoying summer activities.
Also known as the harvest festival celebrating the half-way point of summer and autumn. Formerly in ancient times, the first fresh fruits were offered to the Gods and Goddesses, while humans celebrated on the earth for the abundance that was provided to them from the earth. An ideal time to write down everything we are grateful for, to volunteer, go for long walks outdoors, eat nature's abundance, especially in fruit.
Finally, this day marks the day of giving thanks and deep reflection as our energies go inwards. We reflect on what was lost and what was gained. Originally, rituals were focused around the loss of the Goddess who returned to the underworld every autumn following the cold season ahead. Honor this period by bringing in fall colors to your home and altar.
All of the days points when it is a time to go within, and nurture the relationship we have to our Mother Earth. As soon as we become aware of the cycles around us, we automatically become more aware of our own personal inner cyles.
I invite you give these days an opportunity to become part of your ritual and tradition. Personally, I like to use these days as a time to reflect on what has the season brought me so far, what were my intentions this past seaon and what is my intentions for this upcoming season?
Thank you for reading today and do share this blog article with anyone you think this might be interesting for.
Sending many blessings your way and happy ritualing,
Priestess by Julie Parker
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About the writer
Inés Kelly grew up in multi-cultural giving her access to various traditions, where her affinity to rituals stem from.
Her mission is to bring the community together to honor the cyclical nature of nature. Thus honoring one's own cycle through life.
She gives readings weaving in Human Design, Gene Keys, and Astrology. Her integral approach offers a holistic approach to self-wisdom.