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The Wheel of the Year

WHAT IS THE WHEEL OF THE YEAR?

The wheel of the year is an ancient Celtic calendar based on festivals that celebrated our connection with nature. The calendar revolves around eight festivals, from Imbolc to Yule – each one signaling a shift in the season, weather, and the natural world around us. On these dates, the beginning and end of the seasons are celebrated, such as the equinoxes and the solstices. This calendar is currently used by neo-pagans; although it’s very common to associate the wheel of the year with Wicca, since it relates this myth to the cycle of growth, maturation, and death of the God, it’s actually a calendar widely used by pagans in general, whether they believe in other pantheons, or even without following a specific religion.

The sole purpose of this calendar is to connect with nature and its cycles, so no pantheon or religion is needed to celebrate the wheel of the year. Celebrating these seasonal shifts with festivities is intended to help us to connect with the spirit of our ancestors, a connection that leads directly to Mother Earth more than to any deity.

This calendar is relatively new, as there isn’t enough information about some of these celebrations, or even their names since oral tradition prevailed in those times. This calendar tries to approximate the traditions practiced by the Gaelic and Germanic peoples.


The Celts had four great festivals: Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, and Lughnasadh, these are called the “major sabbats”, which are celebrated at the midpoint between each solstice and equinox. Although for the Gaelic peoples these four celebrations existed, they corresponded more than anything to the farmers, since the ranchers saw the year divided into two: half-light and half-dark.

Later the Celts included the solstices in their festivities, a tradition that the Saxons brought with them, but actually the tradition of celebrating the solstices and equinoxes is inherited from the Germanic peoples. These celebrations are called the “lesser sabbats”, and each of the eight festivals is celebrated roughly every month and a half, or every six and a half weeks and makes up what we now refer to as the Wheel of the Year. 


The eight main celebrations (or festivals) that make up the Wheel of the Year.


4 Cross-Quarter (fire) festivals:

And 4 Quarter-Point (solar) festivals:

  • Ostara  – Spring Equinox (20th – 23rd March)

  • Litha – Summer Solstice (20th – 23rd June)

  • Mabon – Autumn Equinox (20th – 23rd September)

  • Yule – Winter Solstice (20th – 23rd December)

Zema💜


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