Gonna break the mold a little here, there’s not going to be a meditation this week or next week. Instead, we’re going full blown educational and I will be discussing the Wheel of the Year.
Starting tomorrow, I will be discussing One of the Eight holidays every day this week and next. Some days will be a little longer or shorter, as some of the holidays are a little more important or involved than others.
Since we just celebrated Ostara, and Easter is around the corner, and we’re in Spring I figured it was a good topic for now; since the Pagan and Astrological New Year just started!
The Wheel of the Year
The Wheel of the Year, also known as the Sacred Round or the Cycle of Sabbats is the annual cycle of Seasonal Celebrations.
There are Eight holidays, represented by the Eight spokes of the Wheel, they are the Great Festivals which occur at the Solstices, Equinoxes and Cross-Quarters midway between each.
These are called Sabbats which comes from the Greek work shabbat which means “to cease or rest”.
An Introduction to the next two weeks
While there are many names for each holiday, and various cultures celebrate them at slightly different times or in different ways, they all mark key moments in the year.
As the Wheel turns, or progresses through the year, it carries us through each of the holidays. Each Sabbat has rituals and myths associated with it, which we will be discussing over the next two weeks, that represent the Cycle of Life – from Birth to Death to Rebirth.
The Wheel of the Year also reflects the orbits of Stars and Planets, as well as the change of Seasons.
Many of these holidays are celebrated by almost every culture around the world, in various forms and fashions. Many have been adopted by the Christian calendar and/or altered from their original form to a more modern celebration.
A bonfire in the evening has always been the most common form of celebration, and for a lot of people it still is!
Some of the Sabbats, such as Samhain, are huge rituals that often involve large groups. Other, such as Yule, tend to be more private and family-based, steeped more in personal tradition than anything else.
Since the Wheel is round, any starting point is fairly arbitrary, and many of them are considered some form of a “new year” to one culture or tradition.
My Tradition starts with the Astrological New Year and Spring, so I chose to begin here and now!
As we celebrate and live through each of the Sabbats we complete another trip around the sun, another four seasons on Earth and experience many changes in our own life. One does not have to look much further than mid-Winter cabin fever or Seasonal Affective Disorder to see how much influence this has on our lives.
It is that influence, that power, and what that journey represents that we are celebrating. As we begin to explore each holiday we will really see how much of an impact that seasons and celestial events have on us and why we celebrate them with such austerity!
Many of these holidays became popular or were started during an agrarian society, and the agricultural year was very important to ancient Roman civilization as well.
The Roman Empire had huge celebrations every month, and many of those correspond to the Wheel of the Year and were celebrated by other groups all over the world as well.
Since farmers and agrarian people were very aware of the Solstices and Equinoxes, how they affected crops and marked the seasons, it is no surprise they were celebrated in such fashion.
There are many rituals and correspondences with each Sabbat, various Gods and Goddesses from all over the world. Obviously I won’t be covering all of them, one could easily write multiple books on each holiday if you did that; but I will have additional information or resources to go with each one if you are interested in delving deeper just let me know!