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Encyclopedia > Wheel of the Year

In Neopaganism, the Wheel of the Year is the natural cycle of the seasons, commemorated by the eight Sabbats. Neopaganism (sometimes Neo-Paganism, meaning New Paganism) describes a heterogeneous group of modern religions, many of which attempt to revive ancient, mainly European pre-Christian, and often pre-Judaic religions. ... A season is one of the major divisions of the year, generally based on broad climatic patterns. ... In neopaganism, a Sabbat is one of the eight major seasonal festivals which make up the Wheel of the Year. ...


Because one tenet of Neopaganism is that all of nature is cyclical, the passing of time is also seen as a cycle, a wheel which turns and turns. The course of birth, life, decline, and death that we see in our human lives is echoed in the seasons. The eight Sabbats are religious holidays that celebrate the passing of the year. Childbirth (also called labour, birth, or parturition) is the culmination of a human pregnancy with the emergence of a newborn infant from its mothers uterus. ... ... Old age consists of ages nearing the average lifespan of human beings, and thus the end of the human life cycle. ... In Western culture, skeletons are often the symbol of death. ...


Each Sabbat also symbolizes a time in the life of the God, who is born from the Goddess, grows to full manhood, mates with her, and reigns as king during the summer. He then declines and dies, rising anew the next year. The term God (capitalized in English language as a proper noun) is often used to refer to a Supreme Being. ... A goddess is a female deity in contrast with a male deity known as a god. A great many cultures have goddesses, sometimes alone, but more often as part of a larger pantheon that includes both of the conventional genders and in some cases even hermaphroditic (or gender neutral) deities. ...


The Sabbats, with the traditional dates of their celebrations, are:

This calendar follows the seasons of the northern hemisphere, where the celebration of Sabbats originated. Yule is the winter solstice Blót (celebration) in Ásatrú, the pagan practices of the Germanic peoples prior to the arrival of Christianity. ... Illumination of Earth by Sun on the day of winter solstice on northern hemisphere In astronomy, the winter solstice is the moment when the earth is in a point of its orbit at which the northern or southern hemisphere is most inclined away from the sun. ... Imbolc is one of the eight solar holidays, festivals or sabbats of the Neopagan wheel of the year, with some origins in Irish mythology and the pre-Christian Celtic calendar. ... February 2 is the 33rd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... This article is about the solar holiday. ... In astronomy, the vernal equinox (spring equinox, March equinox, or northward equinox) is the equinox at the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere: the moment when the sun appears to cross the celestial equator, heading northward. ... Beltane or Beltaine (from Irish Bealtaine or Scottish Gaelic Bealtuinn; both from Old Irish Beltene, bright fire from *belo-te(p)niâ) is an ancient Gaelic holiday celebrated around May 1. ... May Day is a name for various holidays celebrated on May 1 (or in the beginning of May). ... May 1 is the 121st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (122nd in leap years). ... Midsummer celebration, Ã…mmeberg, Sweden Midsummer, or Litha as it was known by the ancient Germanic peoples and to this day by modern Pagans, refers the period of time centered upon the summer solstice and the religious celebrations that accompany it. ... Litha, the entire light half of the year, is centered upon Midsummer, with which it is easily identified, so that the summer solstice holiday is often referred to as Litha, especially in the recreated calendar used in the revived Germanic religion of Asatru. ... Illumination of Earth by Sun on the day of summer solstice on northern hemisphere The summer solstice is an astronomical term regarding the position of the Sun in relation to the celestial equator. ... Lughnasadh (or Lughnasa; modern Irish Lúnasa; Modern Scots Gaelic, Lunasdal) is a Gaelic holiday celebrated on 1 August, during the time of the harvesting. ... The name of Lammas originated from the Feast of Lughnasadh or Lugh (Lu) and comes from one of the legends of Ireland It is believed that the tradition of the festival of Lugh expanded into events and celebration through many cultures, we find the Lammas in Saxon times, in the... August 1st is the 213th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (214th in leap years), with 152 days remaining. ... For the Welsh mythological character, please see Mabon ap Modron. ... In astronomy, the autumnal equinox signals the beginning of autumn in the northern hemisphere: the moment when the sun appears to cross the celestial equator, heading southward; the equinox occurs around September 22–September 24, varying slightly each year according to the 400-year cycle of leap years in the... Samhain (Irish samhain, Scots Gaelic samhuinn, pronounced [sāvÄ«n]) is the word for November in the Gaelic. ... October 31 is the 304th day of the year (305th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 61 days remaining, as the final day of October. ...


Neopagans in the southern hemisphere usually celebrate the Sabbats on the opposite dates of the year (6 months apart from the northern dates), in order to follow the cycle of seasons where they live; i.e. an Australian Neopagan would celebrate Samhain on May 1, when a Canadian Neopagan would be celebrating Beltane.


Another variant of the Wheel sets the four Sun Sabbats (Yule, Ostara, Litha and Mabon) to the solstice/equinox dates, while the other four (called Moon Sabbats) are set depending on the phase of the moon, with Imbolc, Beltane and Lammas at full moon and Samhain at the new moon dates. Yule is the winter solstice Blót (celebration) in Ásatrú, the pagan practices of the Germanic peoples prior to the arrival of Christianity. ... This article is about the solar holiday. ... Litha, the entire light half of the year, is centered upon Midsummer, with which it is easily identified, so that the summer solstice holiday is often referred to as Litha, especially in the recreated calendar used in the revived Germanic religion of Asatru. ... For the Welsh mythological character, please see Mabon ap Modron. ... In astronomy, a phase of the Moon is any of the aspects or appearances presented by the Moon as seen from Earth, determined by the portion of the Moon that is visibly illuminated by the Sun. ... Imbolc is one of the eight solar holidays, festivals or sabbats of the Neopagan wheel of the year, with some origins in Irish mythology and the pre-Christian Celtic calendar. ... Beltane or Beltaine (from Irish Bealtaine or Scottish Gaelic Bealtuinn; both from Old Irish Beltene, bright fire from *belo-te(p)niâ) is an ancient Gaelic holiday celebrated around May 1. ... The name of Lammas originated from the Feast of Lughnasadh or Lugh (Lu) and comes from one of the legends of Ireland It is believed that the tradition of the festival of Lugh expanded into events and celebration through many cultures, we find the Lammas in Saxon times, in the... Samhain (Irish samhain, Scots Gaelic samhuinn, pronounced [sāvÄ«n]) is the word for November in the Gaelic. ...

Contents


Antiquity of the Wheel

The four quarter festivals (often called 'fire festivals') of Imbolc, Beltaine, Lughnasadh and Samhain are historically authentic and derive from Irish sources, while the feast of Midwinter was indeed celebrated in England.


However, the Wheel of the Year as such is likely a modern Wiccan construct, combining various traditions in order to make up an eightfold seasonal round. There is no evidence that any group of historical Pagans followed the full cycle; this can be demonstrated by the observation that some of the festivals are drawn from those of the Gaels and some from the Anglo-Saxons, while a third class have been constructed to fill out the assumed cycle. For the book series Wicca see Sweep (book series) and Circle Of Three. ... The Gaels are a linguistic group in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man, whose language is one that is Gaelic (Goidelic). ... The Anglo-Saxons refers collectively to the groups of Germanic tribes who achieved dominance in southern Britain from the mid-5th century, forming the basis for the modern English nation. ...

"No known pre-Christian people celebrated all the eight festivals of the calendar adopted by Wicca. Around the four genuine Gaelic quarter days are now ranged the Midwinter and September feasts of the Anglo-Saxons, the Midsummer celebrations so prominent in folklore and (for symmetry) the vernal equinox, which does not seem to have been commemorated by any ancient northern Europeans."
Source: The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles, Ron Hutton

Gregorian months in the wheel of the year

  • January ends at or near Imbolc in the northern hemisphere and Lughnasadh in the southern hemisphere.
  • February begins at or near Imbolc in the northern hemisphere' Lughnasadh in the southern.
  • March spans spring equinox in the northern hemisphere and autumn equinox in the southern. These equinoxes coincide on or about March 21.
  • April ends at or near Bealtaine in the northern hemisphere, Samhain in the southern.
  • May begins at or near Bealtaine in the northern hemisphere, Samhain in the southern.
  • June spans summer solstice in the northern hemiphere and winter solstice in the southern. These solstices coincide on or about June 21.
  • July ends at or near Lughnasadh in the northern hemisphere and Imbolc in the southern.
  • August begins at or near Lughnasadh in the northern hemisphere' Imbolc in the southern. .
  • September spans autumn equinox in the northern hemisphere and spring equinox in the southern. These equinoxes coincide on or about September 21.
  • October ends at or near Samhain in the northern hemisphere, Bealtaine in the southern.
  • November begins at or near Samhain in the northern hemisphere, Bealtaine in the southern
  • December spans winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and summer solstice in the southern. These solstices coincide on or about December 21.

January is the first month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days. ... February is the second month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... March is the third month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days. ... April is the fourth month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of four with the length of 30 days. ... This article is about the month of May. ... June is the sixth month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of four with the length of 30 days. ... July is the seventh month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days. ... Note: as an adjective (stressed on the second syllable instead of the first), august means honorable. ... September is the ninth month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of four Gregorian months with the length of 30 days. ... October is the tenth month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days. ... November is the eleventh month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of four Gregorian months with the length of 30 days. ... December is the twelfth and last month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days. ...

Astrological signs in the wheel of the year

  • Capricorn begins at winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, summer solstice in the southern hemisphere.
  • Aquarius spans Imbolc in the northern hemisphere, Lughnasadh in the southern.
  • Pisces ends at spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, autumn in the southern.
  • Aries begins at spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, autumn in the southern.
  • Taurus spans Bealtaine in the northern hemisphere, Samhain in the southern.
  • Gemini ends at summer solstice in the northern hemosphere, winter in the southern.
  • Cancer begins at summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, winter in the southern.
  • Leo spans Lughnasadh in the northern hemisphere, winter in the southern.
  • Virgo ends at autumn equinox in the northern hemisphere, spring in the southern.
  • Libra begins at autumn equinox in the northern hemisphere, winter in the southern.
  • Scorpio spans Samhain in the northern hemisphere, Bealtaine in the southern.
  • Sagittarius ends at winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, summer in the southern.

Samhain, Imbolc, Bealtaine and Lughnasadh are sometimes defined as cross-quarter points and their dates seem to pay anachronistic respect to the Gregorian calendar. Unlike the astrological calendar the Gregorian is not aligned with particular astronomical events in the wheel of the year. Both the cross-quarter dates and the Gregorian calendar may represent however some ancient (now forgotten) practice in the alignment of a twelve-month calendar, practice in which the alignment is deliberately one-eighth of a circle (45 degrees) out of phase with that of the astrological calendar. Capricornus (♑), a name meaning Horned Goat in Latin, is one of the constellations of the zodiac. ... Aquarius (♒), being Latin for of the water, is one of the oldest recognized constellations along the zodiac, the suns apparent path. ... Pisces (♓, Latin for fish (plural)) is a zodiac constellation which lies between Aquarius to the west and Aries to the east. ... Aries (♈) is one of the constellations of the zodiac, and its name is Latin for Ram. ... TAURUS is credit transfer agrrement system for SUNY Colleges ... In mythology, the Gemini are Castor and Polydeuces. ... When normal cells are damaged or old they undergo apoptosis; cancer cells, however, avoid apoptosis. ... Leo (Latin for lion) is a constellation of the zodiac. ... See VIRGO (physics) for a French-Italian project in physics. ... Libra (♎, and Latin for balance) is a constellation of the zodiac. ... Scorpius (♏, and Latin for scorpion) is one of the constellations of the zodiac. ... Sagittarius (♐, and Latin for Archer) is a constellation of the zodiac, commonly depicted as a centaur drawing a bow. ... The Gregorian calendar is the calendar widely used in the Western world. ... This article is about the astrological concept. ...


In the Gregorian calendar four boundaries between months are close to but several days earlier than the precise midpoints between solstices and equinoxes. If the Gregorian calendar had equal-length months and were accurately aligned with the precise cross-quarter points then the solstices and equinoxes would fall halfway through the months of December, March, June and September, and the true cross-quarter points would be on the boundaries between October and November, January and February, April and May and between July and August. December is the twelfth and last month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days. ... March is the third month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days. ... June is the sixth month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of four with the length of 30 days. ... September is the ninth month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of four Gregorian months with the length of 30 days. ... October is the tenth month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days. ... November is the eleventh month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of four Gregorian months with the length of 30 days. ... January is the first month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days. ... February is the second month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... April is the fourth month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of four with the length of 30 days. ... This article is about the month of May. ... July is the seventh month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days. ... Note: as an adjective (stressed on the second syllable instead of the first), august means honorable. ...


See also

The Celtic calendar was and remains a way to reconcile lunar and solar years, for purposes of ritual. ...

  Results from FactBites:
 
Search The Llewellyn Encyclopedia: Wheel of the Year (112 words)
Wheel of the Year: A term for the seasons or cycles of Nature marked by the Sabbats of Wicca/Witchcraft.
It is often symbolized by an eight-spoke wheel indicating each solstice and equinox, as well as the days that fall exactly between each, the midpoints or cross-quarters.
A Year of Ritual: Sabbats & Esbats for Solitaries & Covens
NodeWorks - Encyclopedia: Wheel of the Year (893 words)
Each Sabbat also symbolizes a time in the life of the God, who is born from the Goddess, grows to full manhood, mates with her, and reigns as king during the summer.
The Wheel of the Year is a modern construct and derives from Wicca.
Both the cross-quarter dates and the Gregorian calendar may represent however some ancient (now forgotten) practice in the alignment of a twelve-month calendar, practice in which the alignment is deliberately one-eighth of a circle (45 degrees) out of phase with that of the astrological calendar.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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