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Wheel Of The Year


Pagans celebrate eight Sabbats which are our Holy Days. They are about 6 weeks apart and mark the annual cycle of the Sun. We celebrate each of these Sabbats to keep us in touch with nature and to remind us that we are a part of nature. Listed are brief descriptions of each Sabbat, when they occur and a way to celebrate the day.



Yule, December 21
Yule is celebrated on the Winter Solstice. It is the shortest day of the year and as the Sun gets stronger it symbolizes the rebirth of the God. Yule is associated with understanding death and rebirth also known as reincarnation. Many Pagans celebrate all night to experience the Sun's death and then rejoice in the rebirth of the Sun at dawn.

Pagans may celebrate by exchanging gifts and decorating their homes in Yule greens and pretty lights. Some say that the lights are there to show the Sun the way back.



Imbolc, February 2
Imbolc marks the beginning of Spring. It is a celebration of fertility, inspiration and purification. It symbolizes New Beginnings and is a very good time for initiations. The word Imbolc means "in the belly" which symbolizes the awakening of life deep within the Earth, though it is not visible. The days become longer as the God (Sun) mates with the Goddess (Earth) as we await the first signs of life.

Pagans may celebrate by lighting every lamp or candle in the house for a while to honor the rebirth of the Sun. A thorough house cleaning is also a nice way to celebrate by sweeping out the old and making room for the new which is why a broom is also a symbol of Imbolc.



Ostara, March 21
Ostara occurs on the Spring Equinox and is considered the first day of Spring. The days and nights are of equal length. Plants are beginning to bud and sprout. Rabbits are symbolic to Ostara because they are the first animal to frolic after the cold of Winter. The name Ostara comes from the Teutonic Goddess Eostra. She is a Spring and fertility Goddess. It is at this time that the Goddess is impregnated by the God. A symbol of Ostara is the egg, being a symbol of fertility. A woman is as an egg... The fragile shell holds the essence of all life.

Pagans may celebrate by coloring eggs (being the symbol of fertility), collecting wildflowers and reveling in the beauty of nature by taking walks.



Beltane, May 1
Beltane celebrates the beginning of Summer. It is a celebration of love and desire, symbolized by the union of the God and the Goddess which honors the fertility of the Earth. The Irish word "Beltane" (Bel-fire) means May. Beltane was a fire festival and building a bonfire was an important part of the celebration. Today we rarely have an opportunity to build a fire so lighting a fire in a small cauldron symbolizes the Sun's fertility entering the womb of the Earth. Flowers and plants are often gathered as decorations and to be used as floral garland head pieces in honor of the Goddess. Beltane is a day when many Pagans will be Handfasted (Pagan Marriage). It is a time of self discovery, love, union and developing personal growth.

Pagans may celebrate by weaving ribbons around the May Pole and wearing flower garlands. The May Pole is a fertility symbol representing the God as the flowers and ribbons being worn and wrapped around the May Pole during dance are symbolic of the Goddess.



Litha, June 21
Litha takes place on the Summer Solstice which is the Midsummer Sabbat. It is the longest day and the shortest night. Pagans view this as the mating of the God and the Goddess at the height of their sexual powers. The God is at the peak of his power with the days being the longest. This is a time when Pagans feel it best to do rituals and spells. This is a Sabbat of bonfires to celebrate the height of the powers of the Sun.

Pagans may celebrate by finding a place outdoors to have a bonfire in celebration of the Sun. It is also a wonderful time for Handfasting.



Lughnasad, August 1
Lughnasad is a celebration of the first harvest and the first fruits. Lugh was a Celtic Sun God who died young and his name means "Lugh's games", a funeral custom. Bread and wheat are strong symbols for this harvest. The harvesting of the wheat symbolizes the cutting down of the God in his prime and the seeds which are saved for the following Spring represents the rebirth process. Grinding the wheat to make bread gives us life by the sacrifice of the God. As Pagans, we are very thankful for the food with which we have been blessed. The God is weakening giving his strength to the crops to ensure life as the Goddess is preparing to give way to her Crone aspect. Lughnasad is a time to share what you have learned. It is a time to share the fruits of achievements with the world.

Pagans may celebrate by wheat weaving, baking bread and picking berries. It is a time to decorate the altar with fruits and vegetables of the harvest.



Mabon, September 21
Mabon takes place on the Autumn Equinox. It is the second harvest festival, celebrated at the end of the harvest. The day and night again are in balance of equal length, but the light is slowly giving way to darkness. At this time the God is quickly losing strength and is preparing for his journey to the Underworld which ends at Samhain. The Goddess mourns her fallen consort but we always have the message of rebirth in the harvest seeds. It is the end of Summer and Winter is quickly approaching.

Pagans may celebrate by taking walks in the forest and gathering dried herbs and fall leaves to use as altar decorations and herbal magick. Cornbread and apple cider are nice additions to the celebration of the Sabbat. A meal such as various Thanksgiving celebrations are also akin to Mabon.



Samhain, October 31
Samhain is the most solemn and most important day of the Celtic holidays. It is considered the beginning of Winter and many Pagans feel should be celebrated on the exact day. It is the time of the final harvest and any crops left in the fields belong to the Crone aspect of the Goddess. It is a time of hunger and death. Samhain is a dividing point of the year which is a time that is not a time, a place that is not a place. The veil is the thinnest between the worlds at this time. It is a good time for divination and remembering the loved ones who have died particularly in the last year. Samhain is at the eve of November 1st which is a day of observance.

Pagans may celebrate by helping their loved ones who have passed on to find their way back by carving a pumpkin and coring an apple to hold a candle. The candle is lit giving the spirits a light to guide them back and an offering of food when they have journeyed to your home. On November 1st a feast is prepared and a place is set for every loved one that has passed so they may enjoy the feast with us, the feast of observance.

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