Wicca 101: The Wheel of the Year
Hello all! Hope everyone has had a wonderful week.
So I was enjoying my lunch the other day going over a few ideas for some posts when I realized…I hadn’t done a Wheel of the Year post. Sure I’ve covered a few holidays in detail as they’ve come upon us…but I haven’t done an actual Wheel post.
Shame on me…for shame!
So I’m gonna go ahead and rectify that right here. This does mean that my year and a day study post is gonna get pushed back a bit. I’m sorry; I will get to it.
As you continue your journey into Wicca (or whatever branch of pagansim you might practice) you will notice a theme of circles/cycles. Our Faith is a very cyclic in nature….possibly because nature itself is cyclic. The world spins, the seasons chance, things are born and things die. The interconnectedness of the world and the things on it (and in it) go through the cycles of life. Don’t believe me?
When we cast a circle it’s done in a specific way as to summoning the spirits of the elements.
When we watch the moon it’s to better understand her cycle.
The God and Goddess go through stages of life in turn and return to the world to do it all over again.
I could keep going…but I’m pretty sure you all get the point.
What it comes down to is Wicca is a religion with a focus on interconnectedness…our holidays are no different.
So it goes like this:
When I refer to ‘Wheel’ of the Year; I mean it. In paganism in general, and Wicca specifically, this is the cycle of holidays as we practice them. However, every branch of paganism practices the holidays a little differently. In this post I am going to give a very brief overview of each holiday for the sake of your knowledge and understanding.
Because one of the first things that people ask when they want to know more is 'when/how/why do you celebrate’ Worse? A lot of people who claim paganism can’t answer them. A year or so ago Fox News did a little chat about a college that had added pagan holidays to a pamphlet that they give to professors (the pamphlet is done so professors don’t schedule test or projects for those days in order to be respectful to students choice of worship. ) Fox decided to say some pretty mean things during their discussion on this…not a surprise really…but the one that stuck out to me was that most pagans can’t name their own holidays.
The worst part? They’re right. A good portion of us did not have a childhood in which these holiday’s were something recognized and practiced by an ENTIRE government. So no, we don’t.
Let’s see if I can fix that; shall we?
Traditionally practiced on or near Halloween this is the holiday that is associated with death and rebirth. In Wicca this is when Mother becomes Crown and the veil between this and the spirit world are thin. It is a time to speak with your ancestors or those recently lost. We place carved pumpkins outside of our house in order to catch or scare away bad spirits. This is the holiday most closely associated with witchcraft by popular culture. It is the last of the harvest festivals.
Celebrated on December 21st or the winter solstice. It is a festival of rebirth and a time to say goodby to the Holly King. It is celebrated by the giving of gifts, chocolate, and fire to loved ones. We decorate a tree for the Holly King, and we give gifts for the newly born oak king. The main focus of this holiday is the Yule Log.
Celebrated on Febuary 1st or 2nd sometimes referred to as Brighid’s Day. It is the return of light. In certain paths it is when the Goddess recovers from giving birth to the new year or the Oak King, in others it is when the god and goddess become youth and maiden and the flirtatious dance begins. This a big day for warmth, new beginnings, and light.
The Spring Equinox; The true arrival of spring. Often celebrated around March 21st. The celebration of Hester and the coloring of eggs in her name. The feast of the rabbit. This holiday is all about light hearts and spring. A celebration of the new plant life. This is the day of 'spring cleaning’ a time to get rid of that which we no longer need to make room for the new life ahead. Also…the Hunt.
Mayday or May 1st. Beltane is the Holiday that gets a lot of pagans into trouble with the abrahamic regions as sex is part of the holiday. In this holiday the God and Goddess come together to create life between them. While this is a part of the holiday…it is not the only part. The Earth, Motherhood, Fertility, Agriculture, and others are all themes to this day.
The Longest Day of the Year this holiday is held around June 21st on the summer solstice; usually . This is BBQ day as far as pagans are concerned. The world is hot, food is plentiful, and this is the time for the Sun and all the power that he possesses. Your crops are ripening and anything you wanted to get done…get it done.Today is for getting back to nature and enjoying all that the heat has to offer.
Warm reflection and reaping rewards; this is the first of three harvest festivals. We celebrate by offering part of what we have accomplished to the world, the universe, or/and the God and Goddess. Thank them for what they’ve given and keep up the hard work. The god Lugh is a central/standard theme here. Also bread…lots and lots of bread.
Harvest Home, Mabon, the Feast of the Ingathering, Meán Fómhair or Alban Elfed. Mabon is celebrated on the autum equinox, around september 20th – 22nd. Mabon is a sort of thanksgiving of our holidays. We gather, we eat, we know the cold is coming. It’s a time of reflection and reconnection with ourselves and eachother. It is the time when we know that warmth is fading, at that which needs to be tended…should be.
Hope this has been helpful. If you have any questions, concerns, or adendums…inbox me to let me know!