the wheel of the year

The Wheel of the Year

The Wheel of the Year is an annual cycle of seasonal festivals, observed by many modern Pagans. It consists of either four or eight festivals: either the solstices and equinoxes, known as the “quarter days”, or the four midpoints between, known as the “cross quarter days”.

The festivals celebrated by differing sects of modern Paganism can vary considerably in name and date. Observing the cycle of the seasons has been important to many people, both ancient and modern, and many contemporary Pagan festivals are based to varying degrees on folk traditions.

In many traditions of modern Pagan cosmology, all things are considered to be cyclical, with time as a perpetual cycle of growth and retreat tied to the Sun’s annual death and rebirth.

Yule/Winter Solstice: a festival observed by the historical Germanic peoples, later undergoing Christian reformulation resulting in the now better-known Christmastide. A celebration the beginning of longer days, as this is the shortest day of the year in terms of sunlight. 

Imbolc: the first cross-quarter day following Midwinter this day falls on the first of February and traditionally marks the first stirrings of spring. It is time for purification and spring cleaning in anticipation of the year’s new life. 

For Celtic pagans, the festival is dedicated to the goddess Brigid, daughter of The Dagda and one of the Tuatha Dé Danann.

Among witches reclaiming tradition, this is the  time for pledges and dedications for the coming year.

Ostara/Spring Equinox: from this point on, days are longer than the nights. Many mythologies, regard this as the time of rebirth or return for vegetation gods and celebrate the spring equinox as a time of great fertility.

Germanic pagans dedicate the holiday to their fertility goddess, Ostara. She is notably associated with the symbols of the hare and egg. Her Teutonic name may be etymological ancestor of the words east and Easter.

Beltrane: traditionally the first day of summer in Ireland, in Rome the earliest celebrations appeared in pre-Christian times with the festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, and the Walpurgis Night celebrations of the Germanic countries. 

Since the Christianization of Europe, a more secular version of the festival has continued in Europe and America. In this form, it is well known for maypole dancing and the crowning of the Queen of the May.

Litha/Summer Solstice: one of the four solar holidays, and is considered the turning point at which summer reaches its height and the sun shines longest.

Luchnassad/Lammas: It is marked the holiday by baking a figure of the god in bread and eating it, to symbolize the sanctity and importance of the harvest. Celebrations vary, as not all Pagans are Wiccans.  

The name Lammas (contraction of loaf mass) implies it is an agrarian-based festival and feast of thanksgiving for grain and bread, which symbolizes the first fruits of the harvest. Christian festivals may incorporate elements from the Pagan Ritual.

Mabon/Autumn Equinox: a Pagan ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth and a recognition of the need to share them to secure the blessings of the Goddess and the God during the coming winter months. The name Mabon was coined by Aidan Kelly around 1970 as a reference to Mabon ap Modron, a character from Welsh mythology. Among the sabbats, it is the second of the three Pagan harvest festivals, preceded by Lammas / Lughnasadh and followed by Samhain.

Samhain: considered by some as a time to celebrate the lives of those who have passed on, and it often involves paying respect to ancestors, family members, elders of the faith, friends, pets, and other loved ones who have died. In some rituals the spirits of the departed are invited to attend the festivities. It is seen as a festival of darkness, which is balanced at the opposite point of the wheel by the festival of Beltane, which is celebrated as a festival of light and fertility.

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✨So here’s my grimoire again. I’ve been working more on it. I was nervous to fuck it up since the notebook is very special (it was a gift). I understood then that grimoires have to be practical and useful so I focused on making it that way. I know a lot of us don’t use lovely notebooks because we don’t know where to start.  Just make it useful and then make it beautiful. 

Make your craft your own 🌙 

Transitions between the Wheel
(For the four seasons)

This is from my personal practice with observing the wheel of the year and my focus on each transition between the sabbats. I honor the current seasons in between. Each transition has it’s importance to self care and managing the home and garden. I will probably add to this later cause some paragraphs I wrote I feel like are a bit vague. Some of these transitions are not meant to be 100% literal and static but I feel like they are good areas to focus on for that moment in the year.

Yule->Imbolc
Resting

During the thick of winter when it’s too cold to do anything and always dark, it’s the perfect moment in the year to rest. The focus is on relaxing, taking extra time to sleep and care for the body especially to not get sick.
Winter is also ‘spa’ season because the air is so dry and harsh it’s a good time to soak in hot baths and scrub away dead skin and moisturize with protective lotion. Do not try to make new plans, yet sit home, rest and reflect. 

Imbolc -> Ostara
Cleansing

When winter thaws it’s a great time to clean the home and prepare for spring. Personally, I also like to do a body cleanse since I tend to eat a lot of processed (yet delicious ;-;) foods all year round. This also makes up for all the heavy foods I’ve been eating since Summer (all the BBQs) to Winter comfort foods. As I clean the home and get rid of stuff that has accumulated over the year, I clean the body. Also the focus is on cleaning the home as well. Breathing in the same air, especially if its full of dust, is really unhealthy and it’s good as the days are getting a little warmer to open up the windows for a few minutes to allow in fresh air to circulate. This is also the time of year I throw out old furniture, accumulated things and rearrange furniture in the room as well.

Ostara -> Beltane
Sowing

Spring is a great time to germinate sprouts along with other seeds and clean the backyard or garden to grow plants. If you like to compost it’s a time to start mixing in the vegetable/fruit/plant scraps with the soil. Spring is also a great time to sow bigger changes in life as well. Something about the warm new season brings an air of flirtatiousness and ‘socialness’ that makes it perfect for making new friends or finding a partner. (Probably because people can finally come out of hibernation). It’s also a fantastic time to work on your image and portfolio and apply for long term jobs that begin in the summer or fall. Spring is the season for new beginnings and putting long term plans into action.

Beltane -> Litha
Growing

A tradition I like to do on Beltane is repotting of plants and gardening. Repotting plants is a tradition I try to focus on every year because it’s very easy for house plants to die due to dead soil. Plus it makes the inside of the house super vibrant and lively to have fresh new soil in pots. From this point to summer solstice is the point of growth. Growth in the garden but also growth of personal goals. May and June feel like hectic months where there are so many events and opportunities to advance your work or change your social scene, that if I am not personally progressing, I focus all of my attention on my growth.

Litha -> Lughnasadh
Thriving

Its the heat of summer! It’s time to get out and feel the intense hot energy and use its power to focus on goals and networking! Where I am there’s usually an exciting event every week where it’s an opportunity to make more connections and meet more friends but also since its warm and nature is so vibrant it’s time to take some days to relax and get away to enjoy the heat and life of nature. Go to the beach, go hiking, swim in a lake, sleep under the stars. Be active since the efforts will pay off. 

Lughnasadh -> Mabon
Reaping

This is the time you earn what you’ve sowed both literally and metaphorically. If you have a garden its the time it will start giving back. If you are an active goer of a farmers market you will notice how beautifully abundant the stands are. If in Spring you’ve sent out tons of job applications, and in Summer got the job you’ve wanted and worked hard, then by now you should start seeing some results. If there are no results being seen it’s a time for reflection and re-strategizing. There is a second chance in this time to start again before the cold and the holiday season bulldozes through.

Mabon -> Samhain
Harvesting/Gathering

This is the time to gather and harvest. Usually family tends to gather now since it’s the holiday season. There’s not much other than gathering to be done since family and holidays are bombarding you from all sides. Also there is an abundance of food. This is great to store for the next transition which is

Samhain -> Yule
Preparation

This is the moment to prepare for winter. My warddrobe completely changes here, I take up knitting projects that were abandoned last Imbolc, and I store food and herbs for the winter to use. Also making preserves from things in the garden or hand knitting clothes make great presents for the winter holidays. This is also a time to prepare the garden for hibernation. Take in potted plants, harvest the last of the herbs and food (that are not potted). Make sure plants you do not want to die have a place to chill in the house.

  • Me: okay 2016 in your grand final sweep you have taken george micheal carrie fisher and debby reynolds. We're done with bad shit right. There cant be more bad shit. Just let us be three legends are gone.
  • 2016: *rolls the wheel* uuuuuuhhhhh ya remember azealia banks and how she deleted her twitter this year
  • Me: no nononono that was the only good part of this year please don-
  • 2016: fuck you shes been sacrificing chickens in her apartment for three years heres video of it
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kogasaku for @snepdragon​! (๑ơ ₃ ơ)

Imbolc Playlist

Admit it.

Sometimes pagan jams are a bit too folksy or ambient for a gathering. I feel you. I love my ambient folk as much as the next witch but as your prepping the food, gathering the herbs, or post rit as the circle opens and it’s time to just hang skyclad with your coven in the hot tub after your group bathing ritual. You want something that hits a wider variety of musical tastes. 

I made this list with the idea that I could listen to it on the lead up to a Sabbat to get pumped and then as the party track list for while we’re doing the stuff before and after circle. Each track is themed for the Sabbat and I tried to hit as many genres as I could. 

That said, I can’t know all music. what else belongs on this playlist?

The Quickening by Spiral Dance 
Florence + The Machine - What the Water Gave Me
Adele - Set Fire to the Rain Lyrics
Princess Chelsea - The Cigarette Duet
Witchy Woman - Eagles
Anaconda - The Educational Version (Nicki Minaj Parody)
Blackmore’s Night - The Circle
Sesame Street Rubber Ducky Song
Medusaby MissNightMare
Rise Up by Spiral Dance
Kerli - Blossom
Inkubus sukkubus - Witches
Cauldron - Into The Cauldron
Cauldron - Empress
Melt The Ice Away
Brighids Kiss, Trinitiy
Deityby KeepMusicPagan
O.Children - Swimby Dan Amariei
Lisa Thiel - Imbolc 
The Gits - A Change Is Gonna Come
Brighid by Kellianna
Cracker - Another Song About the Rain
Bridget’s Song by Celia
Voltaire - Ravens Land 
Incubus & D.J. Greyboy - Familiar
Woman of the Earthby Nika Prusova
Avicii - Feeling Good (feat. Audra Mae)
Witch’s Rune by SJ Tucker 
Puscifer - The Humbling River 
Ibeyi - River
Daughter of the Elements ~ Music by Lisa Thiel
Portishead - Glory Box
Rock the Goddess by Serpentine Arborvitae
The Sword - Maiden, Mother & Crone
Мельница - Река (Ангелофрения. Аудио)
Mystic - Neptune’s Jewels
Cernunnos Rising - Imbolc 
Behold by  Spinner McBride
Goddess by Various Artists
The Gits - Second Skin
Bridget’s Song by RavynStar
Laura Mvula - Sing To The Moonby Hiago de Carvalho
Ibeyi - Oyaby
Mordred’s Lullaby- Lyrics by joanne zeehond
Madonna - Frozen
Ocean Gipsy by Neboola
Phaeleh - Whistling in the Dark feat. Augustus Ghost 
Brighid’s Flame~The Story Of Imbolc by Summer Rose
Tribute to our Goddess Lilith by Worland’s & Wills
O. Children - Oceanside - Apnea 
The Kinks - Better Things (1981)

The Wheel of the Year

Imbolc: Hell yeah it’s almost spring

Ostara: Hell yeah it’s spring 

Beltane: Hell yeah it’s summer 

Midsummer: Hell yeah it’s the middle of the summer

Lughnasadh: Hell yeah it’s the first harvest 

Mabon: Hell yeah it’s the second harvest 

Samhain: Hell yeah it’s the last harvest

Yule: Hell yeah it’s winter