By definition the Wheel of the Year is a Wiccan and Neopagan term for the annual cycle of the Earth’s seasons. It consists of eight festivals, spaced at approximately even intervals throughout the year. These festivals are referred to by Wiccans as Sabbats.
Other Names: Witch’s New Year, Summer’s End, All Hollow’s Eve
Date: October 31 (Greater Sabbat/Cross Quarter)
Celebration of: The Lord dies and awaits his rebirth at Yule
Related Holiday: Halloween
Colors: Orange & Brown
Symbols: Fall fruits
Notes: This is the day that the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is at its thinnest. This is a good time for divination. At dinner, remember to set a place for your loved ones that have past this year. Leave an offering of food and drink on your door step for those souls that may still wander.
Other Names: Winter Solstice
Date: December 21 (there about)
Celebration of: The Goddess gives birth to the God
Related Holiday: Christmas
Colors: Purple or Dark Green
Symbols: Holly, mistletoe, pine branches, pine cones, wreath
Notes: Shortest day of the year. Yule log is decorated with evergreen & holly strands before being lit at sunset and is burned until sunrise. Celebration of family and friends. Celebration of peace, love and positive energy.
Other Names: Imbolq, Olmeic, Candlemas, Brigits Day, Bride Day
Date: February 2 (Greater Sabbat/Cross Quarter)
Celebration of: The God is a young child growing in size and strength
Related Holiday: Valentine’s Day
Colors: Pink or Pale Green
Symbols: The Candle Wheel, Evergreens, Willows, Grain Dolly
Notes: First planting of spring. Ritual fires are burned. A time for birth, healing and inspiration. This is a popular time for vows of dedication or consecration.
Other Names: Spring Equinox, Eostre
Date: March 21 (there about)
Celebration of: The God and Goddess begin their courtship
Related Holiday: Easter
Colors: Light Green
Symbols: Spring flowers
Notes: Light overtakes the dark. Rebirth of life. Contemplate new beginnings and fresh ideas. Serious mediation on your hopes and dreams for the coming year. Solar festival of fire, light, and fertility.
Other Names: Beltane, May Eve, May Day, Samradh
Date: May 1 (Greater Sabbat/Cross Quarter)
Celebration of: The Lord and Lady consummate their relationship
Colors: White, Red and Pink
Symbols: Spring flowers (especially the rose).
Notes: Fire and fertility festival. Jumping over the balefire was said to insure protection. Dance around the May Pole. Ring bells to scare away bad spirits. Time for appreciation and affection for all that you have been given in your life. End of spring planting. A time for new beginnings, concepts and ideas.
Other Names: Summer Solstice, Midsummer
Date: June 21 (there about)
Celebration of: The Goddess is pregnant with the God
Related Holiday: Feast of John the Baptist
Colors: White and Pale Yellow
Symbols: Spear (God) and Cauldron (Goddess). Summer flowers, St. John’s Wort, birch, white Lilly’s
Notes: Longest day of the year. The God is at his peak strength. Midpoint of the year. Light large bonfires after sundown. Peak of magickal power. Remember that nothing lasts forever. Celebrate abundance, fertility, virility, beauty, and the bounty of our earth. Good time for handfasting, workings for empowerment and consummation.
Other Names: Lammas, Lughnasad, Lugnassad, Lunasa
Date: August 1 (Greater Sabbat/Cross Quarter)
Celebration of: A Festival of not only life and bounty, but of harvest and death, the complete cycle of life.
Colors: Gold and Bright Yellow
Symbols: Summer flowers, nuts and grains
Notes: Fire and light festival. First grain harvest. Feast dedicated to Earth Mother. Count your blessings.
Other Names: Autumn Equinox, Harvest Home, Pagan Thanksgiving
Date: September 21 (there about)
Celebration of: The God now sleeps within the womb of the Goddess
Colors: Dark Brown and Red
Symbols: Harvest Foods
Notes: Second harvest festival. Celebration of thanks for the crops that were harvested. Dark overtakes the light.