Wheel Of The Year/ Sabbats/Pagan Holiday Cycle Introduction

The holiday system that I was raised in is known as the wheel of the year. It’s difficult to find digestible resources that explain the concept well, so I decided to make one. The Sabbats are eight holidays spread evenly over the course of a year. The days are marked by certain “landmarks” in the Earth’s journey around the sun, which makes the sun appear closer or further away. These “landmarks” in time as I’ll dub them, are the solstices and the equinoxes. A solstice is when the daylight hours are the shortest or longest, and an equinox is when the daylight hours are equal to the night-time hours. There are two equinoxes, they are known as Ostra and Mabon. There are also two Solstices, Yule and Litha. There are four other holidays, called cross-quarter days, that are celebrated evenly in time between the other four. These Holidays are Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, and Lammas.

You can think of these holidays as a way to track the cycle of the sun, similar to the cycle of the moon. The moon is at its full power, or “waxes” every 28 days. This is when the earth is receiving the most lunar energy through lunar light.  The sun is at its full power once a year, during Lammas, the longest day of the year.

The balance of light and dark that the sun walks each year, is marked within us. Seasonal Depression is a well document of a negative side-effect of this natural connection. When you learn to find the strengths and purpose behind each holiday, it’s easier to attune to the strengths you have when you are in tune with the solar cycle. For example, when the day and the night are equal on Ostra, there is a great spring fertility festival.  This equality in the day and the night represents the balance of dark and light and other polarities, including the masculine and feminine. This is when farmers in early agrarian communities would be celebrating early spring harvests, and birthing livestock for the year. In modern times, we can use this energy to help us find balance in our lives and take actions that will grow and bring us profit later. This ties together nicely, because the winter months are used for introspection, and reworking internal patterns so that you are more effective next harvesttime.

Even living in sunny south Florida, where the seasons are minimal, I find keeping an altar dedicated to the holidays helps me mark the passage of time and keeps me focused throughout the year on my growth and goals in an effective and manageable way. There are many ways to be mindful of the holidays and feel that “Christmas Spirit” lost so long ago in childhood memories, all year long.

I’ll be blogging more about individual holidays as they come up. Get in touch if you have questions! I’m always inspired by mindful communication.

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