THE WHEEL OF THE YEAR
THE SEASONS OF THE WITCH
NEXT CLASS: MABON – FALL EQUINOX – WITCH’S THANKSGIVING
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WHAT IS THE WHEEL OF THE YEAR?
Working the Wheel is a sacred practice for many Wiccans, Witches, Pagans, Heathens, and other magickal people around the globe. This tradition witnesses the Witch’s Year. We see it in the battle of the Holly King vs Oak King, as well as the cycles of the Three-Fold Goddess. But it is possibly an echo of a far older collection of spiritual practices based on the observance of natural rhythms that are reflected in stellar, planetary, solar, and lunar movements, as well as natural rhythms on Earth like migration patterns, the Seasons, and meteorological events.
Throughout time, humans have aligned their lives with these cycles of the planet and the universe. But after tireless spiritual persecution and rebranding, and technological advances, many folks have become detached. It’s time to reclaim our relationship to ourselves and our world via the Pagan Holidays, The Witches Sabbats, The Wheel of the Year!
In the eight-part Wheel of the Year series, educator, ordained minister, and self-taught eclectic Pagan Meagan Angus provides tools and guidance toward reconnecting with these natural rhythms and reclaiming our relationship to ourselves via the Pagan sabbats. During the lively two-hour classes students come away with a better understanding of the sabbats observed by Pagans, Witches, and Heathens through lectures on the cosmic interplay that occurs during astrological, astronomical, and meteorological shifts, the effects these events have on us, and the common threads in traditional observances around the world, both modern and ancient.
There is no beginning nor end to The Wheel of the Year — it spins eternally. Students should feel free to jump in anytime.
By learning how to mark these eight cyclical celebrations along the rotation, we also mark our own life cycles as well as gain an empathetic view for each other.
The Pagan Wheel of the Year is:
- Imbolc – The Quickening
- Ostara – Into The Light
- Beltane – Witch’s Night
- Litha – Midsummer
- Lughnasadh – The First Harvest
- Mabon – The Witch’s Thanksgiving
- Samhain – The Underworld Journey
- Yule – The Long Night
But the work isn’t done after one night! We’ll take a look at what we can expect for the coming 6-7 weeks of each season, learn how you can observe this time of change for yourself or with your community, and get ready to Do The Work.
Each class includes a 16+ page book containing lecture points regarding the covered Sabbat. This book also includes a seven-week Wheel of the Year calendar of concurrent international observances (Pagan and multi-denominational), recommended Tarot for meditation, advice on establishing the holiday in your own life, and a bibliography for further reading.
Topics covered in the lecture, generally:
- A look at the history of the holiday from a modern Pagan/Witch/Magickian standpoint
- Comparison of concurrent holidays in other religions and traditions, with a heavy emphasis on myths, deities, archetypal themes, and symbolism
- The significant astrology of the season, especially lunar
- Your astrological sign, and the season, archetypes, and holidays connected to it
- Astronomical and geological events concurrent with the season
As well, we will demonstrate ways to bring The Wheel of the Year into your personal spiritual practice, including:
- Suggestions for creating an altar
- Common and traditional ritual forms and methods of observance
- Meditations for ritual use
- Correlating herbs, crystals, Tarot, colors, and more
Upcoming Wheel of the Year Classes
January – Imbolc/Candlemas
The 2020 cycle of the Wheel of the Year opens with Imbolc, also known as Candlemas in some traditions. This Greater Sabbat represents a light in the darkness of Winter. The lessons we can learn about perseverance and hope at this dark time can serve us throughout the year. And while we are still in the frozen grip of Winter, we are dreaming of what we could sprout in Spring. Explore the deep Winter hope of this festival and season marked by ceremonies and magical work dedicated to light & fire, timekeeping, purification and fortitude. Learn how to make the most of your Winter hibernation, clearing the way for the growth of Spring!
Imbolc is the halfway mark between Winter and Spring. At this Sabbat, many Witches will rededicate themselves to their path, or dedicate themselves to a new skill, rekindling their passion for life after walking through the stillness of Winter. Purification, honoring the dead, and tending to natural resources are all sacred acts.
March – Ostara/Spring Equinox
INTO THE LIGHT
Uncover the deep history of this grand Quarter-Day resurrection festival honoring the returning life of the Awakening Earth and the Increasing Sun, witnessed in religions and cultures all over the world. For Pagans, this marks the return of The Maiden – a playful and curious side of The Goddess. The Spring Equinox has been used to mark the great eras of time, and marks the halfway point to Summer Solstice, the apex of the Sun’s powers.
And the growing light matches our increasing enthusiasm! Learn how to gently wake up from Winter’s Sleep and prepare yourself for the experimentation and transformation this season will require from us. Discover how best to harmonize with this work for yourself and your community!
Many Pagans align rites of passage to this holiday season, honoring those who have hit a certain age or responsibility level, reached puberty, reached menopause, or other forms of maturation.
April – Beltane/May Day
The 2020 cycle of the Wheel of the Year continues with Beltane, also known as May Day or Walpurgisnacht in some traditions.
This Cross-Quarter Day is a popular Fire Festival ushering in the deep heart of Spring, and for some places, Summer. Falling on April 30th/May 1st each year, the date of Beltane marks the halfway point of the Spring season in the Northern Hemisphere. Lusty, mischievous, and playful, the spirit of Beltane is light-hearted but serious about fun.
For many Pagans, Beltane is marked by massive bonfires, maypoles, and “greenwood marriages” that only lasted a year and a day (or one long lovely night!)
Beltane welcomes the return of The Godform known as The Green Man, and is a holiday focused on celebrating the fecundity and power in the exchange of energy and passion between humans.
June – Litha/Summer Solstice
Immerse yourself in the ancient global rituals of this Solar festival acknowledging the high point of the Sun’s Arc across the sky and discover how you can evoke this power in your own life and world.
Currently falling somewhere between June 18th and June 22nd each year, this Quarter Day marks the official end of Spring and start of Summer in the Northern Hemisphere.
Litha opens the gates to the fiery season of Summer. For Pagans, it marks the death of The Oak King and the rise of The Holly King, as well, forms of the Goddess known as The Mother step forward now. We experience a deep shift in the forms of energy we are working with. We move away from the experimental forms of Spring and become more aligned with the determination and drive of Summer.
July – Lughnasadh/Lammas
THE FIRST HARVEST
The Wheel of the Year continues to turn with the great Cross-Quarter Sabbat Lughnasadh, also known as Lammas.
This holiday marks the 1/2 way point between Summer Solstice and Fall Equinox. Named for the Irish God Lugh, a brash Storm and Sun God with skills like crafting, fighting, musical artistry, and sorcery. He even wins the gift of agriculture for the Tuatha Dé Danann in battle!
So it’s interesting that this holiday is also known as Lammas, which means loaf. Lammas Season comes to us at the hottest part of the year. It marks the beginning of the harvest season for many peoples in the Northern Hemisphere.
For modern Witches and Pagans, this is a time to step into our power and begin harvesting and sharing the gold in our lives (hint: it starts with knowing how to identify it!)
September – Mabon/Fall Equinox
The high point of the Sun’s arc over The Wheel is done and with that completion, we see the fullness of The Harvest come to fruition at Mabon.
We have reached Fall Equinox, the Quarter-Day festival marking the half way point between Summer and Winter Solstice. Also known as Second Harvest and Witch’s Thanksgiving, at Mabon we continue to explore harvest season through the cornucopia of symbols and festivals found at this time of year.
The work of Mabon season focuses on shifting from the drive and ambition of Summer into the fulfillment and resolution of Autumn. Many Pagans see a form of the Goddess known as The Mother giving birth to the massive harvests being pulled in all around the northern hemisphere. Learn ways to help yourself and your community prepare for the Underworld journey of Winter.
October – Samhain/Hallowe’en
WITCH’S NEW YEAR
The dark is here. The shift in the Sun’s path is undeniable as the days shorten and the weather grows darker and colder.
The Cross-Quarter holiday Samhain (pronounced “sow-wain”) is possibly the most well-known of the Sabbats. Americans celebrate it as Hallowe’en.
We will take a look at the superstitions and traditions surrounding Samhain, considering how people have used revelry, shape shifting, and pranks to deal with the oncoming chaos and breakdown of Winter – or to help bring it about.
Samhain is the true tipping point into The Underworld Journey of Winter. Learn how to incorporate archetypes and symbols that can sometimes be dark and spooky into your life as healthy and balanced forms of working with The Shadow and to help you make the final shift away from the labor and celebrations of Autumn into the stillness and and rebirth of the coming Winter season.
December – Yule/Winter Solstice
THE LONG NIGHT
The Quarter-Day festival season known to Pagans, Heathens, and Witches as Yule is recognized by nearly every belief system, philosophy and spiritual practice in the Northern Hemisphere.
Hundreds of deities celebrate holy days at this time of year, and much of the symbolism we work with centers around the death and resurrection of The Sun.
For Many Pagans, this day marks the death of The Holly King and the birth of The Oak King, as well as the rise of a form of The Goddess known as The Crone.
Yule is the deep heart of the wintertime Underworld Journey. Learn how to connect to the Archetypes and Spirits of Winter and make the most of our collective hibernation, using Winter’s season of stillness as an opportunity to stop, reset ourselves, and start again.