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The Magical Wheel of the Year is an annual cycle of festivals that can be celebrated in magic. It is a great way to materialise your best self, protect your energies through difficult times, achieve your goals and realise your ambitions.
If you want to discover more about the magical realm, keep reading to find out how to transform secular traditions into something sacred.
The dates shown here are on the Northern Hemisphere and are reversed on the Southern Hemisphere.
The wheel of the year
The high sabbaths are the solar holidays. They were initially used to mark the solstices and equinoxes in Germanic traditions. They fit into the rhythm of how people farmed. They are Yule, Ostara, Litha, and Mabon.
The minor sabbats, also known as cross-quarter days, are the days that fall halfway between the solstices and the equinoxes. They come from Celtic traditions, where they were initially used to mark the start (rather than the middle) of the season. They include Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain.
Yule falls on the winter solstice, signalling the start of the Capricorn season. That's when the north pole is tilted away from the sun, resulting in the year's shortest day and longest night. Consider it the beginning of a new trip, a unique experience. It's a time when we take a moment to appreciate ourselves and our loved ones and express our appreciation.
Because the lambing season began then, it is called Imbolc (lamb's milk). It's the promise of new beginnings of untapped potential, earth awakening and life-force stirring. Imbolc gives us reasons to be optimistic, look forward to the light's return, and see life's insatiable desire for revival. Imbolc is the traditional day to celebrate Bridgit, the Goddess of poetry, healing, and inspiration. It is an excellent time for purification rituals and candle magic.
Ostara occurs on the vernal equinox, marking the start of the Aries season. It's historically the day of balance, with neither the hard winter nor the brutal summer to contend with, and it's a moment of wonder. Symbols for Ostara include eggs, bunnies, flowers, and seeds, similar to those representing spring fertility. It's a fantastic time to cast banishment spells as well as workings to reclaim items we've lost or acquire traits we desire.
Beltane is a festival that celebrates light, fertility, and the arrival of summer. The name is derived from the phrase "Bel's Fire," which refers to the Celtic sun god Bel and signifies "bright fire." This is a holiday that celebrates the coming together of masculine and feminine energy. It's a season of fertility and harvests when we can reap the benefits of the seeds we've planted. Dancing or sex magic can be part of the festivities.
Litha, also known as Midsummer, marks the beginning of Cancer season and the Summer Solstice's longest day of the year. Because the Sun God is honoured on this Sabbat, this celebration strongly emphasises fire. The majority of people celebrate the summer solstice with beach bonfires and picnics. Protecting oneself from invisible powers, such as crafting amulets, is a common practice at Litha.
The harvest festival Lughnasadh is named after the Celtic hero-god Lugh, who is connected with order and truth. It's a great time to express our eternal thanks to Mother Nature, making bread and pastries and walking through the woods to spend some time meditating in lovely surroundings.
Mabon commemorates the Autumn Equinox by gratitude and reflection on what has been achieved and lost throughout the year.
The fall happens when the sun crosses the equator on its voyage southward, and we have a day and a night of the same length. Until Mabon, daylight hours were longer than the hours between nightfall and morning. This is the time to reflect on the previous year and your entire life and make plans for the future. Mabon is a period of rest and joy, following the arduous work of harvesting the crops.
On Halloween Eve, Samhain takes place. Samhain is both new year's eve and the third and final magical harvest celebration. It is a beautiful night for introspection, meditation, and inner work. This is the night when the veil between the worlds is thinnest, and the gates between them are wide open. At midnight, the souls of the dead are thought to visit their homes. This is a great time to connect with and honour our ancestors.
(It's important to note that Samhain is pronounced sowen, soween, saw-win, saw-vane, or shaven, not sam-hayne.)
Even if you are not into magic, you can schedule your efforts and rituals around these festivals because they fall between seasonal shifts and energetically potent intervals. I hope this has encouraged you to research these festivals and maybe make them part of your traditions!
Do you know a great meditation, affirmation, or feel good ritual? Share it!
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