The Turning Of The Year
The Eight Days of The Pagan Wheel Of The Year
|The Pagan Year or Wheel of the Year consists of eight turning points throughout the year which are celebrated, besides the quarter days which are the two equinoxes and the two solstices halfway between each Equinox/Solstice there is a cross quarter day. Each of the eight turning points are explained below. Some people celebrate the 'popular' cross quarter days which usually is on the 1st of the month. The different days can be seen in the solar calendar at the bottom of this page.
Samhain - October 31st
Celtic and Pagan new year, also known as Halloween/All Hallows Eve.
The start and end of the pagan wheel of the year and also the start of Winter. The festival of the dead, this is a time to honour our ancestors and remember those who have passed over and a good time to do any spells and divination as the veils between the two worlds are at their thinnest. This is the time when the ancestral people would have a big feast on the last newly slaughtered livestock before the dark short days of the impending cold of Winter. This is also the last of the three harvest festivals.
Yule - December 21st(approx)
The Winter Solstice, The Shortest Day
Alban Arthan (The Light Of Arthur)
The winter solstice is the festival of the suns rebirth, this is the darkest day of the year and the sun is at its weakest. The Oak king defeats the Holly king to reign over the land until the Summer solstice and we celebrate the waxing half of the year with 4 days of feasting and celebration from 21st - 25th December from now until the Summer solstice the Suns power will grow day by day. The actual date varies but usually it is either 21 or 22nd December
Imbolc - February 1st
Also known as Candlemass.
A time of purification and the celtic first day of spring. The festival of Bride which is where the origin of 'spring cleaning' comes from. The earth has been dormant over the winter and the first signs of new life are starting to show throughout the land so this is the time when we celebrate the first signs of Spring and new life that is to come in the hope that the worst of the cold winter days are over.
Spring Equinox - March 20th(approx)
Alban Eiler (Light Of The Earth) also known as Ostara.
The light of the year has grown and is now equal to the dark, it is a time of thanksgiving that the worst of the winter is over and with the earths fertility high there are signs of new life springing forth all over the land. The time when we celebrate the quickening of the year and the fertility of the Earth and new life.
Beltane - 1st May
Also known as May Day
Beltane means 'Bright Fire' the first day of Summer with the crops and wishes we planted at Imbolc now coming to fruition and the Sun God now mature. A celebration of fertility and is symbolised by Maypole dances and the ritual union of the May Queen and May Lord and the lighting of fires. This is a popular time for Handfastings.
The Summer Solstice - June 21st(approx)
Alban Hefin (Light Of The Shore) also known as Litha.
Midsummers Day, the time of the greatest light and the time when we celebrate the mature Sun, but also the start of the waning half of the year, when the light will be overtaken by the darkness at the Winter Solstice. This is the end of the Oak Kings rule over the land and the beginning of the Holly King's reign as he presides over the waning half of the year until the return of the Oak king at the Winter Solstice.
Lughnasadh - 1st August
Also known as Lammas.
Lughnasadh is the first day of Autumn and the first of three Harvest festivals, we give thanks for the first crops and wish for a bountiful harvest to come. And while We celebrate the marriage of the Lugh, light with the Mother earth. This is the celebration of the grain harvest when we give thanks for the grain and also mourn the death of John Barleycorn.
Autumn Equinox - 21st September(approx)
Alban Elfed (Light Of The Water) also known as Mabon.
Once again the light and dark are equal and we celebrate the second Harvest festival and give thanks for a bountiful harvest from the land and it is also a good time to reflect on ones own personal achievements throughout the year and weigh up your life. From now until the Winter solstice the Dark will overtake the light.
And so the Wheel of the year returns to Samhain and the cycle of the year begins again.
Moon Phases 2024
Solstices and Equinoxes