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Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Wheel of the Year

The Wheel of the Year is often used to describe the constantly revolving cycle of the seasons, upon which the Pagan festivals are based on. Dependant on your chosen path within witchcraft or paganism the way you celebrate these events will vary. There are 8 festivals that form the pagan year. Four of them falling on solar solstices and equinoxes, (these are known as the ‘lesser sabbats‘). The other four falling between these and often used as a way to look forward to the coming season (these are known as the ‘greater sabbats‘).

The Wheel of the Year is also a story of the Earth Goddess and Sun God, (I have chosen to use these particular names for the male and female deities as they are widely used, however they have many other names and forms). I have written a basic version of this age old tale below, but there are many versions to be found and explored.

As Samhain comes around, the Sun God makes his final sacrifice. He sacrifices himself in order that the earth may have the last of his strength and be able to come back to life with the return of the Spring. The Goddess mourns him, but has the continued hope of the light she carries within her womb. At Yule she gives birth and the Sun God is reborn, from this point on the light starts to slowly return to the world. The Goddess returns to the earth to seek rest.

As Imbolic arrives the Sun God is growing stronger and with him the strength of the day, the Goddess returns to the world no longer the Crone, but fully rejuvenated. Eostara marks the day once again overtaking the night, the Sun God reaches maturity and starts to become attracted to the Goddess in her Maiden form. As the Beltane fires burn bright the God and Goddess come together and she begins to carry his light within her womb.

Lammas sees the Sun God at his strongest, but from here on he will give of himself to ensure a bountiful harvest. As we reach Mabon the Sun God is much weakened and the light gives way to the increasing darkness. The Goddess is sad as she knows he will soon be gone from her. And here we reach Samhain again. The wheel has completed one full turn but continues on it’s ever ending cycle.

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