Wheel of the Year
The Annuali Cycle of Seasons, the Eight Festivals
The cycle of seasons and Sun festivals
Text and research for www.ilcerchiodellaluna.it
Translation by Katiuscia Cancedda translatethis1@yahoo.co.uk

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In this section we collect articles, news, readings, rituals and recipes that celebrate festivals in the Wheel of the Year.

ruota ildegarda

(Caption) The Wheel of the Year as outlined by Ildegarda of Bingen in the 12th century.

The Wheel of the Year takes us through the seasons in the journey of Life, from birth to youth, to the age of maturity and then to old age. Every moment of the year corresponds to a moment in Life and in some days (like for instance solstices and equinoxes) humanity celebrates, from memorable time, the sacredness of each Life phase. The Wheel of the Year develops through the mythological dance of the Goddess and the God, which is the dance of love, and is the energy of love, in fact, that makes the wheel go round. Since the two polarities are attracted irresistibly and seek each other, their movement is a cycle of change and transformation. Birth, growth, maturity, death, rest and rebirth reveal mysteries of the spirit that incessantly change its shape.

We celebrate the Sabbaths to learn from the Divine manifest in the world and in us, and to express our gratitude.

SAMHAIN October 31st - November 1st

Major Sabbath and Celtic New Year, Samhain (pronounce so-in) it’s also known as Halloween. It’s the time of the last crop and the beginning of winter. Traditionally, it’s the time in which the boundaries between the worlds become thinner and, in balance with past and future, it is possible to communicate with what’s usually concealed to us. During this festival we can learn many things from those who live in the World of Spirit.

YULE (Winter Solstice) December 20th - 21st

Yule, the longest night of the Year, when the Goddess gives birth to life and the God returns. We greet the Old Sun that’s leaving and welcome the New Sun that is reborn to illuminate us once more with its warm and beneficial rays. Those who can afford it will plan a period of rest.

IMBOLC February 2nd

Major Sabbath, Imbolc (pronounce im-bulc) it’s the festival of Brigid, Goddess of fire and inspiration. It’s the festival of rising light, of the Baby Sun who moves his first steps; it’s the time of beginnings and of the inspiring light that reigns in each beginning. The most common theme of this festival is purification: the circle is broken and mind, body and spirit get rid of all that is no longer needed and we open up to change.

OESTARA (Spring Equinox) March 20th - 21st

The Spring Equinox, Oestara is the sacred time in which light and darkness are balanced and the time in which Life reappears on earth in abundance; nature wakes up from the winter slumber, and projects and initiatives lit up in us.

BELTANE April 30th – May 1st

Beltane (pronounce bielt-n) is the time of the sacred encounter with the Goddess and the God, in which they fall in love, celebration of ecstasy of love that replenishes the earth with buds of life. Summer approaches and it’s welcomed by working harder as anticipation of harvesting.

LITHA (Summer Solstice) June 21st – 22nd

Summer Solstice, Litha is the longest day of the year, the Half Summer festival. It’s the time of fruitful union between Heaven and Earth, time of fulfilment, celebration of fire and happiness. It isn’t mainly a solar festival as it’s also a celebration of responsibility and sharing. There’s equilibrium between light of the sun (manifested) and night forces (invisible). It’s a state of grace, centring and balancing. It’s a major Sabbath.

LUGHNASADH July 31st – August 1st

Major Sabbath, Lammas or Lughnasadh (pronounce Lugh-na-sod) marks the peak of summer and harvest. It’s a festival of abundance and prosperity. We thank the Sun while its decline starts imperceptibly. The semen of the Sun (Father) is already implanted in the Mother’s womb. The Earth is at its fullness.

MABON (Autumn Equinox) September 20th – 21st

Mabon announces the first day of autumn and the period of the second crop. It’s a time of further equilibrium and attainments. It’s a festival traditionally associated to the celebration of Eleusinian mysteries, of Persephone’s journey to the underworld. An initiatory celebration, therefore, but also a time to get in touch fearlessly with our shadow or with the invisible world, remaining well focussed on the balance of the season. Mabon is consequently a time of total gratitude to the Sun, the Moon, to Nature, to the Earth, to our ancestors and – why not? – to ourselves.


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