There is a simple story that humans have been telling one another since before time. This story is about the cycle of birth, growth, death, and renewal. This story is reflected in the changing of the seasons and the rolling of the days from one dawn until the next. This story knows no social or cultural boundaries and it crosses religious and political lines without exception.
The Wheel of the Year celebrates the duality at the heart of many pagan beliefs. Life and death. Growth and decline. Light and darkness. The ever changing cycle of natural renewal as reflected in the seasonal changes of nature moving from Spring to Summer to Autumn to Winter and back to Spring are reflected and celebrated in relation to solar and agricultural events.
This cycle of renewal is reflected in the legends of the Wheel of the Year which is first divided into four segments defined by the midpoints of each of the four seasons, known as the Winter Solstice, the Vernal Equinox, the Summer Solstice, and the Autumnal Equinox. These seasonal midpoints would be the solar events observed in the Wheel of the year and can be pretty much celebrated anywhere as they relate to the position of the Sun relative to the Earth.
These seasonal or solar midpoints are further divided by four agricultural celebrations which may vary according to where you are on the earth. That is to say, Australian harvest days may be exactly opposite Western European harvest days and so the agricultural celebrations may have different names or meanings depending upon the natural season relative to different climates. This particular Wheel of the Year is based upon North American climatological influences and assigns the agricultural celebrations to dates occuring around February 2nd (Imbolc), May 1st (Beltane), August 2nd (Lammas), and October 31st (Samhain), combined, these eight divisions, or spokes of the wheel of the year, are known as the Quarters and Cross Quarters of the year.
Please remember, this Wheel of the Year and the mythological symbolism associated with it is only ONE of MANY. It is not the ONLY one, and it does not purport to be the RIGHT one. It may certainly not be the one for you. Even so, it may be a helpful guide in finding the right associations for the Wheel of the Year as it turns where you are. It is also good to remember that every Pagan Tradition and many solitary pagans have their own particular celebrations, rituals, and traditions associated with the quarters and cross-quarters as they observe them. With that in mind, we have presented what should only be taken as a general overview of the Wheel of the Year that we observe here in the Garden of the Midnight Moonchild.
This should give you some small hint of how the whole Wheel of the Year fits together and is somewhat absorbed into every ritual and celebration regardless of one's path. From the birth of the light into the world at Yule to the ultimate passage through the veil of mystery at Samhain there will be certain similarities shared by every path of belief.
There will also be differences between paths and beliefs. These are sometimes very small. These do not change the story told by humans from different beliefs. These differences merely provide different flavors. The spice of life, as it were. We expect that it is not really necessary to point out that while there are differences among many paths there are many more similarities and it is the commonalities that are more important than the differences.
To learn more about the mythology, legends, and lore associated with the Wheel of the Year please select the image icon to your left. If you would like to go directly to information about the quarters and cross quarter celebrations of the year, please use the links to your left.
Other Links of Topical Interest
We haven't the space available to provide all the information available for this particular topic. In fact, we're pretty sure we don't have all the information available on this topic. What we do have, however, is a real willingness to recommend some good places for you to begin your own research should anything here pique your interest. Based on our own experience we can heartily recommend the following web addresses;
Stardancer's Wheel of the Year
"Welcome. Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter - birth, growth, fading, death - the Wheel turns, on and on. For everyone that celebrates these cycles of our lifes, the Calling of the Directions begins each ritual as we move around the Wheel of the Year." These are the first words that greet you upon reaching this website, so, if a warm and beautiful education into the Wheel of the Year is what you are after... this has got to be the place.
Mything Links Wheel of the Year
This page is titled "An Annotated & Illustrated Collection of Worldwide Links to Mythologies, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Sacred Arts & Sacred Traditions by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D". Don't let the relative aridity of the title fool you... Do you want the inside scoop on the Wheel of the Year and how it is celebrated all over the world in many far flung cultures and belief systems? This site is an absolute MUST for any serious student of Sabbats and we don't believe there is a more comprehensive education to be had throughout the entire world wide web.
A Witch's Cauldron Wheel of the Year
We have referenced this particular site in the past and we can see absolutely NO REASON to stop referring you to the excellent information to be found at Celeste's wonderful website "A Witch's Cauldron". Well thought out and concisely delivered, the education to be found here regarding all matters magical, (including the Wheel of the Year...), is not to be missed... so... um... don't miss it!
If you wish to return to return to the Garden of the Midnight Moonchild Homepage, please select the image icon to your left or the links below.