What is the wheel of the year?
Our Celtic and Nordic ancestors understood the cycle of nature. For the ancient Celts and Scandinavians seasonal changes were important both in agriculture and for survival. The Wheel of the year is a calender of eight festivals that mark seasonal turning points. Today we follow a concept of linear time. However in the past, when we lived closely with nature, depending on her for survival, time was considered a cyclical journey. The Wheel of the Year is a calendar focused on this cyclical journey of the seasons.
As you work with the wheel and fall into nature’s rhythm you will begin to notice and feel these seasonal shifts and interpret them in the right rhythm for where you are inside and where you are physically in the world.
It is impossible for us today to celebrate these festivals exactly the same way as in the time of ancestors. However each festival has relative symbology, myths, traditions and meanings, aswell as some historical sccounts which we as modern people can interpret to not only create our own spiritual celebration of the Wheel of the Year, but also align our personal growth to the energy of the seasons.
October 31st – Celtic Fire Festival
Samhain represents the final harvest before the long winter. In ancient times this was the time of slaughtering the animals for the winter. It is in itself a celebration of death. Not in a macabre way, but honouring and accepting that all life must die so that life can be created once more. It’s a time to honor our ancestors and embrace the darker half of the year. This also marks the beginning of the New Year where within nature dies to be reborn again.
How Samhain can be connected to your personal growth
At Samhain you can return to the roots of your DNA and celebrate where we have come from, our ancestors and the gifts they give us that live in our blood, skin and bone. The theme of development recognises our own death and rebirth as we prepare ourselves for the darker half of the year. You can prepare for the New Year by looking and casting away things in life that do not serve you.
December 21st – Winter Solstice
Yule marks the winter solstice, the longest night and the shortest day of the year. It was a time of celebration of surviving the cold dark times, storytelling through the darkest night, in the viking culture this was a time of making boasts and oaths. From now on, the days become longer and we celebrate the rebirth of the sun back to the earth.
How Yule can be connected to your personal growth
At Yule you can celebrate where you are in life now and the people within your life. What gifts do you gain from those closest to us and what are the gifts you give to them? Yule is the perfect time to connect with your inner child and the stories than influenced your journey in life.
Febuary 2 – Celtic Fire Festival
Imbolc is a festival of fire and light, and in many traditions celebrates the Celtic hearth goddess, Brigid. It marks the time where the shoots are just starting to appear through the ground, the buds are just beginning to open. This is a festival of purification, a festival of light, inspiration, the fertility of the land and new beginnings Imbolc is also called candlemas and was the time where the old candles used in winter were melted down and new candles were made.
How Imbolc can be connected to your personal growth
At Imbolc the energy is a whirl of inspiration. This is the perfect time to create a vision of the life you want to manifest for yourself now and in this year. It is also a wonderful time to connect with your creativity.
March 21st – Spring Equinox
Ostara is the celebration of the spring equinox, a point of balance between the sun and the moon. Day and night is equal. The world around us is full of new life, the animals are birthing their young and awakening from their winter sleep. The crops are being planted. Light is overtaking darkness. It is here that we move from the dark half of the year to the light.
How Ostara can be connected to your personal growth
At Ostara you can look at how to birth your dreams and plant the seeds to manifestation. Equinoxs are a time of cleansing and balance so you can work with these energys. As the wheel turns from the dark to the light it is a great time to work with accepting your shadow self.
May 1st – Celtic Fire Festival
Beltane is a spring celebration that honours the fertility of the earth and man. A time of lust, love, passion, fire, and abundance. In Britain may queens are crown and the maypole danced this is a time of fun, flirtation, laughter and dance. At the Beltane fires the cattle were cleanse by walking through the fire. At Beltane we connect to the throbbing beat of the earth.
How Beltane can be connected to your personal growth
Beltane is a festival of love and it is here you we can better love and honour ourselves. Celebrate your most beautiful self and step into a place of self love.
June 21st – Summer Solstice
Litha is the time of the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year and the shortest night. It’s a celebration of light’s triumph over darkness and that of the bountiful beauty that light brings into our lives. It is the height of the sun’s power from here on the days become shorter.
How Litha can be connected to your personal growth
As the sun is at it’s most powerful solstice energy naturally connects you with your own personal power and recharging your powerful self.
August 1 – Celtic Fire
Lammas is the first harvest festival, when plants drop their seeds to ensure future crops.In the celtic culture this is a celebration in honour of the Celtic god, Lugh. For others it is the time of celebrating the abundance of our harvest.
How Lammas can be connected to your personal growth
Lammas is the perfect time to evaluate the progress of your goals and connection with manifesting your dreams as well as celebrating your achievements and practicing gratitude.
September 21st – Autumn Equinox
Mabon is a time of thanksgiving that celebrates the second harvest, the berry harvest and the autumn equinox. Once again this is a time of balance, the days and nights are once again equal, with the night continuing to grow longer. It is a time of final preparation for the winter where we gather exactly the sweet things we need to sustains us in the dark.
How Mabon can be connected to your personal growth
At Mabon you can aknowledge the sweetness and joy in your life and reconnect yourself with the activites in your life that ring you joy. As this is the opposite to the Spring Equinox you can investigate and honour your light self before stepping into the winter darkness.
And the wheel turns once more to Samhain
the cycle of life every flowing around us & within u
Spiritual growth coach & author
Emma-Jane has been practicing seasonal spirituality for over 22 years. Grounded in her pagan training at Avebury Stone Circle, historical passion and the strong belief that everyone no matter faith, creed or colour benefits from connection to nature Emma-Jane has guided people from all over the world to walk the Wheel.
“There is no right or wrong way to connect with nature. Walking the Wheel of the Year is about finding your own way inspired by the beliefs of our Celtic and Nordic ancestors. Everyone who joins the circle finds their own connection not just to nature but to themselves and to a tribe of supportive and inspiring people walking the wheel in their way”
Emma-Jane believes that your spiritual path should be just that. Yours. She uses the Wheel of the Year to help people align spiritually with nature & mother earth.