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The Wheel of the Year

Updated: Apr 30

What is it and where does it come from?

The wheel of the year is a sacred cyclical calendar of the year representing time and growth. Indigenous cultures and early humans paid deep respect, gratitude and resonance to the land they lived on. Honouring country, honouring the seasons and having a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of nature was important! Also known as the Celtic Wheel of the year, the celts, Vikings and Egyptians have been working with the wheel for thousands of years and celebrating these cycles on the land with ritual, prayer, dance, honour and play.


The Wheel of the year is divided into 8 sabbats almost like a compass of seasons on a micro and macro level. It’s an internal and external transitioning of seasons.

There are tales that the 8 sabbats were used during the creation of stone hedge around 4’000 years ago and celebrated in pagan festivals.



 

As Christianity spread its roots across Europe, the ancient pagan traditions and beliefs found themselves entwined within the fabric of the Christian faith. The Catholic Church, in its embrace of the changing times, ushered in a new array of holy days, crafted in reverence to the celestial dance of sun and moon. Pre Christians would celebrate these festivals, and this is where we now get our holidays from. Among these sacred observances stood Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, and All Saints' Day.

 

The ancient Celts, who inhabited much of Europe from the 8th century BCE to the 3rd century CE, were among the first to formalise this concept and develop the Sabbats, or seasonal festivals.

 


Beltane celebration in Australia at The Sisterhood of Alchemy Retreat 2023


Even now in today’s world, Celtic Christians in Scotland, Ireland and England celebrate the Sabbats but this tradition of celebrating the seasons stems back further then Christ, Paganism and I believe even further back during Genius.

 

Its origins can be traced back to prehistoric times when people relied on the cycles of the sun, moon, and stars to measure the passing of time.

This is an ancient concept that has been used by many cultures throughout history to mark the changing seasons and cycles of nature.

 

In the 18th century Wiccan and modern religious groups took this old and sacred tradition using it and claiming it, but it is OLD! Much older than the re creation of the wheel of the year in the late 1800s. This is definitely not a new movement, as it may seem when doing research on google about this tradition.




It's hard to find any evidence, texts or art when looking for this type of old tool because it dates back before literacy and before the Bible which was our first text. These teachings were past down and lost. Lost by a generation who forgot about story telling and the arts. Old tales were passed down to the younger generations through music, dream time, story telling, song and art. It seems like we all need hard core evidence these days from MSM or members of the cabal before we believe anything or trust it enough to pass it down to the future generation, or maybe it was seen as insignificant to the changing of the world.


Once Christianity had triumphed over the Celtic pagan beliefs, the holy days of the year became Christianized.

Samhain became All Soul's Eve (Halloween) Yule became Christmas

Imbolc became Saint Brigid's Day

Ostara became Easter

Beltane was celebrated as the Feast of the Cross

Litha as the Feast of St. John

Lughnasadh became Lammas, “Loaf Mass”, celebrating grains,

Autumn Equinox Mabon became associated with various saints such as Adamnan.


How can it help us?


We are cyclical beings, we are nature and just like in the plant kingdom as trees fruit fall to the ground and die every winter, she is rebirthed in the Spring/Easter/Beltane. Resurrected, just like Christ rose from the dead at Easter.


As our seasons change, in the human world we are born full of innocence, beauty and new (Spring) we bloom and create fruits of the womb (Summer) we prepare for the death (Autumn) we die (Winter) BUT nothing ever really dies, it just returns again renewed and strong in a repeating natural cycle. While society typically perceives time as linear, the enduring recognition of life's cyclical nature persists. 



The way I work with the wheel is by looking at nature, observing the changes in the seasons. The different birds that come out of hibernation, the fruit and vegetables that are blooming and paying attention to the changes on the external, while meditating on how that change is effecting our bodies as we are nature beings too, connected to the elements.

Communing with nature and honouring the changes becomes like a practice of observation and connection to all of life, including insects, rock, dirt and animals as they all hold an intelligence.


It also helps us understand the meaning of the holiday celebrations and why we have been indoctrinated about our history . History is feed to us from one source at school. Remember, history is written by those who hunted heroes.


The wheel helps us understand our physical body, to feel the changes and honour our own cycles. It is a calendar of time, just like a compass and like a clock to see from a visual perceptive of how we are moving. As the wheel turns, it affects the energy from the stars, the land and our bodies. Ever notice how your moon changes with the seasons? This is why.


Each Sabbat is also connected to a phase of life, an antitype and an energy. Once you learn the synchronicities of the cycles you have a deeper understanding of your mental, spiritual and physical self.


To learn more about the Wheel of the Year sign up to our subscription list to get the latest on our workshops.



Photo credit @themountearth and @shayoftheuniverse.


Samhain blessings to you all,


Amanda x

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