Wheel of The Year

The Holy Days of Ritual are very important in our religion, they correspond to the change of the seasons, and the lunar year. It is what has guided us from the beginning, our attachment and love for the Earth. This is a brief synopsis of our Calendar and its origins and meanings to us.

Fire Festivals

Beltane or Rudmas:

The Changing of the emphasis from the God to the Goddess beginning on the eve of May 1st (Significant of all changes!)

Lughnasadh or Lammas:

Celebration of the First Harvest, and some of the First Fruits obtained on August 2nd (A time of Wisdom)!

Samhain or Hollowmas or All Hallows Eve:

The end of the harvest period, winter is on the way. A joyous Feast for the Beginning of the New Year on eve of October 31st.

Imblog or Candlemas:

The time to bring in the New, the time for the God to Regain importance over the Goddess on February 2nd (Festival of Lights)

Solar Festivals

Solstices: Times of Opposites

Litha {Summer } Summer Solstice (Longest Day)
Yule {Winter } Winter Solstice (Longest Night)

Equinox: Times of Balance (Equ mistletoe, Lights (candles) and plants that are evergreen (ever living)!


We celebrate the Sabbat of Beltane on May 1st, all Sabbats and Esbats are celebrated threshold to threshold, so celebrations begin on the night of April 30th. It is also known as Bhealitainnin and in Scotland is known as Whitsun and is celebrated May 15th. The name is derived from bailfire, or from the Celtic God of Fire Belios (Welsh Belanos or Belios, Bel, Beli, Balar, Belenus or Phoenician Beal, the God of Vegetation ).

In the lands of the Celtic people, balefires were started on Ben-Bel mounds (mountains)  - tradition is "to run the cattle between" these fires, blessing the land and the people. It marks the beginning of Summer. Some traditions celebrate Beltane as the night of the Dead (as opposed to Samhain) and ask the dead to join in the warmth of Beltane fires. At Beltane there was relaxing of social mores. Anyone could sleep with whomever they chose, married or no, but not in front of the fires. Newly married couples were led between the fires to bless their union.

Fires also celebrated the return of life to the land, and fertility. Fire was seen as a "portal" which was "crossed" or leapt over to symbolize the passage into a new part of the cycle, and having passed through the fire, the persons were purified and blessed. In Scottish traditions, clans lit the ben-bel fires on Whitsun to mark the beginning of the fertility of the lands, and the kine and kin ran between them in hopes of kindling the fertile spirits within. Willow wood was used to start the fires, as kindling, ash to encircle the willow, oak to light the fires of such proportion, also to be visible from mountain to mountain. Certain traditions call for four to nine kinds of wood.

All old fires were put out the day before, and lit anew on May Day, from the sacred Beltane fires. The hearths were swept clean, the Beltane fires burned all night, not being allowed to go out. Some traditions keep it burning for three days, others just for the night. Some traditions call for cold meals on Beltane Eve. The hearth fires were then lit the next day from the Beltane fires, bringing blessings upon the home in the summer. Fire was given freely to anyone who asked, as the Fay often took fire from Beltane fires.

Beltane celebrates the fertility and creation of life, and the greening of spring. The Maypole, fashioned from the Sacred Oak Tree, is a phallic symbol, celebrating the fertility of the Horned God. From the top of the pole are draped ribbons, white for the Goddess, Red for the God (or white for the virgin Goddess, Red for the Mother). Red also was to symbolize the blood of the Virgin. Sometimes, if dye was aplenty, colors representing the elementals was used. Colors fo some of the herbs we grow ready for their first harvest, and its not uncommon to see fresh herbs hanging in kitchens at this time, drying. Old herbs are traditionally burned in the fires on this night, to be replaced by fresh ones.

This is the night of the Fay, the little ones of the elements. Many witches celebrate the Elements this night, the source of their power, along with the moon (Goddess) and sun (God). Gifts of food and drink are traditionally left for them. This is also considered a night of strong magick, and many works are begun or brought to a conclusion on this evening.

The story is that the Tuatha de Danann had their celebrations in May, this month was dedicated to them, and when the Tuatha faded into the lands beyond, those humans who still believed held to the Month of May as the month to Celebrate them still. Nothing else was celebrated in May, as to keep the now Wee Folk from becoming jealous. No marriages were performed either, less the Fay became angry and set trouble to the newly weds. Weddings were put off to June (from where we get June Brides) and Midsummer became a time for many couples to become handfasted or married.

Lughnasadh or First Harvest - August 1 to August 2

Celebrated in Europe as the Feast of Bread, its origins are in the Ancient Celtic celebrating the God Lugh, one of the Tuatha De Danaan. During one of the Battles, it is said Lugh traded a prisoners life for the secrets of growing crops. In Wales he is known as Lleu, the golden hair son of Arianrhod. He is revered as the God of the Sun and Corn. (The word corn is an all encompassing term for grains, not necessarily the term we use for maize here in the USA.)

Lughnasadh is the promise of Spring Planting realized, the first harvest in the Wheel of the Year. Honored at this Sabbat is the Greatest of the Goddesses, Dana, Lughs wife and queen. Also celebrated of old, the Romans honored the grain goddess Ceres in August at Ceresalia. The birth of Isis is celebrated near this time. Also the Phoenician god of grain Dagon, to whom was given back a good portion of what was grown.

This is a Major Sabbat, celebrated with feasting, and offerings of libations to the God and Goddess. Cakes and Ale is the usual celebration, with bread in the form of the God. The making of Corn Dolly's is also a tradition at this time, with the dolly's being saved for Imbolc. These dolly's are fertility representations, with the harvest of this turn of the Circle used to bless the seeding of the new crops in the spring. The last of the Harvest season is celebrated at the New Year, Samhain, the last turn of the Wheel of the Year.

Mabon - Autumn Equinox

Mabon was a Welsh God of fertility, sometimes associated with Persephone. This day is celebrated as the Second of the Harvest festivals, sometimes referred to as the Witches Thanksgiving. It is also the time of the Harvest Home Festival, Anglo-Celtic in origins, with a Harvest King and Queen which is still performed at group gatherings at this Turn of the Wheel. It is another of our feast celebrations, with much more blessings and giving of thanks than the other two Harvest Festivals.

It becomes obvious that the days are getting shorter now, and we see this as the end of our summer and the beginning of the autumn season. We realize that the God will be gone from us soon, we approach the time of the Goddess and we prepare for the coming winter. Tradition sees the Mabon Wreath as the primary symbol of this time of year, the remembrance of the wheel of the year, the wheel of life, and the promise of rebirth.


October 31st, or as it is called now, Halloween. This is the night that the veil between the world of men and spirits is considered to be the thinnest, so it is of little wonder that people should think of it as a night that all sorts of things roam about. It is New Year to the Celtics and a time to try and peek a little into the time ahead or to see if it is possible to view the future with Divination. Divination is done in many forms but all seek to establish a look ahead, whether the answer appears good or bad. SAMHAIN is also considered to start the reign of the Holly King or the dark time of the Year when the Sun goes lower each day and begins to weaken. See Sawain and Questioning the use of the LBRP for more information.


We honor the Holly King, in the Oldest Celtic traditions, Yule marks the point at which the Holly king and the Oak king exchange thrones, the Oak King now become the ruling lord, with the change again at Midsummer, when the Holly king becomes lord again. Other traditions make these transitions at Mabon and Ostara. This is seen in the traditions of Mistletoe, from the oak tree, and the Yule log, originally made from oak, and cut small to bring indoors. Three holes are made in it for three candles (the three aspects of both God and Goddess) to symbolize the union of the God and Goddess.

The winter provides us with time to persue those things that make us Pagan. Storytelling is popular, so is sewing, quilting, just about any craft. Pathworking, or guided meditations are also explored at this time. Making our own tools, candlemaking, all these things to pass the winters dark nights. Yule is the time to Celebrate Life, to gather with our families, and remember who we are and plan our Paths together.

Idaho Web Design Tools
Idaho Web Design Tools