The Wheel of the Year
Samhain - 31st October (pronounced Sow-in):
The Wheel of the Year is seen to begin at Samhain, which is also known as Hallowe'en or All Hallows Eve. This is the Celtic New Year, when the veil between the worlds of life and death stands open. Samhain is a festival of the dead, when Pagans remember those who have gone before and acknowledge the mystery of death. As Pagans we celebrate death as a part of life.
Yule - 21st December (archaic form Geola,pronounced Yula):
Yule is the time of the winter solstice, when the sun child is reborn, an image of the return of all new life born through the love of the Gods. The Norse had a God Ullr, and within the Northern Tradition Yule is regarded as the New Year.
Imbolc - 2nd February:
Imbolc, also called Oimelc and Candlemas, celebrates the awakening of the land and the growing power of the Sun. Often, the Goddess is venerated in her aspect as the Virgin of Light and her altar is decked with snowdrops, the heralds of spring.
Spring Equinox - 21st March:
Now night and day stand equal. The Sun grows in power and the land begins to bloom. By Spring Equinox, the powers of the gathering year are equal to the darkness of winter and death. For many Pagans, the youthful God with his hunting call leads the way in dance and celebration. Others dedicate this time to Eostre the Anglo- Saxon Goddess of fertility.
Beltane - 30th April:
The powers of light and new life now dance and move through all creation. The Wheel continues to turn. Spring gives way to Summer's first full bloom and Pagans celebrate Beltane with maypole dances, symbolizing the mystery of the Sacred Marriage of Goddess and God.
Midsummer - 21st June:
At summer solstice is the festival of Midsummer, sometimes called Litha. The God in his light aspect is at the height of his power and is crowned Lord of Light. It is a time of plenty and celebration.
Lughnasadh - 1st August (pronounced Loo-nassa):
Lughnasadh, otherwise called Lammas, is the time of the corn harvest, when Pagans reap those things they have sown; when they celebrate the fruits of the mystery of Nature. At Lughnasadh, Pagans give thanks for the bounty of the Goddess as Queen of the Land.
Autumn Equinox - 21 September:
Day and night stand hand in hand as equals. As the shadows lengthen, Pagans see the darker faces of the God and Goddess. For many Pagans, this rite honours old age and the approach of Winter.