Honouring nature's cycles with the Pagan Wheel of the Year

An annual rotation of seasonal festivals, the Pagan Wheel of the Year can teach us how to attune with nature and heal with her seasons.

By: The College of Psychic Studies.   Posted

The Pagan Wheel of the Year is an annual rotation of seasonal festivals. This ancient calendar recalls traditional practices and beliefs that far predate Christianity. It has as much to teach us now about living in harmony with nature as it did in ancient times.

The symbolism of Sabbats

Seasonal changes were extremely significant in the days when we cultivated crops and reared our own livestock. We lived by the cycles of nature. These cycles were marked by the Pagan Wheel of the Year. This calendar celebrates four seasons punctuated by eight Sabbats: two equinoxes, two solstices and four cross-quarter days. Each of these Sabbats has its own symbolic and spiritual significance.

Yule is Winter Solstice in the Pagan Wheel of the Year. From the dark heart of winter, we yawn and stretch into Imbolc, the awakening of spring. Then it's time for Ostara, Spring Equinox, with its promise of new life. Energised by the rising warmth, we then dance and celebrate our way through fiery Beltane towards Litha, Summer Solstice, as the sun reaches its zenith. The harvest, with all its fruitful abundance, begins at Lughnasadh (Lammas). It peaks at Mabon, the Autumn Equinox. The days then darken through Samhain as the veil between worlds grows thin. And then we find ourselves once more in the thick of winter at Yule. And so the cycle continues.

A natural alignment

The Pagan Wheel of the Year beautifully honours the earth's natural polarities – life and death, order and chaos, dark and light. It teaches us that one can't exist without the other, that everything is poised within nature's intuitive balance. Just as the earth moves through her cycles, so too do we. 

During the darkness of Yule, we withdraw for deep internal work, self-reflection and healing, while at Litha, we step out to blossom beneath the sun and enjoy the fruit of life. Perhaps we can view the Wheel as a spiral, celebrating a continuous renewal and transformation of ourselves and our planet each year.

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