The Wheel of the Year represents eight significant points of reference, when a full rotation of the Earth around the Sun is divided up equally. Each point is connected to a date and is named as a festival, which nowadays has become associated with Paganism.
In fact, the origins of this natural calendar dates back to Celtic times, before the dawn of Christianity. Its influence however remains since the church adopted some of these rituals within its own calendar, for example; Christmas, which coincides with Yule and Easter, which bares reference to Ostara.
Interest in the Wheel of the Year has seen a revival in recent times, due to its relevance to the natural world. With growing concerns about the future of the planet, these ancient rituals celebrating occurrences within nature have a renewed significance. Humans must learn to live in harmony more with the environment and to restore aspects of our heritage which respected and revered nature.
The Wheel of the Year
As previously mentioned the Wheel of the Year represents Earths orbit once around the sun, which is divided up into eight equal points, with the four quarters of Yule (winter solstice), Ostara (spring equinox), Litha (summer solstice) and Mabon (autumnal equinox) being the most important. The dates in between reflect the more subtle changes of the season, for example Beltane, which is considered to be the first day of summer.
February 2 marks Imbolc, which is the celebration of the first signs of spring, or the midpoint between the winter solstice and spring equinox. With it being (even if it doesn't quite feel like it) at the tail end of the long, harsh winter months this is a festival of hope and new beginnings. It signals the stirrings of new life and heralds the earths reawakening from hibernation.
Here are a few tips for how to celebrate this uplifting recognition of the beautiful natural cycle that is perpetually changing.
Make Imbolc a time for spring cleaning, both the physical spaces you inhabit and your mind. Clear out cupboards, rooms, clothes draws and enjoy the revitalising energy that it brings. Try to also refresh your mind and cultivate feelings of positivity and growth the warmer and lighter it gets. Maybe write down some goals for summer to focus the mind ignite ambition.
Snowdrops are a beautiful indicator that spring is just around the corner. They are usually the first of the spring bulbs to make an appearance and the delicate white petals are one of many natural wonders worth celebrating. Plan walks where they grow, so that you can marvel at their beauty and what they signify; in the natural world and as an analogy for life.