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Author Topic: Wheel of the Year  (Read 4775 times)
RainDrop
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« Topic Start: March 31, 2011, 12:15:40 pm »

Hi all,

I'm not sure if there is another topic on this, please re-direct me if there is, but I was wondering about the wheel of the year and how it works.

Is it just a Wiccan thing or can any type of pagan use it? Are there different varistions of the Wheel for different pagan religions or is it just 1 standard wheel?!
How do people celebrate each solstice? Do they formally go out and do rituals or can you informally acknowledge them?

Sorry for all the questions. I've seen the Wheel before but I've no idea how it works or if all pagan traditions use it.  Can anyone shed some light on it for me and where I could possibly get some info on it?! (Websites would be useful Smiley )

Thanks in advance for your help,
Sara
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« Reply #1: March 31, 2011, 01:42:08 pm »

Is it just a Wiccan thing or can any type of pagan use it? Are there different varistions of the Wheel for different pagan religions or is it just 1 standard wheel?!

It's not purely Wiccan, but it's not something every Pagan religion uses, either. (There are lots and lots of Pagan religions.) That said, a lot of people do acknowledge them in some way, and they're the most common model for larger public rituals in various places.

Some people also only celebrate four of the eight possible Sabbats, or two, or some other combination that makes sense to them. (Though at that point, talking about the wheel of the year gets a little less wheel-shaped.)

Quote
How do people celebrate each solstice? Do they formally go out and do rituals or can you informally acknowledge them?

Depends on the people! Depends on their life at the time. Depends what they value.

It's sort of like birthdays: some people love throwing a big party, some people like a thing with a few close friends, some people take the day and go do something by themselves that recharges them. All of these can be a great thing - but all of them might be the wrong thing for a particular person or at a particular time (or just not the meaningful thing.)

Me, I do formal ritual (in part because I'm a priestess in a tradition that values that particular cycle, and where it's built into other parts of our ritual cycles, but I also do smaller seasonal things around the Sabbat, and those vary a lot based on my level of energy, other things in my schedule, etc. I miss group ritual work for the Sabbats (and I sometimes visit the group I trained with) but my group work is on hiatus until my job situation is settled.

There are a bunch of different ways people look at the Sabbats fitting together, which can be sort of confusing until you figure out that there's a bunch of different approaches.

I've got a write-up on one of my websites that goes into summaries of different approaches for the wheel, and then also links to a couple of great pages about the Sabbats. That's here: http://gleewood.org/seeking/practices/sabbats/
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« Reply #2: March 31, 2011, 05:18:57 pm »

Is it just a Wiccan thing or can any type of pagan use it? Are there different varistions of the Wheel for different pagan religions or is it just 1 standard wheel?!
How do people celebrate each solstice? Do they formally go out and do rituals or can you informally acknowledge them?

The Wheel of the Year is used by many Neopagans, even those who aren't Wiccan. It's kind of --  overly simplified here - a combination of the Celtic fire days (Beltaine, Lughnassa, Samhain, and Imbolc) and the Solstices and Equinoces that were celebrated by the Germanic/Norse peoples. So if you are following a Celtic path, you would probably focus on Imbolc and Beltaine, etc. and skip Ostara. And if you are following a Heathen path, you may celebrate just the solar days, like Yule and Ostara.

Different paths have some things that are specific to them, so that does affect how you view it.

The Wheel of the Year is a good place to start, IMO. It's well understood, there are lots of resources on them, and it may be fairly simple to find others celebrating them. None of my pagan or pagan-ish friends are on a path that even sort of resembles mine, but we can all celebrate those days together, with our kids. It's not a big ritual thing, but it's nice to have our kids paint flowerpots and plant seeds together, and enjoy a shared meal.

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« Reply #3: March 31, 2011, 05:21:49 pm »

Is it just a Wiccan thing or can any type of pagan use it? Are there different varistions of the Wheel for different pagan religions or is it just 1 standard wheel?!

Most Wicca variants and Wicca-like Pagan religions use the Wheel of the Year. A few unrelated to Wicca Pagan religions do as well. Many unrelated to Wicca Pagan religions do not use the Wheel at all.
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« Reply #4: April 01, 2011, 07:38:27 am »


The Wheel of the Year is a good place to start, IMO. It's well understood, there are lots of resources on them, and it may be fairly simple to find others celebrating them. None of my pagan or pagan-ish friends are on a path that even sort of resembles mine, but we can all celebrate those days together, with our kids. It's not a big ritual thing, but it's nice to have our kids paint flowerpots and plant seeds together, and enjoy a shared meal.


@ Collinsky & Randell. Since I have no specific path, I'd thought of celebrating some of the sabbats and esbats but I have no idea what the difference in them is or where I could fond out about it.
I don't even know how I could celebrate them because both my parents are Christians and they don't like Paganism. (They think it's all to do with witches!)

@Jenett - Thanks for the links. I'll check those out and hopefully they could shed some light on this topic.

Sara
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« Reply #5: April 01, 2011, 08:06:01 am »

@ Collinsky & Randell. Since I have no specific path, I'd thought of celebrating some of the sabbats and esbats but I have no idea what the difference in them is or where I could fond out about it.

The Wiccan Sabbats are the two equinoxes and the two solstices and the 4 days of the year halfway between them (the cross-quarter days). There is some info on them on our web site.
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« Reply #6: April 01, 2011, 08:18:22 am »

@ Collinsky & Randell. Since I have no specific path, I'd thought of celebrating some of the sabbats and esbats but I have no idea what the difference in them is or where I could fond out about it.

The Wiccan Sabbats are the two equinoxes and the two solstices and the 4 days of the year halfway between them (the cross-quarter days). There is some info on them on our web site.


Thanks Randall. I'll check this out.

Sara
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Collinsky
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« Reply #7: April 01, 2011, 11:20:31 am »

@ Collinsky & Randell. Since I have no specific path, I'd thought of celebrating some of the sabbats and esbats but I have no idea what the difference in them is or where I could fond out about it.
I don't even know how I could celebrate them because both my parents are Christians and they don't like Paganism. (They think it's all to do with witches!)


http://www.ecauldron.net/holidays.php is what The Cauldron has on the holidays.

As a non-Wiccan, I don't use the Goddess and God mythic cycle, and don't in general use the terms sabbat and esbat. But I celebrate the holidays of the Wheel of the Year. What you might want to do, in addition to getting a good overview, is focus on Beltaine since it is the next one coming up (May 1.) You might also like to poke around in the forums here, in Holidays and Festivals as well as Paganism for Beginners.

You can celebrate them with as much or as little pomp as you like. It can involve elaborate ritual, or it can be simple and private. It can be a part of a mythic cycle, celebrations of changing seasons, times of honoring specific gods... or all three at once, or something else entirely.

Unless you follow a specific path with specific requirements, it really is up to you, and while you're exploring feel free to experiment with different ideas and different ways. It won't happen overnight, but a path will begin to emerge.
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« Reply #8: April 01, 2011, 12:10:28 pm »

http://www.ecauldron.net/holidays.php is what The Cauldron has on the holidays.

As a non-Wiccan, I don't use the Goddess and God mythic cycle, and don't in general use the terms sabbat and esbat. But I celebrate the holidays of the Wheel of the Year. What you might want to do, in addition to getting a good overview, is focus on Beltaine since it is the next one coming up (May 1.) You might also like to poke around in the forums here, in Holidays and Festivals as well as Paganism for Beginners.

You can celebrate them with as much or as little pomp as you like. It can involve elaborate ritual, or it can be simple and private. It can be a part of a mythic cycle, celebrations of changing seasons, times of honoring specific gods... or all three at once, or something else entirely.

Unless you follow a specific path with specific requirements, it really is up to you, and while you're exploring feel free to experiment with different ideas and different ways. It won't happen overnight, but a path will begin to emerge.

Thanks Collinsky for your advice. Atm, because I'm new, it all seems very confusing.  I'm just going to try different things and see what I'm comfortable with and what I'm not.  As I've no pagan friends I've no idea what type of holidays exist and how to even start celebrating them.
I'll take your advice and rummage around the forum a bit and take a good look on the net and see what I can find.

Thanks again
Sara
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« Reply #9: April 01, 2011, 01:15:45 pm »

Thanks Collinsky for your advice. Atm, because I'm new, it all seems very confusing.  I'm just going to try different things and see what I'm comfortable with and what I'm not.  As I've no pagan friends I've no idea what type of holidays exist and how to even start celebrating them.
I'll take your advice and rummage around the forum a bit and take a good look on the net and see what I can find.

There's often a thread around here with what people are doing for upcoming Sabbats (and other things...) and there's definitely tons of old posts about it over the years. (The links on the page I linked you to have some great suggestions, too.)

The big things I'd suggest thinking about are:

- What kinds of things do you hope to do? Honor the season? Connect with a particular deity and honor them? Work with the Wheel as a way to make progress on larger goals? Something else? (There are tons of other options.)

- Once you've figured out what your basic goal is, you can then figure out what to do about it. For some people, that might be a meal of seasonal foods somewhere outside. For some people, it might be a formal ritual. For some people it might be both.

To give you a couple of examples:

The most Sabbat in the northern hemisphere was Ostara or the spring equinox. I have a lifelong love of dyeing eggs, so I've started combining that with magical work to help make my year-long goals easier to manifest: in this case, I created some dyed eggs to eat that would help me bring particular qualities into my life, and I blew out a few eggshells and charged them with particular things I want to have manifest in the coming six months or so, and filled them with a blend of mostly spices related with prosperity and abundance and manifestation. When each of those things happens, I'll take them outside and crush the eggshell to release the rest of the energy. And then I made a seasonal meal with lots of egg-related foods, and took a walk outside, and generally enjoyed the season.

The next Sabbat is Beltane. There's a long tradition - in the US, as well as in the UK - of people getting up to watch the Morris Dancers dance the sun up on May Day, and I go every year it is not absolutely pouring rain. Usually, it's a great chance to see a bunch of people I don't see very often, and because it's a Sunday this year, I can stay and hang around until it's done, rather than having to leave early to get on with the rest of the day. I suspect I'll end up going out to breakfast with someone.

I'll also do some sort of more formal ritual - but I'm not sure yet exactly what form that's going to take. (Generally, I start poking at ideas about a month out - so right around now - and then finalise things a week or two out, so I have time to pick up any needed materials.)
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« Reply #10: April 01, 2011, 06:41:52 pm »

There's often a thread around here with what people are doing for upcoming Sabbats (and other things...) and there's definitely tons of old posts about it over the years. (The links on the page I linked you to have some great suggestions, too.)

Thanks Jenett.  I'll check out those links.

Quote
The big things I'd suggest thinking about are:

- What kinds of things do you hope to do? Honor the season? Connect with a particular deity and honor them? Work with the Wheel as a way to make progress on larger goals? Something else? (There are tons of other options.)

- Once you've figured out what your basic goal is, you can then figure out what to do about it. For some people, that might be a meal of seasonal foods somewhere outside. For some people, it might be a formal ritual. For some people it might be both.


I think (if this is possible.  If it's not, I'm sure you guys will let me know) I'd like to honour the season but also connect with a deity and honour. (Although I'm having difficulty connecting with a deity, so it looks like "honor the season")

Thanks for the examples too Jennett.
I currently live in Northern Ireland and I don't think we get Morris Dancers here.  I'll check out the threads and see if I can find some ideas on how to celebrate each sabbat/esbat.

I am fascinated by the wheel and as I have no particular path, for the meantime, I wish to use it in my life to honour the seasons and the Gods.
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