Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Squiffy seasonality and the Wheel of the Year...

When I first started on this pathway of witchiness one of the first things I learnt about were the sabbats and the Wheel of the Year...and it took me forever to remember the names and dates and even longer to remember what correspondences went with which sabbat...I still struggle sometimes now but that's possibly because I have a brain like a sieve...

Except that now, in fact gradually over the last few years I have found myself associating with the set sabbat dates and meanings less and less...

I think perhaps it was more prominent last year because of the weather...in the south of England where I live we didn't really have a winter as such which totally confused my poor garden.  I have geraniums at the front of the house that haven't stopped flowering since last summer, they were in full bloom in December and still are now.   One of my rose bushes in the back garden flowered continuously, I was picking roses in full bloom in November and December and the fuschias have only just decided to take a rest now...

I find myself more and more connecting with the season rather than the specific dates of the sabbat even my altars get dressed according to how I feel and where I think Mother Earth is at now rather than decorating to suit a date on the calendar.

Don't get me wrong I am not trashing the sabbats at all, I think they are really important celebrations and I am more than happy to party with the best of them to celebrate each one but I feel more connected when I am listening to the earth and the weather rather than specific dates.

I do obviously feel the energy at the solstice and equinoxes because for me that's more about daylight/darkness but I find it very hard to celebrate the winter solstice when my garden still thinks it is mid summer...

Tracey and I have actually both been discussing this for a long while, both feeling the same about it (I suspect we share a brain sometimes) so I wonder if it is something that others are starting to feel?

The Wheel of the Year idea is fairly modern but there is evidence that our ancestors across the globe had certain festivals during the year to celebrate important events such as the solstices and the coming of spring.  And the Wheel does make a lot of sense, it is a good guide to the turning of the year and the ebb and flow of the seasons but I like to think of it more as a general guide than something strict I need to observe on specific dates (I never have been good with rules).   The solstices and equinoxes are obviously ruled by outside forces but the other festivals would have marked the beginning of planting or harvesting which would have varied depending on the weather and how well (or badly) the crops had grown and how hard and cold the ground still was.

So I shall continue with this seasonal flexibility and follow my inutition and my connection with nature to see where it leads me...rest assured that I have not completely abandoned the Wheel... I am currently eating chocolate eggs to celebrate Ostara and most definitely will be opening presents at Yule...it's my pathway I can do what I like ...

Wheel of the Year image by Peter Patterson (c) Kitchen Witch 2014


  1. I have the same issue. Where I live, we have more or less two seasons, so it can be hard to really get into the celebration of some days when the earth around me thinks spring begins in February!

  2. The Wheel is the fusion of two system - the "Celtic"/Irish/"British" one of Beltaine, Lughnasadh, ect, which could be called agrarian, and of Continental (mainly Temperature) Europe focused on solstices and equinoxes. Trouble with it is setting the fixed timing in the reality of Georgian Calendar of the "Celtic" system, which was clearly not suited for it. Taking the clime and agrarian aspect of it and it is pretty much useless, so it should not be straightly planted into traditions and regions/climes, which frankly can also mean cities.
    Easiest way would be adjusting "Celtic" festivals to the local reality (and reversing the solstices in South), bringing them back as they were, since on Earth Path we should not be slaves to some concepts, but should listen the Land.
    For me the wheel works good, and wish that (with their little creativity) to all.

    Brenda- as a mater of fact Imbolc is the beginning of spring, so even if by then You have it much in bloom, You can still celebrate it as it is ;)

  3. Personally speaking I've always considered the 8 festivals as being of two sets. The Solstices & Equinox's which are fixed dates as they are Astronomical in their definition, then there's the other 4 festivals which are more seasonal so can change and represent more a period of time rather than a fixed date.

  4. Well, seeing how I'm just now getting Imbolc weather (last year it was even later!) the spring sabbats don't really work well with my backyard :) I've always felt more for the solstices and equinoxes because at least they still apply! The fall sabbats (esp Samhain) are buckets of fun, but it's hard to get excited for spring sabbats with 3 feet of snow and icesickles on your face from fetching the mail... I just celebrate the first crocus, and the first big gardening day (with drunken yardwork).