In modern witchcraft, the Wheel of the Year represents the cyclical nature of life, death, and rebirth. It comprises eight sabbats or festivals, each marking a significant turn in the Earth’s natural cycle and offering an occasion for witches to celebrate and reflect.
The year commences with Yule (Winter Solstice, December 20-23), a celebration of the rebirth of the Sun. Following Yule is Imbolc (February 1), marking the awakening of the land and the first hints of Spring.
Ostara (Spring Equinox, March 20-23) symbolizes balance and renewal, with equal hours of light and dark. Beltane (May 1) follows, celebrating fertility, life, and love, marking the transition into the warmer half of the year.
Next is Litha (Summer Solstice, June 20-23), the longest day of the year, celebrating the Sun’s peak power. Lammas or Lughnasadh (August 1) is the first harvest festival, where witches give thanks for abundance.
Mabon (Autumn Equinox, September 20-23) signifies the second harvest, reflecting balance and preparation for the winter. The cycle ends with Samhain (October 31), a time to honor the ancestors and the spiritual New Year in witchcraft.
Each sabbat has its unique customs. Celebrations may include feasts, bonfires, spellwork, meditation, and rituals centered around the season’s symbolism. For example, Beltane might consist of the lighting of bonfires to reflect the fertility of the season. At the same time, Samhain could involve honoring the ancestors through a special altar or feast.
Understanding and celebrating the sabbats enhances a witch’s connection to the natural world, fostering respect for its cycles. The Wheel of the Year serves as a sacred calendar, guiding witches in their spiritual journey by providing opportunities for reflection, celebration, and growth. Its cyclical rhythm reminds practitioners of the continual flow of life, death, and rebirth, honoring the Earth’s constant change and our integral part in this beautiful dance.