Samhain – 31st October (pronounced Sow-in): The Wheel of the Year is begins at Celtic New Year with Samhain, which is also known as Hallowe’en or All Hallows Eve. This is the time of year when the veil between the worlds of life and death is thinnest, providing the means for those who have gone before to return, albeit briefly. Samhain is a festival of the dead; an acknowledge of the mystery of death and a celebration of death as a part of life.
Yule – 21st December (pronounced Yula): Yule is celebrated at the time of the winter solstice, when the dark of the night begins to lose its power to the sun and the daylight. The sun child is reborn and brings the hope of new life.
Imbolc – 2nd February: (pronounced Im-molg) Imbolc celebrates the awakening of the land and the growing power of the Sun. It is derived from the Gaelic word “oimelc” which means “ewe’s milk” as it is a festival of the lactating sheep, which is the first signs of new life can be seen. It is the time of Blessing of the seeds and consecration of agricultural tools. It is the festival of the Maiden, as it is her season to prepare for growth and renewal from this day to March 21st. Imbolc is sometimes referred to as Candlemas.
Ostara, Spring Equinox – 21st March: The day and night are equal, however the sun is growing in strength and with it the land flourishes. The youthful sun God with his hunting call leads the way in dance and celebration and the goddess of fertility, Ostara (Eostre)
Beltane – 30th April: The powers of light and new life now dance and move through all creation. The Wheel continues to turn. Spring gives way to Summer’s first full bloom and Pagans celebrate Beltane with maypole dances, symbolizing the mystery of the Sacred Marriage of Goddess and God.
Litha, Midsummer – 21st June: At summer solstice is the festival of Midsummer, sometimes called Litha. The God in his light aspect is at the height of his power and is crowned Lord of Light. It is a time of plenty and celebration.
Lughnasadh – 1st August (pronounced Loo-nassa): Lughnasadh, otherwise called Lammas, is the time of the corn harvest, when Pagans reap those things they have sown; when they celebrate the fruits of the mystery of Nature. At Lughnasadh, Pagans give thanks for the bounty of the Goddess as Queen of the Land.
Mabon, Autumn Equinox – 21 September: Day and night are equal; light and dark, above and below, inner and outer, all in balance. As the shadows lengthen, the darker faces of the God and Goddess are shown. This includes old age, decay, death, transformation as the Winter approaches. Samhain – 31st October: The Wheel turns and returns to Samhain, the festival of the dead, when we face the Gods and Goddesses in their most awesome forms. This is not a time of fear, but a time to understand more deeply that life and death are part of a sacred whole.