The Pagan Basics series is for those looking to find out more about the basic concepts, symbols and values of paganism. A series of short articles which give explanations to some of paganism’s most fundamental concepts, images and shared understandings.
The Wheel of the Year is made up of eight Sabbats, or festivals, which mark the turning of the year through the seasons. These are positioned every 6-8 weeks through the year.
Four of these festivals are the ‘fire festivals’, based in celtic lore, the remaining four are made up of two solstice and two equinox. The year can be further split into the ‘dark half’ and ‘the light half’.
Starting in December, the list looks like this:
21st/22nd December – Yule – Winter Solstice – Dark half of the year
2nd February – Imbolc – fire festival – Dark half of the year
20/21st March – Ostara – Spring Equinox – Light half of the year
1at May – Beltaine – fire festival – Light half of the year
21st/22nd June – Litha – Summer Solstice – Light half of the year
1/2nd August – Lammas – fire festival – Light half of the year
21/22nd September – Mabon – Autum Equinox – Dark half of the year
31st October – Samhain – fire festival – Dark half of the year
Yule: a celebration and acknowledgement of the shortening days, the rebirth of the sun
Imbolc: fire festival marking the beginning of spring.
Ostara: marking the middle of spring
Beltaine: the fire festival of fertility and spring abundance
Litha: the sun at it’s most powerful, the longest day
Lammas: a celebrations of the first, or grain harvest
Mabon: a celebration of the second, or fruit harvest
Samhain: a time for reflection and personal ancestors, the third harvest of animals before winter comes.