Witchcraft 101: The Wheel of the Year (AKA WItchy Holidays)

The Wheel of the Year is what dictates the holidays many witches, Wiccan or not, celebrate. It’s called a Wheel because , well each season follows the last as the year goes on (spring into summer into fall into winter in spring and so on).

The Wheel of the Year is made up of 8 holidays. Each holiday coincides with either a celestial occurrence or the natural world. For example, 4 of the 8 holidays lie on the equinoxes and solstices, as the world rotates through space and changes angle in regards to the seasons on the Earth’s position in relation to the Sun (basic 4th grade astronomy stuff). The other 4 holidays relate to human nature and the way we’ve lived in the world, mostly tying into harvest schedules and human nature of being cooped in or wanting to be let out.

Taking into account the holidays were created by the witches of yore, who worked their fields and lived in communities of other farmers and ranchers and grazers, witches, the wise women of their communities, helped make holidays for the working class to enjoy life and help keep track of the days between harvests and between the cold long nights of winter.

While the names have changed over the years and the days changed as people grew into the great big world we know today, we can still celebrate these holidays to keep our selves anchored to our pasts and our roots as witches.

Each holiday is called a Sabbat. Some take names from old engligh and some have had names coined for them in the last several decades. But witchcraft is always growing and changing; if you don’t feel drawn to a holiday in particular or to a name in particular for a holiday, then change it to suit you and your needs. I’ll list each holiday and what it celebrates as well as the dates for each.

Fall

Mabon – The Autumn Equinox Sept. 20-23

Samhain – Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve, Witch Christmas (basically, as we get to leave our houses spooked up and it looks festive af) Oct 31

Winter

Yule – Actual Christmas, Winter Solstice (This one was stolen by the Christians cause it was way more fun than any of their dumb ideas for dead of winter parties) Dec. 20-25

Imbolc – The world is waking up party! Celebrating the world defrosting and beginning to grow again. Usually happens in the weird part of February where you can feel the warm weather coming in your bones but there’s still snow in the forecast. Feb. 1-2

Spring

Ostara – Spring equinox, Closely resembles Easter (I wonder why ‘insert side-eye emoji’) Celebrating the world coming alive and… the birds and the bees 😉 Mar. 20-23

Beltane – May Day! Usually celebrating the first actually nice and sunny day of the year! May 1

Summer

Litha – Summer Solstice! Celebrating the longest day of the year Jun 20-22

Lughnasadh – First harvest of the year! Celebrating all the stuff that usually comes to fruition towards the end of summer, like the corn, berries, squash and such. Aug 1

So while there’s a lot of holidays (and excuses to party it up with your fellow serfs) you don’t have to follow each and every holiday to a tee. You can even make your own holidays to celebrate anniversaries and such. Just have fun and roll how you feel; as long as you’re being safe, there’s no wrong way to celebrate your holidays as a witch.

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