In a World where we are largely urbanised, plugged in and switched on 24/7 and connected to hundreds of people we may or may not know through social media, it can seem quaint and contrived to encourage seasonal celebration as a route to connection.
I would argue this is exactly why we need seasonal celebrations the most!
At a time when climate change, natural disasters and various food shortages make it appear as if we are incapable of finding any balance or kinship with our World, we can begin to repair the bond by turning towards the cycles of life and death, following the festival on the seasonal Wheel of the Year.
“The WHEEL OF THE YEAR is a cyclical calendar of eight festivals that track seasonal changes. They fall approximately 6-8 weeks apart and are relatively evenly spread throughout the year.
In the Northern Hemisphere December/Midwinter is at the very top and June/Midsummer at the bottom. The four ‘compass points’ mark the Solstices and Equinoxes. The exact dates of these astronomical occurrences vary slightly each cycle so the festival date moves in response to this. The remaining four ‘cross quarter’ festivals mark the historic Celtic Fire Festivals that are rooted in folk history and tradition. The dates of these festivals tend to be the same each year.
Each festival has its own collection of themes, myths, stories and traditions. Some will have been around for many years, others will be newer additions. There are a few over-arching myths that tell the story of the whole Wheel in one go; it is not unusual for such a story to be portioned up and told over the course of 12 months.
Many festival traditions are linked to the weather, the agricultural calendar or local folk history; often a mixture of all three. Some of the festivals have more ephemeral ideas linked to them, such as spirits at Samhain. It has become popular in recent times to use the Wheel as a context for self-exploration and development too.
The Wheel of the Year is a symbolic representation of the turning seasons and the sensory and energetic changes that take place in the World and our lives as we move through the them. Despite its close acquaintance with Paganism, following the Wheel is not limited to those who would identify as such… after all an appreciation of the World is not limited to those with religion or faith.”
taken from Walk The Wheel; What Wheel?
I currently facilitate outdoor GATHERings to mark and celebrate the festivals in Glossop, Derbyshire. For more information go to the GATHER page.
From 2012-2016 I facilitated regular indoor gatherings to celebrate the eight festivals called ‘Walk The Wheel’. Although these do not happen regularly anymore they can be regenerated for either one-off celebrations or a regular booking. See the archived website here and contact me to discuss.