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Wheel of the Year

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Author Topic: Wheel of the Year  (Read 134 times)
Michelle Jahn
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« on: October 29, 2009, 01:33:53 pm »

The Wheel of the Year is a Wiccan and Neopagan term for the annual cycle of the Earth's seasons. It consists of eight festivals, spaced at approximately even intervals throughout the year. These festivals are referred to by Wiccans as Sabbats (pronounced /ˈsæb.ɛt/). While the term Sabbat originated from Abrahamic faiths such as Judaism and Christianity and is of Hebrew origin, the festivals themselves have historical origins in Celtic and Germanic pre-Christian feasts, and the Wheel of the Year, as has developed in modern Neopaganism and Modern Wicca, is really a combination of the two cultures' solstice and equinox celebrations. When melded together, two somewhat unrelated European Festival Cycles merge to form eight festivals in modern renderings. Together, these festivals are understood by some[who?] to be the Bronze Age religious festivals of Europe. As with all cultures' use of festivals and traditions, these festivals have been utilized by European cultures in both the pre and post Christian eras as traditional times for the community to celebrate the planting and harvest seasons. The Wheel of the Year has been important to many people both ancient and modern, from various religious as well as cultural and secular viewpoints.
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Michelle Jahn
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« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2009, 01:34:06 pm »

In many forms of Neopaganism, natural processes are seen as following a continuous cycle. The passing of time is also seen as cyclical, and is represented by a circle or wheel. The progression of birth, life, decline and death, as experienced in human lives, is echoed in the progression of the seasons. Wiccans also see this cycle as echoing the life, death and rebirth of the Horned God and the fertility of the Goddess. While most of these names derive from historical Celtic and Germanic festivals, the non-traditional names Litha and Mabon, which have become popular in North American Wicca, were introduced by Aidan Kelly in the 1970s. The word "sabbat" itself comes from the witches' sabbath or sabbat attested to in Early Modern witch trials

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Michelle Jahn
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« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2009, 01:34:34 pm »



The Wheel of the Year in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere these festivals are commonly shifted by six months to match the local seasons.
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Michelle Jahn
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« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2009, 01:35:03 pm »

Wiccans, and some other Neopagan groups, observe eight festivals which they call "sabbats".[1] Four of these fall on the solstices and equinoxes and are known as "quarter days" or "Lesser Sabbats". The other four fall (approximately) midway between these and are commonly known as "cross-quarter days," "fire festivals," or "Greater Sabbats". The "quarter days" are loosely based on or named after the Germanic festivals, and the "cross-quarter days" are similarly inspired by the Gaelic fire festivals. However, modern interpretations vary widely, so Pagan groups may celebrate and conceptualize these festivals in very different ways, often having little in common with the cultural festivals outside of the adopted name.[2]

The full system of eight yearly festivals held on these dates is unknown in older pagan calendars, and originated in the modern Wiccan religion.[3]

The eight major festivals (or "sabbats") are distinct from the Wiccan "esbats", which are additional meetings, usually smaller celebrations or coven meetings, held on full or new moons.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheel_of_the_Year
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