NOTE: This class is taken from the Order of the Gecko. IF you would like your answers to the questions reviewed or graded, sign up at the Order of the Gecko (its free!) to take the class for real.
Part 5: Celebrations and Conclusions
The Wheel of the Year
[[NOTE: This was posted earlier, it is here for your final assignment.]]
The Wheel of the Year is composed of eight major sun holidays, also known as Sabbats. Scattered throughout, on different cycles, are the esbat celebrations of the full and new moon. Please note that these holidays are for those Witches in the Northern Hemisphere.
The Witches’ Year begins on October 31st, Samhain. Samhain is considered one of the two times of the year when the veil between the worlds is thinnest. Traditionally, Samhain is considered the “Third Harvest”, but we will get back to that at the end of the year. Samhain’s primary energy is that of renewal, and of communication between the self and the divine. Samhain is, seasonally, the height of Fall.
Yule is the next holiday in the Wheel of the Year. Yule occurs on the Winter Solstice, which usually falls between December 20-23. Yule represents the birth of the God, the time when darkness is greatest and light is short. It represents a turning point in the new year, and we begin the gaining of the light. It is, seasonally, the beginning of Winter.
Imbolc is considered the height of Winter, and is the next Holiday along the spokes of the Wheel. Imbolc traditionally occurs on February 2nd, and is known also as the festival of lights. There is a large pull on this holiday to worship Brigid, the Blacksmith Goddess. Imbolc represents the sun breaking through the clouds, a time of transformation (blacksmith analogies abound) and action.
Ostara is the beginning of Spring, and is also known as the Spring Equinox. It usually occurs between March 20th and 23rd of each year. The worship of the goddess Eostre is traditional within this time, and it is this festival from which Easter comes – the Sunday after the first Full Moon after this day. This holiday represents the preparing of the fields for the coming planting.
Beltane is the height of Spring, and occurs on May 1st of each year. Beltane is also known as May Day and is the major fertility festival of our tradition, representative of planting/plowing the fields (sexual metaphors abound). This is the time when the God is fully grown and begins once again to do his duties.
Litha is the Summer Solstice, and occurs between June 20 and June 23 of each year. Litha is the holiday which is centered around growth and celebration. Litha is also the beginning of Summer, and it is from here on out that the cycle begins once again to wane, the light for the earth becoming dimmer each day.
Lammas or Lughnassadh is the next holiday, and is the height of summer. IT is dually representative of the death of the God(Lugh) and of the “First Harvest” – a time in which those things which are grown most quickly are harvested. Lughnassadh occurs traditionally on August 1st of each year, and is also known by some as the Festival of Bread, celebrating the harvest of wheat.
Mabon is the Autumnal Equinox, and occurs between September 20 and September 23rd of each year. It is the Second Harvest, and the beginning of fall – the time when the harvest are in full swing and gifts are being received from the earth. It is the second time of the year when the times of day and night are equal.
Samhain is both the end and beginning, and is the Final Harvest. The year begins anew.
Exercise 6: Pick one, learn more.
Pick a holiday and research its history, then write an informative article about the holiday, where it came from, and what traditions are associated with it that you found interesting. Please cite sources.
Exercise 7: The Final Project
[[NOTE: This is meant for those in a structured class; you could make a video or an extensive article or entry in your journal or blog, if you choose to do this. Enjoy!]]
Choose an aspect of this course that interested you and find some way to teach others. The uploading of a file allows for any creative expression – an image, a research paper or article, a movie, a song, a collage, or any other media that can be transmitted over the internet.