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Changing Seasons And The Wheel Of The Year


Guest Bluebellmoon
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Just wondering when people consider the shift in the seasons to begin the next - is it when you feel the change or is it on the dates of the Wheel of the Year, ie Autumn began at the Equinox? The first Paganism book I read, identified the start of the new season as Imbolc (Spring) Belane (Summer) Lammas (Autumn) and Samhain (Winter) with the Equinox's and Solstices being the mid point of the season, ie mid winter/mid summer

Personally I think that Imbolc is the beginning of spring, the awakening of the land and the Equinox to 'be' the actual start of Spring, and so on through each of the other 6 celebrations.

Is there a definitive answer, or is it just, each to their own, and very much dependant upon the fair British weather...

 

<not sure if this is posted in the right place - mods, please feel free to move it if its not : )>

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This is my method its probably not right but hey! The way I understood it was that the solar festivals represented the changes in and progression of/cycling of the seaons and the earth festivals represented the appearance of those changes as seen on earth.

 

Eg Yule "awakening of the sun" causes Imbolc "awakening of the land", or Lithia "Sun at full power" leads to lammas "ripening of the land" etc. That the earth festivals in effect occur because of the solar festivals.

 

But, with all the freaky weather we now have its hard to observe the earth festivals sometimes and it makes me a little sad. For this reason I tend to be a bit flexible with regard to dates for Imbolc, beltaine, lammas and observe them personally when I think the time is appropriate and right for myself and the surroundings I am in. I don't see beginnings and ends in the wheel of the year it is what it is "a cycle" to me

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It largely depends on what matters to you :)

 

The year cycle you have described is of recent creation - probably the 1950s. Gerald Gardiner and Ross Nichols used the existing Anglo Saxon quarter days, converted them to Celtic festivals (drawn from various Celtic religions) and threw in the equinoxes. It works very well for very many pagans, but it doesn't apply to all pagan religions.

 

Leaving that aside, even if you look at the Celtic religions, like the Heathen religion, the year was divided into two: winter and summer. In the Celtic religions (well, from memory, the continental and Irish ones), Beltane is taken as the start of the summer half and Samhain the winter half. In the Heathen religion Winter Nights marks the start of the winter half of the year. In some Scandinavian countries, there's some evidence a particular date was used, at least in later years. In the UK, modern Heathens use the weather as a guide - so Winter Nights might be observed at different times in different parts of the country. We don;t have an equivalent start to summer. I tend to use Beltane, even though it's not from our religion. ;)

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For me, calendar dates are just useful modern guidance for such things - after all, the seasons have been changing long before calendars were first thought of! Again, for me, it is how it feels! This year, Beltane could never have been on 1 May as it was still wintery and the may flowers (hawthorn) were not even thinking of emerging - they first started to blossom in very sheltered spots, on 17 May! Similarly, although actual harvest is now all but completed - in respect of the grain crops and most leafy vegetables, the trees here still have their summer dark green foliage, some are still growing new foliage and only some are slightly showing some autumn colour .......... So, I turn the wheel of the year as and when it feels absolutely right to me to recognise it.

 

The planetary indicators: solstices and equinoxes, are a slightly different matter and can be fixed in the modern calendar for observation.

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I have now come to the conclusion it is each to their own, each date on the wheel has its own significance and perhaps thats the answer in that there is nor real start just a continual cycle, so its when it suits. There are so many other new years if you then take in other religions it can be a bit overwhelming, good for resolutions perhaps.

 

It does seem a need in the human soul to have a date for a new start doesn't it. :o_wink:

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The Celtic Summer/Winter split is pretty spot on actually I think. Like Naomi I follow the Wheel idea but though I acknowledge the calendar dates, I do tend to make more of a celebration of when I feel the seasons have changed, with notable exceptions (the Equinoxes and Solstices). Imbolc for me is the end of Winter rather than the start of Spring, and it's when I can start planting. But it's the Vernal Equinox when I really feel that Spring is around the corner. I started harvesting a few weeks ago, and up here, that's when the leaves started turning. Our first frost was a few days ago and for me that marks the beginning of the end of the harve and beginning of the apple harvest. So it's a very fluid and flexible approach I take and is entirely personal to my own outlook and circumstances :)

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thank for your replies - its helpful to hear (read) other people's feelings/interpretations of such things :)

 

This is my method its probably not right but hey!

- I dont think ther is one definitive 'right' way, everyone's own way is the 'right' way for them.

 

But, with all the freaky weather we now have its hard to observe the earth festivals sometimes and it makes me a little sad. For this reason I tend to be a bit flexible with regard to dates for Imbolc, beltaine, lammas and observe them personally when I think the time is appropriate and right for myself and the surroundings I am in. I don't see beginnings and ends in the wheel of the year it is what it is "a cycle" to me

- Yep, I completely agree

 

For me, calendar dates are just useful modern guidance for such things - after all, the seasons have been changing long before calendars were first thought of! Again, for me, it is how it feels! .......So, I turn the wheel of the year as and when it feels absolutely right to me to recognise it.

 

The planetary indicators: solstices and equinoxes, are a slightly different matter and can be fixed in the modern calendar for observation.

- I have been sticking to the calendar dates for the past 5 years, and sometimes it didnt 'feel right' - its reassuring to know that these 'dates' can be flexible and more intuitively recognised.

 

The Celtic Summer/Winter split is pretty spot on actually I think. Like Naomi I follow the Wheel idea but though I acknowledge the calendar dates, I do tend to make more of a celebration of when I feel the seasons have changed, with notable exceptions (the Equinoxes and Solstices). Imbolc for me is the end of Winter rather than the start of Spring, and it's when I can start planting. But it's the Vernal Equinox when I really feel that Spring is around the corner. I started harvesting a few weeks ago, and up here, that's when the leaves started turning. Our first frost was a few days ago and for me that marks the beginning of the end of the harve and beginning of the apple harvest. So it's a very fluid and flexible approach I take and is entirely personal to my own outlook and circumstances :)

- this makes a lot of sense.

Thanks again everyone :D

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The Celtic Summer/Winter split is pretty spot on actually I think. Like Naomi I follow the Wheel idea but though I acknowledge the calendar dates, I do tend to make more of a celebration of when I feel the seasons have changed, with notable exceptions (the Equinoxes and Solstices). Imbolc for me is the end of Winter rather than the start of Spring, and it's when I can start planting. But it's the Vernal Equinox when I really feel that Spring is around the corner. I started harvesting a few weeks ago, and up here, that's when the leaves started turning. Our first frost was a few days ago and for me that marks the beginning of the end of the harve and beginning of the apple harvest. So it's a very fluid and flexible approach I take and is entirely personal to my own outlook and circumstances :)

 

I take this kind of flexible approach too. I'm not sure how much relevance the 'wheel' in its Wiccan/Druid form has to me, but it's useful as a reminder to honour the changing seasons. I did feel a change in the air yesterday, but I would be celebrating the Equinox with my Druid group anyway, whether I had or not. For me the 'wheel' festivals are more of a community thing, with my own honouring of the seasons the more personal thing.

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The idea that the "wheel of the year" is a purely Wiccan thing, is, I think, incorrect! As a Wiccan I make that statement. Although we follow the seasons with eight sabbats and 13 moon esbats, the imagery of the year turning like a wheel, rolling through the seasons, in a recognisable way, must be simply that, an image - one way of contemplating the changing seasons. As pagans, I am sure we are well used to visualisation in all sorts of things and so is this a visualisation ........ just thought I'd share those thoughts!

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The idea that the "wheel of the year" is a purely Wiccan thing, is, I think, incorrect! ... the imagery of the year turning like a wheel, rolling through the seasons, in a recognisable way, must be simply that, an image - one way of contemplating the changing seasons.

 

I suppose, as a non-Wiccan, I tend to make a sort of distinction in my head between "the Eightfold wheel of the year", which i regard as Wiccan/OBOD in origin, and the actual "wheel of the year" i.e. the turning of the seasons.

 

For me, watching the seasons turn is endlessly fascinating. I never, ever, tire of it. I find delight in each season. it isn't just watching the birds or the trees, but also watching the sunset and dawn (I go to work before sunrise most of the year), and observing the rain and temperatures and the moon. I find it lovely to use the old Anglo Saxon names for the months, as it means I can name each moon and feel the connection with my ancestors, long before the Christians. We may not understand the names for some months, and others (especially having three months - some years - named the same!) may be boring; but we can all sympathise with "mudmonth" (February), or Winter's full moon (October).

 

But I do feel very tongue in cheek about the cycle reflected in some Wiccan circles (and I'm sure Naomi would agree!).

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The idea that the "wheel of the year" is a purely Wiccan thing, is, I think, incorrect! ... the imagery of the year turning like a wheel, rolling through the seasons, in a recognisable way, must be simply that, an image - one way of contemplating the changing seasons.

 

I suppose, as a non-Wiccan, I tend to make a sort of distinction in my head between "the Eightfold wheel of the year", which i regard as Wiccan/OBOD in origin, and the actual "wheel of the year" i.e. the turning of the seasons.

 

For me, watching the seasons turn is endlessly fascinating. I never, ever, tire of it. I find delight in each season. it isn't just watching the birds or the trees, but also watching the sunset and dawn (I go to work before sunrise most of the year), and observing the rain and temperatures and the moon. I find it lovely to use the old Anglo Saxon names for the months, as it means I can name each moon and feel the connection with my ancestors, long before the Christians. We may not understand the names for some months, and others (especially having three months - some years - named the same!) may be boring; but we can all sympathise with "mudmonth" (February), or Winter's full moon (October).

 

But I do feel very tongue in cheek about the cycle reflected in some Wiccan circles (and I'm sure Naomi would agree!).

 

Indeed, Naomi would agree :lol: and that's all good knock-about-stuff! However ............

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The idea that the "wheel of the year" is a purely Wiccan thing, is, I think, incorrect! ... the imagery of the year turning like a wheel, rolling through the seasons, in a recognisable way, must be simply that, an image - one way of contemplating the changing seasons.

 

I suppose, as a non-Wiccan, I tend to make a sort of distinction in my head between "the Eightfold wheel of the year", which i regard as Wiccan/OBOD in origin, and the actual "wheel of the year" i.e. the turning of the seasons.

 

This is what I think. The eightfold wheel was put together in its current form by Gardner and Nichols, of course - who invented modern Wicca and OBOD Druidry. I know eclectic Pagans who celebrate it, but not many Norse, Kemetic etc Pagans who do. I get a bit annoyed at the idea that we all have to celebrate it or we're not Pagan (although I'm sure no one here is saying that!) I think it is useful for community - it can bring a local Pagan community together, and I celebrate it with my grove - but my personal practice leans towards reconstructionism, and there are festivals on the Wheel that I wouldn't be interested in celebrating if it wasn't for my group. But I do honour the turning of the seasons.

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