Life Revolves Around the Seasons 

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January 17, 2023

Most Goddesses know that life revolves around the seasons or the eight wheel year.

Traditionally the year is divided into four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. The Celts and other ancient cultures marked the change of the seasons with festivals typically lasting for three days or longer. These times were marked by the sun and moon, but in modern times the dates can vary slightly.

In nature there is always a returning cycle that begins, grows and ends; then returns again. There are no sharp dividing lines between where a season begins and becomes another. However, the year can be divided into four in two different ways, using quarter days and then dividing again into cross quarter days.

The Quarter Days 

The quarter days are the solstices — the longest and shortest nights — and the Equinoxes — the days where the length of the day and night is equal. Winter and summer mark the solstices; spring and fall mark the equinoxes.

The Cross Quarter Days

When we include the cross quarter days, this comprises the eight season system. This is the most comprehensive way to celebrate the year cycle. The eight spoked or double solar wheel is an ancient symbol and appears in many cultures. Its meaning as an image represents the ever-cycling year and is consistent across the world. The cross quarter days fall between the solstices and equinoxes.

Depending on which season you are honoring, there are many qualities to contemplate and consider. Normally, the eight wheel year begins at Samhain (Sow-wen), but because we are now in the new year, our next holiday is Imbolc.

The following dates are for the Northern Hemisphere. For those in the Southern Hemisphere the winter solstice would be in June and the summer solstice in December, and so on. 

(Note: Some cultures may depict different elements and directions from what is shown here.)

Imbolc — St. Brigid (January 31 – February 2) Also groundhog day

First signs of new life and the start of the farming season

Saint Brigid was the goddess of poets, healers and midwives

New growth and gestation before birth

To find our authentic truth and give birth to our independent spirit

Observe synchronicity

Eostre — Spring Equinox (March 19 – 21) 

New growth and plans for the coming year

Direction is south 

Element is earth

Sound is the drum

Storytelling, balance between giving and receiving, acknowledgment, gratitude

Paying attention to what has heart and meaning, love

Lying meditation

Exploring our potential through planning, research and study

Season of the healer

*Addictions, drama, the need to know, perfectionism

Beltane — May Day (April 30 – May 1)

Fertility and celebration of earthly joys and pleasures. Romance and new coupling.

Fertility and celebration of creativity

Sensual pleasure

Community and sharing with loved ones

Investment in growth

Nurture our ideas and relationships

Sharing our gifts with loved ones and greater community

Litha — Summer Solstice (June 20 – 23)

Abundance & growth. The beginning of harvest and the lazy days of summer. Preparation for the coming harvest rush.

Direction is east

Element is fire

Sound is the bell, singing and chanting

Telling the truth without blame or judgment

Walking meditation

Authenticity and our life dream

Intuition, perception, insight and vision

Season of the visionary

*Blind spots, projection, self-abandonment- need for approval, acceptance or keeping the peace, indulging in the false self-system

Lughnasadah — Lammas (July 31 – August 2)

The beginning of harvest and a start of a busy time preparing for any future needs for winter. Generosity and sharing of bounty, crafts and ideas

Festival of harvest and gratitude for abundance

Celebrate with a mature attitude

Cooperative effort and sharing of surplus

Generosity to others in service, enjoy the good life

Accepting responsibility and being accountable

Mabon — Autumn Equinox (September 20 – 23)

End of harvest. Take stock of all that has been accomplished. Reassess and let go of anything no longer needed or useful. Rest, restock and prepare for winter.

Direction is west

Element is water

Sound is sticks and bones

Open to outcome but not attached

Wisdom, clarity and discernment

Sitting meditation

Silence, trust, comfort with uncertainty

Loss, ancestor spirits and ritual

Release what no longer serves our growth, grieve endings, and reflect

Season of the teacher

*Patterns of judgment and control, confusion, attachments, stubbornness

Samhain — Halloween and Day of the Dead (October 30 – November 1)

Boundaries between worlds are believed to be at their thinnest. Honoring our ancestors and loved ones who have passed on. Dressing up in costume. Carving pumpkins.

Acknowledge our destructive side and nature

Last chance to release anything or anyone that is not honoring our growth

Relinquish any idea of control over others

Honoring of our ancestors and communication between the worlds

Trickster energy

Yule — Winter Solstice (December 20 – 23) 

Direction is north  

Celebration of the return of the light & germinating seeds and ideas to come.

Element is air

Sound is the rattle

Taking a stand, right use of power, showing up

Standing meditation

Ego death, express grief and let go of the past and our attachments

Respect of limits and boundaries

Judicious communication, being consistent with words and actions

Responsibility and discipline

Rebel energy

Season of the warrior

*Authority issues, patterns of invisibility, stubborn, fixed position

Taking time to reflect on each of these specific seasons and to appreciate their meaning, symbology and the qualities they represent can be a fun and enriching way to plan our life activities and intentions. 

We already celebrate some of the seasons such as Easter, Christmas and Halloween, but these eight wheel days are deeply rooted in our history and more than just a holiday day off. Regardless of one’s religious affiliation, these quarter and cross quarter days can enrich one’s spiritual life and bring a new awareness into being. 

Staying grounded in our connection to Mother Earth is a benefit and an experience we can all use a little more of. The Goddess would approve of this Gorgeously Healthy way of honoring ourselves and the seasons.

*See The Four-Fold Way by Angeles Arrien

Also Book of Celtic Symbols by Joules Taylor and Goddess Wisdom Made Easy by Tanishka

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