A yearly round of celebrations based upon the cycle of the sun as experienced within the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere. All ancient peoples celebrate our journey around the sun in one way or another; Celtic folk chose the two solstices- the longest(summer) and shortest (winter) days of the year and the two equinox when day and night are equal, as their holiest days of celebration. The Holy Days mark the change of seasons, but so much change occurs within each season that the half-way point between holidays is also celebrated. These are called “cross-quarter days.”
They were important because their religion kept track of seasons and weather and the celebrations marked times to plow, sow, weed, harvest, store, butcher, etc. Europeans and their descendants no longer depend upon their religion or priests to run our agribusiness; most of us spend only a small percentage of our time outdoors. However, we miss our connection to the Earth. The modern Pagan movement springs from that yearning to reconnect. Attempting to re-establish a relationship with our beautiful planet Gaia, we return to the wisdom of our ancestors. By paying attention to air, water, earth and fire; to the formation of clouds and currents, to the savor of food eaten in season, the quality of light at dawn and dusk, and the myriad changes the occur daily in any garden plot or flower bed, we can reset our internal rhythms and bring them back in sync with the flow of life around us. Paying attention can make us healthier and happier.
I wrote the Celtic Wheel of the Year after celebrating one year’s turning turning with a group of women. In between the eight holidays we met to study each upcoming season and create a ritual to honor the day. Near the end of that year, I was searching for a project to complete my ordination process as a Priestess in the Fellowship of Isis. The project needed to showcase the talents I was bringing to the Priesthood. I decided to create a manual of rituals for each holidays and include a poem, a festive meal, a personal essay and a collage for each one.