Marking the Wheel of the Year
We celebrate the Solstices, Equinoxes, and cross-quarter Sabbat days when the Sun reaches certain degrees within its astrological circuit. For the Solstices and Equinoxes this date rarely varies more than 24 hours either side of the calendar date. For the cross-quarters this often creates a week or more difference between the calendar date and the astrological date. According to our teachings, the Sabbat dates are as follows:
- Samhain – Sun at 15° Scorpio
- Yule (Winter Solstice) – Sun at 0° Capricorn
- Imbolc – Sun at 15° Aquarius
- Ostara (Vernal Equinox) – Sun at 0° Aries
- Beltane – Sun at 15° Taurus
- Litha (Summer Solstice) – Sun at 0° Cancer
- Lughnasad – Sun at 15° Leo
- Mabon (Autumn Equinox) – Sun at 0° Libra
We teach the annual circuit of the Sun as the Wheel of the Year. Therefore with the astrological dating of the Sabbats, which are the stations of the Sun, we get an eight-spoked figure, with the space between the Sabbats equidistant. Both symbolically and literally, we feel this helps the Wheel to turn more smoothly.
This corresponds to the cast circle thusly: Ostara, where the day is balanced equally with night, is in the East, which also corresponds with sunrise. Litha, the longest day and the height of the Sun’s power, is in the South, which corresponds also with noon. Mabon, when the day and night are again balanced, is in the West, the direction of sunset. Yule, the longest night of the year, is placed in the North, which also corresponds to midnight.
In the modern age, we will at times move the Sabbat celebrations to the closest, most convenient weekend days. Depending on the geographic and climatic conditions, changes to the seasonal attributes may be appropriate.