Wheel of the Year

We work with the Wheel of the Year in our lives and within all our products. Download our Wheel of Year Poster

We celebrate the Pagan Fire Festivals in our Moon Diary and all Moon Calendars.

Here are the eight Fire Festivals:

Winter Solstice. The Sun enters Capricorn.

winter solsticeSilent night. Holy night. Make a special effort to clear this night of activities so that you can sit quietly and consciously experience the magically potent atmosphere of this, the most important turning point of the Wheel of the Year – the timeless space between Death and Rebirth. This, the longest night, gives evidence that the encroaching powers of darkness have reached their peak and that the Sun has reached the end of its southerly progress. Wait and hope. It is into this barren, timeless void, when green life has, for the most part, withdrawn from the surface that life’s creative fires are reborn. The oak king lives. Imagine that the low lying Sun is kissing the green world awake so that over the months to come she will arise and follow him up into sky.


Express trust in life’s survival by bringing in ever-greens and encourage the new birth by decorating the space with candles, baubles and tinsel, anything that catches and reflects the light. Enjoy a feast of the fruits of last year’s labour but then let the past die and look forward. Listen to the stirrings within the deepest darkest recesses of your body that want to grow and show themselves in the light. Dream a new dream. Focus on the flames released by burning wood, honouring the fires of life that animate all growing things. Powder the ashes, sprinkle a little in water and drink … your dreams will take root … and will grow.


imbolcWhat was born at the solstice now begins to manifest. Celebrate the growing of the infant Sun, for although this may be the leanest and coldest time, the days are very noticeably lengthening. The vital currents of life, buried deep within the soil, are stirred from their winter dormancy and their waters begin to flow. The virgin earth awakes and offers snowdrops, crocuses, primroses for our delight. Birds begin to sing their mating songs from branches veiled in the most subtle shimmer of green. First lambs are born; warm ewe’s milk must have been welcomed by our ancestors as the first fresh food available after months of eating stored food.


It is time to honour the fertility of the earth and to create a symbolic resting place for it in our own lives. Our Celtic ancestors would have made a bed, decorated with plaited rush crosses, for the goddess Brigit, and would have left by it offerings of food and drink. This is the time of individuation when we begin to shine our own light, when the unique gifts we have to offer the world begin to manifest. It is time to cleanse and ask for blessings on all our creative activities. Visit Holy Wells and drink holy water. Gather with friends; share your creative work and your future plans. Light individual candles from a central flame, spreading the light of the Source into individual beacons of inspiration that you will nurture over the year to come.

Spring Equinox. The Sun enters Aries.

spring equinoxThe lengthening hours of daylight have reached parity with the decreasing hours of darkness and now the day and night each last for twelve hours. They are in perfect balance for a short while. But the unstoppable advance of the Sun must soon triumph. The darkness must give way to the first day of spring; a time of resurrection that is celebrated in one guise or another over most of the northern hemisphere. The chains of winter have been broken and the whole of Nature leaps for joy! Our faith in life is confirmed. In response to the increased hours of energising sunlight, growth in the green world accelerates. Marvel at the energy exhibited on every hedgerow as myriads of tightly curled buds literally burst forth into new life; revel in the rainbow of coloured flowers and take delight in the exuberant springy frolics of young lambs. Nature is re-animated with the creative spirit which is energetically reaching upwards into the sky. It just can’t wait!


Hens are beginning to lay productively and their eggs cross culturally carry the symbolism of rebirth, re-creation and immortality. Rather than buying a chocolate version, take time to paint a special egg with symbols of the seed you hope will grow over the summer months. Then take it to a local hill and roll it down, mimicking the turning of the Wheel of the Year. Let the strength of your wishes be the spur to its progress. Then take it home along with some palms of catkin-bearing willow and enjoy freshly made pancakes!


beltaneThe yang-like, energising fires of the still strengthening Sun warm the air and empower the yin-like, green world to grow, to open up and spread herself luxuriously under its warming rays. The promise of the Equinox is fulfilled now, at this threshold of summer. Beauty is all around. The countryside is adorned with flowers, like a bride on her wedding day and the abundance of fresh new leaves provides ample nourishment for livestock, wild creatures and their young families. The land is alive once more and is providing abundantly of its riches. Life flourishes.


It is time to dance in celebration of the fertility of the earth. The May Queen and the Green Man epitomised the sacred marriage between earth and sky, which, in the past, had been consummated by many amidst the fields and woods during the earliest hours of the day as they gathered may blossom and searched for the phallic pole around which they would later dance. Though few of us have the chance these days to experience dancing around the Maypole, we can still make a May garland to celebrate and invoke fertility. Tie two willow hoops together, at right angles to each other and decorate the resulting globe with may blossom, other wild flowers, greenery and ribbons. Suspend a small doll within the circles to represent the earth mother and fix it on a pole or hang it from a convenient branch where it will serve to gladden the eye and warm the heart.

Summer Solstice. The Sun enters Cancer.

summer solsticeAt this peak of solar year the Sun has climbed to its highest declination in the sky and rises at the northern most point of its annual pilgrimage. These are the longest days with the shortest shadows. The Sun triumphs! Drawn by its insistent power, the waters within the green world have surged to their height and are producing the first hard green fruits – the children of earth and heavens’ marriage. A time of light’s culmination but also the time of death’s birth. The wheel turns now and the Sun‘s power starts to wane as it retraces its steps southwards. Within these few days, during which the Sun stands still and time seems to stop, the forces of darkness are born, forces that will grow from now until the winter solstice. Each night will be longer; each day will be shorter.


So be outside as long as possible today in order to fully appreciate and celebrate the gift of the light. Pick a bunch of roses to fully revel in summer’s fertility and beauty. Rise early enough to watch the Sun’s dawning in the north-east and meditate on its dying light in the north-west after sunset. That luminosity on the horizon may never totally disappear. If you can enjoy either spectacle at an ancient stone circle, you may be blessed with an insight into the reason for the stones’ placement. Take a journey to a special place. Gather with friends around a bonfire. Picnic and party. Celebrate all that has grown in your life since the winter solstice


lammasThe direct rays of the mid summer sun mature and mellow as its declination sinks. The earth and atmosphere have warmed enough to maintain the golden glow that is the perfect temperature for ripening. In the transformative warmth, green turns to gold, fruit sweeten and the time of harvest begins.


The dark reaper, whose power is growing by the day, now undertakes her first task. Sickles are sharpened and the sacrifice is made; death comes to the proudly golden corn king, who has been fed by the Sun and Earth, so that we may be fed in our turn. Such a task was surrounded in olden days by ritual and ceremony; the king’s rebirth the following spring was dependent on their efficacy. Potent, manly strength would be in demand during the weeks to come when the harvest had not only to be reaped but also stacked and stored safely for winter use and so it was that tests of strength and skill were held in honour of Lugh of the Shining Spear, the Celtic god of light who gave his name to this festival’s alternative title of Lughnasadh. If arm-wrestling is not to your taste, then weave a corn dolly from stalks of corn and keep it to carry the life spirit through the winter or make a special loaf of bread, to be enjoyed in a Lammas or loaf mass feast. Hopefully you will be able to enjoy it whilst basking in a warm glow of satisfaction at the reaping of your bountiful harvest.

Autumn Equinox. The Sun enters Libra.

autumn equinoxThe second point of balance within the year is reached. In a mirror image of the spring equinox, it is now the encroaching forces of darkness that are in the ascendant. At this time, they have risen to equality with the declining light and will very soon overwhelm it, so that during the next six months, the hours of darkness will outnumber those of daylight. On this threshold of winter, the leaves lose their green and start to show their autumn colours in the softer light. The shadows grow longer by the day while equinoctial gales disperse last year’s seeds, testifying to the fact that the atmosphere is changing.


We have reaped what we have sown; thankful people still raise the song of harvest home at Harvest festivals in most churches, acknowledging the fact that we should give thanks to forces beyond our control for much of the abundance in our lives. From here on we need to look beyond self determined activities to our relationship with the rest of society and beyond. Our survival through the dark times may well depend on it. Make conscious preparations for the winter as we stand at its gateway. Reflect on memories and feelings of the warm summer days and consciously acknowledge your achievements. Make jam, wine or chutney from the harvest’s gifts that will carry you through the dark; order fuel, insulate the doors or even invest in some thermal underwear. Prepare yourself to turn inwards and to explore the Mysteries.


samhainThe rapidly encroaching forces of endarkenment bring death to the green world, an end to its upward and outward growth and a withdrawal into the darkness of the earth. The sap sinks, the last of the leaves fall, the fields lie barren and rainwater begins the process of decomposition that will return vital nourishment from vegetation into the soil. This is the time of blood, when animals were brought in from pasture and those that could not be fed over the winter, were slaughtered, so their blood too gave life back to the soil. All that cannot be carried over is relinquished. Life is pared down to the bone and the customary bon[e]fires affirm the power of the life-giving spirit to survive in spite of its superficial demise. If possible, clear the clutter from your cupboards and feed it to the sacred flame.


The veil between the worlds is at its thinnest and ghosts and goblins are said to walk the land, playing tricks on arrogant souls to remind them of the invisible forces beyond their ken. It is traditional to remember, honour and perhaps contact the ancestors – those who have already passed over the river into the land of shadows. Reflect on your inheritance; acknowledge their experience and wisdom. It is said to be the most potent night of the year for meaningful dreaming and for divination. Go gently into the night, for therein lies the greatest mystery of all – that of the miracle of rebirth. Surrender so that you may receive.