The Celtic Wheel of the Year
The Celtic Wheel of the Year comprises eight festivals spaced six to seven weeks apart throughout the year. They have been celebrated in Ireland since ancient pagan times, and are known as the Wheel of the Year. Today, many modern Christian festivals fall around the same dates.
The important events in the Celtic Wheel of the Year are the four cross quarter fire festivals, which fall midway between an Equinox and a Solstice - Imbolc, Bealtaine, Lughnasa, Samhain - as well as the Equinoxes and Solstices.
The Equinoxes signal a point of balance, equal day and night.. The Vernal Equinox falls around March 21st, marking the beginning of Spring in the Northern hemisphere. The Sun is above the Equator and day and night are equal length. Another Equinox takes place around September 21st.
The Solstices mark the longest day of the year in Summer - June 21st - and the shortest day of the year in Winter - December 21st.
I celebrate the festivals of the Celtic Wheel of the Year with group and private fire ceremony rituals at the Dingle Druid Ceremonial Garden in Burnham, Dingle.
Each month I conduct online rituals and meditations to celebrate lunar events and harness the particular energy they bring. In astrology, the Moon represents our inner selves and emotions. The New Moon and Full Moon bring with them very different energies. The New Moon is a powerful time for reflection, fresh starts and new beginnings. Full Moons are bright, bold, energising and illuminating.
Imbolc marks the beginning of spring, the halfway point between Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. For Christians it is the feast day of Saint Brigid, Ireland's matron saint. From 2023 it will be a national Bank Holiday in Ireland. It is a time of new beginnings and growth.
Bealtaine is the Celtic May Day, the halfway point between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. Bonfires are traditionally lit to celebrate the passing of dark winter days and the brighter light of summer ahead.
Lughnasa is the Harvest Festival, named after the warrior god Lugh. The ancient Celts celebrated Lughnasa with athletic competitions, matchmaking, fairs and feasting.
Samhain festival is known across the world today as Halloween. The festival marks the end of the harvest season and beginning of Winter. Like Bealtaine, this is a liminal festival, where the boundaries between this world and the Otherworld are thinner.