The Wheel of the Year is a Pagan calendar that has been used for centuries to mark eight special times in the natural cycle of life. It’s based on the rhythms and cycles of nature, from the changing seasons to the phases of the moon. Each one of these eight Sabbats marks a turning point in nature, and can be used as an opportunity to honor, celebrate, and connect with nature. Let’s explore what each sabbat represents and how you can use them to deepen your relationship with nature.
What are the 8 Sabbats?
The 8 Sabbats are four solar festivals with four seasonal festivals in between them: Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane , Midsummer, Lughnasadh, and Mabon. Celebrations occur approximately every six weeks which form a wheel that begins anew every year.
A brief on each holiday:
Samhain, Every witches favorite holiday! Celebrated October 31 to November 7 for the Northern Hemisphere; May 1 to May 9 for the Southern Hemisphere. This is a celebration of the third and final harvest and the Witches New Year. The "veil between the worlds" is said to be thinnest at this time allowing communication with the other side.
Yule is a Lesser Wiccan Sabbat also known as Winter Solstice, Midwinter and Yuletide and greatly represented by the Holly King. Celebrations are December 19-23 for the Northern Hemisphere and June 19-23 for the Southern Hemisphere. We celebrate the rebirth of the Sun God, renewal, and waxing sun overcoming the waning sun.
Imbolc is one of the Greater Wiccan Sabbats, often celebrated with many candles. Celebrations are February 1-4 for the Northern Hemisphere and August 1-4 for the Southern Hemisphere. This is a time of cleansing, renewal and blessing new beginnings for growth.
Ostara, Spring Equinox, a Lesser Wiccan Sabbat is celebrated March 19-23 for the Northern Hemisphere and September 19-23 for the Southern Hemisphere. This is a celebration of fertility, abundance, harmony and balance. Darkness and Light are in balance with the light growing stronger.
Beltane, May Day, the Union of the God & Goddess is one of the Greater Wiccan Sabbats is celebrated April 30 - May 1 for the Northern Hemisphere; October 3 - November 1 for the Southern Hemisphere. May Day is widely celebrated with bonfires and dancing around the May Pole both symbols of fertility.
Litha, Midsummer, Summer Solstice, a lesser Wiccan Sabbat, is celebrated June 20-23 for the Northern Hemisphere and December 20 - 23 for the Southern Hemisphere. The days are at their longest and nature is triving and we continue to celebrate fertility. This is a time for work and play; a time to prepare for the coming harvests.
Lammas/Lughnasadh, August 1-2 for the Northern Hemisphere and February 1-2 for the Southern Hemisphere. Lammas is the midway point between Summer and Autumn. We celebrate the First Harvest of the Year by enjoying the bounty and beauty of our earth. The days begin to grow shorter and we give thanks for the growth and warmth we are given.
Mabon, Autumn Equinox, a Lesser Wiccan Sabbat is celebrated on or around September 21-29 in the Northern Hemisphere and March 19-20 for the Southern Hemisphere. Our days and nights are equal again as the days grow shorter and the Wheel turns toward Samhain. We celebrate the Second Harvest as well as balance, harmony and all that has come to "fruit".
How Can I Celebrate?
These celebrations don’t have to be complicated or expensive; some ideas include spending time outdoors or going on a hike, meditating or journaling on nature-related themes, creating art inspired by seasonal elements like flowers or leaves, or having an outdoor ritual like burning incense. You can also explore traditional pagan practices like baking breads and coloring eggs for Imbolc or gathering around bonfires for Beltane — or make up your own traditions! The important thing is not necessarily what you do but how it makes you feel — how it connects you more deeply with yourself and nature, allowing you to take part in a timeless cycle that spans centuries.
What Are Some Other Ways To Connect With Nature?
In addition to celebrating the wheel of the year, there are lots of other ways you can connect with nature throughout the year. Planting a garden is one way to get close to nature; tending plants will help you appreciate their beauty as well as their fragility. You can also volunteer at your local park or conservation organization to lend a hand in protecting natural spaces; this is also a great way to meet like-minded people who share your love of nature! No matter what methods we choose for connecting with nature during these special times in its cycle—the most important thing is that we appreciate its beauty while respecting its fragility. May we all find joy in reconnecting with our earth through these sacred festivals!