Most calendars are linear. You see them beautifully illustrated, showing one month at a time; you see them showing a whole year at a glance, printed in neat rows of three or four months each. This reflects our acceptance of time as linear, and our tendency to forget that the past has anything to do with the present or the future.
Wicca’s calendar, the Wheel of the Year, is different. Wicca’s calendar is round, reflecting our understanding that life is not linear, but cyclical. As a round table allows everyone seated to see everyone else and keeps anyone’s position at the table from being more important than anyone else’s, so does Wicca’s round calendar, the Wheel, let us see the relationship of each Sabbat to the others, and keep any from being more significant than any other.At Yule, which occurs at the time of the winter solstice in December, the Lady gives birth to the Lord and rests from her labor.
The Wheel of the Year actually combines two calendars: the agricultural and the astronomical. (That’s astronomical, not astrological. Although many Wiccans are interested in astrology, astrology is not “part of” Wicca.) The agricultural year is concerned with when to plant and harvest, and when to move domestic herds from the pasture
to the barn; the astronomical calendar relates to the tides and seasons, which depend on the relative position of the Earth to the Sun and Moon.
Yule, which occurs at the time of the winter solstice in December, the Lady gives birth to the Lord and rests from her labor.
Imbolc, in February, the Lord is seen as a small boy, and the Lady recovers from giving birth.
Ostara marks the first day of spring and the awakening of the Earth. At this time, the Lord is seen as a growing youth.
Beltane, the Lord has grown to manhood. He falls in love with the Lady, and they unite, producing the bounty of Nature. The Lady becomes pregnant by the
The Summer Solstice is the point in midsummer when everything in Nature is at its peak, growing and lush. The Lord and the Lady are both at the height of
Lughnasa is the day in August of the first harvest. The first grains are cut, and the Lord begins to weaken.
Mabon, the second harvest, the Lord is coming to his end. The days grow shorter, and Earth readies for the slumber of winter.
Samhain, in October, the Lord dies only to be reborn of the Lady again at Yule.
Most dictionaries define Sabbat as the witches’ Sabbath. They usually go on to say that a Sabbat involves demons and orgies. But really a Sabbat is a Wiccan holiday. The word comes from a Hebrew word that means to rest.
* Also see: The Wheel of the Year: A Seasonal Interpretation