Something useful – planning your wheel of the year

27 Dec

One thing I love to do during the nights following Yule, besides reading oracles, is plan the sabbaths for the coming year. Of course there is the simple rule of celebrating fix dates, but if you want to follow a more nature-based approach, here are some suggestions (which probably work best in the northern hemispere and might have to be adapted for the south):

  1. Grab your pocket diary and a number of fancy pens, if you are into that kind of thing. Yes, I love keeping a paper diary. Every year in December I spend hours trying to decide which one to use for the coming year. I need one page per day, lined, at least Din A5 – approx. 5×8 inches. This is the one I am going to use for 2014. Pretty, hu?
  2. The sun-related sabbaths are easy to find, and there is general consense on when to celebrate. Just google the start of the seasons in your area, usually around the 21st (of December, March, June and September). Take a few moments to decorate the respective pages in your diary.
  3. There are several ways to decide when to celebrate your moon-related sabbaths. You have to decide whether you want to celebrate all on a full moon, all but Samhain on a full moon or whether you want to celebrate Imbolc on waxing and Lammas on waning moon, with a Beltane full moon and Samhain dark moon (or any other variation you might think of). The last idea is pretty much work if you also like to celebrate the esbaths and dark moons… – we witches are a merry bunch, but three big celebrations per moon cycle can become a bit much.
  4. Once you have decided which calculation pattern you want to follow, the rest is just counting. Find a trustworthy moon calendar, either in print or online or as an app – for those who want to be ultra-exact, use ephemerides, but keep in mind that our ancestors probably went by what the moon looked like, and that no one I know has been smitten by their Deities because they celebrated their moons a day off. ^^
  5. The following way of calculating I found in Vicky Gabriel’s “Ways to the Old Gods” (“Wege zu den alten Göttern” – she is a rather well-known German writer on all things Pagan). It’s a pretty decent way to line up your sun and moon year as well, and in my experience works pretty well with nature cycles.The first new moon following (on or) after Yule will be the first new moon of your moon year. Sounds complicated, but we witches know how to count, right? Number your new moons until the next Yule celebration, and you have your moon year. It will hold either twelve, thirteen or fourteen moons.
  6. Imbolc is usually celebrated during the second moon, Beltane during the fifth, Lammas during the eight and Samhain at the end of the eleventh. Find the pages in your diary and decorate them accordingly. This will help you get in the spirit during the year, when things are busy and you “have better things to do than stay in tune with nature” (don’t laugh, we all have thought this more than once – or is that just me?). I personally like to celebrate at the beginning of the night with a full moon, so if, for example, the full moon was on the 27th of September at 03:24 A.M., I would celebrate in the evening of the 26th. (See above. No one smitten so far, from what I know.)
  7. One last step remains – mark the page a week before your sabbath celebration with a quick note, so you remember to get everything you need in advance, maybe bake or cook something fancy or prepare spiced wine and such.

I guess you could also do all this with a digital calendar, but I like the feel of paper, and the crafty aspect. And finally, once I have found my dates, I like to compares notes with my witchy family – sometimes we can schedule a celebration or two, if we plan carefully. And these are the dates I have come up with for 2014:

  • Imbolc: 2014-02-14 (full moon at 0:52 on 02-15)
  • Spring equinox: 2014-03-20
  • Beltane: 2014-05-14 (full moon)
  • Sun solstice: 2014-06-21
  • Lammas: 2014-08-10 (full moon)
  • Fall equinox: 2014-09-23
  • Samhain: 2014-11-22 (dark moon at 13:33)
  • Yule: 2014-12-21

What have you done so far to prepare for the coming year?

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