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Wheel of the Year
This is the expression used by neo-Pagans and in neo-Pagan Witchcraft designating the changing seasons of the year. It also symbolizes the belief in the birth, death, and rebirth cycle. In design, the Wheel of the Year has eight spokes designating the eight sabbats that are generally celebrated in neo-Paganism. The eight-spoke wheel is thought by many to be a Celtic symbol; however, it appeared in Greek symbolism as early as 600 BC, over two hundred years prior to Aegean/Mediterranean contact with the Celts. The rotation of the wheel symbolizes the year passing through its seasons or cycles.
The Wheel of the Year for modern Wiccans and Witches represents the four "greater" and "lesser" sabbats. In the most northern European traditions the Cross Quarters are the greater sabbats: Imbolc/Candlemas (February Eve), Beltane/Roodmas (May Eve), Lughnasadh/Lammas (August Eve), and Samhain/Halloween (November Eve). In most of the southern European traditions the agricultural traditions are the greater sabbats: Autumn Equinox, Winter Solstice, Spring Equinox, and Summer Solstice. A.G.H.
Sources: 4, 363; 78, 394-395.