For many American Pagans, the Wheel of the Year and the sentiments connected to the Sabbats do not work. The number one complaint is most loudly expressed when the Sabbat is for celebrating the first signs of spring and the practitioner is experiencing the coldest months of winter. A seasonal chart for Northern England doesn’t match any North American Witch’s experience. So, why should we base our worship around it? Many witches don’t, and you don’t have to either. All throughout the craft, you will hear many advisers tell you to do what works for you, why is the Wheel any different? The following is 5 steps to fit the Wheel of the Year to your climate and liking.
1. Look at the Traditional Wheel
Before you change something you better know it’s not working. If you haven’t worked through the Traditional Wheel of the Year at least once, do so and then come back. I’ll see you in a year. If you’ve gone through the Wheel, and it doesn’t work for you the first thing you want to do is pull out a notebook. On a separate page for each Sabbat write the date(s) the Sabbats fall on at the top. Next write all the corresponding information below it like; the Sabbat’s name, what is celebrated, and what corresponds to it. Leave plenty of room!
2.Gather Information on Your Climate
Next, do some research on your own slice of earth. Take the notebook you prepared in step 1 and add to it with what happens in the climate you currently live in. Be sure to use the dates on the tops of the pages as guides. If there are dates for local events that are slightly different record them on the sheet closest to the date. Your research should include looking up average temperatures for the seasons, planting and harvesting seasons start and end, and average rain/ snowfall. Compare your research to what is presented in the Traditional Wheel. What looks different? What looks the same?
3. Look at the Indigenous Traditions
You may also want to look into the indigenous people of the area. Find out the tribe names and how close to where you lived they were or are located. Depending on record you may get a good idea of what celebrations they held through the year. Why and when these celebrations took place should be added to your notebook. Keeping information on the page that is most closely related be sure to also include corresponding Deities and themes.
4. Decide What Needs to Change
This notebook should have a wealth of information in it by now. Going page by page review all that you have gathered. Now is when you decide how much you want to change the Traditional Wheel and why. Do you want to change the dates? The sentiments? The names? Do you want to add or remove Sabbats entirely? You now understand enough about your home to be able to decide what works best for you. To make this daunting task easier go slow. Starting on a fresh page transfer everything you liked on to the new page. Then move on to the next.
5.Document and Practice
Now with your new pages write your Wheel of the Year. If you have unexpected holes don’t try to hard to fill them right now. Focus on what you do have. At least you want to have dates and purpose of celebration planned. Once you have all that you want to be filled in start practicing it. Leaving room for change and improvement. The point is not to be married to what you first hashed out but to let it grow over time. Also, keep in mind your Wheel is yours so it might not work for everyone. If you made drastic changes to the Traditional Wheel don’t try and implement it in a group without the groups’ consent, and remember not everyone will want to change. Even if you live in a drastically different climate.
When I first moved to the Desert from a large pine forest I wish I started this process right away. It would have saved me a lot of grief if I had dropped the Traditional Wheel and appreciated where I was. Let me know what kind of climate you live in and how you celebrate it in all its glory.
This week I suggest the Modern Witch Podcast with Devin Hunter.
Blessed Be, Autumn Wolfe