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The Wheel Of The Year

According to the tenets of classical theism, God, who is One, is the supreme Creator, who, through the mediation of His divine Logos, brings the world into being and providentially directs its course. This Primal Origin (First Cause or Arche) is also the Ultimate End (Final Goal or Telos) of the world. Utterly transcendent and thoroughly eternal, God is represented as totally present to Himself. He is, in fact, the omnipresent fount, source, ground, and uncaused cause of presence itself. (Taylor, 7) But in a world view that sees everything as cyclical, death itself cannot be a final ending, but rather some unknown transformation to some new form of being. In enacting and reenacting the death of the God, we prepare ourselves to face that transformation, to live out the last stage of life. (Simos [Starhawk] 1989, 112)

Although there is no orthodox Pagan religious calendar, many American Pagans follow a Wheel of the Year based on the seasons and pre-Christian Celtic holidays. Basically these holidays chronicle the birth, life, death and re-birth of the Sun King though the person of the Great Goddess (or in female-identified groups, the birth, life, death and rebirth of the Goddess herself).

At Yule (Winter Solstice, December 21) the Sun King, conceived earlier in the year by the mating of the previous Sun King and the Goddess, is born.

In the spring (Beltane, May 1), at the height of natural fecundity and after the Goddess has magically recovered her maidenhood, they mate, causing not only the conception of the next year's King but also the growth and abundance of the food crops in the natural world.

In the Fall (Lughnasad, August 1) at the time of harvest the old King dies and sets sail for the Summerland from which he will sail forth again as the new-born Sun at Yule.

Samhaim, or Halloween, is that period between the death of the old King and the birth of the new when the natural processes of the earth seem to be dying. At this time the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead thins to allow loved ones to communicate. For many Pagans Samhaim marks the New Year and is celebrated not only with remembrances of the dead but also by letting go of the old (ideas, habits, etc.) and looking forward to the new. (Fox, 8)

This process of birth, life, death and rebirth is a "poetic statement of a process that is seasonal, celestial and psychological." (Simos 1989, 114) By attuning themselves to these changes and focusing on the reality symbolized by each seasonal change, Pagans re-enact their own "transformations, the constant birth, growth, culmination and passing of our ideas, plans, work, relationships." (Simos 1989, 114) Samhaim/Halloween then is the time to focus on the passing away not only of ideas, plans, work but also of relationships. Traditionally Pagans who follow this calendar use the rituals of Samhaim to remember and communicate with their dead.






The midi is entitled, "Butterfly Fairies" and it is Geoff and used with his permission