Module 1 Content

Celtic Wheel Overview

The Celtic Wheel holds much of the wisdom that underpins the teachings of this course.

What is the Celtic wheel?

The Celtic Wheel of the year is basically a calendar that was passed down to us by our Celtic and pre-Celtic ancestors. They didn’t think of time as linear as we do nowadays. “[They] understood time as seasons of energy that flow into and out of each other in a circular and spiral way. Using this understanding of time, they created a calendar that reflected these seasons and the cosmological events that gave rise to them” ~ Book: Ever Ancient, Ever New by Dolores Whelan.

The Wheel is made up of eight festivals or eight seasons. There are four solar festivals and four earth festivals.

The four solar festivals celebrate the movement of the sun and were originally celebrated by the pre-celts.

These festivals are the winter solstice, spring equinox, summer solstice, and autumn equinox.

The four earth festivals, sometimes known as cross-quarter days, are related to how Celtic tribes interacted with the land and the earth. They are agricultural festivals. The earth festivals are: Samhain which marks the start of winter, Imbolc marking the start of spring, Bealtaine at the start of summer, and Lughnasa marks the start of autumn. 

There are two halves to the Celtic calendar, a dark half and a light half, that represent the feminine and the masculine principles.

The dark half, also known as Giamos, represents the feminine principle. It is associated with winter and it runs from Samhain to Bealtaine.

The light half, also known as Samos represents the masculine principle. It is associated with summer, runs from Bealtaine to Samhain.

The wheel not only encompasses the rhythms of nature but also the dance between the polarities/opposites that are ever-present in life: light and dark, movement and stillness, masculine and feminine.  

The feminine principle/energy – receptivity, rest, surrender, deep listening, visioning

The masculine principle/energy – taking action, risk, commitment, discernment, boundaries

The wheel teaches us how to navigate the darkness of winter and the lightness of summer. Its guidance offers us a time to sow our seeds, a time for growth and expansion, a time to harvest, and a time to rest.

As we go through the course, we will look at the different energies associated with each festival or season and how these energies relate to our own lives