The Wheel of the Year: The Solstices, Equinoxes and Cross-Quarter Days
When I was young, I was raised in a very Christian family. While I appreciate the structure and the
introduction to faith it provided, I remember being very young and sitting in church listening to the
preacher and thinking there had to be more to it all than just this. Thankfully we traveled a lot
when I was growing up and I was exposed to a lot of other faiths and spiritual ideas.
photo by Beth McDonald
|When I went to college and started studying other cultures
and religions in a more academic way, I was taken by how there were so many similarities between people
with very different ideologies. These similarities tell certain topics are more important than others.
For example, almost all faiths have some taboos against adultery and incest, dishonesty, stealing and
killing. Additionally, most faiths have some sort of holidays and observances around the Solstices,
Equinoxes and Cross-Quarter Days (sometimes called the Shabbat Days - these are the days that are halfway
in between them). That means these are significant, as well. Big time. Celebrations at the times of the Solstices,
Equinoxes and Cross-Quarter Days are the oldest and most common spiritual observances known to man. These days
mark the specific times of the year when the sun progresses to points in the sky that change the balance of
daylight and the darkness and, consequently, the weather, the seasons and the growing season.
The seasons and weather played a dominant role in the lives of ancient people, so marking the progression of
the planets was essential for survival. Though it is no longer an issue of physical survival for most of us,
these observances are still significant on emotional, spiritual, and political levels. But it was, and still
is, much bigger than that.
image by Jamie O'Toole
The Solstices, Equinoxes and Cross-Quarter Days were considered vortexes or portals. They were considered to
be the times of year when the walls between this world and the others were the thinnest. Because of this,
during these times one’s psychic powers and dreams were more powerful, and it is easier to connect with both
the Gods and with souls on the other side. Especially in certain places. Listed on the left are some
descriptions of the significances and celebrations of these days.