Most Neopagan are more than familiar with the Traditional Neopagan/Wiccan Wheel of the Year. In Eclectic Wicca the Myth of the Wheel follows the dance of the God and Goddess. The God is born of the Goddess on Yule. The God matures from a newborn to a young man during Imbolc and Ostara. The God and Goddess fall in love, marry and join sexually for the first time on Beltane. On Litha the Goddess discovers She is Pregnant with the Child of Promise, while the God reaches His peak of power. During Lughnasadh and Mabon the God continues to age and His power continues to decreases. On Samhain the God dies, but will be reborn to the Goddess on Yule as the Child of Promise and the cycle continues again.
When a pagan realize that they are Goddess centric they may also realize the mainstream Neopagan Myth of the Wheel of the Year is no longer relevant to them. If the Goddess Centric Pagan decides to keep the Wheel as a part of their practice, which many of us do, then the question arises "what are they celebrating when they celebrate the Sabbats?" I know personally this was one question of mine when I first embraced a Goddess centric path. In this two part series of posts I will offer basic information on the Dianic Wheel of the year as well as my own take on the Sabbats, in order to give those new to the Goddess path some ideas to incorporate into their personal practice.
The Dianic Goddess Wheel according to Ruth Barrett
In Ruth Barrett’s book Women’s Rites, Women’s Mysteries she provides information on the Dianic Wiccan Wheel of the Year. In Dianic Wicca instead of the heterosexual dance of the God and Goddess their wheel is centered on the Goddess’s transition from Maiden to Mother to Crone back to the Maiden again. Bellow I will give a quick summery of the meanings and themes of each Sabbat in the Dianic Tradition. If this version of the Sabbats appeals to you and you would like more info, I would suggest you pick up Barrett’s book. I have first stated the title of each individual Sabbat as known in the Dianic Tradition and then added it’s more common name in ( ) when needed to help prevent confusion.
Main theme: Conception. In the Dianic tradition the Goddess does not give birth on the Winter Solstice. As this is not a common occurrence in the Natural world, and offspring birthed at this time would be unlikely to survive. Instead they view the Winter Solstice as the time that the Goddess in her Crone stage passes away and conceive Herself as the Child of Light. To the Dianics Solstice does not mark the rebirth of the Sun, but the conception of the Maiden Goddess whose birth will come at a later time.
Main theme: Quickening. In the Dianic tradition Brigid celebrates the Crones transformation and rebirth as the Maiden. In the tradition this is also the time formal initiations into Dianic Wicca are done.
Main theme: Emergence. In the Dianic Tradition the Spring Equinox marks the Maiden’s return to the world.
May Eve (Beltane)
Main theme: Menstruation. While most Wiccan and Neopagan traditions celebrate the marriage, and the sexual joining of the God and Goddess on Beltane, the Dianic celebrate the Maiden Goddess’s first bloods on this day.
Main theme: Union. In the Dianic tradition Summer Solstice is the celebration of fertility, the ability to create and the Mother aspect of the Goddess.
First Harvest (Lughnasadh)
Main theme: Ripening. In the Dianic tradition First Harvest is the celebration of the abundance of the Goddess, as well as the obligation of Sacrifice to the Goddess in Her reaper aspect.
Main theme: Descent. Dianic Wiccans observe the transition of the Goddess from Mother to Crone on the Autumn Equinox. To the Dianics this is also a holiday of thanksgiving.
Main theme: Deeping. On Hallowmas, Dianics believe the Goddess in Her Crone aspect deepens into Herself and rests. To the Dianics this is also the time a woman should shed all that is no longer useful and is harmful so that she can have a fresh start in the New Year. Also according to Z Budapest’s, The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries Hallowmas is the time to honor and remember all the women who died during the Witch Trials.
Some variations to the Dianic Wheel.
While Shekhinah Mountainwater did not call the path she taught Dianic Wicca, it is very similar to Dianic Wicca and her teachings are very influential to the Dianic community. Mountainwater’s take on the Wheel of the Year is very similar to the Dianic, but has a few differences where I will share below. I will only mention the Sabbats that have greatly differing themes than those in Dianic Wicca. If you would like to learn more about Mountainwater’s views on the Wheel of the year, read her book Ariadne’s Thread: A Workbook of Goddess Magic.
Winter Solstice: In Mountainwater’s Wheel the Maiden is spiritually reborn on the Winter Solstice.
Spring Equinox: The Spring Equinox marks the Maiden’s physical rebirth into the world.
Summer Solstice: In Mountainwater’s Wheel, the Summer Solstice is a celebration of Love, Sexuality and the Goddess's impregnation. Mountainwater notes that this fertilization can be self-made, community made, or the result of the joining of two lovers.
This is the end of Part One, my personal Wheel of the Year is to come soon...