My Secular/Localised Wheel of the Year

Wednesday December 23, 2020

Ya gal finally finished her secular and locally-appropriate wheel of the year!

Digital sketch of a wheel of the year

Honestly the biggest challenge for me was replacing the Wiccan/Neo-Pagan cross-quarter names, particularly doing so in a way that doesn’t specify a singular date (eg ‘May Day’, or the Aussie equivalent of ‘Novey Eve’). I would have left them out altogether, but I really enjoy the balance of them, are there are local events of shifts that happen around those times that feel significant to pause to acknowledge. Especially as a chronically ill practitioner, naming something for a specific date just isn’t going to be a thing - I tend to go by the shifting of natural energy, as well as literally just when I have the functional capacity to do the thing/s, which are also often split over multiple days.

I absolutely credit Roxanne Bodsworth’s ‘Sunwyse’, and Eris Elizabeth’s wheel for helping me fill the last couple of blanks.

This is still by no means a final product, I expect it to continue to evolve over time.

How Does it Work?:

From the inside, out…

Middle Quarters: This was mostly just because I needed something to fill the centre. The borders represent the solstices and equinoxes, and the colours are just what colour I dye my hair for each of those periods (I got sick of choosing colours, and realised I was doing my hair roughly every 3 months anyway).

Six Noongar Seasons: The traditional custodians of the Land I live on are the Wadjuk Noongar people. The Euro-centric Vivaldi seasonal model does not reflect the seasons of this Land, so I defer to the wisdom of those who have been here for thousands of years before me. Having grown up in northern Yamatji country, learning about this seasonal calendar was a key factor in my journey to connect with the Land I now reside on. I have chosen not to represent these in the traditionally-associated colours, though, as my brain just doesn’t relate to them.

Wheel of Eight: These eight spokes represent the “sabbats”, the seasonal celebrations/observances that make up my year. The primary points for me are the quarter-points - the solstices and equinoxes - with the cross-quarter points being more minor.

Twelve Calendar Months: January through to December, pretty standard fare.

Fifty-Two Weeks: Something I never intended to add, and especially in my “quick photoshop sketch”. This honestly only happened because I created a document to track my observances of natural cycles over the year and, with my obsession with colour-coding everything, went to transfer the colours I already have for other things, and then decided I needed an individual colour for each week. I originally had 48 (as I divided each month into quarters for ease of recording observations), but then I decided I had to come back and do these properly. With Photoshop’s “symmetry” function unable to divide into more than 12 sections, this was drawn freehand and thus is a mess.

Fifty-Three Moon Phases: I have no idea why I thought adding these would be a good idea, especially with the mess of the weeks marked that I used as a guide. The final effect is cute, though, and gives me an easy reference to use for the coming year.

Why is it Backwards?!?

Like many witchy folks, I have been known to work with things in a directional nature. So, like many witchy folks, my Wheel is drawn to follow a sunwise/deosil direction! However, as I live in the Southern Hemisphere, the sun’s path skews North (instead of South), resulting in sunwise being an anti-clockwise motion.

Dates and Timezones:

Not only are the dates of my seasonal celebrations based on Southern Hemisphere seasons, but I tend to use the Astrological dates more as a guide than the “traditional” dates.

I’m also located in Western Australia, so these dates are all based on when these astrological events occur in Australian Western Standard Time (GMT+8). Several of these are even different dates for folks in eastern Australia (2-3 hours ahead), let alone places like the US who are 12+ hours behind. The astrological point for the December Solstice is literally at 11:59pm on the 21st for me, meaning it’s between midnight and 5am on December 22nd for anyone significantly east of me.

You can find astrological timings for the sabbats here (listed for 15 different timezones), and you can always find the times/dates of the moon phases in your local timezone here.

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