Lore

The Wheel of the Year in Australia

by Seán Knight
Church of All Worlds, Australia

Associations of the Seasons and Elements and their uses in Casting the Circle.


One of the things that I find most important to consider in anything to do with elemental associations and any celebrations of the Seasons is the sense of 'place'. I feel it is important to think about where one is and what is around one, and create rituals accordingly.

I live on the Eastern seaboard of Australia. The seasons here are quite moderate; so much so that some people have suggested that we do not really have four definite seasons, as is the case in Europe, and have instead suggested that the year should be broken down into not eight magical celebrations but six. I have only read that article once and cannot currently find the reference so I am unable to go further into the theory.

However, since I practice an eclectic form of 'Anglo-Celtic' magick, with some Wiccan influences, I have customarily done the main celebrations of the year as follows:

For Casting the Circle

In Australia, deosil< means anticlockwise and widdershins means clockwise. This is the way the Sun traverses the Southern skies.

Water in the East; since the Pacific Ocean is to the East, and since I grew up living right on the coast, this has always been associated thus for me. I commence the Circle Casting in the East at Imbolc and Ostara.

Fire in the North; for us, the Sun is usually in the North as we are south of the Equator. I commence Circle Casting in the North for Beltane and Litha.

Air in the West; the weather pattern in Australia is notable for the fact that the weather in Perth will arrive in Sydney three or four days later, since the winds blow across the Indian Ocean, over the Australian continent, and eventually to the Pacific Ocean. I commence Circle Casting in the West for Lughnassad (Lammas) and Mabon.

Earth in the South; cool and dark, the Earth is associated with our cooler times when we feel the Antarctic close by and of course it is the traditional opposite of fire in the circle. I commence Circle Casting in the South for Samhain and Yule.

I do not necessarily use a specific date for celebration of the season; rather I choose a moon phase, either full moon or dark of the moon, which occurs near that time.

The Wheel of the Year

I start the year at Imbolc (Oimelc); halfway between the Midwinter and the Spring Equinox. I feel this to be the turning point between the dying year and the new life of the new year. This is my own personal idea; others commence the year at Yule, and still others at Ostara. For us in Australia, Imbolc occurs in about the first week of August.

Ostara, the Spring Equinox, is celebrated in Australia around 22nd September. It is truly Spring by then; the mundane world here commences Spring at 1 September.

Beltane occurs for us in late October or early November. By that time our crops have all been planted and it is time to quicken their growth with the appropriate rituals.

Litha we celebrate at around 22 December, when everyone else around us is doing 'Christmas things' as though it were the middle of winter... such is the power of the commercial dollar and the imprint of the Christian culture of England.

Lughnassad we celebrate in late January or early February. In the Church of All Worlds, one of the main rituals of our Pagan Summer Gathering each year, held on the Australia Day long weekend (26 January is Australia Day), is a Lughnassad celebration, where we give thanks for the summer and pray for a good harvest.

Mabon is celebrated at about 22 March, at which time we give thanks for the harvest, meaning not only the physical harvest but the harvest of knowledge and wisdom and learning that each one of us has received over the year.

Samhain we celebrate at about May Day. There are still some groups here of a more traditional Gardnerian and Alexadrian nature that celebrate Samhain and Beltane at their Northern dates, saying that the gates between this world and the next should open the same way all over the world at the same time; personally I have no trouble with the Northern gates allowing the new souls to enter the world as the Southern gates allow those who have died during the year to pass on. Most people here have more recently come to celebrate as I do, however.

Yule is held here in the middle of winter, at about 22 June. This happens to be my birthday, so I assume I was conceived at Beltane - and therefore feel to be a changeling of sorts (I was adopted).

At Yule we celebrate a traditional Northern way, with decorated trees, the Yule Log, gifts etc. Most of our mundane friends find this quite amusing, but they sort of understand since at least we are not trying to eat a huge feast of roast meat and heavy puddings in the middle of Summer!

Memoranda

All of the above is really my own personal experience and belief. Many others concur with the timings and dates as described; some people use Water for West and Air for East, even on the East Coast, which I would feel more appropriate for people living on the West Coast. But then, what about people living on the northern or southern coasts? Or in the middle of Australia, in our dry and dusty outback? I do not know any magickal people personally from those places so I cannot say what they do. Those with whom I correspond seem to follow the same ideas that I use.

I trust this information will be of use and help to those wishing to know about magickal practice in Australia.

Blessed be!
Seán Knight

http://foxglove.newcastle.edu.au/foodtech/sean/sean2.htm
mailto:ftswk@cc.newcastle.edu.au


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