theAbysmal Wheel of the Year starts us rolling rolling rolling…
theAbysmal Wheel of the Year is simply a result of dividing the year into 364 calendar days, plus one day outside the calendar days, plus the periodic leap year day which is also outside the calendar days.
The New Year’s Day is meant to fall on or about the Southern Solstice. This year qualifies as an “about” year, as the solstice falls today, just after the new moon. Interesting year ahead for us, methinks.
The calendar divides these 364 days into four quarters of 91 days each. Each of the quarters can be further divided into two eighths of the year (or periods of 45 days) provided that one day be excluded (as we do with the new and leap year days). So, the midpoint of each quarter are equivalent as you can see below to Feb 5, May 7, Aug 6, Nov 5. These dates roughly coincide with the neo-pagan dates for major holidays Nov 1, Feb 2, May 1, Aug 1.
Each of these four dates mark a certain turning point in the course of the sun’s journey throughout the year (at least as seen from earth). Feb 5 notes the shift when the sun’s journey north accelerates, and the change in amount of daylight (for those of us in higher latitudes) changes by more and more each day, with the greatest change in and around the Equinox (again, depends at which latitude you live). May 7, the rate of change has slowed again, and the longer days linger. Certainly above the polar circles. Aug 6, the days shorten, and increase the rate of change until Nov 5, when the long dark days linger through to Feb 5.
I know I’m laying a very thick high- northern latitude bias on this, however, the opposite seasons can be said to take place, although I don’t think the higher southern latitudes have near the population as the higher northern ones. Regardless, in global terms, the apparent position of the sun overhead (for those living between the tropics) throughout the year: from southern tropic to equator to northern tropic and back.
These mid-quarter days play an important role in other aspects of the calendar.