Wheel of the year: Your ultimate guide to setting goals with the quarter and cross-quarter holidays

Carrie JordanShamanism

The Solstices and Equinox are powerful alignments that have been part of celebrations and human consciousness for millennia—just look at sacred places such as the Egyptian pyramids, Stonehenge, or Angkor Wat, and other sacred places that were constructed long ago for the purpose of aligning with the sun at these important quarters of the year.

When we consciously align ourselves with the energies and cycles of the natural world, we 1) send a message to the unseen forces that we are available to co-create with them and 2) open channels within our psyches to receive information, synchronicities, and guidance from the unseen realms of nature.

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As you celebrate each holiday on the wheel of the year (also known as the medicine wheel in North America), think of it as a way to stay in rhythm with the cycles of nature. Each of these holidays has aspects of your life that you can focus on so that you can work with those cycles to become the best version of you in service of the Goddess. Each moon cycle has specific aspects of life that you can focus on as well. 

Make sure that you record your goals, spells, progress, and guidance from the other realms in your journal each cycle so that you can understand the messages. Sometimes they only make sense in hindsight, whereas sometimes they make sense in the moment.

Ostara “o-STAHR-uh” March 25 Spring Equinox 

How to set goals with nature

Spring Equinox was, in ancient times, the first month of the year. new year’s day was march 25th in the Julian calendar, which preceded the Gregorian calendar. The Full moon of March is known as the Storm moon. 

This is the best time to set goals, intentions, and cast spells for money, growth, prospering, and exploration. 

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Beltane “BELL-tinnuh” May 1 

This cross-quarter holiday is a celebration of the Goddess who brings forth life. The evening Beltane fires give warmth to couples who enjoy the Beltane evening together.

The Maypole is a tradition that celebrates fertility. Historians believe the first maypole dance originated as part of Germanic pagan fertility rituals. Young maidens hold on to ribbons that are attached to a living tree as they dance around the tree. The tree symbolizes the masculine, and the design that the ribbons make around the tree once they are all tied around it, symbolize the feminine.

The moon cycle of May is known as the Hare moon or the Frog’s Return Moon. This moon is a time to clean up loose ends and make important choices about what you’re leaving behind and bringing forward.

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Some goals, intentions, and spells you can focus on are career or job upgrades, home upgrades, tying loose ends, getting in shape, and self care, and seeking council from a spiritual advisor. 

Litha “leetha” June 24 Midsummer night and day

Also known as summer solstice, is traditionally a festival celebration that gathers everyone together with dancing, bonding, fulfillment, building fires and jumping over them for good luck, and making our bonds stronger. This moon is known as the Strong Sun Moon. It’s a major holiday for bonding lovers and divining the future. 

Goals and spells should be for protection, favorable weather, love, money, blessings on upcoming endeavors.

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Lughnasadh “LOO-nah-sah” August 1

This cross- quarter holiday is in the Barley Moon. A person born in August was said to be filled with thee spirit of the Goddess. The name Lammas mean Loaf mass, the festival of the bread, and it’s a celebration of the harvest, honoring abundance and food. We gather to nurture one another with food.

Work with tools like meditation and patience to focus your mind, body, and soul on allowing the wisdom of the goddess to come through you. 

It is a good time to focus your energy on learning, wisdom, truth, trust, prophecy, psychic development, and relationships.

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Mabon “MA-bon” September 21 Autumn Equinox

The forces of Dark and Light are equalized as nature comes into balance. From this point forward, the light dissipates and the nights become longer. 

This moon is known as the Harvest Moon, a time for creativity and beauty in worship and appreciation for the Goddess. Make offerings to Her with your largest and most beautiful fruits and veggies this year. Give thanks to Her for your growth in the form of poetry, dancing, parties, or art. When we give thanks, our gifts multiply.

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Samhain “sow-in” October 31

This cross-quarter holiday is known as Hallow’s Eve. This moon is called the Blood Moon because historically it was when animals were sacrificed for the coming cold months. It is a time to shed, cleanse, and remember our ancestors as we prepare for winter. This is the time of year when the veil between the worlds is thinnest this night as souls come to visit and the living throw a party to venerate those who have crossed over.

Focus your goals and spells on protection, ancestral communication and offerings, settling debts so that it’s a good day to die, keep track of hunches, visions, and dreams.

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Yule “yool” December 21 Winter Solstice

At winter solstice, we celebrate the return of the sun. After this day, the nights become shorter and the days longer. In many traditions, the winter solstice represents the rebirth or the birth of Light. During this holiday is a time of introspection, renewal, and rebirth, purification. As such, make sure to feed your body well during the holiday season rather than fall into bad habits as many do during this busy and sometimes stressful time. 

Some good ways to celebrate are by purifying the home, making room for the new to unfold, the Christmas tree which represents the tree of life, burning candles and writing in your journal as you spend the month reflecting. On the night of the winter solstice, hold an all night vigil and greet the light at sunrise.

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During the Long Night Moon cycle of December, focus your goals and spells on dispelling depression, being reborn or renewed.

Imbolc “IM-bulk” February 1 

This is a very important day for witches and priestesses, for it is when those who have studied the Goddess Religion for a year and a day are initiated. It represents the Goddess of the moon, for whom we sing, feast, make music, and love. 

Focus your spells and goals on growth, money, health, children, babies, crops, love. 

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