The wheel-of-the-year is the corner stone of Nelland. It determines the changing of seasons and sabbats, which give years rhythm.
IMBOLC Feb 1st: The first sabbat of the year. Marks the beginning of spring, because it is situated between the darkest day of the year (mid-winter) and the spring equinox (mid-spring = when there is equal amount of light and dark in a day).
Although nature in my neighborhood is thickly covered in snow, and temperature is at it´s coldest of the year, the amount of light is strongly increasing. This is the first, and a comforting, sign of spring approaching.
Main color of Imbolc is medium grey, due to it´s dominance in the scenery in nature. Snow covers all, washing all colors away. Thus white is also an important color at this time. Ice is another coloring factor, but it´s faint minty hue is not seen much in everyday life (but worth embracing in clothing/decorating). Only the sky with it´s increasing light, shows us some real color, in pale pastels, baby blues and pinks.
OESTARA Mar 19-23: Spring equinox, mid-spring, when there is equal amount of light and dark in a day´s passing. From this point on, light dominates.
Snow starts to melt, and birds are singing. First flowers and butterflies appear in nature.
Colors I use are drawn mainly from nature again. Darkish grey being the main color, coming from the bare earth being exposed underneath the melting snow. This is accentuated with the color of the sun: a bright, energizing, happy yellow. Other bits of color are fresh green, which can be seen in small amounts in the first plants rising from the snow, and lilac. Crocuses are lilac, and one of the first splashes of color blooming from the earth.
BELTANE May 1st: Beginning of summer! Beltane is between mid-spring and midsummer, so it´s obvious.
There are hardly any leaves in trees in the beginning of Beltane, but during it, the nature explodes into all shades of green! It is an amazing transformation in a short period of time. Therefore fresh greens of all kind are the basic color of the sabbat.
This is the time when flowers are doing their best to bloom as fast as they can. Also all the animals have paired up and are caring for their young. It feels like there is romance in the air! And it can also be sensed in human life as well. What is more of the color of romance than pink? This is the time of year to let my romantic side bloom (it is not very well developed, but I live and learn =). After all, love and lust are what makes the world go around. Why not celebrate that once a year?!
LITHA Jun 19-23: Midsummer, summer solstice, the lightest day of the year! The sun hardly sets for night, and it is light all day and night long! This is the most energetic time of the year. It just seems wrong to be sleeping when the sun isn´t either.
Colors in nature have grown mature. Trees and grass have reached an almost blueish green shade. They are at their strongest, not needing to grow anymore, but to restore as much sun´s energy as possible. I like to use basic, mature, colors too. Waters are beginning to warm up enough for us people to swim in, and start looking attractive again. Thus dark blue is the main color of Litha. It is time to play holiday all Litha long, although summer vacation may still be weeks away. But it is important to maximize the fun elements of life! So holiday-feeling it is, and I like to do it in the fifties way. (That era has been beautifully idolized as being nothing but the time of fun and dance!) Dark blue is used in the form of denim. I add basic white and red to this, along with black accessories, like shoes and belts.
LAMMAS Aug 1st: Situated between midsummer and mid-autumn, this marks the beginning of autumn.
Temperature-wise this is the hottest time of the year, but light is slowly starting to decrease. It affects me in a calming way, like telling me it is okay not to run around like crazy anymore day and night. It is again okay to relax a bit, and enjoy stillness.
Nature is starting to mature it´s seeds by turning golden beige little by little. This beige is my main color of Lammas. To this beige I like to add white and lace, resembling many flowers still blooming in the wild. But not as strongly and aggressively as earlier. These flowers are more fragile and wise, knowing they still have time. The sun is shining a lot, but it´s color turns warmer. This warm yellow is one of the colors of Lammas as well.
The evenings are getting dark enough for burning candles again at the end of Lammas. It´s been a long time since I last did, in Imbolc.
MABON Sep 20-24: Autumn equinox, mid-autumn, when there is equal amount of light and dark again. From this point on, darkness dominates.
Time to gather summer´s crops. Colorful carrots, tomatoes, pumpkins, you name it! Lots of color in the wild nature as well, as the leaves are starting to turn yellow and red. All these warm, earth-toned reds, yellows, and oranges, are combined with army-green and dark brown to create a beautiful autumn look.
During Mabon I still have some energy left, basically enough to tidy up the places for winter´s sleep. Darkness is increasing fast, bringing along cozy nights by the fireplace and tv again...
SAMHAIN Nov 1st: Situated between mid-autumn and midwinter, Samhain marks the beginning of winter.
Coldness creeps into the world again, bringing frost and often snow. The earth is very dark, both in color and light-wise. Nature looks dead, it has fallen into a winte´s sleep. This is when I turn my head to memorizing those of my beloved friends and family who have passed away already. Burning candles and looking at pictures of them, while remembering all the good they brought into my life. All the fun times we shared. How lucky I was to have known them! And what did they teach me of this world, how can I learn from them?
Black is the dominating color of Samhain. No doubt about it. Not much else is needed. But to create some variety, dark grey and violet (the sacred color of bishops), are added.
YULE Dec 19-23: Midwinter, winter solstice, the darkest day of the year. This is when I resent going outside, because there is nothing to do... in the cold... in the dark...
Christmas and New Year dominate my Yule time. They even cut it in half. First comes Christmas. The anticipation of it is so strong in our culture, I don´t even want to fight back. I´d rather enjoy with the rest!
Colors I use for the first half of Yule (until Christmas) are mostly drawn from nature again. Dark grey rules the palette. That is definitely the most common color seen in nature at this time of year. To this grey I add the dark green and brown of evergreen trees and plants, the white of snow (which most often comes for Christmas), and the traditional red of Santa Clause (isn´t it thanks to Coca Cola?).
The second half of Yule is ruled by the effect of New Year´s Eve. By then it is high time to say bye-bye to Christmas´s colors and switch into something new. That is still mainly dark grey, but mixed with dark blue and silver. That is what I see in nature from New Year on, dark blue night-like skies with little twinkling stars all over it. What a beautiful view!
Thanks to these eight sabbats, my life is a continuous celebration, year round! That is what life is all about; being happy and enjoying!