by Alan Toubeaux
Wiccans don’t have a faith-based belief or tradition when it comes to creation myths or stories. Many Wiccans and people who follow other Pagan religions, such as Druidry or Asatru believe in science, evolution and other related concepts along with any beliefs in how the universe was created. In that sense, Wicca and some other forms of Paganism are more existential than faith-based. As a small and still emerging modern era religion, Wiccans are decentralized with no leaders, who might carry the standard on Creation story. Some traditions do have elder members who would be highly respected as leaders and spokespersons. These traditional sects may have sacred text that accords creation to the Goddess, as most traditions of Wicca are primarily Goddess centered, and would be specific to their own branch of Wicca.
The general tenets of Wicca give Creation responsibility to the Goddess because many Wiccans generally revere and give primacy to the Divine Female. Recognizing that the God and Goddess are present and part of Nature makes us see and view life coming directly from the female. Only females birth new life. Other sects or branches may practice with specific pantheons in mind, such as Norse, Egyptian, Celtic or Greco-Roman and thus may embrace or understand the ancient myths but also because they respect the belief of our ancestors.
Wicca is based on agricultural and fertility related beliefs of our ancient ancestors and represents a synthesis of seeing Nature’s cycles allied with various myths that tell the story symbolically. Most Wiccans see the Wheel of the Year, a name for our calendar, as the life cycle and general story of the God and the Goddess.
The year begins at the Winter Solstice, also known as Yule, when the Sun returns, after the darkest night. At this time the Goddess births or re-births “the son”, the Divine Child of Promise. Around February 2nd is Imbolc (old Celtic), also known as Candlemas, or Lady Day, and representing the first stirrings of spring. As the Goddess has aged, “croned”, she prepares to become the Maiden of Spring, once more. The young God is growing and the spark of life is engendered throughout the world. Then comes the Spring Equinox, also known as Ostara, and representing the triumph of Light over Dark, as the days will now be longer than the nights. It is the time for reproduction and flowering of life. The Goddess is reborn or becomes the Maiden again. In some traditions this is recalled by the myth of Persephone from the Ancient Greeks. The young God is now almost full grown.
On or around May 1st is Beltane, the festival of spring in full flower. For the majority of Wiccan traditions, this time represents the sacred marriage between the God and the Goddess, from whom all life comes from. Their union also means the Goddess as Maiden, now become Mother. The God become Master of the greening world. Then we come to the Summer Solstice, usually around June 21st and also known as Litha. Essentially the reverse of the Winter Solstice, Wiccans see this as a turning towards the dark time of the year. More emphasis will be placed on preparing for the winter; studying, planning, preparing for cold, etc. At this time, both the God and Goddess look inward, as the year does. They realize his time is short, as the seeds of fall are now planted.
August 1st is known as Lammas and is considered the first of 3 Harvest festivals. In this one grain and foods we make with grain are celebrated. Both the God and Goddess are growing older. He is now a Sage and she is becoming a Crone, watching him age and begin to die, even as she realizes she carries the child that is him, within her (to be reborn at Yule). At the Fall Equinox, also known as Mabon and on or around the 21st of September, this realization is most evident. Now the days and nights are equal but the promise of nights becoming longer as Wiccans celebrate the 2nd Harvest Festival, one of grapes and wine, but also to learn sharing, for the winter months ahead. So in a way, it’s the Wiccan Thanksgiving.
Finally the year moves to Halloween, October 31st, which is mainly known as Samhain (pronounced ‘sow-en’ and Celtic for “summer’s end”). This is the most honored and beloved festival for Wiccans, and certainly the most well known amongst non Wiccans, though its relevance is not always understood. The final harvest festival for Wiccans, represents the time of year we honor our beloved dead, for at this time we see the passing of the God too, and acknowledge that all life dies, only to reborn again, as the God will be born again at Winter Solstice.