The Sun-Wise Circle
The Ceremonial Year
Together we follow the cycle of the year and its Sun-wheel, with the flow of its seasons and the cycle of life, as laid out by the structure of our Sunwheel Grove Calendar!
The Sunwheel of our year is divided into eight equal parts, which we celebrate as the Tree Seasons!
Between each Tree Season there are 8 spokes of structure, each marked by a Stone in our Stone Circle, standing in the round at the points of the compass, to mark the different phases of the year and marking out the map of our Ceremonies!
Throughout the cycle of the year we celebrate eight gatherings, with nine Ceremonies, honouring The Sun, The Moon, The Earth, The Elements, the cycle of nature and our Ancestors!
There are 5 Ceremonies held in conjunction with the 4 Sun Celebrations!
Spring Equinox – Planting the Seed!
Summer Solstice – The Highest Light!
Autumn Equinox – The Hedgerow Harvest!
Celebrated between them are the 4 Earth Ceremonies!
Imbolc – The Time of the Awakening!
Beltane – The Green Man & The May Tree!
Lughnasadh – The Crop Harvest!
Samhain – We honour the Ancestors & count our Blessings with the Cleansing fires of Samhain!
Samhain also marks the beginning of the ‘Time of Contemplation’ up until Winter Solstice, before looking forward to The Awakening and new beginnings!
Our year is also influenced by the Light Half & Dark Half of the year, with the circle dissected by the equinox line, represented by the Holly King in the North (Dark Half) and The Oak King in the South (Light Half!)
There is a more detailed description of the Ceremonies below!
* Please note - all official Ceremonies are available for download by Order members only!
Hawk Elderin and Morien Ravenstone
On behalf of the Sunwheel Grove Druid Order
WINTER SOLSTICE - the Ceremony of Rebirth
With this Ceremony we welcome the re-birth of the Sunwheel and the rising of the New Born Sun on the cycle of life.
We prepare to step out of the darkness of winter and its comforting veil of reflection and contemplation. The New Year sparks into life, heralded and honoured by the joy of celebration!
As the first rays of the new born Sun, pinprick this time of cold winter blackness with their virgin glow of naivety and the first short tentative days of warmth and light, we are offered the gift of hope and optimism for the growth of the year to come, within and without and the promise of our path before us.
From here the days will stretch with light before us and warm with the growth of The Sun and lead us toward the future!
Our Ceremony of Imbolc (Pronounced – Im-olc) is a celebration of the Awakening, the first stirrings of life, the start of the frozen winter thaw and the awakening of the Goddess energy, the spirit of Mother Earth!
At this time we honour the glory of the occasion with the planting of Snowdrops, one of the earliest blooms of nature’s stirring, their white flower a symbol of purity, in connection with the child of the Sunwheel and the living cycle of the year!
Mother Nature breaks her fast of slumber, as the child of the Sunwheel of the year begins to bathe the cold sleeping Earth with its loving glow of warming rays and Mother Earth feels the first flow of water and its drink of life!
As the Child of the Sunwheel of the year begins to take its first tentative, warming steps across the rich fertility of the Earth, we welcome the new buds of Spring and the explosion of life, with the flora and fauna!
At this time, the rise of the Oestrum and the feminine energy in all living things, finds its balance and connection with the Ardent male, the masculine fertility that is the Green Man, the masculine energy of the equilibrium within us and the world around us, the balance that teaches us the gift of focus!
Now is the time, we sow the seed, the seed of our crops and plants, the seed of hope, strength and understanding within us!
Here lies the spark, the power of potential, where we learn to value our intuition, where we learn to trust and to act on our inner wisdom!
Our connection with the Earth and the peace and harmony of life, with the awakening of union, of Mother Nature bursting into life!
New life and the age of innocence signified by the egg of balance and harmony!
And as one we step into the light half of the year!
Our Ceremony of Beltane (Pronounced – Bel-tane) is a celebration of the Green Man, the fertility of the Earth and the procreation of nature, in man, in birds and in animals, with the pollination of our crops and the plants and trees!
At this time of the year we honour the occasion with the planting of the Cowslip, the seasonal flower blooming with nature’s freedom, a wild flower of the Earth and a life of new growth!
We welcome the Green Man, the power of energy and the masculine force in the life cycle of all living things, the male seed of creation to the feminine energy of the fertility of Mother Nature, Mother Earth and the egg of balance, harmony and new life!
We honour the Hawthorn Tree and the May Flower, the Tree of masculine and feminine fertility, entwined with the energy of unity and all living life!
With this time of conception, comes the creation of inspiration, the inspiration of creativity!
The seed of a spark within, bathed in the inner glow of our spirit with warmth, strength and belief, tended by the love of nurturing passion and the expansive horizons of thought. Finely moulded, sculpted and shaped, manifesting its chosen form as an extension of our understanding, perception and creation, a gift of loving expression set free!
Offering forth the reality of our creation, we share our understanding of knowledge and wisdom to all in our own unique way and pass on our inner voice of self-expression!
Our Father Sun is honoured at his highest rise and in his glorious prime, a time of balance and harmony dividing the life cycle of the year at the halfway point of the Sunwheel, where the days will begin to shorten!
At this time of the year we remember our lives and the lives of those around us, travelling our path throughout the Sunwheel of the year!
We honour the inspiration of the Oak Tree, the majestic living tree of age and knowledge, breathing in the life force of The Sun as we share in its breath of life!
We honour all trees, large and small, young and old and share in their energy. As they grow in strength and power, in harmony we share in the energy of the elements!
At its height the Sun bathes the crowns of the trees with its warmth and light and they shelter us with their canopy and the protection of its shade!
As the strength and power, the masculinity of Father Sun, bathes the Earth with its seasonal summer heat, we welcome the passion of Nature’s blooming!
At this time of the cutting and gathering of our crops, we share in the celebration with the baking and breaking of the bread of Lughnasadh!
As we honour the seed of substance, so we consume the seed of faith and understanding, in unity with the cycle of the living year and the spiral of infinity!
With the cutting of the corn, so we are reminded of the living cycle of life, the inevitability of death and the joy of re-birth in connection with the fertility of the Earth like the seed of our crops!
We stand at the point of night and day in perfect harmony, a time of the equilibrium of The Sun and the night sky. We celebrate the balance of light and darkness and step into the dark half of the year!
At this time of year, we gather together and offer a small feast, from tree and hedgerow, fruit and nuts, mushroom, berries and seeds, honouring our connection with the spirits of life, the spirits of spirit!
We share this gift of Mother Nature and Mother Earth and her loving bounty, with the harmony of unity in all living things!
We also take the time to share and feel the energy of understanding!
In contemplation, we share in the harmony of nature’s balance and eat the fruit of the Tree of life, the Apple, representing its Ancestor the Crab Apple and the Crab Apple Tree, teaching us that life comes from life and goes on to form new life in the never ending cycle of life!
The womb of nature’s womb and the womb of the Earth!
A Celebration of the lives of our families, our friends and loved ones, our teachers and inspirational guides of life and its lessons, returning to spirit and the spirit of the Earth, passing from this world to their next in this cycle of the eternal cycle of life!
We honour the loving memory of the spirits of passing, re-joining the kingdom of The Ancestors in this life of lives!
We light the flame of remembrance, the fire of the Sun and the light of eternity!
At this time, we prepare ourselves for the journey through the longest darkness of the dark half of the year, sweeping our homes, lives and spirits of the negative energy and the decay of all that has gone before!
We begin to prepare ourselves, our mind, body and spirit, for the dying of the year and the fresh start of the bright New Year, with the re-birth of hope and optimism of things to come!
Samhain is the beginning of a period of Contemplation and Reflection that takes us up to Winter Solstice before we begin to look forward to the awakening and the birth of new beginnings!
We also give thanks for our blessings, for all that we have lived and learned, the path that we have travelled and the enrichment of experience we have gained, the wisdom and understanding that warms our spirit in love, peace and harmony!
WINTER SOLSTICE - the Ceremony of Sunset
The First Part, of our two part Winter Solstice Ceremony, the Sunset on the dying of the year!
The cycle of the life of The Sun and the Sunwheel of the year draws to a close, the once green carpet that adorned our dear Mother Earth is no more, as she now settles down to slumber under her brown veil of winter sleep!
As the last rays of the Sun slowly fade into the glowing embers of Sunset, we share the twilight of memories with The Ancestors!
At this time of the longest darkness we feel their closeness and in unity, we share our understanding and the bond of kinship!
As the Goddess, Mother Nature sleeps deep in her restful peace, we look to Sister Moon and her heart-warming, soft and milky glow of reflection and companionship!
Hand in hand we follow our path and witness the dying of the year!