The Wheel of Andraste
Here in our East Anglia Goddess Temple, we celebrate the ever-turning Wheel of the Year, the eight Sabbats and at every Sabbat we have a Goddess. In the centre is Andraste supported by Boudicca.
Our Wheel starts at Samhain, 31st October, and is the beginning of the pagan year. The days become shorter, the earth gets colder and plants die or become dormant. From this point until Imbolc, when the light begins to return, we enter into the dark time of the year.
We call Crone Goddess Cerridwen, the Goddess of Transformation. She cuts the threads that hold us back and helps us to transform into better people. The Queen of the Underworld, She is our Grandmother of time, or the 'wicked witch' who screams our fears into the night. Do we fear Her because She represents change and reminds us of our own mortality? She links us to the ancestors as She prepares us for the days of stillness and silence as we move towards Winter Solstice and Arianrhod.
Arianrhod, the Yule Goddess of the Silver Wheel, presides over the North and the element of Air. She is the weaver who spins the stars across the Northern sky. Her realm is the home of the ancestors in Her castle, Caer Sidi. During the winter months, where life lies buried in the land, we take this time to look within ourselves, to rest, to contemplate how we can be reborn again when spring arrives, as it will at Imbolc.
Our Maiden of spring, Idunna, the Norse Goddess of rebirth, awakens the land. Now the land is reborn, full of promise and vitality, bringing the radiance of Her love upon us all. She is eternal youth and hopefulness, encouraging us to remember our childhood intuition and fantasies, to play and be joyful in the newness of the world.
Now the land is awakening, we turn to Ostara and Sulis, the Goddess of Fire. She is dynamic, demanding and energetic; She is the vital spark of life in everything that is living. She gives us energy, fiery energy! Hers is the warmth that brings green to the land, quickening our hearts and quickening our soul. Sulis is vital, powerful and strong, as the Sun’s energy gains in power, life becomes vital. She asks us to be positive and decisive, bringing vitality into everything that we do.
At Beltane it is the time of the Goddess Damara, (pronounced Dumarrah). She is the Goddess of pure love and Queen of the Fairies. She brings abundance to the fields and fertility to the herd, as well as to the home. For now the Earth is vibrant with growth. Damara brings us kindness, expecting us to be kind to others. Hers is a generosity of spirit that She asks us to copy. She asks us to maintain our purity and innocence and to keep our sense of wonder and faith in the world around us.
As we move from Beltane to the Midsummer Solstice at Litha; Nehalennia, Goddess of Water, comes. Her waters are free-flowing without restriction, urging us not to restrict ourselves within unnecessary boundaries, to allow our thoughts and emotions to be free. Like Her Oceans, She can be calming and gentle, she can also be wild, wilful and untamed and like Her Oceans, She has immense power, yet She is nurturing, protecting and healing.
The gentle days of Summer move into Lammas and we call Great Mother Habondia, Goddess of the Harvest, who brings us Her bounty. With this bounty comes prosperity of the abundance in the fields at this time of the year. Dame Habondia asks us to be generous, to share with those less fortunate, to be giving and kind, for She gives freely to us. This time of the harvest, of gratitude and giving, extends to the joy and happiness that we find in our homes with our loved ones.
Our last turn of the Wheel is to Mabon and the time of Goddess Erce, (pronounced Airshay), the Mother of Earth. As the nights draw in, we nestle in the comfort of our home, the warmth and security that holds us in safety that Erce gives us. She brings Her blessings on the land during its period of rest and sleep, protecting the animals of the earth as well as the plants that are drawing back into the earth. She continues to bring the abundance from the fruit on the hedgerows and the orchards. She is the Gatherer and preserver of the fruits, as She preserves us too, in readiness of the colder days to come as we turn once again to Samhain where we can be transformed.
We now face the Centre of The Wheel, where Boudicca supports Andraste. Boudicca, the Queen of the Iceni, who stood against the oppression of the Romans and fought to be free. Her name means Priestess and Goddess. She is steadfast. She stands by Her decisions and will finish the task She has set out to do. She stands firm in Her beliefs in the face of adversity. She is loyal to those who support Her. She may help you bring victory, but in the face of defeat She urges you to have the courage to face up to failure. She brings independence and a fiery spirit, courage and strength. Boudicca is inextricably linked with our patron Goddess, who She invoked to protect the Iceni in battle; Andraste, who is the centre of the Wheel, The Invincible One, in whom all the Goddesses on the Wheel are found.
Andraste, as a warrior Goddess, was worshipped from the Wash to mid Kent. Now we ask Her warrior aspect to be fierce in its protection of the land and its people of East Anglia. The Goddess of the Sacred Groves is a Triple Goddess. She is the Maiden, innocent and pure. She is the great Mother of unconditional love and She is the Crone of wisdom and the ancestors. She brings protection of Her lands and her people, all in Her nature is glorious on land, in the sea or the air. She sends the rain to make the crops grow, the Sun to ripen and the wind to cool and blow the fruits from the trees. In all of this She is constant, never changing, never wavering in the gifts that She brings to us.
This is our Wheel of the Year, dedicated to Andraste, She who has not fallen.
Here at EAGT, we teach the Wheel on our Priestess and Priest Training. Do you hear Andraste's call? Contact Mama on firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © Christine Watts 2022