Nature moves in cycles.
We can attune to nature’s rhythms by celebrating the changing seasons. We can also bond with our fellows, and gain insight into humanity through observing shared holidays.
Wheel of the Year
Like other Neopagans, Naturalistc Pagans celebrate the Wheel of the Year. The following links, hosted at Patheos.com, offer naturalistic ways to attune to the Wheel.
Names are listed here according to common Neopagan tradition, as well as natural phenomena. The solstices and equinoxes represent points in the solar cycle, while the cross-quarters mark the midpoints between them. Jon Cleland Host calls the cross-quarters thermistices and equitherms, to reflect changes in climatic temperature. A full overview of the 8 Sabbats is at this post.
- Yule / Winter Solstice
- Imbolc / Winter Thermistice
- Ostara / Vernal Equinox
- Beltane / Vernal Equitherm
- Litha / Summer Solstice
- Lammas / Summer Thermistice
- Mabon / Autumnal Equinox
- Samhain / Autumnal Equitherm
Rua Lupa of Ehoah has proposed an even more original nomenclature:
For ritual scripts for each point on the Wheel, see our Rituals page.
See Archaeoastronomy.com for precise dates and times.
The phases of the moon can also be profound moments for naturalistic celebration.
For a naturalistic calendar integrating lunar occasions, see Rose Welsh’s Liminaria calendar in the files section of the Naturalistic Paganism yahoo group.
See Lunaf.com for precise dates and times.
Celebrations need not be limited to the Wheel. The following links, hosted at Patheos.com, provide a panoply of occasions, including dates of Neopagan, natural, cosmic, civil, scientific, and humanitarian importance.
All dates are for Northern Hemisphere
(Movable dates are marked with *.)
Jan 1 New Year’s Day
Jan 1 Cosmic Calendar: Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago (bya)
* third Monday of January is Martin Luther King Day
Jan 22 Chief Seattle surrenders native land
Jan 27 International Holocaust Remembrance Day
Feb 1/2 Neo-Pagan winter cross-quarter day (Imbolc)
Feb 2 Groundhog’s Day
*Feb 3-4 Winter thermistice/cross-quarter
Feb 12 Darwin Day
Feb 17 Giordano Bruno burned at the stake
Feb 20 World Day of Social Justice
Feb 24 Black Nonbelievers Solidarity Day
Mar 4 Church of All Worlds charted as first Neo-Pagan church in U.S. (1967)
Mar 8 International Women’s Day
* second Sunday of March Daylight Savings Time begins in the U.S.
Mar 14 Einstein’s birthday / Pi Day
Mar 15 Hypatia Day
Mar 17 St. Patrick’s Day
*Mar 19-20 Spring equinox ( spring begins in U.S.) / Neo-Pagan spring quarter day (Ostara)
Mar 21 International Day of Nowruz
Mar 21 International Day of the Forests
Mar 22 World Water Day
Apr 7 World Health Day
Apr 12 International Day of Human Space Flight
Apr 20 Marcus Aurelius’ birthday
Apr 21 John Muir’s birthday
Apr 22 Earth Day / International Mother Earth Day
Apr 25 Arbor Day
May 1 Neo-Pagan spring cross-quarter day (Beltane)
* first Thursday of May is National Day of Prayer and National Day of Reason
May 2 Pagan Coming Out Day
*May 4-5 Spring equitherm/cross-quarter
May 11 Cosmic Calendar: Milky Way Galaxy Formed 8.8 bya
May 15 Thomas Taylor’s birthday
May 16 Love a Tree Day
May 22 International Day for Biological Diversity
May 24 Vesak, Day of the Full Moon
* last Monday of May is Memorial Day, unofficial start of summer in U.S.
Jun 5 World Environment Day
Jun 8 World Oceans Day
Jun 20 World Refugee Day
Jun 20-21 Summer solstice (summer begins in U.S.) / Neo-Pagan summer quarter day (Litha) and World Humanist Day
Jun 26 Julian, the last pagan emperor’s birthday
Jun 26 Anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court same-sex equal rights cases
Jul 11 World Population Day
Jul 12 Malala Day
Jul 18 Nelson Mandela Day
Jul 20 Anniversary of the Moon Landing
Aug 1 Neo-Pagan summer cross-quarter day (Lughnasadh)
Aug 6 Hiroshima Day
*Aug 6-7 Summer thermistice/cross-quarter
Aug 9 International Indigenous Peoples Day
Aug 19 World Humanitarian Day
Aug 24 Anniversary of Look magazine issue featuring a Neo-Pagan Beltane ritual (1971)
Aug 25 Death of Friedrich Nietzsche
Sept 1 Cosmic Calendar: Sun formed 4.57 bya
* first Monday in September is Labor Day, unofficial end of summer in U.S.
Sept 4 Anniversary of Dettmer v. Landon, Wicca legally recognized as a religion
Sept 6 Neo-Pagan Tim Zell has his Theagenesis vision (1971), predating the popularization of Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis
Sept 9 Emerson publishes his essay “Nature”, unofficial beginning of Transcendentalism
Sept 11 9-11 / Anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks
Sept 13 Defy Superstition Day
Sept 15 International Day of Democracy
Sept 16 Cosmic Calendar: Oldest rocks known on earth date to 4 bya
Sept 21 World Peace Day
Sept 21 Cosmic Calendar: First life emerges (prokaryotes) 3.8 bya
*Sept 22-23 Autumn equinox (fall begins in U.S.) / Neo-Pagan autumn quarter day (Mabon)
Sept 30 Blasphemy Rights Day
Oct 2 Gandhi’s birthday and International Day of Non-Violence
* first Monday in October is World Habitat Day
Oct 12 Cosmic Calendar: First photosynthesis occurs 3 bya
Oct 16 World Food Day
Oct 17 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
Oct 29 Cosmic Calendar: Oxygenation of atmosphere occurs 2.4 bya
Oct 31/Nov 1 Neo-Pagan autumn cross-quarter day (Samhain) / Halloween
Oct 31 Anniversary of the publication of The Spiral Dance and Drawing Down the Moon
* first Sunday in November Daylight Savings Time ends in U.S.
*Nov 6-7 Autumn equitherm/cross-quarter
Nov 8 Cosmic Calendar: First complex cells (eukaryotes) emerge 2 bya
Nov 9 Carl Sagan’s birthday
Nov 16 International Day of Tolerance
* third Thursday in November is World Philosophy Day
Nov 24 Spinoza’s birthday
Nov 25 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
Nov 30 John Toland’s birthday
Dec 3 International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Dec 5 Cosmic Calendar: First multicellular life 1 bya
Dec 7 Apollo 17 crew photographs “The Blue Marble” photo
Dec 10 International Human Rights Day
Dec 14 Cosmic Calendar: Simple animals emerge 0.67 bya
Dec 14 Cosmic Calendar: Arthropods emerge 0.55 bya
Dec 18 Cosmic Calendar: Fish and proto-amphibians emerge 0.5 bya
Dec 20 Cosmic Calendar: Land plants emerge 0.45 bya
*Dec 21-22 Winter solstice (winter begins in U.S.) / Neo-Pagan winter quarter day (Yule)
Dec 21 Cosmic Calendar: Insects and seeds emerge 0.4 bya
Dec 22 Cosmic Calendar: Amphibians emerge 0.36 bya
Dec 23 Cosmic Calendar: Reptiles and dinosaurs emerge 0.3 bya
Dec 24 Apollo 8 crew photograph’s “Earthrise” photo
Dec 25 Newton’s birthday
Dec 26 Cosmic Calendar: Mammals emerge 0.2 bya
Dec 27 Cosmic Calendar: Birds emerge 0.15 bya
Dec 27 Anniversary of the voyage of the Beagle
Dec 28 Cosmic Calendar: Flowers emerge 0.13 bya
Dec 30 Cosmic Calendar: Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event (non-avian dinosaurs die out) 65 mya
Dec 30 Cosmic Calendar: Primates emerge 65 mya
Dec 31 Cosmic Calendar: Hominids emerge 15 mya
Note: The Cosmic Calendar presented above, which maps the history of the universe onto a single year, comes from Carl Sagan’s The Dragons of Eden. An alternative is the Earth Story Calendar, which presents an unfolding which is similar, but spaced out a bit more evenly.
More calendrical resources
Challenges of Family Rituals, by John Halstead, with links to family rituals for all eight points on the Wheel of the Year
Celebrating Deep Time All Year Long, by Jon Cleland Host, in the files section of the Naturalistic Paganism yahoo group.
Earth Story Calendar, by Peter Adair – beautiful calendar that maps the evolutionary epic of Big History onto the 12 months of the year
Elements of Pantheism, by Paul Harrison – a chapter of this book is devoted to naturalistic events that may be celebrated within the Neopagan Wheel of the Year structure or as stand-alone events.
Great Story – (TheGreatStory.org) – from Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow, includes chants, songs, and rituals revolving around the Great Story, or Epic of Evolution.
Liminaria calendar, by Rose Welsh, in the files section of the Naturalistic Paganism yahoo group
Moral Heroes – despite a stuffy name, this site is full of quality highlights of amazing people, and includes a calendar that may be used for Humanistic celebration and memorial.
Naturalistic Paganism – the files section of this yahoo group contains seasonal meditations and rituals
Naturalistic Pantheist Musings – Practices: Festivals – the eight solar festivals as well as lunar celebrations from a naturalistic pantheist perspective
PaGaian Cosmology, by Glenys Livingstone – this book gives meditations and rituals on the cycles of the seasons within the Neopagan Wheel of the Year framework. Also see PaGaian’s Youtube channel for multimedia meditations on each quarter and cross-quarter of the year.
A Pantheist Calendar – from the World Pantheist Movement
Traditions for Each Sabbat, by Jon Cleland Host, in the files section of the Naturalistic Paganism yahoo group.
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I love the Calendar and the Blog. About 20 years ago when I was first coming into my own understanding of my Atheism, I coined myself an “Eightheist “, someone who revers the natural world and celebrates the eight parts of it’s yearly cycle as well as a symbol of the infinite Eventually even finding my self with a (theism) was uncomfortable so I have come to be simply a ” A Non Believer ” because it encompasses all the things I don’t believe in.
Elise, I relate completely!
I love this page!