The Wheel of The Year: Quarters and Cross Quarters
Part of what I enjoy about Astrology is the simple, structured division of time it gives us. Our planet is so unique in that it exists right in the perfect zone for life to have formed and be maintained, but the planet also has a tilt that gives us the seasons. This tilt is so close to a 25 degree angle that we can nearly perfectly divide a year into four quarters. And in Astrology, that's what we do. We measure a year based on those four seasonal points of the earth tilting on it's axis, giving each quarter an astrological season.
I think that understanding these Astrological Seasons as different from the Cultural and Weather-related seasons of different regions will help people understand The Wheel of The Year - which is an Astrological Calendar of Solar Holidays that mark the beginning and middle of the seasons. For example, in the United States, we tend to think of "Summer" as June, July and August. Astrological Summer, however, starts at the end of June and lasts until nearly the end of September. In some regions it is certainly "hot like summer" before the end of June, and perhaps Early September already feels like Autumn in some places. So, it can be confusing to some to celebrate "the beginning of Summer" on June 21st. Therefore, we need to understand that the Solar Holidays are Astrological Calendar points rather than weather-related or culture specific. I have made this diagram to help break down the four Astrological Seasons;
The Astrological Wheel is divided into Four Seasons Each Seasonal Quadrant is ruled by an Element. The Element is determined by the Sign in the MIDDLE of that Season (The Fixed Sign)
SPRING - Approx. March 21 - June 20 Aries / Taurus / Gemini Ostara (Spring Equinox - beginning of Spring) March 21 Beltane (Middle of Spring) May 1
SUMMER - Approx. June 21 - September 20 Cancer / Leo / Virgo Litha (Summer Solstice - beginning of Summer) June 21 Lammas (Middle of Summer) Aug 1
FALL - Approx. Sept 21 - December 20 Libra / Scorpio / Sagittarius Mabon (Fall Equinox - beginning of Fall) Sept 21 Samhain (Middle of Fall) November 1
WINTER - Approx. December 21 - March 20
Capricorn / Aquarius / Pisces
Yule (Winter Solstice - beginning of Winter) December 21 Imbolc (Middle of Winter) Feb 1
The Year can be divided into "Light Half and Dark Half" or times when the Sun and Day are the Dominant energy - vs times when the Moon and Night are dominant forces. Many modern Pagans see this as the natural balance - there is an equally divided year.
I share this as just a Primer and some Basic information about the Astrological Wheel of the Year. If you are drawn to honor or recognize the solar seasons Spiritually, or just as calendar points to mark progress through an Astrological Year, I invite you to subscribe to the blog or sign up for my website membership (free) so we can explore and experience The Wheel of The Year Together
** please note - I am using Tropical Astrology and I am speaking of the seasons for people in the Northern Hemisphere.