The Celtic Wheel/Calendar

The Celtic Wheel/Calendar

The Celtic Calendar is a compilation of ancient systems of timekeeping including the Coligny calendar.
The Celtic Wheel Collection is Bernard’s interpretation of the Celtic calendar, using technical drawing and the latest printing and engraving technology.
Variations of this timepiece, sometimes called the Wheel of Time, have been used by Druid, Celtic and Pre-Celtic cultures. For thousands of years people have lived by the seasons, stars, elements and the cosmos. Respect for air, water, trees, animals, stones and fire were central to the Celtic way of life. These values are significant in Irish culture. As we learn new ways to reconnected with nature, this wheel of time provides us with guidance from ancient wisdom.
The inner circle of the Celtic Calendar Collection, contains a Celtic Tree Calendar, using early-medieval Irish ogham alphabet. The Ogham Alphabet placed immense importance on native plants and was used in solar and lunar based work of the time, but this adaption of the symbols to a calendar was in 1948 by Robert Graves in his book “The White Goddess”. Variations are now widely used in personal spiritual practices of seasonal connection with trees.

The 8 Celtic Festivals/Gateways of Ireland
4 fire festivals; Imbolc, Bealtaine, Lughnasa and Samhain - Connection with the fertility of the land
4 cross-quarter festivals; 2 Equinoxes and 2 Solstices - Alignment and tracking of the sun.

Samhain [pronounced: Sow-In] - 31st of October
Marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of Winter. Considered to be the start of the Celtic New Year. Celebrated with gatherings and feasts. A time when ancient burial mounds were opened, and seen as portals to the Otherworld. Samhain became Halloween around the 7th century when Christianity declared “All Saints Day” or “All Hallows” for the 1st of November, making the night before it “All-Hallows-Eve”, or “Halloween!” Traditionally during Samhain people would wear costumes and light bonfires to disguise and protect themselves evil spirits or fairies (also known as: Fae or Sidhe). The tradition of carving pumpkins originated from turnip carving in Ireland, which was done to ward away evil spirits. When many Irish immigrated to North America pumpkins were more plentiful, and easier to carve, and so, made a great substitute for the humble turnip.

Winter Solstice - 21st of December
The shortest day and the longest night of the year. An astrological phenomenon that marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. Newgrange, Co. Meath Neolithic Passage Tomb was designed in such a way as to let  light enter the tomb on this date. This alignment demonstrates the significance of the tracking of the sun to the people of this time. It is equally important today as many people still gather here every year. The bringing of light to the darkness is at the core of this celebration.

Imbolc (Imbolg) [meaning: in the belly] - 1st of February
Marks the beginning of Spring when the days lengthen and fertility returns to the land. A celebration of the returning of the light.

Spring Equinox - 19th to 23rd of March
Balance between the masculine and the feminine. A time of growth and new life. With the rising of the sun a shift of light enters the doorway of Grianan an Ailach, Co. Donegal splitting the stone circle in half, representing the balance between the masculine and the feminine.

Bealtaine (Beltane, Beltain, Beltainne, Beltaine, Beltany) - 1st of May
If you would like a print with an alternate name please email:
The lighting of fires to mark the beginning of Summer is still practiced today. This time of year represents light, fertility and new beginnings. It is believed that the fairy-folk (the Sidhe) are very active around this time.

Summer Solstice - 20th to 21st June
The longest day of the year. Grange Circle, at Lough Gurr, Co Limerick is associated with this time when the rising sun enters the circle of stones. 

Lughnasa - 1st of August
The harvest festival, named after Lugh, the Celtic Sun God. A God of Arts and Crafts considered to be a  symbol of enlightenment. Croagh Patrick mountain in Co. Mayo was a place of pilgrimage associated with this festival, where it is believed that rituals were held in pre-Christian times.

Autumn Equinox - 20th to 21st of September
Equal day and equal night marking the end of Summer and the beginning of Autumn. Cairn T, at Loughcrew Co Meath, is aligned with the sun at this time. As the sun rises the chamber of the burial tomb is filled with light.

Celtic Wheel Art Prints Button


The circle and cross has been used as a symbol through many cultures and spiritual belief systems. Sometimes referred to as a Solar Cross or Sun Cross it is used to represent the seasons, or simply the Sun. The people of ancient Ireland were in tune with planetary alignments in relation to the earth. This is evident in the design and position on the many ancient stone circles which dot the landscapes of Ireland, which let lines of sunlight at certain times of the year.
What we now call North, South, East and West had great significance in the lives of our ancestors as they gazed at the stars. Our understanding of their relationship with the cosmos is limited, but physical position and direction has significance in celebrating our solstices and equinoxes.

Wheel Cross by Bernard McGlinchey

Wheel Cross. A study of the connection between old values and new, by Bernard.


The Celts
The Celts were a collection of Indo-European groups identified by their use of Celtic languages and shared culture. The term Celtic is also broadly used to describe pre-Christian in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall.
The relationship between ethnicity, language and culture in the Celtic world is often debated, but what is generally agreed is that respect for air, water, trees, animals, stones and fire were key to their way of life.
These belief systems share similarities with our Nordic cousins, especially when we look deeper into the God-like characters of the time. It is debated that in Ireland, the early Christian leaders of the time adopted these God-like characters as Saints to aid the conversion of the local people. Most famous of these being St. Brigid, from the Goddess of the same name known as a great healer. Her feast day is the 1st of February, which was originally a pagan festival called Imbolc, which marked the beginning of Spring.


Beltany Stone Circle Co Donegal Illustration
Beltany Stone Circle, Co. Donegal

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