Preparing for the SunWheel

21 Samhain/Nov. 20

Sai Thema, Be with us.

Dear friends and devotees,

Please note that the book club and the Agora Gazette will return after the holidays. Thank you.

Astrean festivities: The Sun Wheel.

(This article has been shortened.)

 Available from Etsy

(Many believe that the Advent wreath, like so many Christian Traditions, originated as a Pagan custom, most likely from Germany. article.  )

On 1 Astrea/ Nov. 28, we begin the ceremony of the lighting of the SunWheel. This ceremony was created by ArchMatrona Georgia (Ghrian) E. B. Cobb of the Lady of Light Chantry.  She has also created the new Star Guardian ceremony (see end of article). These ceremonies help to enrich our spiritual practice and to deepen our ties to our community. Already, for many devotees, the SunWheel has become both a time honored custom and yearly tradition for our hestias (Deanic homes) and families.

If you wish to plan ahead, you will need five candles: green, yellow, violet, blue and red. While the other colors are readily available as tea lights, the violet/purple is harder to come by.

One option is to use the tea lights in the appropriate colors of green, red, yellow and blue and purchase one large violet candle for the center of the wreath. (I actually think this is what I’m going to do this year.) Otherwise, all the colors are available in chakra candle sets that may be found online. (Also at end of article.) So tea lights, taper candles and pillar candles are all acceptable as long as they are in the proper colors.

Advent wreath with pillar candles.

Everyone has different ways to set up their SunWheels. I use either fresh or synthetic evergreens and place them in a circle (or make a large wreath). If using taper candles, a store-bought advent wreath is fine, too.

Advent wreaths are readily available online and in most department stores. Whether using a traditional advent wreath or making one of your own, in each case, the fifth Violet/Purple candle is placed in the center of the wreath. Many devotees also include a mother/daughter figurine. Of course, the evergreens/wreath may be decorated to taste.


Our Veiled Great Mother holding the Fora.
(Courtesy of Prima Madria Sophia.)

Interestingly enough, the Fora/Solar Cross is known as the SunWheel. In Deanic Tradition, the four rays of the Fora must extend beyond the circle.

Each candle on the SunWheel represents an aspect of Our Lady, of each Season, of each Jana, of each Sacred Symbol, of each Mystery and of each Virtue. And as with the Fora, we imagine the Four Rays extending beyond the circle of the Wreath as the Four Flowing Rivers of the 21 Virtues of Life flowing out into the Cosmos.

May Our Lady bless you,
Blessed is She.

ArchMadria Pamela Lanides

Poem and Crafting Apple Star Printing Blocks

13 Samhain/Nov. 12

Sunnadi or Sun Day.

Day of Madria Theia.

Poem and Instructions for making Apple Star Printing Blocks

Who would think an apple,
Red, gold, green and round,
Would have a secret deep inside,
When cut it can be found!

I thought this secret only shone,
In deep and darkest night,
But when I cut my apple,
It shines with five points bright!

And now you know the secret,
Where shining stars are found,
In every crunchy apple,
Red, gold, green and round.

Apple Secrets :: Betty Jones

A lovely activity to accompany this story and time of year is of course apple stamping. We cut the cheeks off the apple for snacks or apple and blackberry pie and then cut the core ‘block’ through the middle and reveal the ‘stars’. The ‘blocks’ then make handy little ‘stamps’ to create beautiful ‘starry night’ scenes.


Crafting Apple Dolls

13 Samhain/Nov. 12

Sunnadi or Sun Day.

Day of Madria Theia.

Instructions for making Apple Dolls

Peel an apple (Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples work well), cutting away any bruises (some people say to core the apple, others say not to. Experiment for yourself). Carve as life-like a face as possible into the apple (don’t cut too deeply so as to avoid rotting). Don’t forget the little things that make a face so human — the little lines running from nose to mouth, the hollows of the eyes, the depressions caused by cheekbones, etc. Depending on the “skin” tone desired, soak the carved apple for about 45 minutes in a mixture of lemon juice (or cider vinegar) and water (the longer you soak, the lighter the “skin” tone will be).

Hang the apple up in the dryest, darkest room of your home. Come back in 3 to 4 weeks to see what you have! (Hallowe’en would be perfect time for the unveiling!) It should have shrunk by about two thirds its original size, darkened some, and show the wizened features of an old woman or man. When thoroughly dry, decorate using very diluted food colorings for rouge; corn silk, cotton, or yarn for hair; cloves or food colorings for eyes; fabric triangles for scarves, etc. Secure onto a “body” made of a bottle, styrofoam cone, wooden dowel, etc., and make clothes as desired.


One of my earliest childhood memories is of two dried apple head dolls my mum had displayed on a shelf in the living room. They were so special and interesting to look at. Last year I decided to try making one for myself and actually took some photos of the work-in-progress. So I thought I’d share them here. Smiley

I peeled an apple and carved in some facial features with a parring knife. I hung it by the stem to dry.

It really started to look interesting as it dried!

After about 2 1/2 weeks it felt thoroughly dry, so it was time to put the doll together.

She’s got a little trinket box for a base so she stands nice and steady, and the rest of her body is just some waded up fabric held together with tape. Her dress is an old wool sock, and her shawl came from an old cushion that was beyond repair which belonged to my grandma. She’s got a pipe cleaner arm to hold her cane. I shoved two pins in her head for eyes and her hair is some cotton stuffing from inside the cushion. Smiley

What’s really neat about this project is that the apple continues to dry out and the doll ages! She looks older today than when I took these photos a year ago.