Throughout the year, we find a number of ways to align ourselves more easily to the natural world and the cycles of the Earth. The most recurrent of these is the Lunar Cycle, which is comprised of four phases: Waxing, Full, Waning, Dark; in one year, there are 12 to 13 Lunar Cycles, each lasting 29.531 days. However, the most obvious is in the four seasons, each having its own unique energy and associations. We also find eight days in particular, two for each season, that help us to get a better feel for the rhythm of the Natural World and to better understand these energy differences in the seasons. These days are referred to as Sabbats and are seen as Sacred Days of Power. These eight Sabbats split the year into eight sections, which when divided in half, give us the basic break down of the Solar Cycle: the waxing half of the year and the waning half.
It is through these three cycles (the Lunar, the Solar, and the Seasonal,) that we see one common theme, repeated over and over again: the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. We also see just how the Sacred Year relates to not just our own lives, but all life. The year is born, ages, dies, and begins again. The Solar and Lunar cycles go through this same cycle, the Sun on a larger scale that is more intimately related to the seasons*, and the Moon on a smaller scale, in that it goes through this entire cycle in just under one month. So, in the basic underlying rhythm of the Earth and Nature, we have a promise that after our time in this life is ended, we too shall begin again, a fresh start, with all the wisdom of the past to guide us. For all life travels in spirals, always moving forward, changing slightly, but moving through the same theme of life, death, and rebirth.
*The Sun also goes through a smaller cycle each day, very similar to the yearly cycle.