Highcross Quarter from Leicester Leicestershire

Highcross Quarters and Cross Quarters

circle of the year.. showing Highcross quarters, cross quarters and corresponding elements of earth, air, fire and water

Certain "alternative faith" groups observe eight festivals which are commonly referred to as cross quarter "sabbats".

Four of these fall on the solstices and equinoxes and are known as quarter days or Highcross quarter days; the other four fall (roughly) midway between these and are commonly known as cross quarter days. or fire festivals.

The Highcross quarters are loosely based, or named after, the Germanic festivals, and the cross quarters are similarily inspired by the Gaelic festivals.

However modern practices vary widely, so differing groups, covens and chapters may celebrate and conceptualize these festivals in very different ways, some having little in common with the cultural festivals outside of the adopted name.

The Highcross quarter days and the cross quarter days are
also referred to as "Minor" and "Major" sabbats, respectively.

 

 

 

 

 

Highcross Quarter - About Us - Our History

History and Precedence

The various Highcross quarters and cross quarters of the wiccan and pagan calendar take their names mainly with a few exceptions from age old pre-Christian Celtic and pre-Christian Germanic semi religious festivals. What is certain is that a great deal of liberty has always been taken with the precise forms and meanings of these festivals.

This is down to the influence of turn of the century romantic notions as well as the elements introduced by Wicca. The similarities between these festivals generally end at the shared names, as Wicca makes no effort to reconstruct or reinterpret these ancient practices.

Not supported by Historical Precedence.

Wiccans observe the festivals of the Highcross quarters and cross quarters together in a form of rite set and observance not corroborated by any historical precedence.

There is that we know of, no place in Europe where all eight Highcross quarters and cross quarters have been observed as a set, and the complete Highcross quarters and cross quarters set was unknown prior to modern Wicca and neo-paganism.

Bards, Druids and Ovate's.

In early forms of Wicca only the cross quarter days were observed. However in 1958 the members of a hertfordshire Coven added the solstices and equinoxes to their original calendar, as they desired more frequent celebrations.

Their High Priest, was away visiting the Isle of Man at the time, but he did not object when he returned, since they were now more in line with druidism and a prominent group of Bards, druids and Ovate's.

“No known pre-Christian people celebrated all the eight festivals of the calendar adopted by Wicca. Around the four genuine Gaelic quarter days are now ranged the Midwinter and September feasts of the Anglo-Saxons, the Midsummer celebrations so prominent in folklore and (for symmetry) the vernal equinox, which does not seem to have been commemorated by any ancient northern Europeans.”1)

Sources:

1) Hutton, Ronald. The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles. Oxford, Blackwell, 337-341. ISBN 0-631-18946-7.