The Great Wheel by author Jo Graham takes the reader on an academic look at ancient Etruscan concept known as the saeculum, or great year. This is not what your average person would think of as a ‘year’ (365 days or 12 months), but rather encompasses an average lifetime. The book begins with an anecdote about a town that was formed and ends when the last living person who was there passes away. In other words, there is no longer a living person who can give a first-hand account of the event. This is when they would move into the second year of the saeculum.

Pagan are used to the concept of living by the "Wheel of the Year" that encompasses the eight sabbats and the seasons. Author Jo Graham, dives into how to embrace the Wheel of the Year and the Wheel of Life into the lifespan to enjoy a full, peaceful life for the individual as well as future generations.

She covers how these pass through the eight phases in a person’s life span, influencing past events and what to expect for the future. While the book is not a light read, it is well worth the journey.

One of the concepts that is explored is on the octaves. The author explains how each sabbat (imbolc,Spring equinox, Beltane, etc) corresponds with a year. For example those born in 1940 are in the Imbolc Octave, 1950 are in the Spring Equinox, 1960 are in the Beltane, etc.

The next several chapters cover these octaves in more depth, also providing a person’s story with questions for the reader to challenge themselves with. The book goes further and reviews the future years and what we can expect along with some rituals and exercises.

Overall this is a fascinating read on the cycles of our history and how to manage the present and future to come.

~review by Amber Barnes

Author: Jo Graham
Llewellyn Publications, 2020
pp. 240, $17.99