Season and Spirit: Magickal Adventures Around the Wheel of the Year
The Wheel of the Year is the engine that drives NeoPagan practice. Explore thw magick of the season beyond the Eight Great Sabbats.
Seasons of the Spirit
Our planet is powered by the Sun, and the constant ebb and flow of light and darkness is the engine for the dynamic forces that shape our world and all life on it. When we begin to awaken to Earth-centered spirituality, we are often called to come into a more intimate relationship with the natural world. The day to day and season to season changes our planet goes through that are visible in the composition of the earth's physical body, in the weather, in the migrations of animals, in the blooming and fruiting of plants—all of these phenomena are the signs by which the Universe reveals itself to us. This is the material reality that is the basis of all we do, all we dream of and aspire to. We can in no way “liberate” ourselves from these cycles and rhythms and events, and indeed this is where the oldest human societies looked to find answers to their deepest questions. Religious celebrations the world over reflect these natural cycles, as they reflect times of seeding, growing, harvesting and decay.
At our deepest core, we can feel these shifts in the world around us. They reside in a million moments of grace and beauty, only some of which we can ever perceive with our senses. But they are all round us. All magickal traditions encourage developing the skills to perceive these cycles and forces, and to understand their meanings. This is where so many wisdom traditions are grounded. For millenia, our ancestors' awareness of these forces and cycles was not an abstract process. Their very survival depended on it!
In our own time, the re-emergence of a Gaian mindset (where the Earth itself is recognized as a living being, and the physical embodiment of the Divine) speaks to a deep understanding that even on a purely spiritual level, we are intimately connected to the land and to the processes that shape it. We feel our own lack of wildness, a disconnection with the natural world and we long to reconnect. Our very spirits respond to the natural phenomena around us. We become agitated and exhilarated before electrical storms, or long for the comfort and repose of the Darkening Year. We feel new sparks of energy within ourselves as the land wakes up from its fallow time, and we burn in fevers of desire and attraction as well. All of these cycles spiral through our lives, as well as ebb and flow thru the year. The Eight Sabbats of the Wiccan Wheel of the Year embody beautifully this principle in practice. But opening up our spirit to the lessons and lore of any season will yield up incredible gifts no matter what our formal practice is.
Seasonal spirituality is, in its purest form, a type of present moment awareness, a way of grounding ourselves very directly into the source of all life, into our own deep knowing, into a place of connection and balance. Go outside and really be present. Feel your feet on the ground, drop your awareness to contact what's below you, breathe into that connection. How does the air feel on your skin? What can you see around you? How does the air smell and taste? What do you hear? Use all your senses to gather information for this one moment.
Breathe into all of this awareness, and identify your place in time by the clues you see. For example, just looking out my window, I can see it's very dark, but there's a glow to the west meaning the sun has not been down long. I can hear the wind blowing harshly through bare branches, but there is no snow on the ground. Everything is very dark outside, despite a very new crescent moon. From all these clues I know it's early evening, on a very late autumn evening, just past the New Moon. From the ring around the moon and the clouds moving in from the west, I know that snow is on its way. All of these details bring me into deeper intimacy with the land I live on, and serve to remind me that I am in the waning part of the Year, that is appropriate to slow down and reflect..
By grounding ourselves into the body of Earth, and opening ourselves to the knowledge and gnosis that connection brings, we come closer to understanding the mysteries of our world, not least of which is the mystery of ourselves. The charge of the Oracle at Delphi was “Know thyself”--it is the key that unlocks our power and our humility as conscious souls and practitioners of magick. In this blog we will explore the connections between the seasons and cycles of our living planet, and the seasons and cycles of our own natures. Becoming aware and intimate with these cycles opens us to a deeper knowledge of and communication with the Divine, especially with the Divine spark that burns in our own souls. Pulling from the collected seasonal wisdom of a number of wisdom traditions, we look to the natural world to be our ultimate teacher, and to awaken our own deep wisdom. This is the adventure of a life time! And it begins just by breathing in, and looking around.
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