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.

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Leni Hester

Leni Hester

Leni Hester is a Witch and writer from Denver, Colorado. Her work appears in the Immanion anthologies "Pop Culture Grimoire," "Women's Voices in Magick" and "Manifesting Prosperity". She is a frequent contributor to Witches and Pagans and Sagewoman Magazines.
Full in Scorpio: Moon of Flowering Branches

 

As the Sun transits from Aries into Taurus, we shift from I am into I have. The Spring is unfolding, and we are moving from an inquiry into who we are, into our identity, to an inquiry about what we have, what we need, our resources. Aries' Fire, kicking off the zodiacal year with its urgency, its confidence and its drive to move forward, has ignited us, given energy to our goals, our desires, and our passions. Now that initiating Fire has to transform into something more sustaining and sustainable, or its initial force will just burn itself out into nothing,

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Signs of Spring

The week of the Spring Equinox, we got snow, lots of it: almost 2 feet feel in 12 hours, with a biting wind turning it into a full blown spring blizzard. Schools and offices were closed for 2 days, the roads were an icy mess, and it was really cold. It was hard, then, to start spring-cleaning or open the windows to invite in a freshening breeze. While snow poured into my flowerbeds, it didn’t feel appropriate to charge seeds, bless tools or prepare an offering to be left in swirl of icy snowflakes. Celebrating Ostara, regardless of what the calendar said, was the last thing on my mind.

Then, a few mornings later, I went outside, and things were...different. Yes it was cold, and the snow lingered on the lawn and had hardened into frozen slush in the street. But the cold air was not as sharp as I expected. In fact, there was a softness to it despite the chill. I could smell something too—something like soil or pollen, something almost floral. And unlike the stony silence of deep winter, with only the wind and traffic sounds in the air, I heard birds, I could hear several different trills and twees, and I noticed a froth of activity in my neighbors' cedar tree, as it was literally shaking with dozens of tiny gray wrens hopping in and out of its branches.

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New Moon in Pisces: the Waters of Return

 

Today is the New Moon in Pisces, the final sign of the zodiac, where we are dissolved, finally, in deep, starry waters. We are closing out the zodiacal year in the sign of the deep ocean, the sign of imagination, dreams, fantasies, secrets, a lacuna of magick and myth and desire as personal as our blood type. With the Sun, Moon, and Pisces' ruling planet Neptune all swimming in Pisces' mystic ocean, it is easy to get pulled under, into the tide of our emotions, our dreams, our longings. We float into the swells, buoyed up or engulfed by waves. It's easy to feel lost, without a compass or map.

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First

The first of March is always a day of evaluating how close we are to Spring. The adage about lions and lambs comes into play, but because February has been so warm in my part of the world (record setting!), March First celebrates a number of untimely firsts.

I've already seen the first flower. It's a tiny little purple thing, smaller than a pea, that only grows on the dark, damp Eastern side of the house. This flower, which I have not been able to identify, is always the first flower on my land, often the first flower of any kind that I see in late Winter. Sometimes I find it while there is still snow on front lawn. Sometimes, I find it on a surprisingly warm and bright Winter day, like I did last week, when I'm out working in the yard. In either case, I usually don't find it til later on, this is the earliest I have seen this flower blossom.

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Ash Moon: the Season of Mud

We had a bit of a warm snap last week, and all the snow on the lawn melted. Then the frozen ground began to thaw. It was certainly a lovely break, going out in just shirtsleeves, in the middle of Winter. It went on long enough that things have started to bloom—some dandelions on sunny hillsides, a tiny little purple weed in a sheltered bed. And despite knowing that winter was most emphatically NOT done, and that snow was around the corner (it is in fact fall right now as I write this), I took several deep breaths and sat in the sunlight, and smelled new scents in the air.

I could smell pollen and rain, mostly blown in by a strong wind from the southwest. I could also smell the bitter-til-its-sweet scent of hard dirt yielding to water. It was as if the ground was heaving a sigh of relief as it stretched and relaxed. The scent of mud was all around me on my hike, as I squelched down the muddy path to a creek swollen fat and high with melted snow.

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Shades of Winter: the Magick of Imbolc

I was driving to an Imbolc circle this weekend, through frozen drizzle. Imbolc, the Celtic fire festival, falls halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. As such, the day was perfect for celebrating it. It was very cold, and there was a stiff, icy wind out of the northeast, as the leading edge of a huge snow storm was just blowing in. The force of Winter, its power, was on full display in the roiling ocean of clouds above my head, socking us in a dense, icy fog. The mountains are obscured, the horizon is lost, and color has faded from everything. The landscape is white, the bare trees are jet black, the clouds above every shade of gray—granite, ink, mist, oyster, pewter, pearl. This is deep Winter, Winter at its starkest.

And yet—there would be a break in the wind, and the air felt soft. There was a break in the clouds and a tiny shred of pale blue sky peaked out, Springlike and bright. The gap would close, and the wind would start up again, and that brief glimpse into the coming Spring would disappear.

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Birch Moon Meditation : for the January Full Moon

This is the guided meditation I always do on the first full moon of the year:

Close your eyes, sink into your body, breathe.

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