Alternative Wheel: Other seasonal cycle stories

When this column started, it was all about exploring different ways of thinking about the wheel of the year, reflecting on aspects of the natural world to provide Pagans alternatives to the usual solar stories. It's still very much an alternative wheel, but there's a developing emphasis on what we can celebrate as the seasons turn. Faced with environmental crisis, and an uncertain future, celebration is a powerful soul restoring antidote that will help us all keep going, stay hopeful and dream up better ways of being.

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A harvest of hats

I’m late with this post. I normally aim to blog in the first two days of the month, and in truth this time I nearly forgot. The 1st brought me a handfasting, the 2nd a political launch and as I swapped hastily between celebrant and press officer hats, the Druid blogger hat didn’t get a look in. I wear a lot of hats, so this kind of thing happens now and then.

When you have one identity defined by one thing you are doing, it’s much easier to steer the course of your life and pace yourself in line with the year. The more hats you have, the harder it is to keep an overview. I frequently end up running from one kind of job to another, so busy trying to be in the right headspace for the task in hand that I don’t pay as much attention as I might to the bigger picture. So here I am wondering how it got to be September already, and nearly missing a post.

At the moment there is no coherence to my life if considered from a wheel of the year perspective. I’m starting several new projects – and we all know that’s supposed to be a spring activity. One project has come to fruition, of the many spinning like balls in the air above my head. The novel I co-wrote with Professor Elemental – Letters between Gentlemen – has just released. However, while the arrival into the world of a new book can seem like a tangible fruiting, that’s just the start of the work of getting it out there and in front of people.

Mind you, the same can be said of fruit. It occurs to me that the idea of harvest as some sort of end-point is a very male perspective. In the kitchen, the work is just beginning, and will carry on through the winter as those harvested resources are rationed and worked with. The fruit harvest for me has meant a lot of time in recent weeks pulling berries off stalks to make wine, cutting apples to make chutney, and also the odd pie.


I do have a kitchen hat, of sorts. I favour a headscarf for keeping my long hair out of culinary activities, giving me a sort of pirate galley look, I like to think. Some of that work will bear its own fruit in a few weeks, when the pickles have matured and can be opened. Others are months, years away. Wine is a slow business, and we haven’t even got to the time for the sloe harvesting yet. I’ll need a nice, woolly hat for that one.

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Nimue Brown is the author of Druidry and Meditation, Druidry and the Ancestors. Pagan Dreaming, When a Pagan Prays and Spirituality without Structure. She also writes the graphic novel series Hopeless Maine, and other speculative fiction. OBOD trained, but a tad feral, she is particularly interested in Bardic Druidry and green living.


  • Lynda Ryder
    Lynda Ryder Tuesday, 16 September 2014

    You've got me thinking now about how many hats I find myself wearing during a typical day/week/month... And you're so right about the male perspective of harvest being an 'end point'. You only have to look at the mess in a kitchen when your typical man is doing the cooking. Or plastering a wall... :)

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