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.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form

The Winter of Our Discontent

A long December, and there’s reason to believe

Maybe this year will be better than the last

-Counting Crows

                I always take what happens on New Year’s as an omen of the year to come. This New Year I found myself being cared for by people I loved and trusted, I felt connected to family and tribe, I looked out on a cold snowy morning in a warm safe bed that wasn’t mine and knew, somehow, that even in my own depleted and often struggling state, I was being held, and looked after, and supported, in more ways than I could count.

                This feeling stands against logic, because I have don’t think I have lived through so miserable a year as the one that just ended, and there are so many people in my life that had it even worse.  And when we turn out attention from our personal issues and calamities we discover very few ways to escape. The current political regime brings plenty of discontent and outrage and disappointment for almost everyone, the weather this Winter has been brutal, in both its fierceness in one section of the country and its absence in others. In saying goodbye to 2017, we can release and let go and vent and make worst-of lists, we can look beyond the events and noise of the past 12 months, to find the thread that binds all the many stories and takes us, renewed, into the new year.  Once we find that thread, we can link the distilled wisdom and experience of the dying year, and move into the open space of the New Year clear but not empty.

                But it so often seems that, despite our best efforts, we cannot always move past the dramas and traumas, the dysfunctional relationships and bad habits and distractions, which keep us from full presence and expression. We come to our work depleted and scared, we come to our altars and temples carrying the weight of everything that burdens us and dims our shine, we come to our practice every day whether we’re feeling broken or whole, neglectful or attentive. It’s in the showing up for practice, whatever practice that is, where we sink roots, where we gain stability and expand and grow. This is the only way to do it, but how painful it is, at times, being present with so much despair and anger, so much fear and hostility. The stress of it has not brought out the best in me, by any means. But it has brought me back, again and again, to an increased awareness in my own priorities and values.

                In affirming Pagan consciousness and Pagan values I once considered it very important for Neopaganism to have a higher profile, a voice in forming our shared culture at a time when a more holistic, life-centered approach is sorely needed. While I still believe this is true, I also see a moment when those values have never been more unfashionable.  Beyond tolerance for difference or acceptance of scientific fact, my Values have always centered compassion, cooperation, peace, and generosity. Honesty, fairness and forthrightness are expected, and a reputation for deceit or double dealing is not easily repaired.

I bring these up now because for the past several years, the NeoPagan community at large has been compelled to deal with our own Shadow. We’ve had to confront the ways we have given cover to sexual predators, even extolling them as leaders and teachers, we’ve seen the rise of Pagan organizations that stand for social justice and others that give space to white supremacy. These are trying times, when more is asked of us than ever, right when so many feel we have nothing left to give.

As difficult as it is, I struggle every day to keep those values in mind, as I go to work, interact with my kids, talk with my neighbors and coven mates, and as I see those ideals that I was raised with and that I choose to live by, get dragged through the dirt.  I try and remind myself that those ethics are good and right, even if they currently have fallen out of favor or regular use. Things like that are cyclical, and once the fever of paranoia and hostility is broken, there will be a need for those of us that never broke faith, who did not abandon what was right in order to accommodate what was expedient.


In the clear new space of the brand new year, may we all have the blessings of clarity and strength of vision, and may we all foster and affirm those blessings for others.

Last modified on
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.


Additional information