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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For the love of leaf snow

For perfect leaf snow, you need to be in a wood on a bright autumnal day with little wind. It’s magical to stand under the trees as the leaves fall softly around you, very much like large snowflakes. Different leaves interact with the air in different ways, so if you’re in mixed woodland you can see the differences in how leaves fall. It’s enchanting; a colourful, magical leaf snow that patters softly to the ground.

Like so many encounters with nature – seasonal and otherwise, much depends on being in the right place at the right time. You’ve got to have trees, and deciduous trees at that. You’ve got to be in amongst them – it doesn’t work to try and watch this from a distance. It may be pretty if you can see it, but it won’t be the same as being in the leaf snow.

If the conditions are too wet or windy, it won’t happen. In heavy rain and strong winds, the leaves come down fast and hard and you probably won’t be standing around to appreciate them. Leaf snow is what you get when the leaves come loose at exactly the moment the tree intends. Assuming of course that trees have intentions – and I think they do, because I’m an animist.

Most things don’t happen when they’re intended to. Be that the falling of leaves, or any aspect of your own life you may care to consider. We bring our will and intent, our hopes, needs and desires. Maybe the conditions around us are suitable for what we wanted. Maybe they aren’t, and other forces and intentions rip our leaves away early. But just every now and then, a whole array of different forces and energies can align to create something beautiful. There’s a definite magic to that. Enjoy the leaf snow if it comes into your life. Remind yourself that when everything aligns just right, magical things do happen.

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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.


  • Meredith Everwhite
    Meredith Everwhite Thursday, 08 November 2018

    So true, and so relevant for this time! Much of what you said echoes the Samhain/New Moon messages I received from Water & shared in my most recent post. You so beautifully describe "leaf snow" and it's magic. It's one of the best parts of Autumn, and something that makes me disdain leaf-blowers all the I also took the time to vent about recently lol! Trees do indeed have intentions, and more...I often prefer their company and voices to those of people. Thank you so much!

  • Deborah Quartz
    Deborah Quartz Friday, 30 November 2018

    Leaf snow is the one event that actually happens here in Florida, we have some lovely Oak and Sycamore trees and in the fall the sycamore loses her leaves entirely. Just this week we had some strong winds blowing through and every house in the neighborhood had leaves drifting and falling everywhere, it was magical indeed. The Sycamore in my backyard has lost half her leaves so far and the Oak in the front drops quite a few making it easier to see where the mistletoe is.

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