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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Planting the seeds

I’ve planted seeds in ritual, at Imbolc before now. Of course if you wanted bulbs, those had to be in ground weeks, if not months ago. There are many things too delicate to put in the soil at this time of year – leafy salad plants and other exotica from warmer climes won’t tolerate the tail end of winter on the UK. There are still heavy frosts, and many plants can’t bear them. Some things won’t be planted until much later in the spring.

In life, as in agriculture when you plant may well depend a lot on what you are planting and when you hope to harvest it. Many projects take years to come to fruition. As an author I find I’m usually seeing the fruits of things I wrote months ago... this February, it’ll be seeds from years back that finally send up shoots. The third volume of Hopeless Maine (that’s the book cover adorning this post) comes out as a webcomic at while a book I wrote years ago – Fast food at the centre of the world, finally comes to life as an audio series at Often we plant things with no idea of whether they will grow, much less when.

Choosing what seeds to plant in our own life, what to invest in with an eye to future harvests, is an ongoing issue. The choices we make today will inform the options we have tomorrow, and might decide our entire fate a year or two hence. For me, the most important seeds are always those of good relationship. That means relationships with people, and also with the planet. If those seeds are well chosen, well planted in a timely way and carefully tended, I find the rest of my life takes care of itself, pretty much.


In life, we often don’t know what we’re planting. The choices we make are seldom based on a perfect understanding of how things will play out. If you don’t know whether it’s an onion, a salad green or a lemon tree you’re holding the seed for, you don’t know where to plant it or how to look after it. You guess and do what you can and hope you can patch up the mistakes as you go along. Perhaps the wisest thing we can do when planting seeds in our daily lives, is remember that there’s often no knowing what they might come out as.

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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.


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