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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Seasons of Dreams

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

For some, winter is the time of dreaming. The long dark night, the glow of the fire, and much of nature seeming to be inactive or hibernating, can be suggestive of human sleep and resting. Winter can be the time of storytellers. It depends a lot on your way of life though, as it can also be a time of hunger, cold, struggle and death.

For others, spring is suggestive of dreams because it is the time of new beginnings. Everything is growing afresh, new life is coming into the world and this suggests possibilities. We can throw away the old, make something new and dream big.

The long, hot days of summer, with the invitation to siesta, and the sweaty impossibility of doing much can make for dreaming time. Again, much depends on your climate and way of life. British summers are often chilly and damp, and some periods of summer are very work intensive for those working the land – hay and grain harvests make it a busy period. If you’re lucky, the drowsy heat of the day and the warm mysterious night time scope for playing can create opportunities to dream, and daydream.

Autumn brings the harvest, and the invitation to reflect on what’s gone before and look ahead. The person with a bountiful harvest may dream of future success and a comfortable winter, although the person whose harvest was poor is already facing winter as a nightmare. For some of us, the mists, colours and dying away of autumn is an imaginative time, suggestive of stories. Halloween is the traditional time for fortune telling. Looking towards the future is always in part an act of dreaming about what the future might hold.

Of course dreaming itself is not a calendar event, but has the potential to be with us every single night. Assorted folk traditions identify dreaming at key nights as being significant, for divination purposes (usually marriage or death), but that’s about the only obvious relationship between dreams and the wheel of the year. And yet we’re dreaming all the time – randomly at night, deliberately when awake. We’re dreaming up our own futures, crafting hopes and intentions. The very nature of the wheel of the year invites us to compare where we are now with where we were in previous years, and to look forward to the season before us. Every day is a good day for dreaming.


And yes, I have a new book out, and that’s the cover. A warm summer daydream of a cover, because that was by far the easiest to depict!

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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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