Walking through life in rhythm with nature
I have always loved nature. From my childhood I can clearly remember the five big trees at the green end of our playground. Especially my tree. It had roots that made a spiral staircase, a deep crevice that in my mind was a fireplace and a huge knot that I could sit upon whilst tending my fireplace. I remember how I loved to stand there on a windy day. Lifting my arms, facing into the wind and feeling as though I was flying. And my favourite pastime of all looking up through the sunlight dancing through the leaves. It was a place of peace and joy, right in the middle of a housing estate in a built up area on the border of North Wales.
But it wasn’t until I left home and moved to a commuter town one hour from London I realised how much being able to be close to nature was, and is something I truly need to be happy. In that concrete jungle I felt, so strongly, how the sight of a beautiful flower in May or a squirrel playing in the trees lifted my spirits. I craved walking on the grass and had to make do with a square of nature surrounding the local rugby pitch to sate my needs for green spaces.
And it was in that concrete jungle that I began to realise I am a part of nature and nature is a part of me.
It was there, amidst the shops the dust, the cars and pollution that my spiritual path of seasonal spirituality really began.
But what is seasonal spirituality I hear you ask?
Seasonal spirituality is basically living in harmony with nature’s cycle and honouring that cycle through celebration and spiritual connection. Now I know for some that might conjure images of a woman with dreadlocks and birkenstocks living off mung beans*, yet for me nothing could be further from the truth.
*Not you understand I have any issues with dreadlocks and birkenstocks, they are just not me. I will admit to being opposed to the mung beans. I think they taste like pooh.
For me connecting my life’s path to nature’s cycle happened when I was commuting to London trying to launch my career in theatre and film.
It was at this time that I found Paganism. And it just felt right.
I began to understand that no matter your belief, the cycle of nature is something we are all connected to.
So what is paganism?
For those that don’t know what Paganism is I will explain. If you do know then you can just glaze over on this part and jump straight ahead. Paganism is primarily a polytheistic or pantheistic spiritual practice based on nature worship and respect for Mother Earth. There are many different types of Pagans, with diverse beliefs. Way too many to tell you about here. If you want more info I would recommend looking at The Pagan Federation’s Website here. The one common belief is that the many Pagans see the Earth itself as sacred
Some Pagans celebrate the cycle of the natural year seen by many as a model of spiritual growth and renewal. The Wheel of the Year as it is commonly known is a sequence marked by festivals celebrated by many ancestral cultures across the world.
The many divinities of Pagan religion often include ancestral deities. Many Pagans worship deities that are a recognition of the diversity of Nature. However there is no one size fits all. Pagans across the world recognise different Goddesses and Gods from all pantheons. Such as roman, greek, celtic and nordic to name but a few. Some worship gods from a combination of pantheons. Whereas others do not worship gods but instead honour nature itself.
One of the biggest draws of the pagan path for me was the recognising of male and female, the duality within creation. With its respect for plurality, the refusal to judge other ways of life as wrong simply because they are different from one’s own, with its veneration of a natural (and supernatural) world, Paganism called to me. And I began to walk that spiritual path.
I spent many years devoting my life to investigating different Pagan spiritual pathways and even lived for 3 years in a stone circle practising with Druids, Shamans, Witches and the like to find a Pagan path that called to me. However, no specific path did. There was no right or wrong in nature and there was no right or wrong way to follow a spiritual path.
What I truly learnt during that time is that a Pagan, or simply a person, creating their own spiritual path, choosing what works for them is the strongest spiritual practice we can have. And when we connect that path to honour the changing of the seasons. The rhythm of the world around us. It feels like coming home.
To this day I am still Pagan and will be until the day I die. However being connected to nature is not something that is synonymous to one branch of spirituality. Whether or not you follow a particular religion or none at all. Nature affects us. If we resist the energy of the turning of the seasons we live lives frustrated and cumbersome. When we work with nature’s cycles are lives and mental health are in flow.
That is where seasonal spirituality comes in.
Now honestly I am not sure if the phrase seasonal spirituality is something that I made up or heard from a US publisher. But for me it seemed the right name to give a spiritual path that was built on the premise that you create the path for you. You create your connection and understanding of nature’s rhythm, how it affects you and learn to recognize your pattern of growth. The ebb and flow of your life’s path.
Once I realised this I wanted to share it with others. So I began to teach Walking the Wheel of the Year. Created as a seasonal spiritual path marking the ancestral festivals of the Wheel of the Year. Noticing honoring and celebrating solar and lunar events, the seasonal changes that affect us whether we are conscious of them or not.
I wanted to make seasonal spirituality available to anyone. In any walk of life. Whether you prefer mung beans or burgers.
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For me this idea of seasonal spirituality recognises the dualism in creation. Yet there is no dogma or specific religious pantheon that has to be followed. I simply see that it is easy to ignore our connection to nature in this modern technological age.And when we do not understand or seek our connection to nature we are unbalanced. In the 1980s the Japanese began to embrace the ecotherapy of forest bathing. Later in the 1990s, researchers began studying the physiological benefits of forest bathing, providing the science to support what we innately know: time spent immersed in nature is good for us. Our ancestors certainly had a better understanding of it that we do simply because of their relationship with the land. Seasonal spirituality attempts to create a modern understanding of that connection inspired by our ancestors beliefs, personal observation and reflection.
Seasonal spirituality focuses on living a life in harmony with nature’s rhythm. It allows us to understand the flow of energy in life by using the seasons cycle as a mirror for our own life’s growth. It recognises that our brain function changes with each season and through that understanding we learn to be realistic in our expectations of ourselves.
My favourite lesson of my own life’s path is this
Nature is not cruel. Nature is not kind. Nature is not wrong. Nature is not right. Nature just is. You are part of nature.The same is true of you
Whether through ceremony, meditation, gardening or just walking in the park. Seasonal spirituality is about finding your connection to nature. Creating your own connection. Understanding her cycle and how that connects to you. Finding your own path. Finding your flow in the rhythm of nature.
And the benefits of this path for myself and those I have worked with are amazing. Seasonal spirituality is grounding. It keeps your feet on the ground and energises your life. It brings you into a state of living consciously and being self aware. And can be practised wherever you are in the world. In the countryside or in the city. In a penthouse or a student flat. I know for myself the more I connect with nature the more balanced I become. As I watch the seasons turn I understand myself and humankind on a deeper level with each wheel (year).
I enjoy my life more, celebrate my journey and for me that is what life is all about.
Seasonal spirituality, nature’s cycle, is the root that nourishes me, inspires me andsupports me to grow.
What more could I ask?
Now I want to hear from you. How does nature affect your life? And when do you feel most connected to nature?
Let me know in the comments below.
If you would like to find out more about Seasonal Spirituality and meet others around the world walking a path with nature’s rhythm come and join Re:Root’s Walking the Wheel of the Year Facebook Group
Have a beautiful day and wherever you are make sure you are enjoying your journey