Nature flows in cycles. Our Celtic and Nordic ancestors understood this. For the ancient Celts and Scandinavians seasonal changes were important both in agriculture and for survival. Not to mention spiritually. For them the turning of the seasons was a rythm they knew blood, skin and bone. A root to their lives that we are loosing today.
We are all human beings living on this planet. And even though it might not feel like it, we are all part of nature. Our lives reflect the seasons. We are influenced by them more than we realise. And by aligning our lives spiritually with nature’s journey, as our ancestors did, we give ourselves permission to ground in a natural rythm. No longer fighting against the tides of life but flowing with them.
I have been practicing seasonal spirituality for 23 years over half of my life time. Celebrating the seasons of the Wheel of the Year. And I know first hand the benefits, the joy and the sense of purpose that comes from having a spritual connection with nature.
But what exactly is the Wheel of the Year?
The Wheel of the year is an ancient calender of the eight festivals that mark seasonal turning points. Today we follow a concept of linear time. However in the past, when we lived closely with nature, depending on her for survival, time was considered a cyclical journey.
In modern times the Wheel of the Year is celebrated by Pagans, Witches and Druids around the world. But you don’t have to be any of these to want to connect with nature and her seasons, to understand her journey by connecting your life and spirituality with the Wheel of the Year.
The festivals on the wheel follow the journey of the year’s solar events (solstices and equinoxes) and the midpoints between them. Each festival is a pause between the cycles of growth. A moment where we can take a break to reconnect with ourselves and re:root during the wheel’s journey.
Each festival historically has related symbology, myths, traditions and meanings. It is of course impossible for us today to celebrate these festivals exactly the same way as in the time of ancestors. And why would we want to. Life is very different in this age of information. However, as modern people can interpret to not only create our own spiritual celebration of the Wheel of the Year, but also align our personal growth to the energy of the seasons.
So what are all the festivals in the Wheel? Let me give you a breakdown as I understand them:
October 31st – Celtic Fire Festival
Samhain represents the final harvest before the long winter. In ancient times this was the time of slaughtering the animals for the winter. It is in itself a celebration of death. Not in a macabre way, but honouring and accepting that all life must die so that life can be created once more. It’s a time to honor our ancestors and embrace the darker half of the year. This also marks the beginning of the New Year where within nature dies to be reborn again.
December 21st – Winter Solstice
Yule marks the winter solstice, the longest night and the shortest day of the year. It was a time of celebration of surviving the cold dark times, storytelling through the darkest night, in the viking culture this was a time of making boasts and oaths. From now on, the days become longer and we celebrate the rebirth of the sun back to the earth.
Febuary 2 – Celtic Fire Festival
Imbolc is a festival of fire and light, and in many traditions celebrates the Celtic hearth goddess, Brigid. It marks the time where the shoots are just starting to appear through the ground, the buds are just beginning to open. This is a festival of purification, a festival of light, inspiration, the fertility of the land and new beginnings Imbolc is also called candlemas and was the time where the old candles used in winter were melted down and new candles were made.
March 21st – Spring Equinox
Ostara is the celebration of the spring equinox, a point of balance between the sun and the moon. Day and night is equal. The world around us is full of new life, the animals are birthing their young and awakening from their winter sleep. The crops are being planted. Light is overtaking darkness. It is here that we move from the dark half of the year to the light.
May 1st – Celtic Fire Festival
Beltane is a spring celebration that honours the fertility of the earth and man. A time of lust, love, passion, fire, and abundance. In Britain may queens are crown and the maypole danced this is a time of fun, flirtation, laughter and dance. At the Beltane fires the cattle were cleanse by walking through the fire. At Beltane we connect to the throbbing beat of the earth.
June 21st – Summer Solstice
Litha is the time of the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year and the shortest night. It’s a celebration of light’s triumph over darkness and that of the bountiful beauty that light brings into our lives. It is the height of the sun’s power from here on the days become shorter.
August 1 – Celtic Fire
Lammas is the first harvest festival, when plants drop their seeds to ensure future crops.In the celtic culture this is a celebration in honour of the Celtic god, Lugh. For others it is the time of celebrating the abundance of our harvest.
September 21st – Autumn Equinox
Mabon is a time of thanksgiving that celebrates the second harvest, the berry harvest and the autumn equinox. Once again this is a time of balance, the days and nights are once again equal, with the night continuing to grow longer. It is a time of final preparation for the winter where we gather exactly the sweet things we need to sustains us in the dark.
And the wheel turns once more to Samhain the cycle of life every flowing around us….
And this is just scratching the surface. For me connecting with nature, flowing with the Wheel of the Year and growing has given me a steady root, the skills to be able to navigate the roller coaster of my life and a deep sense of purpose in this earth walk.
If you would like to join me on this journey and find your spiritual connection with nature then check out my Walking the Wheel of the Year Online Course. (See below)
It truly is the key to finding yourself.