Season and Spirit: Magickal Adventures Around the Wheel of the Year

The Wheel of the Year is the engine that drives NeoPagan practice. Explore thw magick of the season beyond the Eight Great Sabbats.

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Leni Hester

Leni Hester

Leni Hester is a Witch and writer from Denver, Colorado. Her work appears in the Immanion anthologies "Pop Culture Grimoire," "Women's Voices in Magick" and "Manifesting Prosperity". She is a frequent contributor to Witches and Pagans and Sagewoman Magazines.

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Oak Moon, Holly Moon

At the Summer Solstice it is said that the Oak King and Holly King do battle, and the God of the Waxing Year must give way to the King of the Waning Year. This is a Hinge, a moment of transition that drives the Wheel of the Year. At the Solstice, the Sun is at its peak, the fruitful earth is coming into its most delicious bounty. After this, we cross a tipping point, as the days grow shorter, and we move forward towards the harvest festivals.

For me it feels more intuitive that this transition comes as the solar transit of Cancer turns into Leo. The lunar month attending Cancer is the Oak Moon, hearkening to the Oak King of the growing, fertile, waxing season of the Year. The Oak King evokes the solar qualities of the divine masculine: strength, forthrightness, generosity; he holds the energy of divine kingship and warrior-ship. A sacred animal often associated with this lunation is the Horse, embodying the power and dignity of the Solar God. An animal fit best for open, sunlit plains, the horse has been associated with solar gods since the Greeks wrote of Phoebus driving a chariot of fiery stallions across the sky each day.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
New Moon in Cancer

This month's New Moon, occurring over July 15-16, finds the Sun, Moon, Mercury, and Mars all in the sign of Cancer. These aspects, along with some tense squares, makes this New Moon very spiritually active.

Cancer is a sign of paradox. As a Cardinal sign, it arrives with the Summer Solstice, when the Sun is at its most powerful, but is a water sign ruled by the Moon. This charged polarity informs the magick of the Solstice: the celebration and revelry of the moment, the commitment of Goddess and God to each other and to the nurturance of the living world, and the hint of solemnity as we approach the tipping point of the waxing Year. Cancer's power is that of water: to sustain and nurture, to heal, to feed, to surrender to grief or dissolve in bliss, to weep tears of sorrow and joy, to explore our own emotional depths and to know ourselves, or to drown in our woundedness, and to find in the Moon's reflection, the magick in our soul.

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  • Robyn Ryan
    Robyn Ryan says #
    15 July natal day. Spent on the water,like all days are.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Fuel

Some years ask questions. And some years answer them.

  • Zora Neale Hurston

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Shai
    Shai says #
    I'm not sure where to go to ask my question. So here it goes. My Dad is dying of fourth stage bone cancer from Agent Orange. He's
  • Leni Hester
    Leni Hester says #
    Shai, I apologize for not being in touch sooner, I have been traveling and not checking in on this site. Let me meditate on this q

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Tonight is May Eve, also known as Walpurgisnacht, the night before the Wiccan sabbat called Beltane. Beltane comes in midst of Spring, when nature;s generative powers are evident. In contemporary Paganism, Beltane has become, among other things, a celebration of pleasure, sexuality and sensuality. The joy of being physical, of having bodies and experiencing the wide range of emotions and desires, our capacity for play and creativity, and our ability to heal when we come together in community—all of these are the sacred gifts of Beltane.

In this time of celebration and joy, when love and passion are on our minds, can we look beyond the routine of every day and ask ourselves: Do we live with passion? When do we feel that? What deeply held value, what soul's longing, can we commit to today?

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The Sun moves into Aries, the first sign of the Zodiac, on the Spring Equinox. All the qualities of Aries—action, initiation, new beginnings and emergence—are present as the Spring begins, and we can drink in those qualities every day. Aries brings us to our core selves, to our identity, to a pure expression of who we are. Emerging into Springtime, we are called upon to leave the Winter behind, and often that means letting go of the comforts, distractions and defenses that shored us up over the long dark night. In Spring, we long to throw open the windows and clear stuff out, and that goes for both our interior and exterior spaces. Aries helps bring its fiery clarity to this task.

Aries makes us question: Who am I, as a magician/witch/priestess? What are my deepest values? What are my skills and talents? How can I best express them, and deploy them to their highest, best use? What is my Work? What do I feel passionate about? Where do I expend my day's energy, and is this in line with my values? This is the perfect time to ask these questions.

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Friday March 20 marked several astrological events, all of which gave power to this year's Spring Equinox. Not only was it the Equinox, when day and night are balanced, marking the shift into a new season and an acceleration towards the light in this waxing year, it was also a SuperMoon and a Solar eclipse. While the eclipse was not visible in most of the Americas, the timing and power of these events were felt, subtly and not so subtly, throughout the world.

Although many Pagans mark the “new year” on Samhain or Yule, for many ancient cultures the New Year started in Spring. For while the work of the new year may be seeded or dreamed of in the dark of Winter, it is now that this new life becomes evident. Just as the baby rabbits born weeks ago are starting to come out and explore, just as the new buds that have been plumping up for weeks are starting to pop, maybe we are aware of something stirring inside ourselves.

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The past few weeks have been wintery indeed. Yes it is March, but there is still plenty of snow in my yard, and there's more snow in the forecast. It was not until yesterday that a sudden warm snap began to hint at the Spring that is due to arrive any time now. So while many of my friends have been chattering at me about tree buds, or cherry blossoms, or legions of daffodils suddenly popping up in a sunny patch of their yards, it all sounds like a fable to me, and I didn't quite believe any of it.

A Rocky Mountain Spring takes its own sweet damn time anyway, and March and April are our snowiest months traditionally. So as weary as one gets to be of Winter by now, we are also grateful for the cold and the snow, for a deeper snow pack, for flowers that bloom in concert with arrival of the birds and insects that feed on them. All of us have noticed the rhythms and cycles of the seasons where we live, and no doubt all of us have noticed changes in recent years. I certainly have—drier, colder Winters that end abruptly, hot smoky Summers. So I am perfectly content for the Winter to go on as long as it needs to. I have lots of work to do in the garden before planting can start. I have plenty to do in my house and office, clearing and cleaning before the new projects of the year can truly begin. I may grumble about having to shift yet another five inches of new fallen snow, or having to run errands in 20 degrees of icy fog, but given the alarming specter of permanent climate change, a real Winter, with a real Winter's bite, is somewhat reassuring.

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