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.
My apples turned red this week. One day they went from egg-sized and green to apple-sized and rosy-cheeked. This has coincided with the maples starting to look a little bit “rusty” and dried out. It is still hot, with bright blue skies and intense Sun, but the evenings are cooler, the rain is colder and the crickets rule the night. We moved into August, when Summer distills its last, sweetest moments of growth and beauty. It's still Summer, it even feels like Summer, but the season is winding down, and we are deep in the transition towards Autumn. August is when the slow but steady turning of the Wheel is most evident, both visually and emotionally.
In these last hot weeks of the Summer, there's a definite melancholy in the transition. The light becomes more golden, the plants begin to look droopy and tired. We feel nostalgia as go home after vacation, and are surrounded by back to school advertising. We see our gardens start to slow down and stop producing. We feel the need to get ready for the descent into the dark, at the same time that we cling to the light. I spent a few hours today in the Sun and water, and it felt marvelous, but next weekend the pool closes, my kids are already back in school, and the crush of Autumn's events and demands begins to loom, ending this time of relaxation and leisure and play. So there's always a little bit of sadness in saying goodbye to the Summer, even if we are excited about the coming Fall.
For those of us who are students or who have children going through school, the whole going back to school phenomenon really makes this time between Summer and Autumn feel like a new year beginning. Even when we're not actively engaged in school, there is something about this time of year that makes us feel that we are beginning something, that we are starting fresh, that we're embarking on a type of quest. In my tradition, after Lughnasadh we become more formal in our practice. We focus again on internal work, on ritual and practice, we evaluate where our magick is and where we need to grow. What skills do we need, which skills do we neglect? We consider what commitments we need to make to our magick, in order to attain our goals and be most effective. Do we need to put ourselves out in community more, or do we need more time alone, in contemplation? Do we need to spend more time in front of our altar, or more time dealing with our mundane obligations? Do we need to push ourselves to learn new things, through reading or taking a class, or share what we know? Is there service or leadership we can offer?
As the Summer wanes, and we become introspective, these questions may arise. They are something to ponder as we move into the Autumnal Equinox, and Autumn begins. But for the next few weeks, it feels right to savor the pleasures of a beautiful Summer on the wane.
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