Warning: Contains material some readers may find offensive.
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.
The Green Season
I don't think I've ever been so happy to welcome the Spring as I was this year. This Winter was so cold, so long that Spring really was a dim memory. Even warm-ish days didn't get my trust. I have only recently packed up my winter clothes, and despite a lot of mowing and weed whacking, I haven't started putting in my garden quite yet. Because the Winter was inside me by the time the snow and ice and freezing weather finally retreated. A hard Winter, like the one we just had, will wear on you, make you feel tired all over, a deep tired that will take more than just a few warm afternoons to shift. This is perfect for introspection and meditation, but beyond the usual quiet of the Descent, I realized that Winter had settled into me, settled into my bones and muscles the way it had frozen the lake and bound the land under snow. Even when the snow started to melt, the chill didn't leave me. It was hard to remember what sweet breezes had felt like, with icy blasts blowing in my face.
This Winter brought lots of worry and sorrow to my door. The stress became part of the the work of Winter: the slogging through the cold, the shoveling of snow, the march through short days of low, subdued energy. Even as the first gentle days showed up, when the world seemed to be a closed fist slowly opening, it was hard to trust it, hard to sink into the promise of warm days to come. It was hard to feel the Spring, or I should say, it was hard to allow myself to feel Spring's optimism and new beginnings. The Winter had settled into my mood, and it was hard to generate much “fire” for anything beyond getting through the day. I wasn't depressed, exactly, but a certain limitation had settled down on my thinking, like a visor. I stopped thinking about a time when I might have more energy, more enthusiasm, when I felt passion and excitement for any of my fallow projects. The world outside was monochrome, all pewter and taupe, and even as the light came back, and the land opened up, my thoughts remained dull like that as well. When the sky got even darker with the brooding rain clouds of early Spring, my thoughts did not leap ahead to the sweet green season yet to come. They remained in the inky black nimbus clouds that poured sleet and hail down, that made tame creeks open up into roiling muddy rapids, and turned the stone cold ground into brown mud. Dark weather for dark moods.
And then, one cool gray morning while I was weeding a rangy bed of vetch and thistle, I looked up through the branches of my apple trees and saw soft blue sky. I saw the softest velvet dust along the new branch tips, and the pucker of hard buds, so small, but bigger every day. The buds were still closed tight but suddenly I imagined I could smell the blossoms. My shoulders dropped and I felt this deep ancient relief, this intense gratitude to have made it through the Winter. And in that gratitude, suddenly, I opened up too. I could suddenly see all this life around me, in that cold 'lifeless' garden, life that had been invisible to me a moment before. A bee flew past my head, a lady bug crawled along the blades of dead grass, showing me the tender new grass just starting to grow. I suddenly heard the birds that had been chattering all morning. It was truly like a veil being lifted from my eyes.
And I could feel, deep in my bones, that we were really and truly in the waxing Year, the time of growth and warmth and motion. And I was so grateful to have made it, and to be present for the days to come, of watching the Spring advance day by day, the Sun get stronger, every day. Cloudy days were no longer freezing, the wind could be chilly but not brutally icy. The dandelions came, and after them the bees. The bushes near the front door were humming with tiny birds hopping from branch to branch scolding each other. My oldest daughter saw a fox kit on her walk to school, my youngest found garden snakes sunning themselves on sun-warmed pavement. I began clearing dead-fall, prepping beds and starting to put in my garden. As I was raking out the pumpkin bed that day, despite snow in the forecast, I knew that the Wheel had turned, the season had changed and I could allow myself to relax a little , to be enjoy the beauties and pleasures of the season to come.
As we approach the beginning of Summer, and those first timid signs of life have exploded into a vibrant green wave of life force everywhere—I realize I should have had more faith in this, in the renewal and rebirth part. As I open up a little more each day—stretching, reaching, seeing new possibilities and experiencing desire and enthusiasm—I wish I had reminded myself more often that the Winter could only go on so long. That the light would return and things that felt stuck, or sad, or just sleeping, would come back, and I would come back with them.
Today, out my window, I see more shades of green than I can count. I feel a depth of passion, desire and hope coming back into my life, after a long dank but necessary fallow time. I am grateful to be here, and to be witness to all the growth and joy of the coming season.
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