Living the Wheel: Seasonal Musings of the Pagan Year

Thoughts and musings of the wheel of the Pagan Year.

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Nicole Kapise-Perkins

Nicole Kapise-Perkins

I am a writer and poet living in western Massachusetts. I have a degree in English Lit, with a focus on the nineteenth century, and am working toward a degree in Women's Studies as well. My work has previously appeared in The Pagan Activist, The Pagan Review, GrannyMoon's Morning Feast, and The Montague Reporter. I am currently working on a series of children's books, a novel trilogy, and a poetry manuscript (I simply can't do one thing at a time!). I also have several random fantasy-based short story projects that I attack once in a while.   I am a Dianic Pagan and practice Kitchen Wicca, and am also a Reiki Master. For a glimpse into my own little corner of reality, you can stop in and visit me at Ellie.

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A Soul's Companion

   I grew up in a house surrounded by trees. The backyard maple was a favorite perch for reading the afternoon away when I was a child. Before I climbed I was careful to loop a rope around the branch above me so I could pull a basket of apples and books up after me. The willow tree often found me seeking faeries among her branches, and later, after I had deemed myself too old for tree-climbing, reading or drawing, imagining myself one of the elegant ladies I read about so often in my beloved faerie tales. More and more I would seek the willow, both a source of wonder and magick as the Pagan Path opened before me. My greatest heartbreak at leaving home was that there were no trees near my new apartment.

   Four apartments later, I now have some trees, not many, but enough for the dryad-at-heart to feel satisfied if not happy. A leggy young maple grows against my back steps, towering over a neighboring lilac bush much in the manner my nineteen year old son towers over me. Indeed, in tree years, the maple may very well be his contemporary. The grapevine that coated the back of my building, lush, leafy, gorgeous; the grapevine that grew so prolifically that one of my kitchen windows had a beautiful green screen was torn down earlier this year, a sacrifice to the siding that needed to be replaced. (Probably due to said grapevine. I'm no fool.) She has taken her own back, however. A newer grapevine grown from sturdy roots has wrapped herself around the lower railings and is beginning to wind herself around the maple. Outside my bedroom window grows my favorite of the trees, a crab apple, so close to the building that her branches tap the window every time the breeze sets her dancing or a bird leaps amid her branches.

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Abundant Harvests

   It is a beautifully cool, misty-rainy day for the last day of Beltane. Not a day to be out celebrating Tailtiu with games, but still perfect. We've been starved for rain this month, and today's rain feels like a benediction on the ripening tomatoes, squash and herbs.

     Later I will mix up bread dough and measure out rice for risotto. A touch of saffron will make the dish golden as the absent sun, and later this evening we will sit done to a simple,festive dinner.

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Spring Forth

 

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    Dragon Dancer says #
    Blessed Be and I'm so glad to hear of your recent happiness! May it continue. I feel like I'm going through the same thing in many

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Cleansing and Cleaning

     Normally as we approach Imbolc I am thinking ahead to growth and rebirth: setting goals, planning gardens, asking how I can change and improve aspects of myself or my life. Not this year. With two people in my house fighting strep throat, one recovering from a stomach virus, and another knocked flat by an upper respiratory infection, the last thing on my mind is growth. I'm thinking cleansing. Physical and spiritual. I want to disinfect my kitchen and dispose of emotional clutter. This Imbolc my focus is cleansing intentions and processes, cleansing space, spirit, and body. It is needed.

     I think for many of us cleansing is an unacknowledged part of the Imbolc season. How many of us do a big 'spring cleaning' every March or so? I generally do mine around Imbolc. I'm on my couch today trying to figure out how to facilitate this. (I'm one of the strep throat people.) The first step is not to worry about it. I will get to it when I get to it. Mental stress (especially about something so mundane) leads to bodily stress, which leads to sickness. In order for one to be physically well, one must be mentally well also. This can be a tall order. You have work. You have families. You have stress. Like myself, you may have mental illness. Studies have shown again and again the correlation between depression and illness. What are we to do?

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A Season of Mystery

   Yule nearly passed me by this year. My husband and I have been working around the clock, it seems, and the days leading up to Yule were no different: long days at work, scrambling to keep the house neat and the children fed and in bed at reasonable hours. We missed the opportunity to collect sunfire, and because of this it feels like something is lacking this year. It almost feels like the mystery has gone out of Yule.

   Over the years I have come to learn that we need mystery in our lives. Overall we believe what we can see, though some of us (many) are willing to believe that which we cannot. And therein lies a truth.

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The Hearth: The Heart

 

The hearth is the symbolic heart of a home. Imagining ourselves dwelling near the hearth we become more ourselves;  more human -- and humane.     ~ Robert Werner

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Sources of Comfort

   It is the season of Lughnasadh: the final bright blaze of summer, ripe with bounty. The early morning mist rising over the river is just touched with the barest whisper of frosts to come. Autumn is approaching, imperceptive, yet inevitable. Even this early, as the first day of the season has only just passed us by, I am thinking ahead. Not planning, but daydreaming, anticipating the comforts of home, hearth and family that only this season seems to bring. Autumn is the season of comfort: Spring gives us freshness and hope, Summer joy and play; Winter is a time of introspection and rest. But Autumn? Autumn is harvests and canning, baking and freezing. Autumn is abundance and comfort.

   What exactly is comfort? A dictionary will tell us that comfort is "a state of ease and contentment." This stark analysis hardly conveys the true essence of comfort. Comfort is a feeling, a scent, a sound, a flavor. It is knowing your family has food and shelter; it is your children's arms around you welcoming you home from work. It is the scent of your spouse's coffee brewing first thing in the morning: you may not drink the vile stuff, but he does, and that rich, bitter scent means he's there with you, probably fixing your morning tea as he fixes his coffee.

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