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.
Breathing In Beltane's Magic

   I have been long away from the SageWoman Blogs; having started a new job in January, I am still adjusting to the change in my rhythms and tasks. After four months I still find myself floundering, not quite sure how to fit everything into the twenty-four hours we have every day, and things I find pleasure and solace in, such as all of my writing projects, have been pushed aside so I might focus on work projects and caring for my family. I realize I am not alone in this situation: parents and caregivers all over the world face this same struggle every day, and we all of us end up feeling some sort of guilt over the choices we make.

   I am not going to spend this post wondering how to balance everything, or how to avoid feeling the unwarranted yet unavoidable guilt that comes from being a working parent/caregiver. Instead, as today is Beltane eve, I am going to think about what Beltane brings to us, and the joy Beltane trails in its wake. For who doesn't love Beltane? Samhain, Beltane's sister holy day, is dark, mysterious, and magical, but Beltane is altogether different: flowery, glittery, all light and laughter. It is a sabbat of bonfires and music, dancing and faerie-lore. Today I have a rare day off (and I still will be going into work for a meeting later today) and on waking the day felt altogether different, just knowing that I (mostly) had a free day. Generally I wake up in a pleasant mood, as I truly enjoy the work I am now doing, but today I woke happy, not just in a good mood. I am still happy, despite a grumpy getting-sick five year old and the fact that twice now my computer has nearly lost the unsaved drafts of this post. (I am now saving it every two sentences, btw)

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Taking Time to Be

     The world outside is covered with softly drifting snow, nearly two feet deep in places. There is a hush in the air, roads empty, storefronts dark. Lady Winter has us in Her icy grip, and it feels as though She will continue to hold us for ages to come. And yet, I saw a robin yesterday.

     As I drove around attending last minute birthday/Super Bowl party tasks, I caught sight of a small brown form flitting over a snow-covered cornfield. My heart leapt as I spied that plump gentleman's crimson waistcoat, so bright against the gray February sky. What joy to see that feathered harbinger of Spring, and on Imbolc eve, no less. It seemed an auspicious omen.

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Childhood Magic

 

         Winter. The name itself is magical, a word of power, strong syllables that snap like frozen twigs as we speak them. Though Yule is some days away, according to the Celtic calendar we entered the powerful season of Winter at Samhain's turning.

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Walking the Ancient Paths

'Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies, and walk on them, and find rest for your soul.'  1001 Meditations (pg. 13) by Mike George

     The Crone is the guardian of the crossroads, and this is Her time. As we journey through our lives we come to many crossroads; we have so many choices, so many roads not taken. How do we choose? How do we know we've made the right choice?

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Changes

     In order to change we must facilitate change. Change doesn't just come, no matter how much we desire it. Change is often painful, jarring us out of a comfortable, though dissatisfying existence, forcing us into molds that don't fit who we are, but will eventually turn us into who we wish to be. Change in our lives is not the gracefully seamless flow of color and scent we see in nature as the Wheel turns around us. Do trees suffer as they burst from summer's green to autumn's golden splendor? How does the goldenrod and the Michaelmas daisy feel as their colors brighten beneath the cooling autumn sun? Of course we can't know; nature's children keep their secrets to themselves.

     It often seems that as much as we welcome change we are at the same time resisting it, fighting and forcing it back until opportunity has passed us by, only to leave us wondering what went wrong and wishing our circumstances (or we) could change. Why is this so, I wonder? I am as guilty of it as anyone, and like most others I recognize it, yet I still have to consciously remind myself that what I am doing (or am meant to be doing) really is to my own benefit, regardless of how much I detest it. Case in point: that excruciating half an hour on my elliptical machine every day, that half an hour I skipped this morning and will no doubt try my best to avoid doing tomorrow even though I know exercise is healthy for me, and if I want to do a 5K color run next summer I need to begin training now.

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Harvest-tide

     The full Harvest Moon rises tonight. As its clear light falls on forest and field, take a moment to meditate on the majesty of the season. Harvest-tide is a time to be thankful. Our ancestors knew this abundant season was their only hope for the winter months. Successful harvests meant survival. Today that dreadful uncertainty is taken from us. Of course we will survive the winter. There are plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and breads available at the local grocery store. We have nothing to worry about.

     Or do we? This year-round abundance is available to us at a cost. Pollution from shipping, from poorly managed factory farms, over-planted fields stripped of nutrients, herbicides, pesticides--they are all eating this planet alive. I am as guilty of purchasing off-season produce as anyone else: my four year old adores strawberries and apples, and in my effort to instill healthy eating habits I am not going to refuse him fresh fruit in January.

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Family

     As I sat with my family before the celebratory Lughnasad feast, I looked around the table at the faces of those most dear to me: my husband, hardworking, honest, loving, driven, an incredible father. My seventeen year old son, quirky, awkward in his form, intelligent in ways I can't begin to comprehend, fiercely loyal and protective, especially of me. My four year old son, the child I never expected to have, a joyful, funny, curious, wiggly little boy who can't walk anywhere: his little feet constantly patty-patty back and forth from one task to another. And finally my fifteen year old daughter, my only girl, gifted with faerie-like beauty and a voice that has been described to me as 'like listening to a baby angel.' Incredibly talented, creative, and utterly unselfconscious, she dances into each day like the wild faerie child I knew her to be at birth.

     What did we talk about that evening? Truthfully I don't remember. The freshly-baked bread was sliced, the roast chicken, redolent with herbs from our garden was carved. Stuffed zucchini and sliced cucumbers dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar were placed on the table, candles lit, prayers said. We ate, we laughed; the children told anecdotes from their day, my husband discoursed on the ins and outs of his current work project. Dessert, a pear crostada that the four year old proudly helped make, was served, eaten with even more gusto than dinner, if possible, then, table cleared, we gathered at the front door so my husband could speak the ritual words of welcome to the season of Lughnasad:

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Lovely, reminds me of Jewish Passover home celebrations. Do you have special prayers for your Sunday family gatherings too. You co
  • Nicole Kapise-Perkins
    Nicole Kapise-Perkins says #
    Thank you so much for your kind words Carol! I tried not to be pedantic, but I really wanted to stress how very important family m

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