Living the Wheel: Seasonal Musings of the Pagan Year

Thoughts and musings of the wheel of the Pagan Year.

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     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.

     What is it that makes humankind so resistive to change? Is it a survival technique left over from the days of our ancestors when people relied on anticipating and acknowledging the changes in the world around them in order to survive? One thousand years ago, on the Autumnal Equinox, 1014, a farming family was harvesting their crops, salting and drying fruits and vegetables, smoking meats, storing grain and flour. They were laying in a good supply of wood and candles, weaving warm clothing and blankets, mending the roof on the farmhouse and barn. Amid all the bustle they may have stopped and gathered to offer prayers of gratitude and praise for such abundance as they had received, but they certainly didn't stop their work as long as the sun was still in the sky. Even then, after night had cloaked their fields in darkness, there was still work being done by fire- and candlelight. These people knew what they had to do. To change anything about their daily round was to risk hunger, starvation, even death.

     Our ancestors could not risk outright change. They could adapt, gradually adjusting to changes in nature and society, but to simply stop an ages-old, proven method of successful living would have not only been completely alien to them, but a sin against nature and the gods themselves. They could not change; we can. For us change can be a welcome, even encouraged element in our lives. How can we move forward in life if not by making the decision to change our circumstances? If we had not chosen to try, we would not walk. If we had not chosen to speak, we could not sing. If we had not chosen to pray, we could not dream. Each of us at some point in our lives made momentous changes. We chose change, and we reached for it, crawled toward it, embraced change with open arms and willing heart. And then one day we stopped. Somehow we began to fear change. Somewhere in our heart's soul we realized that in order to change we must try, and if we try we might fail. And we did not want to fail. So we did not try. Because we ceased to try, we ceased to change, and now we are caught in the circle of longing and loathing: we long to change, but we loathe to try.

     Look at the world around you. In just the few days leading to Mabon the trees on the hillsides surrounding my valley town have changed from brilliant summer-green to gloriously vibrant yellow and orange. Looking up toward the horizon the mountains seem to have burst into flame. Nature has welcomed change; she does not fear it. Nor should you. Think of some changes you can make in your life, think of factors you are wanting to change but haven't begun. The time is now. Allow yourself to join in nature's celebration of change. Choose one thing, never mind how frivolous it may seem--if it's something you want then it's worth it--and try. Acknowledge the necessary changes you need to make in your life to achieve this goal: budgeting your time, returning to school, buying canvases and tubes of watercolor, going to that community education workshop that looks so interesting. Do it. Do it for you. Change yourself for yourself. Change yourself, and see how your life changes.

     Many blessing to you and yours on this Equinox night.

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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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