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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in wheel of the year

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Bad harvests

From Lammas (loaf mass) through the autumn, we tend to think about harvests and to reflect that in rituals. The normal procedure is to focus on the things we have grown and harvested in our lives because most of us aren’t intimately involved with growing and harvesting food.

However, bad harvests are very much part of nature. Too much or too little water, too much or too little sun, and your crops can fail. Insects, disease, people too ill to work the land, and other random natural acts can mean there is no harvest. This is a good time of year to look at the harvests you didn’t get to make because circumstances thwarted you. It can be oppressive having to be all joy and gratitude about life when life is not full of delight. If you are suffering, if you are restricted, if your scope to harvest has been denied you, it’s important to have space to acknowledge that. Gratitude is good, but not when it makes us ignore genuine injustice or go into denial about what isn’t working for us.

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A Lughnasadgh Lament?

(or  In the  Time Before Lugh)

 

I remember a time before Lugh was born. This time of year was a time of great gatherings. Yet where is my great gathering? Where are my sisters, and mothers, my aunts and my grandmothers?

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Canadian Seasons

The Sabbat Wheel made a lot of sense for our Pagan ancestors, for whom the seasons and their mid-points roughly corresponded with the Year-Wheel as we know it.  But more and more, I'm finding that it makes little sense in other places, especially where I live.  When I was growing up, the Wheel had only the loosest correspondence with the seasons I knew anyway. The snow was starting to melt by Imbolc, for example, and we had mud season a lot, but crocuses were still at least two weeks away. You knew it was Ostara because there were bees.  The hawthorn and fruit trees were usually blooming by Beltane, but it was still too cold (and often too wet) to camp outside. And so on.

With climate change taking hold, this has become less and less true.  With each passing year I find it more difficult to find meaning in the symbols and landmarks that are supposed to be associated with each Sabbat. The last few years, it simply hasn't felt like the Sabbat at all.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I live in Virginia. On June 19th I woke from a dream telling me to "Call upon the gods of love, friendship and community to guard
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I totally get not feeling it with the Sabbats. When I have tried it, it felt contrived and artificial. Working with the calendar
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Makes sense to me, Anthony! Whereabouts are you in the world, and when do you choose to celebrate?
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Great idea -- we've been kinda doing this for years in my house. I *do* suspect that Ostara may give you some trouble since (Chri
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    I thought about that, but a) yeah, I think the lunar/solar calendar juxtaposition is very Pagan anyway, and I understand they base

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Celebrating the Lambs

In standard, wheel of the year, northern hemisphere Paganism, we talk about lambs at Imbolc. Or at least, we link the name of the festival to ewes’ milk. That may be all the sheepy goodness we get. Of course, how sheep relate to your landscape is a very local issue. In some places, they don’t feature much, while in others there may be a very long history of grazing. There are huge differences between vast, industrial flocks massively impacting on the local, environment, and small sustainable flocks. We can treat sheep and the environment well, or badly. Not all farming is created equal.

However you feel about farming animals for meat and/or wool, I think it’s important to acknowledge the role they have played, for thousands of years, in the lives of our ancestors. In the UK, grazing has shaped some landscapes. It’s important to know how ancestral use of land impacts on the landscape you now inhabit.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Nature red in tooth and elf cap

I admit that I don’t watch a great deal of television, but I do get occasional exposure to nature programs. While there’s delight to be had in seeing things that would otherwise be unknown to me, the narratives of nature programs bother me intensely. There tends to be a focus on drama, and that means the four Fs – fighting, fleeing, feeding and reproductive activities. There’s a lot of death in most nature programs.

In the last eight years, while out and about, I have once seen a seagull snatch a coot chick. I’ve seen one rabbit caught by a buzzard, two rounds of a heron eating fish. I’ve seen a lot of fish eaten by kingfishers, and once saw an owl feed a rodent to a fledgling chick. I’ve seen sparrowhawks chase birds, twice. I’ve seen a lot of predators in the process of quietly looking for prey. Pigeons are the only things I’ve seen shagging, although in fairness they do a lot of it. Most days I spend time outside, and there’s a lot to be seen from my windows. There’s seldom much drama out there. Most of the time, most of the creatures I encounter are not fighting, fleeing or shagging. Many of them are feeding in a non-dramatic way. I see them resting, pottering about, and communicating with each other.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Celebrating the buds

At this time of year in my corner of the UK, the tree buds change in a noticeable way, and for me this is something to celebrate.

Trees form their leaf buds during the winter. The idea that trees sleep through the winter is a misconception perpetrated by the Pagan community, depending entirely on never looking that closely at trees. If you only ever see trees from a distance then yes, those apparently bare branches may look like nothing is going on, but this isn’t so! Trees make their leaves, and their catkins during the winter months. In January here, the catkins start opening. Somewhere around Imbolc, buds fatten discernibly.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Judith Shaw
    Judith Shaw says #
    Wise words - "New leaves on trees can seem like an event – a sudden arrival of bright new greenness to mark the beginning of the g

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The First Day of Spring?

I have a question, one that has perplexed me for several years. 

Tomorrow is the first day of February, marking the festival of Imbolc. The days are lengthening, the night time grows shorter. We're halfway through winter. Or are we?

I know that 21st of December is supposed to be the first day of winter, but this makes absolutely no sense to me. If we look at the year as half of it where the nights are longer than the days and half of it when the days are longer than the nights, then surely, the date that the nights get shorter can't be the mid point? 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Virginia Carper
    Virginia Carper says #
    There is a divide between modern meteorology and traditional practices. The Chinese calendar and the Medieval European one had spr
  • Mark Green
    Mark Green says #
    Traditionally, the cross-quarter holidays were the beginnings of the seasons. Thus, the winter solstice is "midwinter", and the su
  • Charlie Rainbow Wolf
    Charlie Rainbow Wolf says #
    Hi Mark! I totally understand that this is indeed the beginning of spring, as far as the wheel of the year goes. My question is

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