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

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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  • 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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  • 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

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Celebrating the catkins

The standard issue wheel of the year for the British isles has us celebrating the first flowers at Imbolc, when the snowdrops emerge. This is a bit awkward, because tree flowers – specifically catkins – emerge in January and open. They are also manifestly at odds with the standard issue notion that trees spend the winter sleeping. They don’t. Once the leaves are down, trees get busy making buds ready for the new year, and may also be making their catkins, which have been sat there hard and closed for some time now.

The thing about leaf buds and catkins is that they are small and you probably won’t see them if all you do is look at trees out of windows. Especially not if you are in motion and the windows are in a car. To spot buds and catkins, you have to be within a matter of feet of the trees and looking at them closely. When nature is an abstract concept that you celebrate from the safety of your living room, this is the kind of thing that gets overlooked.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

A Winter Solstice Blessing

May you have a warm heart, 
open hands,
a creative mind.
May you experience inspiration and brilliance,
clarity and focus.
May you laugh richly and deeply.
May you circle and celebrate,
may you change and grow
May that which is waiting to be unlocked
be freed.
And may you soar with the knowing
that you are carried by a great wind across the sky.
*

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Celebrating the mistletoe

The normal association with mistletoe at this time of the year is the cut stuff we bring indoors to decorate with. However, there’s more mistletoe celebrating to be done than this!

Once the leaves are down from the trees, you have your best chance at finding mistletoe in the wild. It doesn’t grow everywhere – I used to struggle to see any at all when I lived in the Midlands, but Gloucestershire (south west UK) has loads. As you can see from the photo, mistletoe in trees isn't always that self announcing and you have to pay attention to spot it - which makes finding it all the more rewarding.

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