Season and Spirit: Magickal Adventures Around the Wheel of the Year

The Wheel of the Year is the engine that drives NeoPagan practice. Explore thw magick of the season beyond the Eight Great Sabbats.

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The Last Day of Winter

My husband Aaron died on February 25, after a long hospitalization, and even longer illness.

The shock has not fully worn off. And the grief will be present, for who knows how long. This is all to be expected. But throughout the sorrow and dislocation of this loss, it’s the movement of the Great Wheel that has been part of my support, my comfort, and ultimately my acceptance of my grief.

Aaron was brought to the hospital, for the last time, on the last night of the dark moon, at the very end of January. It was in fact, a dark and stormy night, with sleet lashing the car and fog rising from the dark and glittering trees lining the swollen creek. It was just a few nights before I would celebrate the Feast of Hecate, and she was certainly present in the worry, pain, and fear that were in the car as we drove to the ER. I felt, but denied, this would be the last ride, his last view of the house.

He was in the hospital a month, and throughout that time, he got better and worse, and better. The winter dragged on beyond the windows of his room, in the rounds of snow, and sleet, and icy cold days of crystalline blue sunshine. Frem that window,  I saw blizzards gather along the rangeline, and I crept home when freezing rain began to cover the roads. He got better, then he got worse. We began planning the next steps--could he come home? Would he need longer term care?--when these questions were suddenly, sadly, rendered moot.

The  morning after he died, I stepped onto my balcony: it was early, and cold, the stars were still visible in a dark only just now being colored in jewel tones by a still unrisen sun. It was chilly, and quiet, no traffic on such an early Sunday morning, the wind was creaking through bare branches. And I heard birds twittering in the evergreens. Winter is a silent time here--once the creeks freeze up a bit, the only sound is wind passing over snow, whistling down the chimney or whipping around the corners of the house. Those sounds were there, but so was a piercing chorus of tiny chirps that I swore I had not heard just a  few days before. That day I realized the coat I was wearing was much too warm for the day. This too startled me, this sudden warm snap.

Aaron’s memorial was held on Mardi Gras, an ancient harbinger of a coming Spring. It was yet another cold, gray day, with sleet and snow off and on all afternoon. In the evening I stepped outside to take a call, and looking up through the whirling frizzle, I saw a break in the clouds and the tiniest crescent moon appeared.  Even such a very few days after his death, I was already moving forward, as were his mom and dad, and our daughters, and all his friends.  We could not help but move forward from this moment, no matter how much we missed him, no matter how much we longed for him back.

Every sign of the Spring since then, has reminded me of the constant cycles of transformation, in the world and in my life. I watched in stunned disbelief as the crocus popped up, as the daffodils and tulips rose and circled the house, as the apple trees put out pink buds that opnd into white petals, that have now dropped to the ground as the fruit begins to set.


Ostara passed and now we are almost to Beltane. It is Spring for real, and each day, each week, puts more time and distance between us. It feels so hard to be separated from my best friend. But I know all things live and die in their seasons, and I know we are, all of us, divided for Love’s sake, for the chance of re-union. And the same Wheel that brought me from the depth of Winter to Spring, will take me beyond, and that one day I too will take that last step out of time, into...whatever comes next. And that this is all in the balance of life and death and rebirth that moves through all things.

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Leni Hester is a Witch and writer from Denver, Colorado. Her work appears in the Immanion anthologies "Pop Culture Grimoire," "Women's Voices in Magick" and "Manifesting Prosperity". She is a frequent contributor to Witches and Pagans and Sagewoman Magazines.


  • Thesseli
    Thesseli Saturday, 22 April 2017

    I am so very sorry for your loss.

  • Leni Hester
    Leni Hester Sunday, 30 April 2017

    Thanks Thesseli.

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