Living the Wheel: Seasonal Musings of the Pagan Year

Thoughts and musings of the wheel of the Pagan Year.

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   This is the time of year that I look inward, thinking back over the year and what I have done. I meditate on how I could have done things differently, or better, or not at all. I usually find things I am disappointed about, chastising myself for everything I wanted to do but didn't. I find some few items I am pleased about, usually related to my children and their success.

   Coming toward the end of this year, I felt that my reflections were going to be different. My life and career saw so many amazing changes: I received a promotion from a job I enjoyed to a job I loved so much I genuinely looked forward to going to work every day. I went back to college, intent on pursuing a degree that would bolster my career. Beyond this, my family was happy and healthy, our finances good even in the wake of three children's fall birthdays and the looming holidays. For the first time ever, I could confidently say things were good.

   And then they weren't.

   My husband missed three weeks of work due to a child-care issue concerning our foster son and our healthcare coverage was compromised. My company downsized and my position was terminated, by wonderful job gone. The two little boys got the flu, quickly followed by my husband. My daughter needed an emergency appendectomy. The brakes in our car needed immediate replacing. The fuel pump in my older son's car dies and left me stranded on the side of a busy highway. (AAA is the best investment you will ever make, I promise you.)

   The most soul-damaging part of all of this? All of it happened between October and last week. I am still reeling with shock, anger, heartache, and fear. Why did all of this have to happen? I was so hopeful, and happy, and thankful. Truly thankful, expressing my gratitude for all of my good fortune and happiness, taking advantage of my own circumstances to pay it forward and do good for others, and being happy that the work I enjoyed so much was providing a useful service for others. My days had purpose and focus. I finally recognized the person I (thought) I was meant to be.

   Today I am home writing this piece that has taken so long to approach because I knew writing it would reopen hurts that have scarcely begun to heal. I still have so much to be thankful for, and I acknowledge that every day. My children are safe and healthy--my daughter suffered no complications from her sudden surgery. My husband is well-employed and our health insurance never lapsed. We were able to have our car attended to without completely breaking the bank, though I am very glad I got the holiday shopping done before that crisis arose. Despite being down to one income my husband has insisted that I remain in college, taking all of the financial burden on his own shoulders. I have very dear friends that are nearly family who have lived this roller coaster with me, holding my hand and suffering with me, and I know they are still there for me and cheering me on. When I take a step back and look at all I have, who am I to complain?

   Instead of looking back, this year I am forced to look ahead. The path that was so clear in early October is now blocked with rubble, and I do not have any breadcrumbs to show me the way out of the woods.

   Two months ago I knew exactly who I was. I knew what my goals were and how to achieve them. Now, just days before the Solstice, I am floundering, second-guessing my decisions and wondering where I went wrong. I wonder what I could have done differently, if I could have approached situations with more grace and humility. Was I too proud of where I was and what I had? Moving forward, do I need to be more generous, or less single-minded, or simply more thankful? Work and school took nearly all of my time, and I could see the effect it was having on my younger son and on the household in general, but I didn't take the time away from studying to address his needs, or the attend to household chores. My husband bore the burden of work and most of the childcare and housework while I wrote papers. I let my other commitments lapse, such as this blog and my own blog. I stopped writing poetry; I haven't sent a manuscript out in months, and never wrote the piece for Wild Sister that I intended to. Did I lose sight of who I was while seeking who I thought I was supposed to be?

   Writing this piece has proved to be incredibly cathartic. I am beginning to see that all of what has befallen me was perhaps a wake-up call, forcing me to stop what I have been doing and reevaluate my choices. I have not found another job yet: that is another piece of my looking forward as I polish my resume and seek out potential employers. In the meantime I will be home, tending to the house and driving my young son to school every morning and having tea with him in the afternoons like we did when he was smaller and I was home with him. This morning I tore my portfolio apart, selecting pieces that I had always intended to submit to journals and never did. I finally sat down to write this piece, knowing that it was something I needed to do, knowing that there are others who have suffered far worse than I ever will and that I will learn from their brilliance and strength.

   In two more days the Solstice will occur, bringing light back bit by bit each day, so slowly that we will not see it at first. I must approach this new turning in my life in the same manner. Light will return, opportunity will be presented, and I will have the choice to grow with grace, humility, and appreciation, or to stay in the dark, stifled by my own lack of certainty and direction. I already know which choice I will make. As the days begin to lengthen I will seek new opportunity, because to refuse to do so is to deny everything I have worked for thus far.

   May fortune shine on you this season, and may hope, health, and happiness be yours.

Many Blessings, Nicole

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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.


  • Solitarieone
    Solitarieone Wednesday, 20 December 2017

    Thinking about you and your family during this Solstice season, Nicole. Remember: This, too, shall pass.

    That reminder has gotten me through a lot of “downs” and has kept me centered during a lot of “ups.”

    May you be blessed.


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