Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Deborah Blake, author of several books, including her new Everyday Witch Book of Ritual.
One of the aspects of modern Witchcraft I love the most is the concept of the Wheel of the Year. The Wheel of the Year is made up of eight Sabbats, or holidays, spanning the year from its beginning at Samhain to its end at the next Samhain. Of course, the Wheel is more than just those eight days; it encompasses all the days in between as well, carrying us through the entire 365-day cycle.
Within that cycle, there are four main seasons: spring, summer, winter, and fall. If you live in upstate New York, as I do, each of those seasons has a distinct personality and flavor, and most people like or dislike one more than another. Myself, I spent most of my life hating winter. (Which is bad, when you consider that here in New York, winter can start at the end of October and run through the middle of April.)
Winter was long and cold and dark. Every year I would start out resenting it, with the snow and the ice and the layers of clothing, and end up depressed as hell around about February, with two or three months yet to go. And then I became a Witch, and discovered the Wheel of the Year.
I learned something important from following the Wheel of the Year; something that changed how I looked at winter (and spring, and summer, and fall). What I learned was this: each season has its beauty and its purpose, an energy that is different from the season that precedes it and the one which follows it. And if you go with the flow of that energy, instead of fighting it, you can reap all the potential it holds.
For instance, take my old enemy, winter. Yes, it is dark and in many places it is cold. The energy is slower, and it is hard to force ourselves to be as active as we are the rest of the year. But there’s a reason for that. In earlier days, there was no electricity, no heat except what could be generated by chopping and hauling and burning wood, no light in the darkness except candles and lanterns and firelight.
It was a time for slowing down the hectic pace of life; a time to turn inward instead of looking outward, a time to wait, and plan for the warmer months that lay ahead. And you know, once I made my peace with that energy, it started to work for me. Now I do my most productive writing in the winter, because I allow myself to be quiet and less social. Instead of resenting it, I actually look forward to the quiet months (if not to the snow and cold that comes with them).
Now we are shifting into fall. This can be a little bittersweet, but fall brings its own energy for harvest and transition. So embrace the changing seasons as the Wheel turns, and perhaps use a ritual as a way to help you move from one season to the next with grace and acceptance so that you, too, can make the most of the season we’re in.
Our thanks to Deborah for her guest post! For more from Deborah Blake, read her article “The Beauty of Ritual.”