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Episode 9 Wheel of the Year and Cycles of Healing

When the Earth moves in cycles around the Sun, creating the cycles of seasons and years, and the Moon moves in cycles around the Earth, creating the tides and the phases of the month, how did we ever think we could live independently of influence these cycles might have on us? Humans are funny creatures, pretending we are superior to trees, flowers, animals and the planet itself. Ancient Humans and pagan practices of indigenous peoples all over the Earth didn't behave that way. They had a strong sense of correlation to the cycles of the body inward and expanding outward to the entire natural world. Ancient stories and myths that have survived are proof that this is true.

This episode came out on the first day of Spring, and I talk about the significance of the Rebirth stories. Christianity has the story of Jesus and the Resurrection, but this is not a new idea or concept. The story of Isis and her son Horus were known and worshiped in ancient Egypt before Mary and Jesus. Isis was a powerful Goddess that Resurrects her husband Osiris in order to give birth to Horus. Ostara is a Germanic Goddess of rebirth and the origin of the word Easter.

Magical People understand cycles and the sacredness of the spaces in the cycle. In Celtic Lore, the spaces between are where the veil to the Otherworld is thin. Samhain (Halloween or Nov. 1) and Imbolc (Feb 2) and Beltane (May 1st) and Lammas (Aug 1st) are marker points of the year that don't represent and Equinox or Solstice and therefore the Veil is thin. The folklore is filled with beliefs of the Fae or Fairy worlds, demons, spirits, and otherworldly beings and happenings are prevalent during this time. Not just those days, but in-between places such as the Mists, the Dawn or Dusk, the edges of the water or forest, etc.

As an effort to connect to these natural cycles, pagan's celebrate the Wheel of the Year, or naturally significant dates and times of the planet. It coincides heavily with planting and harvesting, as the ancient peoples would have followed closely. It starts with Samhain (Calan Gaef) on Nov 1st. Then to Winter Solstice or Yule (Dec 20-21st). Next, to Imbolc (St. Brigid's Day on Feb 1st). Then, to Spring Equinox or Ostara (March 20th give or take), to Beltane (May Day). Onward to Summer Solstice or Litha (June 21st). Then, Lammas or Lughnasadh (Aug 1st and the first of 3 harvest festivals). We end the year with Mabon (Autumn Equinox). Imbolc starts the 3 planting festivals, while Lammas introduces the harvest season and Yule marks a time of rest and hibernation to contrast the hard work of the Summer. This is the calendar according to Northern Hemisphere, the cycles are opposite for the Southern Hemisphere.

Humans were meant to follow these natural cycles as much as the animals and plants of the earth. Not just on a early basis, but monthly and daily as well. Our bodies carry a natural rhythm that can have implications to our health and well being if they are not honored. Trees that were injected with hormones to induce continuous growth (ignoring the natural cycles of Wintering) all died. We aren't meant to be in a constant state of productivity. Our modern Capitalist society is a direct result of the Colonization mentality that humans are superior to these natural systems and should therefore, be constantly in a state of work. Our modern society schedules, graveyard shifts, and productivity and efficiency priorities are injecting he collective with unnatural perpetual Summertime without any Wintering cycles. How can we honor the death and rebirth cycle if there is no "death"?

The ancient people understood the death and rebirth cycle to be an important part of our growth to ascended spiritual beings. Ostara traditions of rebirth consisted of telling Stories, easter egg hunting, singing songs of spring and baking and eating foods of feasting. It was a crucial part of their community, spirituality, and survival to perform rituals and make offerings that would honor and bring abundance to the land. Modern-day pagans follow similar traditions, such as creating an alter to honor the deities of Springtime with their favorite flowers and crafts.

Reflect on what cycles play a part in your own life? Do you see the seasons and phases of the moon affect your mood and health? How is your relationship to these cycles? Do you engage with each stage of the healing cycle, or tend to avoid the uncomfortable invitations that darkness and grief provide?


- Avalonian cycles of Healing: the Full Moon of Germination in February to the Moon of Evocation (1st Moon in Blodeuwedd in Pisces) “a calling forth of new beginnings from out of the slowly weakening entanglements of shadow” pg 165 of Mythic Moons of Avalon.


- Mythic Moons of Avalon by Jhenah Telyndru

- Circle Round: Raising Children in Goddess Traditions BY Starhawk, Diane Baker and Anne Hill

Photo taken in The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle, England.

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