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Wheel of the Year title


Many people - of both modern and ancient cultures - live and have lived according to the seasons of nature.  They allow every facet of their lives to flow with the natural tides and energies of all creation around them, as do the trees and all else that grows on Earth, including all creatures who walk, creep, fly, crawl or slither - "All our relations"…  In many neo-pagan traditions this is called living on the Wheel of the Year. But what does it mean to live on the "Wheel of the Year"? And how do we go about doing that? Well, in order to live on the "Wheel of the Year" we must first have a very good grasp of the meaning and energies of each of the eight seasons, as diagrammed as a "wheel" with eight spokes.

Wheel of the YearMost of the terms used to symbolize each of these sections are based on an agrarian - or growing - year. Yet everyone on Earth, even in urban societies, is drawn into the cycles of nature. Whether we realize it or not, we are all carried along by the intrinsic forces of the Earth, Moon, and Sun.  This is unavoidable. Yet most of us living in this modern, technological age have come to think of ourselves as living aside from, or above, the other creatures we share our world with. As we have developed more and more into the modern technological cultures that we have established almost all over the Earth, we have diminished the potency of our senses and instincts. But this does not mean that we are not affected by the Earth's cycles, only that most of us do not realize it. Think of it this way, if you were on a boat in the Sea and were cast overboard into the waves, do you think you would be better fighting against the waves, trying to swim into them, or allowing the waves to carry you along their crests? The answer to this is that there is no way that you could possibly overcome the power and the surge of the Sea, yet the more that you would be able to relax and allow yourself to be swept along, the greater would be your chance of survival. In this same way the healthiest way to live, and I mean physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and even financially, is to gear all of your endeavors of life to be in harmony with the Wheel of the Year – in other words, to flow with the cycles of nature.

All things on Earth and even the Sun, Moon, and Stars (as we see them) have a cycle of apparent birth, growth, relaxing into sleep and then death. What great catastrophe there would be to the planet if any of these refused to live on their cycles! I always like to ask – as an example – "What would happen if all the trees on Earth refused to do their cyclic dance of blossoming, leafing, fruiting, fading and sleeping?" Of course the answer is that all life on Earth would end. Then what would happen if all the insects, animals, etc., on Earth refused to do their dance? Of course, again, the answer is that all life on Earth would cease to be… (See the excerpt on my Harvest and Grain Festival page that is from my new novel, "Voices of the Stars")
   
We, as humans, have a work to do as well. We - whose mental capacity is among the greatest of all animal life on Earth, and who, like them, share a great connection with the Spirits and Divine Ones living all around us - have our job to do in keeping the Wheel of the Year turning, one cog at a time.

We can do this by entering into the land of myth to walk among the Gods of the First Time, in the eternal present of creation, by performing Rites, Rituals and reenactments of creation myths, as have our ancestors from time out of memory. These Rites are performed in every great religion on Earth today, as well as all of those in history. But this obligation does not fall only upon a priesthood or upon the local Shaman or Wise Woman. No, it is the obligation of every human upon this Earth. But, how?

One way is to live in awareness of "All Our Relations" in nature. We can begin, today, to meaningfully live on the Wheel of the Year, planning and doing everything in every field of our lives at the proper time.  In Ecclesiastes chapter 3, of the King James version of the Christian Bible, it admonishes:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate…
   
   
Sound familiar? The people from whose culture these writings came, were a farming and pastoral society living according to a lunar calendar.  They understood the concept of living on the Wheel of the Year.

Living on the Wheel of the Year is healthy for everyone, not just Pagans. As you will see below, each spoke on the Wheel is celebrated in Christian terms as well.
   
If you are interested in researching this further, you will find celebrations of similar meanings for each of the eight seasons in almost all of the world's Religions. Have fun - it will be enlightening…

Also read my article on the Wheel of the Year at my music site RowenaoftheGlen.com for even more information!

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Last updated January 2015