Stepping onto an earth based path was a little too unnerving for me as I didn’t know where I was going and I didn’t know what I was doing. Even though I knew deep down that the faith that I was brought up with was no longer serving me, at least there was a safe familiarity about it; the routine, the boundaries, the expectations. All of these were ironically comforting. You didn’t have to think for yourself. It was all done for you.
My fall into the void was thankfully short lived and my discovery of The Wheel of the Year gave me structure and guidance that I so desperately needed. The Wheel of the Year as many of you will know is the seasonal cycle that celebrates the solstices, the equinoxes and the four fire festivals, the latter being based on the agricultural year and Celtic mythology. As a collective they are all known as Sabbats.
My journey along the path of seasons and ancestors was and still is a slow and appreciative one. I see the world through the eyes of a child, noticing the subtle changes of Mother Nature’s breath. Subtleties that I never would have made the time for before because I was just too busy being busy. But now I make a conscious effort to stop and take note.
How could I have seriously believed that February was Winter and August was Summer? Lambs are being born in February among the snowdrops and crocuses bursting through the frozen ground. These are the subtleties of Spring. And as for August, how did I not realise that the leaves begin to turn and the mornings hold the promise of cooler days ahead? These are the subtleties of Autumn.
As I have been celebrating each Sabbat in turn I have come to realise how much more connected I feel to the world around me. Each spoke of the wheel gives me the opportunity to take stock of my life and appreciate how far I’ve come. With our busy modern lives it is all too easy to lose track of time as we get caught up in the daily humdrum, forgetting that we are one with the world, the world that is right outside the kitchen window.
But if we just take notice of the the earth’s rhythms, her ebbs and flows, our five senses explode into life. We see the grass snake basking in the last rays of sunshine. We hear the swallows as they take off for warmer climes. We smell the musty damp leaves as they slowly decompose and become part of the rich soil. We taste the bonfire smoke on our tongue and feel the crisp sharp wind on our face.
So this is how it has been for me for the past few years, until this Autumn when I didn’t celebrate Lughnasadh. My heart wasn’t in it, there was no anticipation and this led to me feeling very disappointed in myself. I had never missed a Sabbat, ever! I loved them all.
But I came to the stark realisation that a change was needed. I had to start thinking for myself and break away from yet another stale practice. Even following the Wheel of the Year can deprive a person of a free flowing organic spirituality.
The traditional Wheel of the Year has been a wonderful introduction to Paganism and I am grateful for the solid foundation that it has given me. But I no longer want to be comfortable. I am ready to seek out new treasures, new adventures.
My spirituality is a living, breathing organism. Spontaneous and unpredictable and it needs to be nourished if I am to be gloriously unrestrained and feral.
So now I begin reinventing my wheel, undeterred by what others are doing.
For the moment I am just playing around with ideas, thinking about ways of personalising my spirituality. Below are just a few of them and if you have some of your own I would love to hear about them.
- Looking into how my ancestors would have practiced and celebrated their faith. ( Mine are Celtic, Scandinavian and Roman).
- Where I live has a rich Celtic and Roman history. I would love to study my local history a little more.
- I will mark on my calendar meaningful days to me such as Goddess Day, National Women’s Day and birthdays of inspirational people.
- I want to consecrate more time to being in my local environment, trusting in the signs that indicate when each season turns and not just celebrate a Sabbat because that is the date on the calendar.
- Spend time learning about the Deities of the seasons. At the minute I am reading Goddesses for Every Season by Nancy Blair.
- Meditations and devotionals at my altar.
My wish is to create my own traditions that I can build upon.