The Wheel of the Year: Celebrating and Contemplating our lives in Nature

The Wheel of the Year is a modern poetic term for the Earth’s seasonal cycle of Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. It’s  celebration and contemplation can really bring us a benefit of touching home with Nature and synchronising our lives more to its rhythm.

The dividing of the annual cycle in find celebratory days is a good way to help aid our intention.  It’s a method that has been used throughout human history and actually forms the basis of many of our cultures’ current festivals. 

To what extent we divide our year is a personal choice, a very minimal wheeled calendar may simply mark the two solstices at midwinter (Northern Hemisphere: December 21st-23rd) and at midsummer (Northern Hemisphere: June 21st-23rd). A more developed calendar could also include the two equinoxes at Spring (Northern Hemishere: March 21st-23rd) and at Autumn (Northern Hemisphere: September 21st-23rd).

And we could go further still, a popular annual wheel is one that considers eight festive points, the further four often labelled as ‘cross-quarter days’ or ‘fire festivals’. These additional points are said to show us when the Earth’s four seasons traditionally begin. The starting of Winter (Northern Hemisphere: November 1st), the starting of Spring (Northern Hempishere: February 1st), the starting of Summer (Northern Hemisphere: May 1st), and the starting of Autumn (Northern Hemisphere: August 1st).

Putting this onto an image we have:

  wheel-of-the-year.jpg 

This eight spoke, aesthetically pleasing, calendar provides us with an firm Nature based scheme, some points of which many of us may be unwittingly celebrating already through our cultural traditions.

To conclude, I feel that regardless of our Theist or Atheist beliefs the celebration and contemplation of the year’s round can help bring a deeper connection to something which is often lost in the hustle of our everyday lives. 

And of course as the wheel turns let us don’t forget to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other special days too!

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