When I first stepped onto this peculiar path of paganism, I discovered frequent references to the importance of the ‘Wheel of the Year’, the ‘Festivals’, and cycles.
I duly camped at Avebury for every festival one year, watched the moon, made altars for the festivals and discovered my Moon sign. And all around me my life went on. I found early on that the feeling of when the tides changed didn’t always match the dates in the books. I also found that the old stories of the festivals didn’t always match the patterns of my life.
I went through school and academia… the year begins in the autumn, at the harvest time. How could that match with the harvest festival which declared a completion? The ending that was a beginning was Samhain – Halloween, 2 months later! And my years ended at the Summer Solstice… leaving a space for holidays and playtime and freedom. Summer was a time that was not a time. My life did not match the cycles I was reading about.
But the natural world did.
I marked the solstices and equinoxes as astrological events.
I acknowledged the markers of the cross-quarter festivals as markers of what the natural world was doing.
And I counted myself lucky to not suffer from SAD!
The nature of our world now is such that, through technology, we can manage our environment to a degree that lets us work when it is dark outside, and start and finish projects independently of the green growing things. We are still dependent on natural cycles for our health and our food, of course, but our day-to-day life has been massively divorced from those rhythms.
Many of us have come to believe that we linear beings, not cyclical. Our technology allows us to work the same length day in winter as in summer, to protect some of our crops from the worst storms, and to avoid the direct consequences when things do go wrong. While we may feel a pinch when the prices rise due to scarcity, its nothing to what the people starving feel.
So society encourages us to push ourselves, to work too hard, too long in the winter. To keep up summertime productivity all year round. And we can, technically, do so. But our health suffers.
I’ve long noticed personal patterns, personal cycles, that effect my life, and not only the obvious ones. I always get excited about new projects in the autumn, especially around Samhain. I get tired on the day of the full moon, and energised during the dark moon, and become withdrawn during the waning moon. I have periods where I work best on visual arts, periods where I am obsessed with my studies, and periods where all I can do is write about the Fae or work on my website. And these times spiral round in huge loops…
I’ve been quiet on here recently. I’ve been in a inward cycle.
I can’t apologise, although I’ve felt a little guilty at points, but I’ve come to realise that I have to honour these cycles. I’m learning how the astrological patterns effect me, and how my natural rhythms flow, and I’m slowly figuring out ways to prepare for quiet times so I can keep up with my commitments.
Learning about personal cycles, and how the natural cycles effect me, is taking a long time, a lot of patience, and constant awareness. But its proving worthwhile. Knowing that I don’t always have the energy for sharing my internal processes means I can honour myself when that is the case. Knowing when that will happen means I can prepare in advance!
How do you cope with the conflict between societies attempts at keeping us linear, and our natural tendency towards cyclical patterns? Have you mapped how your personal cycles intersect with the cycles of the sun and the moon? How has that helped you in a practical way?
I’m writing this on the Longest day of the year, although I won’t be posting it till next week, since I know that I’ll be tired again then, and probably feeling quiet! As I say, I’m learning to prepare, to honour my own cycles, and to practice self-care while honouring my commitments. Its an interesting balancing act. How do you do it?