Human beings are part of nature and affected deeply by the cycle of the seasons. If we understand how the rhythms of mother earth flow and change we can learn to adapt and evolve in harmony with her – and within ourselves.
Where once humans saw themselves as the tenders of a divine garden, the growth of technology, population and consumerism has turned our planet into a resource that is being abused and plundered. For a time humans have considered themselves superior to the natural world, many turned away from relationship with the divine spirit that every previous earth culture has cultivated (though many are now turning back to that search in new ways, in an age freed from the grip of religion on human expression) and we have lost touch with much wisdom and lore that was natural and important to our ancestors.
For most of our history we lived in much closer communion with the cycles of nature than today. The weather brought us out in the summer and pushed us to the cosy hearth in the winter. Nowadays in our cities we protect ourselves from the climate extremes the best we can and try to work and play at pretty much the same rate all year round. We barely notice the nuances of change in the air as the earth makes her journey around the sun, apart from when there is a dramatic shift, such as our sudden and recent step into spring after 6 months of long nights and low temperatures. We push on with our lives and the universe throws up challenges and diversions we do not expect or necessarily desire – yet if we get ourselves better attuned to what nature, the moon and the stars are up to, we can keep on top of the journey we, and all life on the planet, are on.
This is the case because our lives are NOT the random result of atoms colliding in space, but the predictable and beautiful manifestation of deep currents and patterns in our solar system that repeat eternally – like fractals, following the same principles but always producing something unique. The earth is an organic spaceship flying through space, held on an invisible cord to our hot burning sun, spinning on and on as the sun journeys alongside other stars on one of the arms of the milky way. Our solar system is a zone of energy in which our human consciousness has emerged. What we are, who we are, how we think and act, is all influenced by the creative energies at loose in our solar system. The ancients knew this and studied the movements of the stars over millennia, producing maps of how life manifests, inspired by visions, meditations and deep insights. They studied the phases of the moon and understood not only how the moon influences the tides and the plants, but how she deeply affects the moods we feel. And they lived with the active presence of fire, not the muted influence of our modern heating systems. Fire was not only a way to keep warm and to cook food, it was the central point of community and family – where stories were told, songs sung and music played, allowing the spirits of the people to be cleansed, renewed, troubles transformed, and wishes empowered by the spiritual energy of the flames. Very few modern folk ever get to experience this.
We have just passed through the spring portal of equinox and into the sunsign of aries, whose ruling planet is mars. During the underworld watery emotional month of pisces many people were suffering from depression due to blocked emotions seeking to be felt. A difficult time, but one that can be vastly improved on next time around by allowing the cycle of nature to teach us how to free our emotions and truly be ourselves.
Equinox brought in the masculine, active, creative energy of mars which gives us all a boost. The weather gets warmer and brighter, the land looks healthier and so do we. It is natural to get active, and we should play along with this flow if we can. We should try to shift the balance toward outward action and attention, and if we have journeyed consciously into our ‘stuff’ during the winter we will now find out how much we have shifted our emotional load. For everyone the winter will have brought changes, and we can now open our minds and hearts to new adventures and explorations.
The growth season has begun, and will hit its stride when we reach beltane at the start of may. For now the sun is in aries and the universe is telling us this is the phase of the yearly cycle to focus on our selves, sort out how we feel towards ourselves, set our direction and purpose and re-create ourselves after the winter slumber. Who are we now, and what are we bringing to the world? Perhaps an old story of pain and loss does not seem to want to leave us and change – still at this point we should feel new energy even around our greatest trials, and be able to find new ways to approach whatever healing we need to undertake. At this point we should certainly try to give more of our attention outwards, be active, creative, try new things – and this will help to lift us into the journey of summer.
The moon is currently waxing, which brings more energy of growth and expansion until full moon which falls over the easter weekend. This full moon will bring a challenge. The sun in aries inclines us to be very aware of our own needs and desires, but the moon in libra brings the desire to connect harmoniously and in a balanced way with another. This is a time therefore to be attentive to the balance and integration of our energies within relationship – and become able to move in and out of connection, being aware of each other’s needs.
As the moon passes through its waning period of two weeks we are gradually pulled again to introspection, and we will be able to see that part of ourselves that did not escape the winter – there is a chance to become aware once again of the baggage we carry and emotional load that prevents us from truly being our free, loving and adventurous selves.
The sun moves into the sign of Taurus at the dark moon, bringing us into the lusty month of may. At this point the fertile energies of the spring really kick off, it’s getting warmer, clothes are coming off and summer festivities are beginning. After the aries month of focus on the self, the natural flow draws our attention to others. Sex is in the air. The festival of beltane, celebrated on the first of may or the may full moon, is the ancient festival of fertility and growth. This is the time of maypole ceremonies celebrating the abundance the land is about to produce and the prospect of a long and (hopefully) hot summer to come. Beltane eve brings an opportunity to release the heaviness and pain we have found ourselves to still be carrying, offering it all to the fire as fuel for transformation in our own being before we conjure up creative, joyful energies through the may day dance. (The Faeries have made Beltane their principal ritual, with large gatherings happening in our sanctuaries, marking not only each individual yearly cycle but also the gradual claiming over time of the spiritual aspects of being queer).
To realise the power of these ancient festivals it is worth to celebrate with others. These were the traditional points of the year when the larger tribe would gather to harness the energy and affirm their connection to each other. We have much more need for this in our modern lives than most people ever imagine. But if we cannot mark the cyclical turning points with others we can achieve a lot for ourselves, finding our own rituals to connect us to earth and spirit – feeling their hands holding and guiding us around the wheel of the year – and simply coming to learn what the season is all about, and how it affects us on all levels – mental, physical, emotion and spirit.
The Wheel of the Year is a guide teaching us how to grow alongside the cycles of nature, so that each year we manifest more fully who we are. Humans have not transcended nature – we have just ignored it for a while. We still have to eat and shit, have to breathe and wash – nature does not give us free rein on how our existence will be – we have to work within her parameters. If we listen to her and find out what else she has to teach us we will rediscover wisdom that will transform our lives and the crises affecting our planet.