Living By The Seasons


It may be that our very early ancestors mainly made love in the late spring/early summer when the
energies of the Earth were rising and the days getting longer and warmer. In this way, the newly
pregnant mother could benefit from an abundance of fresh food in the summer and autumn and give
birth at a time when she would naturally be resting for the winter with the dark nights. This would
enable her to spend time with the infant before returning to the fields or to tend the herds in spring.
This pattern is reflected in the old myths of the Virgin Goddess, who became pregnant at the spring
equinox and gave birth to the new Sun on the mid-winter solstice that became christianised as our
So in these earlier and by no means idyllic times, everything – Earth, cattle, corn, humans and animals –
was in harmony, not only physically, but spiritually. Fertility spells and the rituals marking the passing
of the year were a natural part of popular folk magick and of the everyday world and with the
celebration of the harvest, so blessings were called down on every hearth and home.
Nowadays, even if you live in rural areas, it is very easy to miss the passing of the seasons. With
artificial lighting, central heating, cars and the availability of once seasonal and localised foods now
flown around the world to meet an all-year-round demand, we can lose touch with our own rhythms
and the natural fluctuations of our spiritual as well as bodily energies. However, as you work with the
seasonal divisions of the Wheel of the Year , so you will harmonise into your own natural
cycle. Of course we can’t stay at home all winter, but we can rearrange our priorities so that slower
activities centred on self or family come to the fore. We may even, perhaps, try to spend at least a day
a month when we live by the sky and not the clock, and sleep and wake with the light.
SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, the recently recognised condition that seems to cause depression
and inertia through lack of sunlight, may occur because we need to operate at full peak in the modern
world at a time when our body clock is telling us to rest in our cave. Even in warmer lands, the absence
of light can indicate a time for talking quietly with friends by candlelight, rather than seeking bright
lights and music. On my visits to Andalucia, I have observed that, especially in country places, older
people keep much more to the cycles that have determined the rural way of life for many centuries.

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This would be a suitable ritual for welcoming a new…
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