Wellbeing, Wheel of the Year

Samhain

Samhain is a seasonal festival that falls roughly half way between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice. It is the third harvest festival (following Lammas and Autumn Equinox) celebrating the time to collect the last of the year’s berries and nuts. Samhain is the end of the growth part of the cycle and the origin of Halloween. It can be thought of as the birth of the Winter and dark half of the year.

As the light wanes, this time of year is associated with an increase in darkness, a time where the seed has now fallen deep into the dark earth and rests before it begins a new cycle of life. Trees and plants let go of their old growth and we may feel a call to honour people and things that have been lost.

We can sometimes find this time of year somewhat uncomfortable. Generally society and us humans have a preference for the warmth, light and growth. Death and decay, whilst essential can be painful and something we may wish to avoid.

Aligning ourselves with the seasons, is to learn the lessons of the natural world. To practice letting go of things, allowing them to nourish new parts of us and our lives.

Connecting to the cycle of the seasons can help us to reflect on changes in our own mood and energy which naturally ebbs and flows. We have created a new seasonal guide for the Samhain season that runs from 31st October up to the Winter Solstice on 21st December. You can download it below. It includes a mindfulness practice and journal prompts that can be used at any time throughout the season. If you do find this helpful, or wish to share any insights you have whilst using the guide we would love to hear from you.

Samhain blessings

Wellbeing, Wheel of the Year

The Wheel of the Year

The wheel of the year acknowledges the cyclic movement of the seasons throughout the year honoured by Earth-based traditions. The wheel consists of 4 Solar Festivals ( 2 Solstices and 2 Equinoxes) and 4 Seasonal Festivals (Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas and Samhain).

The Solar Festivals follow the Sun’s rise and fall throughout the year. With daylight reaching its height at the Summer Solstice, its lowest at the Winter Solstice and reaching an equal balance with night length at the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes.

The Seasonal Festivals are thought to have Celtic origins and are connected with seasonal and agricultural changes. Imbolc marks the height of Winter and birth of Spring, Beltane the height of Spring and birth of Summer, Lammas the height of Summer and birth of Autumn and Samhain the height of Autumn and birth of Winter.

Connecting with in the energy and changes in the natural world, can help us to reflect on our own energy throughout the seasons which may naturally rise and fall. It can help us appreciate the change and flow of nature – the abundance and the scarcity, the birth and the death. The ebb and flow of life. Becoming aware of the Wheel of the Year can help us to reflect on these cycles in our own lives and work with them, rather than against them.

We are creating seasonal based wellbeing guides for each of the 8 festivals mentioned above, to help you connect with the energy of the season. You can find out more on our wellbeing page.

Wellbeing, Wheel of the Year

Summer Solstice

In astronomical terms, the Summer Solstice marks the longest day of the year and the beginning of the Summer season in the Northern hemisphere . This year, the Summer Solstice falls on Saturday 20th June. As daylight hours reach their peak on this day, we begin our transition into the second half of the year. Light after the Summer Solstice slowly wanes towards the Winter Solstice, where we reach the shortest day of the year falling on December 21st.

Transitioning to the second part of the year can lead us to wonder how the months have gone, perhaps even more under the circumstances we have faced this year. Us humans commonly have a preference for daylight (not to mention the warmth) so thinking of its retreat is not always easy. However the earth, if we allow it, can be a good teacher of balance. Year on year we witness Summer and Winter rise and fall, giving way to one another through the seasonal cycle, always moving, always changing and always returning.

Being aware of what is going on in our outer world can help us to connect to and learn more about our inner worlds. In this article I will discuss how we can use the energy of the season to cultivate inner reflection and set intentions for the second part of the year.

Continue reading “Summer Solstice”