Wellbeing, Wheel of the Year

Imbolc

Traditionally celebrated over 1st and 2nd of February in the Northern Hemisphere, Imbolc marks the earliest signs of Spring and falls midway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. At this time, the earth is beginning to awaken from Winter’s slumber. Light is increasing, encouraging changes in the behaviour of our animal friends. Most growth is still occurring in the darkness of the Earth’s belly but some little pioneer plants bloom first, signalling the quickening of the year.

Imbolc is a period of transition. The inward focus of the Winter months making way to a more external focus of growth once again. A tender time where we tentatively begin looking outwards towards the coming months. It can feel challenging or overwhelming particularly if we are feeling under nourished.

This can be a good time to assess where we require more rest or support. To clear space in our homes and lives to make way for what’s to come. And to reflect on the things that light us up, restore our energy and tend to our ground ready to welcome the tender new shoots of Spring.

For guided Mindfulness practices and journal prompts inspired by the season of Imbolc, you can download our Imbolc Wellbeing Guide now.

Wellbeing, Wheel of the Year

Autumn Equinox

As the Wheel of the Year reaches the Autumn Equinox on September 22nd, day and night length reaches equal balance once more as we pass through the doorway to the dark half of the year. After this point, the balance tips as hours of darkness increase and day length shortens. This heralds a time to begin slowing down, give thanks for what we harvest, release the old and turn our gaze inwards.

In astronomical terms, the Autumn Equinox marks the beginning of the Autumn season in the Northern hemisphere. The Autumn Equinox is thought of as the second of three harvests of the year; the fruit harvest. This time is also referred to as the festival of Mabon.

The word ‘equinox’ comes from the Latin word meaning ‘equal night’ and twice a year, on both the Spring and Autumn equinoxes, night and day length are in balance. The light has slowly but surely been declining from its highest point at the Summer Solstice in June. It will now continue to decline, until it reaches its lowest point on our shortest day at the Winter Solstice on December 21st.

At this moment of balance between the dark and the light, it can be a good time to pause and consider the balance in our own lives. Energy being extended to others compared with the energy being spent on ourselves. Focus on our outward goals and future, compared with our internal world and present.

The is also a good time to pause and take stock of our year so far. What has gone well? Where may we need to clear out or make space.

In general the darker colder months can be thought of as a time to rest and restore. Return to our roots. Focus inward. carving out some time and physical space where you can build a meditation or journal practice to support you for the winter, make your surroundings more cosy, and let go on anything no longer needed in the months ahead.

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 Autumn Equinox season that runs from 22nd September up to Samhain on 31st October. 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.

Mabon blessings

Wellbeing, Wheel of the Year

Creating a space

One of my earliest indicators that Autumn is nearby is my desire to retreat. Woodland walks followed by cosy, quiet evenings, warming foods and the urge to make my space feel cosier and more relaxing.

In my previous post about transitioning to Autumn I discussed how typically this time of year can bring with it a more quiet and reflective energy that guides us inwards, as opposed to the bright and expansive days of the Spring and Summer months just ending.

As well as the call to make my general environment feel cosier at this time of year (blankets, candles, slippers at the ready) I also find myself wanting to create a more dedicated space where I can connect to my inner self through yoga, meditation, reading, reflecting or journalling. Having a dedicated space to quieten the mind can help us to strengthen and commit to our practices, especially if it feels soothing and inviting to be there and doesn’t require setting up each time.

Some people use the word ‘altar’ to describe a focused sacred space, but it can be whatever feels meaningful to you. I have been lucky enough to have a whole summer house as a dedicated meditation room in an old house. Now whilst we are staying with family I have a chest of drawers in front of where I place my yoga mat. I have also used a shelf or a windowsill to put things that are meaningful to me. The key is the intention that your space holds. Things precious to you. Things that have meaning and support you to practice self care. Things that help you to reflect, quieten your mind and encourage you to return often and feel safe.

I would love to hear about any pulls you have as Autumn approaches, and also whether you find having a space supportive. We will be continuing to share suggestions to help you connect to our new season ahead, in the run up to the Autumn Equinox.

Astrological

Virgo season

Today – the 22nd August, the Sun transitions into the sixth sign of the zodiac; Virgo. Virgo season runs up until September 23rd, before the sun moves into the sign of Libra, at the Autumn Equinox.

Virgo season spans the height of the harvest when times are busy gathering, processing and storing produce for the months ahead. This practical earth sign is associated with qualities of strength, hardwork, organisation, practicality and determination with high standards for themselves and others.

Virgo season can be a good time to really connect with the earth, grounding ourselves in this abundant season. We may experience more focus for any projects we may have over the month ahead and it can be a good time to assess where we may be overly harsh on ourselves and others.

We create star sign prints for all the zodiac signs using our moon photography. You can browse them in our Etsy shop now.

Wellbeing, Wheel of the Year

Lammas

Lammas (also known as Lughnassadh) falls on 1st August and is the midpoint between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox in the northern Hemisphere. By Lammas we are into the second half of the year and may refer to this time as ‘high summer.’ The days are still long and the sun’s energy is strong yet active growth is waning. The earth is abundant and many of our grain crops have ripened and await their gathering, full and golden.

Traditionally Lammas is thought of as the first of 3 harvests; the grain harvest. This is followed by the second harvest of fruits at the Autumn equinox and the final harvest of nuts and berries occuring at Samhain.

Despite the suns waning energy, this time of year is often marked by celebration; festivals, fairs and gatherings that honour local produce, celebrate the remaining light and acknowledge the ease of abundant times.

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 where we currently are in the seasonal cycle and suggest ways in which we can use this to cultivate inner reflection and growth.

Element: Fire + Water

This time of year is associated with the energy of both fire and water elements. The seeds of the grain to be harvested hold both the ignition and transformation of fire energy and the nourishment and fullness provided by water energy.

As with all the elements, fire and water energies possess more and less helpful qualities. When in balance they can encourage transformation, growth, nourishment, fulfilment and fullness. In excess these elements can bring an intensity or chaoticness to our emotions and feelings of overwhelm and heaviness.

Outer observations

The word I have chosen to summarise this time of year is: abundance. All around us, the earth is reaching fullness. Our fields have transitioned from the vibrant greens of Spring and early Summer to rich golds and yellows that signal ripe and readiness. Animals are fledging,  blossom has given way to fattening fruits and there is a sense of ease and ‘enough’ for all in the natural world.

Inner reflections

The time of year can be a guide for inner reflection. It may help to spend some time in nature, and just notice and observe the season that we are in. What words would you use to describe it? Be aware of what feelings it brings up for you. This will be different for us all, depending on where we are in our journey.

You can download our Lammas Wellbeing Guide with journal prompts and reflections to help you connect with the new season here.

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”