Wheel of the Year

The Beltane Fire

The festival of Beltane is almost upon us and marks the peak of Spring in the Northern hemisphere. Beltane is a fire festival, with the word bel-tene meaning a ‘goodly fire.’ Fire has long been associated with transformation, cleansing and purification, burning the old down to make way and fertilise the new. At Beltane, Spring has reached its peak and Summer begins to emerge with a more direct and committed energy.

To connect with this, you may wish to light a fire, candle or burn incense over the weekend to help physically and symbolically clear the path for a new season. whilst observing the flame consider any or all of the following:

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Foraging, Wellbeing

A Wild Brew

A practice I find incredibly grounding at this time of year is to get outdoors and gently gather some beautiful fresh Spring plants for a brew.

There are so many medicinal plants growing in abundance at this time of year that are perfectly aligned to help nourish and cleanse the body after Winter. Many even make their way into our gardens if we let them!

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Wellbeing, Wheel of the Year

Mindful Spring Practices

I don’t know about you, but I can find myself feeling pretty restless at this time of year. The transition away from Winter can be a long one. The promise of Spring feels so sweet when it arrives. Those first warm rays on the skin and the sound of bird song lift my heart so much. And just as I am about to lean right in to the new season, Winter announces she isn’t quite done as she delivers one last blast…

I have noticed over the past few years that my mind can become restless at this time of year. My mood and energy feel as mixed as the weather. One foot planted amongst the hopeful wildflowers of Spring, the other hanging back in the heavy malaise of Winter’s end.

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Trees

Hazel

Hazel trees (Corylus avellana) are particularly striking at this time of year and along with Willow and Elder are associated with the festival of Imbolc, celebrated as the first signs of Spring appear at the beginning of February.

Both Hazel and Willow have similar properties that we can embrace as we transition out of the Winter season. Their branches are particularly flexible, and they grow quickly and with ease before other trees begin to stir, making them wonderful trees to work with to support new beginnings and when we need to connect with courage to overcome challenges.

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Moon

The cycles of the Moon

Each year Earth orbits around the Sun. As the Earth’s axis is tilted, different parts of its surface receive more/less direct rays from the Sun as we move around it. This creates the yearly seasonal cycle here on Earth. The variation of light, warmth and energy impacts all life and as we enter into the Winter season here in the Northern hemisphere, we observe bare, resting trees, animals hibernating and changes to our own energy, mood and focus.

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Wheel of the Year

The energy of Samhain

Samhain (pronouced sow-ein) is one of the eight seasonal festivals that make up the wheel of the year, an ancient way of observing the yearly cycle, and the transition of the sun and the seasons. Samhain is celebrated at the end of October/beginning of November (the origins of modern day Halloween) and marks the final harvest period of the year and the birth of the Winter. At this time of year we can observe the natural world preparing for the Winter months that stretch ahead. Trees lose their leaves, plants die back, and animals stock up and may begin to migrate or hibernate.

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Wheel of the Year

Beltane

The next festival in our Wheel of the Year journey is Beltane or May day, celebrated From the evening of April 30th to May 1st in the Northern hemisphere. Beltane is the peak of Spring, a celebration of fertility and the height of the earth’s growing energy. At this time of year we begin to see the very first signs of Summer emerging.

This is a time of abundance, union and life force. Flowers are blooming, new life is being born and the Sun’s strength is increasing. This is a fertile time in the natural world, and can help us to ignite projects, cultivate new actions and reflect on what we need in order to bloom. This increase in active energy, can leave us feeling a little worn out at times, so it is good time to ensure rest, self care and nourishment is established to balance this busy time.

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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.

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Wheel of the Year

Winter Solstice/Yule

We have now arrived at the darkest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere. Energy and light levels are low and the earth is still in hibernation. Today, at the Winter Solstice, (also known as Yule) the sun stands still at its furthest point, before slowly returning once more with its light and warmth.

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