Life is a string of events and transitions. All of the ups and downs in life are transitions from one state of mind to another. We try to control these transitions in our lives but for some things we cannot. Life can be somewhat unpredictable, but of course that makes it more interesting.
There are, however, some things in our lives that have predictable changes. Two strong examples are the cycle of the Seasons and cycle of the Moon. For centuries, people have celebrated and worked with these cycles, from both necessity and desire. In an agricultural lifestyle, the seasonal holidays marked important times in people’s lives, and were often a matter of life and death. Today, we’re often hard pressed to notice some of these holidays, such as Imbolc or Lughnasa. What do we know of sheep being born, or second harvest? And if we don’t look outside our windows, how often do we see the moon?
Yet, these cycles contain energies which we can use in our daily lives. With a small amount of acknowledging and focus, we can use these energies to help envision possibility and keep us on track with our various goals and tasks; planning events, projects at home, projects at work etc. In our own lives, and in thinking about this blog, we found ourselves with a few particular challenges that we thought it would be useful to address.
First, when do you actually “celebrate” a holiday, and for how long? It’s nice to anticipate a holiday a little, and then bask in its energy for a while after it’s done. But how exactly do you do that gracefully, without short-shrifting either holiday?Second, well gosh darn those moon cycles just come and go, don’t they? It’s nice to sit down with a journal the night of the new moon and come up with a plan for the month. But at the end of a long day, it’s easy to just do something else, and then next thing you know it’s really not a new moon anymore. How can we find a way to harness the cycles of the moon in a practical, easy way that we’ll actually DO every month?
So here’s what we have to offer you, and us — in addition to information about the sabbath, each month will offer special tips and suggestions for the current moon cycle and any roughly half-way transition point between holidays if it occurs. The following describes how it will work:
Sabbats: The Sabbats are the important holidays of the Wheel of the Year, as celebrated in the Celtic/British tradition. Each of these Sabbats represents particular energies or natural phenomena. Where we are, in New England, the timing and nature of these are appropriate due to the similar latitude. If you are in a different location, say in the other hemisphere or closer to the equator the timing and nature of these celebrations will be different. It is our hope that we can help you tailor the Wheel of the Year to your own location and personal cycles.
Seasonal Transitions: As we said above, the challenge is figuring out how to let one season go and start another. It’s especially difficult if you like having some kind of seasonal altar. When do you put the Yule stuff away and break out the Imbolc things? Do you do it all at once, or try to swap things out a little at a time? When do you do this? We believe that transitions are just as important as the celebrations that bound them, and that navigating them with grace is a key part of your spiritual life. We will offer a post with suggestions for each particular transition point, as well as provide a small Transition Ritual for you to use to honor both the departing and approaching holidays in the wheel of your own year. The transitional kits are available in our Etsy store if you wish to purchase them.
Moon Cycles: We first thought we’d go by the traditionally used names of the moons, or the signs…but that got way more complicated than we’d expected. The names change depending on culture, and the signs were just confusing. Instead, we decided to divide the seasons into three-month time frames (early, middle, and late), and to match the moon cycles with the one that’s closest. And if there’s a Blue Moon Bonus Moon in there, so be it.We found we could conceptualize an “Early Spring” moon cycle without much trouble. Early Spring might be about ordering seeds, starting to think about Summer vacation plans, or buying new hiking boots and reading about some new trails. Sitting down with a New Moon Journal is a lot easier if you have some idea ahead of time the category of things you might be focusing on. And frankly, in times long ago, did people really have to stress out over coming up with ideas of what seasonal things they needed to do that month?
You can find more information about how we will work with the moons in our first January post about the Full Moon.