Working With The Wheel Of The Year
Working With The Wheel
By celebrating these festivals in the 21st century we are aligning ourselves with the natural rhythms of the seasons and of nature itself. Going with the flow helps us to harness these energies and reconnect with our personal natural rhythms, and ultimately with those of the universe.
Our purpose may be slightly different these days with all the agricultural and technological ‘advancements’ since the time of our ancestors but by taking advantage of their accumulated wisdom we have access to the weave of the matrix.
It’s probably true that some of the old customs were based on superstition, but the proof remains that our forebears had a profound knowledge of the sciences we pride ourselves on discovering today. Universal truths such as quantum physics, astrology, astronomy, psychology, animal husbandry and agriculture.
As our story clearly shows the concept of duality and the need for balance was well understood. That light and dark are really just two sides of the same coin and need each other in order to exist. Today we are once again beginning to understand that our capabilities are unlimited and that balance and choice are our tickets to freedom.
If you look at the old myths it’s obvious that they knew this long ago and that they had a profoundly deep understanding of the science of the universe. We really don’t have to re-invent the wheel – It is all there waiting for us to step back in and contribute our part to keep the magic alive.
Most magic is worked by associating a series of correspondences which build layers of similar energy. Our Wheel takes a year and a day to complete – the same as an initiation into the craft. The eight festivals of the wheel are marked around our ritual circle in the four directions of north, south, east and west and the cross quarters in between.
If you live in the southern hemisphere north and south are reversed as North is closest to the equator in this region, as the South is closest to the equator in the northern hemisphere. The energy of the circle follows the direction of the sun, otherwise known as doisel. If you watch the water running down the plug-hole of your sink in the southern hemisphere you will see that it flows in an anti-clockwise direction and in the opposite direction in the northern hemisphere.
So in the southern hemisphere, we work our circle following this natural flow (East, North, West then South – Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.) Our northern brothers and sisters work it in the opposite direction. (East, South, West then North – Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter).
The layers of the circle are many fold. These quarters also represent dawn, midday, evening and night, childhood, youth, decline and death, and so on. The circle is more like a spiral than a circle – as each year (or ceremony) another layer is added to the work we have already done and we go deeper into our connection with the correspondences and archetypes as well as going deeper within ourselves.
A circle is cast to provide a sacred and purified space in which to work. Once it is cast and the guardians invoked a cone of power is created which acts as a sheltered place for spiritual and inner workings – a place of heightened awareness where we can easily enact communion with the divine. The circle also gives us the opportunity to play with time in a non-linear fashion – as time is really only a tool we have created to measure one experience against another after all…..
We also create magical tools and empower them with the energy of these elements with which we work. – The pentacle – a five pointed star (representing all five elements including spirit) sits in the south and the element earth. The Wand – usually made from wood – sits in the Eastern quarter and is associated with Air. An Athame or ritual knife is associated with the element of fire and the Northern compass point. The Chalice represents Water and the west. The center of the circle is a place of integration, representing the Goddess and the Self, the source of all that is. A resting place of union within the heart of our being.
The circumference with its eight compass directions is linked with and represent our daily, yearly and life journeys with their associated spiritual and psychological implications. The festivals alternate between masculine and feminine – giving and receiving, dormant and active, dark and light, inner and outer.
Running parallel to our twin king story is, of course, the story of his feminine counterpart in her many guises. The goddess represents the changing seasons during the agricultural year and she moves through these seasons from Virgin to Flower Maiden to harvest queen and finally the Queen of the underworld.
Another version of the Oak and Holly King is the Horned Hunter (Cernunnus) and the Green man. The horned god is the god of fertility, virility, animals and the underworld. Sometimes knows as Herne the Hunter. His light side is the Greenman – Jack O’.
The Christians turned this antlered god into the devil – which in itself is an act of pure evil, the ramifications of which we are still experiencing. He is born at the winter solstice, marries the goddess at Beltane and dies at the summer solstice. – Jyoti Eagles © Druid Priestess