The Path of the Seasons

We all see the change of the year differently.  What one witch calls the calendar, another calls a Wheel of the Year, but I call it the change of the tides.  That's what the seasons are, after all; the tides of the shift of our world.  It follows a rhythm, a clock, a sacred melody whose notes conjure life and death in turn...

The seasons are everything in my work; I time so much of my practices by where the sun and moon fall, what is turning green or brown.  This is the time of pods and husks and dry grass.  It is in the moons after High Summer and before the Equinox that I call Darkyear.  When the world turns over to the hands of those old hag gods and wild hunters, there is a tangible shift in the air; a toasty smell, something bold, something brittle, sweet and acrid, a lot of smoke, a little ripeness of fruit.  It dances on my tongue and I swallow it.  I love the grain seasons just as I love the green seasons.  Transitions and the in-between are the place for me.  

How does the passage of time move for you?  Is it the churning of a wheel?  The stretching of roots?  How do you trace the path of the Sun and Moon?

Equinox Spring/Final Frost/First Flowers
It's when the violets come in.  It's when the bluebells hang.  It's when the first lilacs are just ever so perfectly purple, peaceful and perfuming the air. The March hares rise, the days grow longer and the morning is a little less wet each day.  It is the tide of the passing of the cold dark sun to the new spring.  Here there be brides of the greening and fresh antlered-gods, and virid virgins.  Hail to them all.  I do nothing but enjoy the wildcrafting and the rain-dodging, and pray the frost away.
The Feast of Hares
When the Pink Moon rises, so with it does the tide of the hares.  Rabbit spirits and Mother of Leverets make the world fruitful and populous.  Thumping the land awake, and making wild all our rites of spring.  The hare and rabbit spirits invoke the time with their mysterious rituals of sex and greening.  It's more a feast of flowers than anything else; an excuse to eat as the rabbit does, to enjoy the floral wonders of the growing and turning land.  I love this feast; it's a time to sharpen culinary and creative skills, to forage and nurture the wild senses, and to celebrate my favorite little buddy, the lagomorph.  Feast, my fluffy friends.

May Day
What other day is there for snails and flour.  May's Moon is for flowers and festivals; it's a time for baskets and eggs and hares and happiness, spring is in full bloom and what is more alive than the ripening of life around us?  For some witches, Beltane and Walpurgis are these powerful moments of flight and freedom but for me, I just like to honor the beauty of the time I suppose with a little thought here and there.  Sometimes it's fine to have a relationship with a season that at some moments meaningless and at other moments, everything... There was a time in my life when Beltane meant a lot, but now, May will pass me by with almost no real notice. There's love there, and the root of that is deep.

The Feast of Pines
Nothing tastes quite as sweet as the warming sap of conifers.  Pines ooze from their cracks and craggy parts with sticky sap.  The green ends of the spruce are pale and petal soft.  The cedar roses smell like cinnamon and sunlight, and the pollen on the pines makes a fine yellow paste when mixed with honey.  The crumbling decay is dry, the needles are pliable.  This is the time to honor the greenwood walking along the land in all their fine array.

Midsummer's Eve
The sun rises, and nothing stays dead, every flower grows and withers here.  This is the time of warmth and yellows and golds.  Midsummer is a magical time, for divinations and seeing beyond this world, and for flying by firelit nights.  Witches dance round the ferns and divine by the river waves.  Find your romances on this night, go flying with that love, use it and be wild with it.  Make a wreath of flowers and let them sink or swim...

St. John's Day
The water isn't warm, but it's warming.  It's holy, the saint's water, it anoints and purifies.  A time for taking away illness and for delivering fortunes and futures.  It's of little consequence to my work but it's recently become a perfect time for purification in-between the great feasts of my faith.  I call it a "fresh root", one that may grow strong like the trunk of some great tree, or simply fade to nothing.  I don't think it's for me to know right now.  It's just part of the path.

 Highsummer/ Feast of Grains

The height of summer is a beautiful thing; it is the Feast of Grains; when wheats are ripe and breads are plenty.  The bread represents the alchemy of seasons, of human ingenuity.  It is the body of the old gods of the land, the culmination of green life made brown and buttered and good to eat.  This is the tide of sustenance, to celebrate the height of a life that is so very fleeting.

The Feast of Apples
The making of cider and chips from the ripe and ready apples of the Northwest is a wonderful time; it is the tide of Mother Apple and her brood of sweetness.  The taste of the air is full and warm and crispy. What does a witch do with the Feast of Apples?  Why, they celebrate the sweet life giver of course!  They count the seeds on their knuckles with ancient rhymes, they bob for them in pits of water and roast them by fires.  They coat them in caramel and smash them into cider.  Cut them in two, sing of their tidings and enjoy that moment of reaching into the mysterious green for that special, perfect apple.  Apple Mother is a god of mine and her feast days occur in Spring and Autumn, marking her promenade across the landscape of the year.

Equinox Autumn/ The Feast of Nuts
The sun changes hands, moving into a dark place, where the sun's power wanes and the nights begin their decent into darkness.  The meeting of day and night in this liminal space gives rise to the beginning of Autumn and all the woe and wonder it brings.  Here, the Hags of Winter rise and wink up at the fading sun.  There's nothing left but the bitter work now, the frosting of every leaf and the beating down of the land into stiffness.  The Hunter raises up with all the host of the dead and shades.

The Feast of Corn
The tide of the corn feasts is a tide to welcome the fearful return of the dark year, a proper feast to the Hags and Horned ones.  The equinox proper is a ritual moment, a time for passages... but the corn feast is for the welcoming, a way to offer your hand to the wild ride and go flying with all those underworldly things that rise with the wane of the sun's power.  Go into those fields and get scared.  Swipe your sickle at the grass in sacrifice.  Offer your foods to the spirits, souls and otherworldly gods, in gratitude.
All Hallows Eve
It's a feast of pumpkins, a time for witching things.  The sun is low and the fields are withering.  Everything smells good, even the marshes.  Everything tastes good; all the best of human memory and survival finding a place in the kitchen witching that we call the feasts of fall.  This is not my new year, this is my celebration of life.  This is the glorious reign of the dead, the damned and all dark and enduring things.  Ghosts and spirits, foul and fair gods of wicker and roses and thorns... they command the short days and chilly nights.  A witch makes off with cabbages on this day, sups with the silent dead and serves the games of love fortune.  Hail to the pumpkin feast and the prince of the field, and every cawing crow.

Hekate's Night
Mother of witches, queen of the underworld, holder of keys and patron light of all those witches and poisoners and feral beasts of the world.  To your sacred fires, we commend our very souls.

Midwinter's Day, New Years & Epiphany
When we dream of Christmas Eve and New Years-- we think of the food, the family, the ferns and fine fir trees strung with lights. It is a cold time of year but full of such warm tidings.  I've never liked Christmas.  But I love the turn of the year, the wassailing of the apples orchards, the shaking of snow off boughs in a ritual of awaking for the land.  Midwinter is a dark and dreary realm in the roots of the yearly tide, but it's when we most gather round our traditions and pray, pray for the year to turn safely, and for the food to never run out.  Epiphany is this witch's time to honor the apple orchard and the burning of the evergreens.

St. Valentine's
It's just a little love, and I live for the excuse.  I am a love witch; not the manipulative, cold kind, but the pleasing and fickle kind.  This isn't the magic of forever, this is the magic of now, and wherever souls gather their wants and needs and desires and give them an altar to live on; one festooned with hearts and doilies and sweet-nothings... something there is summoned.  On this day, we summon the spark of curiosity.

1 comment

  1. I loved this look at the branches of your year! Tides. I see them that way too. How they flow into each other..a seemingly distinct season but then it melts into and mixes with the incoming tide. Thank you for sharing this!


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