The Wheel of the Year

If you've been following me on Instagram for a while, you'll know that I am all about cycles. Not just menstrual and lunar, but seasonal too. Since I began paying more attention to living in tune with natural cycles I have found a kind of peace and flow to my every day life.

Living seasonally doesn't just mean eating locally grown foods, or swapping your wardrobe from knitwear to linen and back again. And it doesn't necessarily just mean spring, summer, autumn and winter.

What is the Wheel of The Year?

Most people are familiar with the spring and autumn equinoxes, and summer and winter solstices which mark the four quarter points of the wheel of the year. These are the solar festivals, marking the high points of the seasons, but there are four lesser known fire festivals (or cross quarters) which mark each season's beginning - Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas, and Samhain. So instead of dividing the year into 12 months, it is divided into eight sections - quarters and cross quarters.

People of different nature-based faiths celebrate the Wheel of the Year, including Pagans and Wiccans, and the festivals are influenced by folklore and ancient beliefs. I am not a religious person but have found following these celebrations a wonderful way to ground myself and a healthy reminder to change the way I work throughout the year.

This Saturday, 1st of August is Lammas. It's the first day of the harvest season and traditionally a time to celebrate the earth's bounty and give thanks. It's also a timely reminder to plan for the autumn and winter as it marks the end of the summer season and a return to darkness (dun, dun, dun!).

I know that those with seasonal affective disorder or who simply don't like the cold may not feel like celebrating this turning of the wheel, but it's also a reminder to grab these blue sky days and make the most of being outside. Here in the UK with lockdown easing we can do just that (but please keep your distance and wear a mask!).

Ways to Celebrate Lammas

Bake bread! For yourself and your neighbours. Lammas originates from "loaf-mass", as people would celebrate and share the first loaf of bread from the first grain harvest of the season. Now, we're mostly gluten free in my house but we'll definitely be baking something nice to eat this weekend.

Do a little harvesting of your own! Find your nearest Pick Your Own farm and fill some tubs with fresh, locally grown produce. Or head to your park or green space and hunt out the first blackberries.

Walk barefoot on the grass, look up into the trees, and reflect on your incredible resilience, strength and the care for your community that you have shown this year. You are strong, and kind, and others are grateful for you.

Practice gratitude. Write a list of things and people you are grateful for. Keep them in your journal, share them on social media, write thank you notes for friends and family. It's been a hard year, but we all have things to be thankful for.

Cut meadowsweet, mint, marigolds, and sunflowers to bring indoors. Collect seeds from your garden for future sowing and harvesting.

We chat about each turning of the wheel in the Life, Aligned community and share how we're celebrating. You can read more about this free and friendly group here. Or come and say hi on Instagram, I'd love to hear how you're celebrating this season.


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