Honouring the Wheel of the Year with Seasonal CelebrationsMay 14, 2021
Honouring the seasons is a beautiful way to tune yourself into nature and connect with Mother Earth. There are eight festivals throughout the Wheel of the Year where we can celebrate and give gratitude for what is provided to us for our health and sustenance throughout the year and creatively give back for continued harvests.
The festivals are connected to the changes of season that occur as our earth rotates around the sun. Seasons in the Northern Hemisphere are the opposite in the Southern Hemisphere, so the calendar I created (featured below) has been designed as a universal poster to include dates and information for both. This printable poster is included in the Nature Kids Permaculture Program as a colour-in resource.
The good news is that I will have it available for anyone interested as an offering soon! As part of the program and my life in general, we celebrate seasonal changes to connect more deeply with the subtle transformations happening in your climate and through the lens of the permaculture principle in action, with some special activities that we do to welcome in the subtle differences each season brings (because let's face it, the tropics here have less dramatic changes then further away from the equator!
Additionally, we can also work with nature in a moonthly rhythm, as explained further in this blog: Working With the Moon Phases & Lunar Calendar.
The Seasonal Celebrations are listed below with what is happening for the Southern (S) and Northern (N) hemispheres:
- Lammas (S) & Imbolc (N) - February 1st/2nd
- Mabon (S) & Ostara (N) - March 20 to 23rd
- Samhain(S) & Beltane (N) - May 1st
- Yule (S) & Litha (N)- June 20th to 23rd
- Imbolc (S) & Lammas (N) - August 1st/2nd
- Ostara (S) & Mabon (N) - Sept 20th to 23rd
- Beltane (S) & Samhain (N) - Oct 31st/Nov 1st
- Litha (S) & Yule (N) ~ 20th to 23rd December
With each of these special events, we have provided background information on the essence of each marked cycle of the year, including 7 Ways To Honour and Celebrate the Seasons with activities and adventures to have fun during these seasonal shifts. Stay tuned to our Instagram page for these updates as they happen, or better yet, come join our growing community, who share the sentiments.
About the Seasonal Celebrations...
Celebrating these shifts in the seasons is non-dogmatic and something anyone can do, no matter your religion, age, country or gender. No matter where you are in the world, you can design these eight celebrations into your life as something completely new or add to your current lifestyle and personal practices. How you experience them will depend on where you are in the world and the level of ritual and play you choose to create at these times.
As a Mumma, I relay these special moments to my children so they can receive the information, depending on their age. It doesn't need to be overly intellectual, as the learnings and understanding come when it is embodied in the celebration we create when the wheel turns, and these moments in time are acknowledged. This is as simple as sharing a related craft activity together or a special meal dedicated to the moment.
If you live near the equator as we do here in Far North Queensland, Australia, then the season changes are more subtle, with day lengths not changing so drastically between the peak of winter and the peak of summer (the solstices). However, there are changes to notice ~ this is part of the process of connecting to your place in the world and observing the abundance or feel of your landscape.
For example, here in the tropics, during our summer solstice and the Christmas season, we have very hot and humid weather, so water play and shady picnics are enjoyed, watermelon and mangoes and ice pops are devoured, and red Poinciana and yellow Cassia flowers abound. Our vegetable gardens go to seed, and the tropical fruits on trees are ripening, which may be very different to what is happening in your climate. On the other side of the world, in the northern hemisphere, you may be experiencing snow!
If you are in a temperate climate, you'll have obvious and clearly defined seasons that will influence how you live and the foods you eat more noticeably.About the Wheel of the Year
The themes of birth, death and rebirth are played out across a year that is divided into light and dark, male and female, sun and moon, growth and rest, and heat and cold. The continuous cycle lends itself to the image of a wheel. The ancients and their predecessors saw time as a wheel or spiral divided by eight festivals.
The important thing to note about these moments of pause during the seasonal cycle is the opportunity to connect with the land, the energy of each season as it shifts, and what that means internally and externally. The land is our mother; she feeds us, shelters us, and provides comfort and enjoyment. The festivals or celebrations give us a chance to give something back to her and honour all that she does and cultivate a 'gratitude' attitude.
Solstices occur on days experiencing the most sunlight (summer solstice) and the least sunlight (winter solstice). Equinoxes occur when parts of the Earth experience equal amounts of daylight and dark—in the spring and fall.
You can learn about the science behind these climatic shifts on earth and bring personal meaning to the visible changes through celebration by using your hearts and hands in an embodied way to experience this knowledge.
“One common misconception is that seasons are due to how close or far the Earth is to the sun. The changing position of the Earth’s tilt is the reason for the differences in temperature and length of daylight that distinguish the seasons. When the Northern Hemisphere of the Earth is leaning toward the sun, it receives direct sunlight. The warmth of direct rays causes spring and then summer in that part of the globe. When the Northern Hemisphere of the Earth is leaning away from the sun, it receives more indirect sunlight. The cooling effects of more indirect sunlight cause autumn and winter. Because of the Earth’s approximately 23.5º tilt, the seasons in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres are reversed, about six months apart from each other.” - National Geographic