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Author Topic: Wheel of the year (or equivalent in your path, if there is one): does it work for you  (Read 3559 times)

juniper.

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Based on Louisvillian's observation in another thread that they found they were not attuned to the wheel of the year, I wondered for how many of us it does work.

For myself, it does not work as the calendar dates of many of the festivals do not coincide in my area with actual conditions. This issue has worsened with my move from Toronto northwest to the mountains. It's hard to celebrate mid-spring at the spring equinox when there is several feet of snow on the ground! At the earliest, the trees here leaf three weeks after Beltane (and in the worst years, not til June).

This does not bother me as much as it would have twenty years ago, so it's not a priority to resolve how I deal with it. But eventually, I would still like to make a decision for myself on how to incorporate the wheel of the year. Will I move the festivals (this could result in many festivals between June and September, and none between Yule and May)? Will I leave them as they are and accept that my climate is different (what I am leaning towards as I like having something to look forward to on a regular basis)? Will I skip some festivals? Will I come up with my own festivals (in which case I'm looking forward to the Festival of the End of Mosquito Season)? Or … ?

For others, there could be different reasons the wheel does not work. Perhaps you live in a city and there is a disconnect with agricultural life.

1. Is the Wheel of the Year (or the equivalent in your path) important to your practise? Why or why not?
   
If yes:
2. Does the Wheel of the Year (or the equivalent in your path) work for you? Why or why not?
3. If not, what was your solution, if any?

Mountain Cat

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Quote from: juniper.;175792
This issue has worsened with my move from Toronto northwest to the mountains. It's hard to celebrate mid-spring at the spring equinox when there is several feet of snow on the ground! At the earliest, the trees here leaf three weeks after Beltane (and in the worst years, not til June).


Wow. Where in the mountains do you live that the leaves come out so late? That's amazing! I live in the mountains, too, and the leaves are all out during May. The snow is always gone at the end of April.




Quote
1. Is the Wheel of the Year (or the equivalent in your path) important to your practise? Why or why not?
   
If yes:
2. Does the Wheel of the Year (or the equivalent in your path) work for you? Why or why not?
3. If not, what was your solution, if any?

 

1)I've followed two different paths and their yearly celebrations. My druid path follows the common Wheel of the Year, similar, I believe, to Wiccan paths. The Norse Pagan path I follow has three, maybe four, seasonal celebrations, though some add more for reasons I don't understand yet.

2) The Wheel of the Year doesn't work for me, for the same reason it doesn't work for you. Everything is out of sync. The Norse Pagan seasonal celebrations DO work for me. They seen better attuned to the seasons we have here in the mountains.

3) My solution? Well, I just felt awkward about the druid celebrations. I was in the process of trying to see if I could find something in them that would work for me when I realized that the Druid path wasn't going to work for me in that way at all. I've opted for following the Norse Pagan seasonal celebrations instead, which just work better for me. Plus, that's my religious path whereas druidry is a spiritual path for me.

Queen of Swords

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Quote from: juniper.;175792
Based on Louisvillian's observation in another thread that they found they were not attuned to the wheel of the year, I wondered for how many of us it does work.

1. Is the Wheel of the Year (or the equivalent in your path) important to your practise? Why or why not?
   
If yes:
2. Does the Wheel of the Year (or the equivalent in your path) work for you? Why or why not?
3. If not, what was your solution, if any?


1. Yes. I'm not part of an organized religion, so it's just a personal choice. Why? Probably because I feel a great psychological and energetic connection to seasonal changes.

2. Sort of. Barring weather anomalies, I find that Maryland tends to lag about a month behind solar timing. Some years it isn't a big deal. This year we had snow very late into the season, so Spring didn't feel very much like Spring.

3. This is my first year working with the Wheel, so I'm just kind of observing and thinking about how to incorporate it in my practice. I like observing the cross-quarter days, I've come to think of it as "preparing for and looking toward" the season as opposed to the start of the season. Some people call it the transition. Although I observe the seasons according to both solar reckoning and local temperature, I'll only perform ritual during one of those. I just haven't decided which I'd prefer for ritual.

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Quote from: juniper.;175792
1. Is the Wheel of the Year (or the equivalent in your path) important to your practise? Why or why not?
   
If yes:
2. Does the Wheel of the Year (or the equivalent in your path) work for you? Why or why not?
3. If not, what was your solution, if any?

 
I don't deal in the wheelyear in my personal practice anymore, and haven't for some time, but some of my reasons for it might be interesting, so I shall contribute.

First of all: I don't deal well with the specificity of the structure.  The idea of eight equally spaced festivals in the year feels intensely artificial to me, more mechanistic than natural.  It doesn't matter what the festivals are - I'm entirely happy with stuff like Jenett's a while ago comment that Imbolc is "the festival of we can actually believe that spring would be coming someday" (paraphrasing, but I believe that's the gist) but the regularity of it is just weird to me.  It doesn't feel real to me, I guess?  Inorganically grown.

A similar thing comes in the way that, at least in the Wiccish stuff I'm most familiar with, the festivals are all part of One Myth Cycle .  (I am entirely unfamiliar with how these things are handled in other groups such as druidic orders.)  When I look at the festival cycles of other religions, they have multiple reasons for things being included in the calendar.  There's stuff that's agricultural-cycle, there's stuff that's year-cycle (as distinguished from agriculture specifically, though these have a lot of overlap), there's civic festivals, there's commemoration festivals, there's all this variety of stuff, not just "here is one myth cycle and it covers every major festival".

That all being said, my ritual group in theory meets for the wheel dates because that's about how long we want to go between 'let's have a cookout and do ritual'.  We have, at this point, built some basic liturgy for some of the things - the ones where a group member has a Relevant Thing, mostly - and... you know, I don't think we've ever managed to meet for equinox stuff because nobody has had stuff there?  The Celt keeps commenting we need to figure out some good sporting events for August, though we do have the archery range in place now.  (I insist that I gave birth on that date in 2009 and that is sufficiently athletic, thank you.)


(Um.  I suspect that my current calendar-building project is ... not precisely off-topic but kind of oblique of same, so I will refrain from inserting the Fucking Calendars Rant in its current instantiation.)
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Quote from: juniper.;175792
Based on Louisvillian's observation in another thread that they found they were not attuned to the wheel of the year, I wondered for how many of us it does work.

For myself, it does not work as the calendar dates of many of the festivals do not coincide in my area with actual conditions. This issue has worsened with my move from Toronto northwest to the mountains. It's hard to celebrate mid-spring at the spring equinox when there is several feet of snow on the ground! At the earliest, the trees here leaf three weeks after Beltane (and in the worst years, not til June).

This does not bother me as much as it would have twenty years ago, so it's not a priority to resolve how I deal with it. But eventually, I would still like to make a decision for myself on how to incorporate the wheel of the year. Will I move the festivals (this could result in many festivals between June and September, and none between Yule and May)? Will I leave them as they are and accept that my climate is different (what I am leaning towards as I like having something to look forward to on a regular basis)? Will I skip some festivals? Will I come up with my own festivals (in which case I'm looking forward to the Festival of the End of Mosquito Season)? Or … ?

For others, there could be different reasons the wheel does not work. Perhaps you live in a city and there is a disconnect with agricultural life.

1. Is the Wheel of the Year (or the equivalent in your path) important to your practise? Why or why not?
   
If yes:
2. Does the Wheel of the Year (or the equivalent in your path) work for you? Why or why not?
3. If not, what was your solution, if any?

 
I've never used it much as a personal practice.  I have observed Equinoxes and a couple other days of the Wheel in eclectic contexts with friends.  People were coming from different spiritualities but it was a touchstone that gave us a context and a good reason to have good meals together.  I'd still do something like that if we started doing it again.

Before I had the structure that has come together over the last few years in my spirituality, particularly the last year or so, I tried the Wheel, but it hard to observe eight festivals a year so closely spaced and I didn't have much of a connection to it on a symbolic level or as a seasonal cycle because where I live the seasons are off.  It's almost like we're in summer all the time.  Our fall and winters are late, our springs are like summer and hard for me personally to be festive about except for a week or two when it's still technically fall and summers are basically hell.  I also re-worked the whole Wheel at one point with different symbolism and replaced some of the days with similar American equivalents -- Valentine's Day and Halloween were two of them -- although with different associations than even the American days.  But that didn't completely work out because at that time I was working with a lot of symbolism that just didn't have staying power for me.  I still like the idea of re-working the Wheel like that, though.

Even now I don't have my own calendar.  I still fall back on familiar holy days, Advent, Christmas, Easter, and the like which correspond in some ways to seasonal and astronomical events, albeit often with my own rituals that are quite a bit different than anything else and contain many personal and to some extent more esoteric resonances for me.  I also celebrate Christmas and Easter in the secular ways and still like having something that my friends and family are doing.

I tended to make resolutions at the equinoxes and solstices because of their universal significance and I was more likely to remember and work on resolutions, but I've slacked on it the last couple of years.  Occasionally I meet on those days with friends and walk a beautiful labyrinth with drumming, torches, and the like.  At times there are Christians, neo-pagans, Native Americans, and New Age people present.  All of this is hosted by my Episcopal friend.  Everyone just does their own prayers or ritual gestures associated with their own religions for the walk.  I've observed my own rituals for holy days there with one friend, too.

Other days are not related to any holidays or cycles, but things that are memorable to me.  On a given person's death day I'll perform a ceremony to remember that person or perform a ritual sacrifice for them (not animals) and celebrate that in a context of a meal.  When I have the space and resources I will make shrines for certain people who have passed on and be more elaborate and regular with that as it keeps me mindful of our communion together.

Doing things this way just feels more natural to me.  I get to keep holy days that are still meaningful to me from my Anglican background but within my own ritual context, I get the secular aspects of Easter and Christmas with my wider circle of friends and family, and then I meet with friends for days that are meaningful to them for reasons of community and sharing, topped off with special days where I commune with and offer sacrifice for my dead.

Some of the holy days I observe from my religious background also correspond to spiritual events that happened to me during those seasons some years ago so when I observe them with my own rituals there is much dual symbolism corresponding to the usual mythic symbols of those days as well as personal experiences that have taken on their own symbolic and ritual character.  Those observances are particularly meaningful to me as the universal and the particular become intertwined in a unique way.

I didn't really plan out how I would do this kind of thing as I had previously with the Wheel of the Year.  It was more like an organic process, something I looked back on over the last couple of years and simply noticed I was doing.  It felt a lot more natural and isn't strictly based on seasonal or astronomical aspects of the year though it has components of that.  I'd imagine that it will continue to develop over the years, but probably more in terms of devotions and shrines for particular spirits and dead that I love and care for.
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Quote from: Darkhawk;175796
The idea of eight equally spaced festivals in the year feels intensely artificial to me, more mechanistic than natural.


I want to call this out explicitly, because it's highly relevant. In historical practice, if you're doing 'vaguely evenly spaced rituals', there are 4 of them, not 8. We have 8 because various early people in the witchcraft and druid movements each had 4, and everyone sort of decided that 8 parties was twice as much fun.

(And more psychologically, it does get the spacing to about the right number if you have a group of people getting together, but not terribly regularly, and catching up on people's lives since the last one takes a bit longer than if you saw them every week, but not so much that there are usually tons of massive changes for everyone.)  

Quote

It doesn't matter what the festivals are - I'm entirely happy with stuff like Jenett's a while ago comment that Imbolc is "the festival of we can actually believe that spring would be coming someday" (paraphrasing, but I believe that's the gist) but the regularity of it is just weird to me.  It doesn't feel real to me, I guess?  Inorganically grown.


That's more or less right, yeah. I've mostly lived in places where everything else but Imbolc more or less maps reasonably, but that one is still "Yeah, I'm not believing there's a spring until I see it."

Quote

A similar thing comes in the way that, at least in the Wiccish stuff I'm most familiar with, the festivals are all part of One Myth Cycle .  (I am entirely unfamiliar with how these things are handled in other groups such as druidic orders.)  When I look at the festival cycles of other religions, they have multiple reasons for things being included in the calendar.  There's stuff that's agricultural-cycle, there's stuff that's year-cycle (as distinguished from agriculture specifically, though these have a lot of overlap), there's civic festivals, there's commemoration festivals, there's all this variety of stuff, not just "here is one myth cycle and it covers every major festival".


There's variations. And to complicate things, there's at least 3 conflicting Wiccish mythsets out there (conflicting to the degree you can't do them at the same time.)

My tradition does something that's a much more viable option, I am inclined to think, which is that each ritual year is a cycle that builds on the one before, and that has stages that are tied to the seasons, but not dependent on them - so, for example, between Samhain and Yule is a resting period, to take a break and think about your previous year and the coming one, and be introspective, and then you pick a particular goal around Yule, start seeding things that will make it happen around Imbolc, then do things to help it flourish and grow and become a real harvestable thing.

There's more nuance than that, but it allows for a wider range of variation, and for adaptation to a wider range of circumstances, which is handy.

I've also found that the more successful ritual models have at least some anchor points that turn into their own thing - in the group I trained with, Samhain was the one ritual we did basically the same way (allowing for number of people/number who could take certain ritual roles) every year, and summer solstice turned into a 'pause and think about the group as a whole, and what we're doing and what we want to be doing' and we had another thing for Imbolc that was Norn related rather than Brigid, and fit a bit better than focusing on that mythical spring.

And I have personal feelings that Mabon (which is also my birthday) is basically a grand and glorious excuse for a bunch of good food, good conversation, and people getting together and enjoying a nice crisp fall evening. (Which, you know, actually fits most Wheel models pretty tidily, unless you're the sort of ritual group that sacrifices the God at Mabon rather than Lammas or Samhain.)

You don't need to have every ritual do that, but having about half of them have that kind of thing helps a lot.

Or, alternately, figuring out which ones you actually care about, and just doing those, and seeing if you miss things. For an individual, that can work out fine - for a group, one of the reaosns for rituals that aren't Your Big Thing is that they might be someone else's Big Thing, or relevant to their life a particular year, and if you get out of the habit of doing something for them, you lose those opportunities. (Besides, as noted, the 'good chance to see people and catch up' scheduling.)
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Sobekemiti

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Quote from: juniper.;175792

1. Is the Wheel of the Year (or the equivalent in your path) important to your practise? Why or why not?
   
If yes:
2. Does the Wheel of the Year (or the equivalent in your path) work for you? Why or why not?
3. If not, what was your solution, if any?

 
The Wheel is very important, yes. For me, it matches my seasons the best. I started out Wiccan when I first became Pagan, and that gave me some familiarity with the Wheel. I ended up using Kemetic calendars when I drifted into Kemetic reconstructionism, but that calendar never really worked for me for a number of reasons.

Firstly, I am in Australia, and the festivals were all the wrong way around. They did not match my seasons, and performing a 'light all the candles because winter!' festival IN SUMMER IN AUSTRALIA is just not practical or enticing at all.

Secondly, the three Kemetic seasons just don't map very well to the four seasons we have here where I live. I tried to make it work in an abstract sort of way, but once that desire for a seasonal calendar got to the point where it was something I needed to move my practice forward, that Kemetic calendar just didn't work, not even when I spent two months or so switching the calendar around to match my own seasons. Those three seasons still didn't work very well at all.

Thirdly, I just became less recon? And there were always so many festivals in the Kemetic calendar for all the gods except Sobek. And I wanted more Sobek festivals. Three feasts scattered randomly through the year just wasn't enough for this Sobek devotee.

All of this was why I went back to the Wheel. I could match it up with my seasons, and as I played around with it, I was able to give the solstices and equinoxes to Sobek and Heru as major festivals, rather than minor feasts that got lost in all the other big festivals on the old Kemetic calendar. I could also just keep the multi-day Kemetic festivals I really liked, namely Wep Ronpet and the Mysteries of Wesir. I also added the Feast of Zep Tepi (for Kheperu), as a way of balancing Wep Ronpet, and created the Coronation of Heru-sa-Aset as a way of balancing the Mysteries. The Wheel I use is all about balance.

I had a lot of trouble when I was first formulating my Wheel about what to do with Oct 31, because that date is so associated with Hallowe'en in my head that it just couldn't work for a switch to a late spring fire festival. So I co-opted Nov 5, bonfire night, instead. and then I just ran the coronation festival between Oct 31 and Nov 5, to make it into a multi-day feast. And I think it works better for beginning on Hallowe'en, to give it that energy of coming out of the darkness, and into the light.

So my Wheel is a balance of druidic solstices and equinoxes, and Kemetic festivals, and they are designed to flow through the year, and carry that energy with them. I divide it into light and dark halves, marked by the equinoxes, where Sobek's energy is more present during the dark half of the year, and Heru has the light half. I generally conceive of my Wheel as a sine wave. It escapes the sense of a circular cycle, but gives it that oscillation in energy from Sobek to Heru and back again. Because I generally see time as a spiral, rather than a circle or a line. (Thanks Dinotopia!) And a sine wave fits that much better than anything else.

Altogether, my Wheel looks like this:
Jan 27-31 - Epagomenal Days
Feb 1 - Wep Ronpet
Mar 21 - Autumn Equinox
May 1-8 Mysteries of Wesir
Jun 21 - Winter Solstice
Aug 1-4 - Feast of Zep Tepi
Sep 21 - Spring Equinox
Oct 31 - Nov 5 - Coronation of Heru-sa-Aset
Dec 21 - Summer Solstice

And that works really well for me. I can still do Kemetic style festivals, but I also have those major festival days for Sobek, which just weren't there in the old Kemetic calendars. And my path is so Sobek-centric that this was the best way to give Sobek those major festivals I needed without ditching the Kemetic festivals I still enjoyed. Some recons may not approve, but it works for me, and that's really all I care about, tbh.
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Quote from: juniper.;175792


1. Is the Wheel of the Year (or the equivalent in your path) important to your practise? Why or why not?
   
If yes:
2. Does the Wheel of the Year (or the equivalent in your path) work for you? Why or why not?
3. If not, what was your solution, if any?

It is important to me as a Wiccan, but not so much outside if it. Wicca has four Greater, and Lower Sabbats. Originally there were only the four Greater until pretty much Gardner's Bricketwood coven wanted more days to have parties on. For a tradition that meets regularly during the lunar cycles as well it flows naturally,  however the way the Sabbats have been portrayed in wider communities isn't always familiar.  For example names like, Mabon, Litha, Ostara, e.t.c aren't relevant or Wiccan in origin. It was the Farrars who popularised some of the Irish terms, which for us is relavent, however we still have distinct trads and lore which doesn't always relate to how the Gaelic festivals have been observed historically....

However also being a Gaelic Polytheist the four fire festivals have a different significance to me which I also observe outside of circle as well. In this instance the rest of the Wheel isn't as emphasised or relevant to others,  however I personally observe them outside of circle too because they were noted by our ancestors and have a bit of folklore to them. Luckily where I live usually coincides with the agrarian&agricultural cycles tgey represent.  Climate change hasn't strayed too far, (and luckily there are no mosquitos or mosquito season!!) ) A lot of the festivals have been revived publicly too which makes that communal element even cooler.

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Quote from: juniper.;175792
Based on Louisvillian's observation in another thread that they found they were not attuned to the wheel of the year, I wondered for how many of us it does work.

For myself, it does not work as the calendar dates of many of the festivals do not coincide in my area with actual conditions. This issue has worsened with my move from Toronto northwest to the mountains. It's hard to celebrate mid-spring at the spring equinox when there is several feet of snow on the ground! At the earliest, the trees here leaf three weeks after Beltane (and in the worst years, not til June).

This does not bother me as much as it would have twenty years ago, so it's not a priority to resolve how I deal with it. But eventually, I would still like to make a decision for myself on how to incorporate the wheel of the year. Will I move the festivals (this could result in many festivals between June and September, and none between Yule and May)? Will I leave them as they are and accept that my climate is different (what I am leaning towards as I like having something to look forward to on a regular basis)? Will I skip some festivals? Will I come up with my own festivals (in which case I'm looking forward to the Festival of the End of Mosquito Season)? Or … ?

For others, there could be different reasons the wheel does not work. Perhaps you live in a city and there is a disconnect with agricultural life.

1. Is the Wheel of the Year (or the equivalent in your path) important to your practise? Why or why not?
   
If yes:
2. Does the Wheel of the Year (or the equivalent in your path) work for you? Why or why not?
3. If not, what was your solution, if any?

 
I celebrate the wheel mainly because i want to celebrate the changing of the seasons. The weather around here usually fits quite well with the wheel apart from this year when the wintry weather seems to have carried on into may and we are only now starting to get nice spring - y weather.
I don't really pay any attention to the wiccish myths about the wheel of the year (god meets goddess and all that) because it doesn't mean anything to me. To me it is about the literal cycles of nature and the earth.

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Quote from: Moonstone;175821
I celebrate the wheel mainly because i want to celebrate the changing of the seasons. The weather around here usually fits quite well with the wheel apart from this year when the wintry weather seems to have carried on into may and we are only now starting to get nice spring - y weather.
I don't really pay any attention to the wiccish myths about the wheel of the year (god meets goddess and all that) because it doesn't mean anything to me. To me it is about the literal cycles of nature and the earth.


Pretty much this.

Also, I'm in a very wiccish group right now, though they're quite explicit about NOT being "serious" Wiccans (that's actually the phrasing THEY used.) The Sabbat rituals are a shitton of fun, and I basically go to be a part of a community and be around likeminded people.
 
It's also helped me to uncouple the Greater from the Lesser sabbats, and do away with the BTW myth cycle. Thus I try to view Bealtaine, Imbolc, Samhain, and Mabon, as discrete holidays with their own stories to tell.
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Quote from: Redfaery;175822
It's also helped me to uncouple the Greater from the Lesser sabbats, and do away with the BTW myth cycle. Thus I try to view Bealtaine, Imbolc, Samhain, and Mabon, as discrete holidays with their own stories to tell.


That's how revival Druidry works with the festivals.
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Quote from: Sobekemiti;175807

Firstly, I am in Australia, and the festivals were all the wrong way around. They did not match my seasons, and performing a 'light all the candles because winter!' festival IN SUMMER IN AUSTRALIA is just not practical or enticing at all.

 
Ha, yep, even if you switch 'em by six months like lots of people suggest, many parts of Australia still don't sync up with the seasonal or mythical aspects of the Wheel. I've been reading "Dancing the Sacred Wheel" by Frances Billinghurst which goes over this in more detail - and I recommend it to Aussies interested in adapting the Wheel of the Year.

I'm a Kiwi so I too had to wrestle the Wheel into submission. ;)

I really enjoyed reading the rest of your post, Sobekemiti. You've obviously put a lot of thought and effort into creating seasonal celebrations that work for you! It was beautiful to read.

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Quote from: juniper.;175792

1. Is the Wheel of the Year (or the equivalent in your path) important to your practise? Why or why not?
   
If yes:
2. Does the Wheel of the Year (or the equivalent in your path) work for you? Why or why not?
3. If not, what was your solution, if any?

 
1. Yep, I've always been interested in religious Witchcraft, so the Wheel of the Year has been a big part of that.

2. As a New Zealander, I've had to adapt the Wheel somewhat.

3. Obviously, moving the dates by six months was the first step! I've always been more connected to the solar festivals (solstices, equinoxes) but a few years back (like, 10) I integrated some local Maori spiritual traditions into those of my Celtic heritage, and when blended with the Witchcraft, it made the Greater Sabbats click.

Sobekemiti

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Quote from: Mellee;175834
Ha, yep, even if you switch 'em by six months like lots of people suggest, many parts of Australia still don't sync up with the seasonal or mythical aspects of the Wheel. I've been reading "Dancing the Sacred Wheel" by Frances Billinghurst which goes over this in more detail - and I recommend it to Aussies interested in adapting the Wheel of the Year.

I'm a Kiwi so I too had to wrestle the Wheel into submission. ;)

I really enjoyed reading the rest of your post, Sobekemiti. You've obviously put a lot of thought and effort into creating seasonal celebrations that work for you! It was beautiful to read.

 
Yeah, I mean, I love Aset Luminous as a festival of lights, but man, not on NYE in summer in Australia. XD

That said, I actually think the three Egyptian seasons would work pretty well up north, though, even if they don't work down here where it's a more temperate climate. Knowing the place you live is at the heart of creating a meaningful seasonal calendar, I think. It takes a lot of work, but I think it's been worth it, because I have a calendar now that works really well, and reflects the place I live, which is what I wanted to achieve.

'Dancing the Sacred Wheel' does look interesting, even if I'm a bit leery about adopting any Indigenous things into my practice, because I'm a white Pagan, and that just doesn't sit well with me. Still, it's rare to find any books about being Pagan in the southern hemisphere, so I'll scoop it up anyway. It may prove a useful reference for my druidic studies.
Sobekemiti | Queer Polytheist and Sobek Devotee | My pronouns are they/them
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Shedety Scriptorium - my Etsy shop, selling handmade journals, prayer beads, and other sacred items.

Darkhawk

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Quote from: Sobekemiti;175836
That said, I actually think the three Egyptian seasons would work pretty well up north, though, even if they don't work down here where it's a more temperate climate. Knowing the place you live is at the heart of creating a meaningful seasonal calendar, I think. It takes a lot of work, but I think it's been worth it, because I have a calendar now that works really well, and reflects the place I live, which is what I wanted to achieve.

 
I'd note that "the place you live" is also not ... hrr.  It's not just location.

One of the exercises my teacher sets early students is to work through what she called "your personal wheelyear" and figure things out.  Which means things like "What time of year are you prone to depression", "What time of year do you start new projects", "do you tend to fall in love in a particular season", that sort of thing?

My personal wheelyear fits really, really well with the Egyptian calendar.  Which has been useful to me as an exercise, because I can go into the Egyptian calendar and go, "Yes.  The height of summer is the harrowing time.  Now you know how to use that energy and bring it through, the flood is coming, hang in there."  Or whatever else.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

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