THE WHEEL OF THE YEAR
WORDS: LILY MYERS
IMAGES: KATE WEINER
Yesterday was Groundhog Day, and our furry little friend didn’t see his shadow—we’re promised an early spring this year. It was also Imbolc, a Gaelic holiday and Pagan festival that marks the halfway point between the winter and spring equinox. Imbolc gives us our first glimpse of winter’s end. We can look back on the completed first month of the year, taking stock of where we are and where we want to go. It’s a great chance to check back in with our intentions for this year.
Resolutions are not rigid rules you have to stick to perfectly; rather, they’re intentions for your path. Now, at the year’s first glimmer of changing seasons, is a perfect moment to check in with your path, and perhaps re-align with your intentions.
The Wheel of the Year is a central tenet of Earth-based spirituality. It’s an awareness and appreciation of the changing of the seasons, the Earth’s ongoing spin. I love the image of time as an ancient wheel, ever-turning, ever-changing, imperceptibly, moment by moment. It means that we’re all following a sacred cycle, together, without even needing to try.
I’ve spent much of this past year feeling “stuck”. Unsure where my path is leading me, I’ve often felt like I’m not moving at all. But tuning in to the Wheel of the Year reminds me that I am always moving. In fact, it’s quite impossible to be stuck. As slow as it may feel, the Earth is moving us faithfully through its seasons, each day another gradient on the wheel. We remind ourselves of this with days like Groundhog Day and Imbolc—days that demonstrate that, yes, we are moving forward; yes, spring is coming.
Spring is a season ripe with new hope and light. The Earth shoots up sprouts to rise above the soil. We can take a cue from this and picture ourselves the same way: emerging from winter’s depths to embrace the light. In the tradition of the Wheel of the Year, winter is a time of introspection. We’ve spent months curling into ourselves, insulating ourselves from the cold. It’s not always fun, but it is a natural and necessary part of the wheel. And as one of my favorite spiritual teachers writes, “No winter lasts forever, no spring skips its turn.” The turning of the Wheel is inevitable. Spring will come, crocuses will bloom, days will lengthen. The sun will breathe warmth back into the air.
Aligning ourselves with the Wheel of the Year is a hugely beneficial practice. Becoming cognizant of its turns reminds us that we are inextricably linked to the Earth and its seasons. We are part of the Wheel, not separate from it or fighting against it. Go outside and truly notice what the air feels and smells like. Notice the first small blossoms. When we notice and accept the turning Wheel, we feel less resistance to the seasons—both literal and metaphorical—that are difficult. The inner work that winter brought for me this year was challenging, but it was necessary. And we can fully embrace times like this, welcoming the snow and the cold, because we know that it will melt. We know that no spring skips its turn. We know the blooms are rustling just under the soil’s surface, preparing to emerge.