Category Archives: Angela D

The Wheel

Life is full of changes and transitions.  In fact, it’s said that the only constant in life is change.  We each handle change in our own ways – some of us try not to deal with it at all – but as things never stay the same, we all move on in some manner or another.

ImageOne of the things that has helped me deal with change is the concept of the Wheel of the Year.  A common image in modern paganism, the Wheel of the year represents all fours seasons with each of the eight Celtic solar holidays positions around the wheel.  Think of it as a simple calendar on which you can see, in general terms, where you are along the course of the year, and where you are in relation to everything else.

Unlike a “regular” calendar, the Wheel is, well, a wheel – circular in shape, so that one transitions to the next phase of the year in a continuous loop.  The course is laid out for us, always changing, but showing us the path forward.  It also shows us the constant patterns of life – dark will come after light, light will come after dark – and that we can count on these changes as cycles to be repeated.  So even as change is inevitable, so are is the cycle of the year.  We always know what is coming up next.

These days, I think most of us are familiar with Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D., a condition that affects people in the dark half of the year due to the lack of light as their area of the globe moves farther away from the Sun.  People with S.A.D. can be depressed, tired all the time, have a hard time concentrating, and generally find the dark half of the year very difficult.  I used to suffer from this quite a bit, and still experience the symptoms from time to time.

Yet when I discovered the image and concept of the Wheel of the Year, I began to look at the dark half of the year in a different way.  I could see it was just a time of the year that we all had to pass through, and that the light was inevitably on its way.  Yule became a holiday of triumph for me: the longest night and shortest day were at hand, and now the light would return.  Slowly, perhaps, but the light would indeed return.

In most of North America, tomorrow is the beginning of Daylight Savings Time (I always think of it as the end, but that’s not actually correct).  We “Spring ahead” and set our clocks forward one hour.  This is the day of the year that I celebrate as the “we survived the Winter darkness!” day.  As promised by the Wheel, the light has officially returned, and we are now full-swing into the light half of the year.

So remember to set those clocks one hour ahead tonight, and enjoy the full hour of extra daylight we now have in the evenings!  Blessed Be.

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ang

Angela has been following her pagan path for over 17 years. When she is not blogging or promoting Treewise, Angela knits, runs her own business, and falls a lot while trying to play roller derby.

 

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Holiday Traditions

Finding a few spare moments in which to be quiet and contemplative can be difficult during these busy holiday times, yet I find making the effort to do so is always worth it. It’s easy to lose the focus of what the holidays mean to us: is it a religious holiday, a time for family and friends, a few days off work, or celebrating the change of seasons? This time of year means something different to us all. Here is what it means to me.

Before I followed a pagan path, the Christmas holidays were a time of excitement about Santa and presents, and having time off school to play in the snow. Christmas dinner was always an event, and I enjoyed eating foods that we never had any other time of the year. The “specialness” of it all wowed me: special decorations, special foods, special songs. We went to church on Christmas Eve. I loved how our little log cabin church was always so warm and cozy and how everyone in the congregation contributed to that feeling.

One of my favourite Christmas Eve traditions came when we moved East and started going to a new church. This church had a long-standing and beautiful tradition. Everyone in the congregation was given a thin white candle to hold for later in the service. When most of the service was complete, all of the lights in the church were turned off. The only light came from a tall pillar candle at the front. As we all began to sing “Silent Night,” the light from that candle was passed to the people in the front of the church, who in turn passed it back, row by row. Soon the church was filled with the glow of a hundred points of light, the light brought forth from the darkness.

Now I do follow a pagan path, and this return of the light means even more to me now. I celebrate the longest night of the year, the Winter Solstice, and the return of the light the next morning. The sun is born again that day and light slowly returns to the world. This return of the light is symbolized or mythologized in a variety of ways. It could be the Goddess giving birth to the young God, or the triumph of the Oak King over the Holly King. Whatever the symbolism, the purpose and meaning is the same. We have survived the dark, the light now triumphs, and the promise of the return of the light has been fulfilled.

So how do you celebrate at this time of year? Do you notice the light returning? Do you mark the transition from dark to light? Are you like me over this time, filling my face with good food and spending time with my family? I’d love to hear about your traditions and what this time means to you.

Welcome to the holidays!

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ang

Angela has been following her pagan path for over 17 years. When she is not blogging or promoting Treewise, Angela knits, runs her own business, and falls a lot while trying to play roller derby.

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