The Wheel of the Year

by Maxine Miller

by Maxine Miller

“Everything the Power of the World does is done in a cir­cle. The sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power whirls. Birds make their nest in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The moon does the same and both are round. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a [person] is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves. Our teepees were round like the nests of birds, and these were always set in a circle, the na­tion’s hoop.”

— Black Elk, Black Elk Speaks (1961)

The Neo-Pagan Wheel of the Year consists of eight seasonal celebra­tions that correspond to the solstices and equinoxes and the seasonal quarter days in between. The Wheel of the Year is a year-long spiritual meditation on the rhythms of nature and the corresponding rise and fall, ebb and flow, of our inner lives. Spiritual feminist, Karen Clark, explains:

“Our life too is a shifting balance of light and dark, joy and sorrow, and life and death moments. Ponder the sea­sons of your own life: the death-like times when dark­ness, sorrow and loss swallowed you whole, and other times when the sun was shining bright and life was rich and full. Dig deep and notice that the good things in life hold you in your darkest moments, and that your sor­rows and challenges can make your high points all the more poignant and precious. So without, so within; like the natural world, our humanity is woven of darkness and death, and light and life. And in this bittersweet, power­ful truth, we can find our balance and wholeness in the face of life’s shifting seasons.”

Updated 2019

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