Quickie | Wheel of the Year

My elemental year cycle

March 13, 2012

I have recently found out something that I had begun to suspect but that I had never actually confirmed until now. My year is based upon an affinity with each of the four elements as the year cycles around, and some times of the year I am more in tune with certain elements than others. I suspect this is the case for many of us on a yearly cycle, but how many of us have gone to the trouble of working out what that affinity is, and thus beginning to tailour our druidic practises towards this affinity? Now may be a good time to do this work. Of course, you may intuitively already know this information, you just may never have actually formalised it in any way. Let me show you how my year works out, and you will see what I mean.

EARTH TIME : February to May

As the male energy begins to enliven the earth again and the plants begin to stir in the soil so the earth comes alive, infusing the earth spirits with strength and rejuvenation. The seeds feel the force of the male energies and wake from their slumber in the earth in response to this.

  • work with earth spirits and elementals
  • earth magic is more potent
  • Underworld voyages are easier
  • a time to venture deep within myself and return with knowledge

 

 

FIRE TIME: May to August

The sun is at its peak and the fire elementals respond to this by being most active at this time. The land is filled with light and warmth, and the earth is slowly drained of water. The time is associated with strength, light and activity. The male and female energies in the earth and sky begin to combine to produce a flourish of growth.

  • work with fire spirits and elementals
  • fire magic is more potent
  • remote viewing and sending energies remotely is easier
  • a time to use the energy available to progress
  • healing energy is abundant

 

WATER TIME: August to November

As the fire begins to leave the plants and the heat drains from the earth so water is called upon to facilitate the decomposition process. The rains and storms come over the land clearing the channels of Summer vegetation, and cleansing the soil. In response to the weakening male energy of the sun the plant spirits make the most of their harvest producing fruits containing the seeds of the next crop to demonstrate the successful union of male and female.

  • work with water spirits and elementals
  • water magic is more potent
  • interactions with spirit forms is easier, especially human
  • clearance work and spirit release is common at this time
  • re-balancing of energy is more frequent and often necessary

 

AIR TIME: November to February

With little sun, often frozen (imprisoned) water and solid earth this time is the playground of the air elementals. High winds race across the land in full flow, and the weather is unpredictable and changeable. The air spirits love the freedom of the winter, when they alone rule the elemental domains. With very little male energy available nothing gets done and the spirits dis-engage from the plants to leave them to sleep until the new year.

  • work with air spirits and elementals
  • air magic is more potent
  • aura shaping/nemeton work is easier at this time
  • remote communication occurs more readily
  • weather patterns can be easily changed
  • knowledge and lessons are easily integrated

This is how I have come to understand the forces of the year and how my own interactions with the elemental forces is now tuned. I would welcome your own feedback on this. Are these timings similar for you too? Do you find that you work with elements at different times to me? How does this impact your work and the kind of places you visit? What stories do you have of your work with the four elements?

Gwas.

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  1. From a purely theoretical perspective, I have associated Fire with summer and south, Earth with spring and east, Air with the autumn and west, and Water with winter and north. This usually has at least two of those switched from whoever else does them, but I believe there is something about the dynamism of the arrangement that almost forces change from one to another. Practically speaking, I don’t do much of anything with elemental forces, but in the place of the nemeton I care for, the predominant winds are more often from the West, the earth is constantly added through sediment deposition and erosion from the East, there is a stream right to the North, and to the South, an open space of hot, hot sun. The rainy season is also in the Winter here, rather than in the spring (where I grew up) or the fall (where you are). To top it off, I go completely opposite of recent tradition in claiming that fire and earth are feminine, while water and air are masculine. 🙂

    1. Excellent! So nice to see people adopting the concepts of the four elements, but crafting them to their own directions rather than simply adopting the accepted wisdom. That, I feel, is true wisdom – when a person can see that the idea has merit, and works it into their own environment in order to make use of the principles.

      I am very interested to hear about your experiences of fire and earth being feminine and water and air being masculine. What brings you to these conclusions? How do they work for you having these attributes?

      In my opinion the elements are both masculine and feminine, and not predominantly either one. I have sat upon mounds whose earth essence is female, but have male energy emerging at the top. I have sat in womb-like structures where I have met with male guardians and spirits. And above all, I have met with elemental spirit forces that have been male, female or no gender alignment at all (neutral). I find it difficult to classify elements as having gender particularly, unlike the accepted texts which state that Earth and Water are feminine, whilst Air and Fire are masculine. To my way of thinking such an orientation does not encompass the full potential of these forces.

      Gwas.

  2. Hmmm interesting. For me here, it would seem logical to have fire time in our hot hot summers, and yet I think it would be more of a fire affinity time to do that in winter when I chop wood and the potbelly stove burns day and night and when we can in fact have an outdoor fire safely, and also when the danger of bushfires is past. Fires very much on our minds in summer but not in a way I would want to work with!

    Perhaps water would be best for summer here. We spend a lot of our time either watering trees and vegies, waiting for rain, or finding somewhere wet to cool down. 🙂

    Early spring would be air because the light and air here in spring is to die for.

    Autumn is earth to my mind. The first rains and cool winds bring growth and energy to us at last and then the dry dead lands come to life and things begin to grow. The very trees breathe a sigh of relief. 🙂

    1. Thanks Bronzewing. That’s exactly what I was hoping people would contribute.

      I begin to see that, as I suspected, the cycle of the year is not “traditional” but “personal”. It is best expressed by each person and their feelings towards the activities they do in harmony with the seasons of their environment. Our shared culturally-agreed ceremonies dedicated to marking particular elements at specific times of the year are thus seen to be out of step with the individual, and no longer retain the tribal intensity of shared experience either.

      You may remember that Kal did an excellent post in whcih he dowsed the various contributions that timing has upon our ability to maximise the energy available to us to work with?

      I have noticed that I have begun to take time off when a full moon is closest to a Celtic Festival date, and the activities I do are then informed by my relationship to the elements, corresponding with the description I gave in the post. I think it will be even more so this year.

      Gwas.

      1. I think you are right, Gwas. The traditional festivals just don’t seem to gel here, whether we reverse them or not. It is hard for us to find ways to make them work for us. We have tried, but I think you are right that what is missing is the shared experience being celebrated together. We’ll keep working on it but perhaps with the elements relevant to that time more in mind as you suggest. And maybe we need to chuck out the names as well and find new ones to match! 🙂 I’m sure that early druidic peoples would have been more in touch with their surroundings and adapted to the cycles of a new place and hemisphere rather than trying to keep their old traditions intact.

        1. Exactly so! That was the natural extension of where my interpretation was heading. I really do believe that one of the reasons why our loose federation of pagans has sustained itself is that its leaders and thought-provokers come to the realisation that it is only through keeping the local community interpreting the information in their immediate environment that we can truly connect with the land.

          The death of any link with divinity is abstraction, and this is one of the reasons why I am not in favour of organised, orthodox, dogmatic, structured religious practices.

          We all have a need to share experiences, but let’s share concepts globally and interpret them to be compatible with our locality and community needs! This way we have flexibility to listen to the Otherworld voices in our environment, and we also have shared experience amongst the people around us with whom we physically interact on a regular basis.

          Gwas.

  3. This is definitely an interesting way to look at the year, one I probably would not have thought of on my own. In order to see how my timings work in relation to yours, I would have to pay closer attention to how I spend my year.

    Your year divisions seem based around logic as well, due to the seasonal influences. Definitely makes sense in my head. I’ll have to think more on it, though, and get back to you.

    Would be interesting to see how Kal divides the year, if he does do it based on elements, and how you to correlate your working together based on that, if they are different.

    1. Hi Kaye,

      Loving your blog, by the way. Hope you don’t mind if I link it on our front page?

      I have a feeling that Kal will not recognise nor impose any elemental or seasonal structure on his yearly cycle as I have. Nevertheless, I’m sure we will end up discussing it to some extent.

      Please let us know whether you notice your own ups and downs throughout the year, and whether your peaks correspond to particular forms of natural magick practise. It could be an ongoing study, this one!

      Gwas.

      1. Gwas,

        It’s just about 3am here, but I do believe you’ve made my entire day. I’d be beyond honoured and flattered if you were to link my blog on your page. It’s bloggers such as Kal and yourself that encouraged me to start my own blog, actually.

        I’m still rooting my way (albeit slowly, sadly) through your Archive, so I’m sure I’ll get an idea as to why Kal might not structure his year in this regard.

        As for my own, I will definitely let you know. Writing myself a note to pay better attention to how my year is structured.

        1. There’s certainly a lot to get through. Keep on blogging – it’s a great way to track your progress, and to remember what you’ve done. I wish I had time to read my own archives! I barely have enough time to read the posts we’ve just written!

          G.

          1. Being an insomniac helps a lot with the blog-reading. I’m working my way through three different ones right now, including yours. Lots of time to do things when you don’t sleep!

    2. Hi Kaye,

      Gwas has read me right. I tend not to put elemental or seasonal structures about me. However the seasons and energies of the world DO impose themselves on me. Alas, try as I might to be energetic and active during the winter months the Earth dampens any such mood. Sometimes I give in, Most times I just get tired of constantly struggling. I don’t mind though. It is people that mind that have the issues in all the trinity of mind, body and energy. I don’t take it personally.

      In the perfectness of hindsight though, my life seems to comply with the energies of the seasons and my own sun energy. Thus the coming spring equinox will bring me fully awake. Phew!

      Kal

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