From now on The Wheel of the Year, by Rebecca Beattie, is a book I will be recommending to anyone wanting to begin or deepen their practice of solitary pagan witchcraft. It’s a lovely volume, beautifully written and full of inspiring ways to develop a nature-based spiritual path. The subtitle is A Nurturing Guide to Rediscovering Nature’s Cycles and Seasons, and that’s exactly what it offers.
Rather than being just a series of rites to perform at the eight Wiccan festivals of Yule, Imbolc, Spring Equinox, Beltane, Summer Solstice, Lammas, Autumn Equinox and Samhain, the book encourages exploring nature with suggestions for gentle personal development work. There are also ideas for creative projects, recipes and magic. All of these combine to give each reader the elements they need to create their own personal rite for each festival.
On its website, publisher Elliot and Thompson invites you to: “Nurture yourself through the turning seasons with the Wheel of the Year: an enchanting celebration of eight restorative moments in nature’s cycle – from solstices and equinoxes to those midpoints in-between. Let Rebecca Beattie – Wiccan priestess and nature lover – take you on a magical journey around the Wheel of the Year.” The description adds:
“Rooted in an appreciation of the rhythms of the seasons, every six weeks the Wheel of the Year allows us a moment to pause and still the chaos of modern life. This book is alive with what is happening in the ebb and flow of the natural world, helping us to connect with its rejuvenating power and offering rituals to celebrate each seasonal festival, its enchanting folklore and traditions.
“The Wheel of the Year will connect you to the turning of your personal seasons too, enabling you to chart your own moments of transition, reflection and healing alongside the changes in the outside world. Get to know your true inner self and rediscover wisdom and wonder as you start to live in step with nature.”
Rebecca Beattie is a Wiccan priestess with a PhD in Creative Writing. I know her because we both teach practical witchcraft through Treadwell’s in London and have had earlier books published by Moon Books. She previously wrote Pagan Portals – Nature Mystics, which I really enjoyed.
Interestingly, we were both crafting books on the Wheel of the Year at the same time. Mine began as a series of posts on the Moon Books Blog. I didn’t allow myself to read Rebecca’s book until mine was finished, because I didn’t want to be unduly influenced. As soon as my final manuscript was off to the publisher, I allowed myself to enjoy this one. I’m delighted to say I feel our books complement each other. Although they are on the same subject, and both aim to encourage personal work with the cycles of nature, they are different enough that I believe they can happily sit side by side on the same shelf. But don’t wait until my book is published, go out and get yourself a copy of Rebecca’s lovely hardback or ebook (the paperback will be out next year). Use it to deepen your connection with the natural world in a way that is nurturing and kind.
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Happy Samhain! A Samhain nested in an eclipse season? Yes! Also, here are some Blood Moon ritual ideas for the Eclipse Nov. 8th.
Here’s a poem inspired by the things we get up to at Halloween. I’ll admit I sat down to write something serious, about the deities of death, but the words didn’t come to me. So, I left that unfinished and switched to carving a turnip lantern for a Samhain rite I was taking part in (not the one in the photo). Then I wrote the following, far more playful poem:
Light a candle or a fire
‘Gainst the darkness of the year.
Tell yourself it’s time again
To face the things you fear.
Wear the masks of monsters,
Make merry with the dead,
Tell tales of ghostly horrors
‘Til you’re scared to go to bed.
Previous poetry of witchcraft links
I’m also running a workshops at Treadwell’s esoteric bookshop in London on candle magic next month. It’s on Saturday 26 November and is an in-person workshop based on my book Pagan Portals – Candle Magic. It starts at 1pm and costs £22 per person. You can find out more and reserve a place at https://www.treadwells-london.com/ or by visiting the shop. Treadwell’s is at 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury London, WC1E 7BS.
I drew a card for the world using the London Lore Tarot and found The Sewer Gas Lamp. I must admit I gave a wry chuckle, as it really does seem many things are metaphorically going down the drain at the moment. However, the card isn’t actually bad news, as it represents a cunning Victorian method of energy efficiency and recycling. The book that comes with the set explains:
“London’s last sewer gas lamp burns day and night on Carting Lane, known to locals as ‘Farting Lane’. These lamps were designed in the Victorian era, to burn off the stench and dangerous gases that built up in London’s sewers.”
What does it mean in a reading? Well, the book says it represents: “The need to balance conflicting obligations, a juggling act. Being pulled in many different directions. Prioritisation and time management are important.” It corresponds with the Two of Coins in more traditional decks, which often show someone juggling two coins and can indicate a need to balance both finances and priorities.
While most of us are all facing those kinds of issues right now, I think a far more literal interpretation can be taken. Fuel prices are soaring. We all need to look at alternative ways of managing our heat and light, and governments need to look at methods of producing energy that are kind to the environment. This is also the perfect card for this time of year, showing a lamp that lights the way in the darkness. It is, as well, a metaphor for delving deep and finding the riches within, even in places we might fear to go.
Previous related posts
This photo shows a mosaic of Medusa at the Archaeological Park of Dion, an important archaeological site at Mount Olympus in Greece. The picture was sent in by someone who reads this blog.
Dion contains the archeological remains of sanctuaries from the Hellenistic and Roman periods and the park shows the importance of ancient Dion. The mosaic is in the Villa of Dionysus, one of the most important private buildings in the area.
Medusa of Greek and Roman mythology, although often depicted as a monster, has also been seen as a victim, a metaphor for unrest, and an icon for feminist rage. Angry women often get unfairly accused of being monstrous, with the reasons for their anger dismissed. Even in ancient times Medusa was considered to be protective as well as fierce. Her image was sometimes worn as an amulet to help keep the warer safe or ward off the evil eye.
The reader who kindly emailed me this photo sent several other pictures from Dion. I’m sharing this before Halloween as a reminder that the legends behind monsters can sometimes have more than one interpretation.
My Pagan Eye posts show photos that I find interesting – seasonal images, pagan sites, events, or just pretty pictures. If you want to send me a photo for a Pagan Eye post, please email it to email@example.com Let me know what the photo shows and whether you want your name mentioned or not. For copyright reasons, the photo must be one you have taken yourself.
The photo is copyright the photographer and used here with permission
Links and previous related posts