The Turning of the Year

Happy New Year!

When did yours begin? When did the last end?

One of the things I have been reflecting on the last few weeks has been how following the Wheel of the Year, the eight seasonal festivals recognizing different shifts through the year, has changed my perspective on the seasons and time. Rarely do these festivals come on a specific day, and even then traditionally begin on sundown the day before, such as Samhain on October 31, and extend to the sundown of the next day. Yet, while we may recognize Samhain, or the solstices or equinoxes happening on one day, the energy and feeling of time of year extend for several days or weeks adjacent.

So it has been for me this year, perhaps more than any before. While the Gregorian calendar has us considering the end of the year on December 31, for me it began approaching the Winter Solstice, or Alban Arthan. I had been quarantined with COVID the week before. The days had already become incredibly short. The nights so very long. Our son was out of school for the year. Christmas and holiday presents were in and under the tree. Friends were celebrating Hanukah. We were already preparing for the events of celebration that would last from December 21st through January 1.

This shift in perspective allowed me to slow down, to the point of getting a true feeling of closing out the year.

Along with it, a couple of other things happened.

The Oakheart Seed Group held its first ritual event, an auspicious milestone given the season. We met and celebrated the end of the year and the beginning of a new one, the first spark of light returning to the land. It was a beautiful first group event, and I look forward to more.

I also got to share my story on OBOD Chosen Chief Eimear Burke’s Fireside Chats on the OBOD YouTube channel. Eimear had originally asked me to do it a couple of years ago, but I didn’t feel ready. I didn’t feel I was at a point where I could snap a line and tell something that felt whole. I still felt like I was under serious renovation. She invited me again a couple of months ago, and with the move and all that happened in 2022, I finally felt ready.

What happened was just over two hours of talking about my life, Druidry, then sharing poetry and a short writing I had published on this blog. Eimear was a wonderful and gracious host, and talking with her was natural. It’s one thing to be open and vulnerable with a couple of people, another to a group, and another still to be with anyone who may watch a video online. So far, I have received complete support from viewers, family, and friends. It has been a kind and gentle validation of my path. I may be back for another episode in about six months to talk about other topics!

This interview kind of snaps the line at the end of 2022, and even this period of transition after moving to Portland. My career break is over, I return to work Monday at a new company. It’s a new year by almost all calendars (I don’t really follow the Lunar calendar, but a significant population of the world does, so it’s on my radar), and slowly, we will be leaving the darkness back into another season of light. I have accomplished a lot this year, and a lot of growth came with it, another step taken.

With that, the new year this year means starting another step. Many things are lined up, and the path ahead as far as I can tell is clear. I know there are going to be challenges, but I believe I’m on the right track. I couldn’t ask for a better beginning for a new year.

If you’re reading this, I hope your new year is lined up well. If it isn’t, that’s ok. The seasons keep turning, and there is always ample opportunity to begin to set things in order. May you find your path, and may you find the right people to walk along with you.