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The Wheel of the Year: Round and Round She Goes and Where She Stops!

Author: Raveneve Night
Posted: March 18th. 2007
Times Viewed: 6,979

Why do we pretend to be something we are not?

It is Halloween in Australia. The birds are singing, the frangipanis are budding and you could almost see Walt Disney’s Bambi appear on the horizon. If ever there was a clichéd moment it was this one. But what do I see? Little monsters, vampires and devils appearing at the Free Dress day at school. The shops have pumpkins, orange candles and skeletons and we go again into Halloween frenzy.

The television is showing horror movies and cartoons, while at my door appears four little persons, one in a sheet, one with a bad green complexion and two who are not dressed, but are there for moral support. Fortunately chocolate is always at hand so my Halloween-wanna-bes are satisfied, (although I dread to think if someone actually took the trick option what would happen). They also seem to have done pretty well for themselves.

The Saturday before the big event a multitude of ‘spooky’ parties were held and much mead was consumed, while grown adults tried to turn spring into wild, snow-driven, foggy winter to create atmosphere, (I’m told dry ice is a favorite option).

I know I have a weird sense of humor, but you’ve got to admit, grown men and women, running around in cloaks, capes, long flowing dresses and wigs in 30 degree Celsius/ 86 degrees Fahrenheit heat is quite funny. Not to mention the runny make-up and sweat spots in the clothes. It is enough to make Spielberg snicker.

This is what you get for trying to deny the energy of the place you are living in.

The Goddess and Horned God are trying to do Their all to awaken the land in spring and we as a group are pretending that we are talking to the spirit of Halloween. It is enough to give Mother Earth a hangover, (along with the rest of the population). I don’t think that people are going to want to “celebrate” Beltaine in proper tradition, (fertility rites and all). If they wander around pretending to be the Undead, it sort of defeats the purpose.

Now lets have a look at the material that we have got to work with:

1.Beltaine energy, (yum, yum)
2.Flowers budding
3.Birds pairing off (slightly censored)
4.Green and glorious land
5.Lots of blue sky
6.And for the main event- hundreds of skeleton, crotchety witches, ghouls and mother-in-laws

Mix repeatedly and what do you get? A very confused spring celebration, pregnant skeletons, ghouls, etc and lots of cranky Mother-In –Laws (possibly the most scary of the monster type).

It is enough to make you cr, and if you think this is bad imagine what it is like for our real Samhain.

I know that fighting the Media on this is like changing politicians. After you get rid of one they all start to look the same. But I’m not entirely sure of what it is doing to our psyche to continually try and pretend that we ‘down here’ experience the same celebrations as you guys ‘up there’ at the same time. It has to be creating a level of confusion in our land.

Clearly imitation is a form of flattery, but how much damage are we doing by celebrating death energy in spring and Goddess knows what else in our actual Halloween. What a waste of lovely energy. Is it any wonder that Australia is in the middle of one of the worst droughts ever!

I ask all of you, what do you think would happen if you were giving birth and some nut comes along dressed in black and chanting about the souls of the dead? Well, you would have a pretty pissed-off Mother, the nurses would be calling the police, and the baby might have many years of death energy to try and get rid of. What a tragic event. But this is what happens year after year, and Australia is not the only country affected. How many countries in the world try to follow some Pagan festival only to have it on at the wrong time of year for the actual country?

Now I’m not going to attribute every disaster in the world on this but if we think about it, how quickly would the land be healed or the weather returned to normal if we used the right energy at the right time of the season? It has got to be better than what is happening now.

Now let us examine Midsummer/Yule. Hmmm, in Queensland in the glorious tropics, December is hot. Gentle breezes blow sand and salt as we laze around in the ocean drinking up the sun. There is lots of smiling people, casual and relaxed, and the sky is the color of blue satin-streaked with white lace clouds.

It is school holiday time and parents with siblings in tow try to find, buy or steal something that will occupy the little darlings while Mum and Dad sleep the sleep of the weary.

December, a time of lazy days and party nights and what does the European Wheel of the Year have for us? Yule! Snow-covered windows, Christmas Carols (Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow)… Well, you get the idea.

Christmas then comes something of a shock. It is 30 degrees plus and you start to see white on windows and tinsel in the shopping centers. Yep, fake snow, fake velvet, chubby angels in winter robes and Yule/Christmas springs forth in plastic abundance.

Now I know that Midsummer is the height of passion between the God/Goddess, Their bounty is ensured with kindness and love. So what do we Pagans have to put up with I ask you…Turkey, Chicken, Ham everywhere, with Plum Pudding to go.

Just a little side note. Did you know that in Australia in summer it is dangerous to leave candles by the window because they will actually melt in the heat without being lit (they end up looking like U’s which make them hard to light)? I am told if you freeze them they will last longer. The road of Paganhood is filled with these little adaptations.

So lets again analyze the situation. We have the Australian Pagans trying to bring forth Midsummer under the watchful guidance from our God (esses) Who provide:

- Delicious summer energy
- Youngens everywhere bouncing, yelling and giving their parents merry hell
- Blue sky, warm breezes and swimming at the beach (I am a very lucky Pagan and I know it).
- Seafood galore
- Fresh fruit and vegetables, the gift of plenty
- Lazy days and energy-filled nights

And most of the good old Aussie community wants winter, snowmen, frost and ice (although I think if we actually had to feel real cold we would curl up in a ball and whimper).

A white winter for Christmas is what the marketing and sales divisions want to sell so that we will get into the Xmas spirit and spend, spend, spend. We came close to a “traditional Christmas” this year -- it was a chilly 25 degrees Celsius (brrrr). I still went swimming at the beach, but it was a bit too cold for poor, old, ancient me.

Now in Australia we have modified the Turkey Dinner to Seafood, Roast Potatoes to Salad, but this somehow still just doesn’t feel right. We go to the shopping centre and Carolers sing in the shop speakers, tinsel is aglittering and Yule is commercially motoring along to the lovely jingle, jingle of cash registers.

If we remove the Christian element, we still have a whole country culture wanting it to snow or have a white Christmas, (it actually did snow in the mountains this year and boy were we shocked). It is summer, not winter. So let us get over it.

So what does this have to do with us as a Pagan community?

Please note here that many Pagans do use the Southern variation of the Wheel of the Year successfully but here is my sticking point: Why do Witches, Wiccan or Pagans try to follow the European Wheel of the Year no matter what or where they live?

We are an Earth-linked religion and guardian. We are supposed to know better. It is like trying to have a funeral at a christening. It shouldn’t happen.

We are supposed to be ‘in touch’ with the land not working against it. How much happier would our country be if we worked with it, not against it. We especially need this to fight the traditional “Commercial Attitude” of the Media and the mundane community.

The thing to remember with the Wheel of the Year is that it should link to the place where you are in, not published dates practiced half a world away. This would be as much of an issue for Pagans who lived in higher latitudes than England, as it is for those that live lower. Celebrations have to be seasonally adjusted to where YOU are at, not when someone tells you.

My husband has just poked his nose in to comment that many of our festivals are solar-linked, especially the Solstices and the Equinoxes. It depends on the times of the sunrise and sunset (he would have to make things really difficult mutter, mutter) and now this gets really difficult. Well this is where research, many calculations and reading of the magazine, “Spellcraft” (Australian Publication) helps (I made him look up the relevant article; serves him right).

I live in a sub-tropical climate so I make my spring earlier and my summers longer. We do have about one week of ‘real’ winter, but that is only after a really long autumn. If I lived much further north then I would have my seasons ‘wet and dry’ as the Indigenous people do. They are the absolute authority when it comes to living ‘with’ the land rather than against it. They have done this for Eons.

The land needs every Pagan heart beating to the same rhythm. If we try to switch the seasons because of tradition then there is a block in the beginning. Halloween energy is difficult enough to deal with in the right time, let alone calling it out of season.

Be one with the land and it will work with you.

Happy Witching!

The Spirit Guide to Spellcraft, Metier Media, 2006


Raveneve Night

Location: Mirani, Queensland

Bio: I am a tropical witch with a sense of humour, Goddess forbid. I try to work with the land and not against it and hold a little piece of pagan in our very country town.

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