I talk alot about cycles- seasonal cycles, astrological cycles, moon cycles, and the menstrual cycle.
I’ve always found it fascinating how our own psyches and bodies are mirrored through these cycles around us. Knowing that whatever we are struggling with is temporary and part of a natural cycle, is deeply comforting. Understanding the nature of the energy we are dealing with and how to work with it rather than against it can be so empowering.
Aligning with the cycles of nature can be a healing act of resistance, too. When we remember we are nature, we tap into a power that our capitalistic cultural conditioning seeks to suppress.
But, we are complex beings. Sometimes how we feel doesn’t match the season or phase we are in. Just because it is summertime outside doesn’t necessarily mean we are feeling happy, expressive and social and aren’t experiencing grief, loss, or death (so-called ‘winter’ feelings). Just because it is the waxing moon doesn’t necessarily mean we feel energised and creative. We can have our bleeding time at any moon phase, even if bleeding resonates with the dark/new moon. We can experience a relatively chill and relaxing Mercury Retrograde or chaos and delays when it is direct!
This is partly because there are several cycles happening within us and around us at the same time- for instance, we could be going through a long Saturn transit (planet of restriction & loss) that goes on for years, and it overlaps with a season of abundance, or a transit of benevolent Jupiter.
It’s also partly because we are not meant to always look for explanations and answers outside of us- in theories, systems and patterns. Sometimes, we’re just meant to experience life in the moment and not overthink it! Sometimes, we just need to embrace whatever our current feelings and needs are and listen to them, and trust they are part of our growth.
Embracing our Inner Seasons and Cycles
None of these cyclical systems- astrology, the seasons, or the moon- is a perfect template for our life, nor is our understanding of them meant to be rigid, or fully understood so we can control our lives and make them foolproof.
After studying and living with this awareness for so long I feel that it is impossible to fully understand how cycles overlap and play into our lives. Leaving life to the Great Mystery is part of the fun, as well as a key spiritual ingredient to our growth and wisdom.
Increasingly, I’ve been feeling our human analysis of ‘how this cycle is supposed to go’ can be a trap that prevents us from flowing through our own phases more organically, in a more honest, authentic way.
Oftentimes in life, simply knowing ‘this is a temporary phase’ is enough. Remembering that death and rebirth happen simultaneously, and that energy is always changing is enough.
It’s ok to be in whatever phase you are in, for however long you need to be. It’s ok to flow back and forth between phases. There is no right way or wrong way. It doesn’t have to match up with anything outside of yourself. Your experience may resonate with a seasonal or lunar energy, or it may not, and it can happen any time, and its all good. It’s part of your path. You are not doing life wrong or misaligned somehow if your plans don’t match up with the moon or you’re not feeling the effects of Mercury retrograde!
Information vs Wisdom Gained from Experience
I’ve been thinking about this whole thing more lately because there’s been a huge increase in astrologers, psychics and witches- and all kinds of random people without any astrological knowledge or study behind them- talking about astrology, the moon and sharing information online. Some of it is parroted info, lacking in any substance or actual knowledge of its complexity or delineation.
I see lots of superficial cookbook associations such as ‘Venus retrograde means it’s the season of the ex!’ ‘Leo season means it’s time to sparkle!’, ‘Plant your intentions, it’s a fabulous new moon!’ (even if it’s under conflicting aspects). I know that friendly bite-size bits of info are all folks want to consume these days, so I get why this is a trend. However, it bothers me that this is where it usually stops.
I started studying astrology formally with a mentor with the Canadian Association for Astrological Education in 2001. Social Media wasn’t a thing back then. We were fringe-y weirdos into hidden knowledge. Ever since, I have been continuing to learn and live the knowledge, which gives a more nuanced perspective than when you simply read an article and parrot things other astrologers say for your own online content. When you study the cycles in-depth, you realise you have to actually live the knowledge and experience it yourself before you can say you know it or understand it. And even then, you still can’t truly know the secrets of the universe or even fully ever understand any of it.
The more I live it, the more I realise I don’t know. I also realise how spiritual systems of understanding are quite limited and can hinder our spiritual growth by encouraging us to continually measure our experience with external patterns, or gaze towards the future instead of fully being in the present. Especially since so much of our existence is online now, I feel it is more important than ever to instead gaze within and live more in the present 3D moment.
Being Present & Leaving Space for the Mystery
What makes life what it is, is its mystery. We’re not always meant to understand it or feel we can control it.
In witchcraft and astrological communities online, I repeatedly see the message that when the season is ripe, we should grab the bull by the horns and go for it! Every new moon, we are reminded to plant those seeds of intention. Every full moon, we’re told to release, let go, or watch what we say to avoid drama. I’ve repeated this narrative too, of course.
But, my practice has been shifting away from harnessing energy to create a desired outcome and instead just flowing with the energy and experiencing it within myself with no agenda.
This idea that we need to harness the energy around us at all times- do something with it, create with it, use it, feels kinda capitalist and colonial to me. I get that it can also be empowering sometimes, so I don’t mean to diminish that, but the messaging often feels steeped in our cultural shortcomings- The fear of being rather than doing, the fear of resting and not producing- and perhaps our biggest fear- being fully present within ourselves.
I feel it is too easy in today’s witchcraft to fall into this trap of needing to be in control, to overly focus on manifesting, to keep ‘using’ nature’s cycles to get what you want, and to spend more time creating online witchy content than living your actual witchy life.
What if we live fully in the moment? Without analysing, or striving to understand its context or place in the whole. What if we spend less time doing and more time being? What if we stop looking outside for validation and listen to the whisperings within?
My practice has steadily been shifting away from manifestation towards surrender over the years. It’s more about connecting with myself and my environment more deeply, rather than spellwork or ‘harnessing the energy’ all the time. I’ve been spending less time online in favor of staying present within my body and self.
I have been outgrowing practices I used to do and making shifts to honour where I am at now.
Midlife Weirdness and my Inner Fall-Winter
I feel I have been in a ‘fall-winter’ phase within for the last few years. My creative and social drive is low, my sensitivity, introversion and spiritual antennae is high.
My solace is the cave of the Dark Goddess, merging with the fertile darkness of Her womb, where all life begins. Cerridwen has been my companion through this. I have been in a process of simplifying, clearing and turning inwards.
I am in a particularly challenging phase of parenting, as my daughter nears her 15th birthday. I have hit middle age, and my role as mother, as partner, as healer and all the things I identified with is changing.
I am aware of my current astrological, hormonal and life cycles. However, this awareness hasn’t really helped me navigate the path as much as I would expect. My mind wants to analyse and understand but it is being quieted by my heart and soul who just want to experience. I am making space for this transition and doing my best to simply be present rather than grasp at activities that distract me away from it.
I can’t see more than this very moment in time right now, so I am embracing this call inward, this call to self, to letting what needs to fall away go.
I am letting go of my need to know and trusting the mystery before me no matter how strange and uncomfortable it is.
I trust that this process will help me on the next step of my journey.
Being called to the Cauldron of Change and Rebirth
There are times when the metaphorical cauldron calls me to deepen my spiritual lessons. I envision this cauldron as much larger than me, sitting in the earth, tended by Cerridwen. I sit on the edge and dangle my feet in for a while, testing the waters. I may stay there for days, weeks or months, just slowly dipping in, one part at a time, like entering cold water, gathering the courage to let go of the rim and drop all in. Cerridwen is patient with me, most of the time.
I try to go voluntarily or else I know I may just get pushed in. I currently feel I’m headed in for another journey. I’m already quite immersed, I just need to let go of the rim. I don’t know how long it will be, or where it will take me, of course. Not knowing is key to its purpose.
Letting go is a practice. It takes practice to really tune into our internal creative rhythms and listen to the call of our soul- especially if it doesn’t align with our idea of where we ‘should be’ or with our environment.
Change is the only thing we can rely on. This is always a bit uncomfortable for me to accept.
What season are you in?
The seasonal energy I feel within is on the dark side- it resonates with the Last Quarter Moon, the Fall, Midlife, The Enchantress and the planet Pluto. Yet, it is none of those, exactly. This is my own unique experience, my own personal ‘season’- the spiritual phase I embody, as I type this under the high noon July sun and waxing moon. My season is my own.
I am on a journey of renewing my creative energies. Composting the past and incubating new seeds of growth for the future.
Following our creative rhythms takes courage, as it can go against well-worn patterns we’ve become stuck in, or the outside world’s demands- to constantly and consistenly produce and share all the time.
But as a creative soul, I know the importance of doing what is necessary to renew my energy, to keep my creative waters flowing without stagnating. To regain inspiration and motivation requires change and many journeys inward and down to the deep.
Is there a particular aspect of your life, where you feel in a reflective winter phase? A blooming summer phase? A change-filled spring or release of fall?
How do you feel when the focus of your energies is quite different from the energy around you?
What spiritual practices ground you into this moment?
If you are interested in learning practices for renewing your creative energy, as well as celebrating the season of First Harvest, please join me for my online circle on Tuesday, August 1st for First Harvest Circle- The Cauldron of Creativity! This will be my last seasonal circle before I take a pause to renew my creative energies. More on my journey to come, I recommend you sign up for my newsletter below for details.
Wishing you acceptance and love as you move through whatever phase you are in!
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As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.