Mindful moment - February


 

Living Intentionally with the Seasons

Over the past couple of years I’ve been on a journey to live a more intentional life. This has taken me on the path of significant things like setting up a new business and embarking on holistic life coach training, but perhaps most importantly it has helped me become more in tune with myself and aware of my day to day life.
Another aspect of my journey has been to forge a deeper connection and understanding of where we are seasonally; to learn from nature and the traditions of those who live more aligned with the natural world. This led me to explore the Wheel of the Year; a symbol of the 8 Sabbats (festivals / holidays) celebrated throughout the year by modern pagans and the Wicca movement. These include the 4 well known solar festivals; the Summer and Winter Solstices (Litha and Yule) and the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes (Ostara and Mabon), along with the cross quarter festivals of Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas and Samhain.
Each ‘day of power’ on the Wheel comes with rituals and traditions relating to the turning of the seasons; to honour and celebrate the beauty and abundance of the natural world. Before the days of clocks and calendars people marked the passing of time by observing the sun, moon and stars. They relied on nature to tell them what time it was and they organised the activities of the days, months and year in alignment with this.
In our modern world many of us have lost this reliance and connection to nature. We have access to everything we need (and many things we don’t really need!) 24/7. This is not to say that all our modern day conveniences are bad and we should completely shun them, rather that we become more intentional about what we give our attention, time and energy to.

The Circle of Life

The circular shape of the Wheel of the Year is significant as it symbolises the continual and ever-turning cycle of nature and life. We too live in this continuous cycle and if we’re not careful it can feel like our life is running (or rolling) away from us, perhaps downhill on a path that we don’t feel aligned with.
This is why I find it so helpful to have these 8 points throughout the year, each about 6 weeks apart, that prompt me to pause, connect, reflect and set intentions. “Following the Wheel of the Year helps us integrate this concept of circular time into our lives. As we mark each Sabbat we are consciously witnessing the turning of each season in exquisite detail, honoring the cycles of life and death, of growth and decay.

It also helps us to be more often in the present moment, as the steady flow of holidays to prepare for and celebrate keeps us from rushing headlong through the seasons with barely a passing glance at the natural world.” - Lisa Chamberlain

Winter moves towards Spring

So where are we now on the wheel? If you are reading this on the 1st February, you will see on the Wheel above that we welcome this new calendar month with Imbolc; a time to acknowledge and celebrate the shift out of the depths of winter and towards spring.

“The light is expanding, and the earth is awakening, bringing transformation, regeneration, and renewal. Use the solar energy of the seasons to fire up your intention to initiate change, and renewal. Let go of the old to make room for the new. This is a time of new beginnings.” Jilly Shipway

Whilst it may feel exciting that spring is on the horizon (it begins with the Spring Equinox on 20th March this year), we are still in winter, so it can be helpful to acknowledge that it’s ok if you’re still craving the rest and recuperation the winter season invites us to take.
You may however be starting to feel a gentle stirring inside yourself, a quiet desire to start thinking about the future, about the year ahead and the things you might want to do and achieve in the more outward facing spring and summer seasons.
Imbolc is a time of hope, renewal, creativity and optimism; the days are gradually lengthening and nature is slowly awakening. It also marks the start of the agricultural season and you may notice the first lambs in the fields and the first shoots emerging from the ground. Traditionally farmers would repair their equipment and bless their tools and seeds at this time before the season gets into full swing. It can therefore be a good time to ask yourself what preparations you may need to make on your way to spring.

“Over the coming weeks the year will rev up, and we too prepare to rev up our own energy so that we can make the most of this expansive, fertile growing season energy. Gradually, we make a shift from inward reflection to taking outward action. We also consider how we’ll stay connected to our inner wisdom while acting in the world.” - Jilly Shipway

Keeping this connection inwards as you begin your outer journey is so important. Staying grounded within yourself will ensure that the intentions and goals you set and work towards are aligned with what you truly want and need.
Use the suggestions below to start to forge a deeper connection to yourself and the world around you.

Ways to celebrate Imbolc and mark the shift from winter towards spring

● Get outside and take a mindful walk in nature. Look for new signs of life in the fields and woodland, notice the shifting sunrises and sunsets, keep a nature diary, find a tree to take a photo of at each point on the Wheel to notice the change through the seasons. Also embrace the remaining winter days, where can you find beauty in them?
● Reflect on your winter season. Journal about what went well, what didn’t, and what you can learn from the past couple of months.
● Go to a farmers market or local greengrocers and pick some seasonal produce to cook with. Prepare a nourishing meal for yourself or invite friends or family round to feast together.
● If you’re feeling tired and run down, ask yourself what you need and think of ways you can replenish your energy. Do you need to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, take some gentle exercise, have more meaningful connections, do more of the things you enjoy or get more sleep?
● Create an Imbolc altar with a collection of foraged seasonal items, candles and anything you find inspiring. This could also be done to create a seasonal table centrepiece or to decorate your fireplace.
● Have an early spring clean of your house; make space for the new, both physically and emotionally.
● Get creative. Imbolc traditionally honoured creative activities, so embark on a new creative project or start learning a new skill.
● Set some intentions for the weeks and months ahead. Journal about what you want to bring out into the light, how you want to show up for yourself and how you could live more aligned with your true self and with nature.
I hope you enjoy these seasonal practices and are feeling grounded and optimistic as you embark on the journey from winter to spring.
Imbolc blessings to you.
Jen x

Find out more about Jen

Jen is a qualified yoga and meditation teacher, an in-training holistic life coach and mind-body practitioner and a designer / maker of intentional living products.
She runs online Seasonal Yoga & Journaling Workshops every 6 weeks in line with the Wheel.
The 90 minute Imbolc Yoga & Journaling Workshop is live on 31st January 7-8.30pm GMT and the replay is available to purchase to do any time - visit

Further reading

Wicca Wheel of the Year Magic by Lisa Chamberlain, Earth Alchemy by
Glennie Kindred, Yoga through the Year by Jilly Shipway.

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