It’s Lughnasadh. The corn (wheat) is being picked as people celebrate the first harvest of bounty. The Sun is hot over head but a cool breeze grazes and soothes hot skin.
It’s Samhain. The air is chilly and the roads echo with the scraping sound of dead leaves as they swirl in the cold winds. The scent of smoke and damp leaves remind you that the dead will soon be walking the very roads you walk.
It’s Yule. The snow falls heavy and blankets the land, reminding you to keep to your fires, your friends, and your kin close. To celebrate the light that will be returning, to celebrate the winter that let’s you take ease to replenish your energy.
Following the seasons, living with the ebb and flow of nature….that’s what we all dream of when we read pagan books about the sabbats and why we celebrate them, even down to what we eat and serve at rituals. We flow our life and our bodies to the rhythm of nature’s cycle.
Or so we’re told.
But for a lot of pagans, this following of the seasons isn’t possible. For people like me, there are no seasons. Not really.
Imagine that for a moment. No spring, no winter, no fall. Just perpetual heat scattered with a few weeks a year where it might turn cold, it might rain for a day, it might get a cool breeze.
I don’t have to eat seasonally because I live in a place where produce grows happily year round. I live in a place where it’s too hot–even in the winter–to eat heavy, wintry fair unless you’ve got a craving.
It can be very hard to ‘follow the seasons’ and ‘eat seasonally’ when you live with even temperatures and never ending food. It’s easy to get lost in what you should grow when, because it almost doesn’t matter.
I can grow tomatoes in December you guys.
And thanks to global warming, the temperatures here have only gotten warmer–have extended our growing seasons (which creates a whole other set of problem) –and makes our winters, falls, and springs even shorter than they already were.
So feeling the magical flow of the seasons is incredibly hard, and can make you feel (at least for me) disassociated from all those lovely prose in pagan books about changing leaves and quiet blankets of snow, and all the magical spells that come with that season.
How do you add snow to the ritual you’re trying to copy if you don’t live with/near snow?
I feel this is a problem pagan authors don’t always address. Perhaps because they’re lucky enough to live in regions where they have seasons!
But for us luckless souls who don’t really have them, here are my tips for dealing with rituals and holidays when your climate doesn’t fit the season:
1. Forgive yourself if you just don’t ‘feel’ it. The world won’t end and you won’t have eternal bad luck, and the gods won’t hate you for missing a holiday. If they did, you’d have been a lot worse off early in life don’t you think?
2. If you really do want to feel the season and be in tune with the cycles of the earth, then I strongly recommend gardening, or at least making a journal observing the weather every day. Boring? Maybe. But as you write it down you may also notice subtle changes happening that mark the turning of the seasons, and helps you connect with nature and feel the pull more. Regardless of the fact that I can grow things year round, during winter there are definitely plants of mine that slow down or stop producing for a bit around winter. Which is a fun reminder for me to slow down!
3. If you really want to east seasonally, you can. No one is saying you can’t eat lamb stew in December even if it’s 90 degrees outside. If you want to eat winter food during winter where it’s hot outside because it makes you feel closer to the season and the holiday you’re celebrating–go for it! Just don’t hate yourself for eating ‘spring time’ food in it’s place. It’s okay. You’re not gonna get smited by the gods.
4. If you’re blessed to live near nature that has seasons, go visit it. For instance, I live 2 hours away from snow. If I really wanted to, I could go up during Yule to celebrate with the season. I could also go to another state in the fall to see leaves change and camp out in nature for a few days and hold a ritual. It all depends on what you’re willing to do–and how far. If the farthest you want to go is a picture of snow that’s okay too!
5. Meditate. No, seriously. Meditate on the season. Imagine the air and the smells and tastes that you associate with it. Visualize it. By doing so, you might be able to kick your body’s gear into syncing up to the seasons again!
I hope these tips have helped! I personally listen to my body. Some days I can really feel the seasons changing deep in me and other times I don’t. I’ve literally felt the wind blow on my face and I was slammed with the thought “Fall is here.” I didn’t know what day it was and I looked at my BOS. Low and behold, it was September 21st. Mabon. I hadn’t even realized! I’ve also completely not done rituals because I felt NOTHING (like this year with Lughnasadh/Lammas).
But at the end of the day, how you celebrate and what you chose to celebrate is up to you. Our world is a different world than the one our ancestors had–the weather is warmer, the seasons are out of wack. So give yourself some breathing room–It’s okay if you’re not perfectly in sync with the weather!
Blessed Be, Witchlings!