The Wheel of the Year – with not beginning and no end.

‘The cycle of light and dark, of planting and harvest, of leaves budding, opening and falling, is an ever-turning wheel that has no beginning and no end.   It rolls through the seasons, changing the landscape, and influencing the things that we do and the way that we feel.    Each time of the year is special, with its own particular feelings, smells and atmospheres – and, if we allow it, it’s effect on our lives……’   From the introduction of  – Gail Duff’s book – The Wheel of the Wiccan Year. 

The winter tradition of ice skating at Hampton Court Palace. hampton-court-panorama

I enjoyed a very special and lovely holiday season.   I spent it with my friends, Gail and Mick in their home in Kent.      A home set in the middle of countryside in a place where one can still believe that life hasn’t changed too much.

We have known one another since starting school together at five years old….Mick and Gail married and have just celebrated their 50th anniversary.

We are all artists.      Gail a writer, singer, song-writer – to name a few of her attributes and Mick a photographer, musician.

Gail Duff – Watercolour1094709_10151869967675396_22212606_oMick Duff – photographer, musician

1048835_10151869969370396_914185022_oI was invited to their annual Yule celebration on the 21st December – celebrating the winter solstice.       A lovely event, considered to be one of the most joyful celebrations of the year.     

In the evening, friends arrived bearing food and gifts.    In their sitting room with the Christmas tree sparkling and candles ablaze there was a wonderfully festive feeling.

From Gail’s book – The Wheel of the Wican Year, we learn that Yule is the festival most rich in remembered tradition and ritual.    In the early days of Christianity people were reluctant to give up their Pagan path and the Midwinter celebrations.    It was therefore decided that the birth of Christ should be celebrated at the same time.    This enabled the ritual dramas, songs and decorations to be be continued with Christian meaning.

rapid watercolour of their daughter Lucy with violin.     20-11-15 - 1 (1134)For the first time in many years,  I enjoyed carol singing.    We went from house to house  in one of the local villages and it was wonderful.    I had forgotten how joyful an experience it is.

For Christmas day we enjoyed a Goose with all the trimmings – plus of course plum pudding and Christmas Cake – and it seems to me numerous mince pies and chocolate……This was followed by games and much laughter.

On Boxing Day (for the uninitiated the day after Christmas) we went to Leeds Castle, where we walked, communed with the swans, ducks and other birds, and enjoyed the beautiful Christmas trees throughout the castle.

Ducks in the moat diving for the seeds. 20-11-15 - 1 (1372)Leeds Castle – during the Solstice – The mid winter atmosphere was perfect. 20-11-15 - 1 (1356)Geese in a row – Leeds Castle Kent20-11-15 - 1 (1361)During this period, I realised that in so many ways we have lost touch with the rhythms and magic of each season.

From a commercial stand point, the large corporations remind us constantly of the next holiday – prompting us to purchase all sorts of unnecessary stuff – which brings me to the big question.      Our we still in touch with the emotional and physical effects on our lives that the different seasons bring?     

A musical celebration in a local pub.    A lovely way to spend a mid winter’s afternoon. 20-11-15 - 1 (1411)Given the way we shop and live, we have come to believe that all fruits and vegetables are available at any time during the year.

In out techno charged world, there are many who have lost touch with the rhythms of our 24 hour day, let alone the seasons.

Our cities are flooded with artificial light, which disturbs our body clocks causing for many a lack of sleep and feelings of well being.

How different a place the world would have been for the people  in this photograph which was hanging in the pub – and it wasn’t that long ago!20-11-15 - 1 (1387)  All of this has brought to mind, the rapid and dramatic changes that have occurred for all of us during recent years.

For anyone interested in learning more about the natural rhythms and seasons of the year, I highly recommend Gail’s book ‘The Wheel of the Wiccan’.      Through the book we can learn about the ancient traditions that brought us to the holidays we have today…..

There are some that might say ancient traditions are gone – and that we need to focus on the future.

These ancient traditions were put in place to protect our natural world and how we live in it and relate to it.       I think it is of vital importance that we respect them.

Of course, I must close with magical hummingbirds…..a little bird that adheres to the ever changing seasons.


A BIentot







53 thoughts on “The Wheel of the Year – with not beginning and no end.

  1. Hutts New World

    Have my follow up x-ray in a week or too, to clear my lung from infection which caused me problems all year. Hope to get back to my walking around Fraser Park, about half a mile away. Put on unwanted weight.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning Ben, Yes, I would call my very fast watercolours, expressive. I try to capture within a very short time (sometimes 5 minutes) the essence of my subject. During my 45 year career I have produced some very ‘realistic/representational’ work – which is quite different. I find that these sketches hone my observational skills, and I have had great joy in painting people from around the world…it’s a wonderful way to connect. I do hope you have a lovely day. Janet 🙂

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      I am with you, I also love the change of seasons – and am very aware of them in nature and within my own body. I hope you enjoy a very happy, healthy and creative new year. Janet :)x

  2. memadtwo

    Nature is everywhere if we choose to see it, and community. But we are so busy with our digital devices…the carol singing really struck a chord with me. When I was growing up my father used to play the piano and we would all sing along–who does that anymore?
    But your hummingbirds are singing, as always!
    Happy New Year Janet. (K)

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning K and thank you for this comment. You are so right that if we choose to enjoy nature and community it is there for us…..the key is pulling ourselves away from the temptation of techno stuff! I hadn’t done any carol singing for literally 40 years….and certainly not from door to door in a village, which is how it used to be when I was a child. I think we all miss the sort of thing you talk about….family sing alongs – they lift the spirit. have a beautiful day. Janet xx

  3. Teagan R. Geneviene

    Janet, this is a beautiful post in so many ways — your art, your words. You had me imagining your lovely holiday season as I read.
    I believe it’s true that we lose touch with the rhythms of our days and seasons. (Although I’m all too aware of the emotional impact winter has on me — but that’s not the same thing. I’m just moaning my wish for a better clime.) Happy New Year. Hummingbird hugs, my friend.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning dear Teagan. Maybe if you were in the woods, away from all the mess of an urban area….and of course sitting by a roaring fire, winter wouldn’t seem so bad! We can live in hope:) Enjoy a wonderfully creative day. Janet xxx

  4. Writing to Freedom

    Kudos on taking the time to slow down and savor the season with friends, nature, food, art, and whatever is most important to you. The wheel of life in which we’re very caught up in our human techno drama. Will we advance or crash. I don’t know, but I try to keep myself tuned to the natural world. Thanks for your wise musings and questions Janet.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning, Brad. Thank you for your lovely comment. I don’t have the answers either – I am on the edge!….but in the meantime, we can immerse ourselves into the creative world. Have a lovely day and do keep warm…janet 🙂

      1. Timi Townsend

        Yesterday and today are relatively warm but wet. By Saturday we will be back down in the single digit F. temperatures. I am supposed to take my harp and play before Court at an event Saturday, but there’s no way I will take it out if it is indeed that cold! 😦

  5. ShimonZ

    Those Geese in a row made my day. But I loved the portraits too. And the ice skating – how wonderful. Yes, I too feel that the ancient traditions are on their way out… I regret it, because mankind will be poorer without them. But it seems that the new world and the new age have very little patience for anything else… and little flexibility. Let’s just hope that the humming birds will be able to find us under the all weather dome. Sending you my very best wishes for a rich and joyous year. May you always be surrounded by loving friends.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you, Shimon.
      I have just read and left a comment on your last post, which I thoroughly enjoyed and am trying to find the button on your site to re blog! Also it doesn’t appear that my comment was posted….I will wait and see. Here’s an amusing and interesting piece of news I heard about two days ago. After a major and very sudden rain deluge in Las Vegas, all the power was knocked out at the convention centre where all the new techno stuff was being shown. Of course, without power, nothing worked for two hours. I wonder if it occurred to any of the participants how fragile it all is.
      I mentioned in my comment, I love the picture of Nechama and the little ginger cat in the sun spot. have a beautiful weekend. Janet 🙂

      1. ShimonZ

        For some reason, Janet, your comment didn’t make it to my post. I know that happened a few times to me, when I started writing a comment to somebody, and then got caught up in something else… a bit of time went by, and I guess I lost contact to the post I was commenting on. As for the re-blog; unfortunately I know nothing about such things. I will check to see if I can find the button myself, but I don’t think it’s something I have to do (unless they changed the way it works. I know that in the past, people have reblogged my posts on rare occasions. It is a great honor for me, of course. Best wishes to you too! xxx

      2. janetweightreed10 Post author

        Thank you for getting back to me. I think I know what the issues is. I will repost a comment tomorrow and meanwhile try and find your re blog button. WordPress has changed some things, and it always confuses me. A creature of habit you see. Best wishes to you Shimon and Nechama of course. xx

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning. I do agree. the word ‘awesome’ is badly misused these days, but I would say that each change of season is indeed an awesome event. Hope you are enjoying a peaceful and creative new year. janet 🙂

  6. Pingback: The wheel of the year by Janet Weight Reed | How my heart speaks

  7. Jet Eliot

    It was a warm and pleasant experience to travel with you to Kent, Janet, to experience your loving bond with your friends, and the relaxed times you shared together in music and nurturing foods. I love it that you introduced us to your friends via your superb watercolors of each one; and the paintings show the distinct personalities and passion of each. Loved seeing the castle and skating, hearing about the culinary traditions. And the photo with parade of geese brought a great smile to my face. Fantastic spirited watercolor of the pair of hummingbirds, in the flowers and luscious green. Sending love and cheer to you for a new year filled with color and passion and many more beauties.

  8. olganm

    A great way to celebrate the season, Janet. Thanks for sharing your experiences and your friends’ local knowledge. And your lovely art. To a joyful and full of colour 2018

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning Olga. Yes, it was the perfect way to see out last year and to begin the new. Speaking of which, I do hope that your new year brings with it good health, peace and of course much creativity. I hope your Mother is doing well. Janet 🙂

  9. davidjrogersftw

    Dear Janet, I enjoyed your post about the seasons and getting back in touch with the rhythms they bring to our lives. That’s something I should be more sensitive to. I’m happy for you that you spent holiday time with your old friends, I was just thinking of you a few minutes ago: I was looking out the window and saw in the large bush out there a bunch of sparrows, the heavy snow coming down on them. So naturally seeing birds I thought of you and your hummingbirds. I don’t know if those sparrows were happy out there, but they sure seemed to be having a good time fluttering and hopping about in so cute a way.. I hope your art goes wonderfully well this year and your satisfactions reach a new high level.

    Fond wishes,
    David . .

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning dear David. I feel refreshed after the holidays which is always good sign…and am now ready for the new year. I am sure you have had quite a bit of snow, whereas in London, we have had none. I shouldn’t speak to quickly because every few years we actually get some. Birds remind us that life goes on without we human beings….very nicely thank you 🙂 I hope that you and all your family enjoy a new year filled with good health, peace and of course much creativity. Best wishes to you – Janet 🙂 x

  10. snowbird

    Your friends and that Christmas are right up my street! I am fascinated by all things Wiccan so will look out for that book. Fantastic pictures, the ducks almost looked like one of your paintings! You should paint that! All my very best to you, a wonderful post, as

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning Dina…I remember last year when I went Wassailing with them you said how much you would like to do that. I am not going this year, as am off to France on the 24th Feb, but one of these days I must get you down there…you would love it. I grew up close to Leeds Castle and so it was lovely to visit there during the festive season to find very few people! The castle was decorated so beautifully, again I think you would love it…and now they do a great B &I B and it’s not too pricy. I don’t know what’s happened re your following me, but I have checked my list and it shows clearly that you have just signed up, and so fingers crossed. Let me know if there are any problems. Hope you are keeping warm…very cold here. Love to you Hubs and the Furies….Janet xxxx

  11. snowbird

    I would love to meet your friends, and an overnight stay would be such fun! Let’s go for it!!! I don’t know what is going on re email notifications, it’s happened with other blog friends too. I keep unfollowing and re-following you, hoping that sorts the problem. Fingers crossed it’s sorted this time. Oh, it’s freezing here too, I am getting sick of it! Lots of love and hugs to you.xxxx

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Let’s plan something. I am away a lot until end of May – It would be a good time to plan something towards end of June, July, August, September plus we might even have good weather then….I know they would enjoy meeting you. They go to a lot of festivals during the summer time, but I will check with Gail to see what their schedule looks like. One way or t’other we must do this. As for technology….when it works it’s great – when it doesn’t it’s mind bendingly awful!!! Hope you have a good Sunday and that it’s not tooo cold. Sending love and hummingbird hugs Janet xxxxx

  12. snowbird

    Yes, we must do this!!! How marvelous. I am away for a month in a few weeks but have no firm plans after that so can fit in with you all. How fun, can’t wait!xxx

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      I have e mailed Gail and asked her to let me know what they are up to in July and August – When I hear from her I will let you know….meanwhile, keep warm and sending love Janet xxx


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