How We…Introduce the Wheel of the Year

Welcome to How We…

Each month, members of the Children & Families team will be sharing How We have introduced aspects of our community to our children. We will cover everything from the Aether to Zeus and we invite you on our journey.  We continue with How We…Introduce the Wheel of the Year

We introduce the wheel of the year to my little dilophosaurus as we observe it. We watch the turning of the seasons and do lots of activities accordingly, including observing festivals. When a festival does come along we talk about it and read about it. We have a variety of books on what happens in nature and why we celebrate it at this time as well as stories set at or about the festival. We talk about what the festival meant to our ancestors, about any mythologies associated with it and about what the festival means to us now. We also discuss ways to celebrate – which for my 6 year old usually involves pancakes! We make decorations associated with the season and festival. My little dilophosaurus helps to set up the family altar, we discuss together what we think should be on it to honour what the festival is about, for example trinkets for departed family members at Samhain, or produce from the allotment at Lammas. We also use the Aether Patches festival quests for ideas and mini topics.

Manager, Children & Families Team

Before having children I followed the Wheel of the year but often missed out festivals that happened when at ‘inconvenient’ times in my social calendar. After having my first son I used each festival as a way to introduce my practice to him and by the birth of my second son at the start of lockdown in 2020 marking each festival as the year passed became an essential tool for survival in an extremely difficult time.

Now we dress the altar for each festival as a family. The boys know they can add to during the next 6 weeks from walks as well as art and craft bits made at home, school or nursery. It becomes a real group effort and as it is by the front door is enjoyed everyday as we leave and enter the house.

For most festivals we make and bake. Sometimes the boys will ask to make a specific thing, usually remembered from the year before or I may give them seasonal Choices they can pick from. They also draw and create art for the wall. Sometimes we do it together as a family for example last Summer Solstice we all painted butterflies to adorn the wall above the altar.

Southeast Liaison, Children & Families Team

This has been discussed extensively in our house as for a long time now I have tried to live seasonally and brought the children up to try and live this way also.

We have discussed each season and what each one is about, winter to rest and contemplate, spring for action and growth, summer for life and upkeep and Autumn for harvest and preparation.

We’ve talked about how important the wheel was to the ancestors, how hard it was, seasonal produce, what the festivals were all about and how we can interpret them in modern times.

I’ve explained how the wheel of the year is natures way of showing us how to live. It’s easier to explain to the older children and with the little one I use what’s happening in nature to explain it, for example when the leaves were falling off the trees I explained it was because the plants and trees needed to have a rest because  they’d been busy all year and that they were saving up lots of energy to get busty again next year in Spring. I’ve also explained night and day and how longer days of the year are during the time of  action and production and the shorter days are there to allow us to rest more. I’m not an advocate of a 24 hour society and I encourage the children to go with the natural flow of year as it will lead them to be healthier physically and mentally.

Mid-West & Wales Liaison, Children & Families Team