We gather things every time we leave the house.  I end up with stones and leaves and pods and flowers and sticks and bark and shells and berries and rosehips all in my pockets.  Every countertop ends up being a “nature table” in our place, which is beautiful, but also can get a wee bit crazy. So a few years back we began making a very purposeful earthcraft: a Wheel of The Year.

Wheel of the Year

Every year when we begin to enter into the West, the Autumn, the underworld – when the earth begins to show signs of death – we create a Wheel of The Year – a calendar of sorts, a seasonal timepiece for our wall.  It’s something we can add on to throughout each season as we gather our goodies when exploring. It’s fully symbolic and textural; it’s multi-dimensional and beautiful.  It’s a gorgeous way to watch the seasons change right on your wall. The tradition is to move around the wheel for each season – creating The Wheel around Samhain/Hallow’s Day/Day of the Dead {November 1, 2013} whatever you like to call that magical moment and then burning it the following Autumnal Equinox – or Mabon – as some folks like to call it.

What you need:

Long bendy branches- we used vine maple because that was what was growing right outside our yurt in the forest.  We left leaves on to keep the look all viney and lovely.  You need enough branches to bend in a circle {you decide how large you want your Wheel} and be relatively sturdy.
 
2 strong sticks to make the “cross” in the center
 
Thin gold wire, twine wire, floral wire – any of them work.
 
Fall earth treasures {this time we used: chestnuts, raven feathers, hawthorn berries, rosehips, fallen leaves, a spider, bones… etc.} try to use only earth and organic goods – when it’s time to burn next Hallow’s Day – it won’t be toxic.
 
Hook to hang the Wheel up on a wall.

wheel-of-the-year-marybeth-bonfiglio-2

How to:

Create a circular wreath with your branches.  I did about 3 rounds of branches and intertwined them to make a nice, big, strong circle.  I used thin gold wire to attach the branches where needed- which was in many places to keep it all together.
 
Take your 2 sturdy sticks and cut them down to fit inside the circle.  I used wire to connect them at the center and at the top and sides of the circle.

wheel of the year wire

Then take your gathered fall items and attach them with wire, or just tuck them into the circle of branches.  Autumn falls on the West on the Wheel- so find a spot on the wheel that is west and begin there {I make my Wheel like a traditional 4-sectioned so West looks really like NorthWest- which is fine with me}. At this point it’s really easy to stuff things in between the branches, otherwise use the wire to attach.  Try not to go with glue.  When burning that will only create toxic fumes.

wheel-of-the-year-marybeth-bonfiglio-feathers

Hang up your wreath somewhere that helps you remember the beauty of the season.  Attach beauty all through the Fall season as it comes into your life At each seasonal turn, gather special treasures that are symbolic to you for that season.  It is an on-going process of gathering and filling the space on the Wheel that represents the season.

wheel-of-the-year-marybeth-bonfiglio-3

For winter – North – we will gather pinecones, cedar and fir boughs, quartz crystals, white feathers, licorice ferns, and all the glory that shows up for us in our hearts during the winter.
 
For spring – East – we might find robin eggs and feathers, buds, sprouts, little vials of rain water, seeds… etc.
 
For summer – South – we’ll gather sunflowers, blooming flowers, bright golden flowers of all kinds, berries, seashells, vials of sand, etc… everything that is summer to us.

Wheel of the Year Marybeth Bonfiglio

 

Ritual:

On the next Autumn Equinox burn the Wheel of Year completely down. You can intuit the day that feels best for you – but somewhere right around the first day of Fall.  {Just make sure you burn the Wheel of the past year before you begin making your new one!} 
 
Gather your people together {or do this alone if solitude is what you need}. Eat good food. Make a nice fire in the hearth or bonfire outside.  Take the wheel and throw it in the flames.  Allow the past be burned down to ash.  State what you release from the year. Say goodbye. Shed your skin. Melt down the masks.  State what is to grow from the ash. Know what you want your new year will look like and tuck that in your heart – bring it out when making your new Wheel around Hallow’s Eve. 
 
Fully feel the letting go. 
 
Begin to walk into the next turn of the Wheel. Create it with your hands. Ready. Present.
 

In magic and love.

 
Pay attention.  This is how the ancients kept time.