I’ve learned that, like the Wheel of the Year itself, my life moves in cycles. I can remember being a Blue Star Dedicant years and years ago and realizing—courtesy of my very astute teacher who told me I needed to keep track of these things, which sounds obvious now but totally was not at the time—that my interests, moods, relationship with my body, and connection to the gods all ebbed and flowed according to the seasons. I am the happiest and most ambitious over the summer. In August, I have to be mindful of depression, which will set in as school starts. Halloween is fun, but I tend to be sick or injured this time of year. December is a good time to talk to the gods and feel them most strongly in my life. Imbolc always has be gunning to start some new spiritual project that’s usually a little beyond my scope at the time. I spend too much money in May, because all of my Taurus is hanging out and I feel good about the coming time off. And so on.
Years of doing this, and I finally have a reasonably good sense of myself. I used to try to fight it, but I find that it’s easier to just flow and be patient with myself. Work isn’t going away, and neither is depression, tax season, or final exam schedules, so better to just do what I can to prepare and move through these things as gracefully as possible.
My coven has a cycle to it to: times when it’s easier to meet often, times when people need extra support, and times when I feel like the worst high priestess in the world because I have to relinquish much of the coven’s functional work to others for the sake of my mental health. It’s not a problem, but in the past it’s been very frustrating. When you don’t recognize patterns and respond accordingly, it can feel like everything is just happening to you beyond control.
I’m currently trying to figure out my patterns as a worker and as a writer. The necessity of money means that most of us work in fields where we don’t quite fit. I’m reading a lot of books lately about job hunting, personal finance, and purpose. When New Agers and “girl bosses” write books like these, they use terms like “manifesting.” When people like Dave Ramsey and Ken Coleman do it, they use Biblical language, or else the machismo of Dudes In Control™. I feel a little weird that it bolsters me, but it does. I believe in divine purpose (interestingly, hardly anyone in popular self-help uses the concept of “calling” which has always been meaningful to me, but that might be some of my mom’s Catholicism leaking out). I believe in True Will. I think I know what mine is. At least, I think I could pick out the ballpark it’s in.
But is it possible to get there without overriding my own cycles? Or are our personal cycles in place to help us enact that purpose?
When I was writing Traditional Wicca: A Seeker’s Guide, I found that my natural patterns were already conducive to producing this book. It involved plenty of work, yes, but it was joyful, smooth, and satisfying. I knew that I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing in those moments. I’m having similar experiences with one of the two books I’m writing now. The other? It comes and goes. It’s like it requires just the right conditions.
As I shift my mundane life around—moving, changing careers to something more akin to who I already am—how do I build space for what I see as my higher purpose? It’s tricky work. Some traditions (and some “boss witch/girl/whatever” gurus) teach that we must transcend our habits, our personalities, our patterns. Success/enlightenment/ascension is about breaking with the world and what’s expected. Others teach us to honor natural cycles, our physical and emotional needs, and that we become the best versions of ourselves by embracing ourselves as is.
What approach do you take? How much can we change? How much should we try?