Seasonal living: honouring the wisdom of life’s many cycles

In the wake of conceiving my new seasonal workshop offering, Dream Weaving, I’ve been meditating a lot upon the many layers of season through which we each live and how we can learn from – and enjoy! – this inherently cyclical element of life. 

​​We all know the annual seasons: they keep us oriented through the year as its wheel spins from light to dark, warmth to cold, ascent to descent, every twelve months. It’s only since living truly close to nature that I’ve really been able to fully orientate my being (both physical and emotional) in the seasons and the wheel of the year, and it’s such a lovely blessing when it happens. We may also celebrate the midpoints in the wheel of the year, the equinoxes, solstices and days that fall between them, and I’ll talk more about that in another post – they’re all magical points on the compass that bring us back to our earth, our ancestors, our communities, our food and our selves. 

And then to the seasons of the self, of which we might be less aware: they, too are real, inevitable and hold a key to a much deeper self knowledge and understanding than many of us are usually able to access. For women, we have the female archetypes: Maiden, Wild Woman, Mother and Crone. Exploring our embodiment of each one (both as we step into it and also knowing they are all present in us at any given age or moment), we can really understand the vital energies of its nature – whether it be the physical changes we undergo or the emotional qualities we are more strongly ruled by. From youthful exuberance and playful exploration to the retreating elder and all the fertile in-between, the cycle from birth to death, spring to winter, is clear within our human life and one we cannot fight. I think this last point is important in an age where we hold ageing, maturing and essentially reaching full wisdom in such horror and disdain. We are fighting a battle we cannot win and it only leads to fragmentation, dis-ease and unhappiness. Yet if we can zoom out and view this progress and ascent as a journey towards the wholeness, acceptance and oneness that we so crave, it is a beautiful thing to see our skin change and our temple-bodies tell more stories about the lives we have dared to live. In this surrender to natural rhythms, I find that I can find a beautiful sense of belonging, of orientation in times of confusion, and of trust in the flow and the process. 

And then, to get a little meta, there are the seasons within those archetypal seasons. Pregnancy, for example, has spring-like qualities of incubation and unseen growth, while birth has all the explosion of summer and the transition of autumn, and then postpartum we can find ourselves in winter. I didn’t really grasp this until I recently stopped breastfeeding my little one after almost two years. Like any mother, I know in more ways than one that it was time: no one clear and loud reason but a general intuition that our feeding relationship had come to completion. It was only after stopping that I realised how true a Winter it is for a lactating mother and what a deep internal draw it has on our capacity to create and nourish in other ways. Less writing, cooking, integrating, output… all our vital energy going into this one nourishing process. And it’s evolution: it’s perfect. 

Similarly with all creative projects: there is a conception, a “birth”, an integration. If we can begin to view all life as rooted within cycles, we can let go a little more and stop chasing linear, A to B goals. They’re patriarchal constructs that exclude all ebb and flow and leave us stressed, anxious and feeling less-than in our everyday enactment of life as cyclical beings.

 And so, creeping out of my own two year winter as I still unfurl into motherhood, I find myself willing to write a little more, cook a little more, share here and online a little more and generally regroup all the parts of me that feeding another through my own body had dispersed. I sometimes ponder how quiet I am in this space these days compared to when I was producing so much content and writing my cherished first book; how clear the drop in output from that by a Maiden to that by a Mother; how what started as cooking and nutrition has pulled the loose thread of a healing path I could never have imagined; and then I know it’s all real, true, organic and all we can do is reflect our present moment as best we can. Isn’t that true wellness and vitality?

Also to say, I really respect mothers who are up all night, breastfeed, put away the laundry and have the wherewithal to develop new recipes and photograph and publish them. I have decided along the way, not without struggle, to take the pressure off myself, surrender as fully as I can to the flow of motherhood, cherish my beloved book and recipes posted here and see what comes next in the kitchen. Maybe it’s toast and butter, maybe it’s something a little more interesting foraged from our hedgerows and genuinely of the season and moment… it’s all good, it’s all holy.

After all, I’m heading into my parenting spring, right?

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