Planning in Alignment with the Natural World
It’s easy to find yourself agreeing with the sentiment of working seasonally, but actually knowing what it looks like in reality can be quite overwhelming. Where do you start? Our approach is to be guided by the Wheel of the Year, an ancient calendar guided by the transition of the sun throughout the seasons. Many religions celebrate the festivals within the Wheel of the Year, in particular Paganism, but our approach is not inspired by any one religion, instead it is rooted in a love and reverence for the natural world, and we use the cycle as a framework for our lives and work.
Each twelve month period is split into eight segments. The beginning of each season is marked by a Cross-Quarter (or fire) Festival: Imbolc (February 1st) for spring; Beltane (May 1st) for summer; Lammas (August 1st) for autumn; and Samhain (October 31st) for winter. Though these dates may seem early, they are suggestions that a different energy is emerging; the smallest of signs that change is on the horizon.
The height of each season is marked by a Quarter Point (or solar festival): the Spring Equinox (20th - 23rd March); the Summer Solstice (20th - 23rd June); the Autumn Equinox (20th - 23rd September); and the Winter Solstice (20th - 23rd December). These are thought to be non-Celtic in origin, but are celebrated as part of the cycle nevertheless. From each Quarter Point, the season begins to wane, until we reach the next Cross-Quarter Festival that signifies one season has ended, and another has begun.
Using these eight markers provides natural pauses in the year, a chance to consider our lives and choices in a way that makes sense in relation to the Earth. For instance, last Saturday was the Summer Solstice, also known as Midsummer, or Litha. Since the Winter Solstice the sun’s power has been steadily increasing, and the days have gradually lengthened: now, its journey pauses on the shortest night of the year. After this point the cycle changes; the days will shorten and the Earth will begin to withdraw.
At this climactic moment of the year, a time of fullness and fruition, we celebrate our achievements and progress with great joy. In the natural world, the period between the Summer Solstice and Lammas is one for collecting the first harvest, cultivating gratitude and appreciation for the harvest, a slowing of active growth, a time to collect seeds ready to plant and harvest next year, a time of shift and change.
All of these elements can influence how you work at this time of year, and which activities are best suited to the Earth’s energy right now. It’s not just the sunny days and the long evenings that make us want to down tools and relax more over the summer; the Earth has paused at the solstice, and is now slowing, darkening, and nourishing the plants and trees that have been transformed over the months of spring and early summer. So while in nature, active growth is slowing for plants and trees, in business, that might translate as identifying areas that have been planned or executed and can now be worked on over the summer without the need for huge transformation. Of course, you might look at your business and think, that’s impossible right now, but that’s why planning in alignment with the natural world will help you to prepare in advance for these shifts in energy.
But even if you try to include only the elements that work alongside the energy of the Earth in your planning, there will always be some everyday items or things you just can’t bump to another time of year or get rid of entirely, and that’s where staying motivated comes in. We’ve created a free 5 day course to help you learn how moving in alignment with the natural world can keep you motivated over the summer months. Join us for this seasonal business challenge starting Monday 15th July. Think daily emails, daily audio recordings & your chance to win a free place on A Seasonal Year! Join us now, and invite a friend - if you’re already signed up to the email list, you’re all set. If not, sign up here!
With A Seasonal Year, we want to show you how our slow and seasonal ethos can bring more structure and ease to both your business and your life - because, as fellow self-employed creatives, we know they’re often one and the same. We’ll help you move away from the traditional associations of work with hardship and hustle, and embrace a gentler approach that’s guided by nature instead. Enrolment is now open, and you can find out more here.
Until next month,