Our Winter 2023 Issue is out now and available to pick up at a health shop near you! Here we have an article on the Path to Sovereignty by Alison McEvoy in conversation with Mari Kennedy.
Many moons ago, I dreaded the descent into winter each year. The weakening sun left me feeling vulnerable. The long dark evenings tuned me in too deeply to things I had no tools to fully feel or explore. As the escape routes of long summer days dwindled to a close, I felt an increasing sense of anxiety, fear even.
It wasn’t until 2018, upon discovering the work of Mari Kennedy and the Celtic Wheel of the Year, that my relationship
to winter, darkness and letting go, completely transformed. I completed the transformation from fear of the diminishing of sunlight, movement and activity, to relishing the opportunity for rest, release and true transformation. In terms of polarities, I moved from being more comfortable in my masculine, to finding a place of greater ease with the deep feminine in me.
If you find winter a fearful place, the Celtic Wheel can help you move into right relationship with darkness and wintering; the process of shedding and going inward that happens throughout nature, and within us. The Celtic Wheel, for many of us, unearths the feminine force within, helping us live in a more balanced and sustainable way.
What is the Celtic Wheel of the Year?
“The Celtic Wheel of the Year is a calendar of eight festivals gifted to us from the many waves of ancestors – pre-Celtic, Celtic and post Celtic – in Western Europe. Like much of what has been passed down from pre-history, it is a collection of whispers from the past. It appears to have its origins in mythology, the Coligny calendar, pagan ritual celebrations, archaeology, sacred sites, linguistics, folk traditions, druidry, wicca, neopaganism and archeoastronomy. The Wheel is a beautiful Immram (an Irish mythic soul journey) that shows us how to live more fully with the ebbs and flows of being human, while reclaiming our sovereign centre… It tracks the archetypal journey of transformation through the sacred cycle of birth, death and rebirth. It also helps heal the split between our feminine and masculine nature.” (Mari Kennedy)
Stand at the Sovereign centre…
It is very common to feel more comfortable in one aspect/season of self. For many of is it is the summer self. This is the self that can keep going, is full of energy, buoyant, outgoing, sociable and progressive (The masculine aspect of self ).
Standing in one aspect of self and resisting change, ebb and flow can eventually lead us to burnout and exhaustion. Mari experienced this first hand. While she was flourishing in her high-performance career, her deep feminine was suffering. The body, which never lies, held her truth for her:
“I couldn’t get pregnant. I was so stressed out in my life. I was so out of sync with my menstrual cycle. I pushed my body beyond its limits and I know now that it couldn’t create a human being… I was so busy with everything external that my body stopped producing progesterone because my body couldn’t keep up with what I was doing. My body was really asking me to come back to cycles. We are forces of nature and we forget that. We have cycles, like the tides, the seasons…”
“I was a 44-year-old woman when I found the Celtic Wheel. It’s a gentler way of being in the world and yet it’s also a more fierce way, because you are learning to fully inhabit all eight seasons – from Samhain to Autumn equinox – and you are learning how to work with all the energies of the creative cycle – the sacred cycles of birth, death and rebirth. It’s a return to original wholeness.”
Learning to stand in your Sovereign centre, allowing life to cycle through and around you, means you are aligned with the creative flow of Life, inner and outer nature. The Wheel helps us to embrace whatever we are resisting in life; whether it’s the experience of death, disruption, loss, grief, embodied by the winter season, or, whether we are afraid to be seen, to blossom and shine out into the world, embodied by the summer season. These, and many more states in between, we gently learn to inhabit, unlock and flow through…ultimately enriching our lives.
“It’s coming into a new relationship to our depths, from there we can flex and flow with all the energies of being alive…We can’t be sovereign when we are half existing, only privileging the bright and the bigger. When you learn to inhabit the darkness you know how to be quiet, connect with the soul and that’s what I call evolved 21st century sovereignty…You learn to honour sadness and failure as much as delight and success. You put yourself at the centre…and become the highest authority in your life.”
You are not alone with the burdens you carry. The darkening nights needn’t be a place of fear or torment without light. The darkness when embraced reveals magic luminosity. The Wheel invites us to lay down our burdens as the trees lay down their leaves, drop them into the deep soil of winter to be transformed. It’s time to rest our bones and let wintering do its deep work. The deep feminine shows us the power that lies in letting go.
Mari celebrates her 13th year round the wheel this year and reflects that, “Every time I do the wheel I learn so much…it unravels me, undoes me, teaches me. It’s amazing. It’s such a gift journeying with it and letting it work me.”
Check out more from Mari Kennedy here: http://www.marikennedy.com