For our grove’s spring equnox / Alban Eiler celebration, we also had a Druidry workshop that focused on introducing some of our grove members to the wheel of the year. I thought the workshop went quite well, and the information from the workshop could be useful to others, so I’m posting both the handout and the guided meditation on my blog. The workshop started with a guided meditation that introduced people to the wheel of the year–if you are working solo, you can record the meditation in advance and then listen to the recording. If you are working in a group, you can have one person read the meditation and the others can follow along.
Wheel of the Year Meditation
Begin with three deep breaths. As you breath out, let go of any tension, stress, or negative emotions. Continue to focus on your breath, clearing and calming your mind. We will now take a journey through the Wheel of the Year within your inner grove.
You find yourself on a forest path. This path is a comfortable one. Perhaps you’ve walked it before, but even if you haven’t, you know it is safe. The path leads you deeper and deeper into the forest, through the canopy of ancient trees. As you continue down the path, in front of you, you see a clearing in the trees. In this clearing is a grove—a sacred grove, your inner grove. This is place where you are safe and secure. Take a few moments to note this grove’s features and explore the grove. <Pause>
As you continue to explore the grove, you notice companions—some of them may be your fellow grove members, others are companions, guides, and inner guardians of the order. These companions will be with you as you take the journey through the changing wheel of the year. Your companions light a great fire as the night settles in, and you begin to note the changing landscape around you. <Pause>
You begin at the Celtic New Year, the time of Samhain. The trees in the grove are losing the last of their leaves, frost is on the ground, and the cold is setting in. You know you are in the dark half of the year, as the light wanes. As you stand in the circle, a figure emerges from the woods to greet you. This figure is an ancestor – of your blood, of your land, or of your tradition. Listen to the message that your ancestor gives you <Pause>
The landscape again begins to shift. Snows come down, the night seems absolute. Your central fire continues to burn, and you realize that you are now experiencing the darkest night of the year, Alban Arthan, the Winter Solstice. You and your companions throw the largest log you can find into the fire—a Yule log—and share food and wine in the grove. You look to the edge of your grove, and you see, sitting on a small stone altar, that a Alban Arthur gift has been left for you. Examine the gift, taking note of its features. <Pause>
The landscape once again shifts around you and your companions in the grove. You can see that the light is slowly trickling back into the grove, but the bitter cold, snows, and ice have yet to leave. The fire continues to burn brightly, and you realize that you are now in the time of Imbloc. This is a time of reflection, of healing, and of rejuvenation. Take a moment now to reflect upon your journey in life, where you have been before, and where you are going. <Pause>
As you come out of your reflection, the forest surrounding your grove is finally beginning to melt and warm. Crocuses come up on the edge of the grove where you and your companions have been standing. It is dawn, and you realize you are at the time of Alban Eiler, the spring equinox. You can sense the balance in the world at that moment, the balance of night and day, and you rejoice because the spring is here and you are moving into the light half of the world. In your sacred grove, you find a seed, some water, some ash, and a shovel. If you feel lead, plant the seed somewhere in your grove, and watch what grows. <Pause>
The land continues to warm and the sun continues to rise. You watch the leaves unfurl on the oaks, maples, sassafrasses, and birches. Animals and birds are full of life and are procreating. The mayflowers have popped up out of the earth. The buds on the braches burst open and flowers are everywhere. The earth is alive and fertile once more. You look around at your smiling companions in the grove, and realize that Beltane has arrived. You and your companions build a second fire in the grove for the occasion. Now, take a moment to walk through the Beltane fires and receiving the blessing of Beltane. <Pause>
As the Beltane fires die down, the land continues to warm and the sun continues to rule the sky. Its warmth radiates down on you, on the trees and stones around you and your companions, and you realize you are now in the time Alban Hefin, the summer solstice. It is the time of high summer, and all around the grove, herbs and flowers are blooming. Take a moment to bask in the sunlight, to feel it radiating on your face and skin, energizing you and filling you with life. <Pause>
The land continues to be fertile; grapes hang thick on the vines, tomatoes ripen, herbs and lettuces go to seed. The sun is no longer high in the sky, but you hardly seem to notice in this time of high summer. This is the time of the first harvest, Lughassadh, and you can see the bounty of the land surrounding your stone circle. Herbs, plants, fruits, and other wild green things are growing all around the circle. Take a moment to observe what is growing—your eye catches a particular plant at the edge of the circle. Go up to this plant, observe it, take note of what it is, and speak with it—it has a message for you. <Pause>
The land continues to change around you. As it grows colder and the dusk arrives, the leaves shift from green to shades of gold, red, auburn, yellow, purple and brown. The grasses grow golden as the frost once again begins to set in. You realize you are once again the time of balance, when the day and night are equal. This is Alban Elfed, the Fall Equinox. Baskets of bounty from the land—gourds, pumpkins, apples, potatoes, onions, carrots, squash—all things that store well for the coming winter months, overflow in baskets around your stone circle. These are the fruits of your labor; these are what you harvest after hard work and diligence. Take a moment to pause, thinking about what you hope to harvest this year in your own life, and what steps you’ll need to take to get there. <Pause>
The land shifts a final time around you as the sun sets and darkness once again comes to your grove. You are back where you began, at Samhain. You and your companions draw closer to the fire. The leaves have fallen, the stillness in the air speaks of cold winter nights and a darkening landscape. Even though you know that it will be darker still before it becomes light again, you realize that this is a cycle of seasons that has occurred since the world began. You recognize the importance of the winter months, they give the land a chance to rest. You equally recognize the importance of the glorious summer days By observing this wheel of the year, you grow to appreciate each of the seasons for their unique gifts.
Your companions smile and hug you, and then slowly leave the grove. Take note of how your grove has changed in the cycle of one year. Take as much time as you want to remain here, exploring your grove. And when you are ready to return to physical world, you may do so.