The Seasonal Tides

The seasonal tides of the Earth are reflected in the eight festival occasions or Sabbats – often referred to as "The Wheel of the Year." The quarterly tides fall under the influence of various elemental rulers as the seasons progress. The spring equinox, as the sun enters Aries, introduces the ruling element of fire. The summer solstice, when the sun enters Cancer, replaces this with the element of water. As the autumn equinox comes, the sun enters Libra, and the ruling element becomes air. Finally, with the arrival of the winter solstice, the sun enters Capricorn and the Earth takes up the elemental rule until the wheel is once again turned to the Spring Equinox. Through the ebb and flow of the creative powers of the respective elemental rulers, nature is vitalized and can be tapped for magickal purposes. From equinox to equinox, the magickal seeds planted in the astral plane at one equinox will germinate over the course of six months, manifesting at the next. The tides of the solstices maintain the balance between light and darkness, form and force, spirit and matter.

The spring equinox is the season for planting new ideas and beginning studies that lead to spiritual enlightenment. What is begun during this time will begin to manifest around the time of the autumn equinox. The summer solstice is a time of taking stock and celebrating the good things in life. At this time, it is traditional to cultivate and care for those things that have come into our life in a special way. Rituals should include a celebration and an appreciation for the gifts we have received in life. The autumn equinox is a time for harvest when we can gather the rewards of our labors – the fruits of those things planned in the spring. As far as a ritual setting, it is a good time to work on mental imagery and new ideas for the coming year. Our desires and images will arise as new seeds come spring, ready for the planting. The winter solstice marks the end of the vitality within the manifestations of what was planted in the spring. It is a time to dispose of the deadwood of the year, and to analyze what is healthy and unhealthy in our life and in our relationships (relationships of all types). As far as rituals, they should be geared toward personal purification and rebirth. Old debris is burned away and used to fertilize the ground for the spring planting.

Using the preceding paragraph as a guide, the following titles have been given to certain periods of time throughout the course of the "Wheel of the Year:"

The Tide of Destruction: December 23 – March 21

The Tide of Sowing: March 21 – June 21

The Tide of Reaping: June 21 - September 23

The Tide of Planning: September 23 – December 23

Known as the Tattvic Tides in Eastern Mysticism, these forces are also connected with the four elements of creation as well as the fifth element known as spirit. Beginning with the sunrise, the planet is stimulated as the elemental influences present themselves in response to the sun’s energy. The elemental influences merge one into the other every two hours as they pass through a repeating cycle until sunset. As said before, it begins with the sunrise, and the influence of Spirit. This is followed by Air, Fire, Water, and Earth, in that order. In Eastern Mysticism, they are called Akasha, Vayu, Tejas, Apas, and Prithivi, respectively. Some traditions use these as portals to elemental realms.

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