“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.” – Joseph Campbell
The cyclic tides of nature are, for many Pagans, the closest thing we have to a holy book. Even those whose paths are centered on reconstructing the religions of ancient cultures, complete with intact myths and rituals, ultimately see the primordial powers of the natural world underwrite these traditions on some level. Sometimes the Gods are literal personifications of elemental forces, while in other instances these forces are used as tools of Divine retribution or reward.
Some Pagans today look upon the Earth as a living and breathing entity – a Goddess in her own right, while others envisage the ebb and flow of the cosmic dance as a metaphor for life, and read into this pattern a promise of our own rebirth. Pagans celebrate the waxing and waning of the moon, the life sustaining transits of the sun, and the endless turning of the seasons – indeed, for many, these natural phenomenon are the loom upon which their spiritual tapestry is woven. They give structure to Pagan practice, and empower our lives with rich and vibrant symbolism to guide us along our paths.
In the Avalonian Tradition, the power of Cycle has a psycho-spiritual component as well. Inspired by the myth of Ceridwen — whose five-fold shape-shifting pursuit of the Awen-thief Gwion has long been believed to encode a Druidic initiation rite — as well as the five seeds of the star revealed in the cleaved apple of wisdom that gives Avalon her name, the Avalonian Cycle of Healing is a road map for personal transformation. My book Avalon Within: A Sacred Journey of Myth, Mystery and Inner Wisdom, explores this pentatonic pathway of inner understanding as a vehicle for affecting deep and lasting change in our lives.
The fundamental premise of the Avalonian Cycle of Healing is to embrace our connection to the energies of Cycle that are the prime mover of the Universe – to indeed, match our nature with Nature. Once we acknowledge that we are a part of the Universe and not apart from it, we can consciously come into alignment with the energies of the Great Cycle – whose repetitions are seen in the tiniest subatomic particles through to the great whirling galaxies that make up the known Universe and beyond. This expression of the Hermetic Principle of Correspondence – As above, so below; as below, so above – allows us to harness the macrocosmic/microcosmic paradigm of the Universe and use it to empower our changes as we ally ourselves with the turning of the Wheel.
The Avalonian Cycle of Healing teaches us to look at the progression of changes in the world around us in more than a symbolic way, giving us the tools we need to tap into the greater movement of the Cycle and channel it so that it is the battery that powers our inner work. We enter into the depths of the unconscious to seek out negative life patterns at the Station of Descent; look into the mirror of our soul’s Shadow at the Station of Confrontation; bring the reclaimed energies from our hidden selves up into the light of consciousness at the Station of Emergence; and redirect these energies to cultivate a harvest of self-actualization at the apex of the Cycle that is the Station of Resolution – a spiritual harvest that assists us to clear our sight and bolster our resolve as the Cycle turns down into the Station of Descent once more. The Station of Integration is the heart around which this perpetual Cycle turns, while also existing in-between each of the other Stations. It holds the energies of wholeness and unity, and assists us in seeing the big picture of our soul growth and spiritual unfolding.
The Cyclic correspondences to each of these Stations are literally endless; here are a few to get the wheels turning in your own mind:
Station of Descent
Holy Day: Calan Gaeaf (Samhain)
Moon Phase: 3rd Quarter
Time of Day: Dusk
Station of Confrontation
Holy Day: Gwyl Mair (Imbolc)
Moon Phase: Dark
Time of Day: Midnight
Station of Emergence
Holy Day: Calan Haf (Beltane)
Moon Phase: 1st Quarter
Time of Day: Dawn
Station of Resolution
Holy Day: Gwyl Awst (Lughnassadh)
Moon Phase: Full
Time of Day: Noon
Station of Integration
Season: All Seasons
Holy Day: The Wheel of the Year
Moon Phase: The Moon, without light or shadow
Time of Day: All Time, and none
What I have found most empowering about my many years of working through the Cycle of Healing is that I have come to trust the wisdom of nature in a very real and literal sense. I know when I am in the depths of my soul work, the pain that I am feeling is no different than the struggles of the seed to push out of the darkness — and just as the energies of the Universe are keyed to help that sprout break through the surface of the soil, it will help me emerge into the light of understanding and healing just the same. Each time through, I see things from a different perspective, and I set up my year of work to correspond with the energies of the greater Cycles moving around me. Synchronizing with these powerful energies has accelerated my spiritual growth, empowered my connections with the Divine, and assisted me in manifesting my dreams in ways I could only imagine before – and I am not alone. Thousands of women (and men!) have worked the Cycle of Healing, and are amazed at the changes they have made in their lives, for at the heart of it all – aligning ourselves with Nature ultimately reveals the nature of the Divine that dwells within us all.
(Originally published as a guest blog in the Llewellyn Journal).