Walking the Tides : Seasonal Rhythms and Traditional Lore in Natural Craft
Nigel G. Pearson
This book gives the reader an overview of the great rhythmic tides and flows of energy that animate the Land throughout the year and the natural happenings that occur along the way. The reader is taken on a journey through the year, from the start of the Winter tide in November, until the end of the Autumn tide in October. Every chapter explores the times and tides of that month, including the holy days and traditional ceremonies; the flora; the fauna; the seasonal skies and ‘hearth and home’. That part deals with domestic activities such as wassailing, Spring cleaning and preserving Summer fruits. Lots of recepies are given, for instance for drying rosehips and using those buds – rich in vitamin C – in the season of colds and flues; for infusions; a wassailing punch; a cake for Mothering Sunday; hot cross buns and a solar incense.
A lot of plants and animals live on the continent too, and the night skies are not that different from the UK to another country in the North-West of Europe. But even British folklore differs from place to place, one weather rhyme may be true for one place, but make no sense at all for a place only miles away. Living near the coast or on a mountain may make all the difference. You can best make your own observations, and see whether over time you will be able to make your own predictions. Like: “If Candlemas be fair and bright, / Winter will have another flight. / But if Candlemas Day be clouds and rain, / Winter is gone and will not come again.”
The signs of Spring can occur in the beginning of February in one place in the South, but only weeks later in Northern parts of the country. “All, however, will be aware of a certain feeling in the athmosphere, a certain shift in the ‘sense’ of things that will tell them, along with the other signs, that Spring has arrived. In a natural Craft setting, this feeling is not dependant on a calendar date, but will be reflected in the signs that the individual seeds around them combined with their own, inner awareness…” “As far as natural Craft is concerned, it is the energy tides of the year itself that are acknowledged and celebrated, whenever the occur.” And not on set days on the calender.
This sounds a bit harsh for city dwellers like me, and it can be difficult to organise a coven meeting once a change has occurred in nature, when the date has not been set months before in the diaries of the busy coveners. But when Nature is the key in ones religion, i.e. Paganism, it makes perfect sense. As an individual practitioner, as even in Wicca every one is when not celebrating together that day, it is certainly possible to adjust to what is happening in nature, and to get familiar with the rhythms of the year and the energies of (in this season) the awakening earth. Not only is it possible, but it is what Paganism is all about, and it is recommended for every student of a Pagan path to go out and listen, see, feel what’s going on. For British people the book is a guide on that path; foreign readers will have to do a bit of research into their own surroundings, the weather rhymes, local customs et cetera. ‘Walking the Tides’ certainly inspires to do that!