The Avalonian Tradition and The Wheel of Britannia
The Avalonian Tradition is a Goddess path which is based around the Lady of Avalon, the endless cycle of the seasons of the year and the ever growing and deepening spiral of birth, life and death. We work with the Goddesses, elements and spirits of the earth around us and try to live our lives in harmony with Goddess and nature. We do not practices magic or spells, but rather we use prayer and communion with Goddess and Her sacred animals, nature and the elements to hear Her voice and talk to Her.
The Wheel of Britannia is central to the spiritual practices which the Avalonian tradition follows and it takes us around the seasons and elements in an endless cycle of life, love, death and rebirth. The eight holidays of the year each make up a section of the wheel, with the Lady of Avalon and Britannia at the centre.
Below is a brief explanation about each holiday of the wheel and the Goddess aspect and element associated with it.
Samhain is the darkening time, when the land is starting to die back and the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest. We go deep within ourselves to meet with our ancestors and our shadow selves. Although it is the seasonal time of death, Samhain is not just about physical death, it is also about the shedding of that which no longer serves us - be it bad habits, relationships or negative thoughts. This shedding is the ending of cycles and preparing for new cycles of positive action, thoughts and behaviour.
Samhain is the time of the Crone Goddess - She who has lived a long life and carries the wisdom of Her line. She is no longer a bleeding woman and Her womb holds the wisdom of Her moon blood. She stirs Her cauldron of memory, truth, wisdom and poison. She takes all that causes pain, grief, guilt and dark emotions and stirs it well. Then She offers us a cup to drink so that we can embrace, mourn and keen our pain. We are held in Her arms until we are ready to hear Her wisdom. Although old and frail, the Crone is wise and strong. Listen to Her words and hear Her stories for She has much to tell you.
The winter solstice is the time when night lasts longer than day. It is the still point of the year, when we have retreated within ourselves. We take stock of our lives and our emotions and the energy is a deeper continuation to that of Samhain. This stillness is the pause between death and life - it is the space between breaths, a timeless place. The element of air is held in the north at the winter solstice. It is the cleansing element. We smudge ourselves with air and incense, we cleanse ourselves with sound. We use the air to balance and centre ourselves. It can be gentle or it can be rough but these winds of change blow at us and strip away that which we rid ourselves of at Samhain. We become like mountain tops, devoid of dust and dirt, taken back to the very bones of our being.
The Goddess is at Her eldest state of being. She is the most ancient of crones, one who is so old that She is almost as old as time itself. She is bone woman and stone woman. She creates a space within us that is set aside from time and life. She holds us in the stillness until it is time for the Maiden to awaken our energy again. Enjoy this stillness- it is important to go within ourselves and rest.
Imbolc is the time of the quickening. The energy of the land is awoken from its long slumber and the sap is beginning to rise. Crocuses and snowdrops push through the hard ground and colour begins to return to nature. As the land begins to wake up, so do we. We come out from our caves of slumber and stretch up to the sun. it is still cold and the snow may fall across the land, but everything is awakening. The first lambs are born and the ewe's milk begins to flow. We are still in winter, but spring is on the way!
The Maiden Goddess comes into Her power at this imbolc time- young, innocent and vibrant. She awakens the energy of the land and She begins to stir and awaken us too. Not only does She begin to stir up our energy but She also stimulates our creativity and ideas. The Maiden is full of enthusiasm and the belief held by the young that they can do anything. This applies to all of us, no matter what our age is - the Maiden is in all of us and She inspires our inner Maiden to be full and free.
Although the sun and moon are only physically in balance for one brief astrological second, the energy of the spring equinox stays balanced for much longer. This is the time of fire and the awakened land. Spring arrives in all its glory, the energy rises to a crescendo of daffodils and singing birds. The weather is warmer and we feel fully awakened- the springing is upon us and we are becoming fully present in our bodies and our environments. The balanced energy of this time calls to us to create more balance in our lives. This could be between work and family or fun and commitments. It is a time to look at things and see where changes can be made to reflect the balanced energy of the equinox. The element of fire is located in the east and this is the direction of the spring equinox. As well as being physical fire, it is also about our inner fire. The fire of our power, of our sexuality and our spirit. Enjoy it, be one with it, for it is yours and you are it.
This is still the time of the Maiden Goddess and the land and energy responds to Her vibrance and enthusiasm. She takes our imbolc ideas and She fires them up into more ideas and the start of action. The Maiden of the spring equinox is growing into Herself. She is older and well on Her way to becoming a woman. She is strong and rebellious. She is self assured and She stands in Her power and Her independence. Take this Maiden energy and use it. Rise up with the fire of the Maiden and stand firm in yourself!
Beltane falls in the late spring and as the sweet hawthorn comes into bloom, we arrive at the blossoming time of year. The animals and birds begin to attract mates and build nests, the weather is warm and comforting. As nature grows around us, we to grow into ourselves. The sounds of the springtime fill us as the flowers burst into riots of colour and sensuality. The time of the Lover Goddess has come.
The Lover arrives as the Maiden Goddess comes into Her power as a sexual being. She is the one who becomes aware of the changes Her body and soul has wrought. She is the initiator of love and sexuality. She is our first blood, our first love, our first orgasm. The Lover calls us to love and be loved. She teaches us to love ourselves and honour ourselves as sensual and sexual beings. She is pleasure and life. As we make love, to ourselves and others, She shows us the wonderful connection and honouring of it. This rush of love and sexuality can also open us up to the shadow side of physical emotions- the dishonour, the pain, the rapes, the mishandled births, the abortions and the self hate. Sexual, emotional and physical wounds all come from these dark places, but the Lover Goddess can help us to heal. She is listening and if we call, She will come. She can heal the pain of sexual wounds, She can re-empower those whose power has been lost. She loves and cherishes the dishonoured women and men. She is healing, love and life. The Lover is the sacred one who shines love, passion, dance and forgiveness upon our spirits, bodies and hearts. She is the healer and teacher of the sexual being. The most important lesson She gives us is to love and honour ourselves- use this lesson and reclaim your Lover self.
As the solstice occurs and the days are long, the first days of summer are upon us. The glistening comes as the sun shines brightly and the air is warming. The Lover continues of Her lessons of love and emotion and we are held by the Mothers of water in the south. The water is our flowing emotions and should let them flow, just as rivers flow to oceans and springs flow to wells and streams. Our emotions are part of our very being and we should embrace and honour them all from laughter and happiness, to pain, guilt or regret. Blockages in our energy and spirit are caused when we suppress and ignore our emotions.
Water is the life blood of our planet and nothing can survive for long without it. Yet we pollute and desecrate our springs, wells, rivers and oceans- the very water which nourishes and grows us. This is the time to get out in the warm, summer sun and honour our waters- this can be done by joining a local conservation group or simply picking up litter on riverbanks and beaches. Take the time to visit a well or spring and drink the waters of the Mother (if it is safe to do so). Embrace your emotions, express them safely and go with the flow of life.
Lammas comes when the sun is high, the days are long and everywhere is filled with the abundance of nature. Animals are birthing their young, the fields and soft fruits are being harvested. The land glows yellow with sunlight and ripened grains. We gather together to give thanks for the harvests in our lives with family and friends. We give thanks for the weather, food and joys we have in our lives. We take stock of our achievements and the gift that the Goddess gives to us. This time truly is the abundance and the height of summer.
The Lover becomes Mother as the wheel turns to Lammas. She is full and beautiful with Her pregnant belly which overflows with new life. She radiates love and warmth and Her energy is nurturing and gentle. She is the Mother of all Mothers- She holds and cares for us. She makes us think of our own Mothers and She holds us as we feel the wounds that may come from our birth Mothers. She is the Mother who cares for us when our Mothers may abandon or hurt us. She heals the Mothers who lose children through no fault of their own. She shows the women who cannot be Mothers how to Mother themselves and others with love - for being the Mother is not just about giving birth. It is about the holding energy of love and nurture. The Mother Goddess keeps us close to Her heart and nourishes us with love and compassion. We should pay heed to Her lessons for they help us to Mother others with the same grace and care.
Autumn comes with the Equinox and day and night are in balance again. The nights begin to lengthen once more and the land starts to begin its slow journey towards death. However, before the end of the cycle at Samhain, we first embrace and rejoice in the manifestation. Everything we have worked on during the year comes to fruition, just as the apples and fruits come into ripeness. The colours change to browns, reds and purples and everywhere is the manifestation of nature, life and work.
The Mother Goddess is still strong at this time and She manifests herself as the regal, older woman. She has birthed and grown all Her children and although She is older, Her birthing days are not yet past. If She wishes, She could still bear more young, as many women do in the later years of their lives. The Mother of the autumn equinox is connected to the element of earth and the west. She is the land beneath our feet, She is the mountains and hills, She is the valleys and plains. She moves and shakes when She needs to, She destroys and She creates. She is all around us. The Mothers of earth need us as much as we need them, for although we need them to live, grow and survive, we are destroying them. We frack into the earth for fuel, we rape the land for coal and precious gems. We dig holes and fill them with refuse. We poison and pollute and kill. Each of us in our turn could help to stem this damage. The Earth Mothers need us to return the love and nurture they have given us. They are our Mothers.
The Lady of Avalon
The Lady of Avalon - Nolava - is the centre of the wheel. She is Maiden, Lover, Mother and Crone. She is the all encompassing Goddess of the wheel. She is all holidays and seasons. Her body is present in the landscape of Glastonbury and Her love, magic and energy can be felt by all through the ley lines and chakras of the world. She is the heart of the wheel and She is in the heart of us all, connecting us as one global family.
For more information about the wheel of Britannia and the Avalonian Tradition, you may find the following books and websites useful:-
- The Goddess in Glastonbury, Kathy Jones, Ariadne Publications, 1990 - This book is available to read for free online here
- Spinning the Wheel of Ana, Kathy Jones, Ariadne Publications, 1994
- In the Nature of Avalon, Kathy Jones, Ariadne Publications 2000
- The Ancient British Goddess, Kathy Jones, Ariadne Publications, 2001
- Priestess of Avalon, Priestess of the Goddess, Kathy Jones, Ariadne Publications, 2006