WHEEL OF THE YEAR (Car nan Coire):
Embodiment of Gaelic Storytelling & Herbal Tradition
This course explores what is happening on the land, within the soil, in the skies, and in our bodies as the seasons turn. The Wheel of The Year reminds us that time is cyclical, not linear, and that we are an expression of nature, woven into the wild web of life. Each class will make connections between the transitions and changes on the Earth and the ecosystem that is our body.
Together, we will create the story of our year, preparing ourselves for spring, summer, and fall, and making the most of the restorative dark of winter. This course is a practical embodiment of the Gaelic storytelling tradition. We will also explore the herbal tradition, working with plants that nourish and support our health as the Wheel turns.
SUMMARY OF EACH SESSION
We will explore the symbolism of the circle and the turn of the cauldron (Car nan Coire) while delving into Gaelic outlook, storytelling, and epistemology. We will look to nature to create rituals: during Samhainn: leaves fall from deciduous trees to nurture the soil and provide nesting sites for moths and butterflies. It is time for us to take stock of our year, shed what we no longer need to move into a space of restoration. This is the end of the growing season and the time of darkness where everything begins. The void, the womb, the blank page of possibility. We will discuss the meaning and practicality of nature-inspired rituals, how they can help attune our bodies to the living Earth, and support us.
Samhainn & Ìsle na Gréine (Winter Solstice) Realm of the Cailleach – this is when she is in complete control. The land is under her spell, under the snow, under cover of darkness. The Cailleach as the Winter Crone, the Spirit of Winter
Imbolc: When the conflict begins to turn in favor of Brìghde nam Brat Buidhe in her struggle to wrest the world from the influence of the Cailleach and the grip of winter. The first signs of the spring to come. Brìghde being the Summer Maiden, the Spirit of Summer.
Bealltainn & Àirde na Gréine (Summer Solstice): The Mouth of Summer. The flowering of hawthorn, the appearance of midges, and the call of the cuckoo. Into longest days, summer shielings (transhumance), carefree courting, etc.
Lùghnasa & Autumn Equinox: Last burn of summer’s heat, last chance for intense growth and nourishment from the sun. Into harvest, taking stock of the year’s bounty, thankfulness. Preparation for winter. Déireamh-bhuana (harvest’s end party).
Homework between sessions:
You will be guided to create two Wheels:
THE FIRST will look to nature and take inspiration or guidance from Gaelic tradition: You might note the seasonal changes that occur at each turn of the wheel, note the wild plants you can harvest where you are, and aspects of traditional story.
THE SECOND will be created as you reflect on your personal needs. This will be used to build personal practices and a home apothecary.
As part of the course, you will also receive written & sound-recorded traditional incantations for each observance in both Gaelic and English for inspiration, and to help you build your own seasonal rituals
DATES & TIMES:
2 – 4:30 pm EST
To keep our interactive, live classes intimate, we limit them to 9 people.
One scholarship space is available (this space has been filled).
with early registration through Summer Solstice
(regular rate, $495)
Àdhamh hails from Cowal in Argyle and is of mixed Irish and Scottish Highland descent. He is the first person in 80 years to raise a family of fluent speakers of his local Gaelic dialect which remains on the verge of extinction. Àdhamh has absorbed a huge storehouse of lore over many years traveling the length and breadth of the Scottish Highlands, spending time with the few mainland tradition bearers who now remain. This experience has fostered a particular concern with the maintenance of the native cosmology of the Highlands and in particular with the manner in which the natural world has come to be viewed as incidental to the human experience. Although globally renowned for his work as Scottish Gaelic advisor to the Outlander film production, Àdhamh’s daily preoccupation keeps him much closer to home and the long-overdue decolonization of Scotland’s people through reconnection with the carrying stream of indigenous culture, language, and spirituality.
A visual artist, herbalist, holistic arts educator, former pro-boxer, and environmental activist, Vanessa’s work is a dynamic blend of her vast personal experiences over the last two decades. Her unique approach is rooted in the belief that healing happens through reclaiming an intuitive connection to ourselves, the natural world, and our own “inner-wild.” As the founder of Sacred Warrior, she inspires personal relationships with the plants and animals that share our ecosystem and curates embodied experiences in her workshops, herbal apprenticeships, and rewilding retreats. She has been traveling back to her ancestral home or Scotland to deepen relationship with her roots and explore her ancestral Earth-based Cosmology. She and Àdhamh have collaborated on retreats in Scotland and together, are constantly researching, exploring, and unearthing pre-Christian Gaelic Cosmology.
A fierce defender and advocate of the land, Vanessa embodies the practices she teaches. She has spearheaded land-based education programs to inspire ecological awareness and land stewardship. As an inspirational speaker, she has spoken at the United Nations, Brown University, and the Muhammad Ali Center. Her work has been featured in Aligned Magazine, Ravenous Zine, Culture Trip, and more. She leads ongoing courses and workshops in NYC and throughout the Northeast and runs Rewilding Retreats in New York, Costa Rica, and Scotland. Her upcoming book, Awakening Artemis: Deepening Intimacy with The Living Earth and Reclaiming Our Wild Nature, will be published December 2021 with Viking in the US, Penguin in the UK, and Ullstein Press in Germany.