The Wheel of the Year and Your Business

Happy Halloween!

PumpkinsOtherwise known as Samhain (pronounced ‘sow-en’), this is a great time of a year to take stock of where you’re going with your business. You can also use it as a mini-New Year, complete with a new direction, goals and plans. Hooray!

For many small business owners, the year has a certain shape – peaks of busy-ness, such as a summer of fairs and shows, and lulls that allow us to catch up with paperwork, marketing or life in general. A year of trading is also punctuated by certain seasonal themes: Halloween, Christmas, January Sales and Easter, for example. But for me, the year is also broken up into 8 handy segments, each with a different flow of energy: the wheel of the year.

Names and dates

Wheel of the Year
Fire Festival
31 October 2016
1 November 2016
Winter Solstice
21 December 2016
Fire Festival
1 February 2017
Spring Equinox
20 March 2017
Fire Festival
30 April 2017
1 May 2017
Summer Solstice
21 June 2017
Fire Festival
1 August 2017
Autumn Equinox
22 September 2017

At each of these junctures in my year, I’ll pause, take stock, and decide where I’m going next. I use the wheel of the year to decide what to focus on so that I can work with, rather than against, the natural ebb and flow of the year’s energies.

Based on ancient perceptions, the wheel can take some getting used to. The idea is that all things – business plans, for example – begin to germinate in the dark, like seeds. So, winter, not spring, is the start of the year. Its peak is the longest day, meaning that after June 21st things begin to wind down. And after the winter solstice, the days begin to lengthen, meaning that things are ramping up from late December onwards.

Side note: The same concept applies to moonphases. While energy (and lunacy!) is at its height during the full moon, it also peaks and begins to wane, making full moon a good time to let things go. Energy rises between new moon and full, so it’s better to start your projects at the new moon.

But how does this apply to your business?

Getting to grips with the wheel of the year helps you do three things as an entrepreneur:

1. Pause

Any opportunity for reflection and reassessment of your goals is a bonus, in my eyes. In days gone by, the fire festivals were a time for leaping over flames to ritually cleanse oneself (reputedly – and I honestly don’t mind if it’s hokum). You can still do this today, of course. But it’s the intention that counts, not the method. I relish the chance to dismiss what isn’t working and move forward with new purpose. In other words, it’s time to cut the crap! And find a better way of working as you go forward. Flaming hopscotch is entirely optional.

2. Inspire

If you’re running any kind of holistic, spiritual or wellbeing-focused company, you can use the wheel of the year to add an extra layer of meaning to your content or social media marketing calendar. Blogging about the wheel of the year will help your customers feel part of the year’s natural cycles. This is so beneficial for us in the West, as most of us spend virtually the whole year indoors under artificial lights, looking at screens and generally being cut-off from the natural world. Plus, for me, these cycles are more authentic than typical retail events such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day. There’s some deeper meaning going on, but the themes are still familiar.

3. Connect

Shared festivals and events, even the crass commercial ones, give us a sense of commonality and connection to each other. In the absence of the rituals and ceremonies that mark important events in other cultures, it’s important to celebrate at least a few milestones in the year as one tribe. Halloween, Christmas, Summer Holidays and even putting the clocks back are all things we do together, in great numbers, and there’s power in that. To enhance these times with deeper meaning and intention can only be a good thing.

Energies of the wheel

Here’s my guide to the year’s energies and how they could help you and your business:

Correspondences for your business year
The pagan New Year! Death, transformation, end of old projects, honouring the past, rest, success, plenty, wisdom.
The cycle begins anew! New beginnings, light, rebirth, giving, merrimentm celebration, feast.
Ruled by Brighid, an amazing goddess/saint for creative people. Budding, new life, renewal, rejuvenation, poetry, healing.
Spring equinox – day and night are of equal length. Resurrection, balance, equalibrium.
May Day – a time for lovers! Fertility, love, joy, growth, collaboration, union, blossoming.
Midsummer – the longest day. Life, birth, transformation, power, purity.
The first harvest. Fruitfulness, reaping, prosperity, abundance, purification, change.
Autumn equinox – day and night are of equal length. Reaping, thankfulness, kinship, protection, harmony, balance.

How do you structure your business year? Let me know in the comments below.

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