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The Elemental Tides

Continuing our recent thread on Dion Fortune and Paganism, another fascinating aspect of Dion Fortune’s work was her recognition that the year was divided into four ‘Elemental Tides.' These are:

Earth: Summer Solstice to Autumn Equinox
Air: Autumn Equinox to Winter Solstice
Water: Winter Solstice to Spring Equinox
Fire: Spring Equinox to Summer Solstice.

This scheme emphasises the quality of the energy that underlies each season, and DF taught that we should respond appropriately to the nature of this elemental energy and live our lives accordingly. One of the advantages of observing the seasons this way is that the passage of the Elemental Tides encompasses all religions and spiritualities whether pagan, Christian, Egyptian or Celtic and can happily accommodate solar and lunar festivals and major astrological influences.

The Earth Tide: Summer Solstice to Autumn Equinox

For example, we have just passed the Summer Solstice and so are now moving into the three months of the year that are ruled by the element of Earth. DF considered that at the Summer Solstice, when the sun is at its height, there is a direct run through of power emanating from remote spiritual contacts straight into the inner Earth. The next three months until the Autumn Equinox are therefore a time when we will experience the effect of this descent of power as it manifests in ‘Earthly’ terms of events, occurrences, happenings that take place in the outer world and in the here and now. It is a period when we should focus on grounding ourselves, putting energy into the outer circumstances and structures of our lives - and generally should expect the unexpected.
Peter Nascien Accepted Answer
As we continue our progress through the Earth tide I am reminded that Dion Fortune regarded August as the most difficult month in the esoteric year and advised against any formal magical work during August, so that the ‘earthing’ process which began at the Summer Solstice could run its natural course. She thought of it as a period of 'cleansing' in earthly matters. Often, during August, there does indeed seem to be a particular 'bumpiness,' both in world events and in our personal lives. In Chinese medicine it is said that all the seasons of the year are experienced in August, and that certainly seems to be true at the moment!
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Peter Nascien Accepted Answer
As we reach the Autumn Equinox so the Inner Tide now becomes ruled by the Element of Air, which is connected with the Mind. This period is initially characterised by the activities of ‘harvest home’ in which we literally reap what we have sewn, and when our achievements earlier in the year are absorbed into our consciousness so that they become integrated into our spiritual understanding.

This process of review and integration not only applies to our daily lives but also - if we are involved in spiritual matters - it is the time of year when we should try to make a clear-sighted assessment of our spiritual progress. It is said that even the work of the Inner Hierarchy is reviewed in the nature of its relation to humanity and to the Great Work.

It is on the basis of this objective review and understanding of our present position that we can now begin to open our minds to the first hints and intuitions of what we may achieve in the the following year even though, as yet, these 'seeds' remain as ideas.

Immediately following the Autumn Equinox is the Feast of Michaelmas or St Michael and All Angels, on 29th September. The ‘angels’ are in fact the four Archangels, traditionally invoked at the quarters in formal ritual magic: Raphael, Michael, Gabriel and Uriel.
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