Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Tiffany Lazic, author of The Great Work: Self-Knowledge and Healing Through the Wheel of the Year and the new Noble Art.

There is much of wisdom to be gleaned from following the natural progression through the cycle of the seasons such as is reflected in the Wheel of the Year. There is much in our collective history—irrespective of cultural or geographical background—that shares commonality when an agricultural perspective of manifestation is taken into consideration. We cannot harvest if we do not cultivate. We cannot cultivate if we do not plant. We cannot plant if we do not prepare the ground. And the ground will not be prepared to receive the seed and ultimately offer up the harvest if we are unwilling to roll up our sleeves and put our backs, our sweat, and our intentions into it. It doesn’t matter where in the world you are—or, really, when in the world you are—it simply will not work any other way. As agricultural society gave way to mechanization and then as industrial society gave way to technological innovation, many advances changed the methods and the tools involved in the process. Farmers may now use drones to assess which fields are in need of watering, but that doesn’t not change the fact that crops will always need to be observed and cared for during the growing season, whatever the method of observation may be. Techniques may change over the course of history but the process remains ever the same, century after century.

The personal process of self-actualization can be seen to follow a very similar arc. The harvest itself may present very differently. Instead of grains, fruits, and gourds, we may be graced with a cornucopia of wholeness, empowerment, self-esteem, and enlightenment. This inner bounty opens our lives to the rich feast of courageous choices, healthy relationships, and a sense of fulfillment and pride. These are all beautiful experiences to seek. They offer a rich, soulful experience of life. But, just as there is no fast track from seed to fruition, the process towards a healthy inner harvest demands commitment, courage, and patience. Here, too, sleeves need to be rolled.

As in so many other areas in life, the healing arts are no stranger to the enticement of the “quick fix.” It can be tempting to flirt with the idea that one book, or a three-week course, or six-session plan can bring the depth of insight enough to make a deep, lasting difference. It can be very enticing to believe that an intense energy practice or a potent plant or transcendent guru can bring expansion enough to integrate the Divine. But these misconceptions ignore the wisdom that comes with the cycle of the season. They run the risk of negating the irrefutable benefit of allowing time to take its inestimable course. True growth requires digging your hands into the dark soil and clearing the hard stones that may cause interference in growth. It requires assessing the tools you have on hand, discerning whether they are adequate to the task, in need of repair, or would benefit from being replaced completely. It requires time, and assessment, and more time. If you are seeking an abundant harvest, then you have to do the work of clearing the fields, tilling the fields, preparing the fields. You have to take the time to plant the seeds, nurture the seeds, care for the seeds. If you do not—if you attempt a shortcut to the experience of the integrating the Shadow into the True Self, if you try to pluck the fruit on the heels of planting the seed—the harvest you receive may not be that which you were expecting.

Our thanks to Tiffany for her guest post! For more from Tiffany Lazic, read her article “Self-Care Inspired by the Wheel of the Year.”

Written by Anna
Anna is the Senior Consumer & Online Marketing Specialist, responsible for Llewellyn's New Worlds of Body, Mind & Spirit, the Llewellyn Journal, Llewellyn's monthly email newsletters, and more. In her free time, Anna enjoys reading an absurd number of books; doing crossword puzzles; watching ...