In The Great Wheel, Tiffany Lazic explains that the intention behind writing her book
…is to provide a map of the inner frontier that facilitates rescuing Essence from the dark.
In making this statement, she is, of course, describing a particular process of spiritual transformation that can be initiated through the re-discovery of the fractured, isolated and disparate parts of ourselves that become trapped within that part of our inner worlds—an area most commonly referred to as the ‘Shadow Realm’.
While Tiffany Lazic is a practising psychotherapist, her approach to this journey of growth and enlightenment is not via the consultation room or through any extended course of psychotherapeutic guidance.
Instead, she references the Western tradition of spirituality along with an engagement with the natural rhythms of nature as a way of connecting to transformative powers that can aid us along our way to enlightenment.
By looking back at history and mythology, the author suggests that we can engage with the dark stories of the gods and goddesses and, from within their essence, discover a direct connection to our own inherent divinity.
As a framework with which to approach this form of transpersonal psychology, the author calls upon the eight primary and ancient annual festivals that mark the passing of the seasons through the twelve months of the year.
Ancient traditions that reflect the journey of the Sun and Moon through this Wheel of the Year can be found all over the world. They invariably reflect the close connection that ancient peoples once had, not only with planetary cycles, but also with the earth and the changing dynamics of life that, even today, still play through us all at deeper levels of our being.
The Great Work forms a manual of instruction and guidance that takes the reader into a working connection with the shifting energies and influences that play through us via the eight festivals and the cyclic periods that they delineate.
From a psycho-spiritual perspective, the Wheel of the Year begins immediately after the Winter Solstice on December 21.
This, the author argues, is not only the darkest, lowest and most personally challenging period of the annual cycle but also one upon which the dynamics of the rest of the year are built.
Tiffany Lazic states that
…the celebration of the Winter Solstice marks the birth of the Wonder Child. and that this marks a
…journey of excavation and revelation that we undertake throughout the year to come.
From a psycho-spiritual perspective, this point of opening of the year is associated with several fundamental elements to our development.
Tiffany identifies these as pertaining to the very earliest years in our lives and the way in which we are starting to develop as children.
She also aligns this period to the work undertaken by our base chakras and the flow of dark energy that extends through it at this time of the year.
In part two of her book, Lazic explores the same dynamics that manifest in our lives during the second phase of the winter period—that from February 1 through to March 14 and a period when the thaw emerges as the dominant energy and, with it, it begins to bring the promise of new life.
This is characterized by the emergence of the power of human emotion and, in particular, with that of the energy and transforming dynamics of love and light.
The influence of the Moon—that luminary that so impacts upon our emotional bodies—is considered by the author to have a particular effect during this time of the year and she recommends that the influence of the Waxing Moon of the period from March 15 to March 21 can be brought to bear as a way of initiating change and of imbuing ourselves with a sense of adventure.
Cycle three of the great round begins on March 21 and ends on May 2,
This period marks, for those living in the Northern Hemisphere, the end of Winter and the emergence of Spring.
It is a point at which many societies celebrate the dynamic of life and many ancient deities of both sexes reflect this point of mergence into the light.
Tiffany Lazic identifies some of them as Pan, Iduna, Maia, Eos and Flora.
Traditionally speaking, this is seen as a period signified by the rising of the spirit and the strengthening of the element of air.
The author reflects this with a section on singing and chanting and the part that these can play in aligning oneself to the energies of the season.
It is also a time that is reflected through the years seven to thirteen, the Solar Plexus chakra and bird guides.
This period passes all too quickly and is followed soon after by the fourth cycle—that of May 3 to June 13.
The author connects this time of the year to the element of fire and the period of life known as adolescence. In an alchemical context, the author likens it to that of ‘conjunction’ and the heart chakra is identified as the focal center of this energy.
The author identifies the Full Moon that rises during the period of June 14 to June 20 as being a phase of fullness and fruition with advice and guidance on the archetypes that tend to emerge in our inner worlds during this time.
In the fifth of the eight annual cycles, one that spans the Summer Solstice on June 21 through to August 1, the Sun is coming up to a point of full strength and, in doing so, marks the longest day of the year.
Tiffany identifies this period with the element Aether—a somewhat intangible energy that the Greeks identified with the
…pure essence that filled the space between the earth and the sky.
It reflects the period of our highest sense of vitality—one that we experience during our thirties and forties, as well as the function of our throat chakras and how we communicate through it to the world outside of ourselves.
At this important stage in her book, Tiffany introduces the Tarot to the reader and offers some basic information on its mode of operation as a powerful divination device.
Mythological reflection on reaping first harvests characterizes the sixth cycle—from August 2 to September 12. This is a period of reaping and reward with a recognition of the abundance of life and nature.
Here, Tiffany identifies several deities of wealth and prosperity that govern this period including Bahet, Hades, Fortuna, Freyer and Ana.
It is the time of adult maturity most commonly classed as ‘middle age’—that period from our fifties through to our sixties.
The author also identifies the Third Eye or brow chakra is the center through which we most commonly reflect the dynamics of this cycle and identifies the I-Ching as the preferred method of divination for this period.
Cycle seven opens on September 20 and closes on October 31. It is said by the author to be a time of thanksgiving and gratitude for the abundance that the pervious cycle brought to our lives.
As this is such an important time for reflection, the author recommends the practice of yoga as the most suitable activity for this cycle. She also sees the dynamics of this period reflected through our seventies—a period when we tend to reflect upon our lives and our higher purpose.
The closing of the Wheel of the Year starts on November 1 and extends through to December 12 when the Dark Moon of this period returns the cycle back to the point at the Winter Solstice from where it all began.
For many, this is, both physically and psychologically-speaking, one of the darkest periods of the year and the author identifies several classic deities that govern this cycle. These include Anubis, Hekate, Hermes and the Valkyries.
Here, the author introduces the principles of Hynni—a concept that she describes as
…and energy healing modality that has its roots in my work as a Spiritual Psychotherapist, approaching emotional and mental health from an integrative, holistic perspective.
The author expands upon her research into Hynni with the Nine Reflections of Hynni and the Twelve Hynni Symbols.
This contemporary aspect to her work and theories are then explored more deeply in her book with a chapter on Bardo and the principles that underpin the theory that our universe is holographic.
The center that she believes connects to these principles is the Soul Star Chakra—one that can be located roughly a foot above the top of our heads and which connects to our Higher Selves.
As a consequence of working on this particular center, we are brought more closely into contact with our spirit guides and so Tiffany includes some guidance on the practice of channeling.
The Great Work closes with a number of appendices and a bibliography.
Our Review of The Great Work by Tiffany Lazic
Whilst the Wheel of the Year is primarily a Pagan concept, in The Great Work, Tiffany Lazic has used it as a basis for integrating a number of Eastern as well as Western metaphysical concepts.
Thus, throughout the book, the reader is treated to an amalgamation of standard psychotherapeutic principles, alchemical symbolism, chakra therapy and Oriental divination.
The fact that these various and somewhat disparate traditions are knitted together so seamlessly throughout her book is of great credit to the author who clearly identifies the varying dynamics of the year on a deep spiritual level rather than simply as a convenient intellectual construct.
It is a great fallacy in the modern psycho-therapy movement to suggest that the development of an individual is not, at least in part, determined by external factors such as solar and lunar cycles.
In The Great Work, Lazic skilfully bridges this gaping chasm that, sadly, so often exists between the two worlds of the inner and outer life of the spiritual traveler.
Self-development is not a quick fix method for making things right in our world; it does take the creation of a connection with higher forces to bring this about and at the very least one full year to bring to fruition.
The Great Work is a most effectual and descriptive manual for anyone willing to engage with the dark and transformative powers of life and the earth.
It is also a beautifully presented and structured book that so skillfully illuminates the path that the reader can take for themselves in transforming their lives and the physical world that they inhabit.
Like all good books on the subject of spirituality, it is also challenging. It requires the negation of the ego and the enforcement of a strict spiritual discipline to get the best out of it but, should you fail, stumble and fall at any point along the journey, you can always pick yourself up, dust yourself off and wait for the annual cycle to come around again and try once more to perfect the challenge of the task that occultists call ‘The Great Work’.
If you are looking for a practical, insightful, dynamic and rewarding book on psycho-spiritual development, you will not do much better than to work with the excellent guidance offered by Tiffany Lazic in The Great Work!
Book of the Month: June 2015