Cyclic Opportunity on a Permaculture Site

The Law of Attraction is just Cyclic Opportunity. Tune in and tap the flow!

“Principle of Cyclic Opportunity: Every cyclic event increases the opportunity for yield. To increase cycling is to increase yield. Cycles in nature are diversion routes away from entropic ends-life itself cycles nutrients-giving opportunities for yield, and thus opportunities for species to occupy time niches.”
–Bill Mollison

lifecycle of bean plant showing cyclic opportunity within permaculture 
 The lifecycle of a bean plant is one example of a cyclic opportunity on a permaculture site.  Artwork by KT Shepherd.

Tapping the Flow

One of the fastest and easiest way to increase the yield on your site is by harnessing cyclic opportunities that already exist there. 

Natural cycles, such as planetary orbits, seasonal changes, and women’s menses, are all around us. In every step of a cycle, there are opportunities to mimic, divert, or interact within that cycle. This results in higher yields, new opportunities, and a more ecological and efficient system overall. Most cycles are predictable, and we can learn, through observation and pattern recognition, how to divert and multiply their potential.

Cyclic Opportunity in the Permaculture Garden

The Spiral Design Wheel

​As discussed in the video, adding nine cycles to the GOBRADIME/Permaculture Principles design/memory tool helps us to ensure that we cover all the bases with our design projects.

The goal is to use an awareness of cycles around you to divert the flow, create new flows, and encourage a wilderness-like level of functional, thriving diversity.

spiral design wheel by Heather Jo Flores

Finding potential in every stage of a life cycle.

Most plants, from annual daisies to ancient yew trees, generally follow the same life cycle: the seed grows into a plant which flowers then produces a fruit which contains seed.

Each stage provides us with an opportunity for a yield, or in other words, we can use plants at different stages. Imagined the life cycle of plants as a flow of water, with each different way of using plants creating eddies in the flow.

spirals_and_eddies_by Marit Parker
Artwork by Marit Parker


  • Hop over here and give this document a once-over. In particular, read pages 3-8, about yields and cyclic opportunity. What do you think? What comes up for you, reading these definitions and theoretical ideas? How can you apply them to your practical, hands-on design project?
  • Walk around your site and look for places where cycles are happening. Note them on a layer of your map. Do you see a potential to increase yields by interrupting and/or interacting with existing cycles? What about creating new ones? 
waste in linear and circular economies

Relevant Links and Resources​

Obtain a Yield with Charlie McGee!

Yield (Permaculture Principle 3: Obtain a Yield)

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