Just Grazin’

Stories from the pond – fun, fiction, and life

Entering the Quiet Time as We Leaf the Light Behind

An equinox occurs twice a year, when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the Sun being vertically above a point on the Equator. The latitudes +L and -L north and south of the equator experience nights of equal length and the celestial equator has intersected the ecliptic in the axial precession.

This year’s Autumnal Equinox, when the light and dark are equal – but moving towards dark – arrived at 2:50am Central Time on Monday, September 23rd.

But seasonal celebrations should not be bound by dates and times and such. In fact, it is a good idea to pre-celebrate Equinox so that you do not miss that last fleeting moment when light and dark have equal time. So …

Let the Fall Celebrations Begin !!

“Give Thanks for the Blessings”

Happy Lammas!!

Hey, wait just a minute! Those are happy llamas … which is not the same thing at all!

Today is August 1st, the pagan holiday of Lammas or First Harvest. It is the first of three harvest celebrations on the Wheel of the Year. But because this is a pagan holiday that does not have a corresponding non-pagan holiday, it may be one that you have never heard of.  

Summer Sunning!

Today marks the Summer Solstice. Astronomically, it looks like this:

The Summer Solstice occurs exactly when the Earth’s axial tilt is most inclined towards the sun at its maximum of 23° 26′. The seasonal significance of the Summer Solstice is in the reversal of the gradual shortening of nights and lengthening of days. That will occur later today – June 21st at 15:54 UTC (10:54pm Central Daylight Time).

Today the sunrise (where I live) will be 5:18am and sunset will be 8:40pm – 15 hours and 22 minutes of sunlight. On Winter Solstice, six loooong months ago, sunrise was at 7:25am and sunset was at 4:25pm, 9 hours of sunlight. Tomorrow we actually pick up one more minute of sunlight with a sunset of 8:41pm!

On Sunday, though, the sunrise will be one minute later, signalling the waning of the year. But that’s Sunday and today we have 922 minutes of sunlight to enjoy!!

(Don’t forget to hover on the images!*)

April Showers are Bringing May Flowers!

At Winter Solstice, the light begins to return – gradually, the memory of the long nights fades until the light and dark are equal on Spring Equinox. From that point on,  the light returns more rapidly and on May 1st we arrive at the midpoint between equinox and Summer Solstice.

Today, my sunrise was at 5:52am CDT and my sunset will be at 7:57pm … more than 14 hours of daylight, adding 2 hours since the equinox. By the end of May, we will have added 49 more minutes of daylight!

May your May days be filled with sunlight, flowers … and kissable snouts!

(Place your cursor over the photos to read the hovers!*)

Springing into Spring – No Kidding!

Yesterday, March 20th, at 21:58 UTC (4:58pm CDT), the Spring Equinox occurred.

An equinox occurs twice a year (around 20 March and 22 September), when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the center of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth’s equator. The name “equinox” is derived from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night), because around the equinox, night and day are about equal length.

The amount of daylight and darkness became equal over the past few days (on March 18, here) and soon daylight will extend ever deeper into the evening and the early morning hours.

Spring is about hope and new beginnings and the sheer joy of being outdoors in the light and the warmth. Here is some (light!) kidding around as we celebrate this year’s Spring Equinox.
(Place your cursor on the photos to read the hovers*)

Spring is in the air!

At the beginning of February, when the earth appears frozen and lifeless, there are stirrings below the surface and above us in the sky. The light is returning; today there is nearly an hour more daylight than there was on the Winter Solstice.

Mid-January through mid-February is when the Great Horned Owls begin breeding and nesting. While the rest of us look out at the wintry landscape here in North Central Blogistan – and wait for spring – the owls are already beginning their nesting year.

(Don’t forget to hover* …)

Bearly There

Was she a bear—or something more?

She was dreaming in the cave, with the cubs snuggled against her broad chest. They dreamed together while outside the wind swept snow pellets through the trees and the deer hunted desperately for short grasses by the half-frozen creek. Her dreams were of warmth and plenty, of her twins gamboling in the rich, juicy grasses of spring, of the taste of ripe berries in summer. She dreamed of fish in the stream and wild honey in a hive nestled in a tall tree that would present no problem at all to her climbing skills.

Welcome, Returning Light!

The winter solstice “occurs exactly when the Earth’s axial tilt is farthest away from the sun at its maximum of 23° 26′. Though the winter solstice lasts only a moment in time, the term is also a turning point to midwinter and the first day of winter.”

That moment will occur this afternoon, December 21st, at 4:23pm Central Time (which is my time zone), also known as UTC 22:23.

Mabon

Mabon, a triple sonnet

 

Woods Tree Leaves Fall Nature Autumn Red Season

 

(A Triple Sonnet)

by Benjamin Neideigh

Saint Philibert’s feast day passed weeks ago,
But we shall munch his namesake nuts today,
And apples, too—deep shiny red, aglow—
And kiss each other’s chins to lick away
The sweet juice of the autumn’s proudest fruit.
The pumpkins and piled corn make tables groan.
Try to ignore the bony man, hirsute
With moss and cobwebs, by the door. He’ll moan
For sweet Persephone, and she will follow.
The pomegranate promise she has made,
And she must keep it deep in Hades’ hollow.
Six months she’ll stay, her sad absence displayed

By withered leaves, by fruitless trees, by snow…
And hard on her footsteps, we too must go

Out of the light that sparked the spring rebirth,
Out of the sun that heated summer’s play,
Into the falling dark, the cooling earth,
With harvest larders feeding us for days,
For weeks, for months, until things grow again.
This we accept. It’s truth, and truth we crave.
Truth is: we need the rest, the darkened den,
The sleep, the dreams, the Winter Solstice grave,
The death-and-rebirth of the lordly sun
Three months from now, in winter’s deepest cold,
Year’s longest night. That’s how Earth’s course is run,
And why ancestors rose up, newly bold,

Sure of the changing spans of day and night,
Sure of dear Gaia’s plans for their delight.

But… I’m ahead of myself. Mabon’s here.
Fresh bales of hay are dotting all the fields.
Altars of red/gold/orange now appear,
And we’ll chant praises for abundant yields.
We’ll feast… but not too much and not too long.
What we’ve laid in must last ’til spring arrives.
We’ll welcome the Dark Mother with our song,
Expressing gratitude that we’re alive
And thriving in this wonderland she gave,
Though threatened as it is by heedlessness.
We must combat the greenback’s blinded slaves
And put to right their greed-inflicted mess.

Today is balance, and balance we seek.
We shall be loving, kind… but never meek.

© Verse-Case Scenario, LLC 2018


Ben’s note: I still hold in my heart nuggets of the earth-based spirituality I studied in the Nineties and early “Oughts.” The practice and the mythology contain valuable messages for modern humankind and provide crystal clear focal points for meditating on what’s truly meaningful. May you all enjoy a blessed Autumn Equinox.

Diana’s note: I first met Ben and his wife Jean at the place where we studied earth-based spirituality in “the Nineties and early Oughts.”

 

Woods Tree Leaves Fall Nature Autumn Red Season

Entering the Quiet Time as We Leaf the Light Behind

An equinox occurs twice a year, when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the Sun being vertically above a point on the Equator. The latitudes +L and -L north and south of the equator experience nights of equal length and the celestial equator has intersected the ecliptic in the axial precession.

This year’s autumnal equinox, when the light and dark are equal – but moving towards dark – arrives at 8:54pm Central Time on Saturday, September 22.

But seasonal celebrations should not be bound by dates and times and such. In fact, it is a good idea to pre-celebrate Equinox so that you do not miss that last fleeting moment when light and dark have equal time. So …

Let the Fall Celebrations Begin !!