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.
Aylwin thought her way was the only way—until the Goddess showed her otherwise.
All seemed well in the orchard that morning and in the woods beyond.
Walking from the Big House through the orchard, Aylwin paused on her way to breakfast to drink in the sight of a cluster of rosy-yellow apples against the pale blue sky that showed through the branches of the apple tree. She stood very still and breathed deeply, trying to fix the color and scent of the apples in her mind.
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 todayish – June 21st at 10:07 UTC (5:07am Central Time).
Today and tomorrow, 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.
Next Sunday, 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!!
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.
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*)
I’ve been keeping my head down lately, because my heart cannot take any more negativity. There’s all the awfulness in the world, and then my best friend is in hospice with the nth recurrence of brain cancer. She fought hard for four years, which is a lot longer than many with glioblastoma get — and her daughter is getting a break from her profs at MIT, they are letting her spend a lot of time down here. I go visit as often as I can, but she is sleepy a lot; I try not to think of any one visit as being the last. Another friend died in a car accident in January, and a friend’s mom — who I called my substitute mom when my parents lived overseas – is in the hospital with heart failure. So you can see where my heart is a little fragile.
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.
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 morning, December 21st, at 10:28am Central Time, which is my time zone also known as UTC 16:28.
Goddess women invoke a male deity–and get a Yule surprise!
In ones and twos the Circle sisters arrived at the house on the evening of Winter Solstice. They swept through the door, bringing gusts of cold air with them, and amid laughter and greetings divested themselves of coats and cloaks.
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 3:02pm Central Time on Friday, 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 …