Spring is the dawn of the new zodiacal year in the Northern Hemisphere. Don’t you just love the word “equinox?” I have to decide each time whether to say it with a short or long “e”. The equinoxes are the two times during the year when the dark of night and the light of day are in balance or equal. Another name for the Vernal Equinox is Ostara, from the name of a German Goddess of fertility, Oestarae.
She is the deific equivalent of the Greco-Roman goddess, Aurora, the personification of the sunrise. Consider that the Sun rises in the East and her name is where East and Easter both come from. The Christian Easter date was decided by the Council of Nicaea to fall the first Sunday after the first full Moon occurring on or after the March Equinox. This effectively removed its observance from conflicts with either Ostara or Passover. Continue reading Welcome Spring!→
I received this holiday greeting many years ago, back when we used to get this stuff by Fax machine:
From me (“the Wishor”) to you (“the Wishee”) Please accept without obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, politically correct, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all . I wish you a financially successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2002, but with due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures or sects, and having regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform or sexual preference of the Wishee. By accepting this greeting you are bound by these terms that this greeting is subject to further clarification or withdrawal. This greeting is freely transferable provided that no alteration shall be made to the original greeting and that the proprietary rights of the Wishor are acknowledged. This greeting implies no promise by the Wishor to actually implement any of the wishes. This greeting may not be enforceable in certain jurisdictions and/or the restrictions herein may not be binding upon certain Wishees in certain jurisdictions and is revocable at the sole discretion of the Wishor. This greeting is warranted to perform as reasonably may be expected within the usual application of good tidings, for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first. The Wishor warrants this greeting only for the limited replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the Wishor. Any references in this greeting to “the Lord”, “Father Christmas”, “Our Savior”, “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” or any other festive figures, whether actual or fictitious, dead or alive, shall not imply any endorsement by or from them in respect of this greeting, and all proprietary rights in any referenced third party names and images are hereby acknowledged. This greeting is made under US Law.
At the Winter Solstice, the Sun enters the part of the space-time continuum belonging to Capricorn. This is the official first day of Winter in the Northern Hemisphere. The word Solstice is derived from the Latin sol, or “Sun,” and stitium, or “stoppage.” At the Solstice, the Sun appears to both rise and set at the same spot on the horizon. At New Grange the sun gradually lights the chamber over the five days peaking on Dec 21.
On or around June 21, the Summer Solstice, the North Pole is tilted most directly Sunward. Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere experience this as the longest day and shortest night of the year. On or around December 21, the Winter Solstice, the North Pole is pointed away from the Sun giving us in the Northern Hemisphere, our shortest day and longest night. It is this tilting of the Earth’s rotational axis that gives us our seasons. If you want more information on how this works, just ask and I can recommend some articles and books that explain it really well. I don’t know about you, but to me, the important part of this is that from here on out, we get a few minutes more of daylight each day, until the Summer Solstice, that is.
Symbols of Winter:
Snow, bare-branched trees, icicles, yule log, Santa Claus with his elves and reindeer, a crèche with Magi and star, etc.
Capricorn is represented by onyx, hematite and garnet.
Aquarius is represented by pietersite, malachite and amethyst.
Pisces is represented by aquamarine, and turquoise and jade.
Activities of Winter:
Skiing and snowshoeing, hanging up lights and decorations, Holiday celebrations, shoveling snow and watching movies like How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Elf, Christmas in Connecticut, White Christmas, Die Hard, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation…
The American Society for Suicide Prevention is holding their annual Survivor’s Day on November 18th. Most of us have been affected by the suicide of a friend or family member and like me, may still be processing this loss differently than other losses. AFSP is the largest suicide prevention organization in the USA and they are holding events around the world and online, 350 last year. If you would like to learn more or to participate, click the link below and enter your state or country to locate one near you.
This is the 34th issue of the venerable and fun Cat Lovers Against the Bomb wall calendar. We usually have one of these on display and I am always surprised by the number of people who recognize it and know of CLAB. Cute pictures, good cause.
Today, September 22nd, is the day the Sun enters Libra and the beginning of Autumn. In the same way that the Solstice marks the days of longest and shortest “light,” the Equinoxes mark the day of equal light. Nox is the Roman goddess of night so equinox literally means “equal night.” The glyph for Libra represents the setting sun expressing the balance between night and day. In traditional Astrology, the Sun is “exalted” in Aries while halfway through its circuit along the ecliptic, it is in “fall” in Libra, Aries’ opposite sign.
The rising of the constellation Libra marked the beginning of the New Year in ancient Egypt. Equinoxes are the two points in the year (March 19-21 and September 21-23) when the Sun crosses the celestial equator. At these times, day and night in Northern and Southern hemispheres are of equal length. The Spring (vernal) Equinox occurs midway between the Winter and Summer solstices; the Autumnal Equinox occurs midway between the Summer and Winter solstices. The Autumn equinoctial festival of Mabon mirrors the spring equinoctial festival of Oestara with the Light and Dark forces of the Universe switching ascendancy.
In myth, the goddess Persephone departs the earth to join her husband in the underworld. It is time to give thanks for the summer and to welcome the impending dark. Traditionally, this was when some of the heaviest work of the agricultural year began, the final harvest was still to be stored away and the fields readied for the coming Winter. This is why so much feasting goes on now. Fresh meat and fruit only last so long.