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There are words in our language, which describe qualities of Nature, that we don’t often use, I believe, because we don’t understand the meaning of these words and we don’t see ourselves as part of Nature. “Lusty” is one of those words.
But since everything about our being alive has to do with the fact that we are beings of Spirit dwelling in the physical world of Nature, one of our natural, innate qualities is lustiness.
When we think of “lusty” we immediately make an association with the word “lust.” While in our culture we generally take a negative view of “lust” as “usually intense or unbridled sexual desire,” in fact, there are other definitions than this in my dictionary. Definition #1, which is obsolete, is about pleasure and delight, and definition #3 is about enthusiasm and eagerness.
Today is the Spring Equinox, the halfway point between the shortest day on Winter Solstice and the longest day on Summer Solstice. Today the number of daylight hours equals the number of hours of darkness. But it is also the day when Life begins to emerge in all its glory. I’ve heard Spring Equinox referred to as “the birthday of the Earth” because the plants and animals that have been hiding and hibernating begin to come out and show themselves. New flowers, new leaves, eggs, baby animals all arrive now becuase there is light and heat, and food to support them.
Today is the first day of spring, according to the placement of the sun. I know our calendars say that March 21st is the first day of spring, but ancient calendars based on celestial events have a different pattern.
Instead of the winter and summer solstices and spring and fall equinoxes being the beginning of a season (as they are on our calendars), the solstices and equinoxes mark the mid-point of the season. In old language, summer solstice is midsummer and winter solstice is midwinter.
In the circle of natural time, today is what is known as a “cross quarter day” in the Celtic tradition. Though each part of the world has it’s own traditions around natural time, being half English and Scot, I use the Celtic tradition as part of my heritage.
So today is the halfway point between Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year and Spring Equinox, the midpoint between Winter Solstice and Summer Solstice, when the day and night are equal in length.
Though our industrial civil calendar won’t say “First Day of Spring” until 21 March, today marks the point where Life is beginning to come out from underground, with a seedling or two, or with a groundhog coming up to check the conditions.
Today is Winter Solstice, which makes tonight the longest night of the year.
This year the Winter Solstice is especially special because on this very day there is a “great conjunction” of the planets Jupiter and Saturn in the sky. Tthe two planets will almost touch in the sky. Both planets will be at 0 degrees Aquarius from 20 through 24 December. Larry and I plan to go out tonight to see this.
On Saturday night I watched a new holiday movie on the Hallmark Channel.
Larry and I have watched a lot of Hallmark holiday movies over the years, but this one was different in a way that really related to what we are doing here with Lifely.
Love, Lights, Hanukkah is the story of an adopted Christian woman whose loses her adoptive mother and then meets her birth mother, who is Jewish. The theme of the movie is about the problems and rewards of this woman integrating into her new family, who has a completely different culture.
Many holidays are celebrated at this time of year—each culture, it seems has it’s own traditional celebrations.
But there is one day that I believe can be celebrated by everyone, regardless of religion, race, creed, ancestry, sexual preference, or any other difference we may have.
And that is Winter Solstice.
Yesterday when I walked in the door at Carter & Co and saw the sprouting paperwhite bulbs pushing out to become flowers, I was reminded it is time to plant my paper white bulbs.
This is something I have been doing for so many years, I’ve forgotten when I started or why.
But I just love watching the paperwhite bulbs grow and present their flowers, even in the cold days of winter. It reminds me that no matter how cold and bare the world may seem at this moment, life is continuing on and new growth is on its way.
Today is the Autumn Equinox, which means we are exactly half way between the Summer Solstice and the Winter Solstice.
To Everything There is a Season (Turn, Turn, Turn) by The Byrds. Hit song in 1965.
With all the change going on in my life and in the world right now, this passage came to mind this week:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…
In our industrial world, time goes by as if each moment is considered to be the same, but in life each moment is different as time goes through cycles of activity in Life.
Summer Solstice is the day the sun reaches the highest position in the sky and is the day with the longest period of daylight. It is also the high point of development of Life for the year. After the Summer Solstice the days become shorter and shorter, temperatures begin to cool, and all life forms begin to slow down and prepare for the coming winter.
Today is Spring Equinox, the halfway point between Summer Solstic and Winter Solstice.
This year the Spring Equinox falls on 19 March. This is earlier than it has been in more than 100 years. If you want to read more about this, see THE OLD FARMER’S ALMANAC: First Day of Spirng 2020.
The Spring Equinox is the time of year when winter is over but summer hasn’t started, so there is an element of balance between to opposites. For this reason, Larry and I once got married on a Spring Equinox because of this aspect of balance.
This year the Spring Equinox is strange.
Last Saturday, after going to the farmer’s market, Larry and I were walking by Trader Joe’s and there was a big display of cut daffodil buds—the season’s first. Only $1.49 for 10 stems, with a nudge on the sign that said, “At this price, there’s no reason not to buy 3 bunches (or more)!
Now here in Northern California, sunny yellow daffodils are one of the first signs of spring. Since I’ve lived here all my life (except for 15 years in Florida), daffodils are deeply ingrained in me. Trader Joe’s knows daffodils are loved here, so when I see the daffodils at Trader Joe’s, they have to come home with me.
We followed the advice of the sign and bought three bunches so we could have a generous display and brought them home. But I was already starting to fade from an approaching intestinal flu that hit that night, so I went to bed.
The next day I suddenly remembered the daffodils. Larry by now was beside me in bed with the same flu. “Where are the daffodils?” I asked. “Did you put them in water?”
Today is the first day of Winter Solstice.
I say “the first day” because Winter Solstice is the longest night and the shortest day of the year, and the length of day is within a minute from day to day for a period of days. So I celebrate Winter Solstice for ten days instead of one.
For some years now, I take those Winter Solstice days off from my work and enjoy the depths of winter.
For me, that means reveling in the dark and cold while at the same time carrying forward the light through the time of darkness, as has been the purpose of Winter Solstice for I don’t know how long. The famous Yule log originally was a log large enough to burn all through the longest night, to carry the light of the sun through to the new year.
Larry and I are still sleeping under the stars. We just love it. Waking up outdoors reconnects us every morning to the natural world and every day we see something different.
One morning we saw a hot air balloon floating overhead, riding on the wind.
Yesterday a whole flock of birds flew overhead, When I became aware they were flying directly south, I realized that they were migrating south for the winter. Right over my house!
Even though the days are still warm, life is preparing for the winter to come.
I think Jack-o-lanterns are my favorite of all seasonal symbols. Today they are the quintessential Halloween icon, yet the first jack-o-lanterns weren’t carved in pumpkins at all–they were made from turnips.
Jack-o-lanterns originated many centuries ago in Europe. The Celtic people there had a seasonal celebration called Samhain. The celebration honored death because it was the season of death–all around them, leaves were falling, grasses were drying out, and animals that could not be overwintered because of lack of food and shelter were slaughtered to be eaten over the barren winter. As all the life energies of the earth go underground to prepare for new growth the next spring, it was natural to acknowledge the end of the cycle of life for the year, get ready for the long, cold, lifeless winter ahead.
This morning when I got in the car Larry was eating an apple while waiting for me. The burst of fragrance from the apple reminded me of this experience I wrote about some years ago.
Last week, while on our trip to Cologne, Germany, my husband Larry and I stopped at a “bio” store (where they sell organic food and other natural products) to buy some bottles of water. [All the water, by the way, was natural spring water bottled in glass. There is no beverage, to me, that matches very cold spring water in a very cold glass bottle. Plastic bottles just don’t hold the chill in the same way.|
As we were looking for the bottled water, we happed to walk down a produce aisle and immediately smelled the sweet fragrance of äpfels (I am calling these apples by their German name because they were unlike any apples so-called in English that I have ever experienced).
Today is Summer Solstice. It’s the longest day of the year and the shortest night. The following day daylight becomes less and less until we reach the Winter Solstice in December. [See Lifely: Sunshine Through the Year]
About ten years ago, I was talking with some friends about green living and got all excited that Summer Solstice was coming up that Sunday. One of them said, “I’m not very interested in Summer Solstice. What does it have to do with living green?”
Good question. When I first became interested in “living in harmony with Nature” the very first thing I explored was the concept of natural time.
I “accidentally” found this very cool website about ten years ago and it’s one of my favorites.
Gaisma.com has very comprehensive data about the amount of sunshine for every place in the world. “Gaisma” is a Latvian word, meaning “light”.
Why would you want to know this? For gardening, for calculating potential solar energy, but for me, it very clearly shows the increase and decrease of day length (making it easy to find the longest days and longest nights), in beautiful graphs.