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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.
When I first became interested in orienting my life to Nature back in 1987, the first thing I started learning about was natural time.
In our industrial consumer material world we are oriented to clocks and calendars that are part of the industrial system. In the material world time is divided into standardized lengths—each minute has 60 second, each hour has 60 minutes, each day has 24 hours, each week has 7 days…
But in Nature, time is determined by the movement of the sun, the moon, and the stars, which are not so standard, but are actually what is occurring in life.
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.
For the past month or so I have been on a mission to write a book…
I didn’t think it would take long but as I began to write, I had more and more insights about what I wanted to say, until it eventually became a 75-page ebook, which is about 150 pages if it were a 6×9 print book.
Of course, days and weeks are going by …
What I learned from this was that creative work takes its own time…
A reader sent me a piece from The New York Times Magazine, published a few weeks ago, about analog clocks.
Right at the beginning, the writer said that her younger sister (by only ten years) did not know how to read an analog clock! “No doubt that skill is disappearing from the populace,” she said, “Along with an avalanche of others: driving a stick shift, writing by hand, navigating by memory, using stamps.”
And then the next paragraph was devoted entirely to instructions for reading an analog clock.
I often wake up at various times between midnight and 6am with thoughts I want to write down. For this reason I usually keep my journal and next to my bed, or as a backup a pad or two of paper in case I left my journal in my office.
Sometimes I am simply writing what happened the day before, in which case I date the page for the previous day and catch up on whatever happened and my comments during the darkness between the days.
But other times I want to write down something that has just occurred to me, and I’ve been confused as to whether the proper date is yesterday or tomorrow.
Yesterday I woke up wondering if today was the first day of Winter Solstice. I felt like solstice had begun for me, but wasn’t completely certain about what was going on with the sun.
So I looked it up on Time & Date. They have a page called Sunrise, Sunset, and Daylength which shows the day length for any place in the world on any day.
As I said in Celebrating Winter Solstice, 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. But I was in a different location, so I didn’t know how that would affect my Winter Solstice calculation.
Many years ago I had an “a year and a day” appointment book, which had an explanation at the beginning about the meaning of “a year and a day”.
Now I’m telling you this from memory, so it may not be accurate, but if I remember correctly, at some early point in history when calendars were still being developed, the “year” was 364 days and “a day” was an day outside of the year. So the old year would end, “a day” would pass, and then the new year would begin. There was a day-long festival on “a day” and that was that.