Today marks the cross-quarter day (halfway point) between Fall Equinox and Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere. The wheel of the year turns and the entire northern half of the planet enters into the dark part of the year. It is the time of year when the Sun drops lower and lower on the horizon, and the dark of night lasts longer and longer.
Ancient Celtic tribes celebrated Samhain(pronounced sow-in) to mark this auspicious time. According to the Celts and other pagan tribes, the veils between the worlds grow thin at this time of year. That means we can more easily connect with loved ones who have crossed over into the land of the dead. It is the perfect time to honor and celebrate our ancestors.
Celtic Samhain is also about celebrating life. The last of the harvest has been gathered up in our fields and orchards. The natural bounty of Mama Earth will bless and nourish us all winter.
As you enter into the dark half of the year, pause for a moment or two. Offer love and gratitude to Mama Earth for the water, food and shelter she provides. Say a prayer for any loved ones who have moved beyond here and now. Express thanks for everything you have harvested in your life this year.
May the Spirit of peace bring peace to your house this Samhain night and all nights to come.
Today marks the autumnal equinox in the northern hemisphere and spring equinox in the south. The equinox marks a time of transition as we move from one season to the next.
This morning our Sun rose directly in the east and tonight it will set due west. Day and night approach equal length at the equinox as well. This is a time of natural balance.
Take a moment to pause and honor Mother Earth and Father Sky for their sacred dance of light and dark, autumn and spring, yin and yang. Light a candle in the dark and express your gratitude for the abundance of our sacred planet. Bless the energy of life that pulses both without and within you.
“…Wherever we find ourselves on the spectrum, it is the time of balancing the dark and the light. In the Northern hemisphere, as the days get shorter and the outer light recedes, we move inward to kindle our inner light. In the Southern Hemisphere, as the days grow longer, we we move our way back into the world and bring out our inner light to share with the world.
Everything in nature is constantly giving and receiving. This balance is essential, and it is part of the expressive energies of yin and yang that we are re-balancing as a collective…”
It is summer solstice. Every year in June, the Sun returns to its northernmost point in our sky. This solstice time signals the peak of summer sunlight falling on the northern hemisphere (and the peak of winter darkness in the southern hemisphere).
Traditionally summer solstice is a time of celebration, a time to rejoice and offer gratitude to the Sun for continuing to bless our Earth with life giving sunlight. This particular solstice is extra special because the Moon is full at the same time. This combination of solstice Sun and full Moon hasn’t happened in 40 years.
Our moon is full and bright in the fiery sign of Sagittarius, the truth seeker. Meanwhile, our Sun is dancing out of Gemini and into the watery sign of Cancer, the nurturer. Both Sun and Moon are in their most expansive state, creating a potent interweaving of the sacred feminine and masculine energies.
“Beltane is so much about the urge to connect, to blend and merge;
to feel a part of something extraordinary; to at once lose one’s sense of self in that merging
but also to paradoxically feel more absolutely and truly oneself because of it.
In the desire to penetrate life’s mysteries, we need also to open ourselves to them,
surrendering to the power of love that it may have the opportunity to transform us. Great things are born in us at such moments of union;
this place of merging is where the tap root of our creativity feeds,
without it we feel dry and disconnected.
If that magical, alchemical moment of connection and merging were a colour,
I suspect it might be perceived as many beautiful, vibrant shades but its foundation,
I feel sure, would be the green of spring: ecstatically joyful –
the irrepressible life and desire that leads us to love.”
Every year, in the 3rd week of March, spring officially begins in the northern hemisphere. This date is known as the vernal equinox. This year it occurs March 19th at 10:30 PM Mountain time. Vernal equinox marks the moment that our Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above Mother Earth’s equator. Vernal (or vernus) is actually the Latin word for spring. The term equinox is used to acknowledge that the length of day and night are equal or in balance at this time of year.
Traditionally, vernal or spring equinox is a time to celebrate new life, rebirth and new beginnings. Quite appropriate, given that spring is the time of year when Mama Earth “wakes up” and offers shoots and buds of new growth everywhere. Spring is also the ideal time to sow seeds that will sprout and grow as our days lengthen and the soil of Mama Earth warms up.
Our ancestors built many monuments honoring the return of spring. The Great Sphinx, an ancient Egyptian symbol of resurrection and rebirth, is precisely aligned with the sky so that the Sphinx stares directly at the rising sun on spring equinox. Angkor Wat in Cambodia is positioned so that the sun rises up the side of the central tower of the temple and crowns its pinnacle on spring equinox. And at the Mayan temple of Chichen Itza, a magical sun serpent appears and slithers up the pyramid stairs each year on spring equinox.
Here at Sacred Earth Institute we like to be a bit more informal and simply shout with joy that spring is coming!