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Cycles of Earth and Sky

Blessed Samhain, everyone!

I know what you’re thinking: wait, didn’t we celebrate that last weekend? Well, yes and no. What we celebrated last week was Hallowe’en, or All Hallows’ Eve. It is the Christianization of the ancient festival, and it’s the evening to drive out the negative forces as a way of setting the stage for the good to enter the following morning, on All Saints’ Day. And what better way to drive out those negative forces than by dressing up in costume and celebrating? But, because the date of Hallowe’en is fixed as October 31, it does not always coincide with Samhain. This festival, in the Celtic calendar, welcomed the New Year. Simultaneously, it was the celebration of the third and final harvest, a time to let the fields rest in preparation for winter (in fact, it was considered the beginning of winter). It was also the time when the veil between our world and the world beyond this one was felt to be thinnest, hence a good time for honoring one’s ancestors. Samhain is a cross-quarter day, and therefore movable. What is a cross-quarter day? The day that is halfway between an equinox and a solstice. These cross-quarter days plus the equinoxes and solstices make up the Wheel of the Year. This cross-quarter day was exact on November 7, with the Sun’s arrival at 15 degrees of Scorpio at 5:56 pm, EST. If you’d like more info on the metaphysical meaning of this time of the year, there’s an interesting blog by Sonrisa East that goes deeper into it.

I feel it’s important to honor the turning of the Wheel. It’s one way to connect to the Earth, to nature, and thus to the Source that set all this stuff in motion. Another way is by watching the dance of the stars and planets across the night sky. Shortly after sunset, I took a walk. Even in a light-polluted city, I could see Jupiter and Saturn doing their dance in Capricorn to the southwest, and Mars rising in Aries in the southeast. (I’m using their astrological locations, by the way, rather than their astronomical ones because life is more fun that way). Directly overhead, the Summer Triangle was still visible—this is not a constellation, but a nickname given to the harmonious arrangement of Deneb (tail of Cygnus, the Swan), Altair (eye of Aquila, the Eagle) and Vega (one corner of Lyra, the Lyre). Sinking toward the horizon in the northwest, we had the Big Dipper, and in the northeast, Cassiopeia.

So, let’s leave all the negativity, all the destructive energy behind and welcome in the good. Once again, Blessed Samhain!

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