63  bar falls 29.57  3mph WNW dew-point 56  Summer, sunny and cool

Last Quarter Flower Moon

Mid-summer has come and gone.  This means that Lughnasa, a cross-quarter holiday lies only a few weeks ahead.  Lughnasa is a cross-quarter holiday; it comes between the Summer Solstice (mid-summer) and the Fall Equinox (Mabon).  The Celts divided their festival year first in halves, Beltane and Samhain, Summer and Winter, then in fourths, adding Lughnasa and Imbolc (Candlemas).  At some point they added in the solstice and equinox celebrations that were more common in the rest of Europe.  This created the current eight part Celtic year which begins at Samhain on October 31st and runs, successively, through Winter Solstice (Yule), Imbolc on February 1st, Spring Equinox (Ostra), Beltane on May 1st, Summer Solstice (Mid-Summer), Lughnasa on August 1st, and the Fall Equinox (Mabon).

This means that New Years for Celts occurs on what the US celebrates as Halloween.  The creative part of me has found the Celtic year a perfect fit for my writing life.  I try to start writing projects on or around Samhain since the late fall, winter and early spring seasons are inside times in the northern latitudes, at least for those who don’t ski.

Following the Celtic Year, or the Great Wheel of the Year, has proved faith and spirituality enough for me since late in the last millennium. We move in response to nature’s deep rhythms whether we acknowledge them or not, just consider the beating of your heart and the breath in your lungs right now.  Eating, sexuality, exercise and play are all intrinsic aspects of the body and DNA we have inherited from millions of years of evolution.  That evolution has focused on those functionalities necessary to survive in Earth’s specific environment:  its seasons, its other animals both predator and prey, its plants and mountains, rivers and streams, lakes and grasslands.

We are not only animals, our mind gives us self-awareness, a precious and difficult gift.  We are, however, never less than animals and the self-awareness and agency we so cherish vanishes if we lose the vessel given to us by those millions of years of evolution.  This is why death is such a difficult barrier for us.  We flail around when confronted with the loss of our body’s elegant functionality.  Perhaps this body is a chrysalis and death the trigger for our imaginal cells to begin a process of subtle transformation so that we emerge after death a resurrected or transmigrated entity, as different from the earth bound us as the butterfly is from the caterpillar.

Until that great drifting up morning however, we walk here, feet bound to alma mater and hearts beating without conscious help.

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