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Posts Tagged ‘wheel of the year’

Beltane is the second cross-quarter day in the Neopagan calendar, and occurs on or around May 1st. This is sometimes considered the second most important holiday to Samhain, and is in a lot of ways it’s mirror holiday. While Samhain celebrates death, the ending of the year, and the beloved dead, Beltane is a fertility festival, steeped in the coming new life of the earth and the return of flowers, as well as the promise of a good harvest. I have heard it said that Samhain is when the Otherworld comes closest to joining our world, and that Beltane is when our world is closest to joining the Otherworld.

Ancient Gaelic traditions include building fires and driving the livestock between them to bless them. Many other traditions, like maypole dancing, come from the Germanic cultures, making this Neopagan holiday a good blend of Indo European traditions. The name Beltane is, itself, Gaelic – the Germanic culture celebrated Walpurgis Night. There is a possible connection as well to the Roman festival of Flora, the goddess of flowers, though the festival of flowers was centered less on bonfires and more on flowers and drinking. (Drinking, of course, is likely common to all of these celebrations, but modern Neopagans are warned to be careful about combining alcohol with bonfire jumping.)

In the Neopagan Wheel of the Year, Beltane is when the Goddess and the God are celebrating their fertility and consummating their marriage. Common traditions are creating flower garlands, dancing a may-pole, building bonfires, having sex (consenting adults only), and generally celebrating the fact that Summer is on its way in, and the Earth’s fertility has resumed, and it’s not cold and snowy anymore. Less common are flower baskets (May baskets) left anonymously as gifts on people’s porches (which makes a nice counterpart to trick-or-treating at Samhain). The May morning dew is said to be miraculously healing and rejuvenating, leading to myths about bathing your face in it, or gathering it in special cloths.

Beltane, Walpurgis Night, May Day and other associated holidays are all celebrated widely, even into modern times in a lot of places, regardless of Christianization. In many places, May is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, but the same celebrations (like giving baskets of flowers) are simply given new names and continued. In other places, people simply continue to build their bonfires and celebrate the coming of May, regardless of what tradition or religion they might be.

This is, in general, an extremely lighthearted and joyful celebration in modern times. It frequently gets connected with faeries and fey lore, and gives modern Neopagans a chance to dance, sing, drink, and make merry at the end of winter. This year, since the spring has been so cool and wet (and even, in some places, snowy) many US Neopagans are looking forward to Beltane and hoping that the weather will cooperate. Here on the Gulf Coast, the cooler weather has meant that things aren’t growing as fast as they usually do, so my celebration will include some extra oomph for my garden, so that it will be productive and fruitful before the heat of summer!

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The spring equinox, commonly called Ostara, is the high holy day that occurs halfway between Imbolc and Beltaine, on the astrological day when day and night are equal – usually around March 21. It mirrors the autumnal equinox, but serves as the gateway into the “light” half of the year.

Commonly, Neo-Pagans celebrate this holiday as the first coming of fertility to the land, with symbols of pastel flowers, rabbits, and eggs (much like the symbols surrounding the secular and Christian celebrations of Easter, which gets its name from the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre, for whom both the Christian and the Pagan holidays are named). The Anglo-Saxon celebration of Eostre in April, though slightly later than our modern celebrations, is the historical basis for this holy day. Eostre is the goddess of the dawn, and her celebration in modern paganism frequently emphasizes the strengthening of the sun. In the secular calendar, March 21 is counted as the first day of spring, which lines up well with the religious celebrations at this time.

This time of year is also the beginning of the rebirth of the agrarian gods, and in the myth of the Goddess and God commonly told in eclectic Wicca, this celebration is when the young God begins his courtship of the Goddess.

Egg decorating is a common custom during this time, for pretty much everyone, and is something I look forward to each year. I’ve decorated eggs since I was a child, and I find that I don’t feel “right” about this time of year until there is a collection of brightly colored eggs in my fridge. I also enjoy decorating my house with birds, nests full of eggs, bunnies, and flowers – symbols that I leave up through Beltaine usually, and the beginning of summer. I have a special connection to rabbits (and have since my childhood), so I enjoy surrounding myself with their imagery for this season.

Also common is the eating of chocolate (and other candy), especially in egg, bean, or bunny shapes, and I will always support holidays that encourage chocolate eating.

This is also one of the few holy days that has a myth that lines up with the agricultural calendar in my area. Though many people are just seeing the first renewed signs of life, it’s not hard to imagine this time of year as one of first plantings and the first fertility of the land (especially with eggs and rabbits as such potent fertility symbols). Since this is the time of year that I plant my spring garden, it’s nice to celebrate the holiday along side celebrating having my garden in the ground. This year the first seedlings will be coming up the week of the Equinox. Planting a garden is a deeply religious experience for me and is a crucial celebration of this season of the year (even if it doesn’t happen right on the actual equinox), and I make a point of channeling the fertility that abounds in Pagan religious celebrations into the ground itself, to increase the yields and fertility of my garden.

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This week’s assignment in the Wheel of the Year book has me answering some specific questions about my landbase and my relationship to it. I thought I’d answer them here in full form, since most of them are near and dear to my heart, and I think it’s important to be a Druid of Your Place.

1. Where does your trash go?

There are several landfills in my area, and my trash goes to those.

2. Are there options for recycling that you’re making use of? Why or why not?

Yes! My area recycles most plastic, glass, aluminum, and cardboard, and I do my best to put everything that might be recyclable into our big green bin each week. My curbside pickup will not take paper, however, and I am not doing nearly as much as I could with that. I’d like to start keeping our recyclable paper in a place where we can take it to a local school to drop off. My community also has “shred days” where you can bring personal and confidential paper trash to be shredded and recycled. I have a pretty big pile of junk mail that needs to go to the next one of those.

3. Are there steps you can take to help reduce the amount of refuse you create?

I am already buying less plastic packaging (mostly through purchasing fewer pre-packaged food products), recycling everything we can, and composting most of my food waste to put on the garden. Also, I make use of a garbage disposal system for foods that don’t go into the composter (namely meats, because while I like raccoons, I have no desire to set up a raccoon buffet in my side yard). I could be more particular about not purchasing heavily packaged or plastic wrapped products, and I could probably be re-using the clear plastic sacks from the grocery store for fresh produce each week. (I already use reusable grocery bags, though that is as much because they’re much more convenient than the silly plastic bags as it is for the fact that they’re made of recycled plastic themselves.)

4. What happens to your wastewater?

It goes to the wastewater treatment plant about 5 minutes from my house, where it is sanitized and then released.

5. What rivers are nearby? Do you have a connection to them? What sort of connection?

There aren’t any actual rivers nearby, though there are a few large streams, a large runoff/drainage area that has water flowing in it year round, and the perpetual bayous and wetlands so common to this area of Texas. I am on good terms with the runoff/drainage area, since I do a lot of walking there, and I frequently go visit the park that sits on the nearest bayou. I have not, however, been to the local nature preserve in a long time, which I should fix. Perhaps I can even do some volunteer work there, since they’re directly involved in protecting this area and it’s native flora and fauna. The San Jacinto River is the closest river to me, but it’s on the opposite side of town from where I live, so I never see it. I am likely to remain more connected to the wetlands.

6. Describe the basic climate of your area. Is it often wet and rainy? Dry and sunny? Wet and sunny? How has this affected the kinds of plants and animals in the area?

This area is predominantly tropical – wet and relatively warm in the winter, drier but still humid in the summer. We are affected by the marine layer (Galveston Bay) and our weather in the summer is typical of the tropics, with frequent but short lived afternoon storms and intense, humid heat. Plants and animals here tend to do well in the heat, but do not tolerate frost or freezing weather at all (it only actually gets below freezing once every few years or so, and even then only stays below freezing for a few hours). Palm trees are typical, as are ferns, and cacti and succulents all grow freely here – I have aloe growing “wild” in my back yard.

Wildflowers are also common in the grassier areas, but do not thrive here as well as they do in other parts of Texas (We do have Bluebonnets, but Indian Paintbrushes and Mexican Hat flowers are more common here). One of the things I like about living in Texas is the protection that the state gives to wildflower areas, so each spring I can look forward to seeing these flowers along the sides of the road without fear of them being mowed over. There is a running joke that anything that survives in Texas probably has thorns or is poisonous, and that’s actually relatively true (though not as much here by the coast, where we get enough coastal rainfall to make up for the heat). It doesn’t take long to get to much drier areas though, and our trees are smaller, gnarlier, and deeper, much more sprawlingly rooted as a result.

Animals include the typical small songbirds (wrens, sparrows, cardinals, robins in the winter/spring, tufted titmice, finches, mockingbirds, blackbirds, bluejays), all sorts of waterfowl, a large assortment of birds of prey (owls, hawks, and falcons), as well as buzzards, crows, grackles, and cara caras. Most of the animal life here has been driven out by civilization, but we still have large numbers of white tailed deer, opossums, the occasional armadillo, raccoons, rats, and mice – and the expected snake population that feeds on them. While rattlesnakes are not super common here, water moccasins are, and are extremely poisonous. Because we live near the water, we also get the occasional turtle (usually snapping, or red-eared sliders). Squirrels are ubiquitous, but compared to their northern cousins are scrawny-tailed and skinny.

7. What visible effects have humans had on the natural landscapes around you?

Our effects are nearly total in the majority of this area, though I do live close to both a university natural preserve, NASA preserved areas, and a wildlife refuge. This area has been settled for at least the last 50 years, and is largely a concrete jungle. While the older homes have mature trees, flooding is a huge problem when we get heavy spring rains, since the few creeks can not handle the runoff problems adequately, and being in the marine layer means we frequently get extremely heavy, if short-lived, rain. Power plants, oil refineries, and chemical plants are also common in this area, and they don’t do good things for the environment, especially when accidents happen.

8. Where do the winds usually come from? Are there different winds at different times of the year?

The most predominant wind in our area is from the southeast, which sets us up for the typical hot, humid air off the Gulf of Mexico that the Houston area is so well known for. This southeast wind is also responsible for heavy fog in the fall and winter, when warm air meets the cold fronts that come through from the northwest. Also common (especially in the summer) are onshore and offshore breezes, created by the pressure differences caused by heat over the land vs. over the ocean. Interspersed with the predominant southeast wind is a dry, hot wind out of the southwest, which causes the dry heat waves that strike periodically during the summer. This southwest wind is strong enough to disturb the sea breezes, and is responsible for long periods without rain. In the winter, the warm, wet southeast wind is offset by a northwest wind that brings in strong cold fronts periodically. While we don’t usually get long stretches of cold weather, these fronts are often wet and bring the danger of frost. In between cold fronts, the southeast wind picks up again, and our weather is mild and pleasant.

9. What major crops are grown in your region? Why are these particular crops grown here?

Most things grow here, and we have multiple growing seasons. Depending on the availability of irrigation, crops can be grown year round. Common crops are corn and cotton, as well as pretty much every vegetable that does not need to freeze to do well (asparagus and rhubarb both refuse to grow here, for example, but cabbage and onions grow well as winter crops). Some areas can support rice as well. The “dead season” happens in the heat of summer, when only established crops will survive the blistering heat and lack of rain. Farmer’s markets here frequently operate close to year round, with the two primary growing seasons in the spring and fall. A lot of our agriculture is hybridized, with plants being bred to tolerate the heat or to take advantage of our shorter (but more frequent) growing seasons.

10. Where does your power come from?

I live in a major oil and gas processing area, so my local power plant is natural gas based.

*****

I will admit to having used Google to answer one (and a half) of these questions. I didn’t know the specifics of my local power plant (I knew where it is, but not that it is a natural gas plant), and I didn’t know the actual wind directions (beyond cold fronts coming from the northwest and the sea breezes coming from the ocean). Still, I’m glad to take the time to answer questions like this, if only because it keeps me thinking about my relationship to my environment.

As to where I think I would like to be, quite frankly there are a lot of things I would like to do that just aren’t possible right now. I can’t afford to install solar power, and my plumbing is firmly directed through the concrete slab foundation so I can’t reuse my greywater as irrigation. I do plan on installing a gutter system that feeds into a rain barrel/containment device to help alleviate the watering that I do in my vegetable garden each spring and fall, but we’re at least several months away from doing that, if not longer. Some things we’ve thought about doing but then decided against it. When we had our plumbing replaced, we installed a gas-powered tank water heater instead of going tankless, because our water heater is in our (large, high ceilinged) attic, and we use almost no power to have hot water in the warm months – which is most of the year here.

I already use almost entirely recycled paper products, and use non-paper cleaning supplies when I can (rags instead of paper towels, cloth napkins instead of paper, etc). I use biodegradable cleaners for everything that it is feasible to do so (bleach is only ever used in the master shower, since it has mildew problems). Most things get cleaned with soap, vinegar, baking soda, or some combination therein.

I also have been switching out our light bulbs to LEDs (we already use CFL’s – which have their own set of problems, as they contain some heavy metals that can make them difficult to properly dispose of). The LED lights are expensive, but they produce almost no heat, which helps in the summer with the air conditioning bill. I also keep the house at 80 degrees or so in the summer to cut down on AC usage (though I admit to keeping it a bit warmer than I could in the winter as well. I have an extreme dislike of feeling cold, so the house stays at about 70 degrees in the winter). I’ll probably be purchasing a new AC unit in the next year or two as well, as our current one is both inefficient and lacking any sort of labeling that would allow a technician to repair it if it breaks. I also make frequent use of ceiling (and other) fans to help stay cool without needing to run the AC as much.

In general we try to choose native or semi-native plants, especially plants that will attract birds and bugs to the area. As a result we have a thriving ecosystem of spiders, lizards, toads, and the occasional turtle living in the yard. We also get monarch butterflies and several types of hummingbirds when they migrate through, and I try to feed the local songbirds in the winter (though with Harold around, that didn’t happen this year). We also do not use pesticides or herbicides on the yard as a blanket treatment. Small applications of fire ant poison or weed killer on the driveway cracks aside, our yard is “organic”. We also use almost entirely organic fertilizer in the garden, a combination of compost, manure, and purchased organic soil supplements.

I’d love to ditch my car and use a bicycle for primary transportation, but I work 35 miles (each way) from my job. Instead, I drive a small, fuel-efficient car and keep it in as good of repair as I can. I’d also, quite frankly, like to work in another industry – my job is on the periphery of the oil and gas industry, and while I know it’s good work, it feels a bit soulless to continue to work to make that industry better (my company does safety engineering for refineries and chemical plants) when I’d really rather be working on something more sustainable. I comfort myself knowing that fewer oil spills, refinery explosions, and catastrophic chemical leaks is always a good thing, but it still feels a little out of place to be a Druid working in oil and gas.

All in all, I think I’ve made a solid start. Unfortunately the changes I’d like to make now all require significantly more time, money, or both – and all of that is in a bit of short supply right now. Making the little changes was easy, but it’s a bit of a slippery slope to the bigger, more life-affecting changes that I’d really like to make to reduce my footprint and be more conscious of my affect on the Earth around me.

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Imbolc (or Imbolg, or Ewemeolc) is the Neo-Pagan festival that occurs on the February 1 cross-quarter day – halfway between Yule and the Spring Equinox.

Typically this is a celebration of the returning of light and life to the world, as it marks the first signs of spring and the time when the ewes begin to lactate in preparation for giving birth to lambs. This is also the time when many secular traditions start to look toward the end of Winter – things like Groundhog’s Day, where a groundhog is supposed to predict how much longer it will be winter based on whether or not he sees his shadow. This is very similar to a story about the Cailleach, who supposedly will make the weather on February 1 very bright and sunny if she intends to gather a lot more firewood to last through a much longer winter. This tradition, though it seems odd (as we usually associate the sun with warmth), actually matches the weather in winter, where clouds will hold more warmth near the ground, and bring rain and help thaw the ground, where the sunnier days are often much colder.

Frequently these celebrations are also focused on Brigit (or Briganti) and the celebrations of hearth and home; in the Celtic tradition, February 1 is Brigid’s Day. Many pagans make Brigit’s Crosses and bless and light candles – a tradition that was incorporated into the Christian celebration at this time of year as well.

In the Norse culture, this time is typically associated with the Charming of the Plough – blessings called down upon farm instruments and seeds and honoring the (still-frozen) fields. The Charming of the Plough is a time of preparation, to start the first seeds indoors in preparation for the coming spring. While it’s certainly not warming up in the Norse countries, the light is slowly getting longer and so there is more daylight to begin to prepare for the coming agricultural season. Offerings may be made to Nerthus, as the Earth Mother begins to show life again, or to Freyr, for bringing fertility (Our Own Druidry 66).  It is also sometimes called Ewemeolc, which means “ewe’s milk” and (like Imbolc) marks the beginning of sheep’s lactation. I will also be honoring Frigga, as the Queen of the Hearth and weaving/spinning (which seems appropriate on such a sheepy holiday).

Even though I live in a climate that is not remotely like the Norse, I honor this season in almost the same way. I didn’t plant a winter garden this year, so to celebrate Ewemeolc’s first stirrings of spring, I will be getting my garden ready for the spring planting, turning in compost and mulch and calling down blessings on my tools. On a year that I had a winter garden, I’d be harvesting the last of the winter crops and getting ready for spring. I will also include a blessing for the seeds that are already being started elsewhere, since for most of my plants I use seedlings instead of starting them by hand. I’ll also be blessing my spinning wheel and wool and lighting candles on my hearth.

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It’s technically been 3 weeks since I started my first steps on the Dedicant Path, but since this is my first week with the Wheel of the Year program (and my first week blogging about it), here are the first week questions that are posed to the newly starting Dedicant.

Why have you chosen to take the first steps on the Dedicant Path?

Because I want to learn if Druidry is for me. I’ve recently left a British Traditional Wicca Coven where I was a student and apprentice for initiation. The reasons for leaving are complicated, but we parted ways on a mutually positive note. I don’t know if I will ever be able to seek the initiation that I so very much (still) want, but I know that path isn’t meant to be mine for now. Instead, I am going to do some real seeking, which requires doing work, to see if this path of Druidry will be where I am meant to be.

Is this a step on your path, or will it become the Path itself?

I don’t know yet. I’m not sure if the Druid path is the one that I will walk forever or just one that I will walk for awhile and then move on. I’m still feeling like the label “Witch” fits better than the label “Druid” (which I assume will change as I do more Druid things). I do know that I want to take this step, and that I think I will grow in my spirituality, regardless of my eventual outcome.

What do you expect to learn?

I expect to learn a little bit about a lot of things, and hopefully a lot about Druidry and a lot about myself and what I value and get out of a spiritual practice.

What would you like to get out of this journey?

Knowledge of Druidry, a deepened connection with the Kindreds (which I’ve always worshiped, but not under that name), and a better connection with myself as a spiritual being.

Do you know where this path will take you?

I don’t, and that’s exciting and fun. I don’t know what the end result will be. Maybe I’ll be called to the clergy. Maybe I’ll go on and become an initiate of ADF. Maybe I’ll do the dedicant path and decide to go back to practicing solitary witchcraft. I don’t know, but I bet I’m in for a really interesting journey.

If you have just joined ADF, why have you chosen to work on this immediately?

I’ve lurked on the ADF page for about 6 months, reading a lot and trying things. If I’m honest, I joined ADF specifically to start the DP. I want to know if this will be the right path for me, and I figure the best way to know that is to do it for awhile.

Does it look hard or easy?

Deceptively both hard and easy. I think things that look hard often end up making sense after awhile, and things that look easy can surprise you. I’m trying to keep an open mind about this whole experience, and not worry about the things that will come later on.

Which requirements look difficult to you now, and which appear to be easy?

Writing about things is easy for me, as is reading and doing book reports. Keeping up a meditation practice may or may not be easy, as I’m already a semi-regular meditator, but I am used to having down times where I don’t meditate as much, and I’ll need to practice at least weekly for 5 months to get credit. Also, consistently writing down my thoughts about it isn’t my strongest point, which I’m hoping will be easier with this blog. I also am hoping that the blog, in combination with the WotY program, will help keep me from doing too much, too quickly and burning out (or losing interest when it becomes work). A little accountability is a good thing.

Do you have doubts, questions, or concerns that you need to ask about?

Having done my first rituals and wondered if the connection would be there, I am placing my trust in the idea that practice begets belief, and that rituals can become habits that are spiritually nourishing. I’m looking for a spirituality that will nourish and sustain me and the Earth on which I live. I’m also a little worried that it will be hard for me to put aside my Witch training and fully embrace Druidry. I’m trying very hard to evaluate it on its own merits, and not for how it compares to what I already know.

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Having gone through the online versions of the Dedicant Manual, I figured, given that I was on vacation, I’d just get started on this whole Dedicant Path thing, wherever I felt like it would work. Of course, given that I’ve been a member of ADF for two weeks, one of those weeks including a High Day, and one of those weeks where I was on vacation, it was a lot of flying by the seat of my pants. Very exciting, though possibly a little too high energy to be sustainable now that I’m back at work.

Of course, as soon as I get some things completed, I end up stumbling across people with Homework! Homework for the DP! This is exciting too, since that means there’s a study program somewhere. After a bit of digging around and some help from twitter, I’m now reading through the Wheel of the Year study program by Rev. Michael J. Dangler.

As expected, I did things ALL out of order. Oops.

Still, I think I can make it work. I’ll be putting up homework assignments for weeks 1-4 all in one clump over the next few days. I’ve already put together and done my first High Day rite (Samhain) where I honored Donn and the Cailleach, so I’ll have both the High Day essay and the Ritual Redux essay to put together. If I can get those done, I’ll do my first oath, and I’ll just say I did the first month out of order.

Also, I’m ahead on my book reading, since a week off meant a good excuse to plow through Puhvel’s Comparative Mythology. Which was, as mentioned, not an easy read. I’m doing an easier book next – Margot Adler’s Drawing Down the Moon, which I’ve started in the past (and already own) but have never actually finished. Oops. Anyway, it’s nice to be reading something a little more approachable.

I’m already a meditator with a regular practice, so I’m ahead on that front as well. I’ll be posting (hopefully) weekly journal entries to that effect. For my first Druid Meditations I am starting to work with the Two Powers Meditation, which I like a lot. More on that later.

I also need to get myself set up with a mentor. I think in conversations – I’m a writer and blogger after all – and it’s always good for me to put my thoughts into words to someone else as a way to clarify what I actually think. That’s a big part of why this blog exists. Since it’s publishing to the entire internet, I need to use my words well and wisely, and that thought process really helps me clarify what I think and feel and believe. I’ll be emailing the DP Preceptor to start that process.

It feels like I’m going to have to pace myself on this, especially while everything is new and shiny. I hope the Wheel of the Year book will help me both stay on track and not burn myself out too quickly. Having a week off at the very beginning was nice, since I could take a pretty leisurely look at my first ritual and have lots of time to read a difficult book, but I’m also feeling a little bit like this breakneck pace is unsustainable. While I’m sure my current seat-of-pants style of learning Druidry would work out, having something a little more concrete will help (as will the Socratic style that the Wheel of the Year book is written in. I’m a big fan, at least when it’s not kicking my ass.)

I’ll have my first week’s questions up later today, along with my first week’s Meditation Journal.

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ADF follows the standard Neo-Pagan wheel of the year – 8 festivals tied to the solstices, equinoxes, and cross-quarter days that are seen throughout most of the Neo-Pagan religious groups. These are ostensibly based on the agricultural cycle and are a combination of (mostly) Celtic and Norse traditional celebrations.

I love the wheel of the year. It flows, and it’s a holiday every 6 weeks (more or less), and there’s a lot of beauty in it.

Unfortunately I’m also a gardener in southeast Texas.

The agricultural cycle here is not even remotely like that of the Norse and Celts who (presumably) originated these festivals, or even much like those of the Brits and Northern Americans who first celebrated their Neo-Pagan counterparts.

I grow things pretty much year round here, with a few exceptions. In general, the months of June, July, and August are a time of “wait and see”. Which is to say “Wait and see what’s going to shrivel up and die from the sheer heat and lack of rain.” Okra does pretty well if it’s well established (but it too will shrivel up and die if you plant it too late), and hot peppers do pretty well too, but again with the “well established” clause. Tomatoes quit producing fruit by June because it’s just so damn hot – our lows are usually around 80-84 degrees by then – and the plants just throw in the towel by the beginning of July unless you can get them some shade.

Then in late August and September, you plant the garden again (usually with things that fruit relatively quickly) and whabam, you’re harvesting cucumbers, corn, and tomatoes in November.

After Samhain.

When the wheel turns to the “dark” half of the year and everything is dead, awaiting the rebirth of the sun.

In October, you plant broccoli and cauliflower and onions and leeks and root veggies, and those are harvested mostly through the winter until you plant your spring garden the first weekend in March. Then come the first of May, you’re getting your first taste of vine ripened tomatoes… just as we’re celebrating the festival of “thank the Gods it’s not cold anymore, let’s have sex.”

In short? It just doesn’t line up. I’m harvesting for the fertility festivals and planting for the harvest festivals and… it’s just a mess!

This makes for some interesting mental gymnastics, and puts the impetus of the wheel on things OTHER than the actual cycle of agriculture in my backyard. I can certainly celebrate the fertility of mind and creativity and ideas, but it’s hard to distance that from what I know is really going on in this little piece of swamp I live on.

I don’t have an answer for fixing it though. I love turning the wheel. And I’m generally drawn to the Celtic hearth culture, way more than I am the Greeks or Romans. Maybe I ought to look into the Vedic cultures, if I want my celebrations to line up with my garden outside.

Either that, or I just have a party more often than every 6 weeks.

The Feast of the First Tomato Salad is worth celebrating, even if it’s not an official holiday.

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