THE CYCLES OF LIFE AROUND US
There are four principal lunar phases: the new moon, first quarter, full moon, and last quarter.
Each of these phases appears at slightly different times at different locations on Earth. During the intervals between principal phases are intermediate phases, during which the Moon's apparent shape is either crescent or gibbous. The descriptor waxing is used for an intermediate phase when the Moon's apparent shape is thickening, from new to a full moon, and waning when the shape is thinning.
- A new moon appears highest on the summer solstice and lowest on the winter solstice.
- A first quarter moon appears highest on the spring equinox and lowest on the autumn equinox.
- A full moon appears highest on the winter solstice and lowest on the summer solstice.
- A last quarter moon appears highest on the autumn equinox and lowest on the spring equinox.
SOLAR CYCLES & FESTIVALS
The Wheel of the Year is an annual cycle of seasonal festivals, observed by many modern pagans, consisting of the year's chief solar events (solstices and equinoxes) and the midpoints between them.
- Winter Solstice (Yule): 20-23 December
- Imbolic: 1 February
- Spring Equinox (Ostara): 19-22 March
- Beltane: 1 May
- Summer Solstice (Litha) 19-23 June
- Lughnasadh: 1 August
- Autumn Equinox (Mabon): 21-24 September
- Samhain: 1 November
These 8 festivals are synchronised with solar events and are mapped across the beginning and middle of the four seasons, which were tied to agriculture and society’s ability to grow food to sustain itself, as well as druidic traditions celebrating the cycles of ‘increase, decay, rebirth and renewal’, and the balance between lightness and darkness, solar and lunar.
The Autumn Equinox celebrates when night and day are of equal duration – balance - and falls September 22nd this year.
The symbol of the sacred day is the cornucopia as all the harvest is collected and the stocks for winter is hoped to be plentiful.
An important part of celebrating the Autumn Equinox is to become more aware, and give ourselves time to be grateful at the abundance of the natural world around us.
- Harvesting apples and sloes
- Fermenting grapes for wine
- Wheat, bread, grains
- Cabbage, onion, kale, elderberry, rosehips, blackberry