Hi everyone, and welcome to my inaugural blog post for Witches and Pagans. I'm happy to be here, and I hope you'll enjoy reading along with my monthly meanderings. This blog—Celebrate!—is about exactly that: the ways we Pagan-types mark cyclic and special times, events, and celebrations in our everyday lives. Expect the path to be winding…. We'll probably talk about the traditional eight Sabbats from time to time, also known as the quarter and cross-quarter dates. We may explore the fire festivals associated with the ancient Celts. We might drift into purely agricultural season markers or gaze heavenward for a lesson in seasonal astronomy and reading the night sky. You might join me as we ramble off-trail, touching on wildcrafting or phenology or biodynamic gardening as a way to shape an observance. Or, we might gather in the kitchen for a bit of hearth magick. We could even pull a couple of comparative mythology books off the shelf, considering religious or cultural approaches to celebration and commemoration or following Joseph Campbell's hero's journey. And we're almost sure to read some folklore and practice some magick along the way…. I want this blog to be interesting, entertaining, and, I hope, thought-provoking, and I'm looking forward to your feedback to help me fine-tune the process.
A technical note: I live in Oregon, in the northwestern corner of the United States and very close to the 45th parallel. When I talk about time, I'll be using my own Pacific time zone, and all references to the seasons and the heavens will be north-hemisphere centric. For my readers "down under," please adjust as needed. ? Also, I'll be using the US system of weights, measures, and temperatures.
As I write this, the first day of "astronomical autumn" is just around the corner, with the autumnal equinox due to arrive on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 7:49 am (US Pacific). An equinox occurs when the Sun's visible path through the sky—known as the solar ecliptic—crosses the celestial equator. What's the celestial equator? Imagine you're standing on Earth's equator. Now imagine extending the entire equator outward into the heavens, and you'll have created the celestial equator, an important marker we use to talk about movements of the Sun, Moon, and other heavenly bodies. The Sun's ecliptic crosses the celestial equator twice a year, creating the autumnal (autumn) and vernal (spring) equinoxes. At the equinoxes, night and day are approximately equal in length, making it easy to see how these astronomical points mark a shift in the seasons.