Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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In ancient times the calendar and the clock were primary ways to communicate to the population. Holidays, and the Sabbath every week, were commemorated and acknowledged. Today we have less formally structured time, and many of us work on weekends. Sunday was dedicated to the sun once upon a time, and the solstice twice a year was viewed as significant. The marking of midsummer in agricultural societies was a celebration of bounty and fertility. Working the land in harmony with the stars and planets was a tradition that included observance of the astronomical events in the heavens. After the solstice the sun begins the journey back to the other hemisphere. The days will become shorter, just as now they are increasing.
Solstice will occur on a Wednesday in 2017, so I am making a few preparations to be ready in my heart and in my home for a new season. My celebration will involve synesthesia of colors, sounds, and flavors of this season. I am creating special menus for the week that feature the foods and drinks that spotlight summer. Grilled veggies and picnic style presentation remind me of my childhood. Seasonal cocktails make the adult party complete. I will be working up this party theme for the next 10 days, so I have time to find the best seasonal fruits on the market. The full strawberry moon has just passed, but the strawberries are in full swing. Berries and stone fruits like peaches, apricots and nectarines are both visual beauties and very tasty additions to any summer table. I like to eat berries straight up, but will probably make a shortcake to elevate the dessert factor.
I have been switching out my wardrobe and bed linens for the season, choosing lighter, brighter colors. It feels good to me to put all my winter clothing away to make space for what works now. I hope to complete this chore today, which will make me feel accomplished. I will reward myself with a long lavender scented epsom salts bath when those sweaters and jackets are all packed and stored until I need them next fall. I am listening to new music, trying new sounds as background. I think Baroque music just sounds like this time of year….it is zippy, light, bright, and happy. I have been listening and dancing around my house in anticipation of a harvest of happy times in 2017.
Synesthesia is the fusion of the senses. Sight, sound, taste, feel, and scent are purposely brought together to create a strong sensory impression. How will you prepare for your own midsummer’s night? I invite you to join me in a sensuous and pleasurable gratitude party.
I am taking this time so easy I can’t even believe it myself. We do not stress ourselves by including obligatory events in December, so our home life is without strain to complete or compete. We decorate a little, and I like to burn candles this time of year because the dark begins in the afternoon and seems like a cheery flicker in the dark. We celebrate not exactly any holiday other than the winter solstice, but are happy to join in the whole festive season. I drive less and shop very little because the crowds and traffic are not on my list of jolly things to experience. I buy a little more than usual in the specialty foods and booze category, but in general our consumption is normal in December. We certainly do not go wild. We like it quiet.
I am very lucky that the Tucson Botanical Gardens is right around the corner from home, so I zip over there for some outdoor nature time. It is also a winter treat to have the butterfly and tropical frog show at the gardens in the greenhouse. It is a gift the year around to be able to take a beautiful botanical break away from traffic and shopping and work. This is my idea of a jolly good time.
I consider my life to be blessed with ease and good health. I wish all my gentle readers a holiday week of gladness and good fortune. May you all be the merriest of readers in the jolliest of good company. God bless us every one.
The Fall Equinox is a time to reflect, budget, delete, and take stock of what we have. In modern times our personal harvest is less crucial to our survival than it was hundreds of years ago. We import and ship what we want all over the world. Because so much of our food costs are transportation related this might be a time to take stock of what we have in our local market or garden that can be a substitute for imported or processed foods. We like convenience, but may be able to find better priced locally made foods, goods, and services of superior quality. We like to be served, but can save money and enhance creativity by doing more of our own food preparation and preservation. It is time to create, prosper and appreciate. Do you have practices to note the day when the whole world has an equal amount of darkness and light? Normally the moon rises about 50 minutes later than the previous night. On the equinox it rises only about 10 minutes later, and the effect is that of almost standing still for a few days.
In ancient Greece this time of year was the time for grand rituals known as the Eleusian rites. From the equinox until the end of the month processions and rites to the goddess Demeter were performed. The elaborate rites involved bathing in the sea, building an altar around a tree, blessing the earth with wine and special potions, and a giant party to honor Demeter, goddess of the earth. Holy Night, on September 28, when the goddess Koré would turn from maiden to krone, and then into the young queen of the underworld. Some of the celebrants were granted the chance to see their own deaths on the Holy Night in order to free themselves from fear of the afterlife. The following day was a sports and games day before the final eighth day of the festival returns to solemn ritual to signify spiritual rebirth. This was very different from football season or American festivities for fall because everything was viewed as sacred. The rituals were believed to be an important spiritual gift to mankind. Can you find a way to honor that seasonal shift in your life this year? I would love to hear any ideas you have, gentle readers. I believe we have instinctive spiritual patterns that evolve, but are also part of historical beliefs and rites. We are still connected to Demeter even if we don’t know who she is.
The official political message this year of the Communist leaders of China is curb waste and conserve air quality this lunar new year. Banquets and fireworks are under fire for waste and pollution. The ancestors are featured heavily in celebrations of this holiday in China. The festival begins on the new moon, this year 10 Feb, 2013, and lasts for 15 days. Many Chinese people travel great distances to be at home for this time of year. Fireworks are central to the family party. I am a huge fan of pyrotechnics. I am not attracted to witness displays in China because frequent fires and accidents are the result of unregulated manufacture and distribution.
The practice of making noise to scare away evil spirits is ancient. China produces 90% of the fireworks in the world after inventing them. The original firecrackers were chunks of wet bamboo thrown into a fire. The invention of gunpowder in China around 600-900 AD changed everything. The public and private parties to welcome the Year of the Snake will last for a month. If you want to party with the Snake, clean your house, wrap even numbered dollar amounts in red paper and give them to your family, and do not wash your hair or sweep your house on the first day. You may be able follow up with Lion dancers in your community, and if you are lucky, some fireworks to scare away the evil forces in your life. Good to go.