Way, way back in the day when The Goddess strolled the land, there were 8 celebrations a year, spaced about evenly apart, called by different names in different places. Natural breaks in the year, when humans stopped for a while to celebrate, cogitate, ruminate.
These were the Quarters and the Cross-Quarters. The Quarters are the Solstices and Equinoxes, and the Cross- Quarters are actually the natural beginnings of the seasons. So there is a reason that what we call the first day of summer, June 21, the Summer Solstice, was actually called Mid-Summer, as in Shakespeare’s play. Also why December 21, which we say is the first day of winter (does that make any sense at all?) was anciently called Mid-Winter.
For instance – when do the very first leaves begin to fall from the trees? Is it just now, with what we call the first day of fall on or about September 21? Not in my yard. August 1, Teltane or Lammas, is really the beginning of fall, featuring grain harvests and the first drift of leaves across the landscape. And when are the leaves pretty much finished coming down? That’s what was being celebrated on Halloween – October 31 and November 1. The end of fall and the beginning of winter, the Celtic New Year!
I’m going to ruminate a bit myself, writing about each of these quarters and cross-quarters as they pop up over the next year. To me, it’s healthy to be in tune with the natural rhythm of the Turning of the Wheel, rather than imposing our own version on the landscape. When we are in partnership with nature, rather than trying to dominate Her, and we enjoy the fullness of the seasons, there will naturally be less stress in our lives, and more moment-to-moment appreciation. Aaaaahhhh.