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Beltane/Samhain - November 2009

"The Earth is capable of replenishing herself and supplying every living thing with a home and sustenance"
Sarah King


The front of the RainbowWeb - not the best photo I've taken, but it will give you the general idea
31st.October 2009

The Fire Festivals, sometimes called Cross-Quarter days,
because they are celebrated roughly halfway between the Equinox and the Solstice,
are far more ancient than the latter astronomically timed celebrations.
The timing is based on fertility cycles - human hunter-gatherer, pastoral and agricultural,
and not on the celestial Longitude of the Sun.
Certain dates have become traditional, but a reasonable amount of flexibility can be appropriate.
In the Southern Hemisphere the end of October and beginning of November mark Beltane,
the beginning of Summer, the fulfilment of the promise of Spring,
and is celebrated in the same way as the Northen Hemisphere May Day.

It's the mating season for all species,
and children conceived during the celebrations were reckoned to be children of the Gods.
Beasts are taken to Summer pasture, and cultivation of crops intensifies.
During this approximately 6 week season poultry are in full lay,
and milk, whether cow, sheep, or goat, is abundant.
The Sun climbs more steeply and daylength increases rapidly.

In the North, Winter is beginning, and death is very much on the agenda.
It's Samhain, the time when the dead return for a night.

(This is the origin of the Christianised Hallowe'en.)
In many cultures the ancestors are honoured,
Night-long vigils ensure that those who return are welcomed and have company
- in Mexico family parties are held in on the graves of the departed.
Trick or Treat is a comparatively recent and exploitative custom which I personally deplore.
It promotes the medieval church's falsehoods concerning Witches,
creating fearof the Craft in small children, and poking fun at those who suffered in the Burning Times.

Before the advent of refrigeration and feedlots,
beasts were slaughtered at this time, and the meat preserved for the winter.
Milk was made into hard cheese for winter storage, apples stored in dry airy places,
and roots lifted and covered with dry earth or sand to prolong their usefulness.

See Seasons and Calendars for detailed information.

News from the RainbowWeb

I've seldom been so personally grateful for the wonderful rain!
Having had a series of minor but debilitating ailments over the last 5 weeks, not having to water the garden,
as well as being able to enjoy it's luxuriant beauty while I rested, has been a blessing straight from the Goddess.
On a more serious note, all Adelaide's reservoirs are full - Joy! Celebrations! Abundance!

Now summer has really arrived, with sudden, though not overwhelming, heat.
In fact, it's just enough to bring all the summer flowers to maturity,
while enabling the spring blooms to set seed, which they are doing enthusiastically.
Similar enthusiasm is being shown by the birds, who are mating joyfully all over the place
- the noise made by Crested Pigeons mating on an iron roof is quite astonishing!
And the local magpies have discovered that the coconut fibre in my mulch is a perfect nesting material,
and though they usually avoid confined spaces, are visiting regularly to pick up supplies.
The blackbirds not only serenade me morning and evening, but often join in when they hear me singing.
And the dawn chorus is just amazing. There's just enough time to hear it uninterrupted before the traffic starts.
If only we didn't have Daylight Saving!

However I am doing as I did last year, and keeping my clock on standard time.
So far, by putting my watch on an hour, I haven't missed any buses or been late for Choir Practice.
As for the perfumes of summer - when roses, honeysuckle, jasmine, and apple blossom are blooming simultaneously,
it's almost headier than the citrus blossom in Spring! I wish I could somehow send it to you all!
Bees and wasps are busy in every flower, concentrating now on collecting nectar, rather than the pollen they wanted in early Spring.
And the butterflies - dozens and dozens of them, dancing, flirting, mating, laying eggs, I could watch them for hours.
No need to kill them or even reduce their numbers - the caterpillers will hatch
just at the right time to supply food for all the nestlings that will soon be yelling for their meals.

Since Beltane is a flexible feast, I've decided to celebrate it on 2nd.November, the eve of the Full Moon.
I may now be a Solitary, and no longer a participant in the mating game,
but in the garden with all it's wildlife, it's scents, a Full Moon,
and some wonderful memories - maybe even a moonlight bath,
I'm going to have an amazing time.
May you all enjoy this feast to the full.



Seasons and Calendars
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URL - http://www.users.on.net/~arachne/BeltaneSamhainNovember2009.html