The solar calendar and spirituality

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Mendalla

All I wish is to dream again
Pronouns
He/Him/His
So we have the Spring Equinox looming in a couple weeks (11:33am on March 20 to be precise). Here in the mid-latitudes, these are fairly significant events in the calendar, marking as they do the seasons. At the equator, of course, they are less of a thing since the tropics (between the Tropic of Cancer at 23.5 degrees North and Tropic of Capricorn at 23.5 degrees South) don't experience the same seasonal cycle as mid-latitudes, both North and South, do.

As a consequence of this, many cultures in the mid-latitudes commemorate these solar events as important cultural or religious festivals. We see it in places like Stonehenge, where certain of the stones align to the solstices, and the medicine wheels of North America, which sometimes show similar alignments. Even today, modern pagans often keep these dates as important religious celebrations.

But Christianity, perhaps as part of trying to detach itself from pagan and other faiths, kind of lost that. Easter kind of follows the Spring Equinox (first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox) but also incorporates the full moon due to its association with Passover, which follows the Jewish lunisolar (moon and sun) calendar. Really, the only major, universal Christian festival that is really closely tied to one of these events is Christmas, which comes just after the Winter Solstice and has many cultural practices derived from Solstice festivals (e.g. Christmas trees and yule logs). There is really no Christian festival tied to the Summer Solstice and All Hallow's comes some time after the Fall Equinox and tied as much to the harvest as the equinox.

So are the equinoxes and solstices still important in a spiritual sense outside of the few traditions that still keep them? Do you have any spiritual associations with them, or are they just "oh cool, it's (insert season) finally"?

Of course, there's also the many cultural and faith festivals still tied to old lunar calendars. The Jewish and Islamic faiths still have their major festivals set according to lunar, or partly lunar, calendars. The Chinese New Year, aka Lunar New Year, and Moon Festival (harvest/Fall festival) similarly though the Chinese do also have events tied to the solar events, esp. in pre-modern times. But we don't really attach much importance to the moon phases at all. Our calendars often mark them, but it seems to me that most of us just use the full moon as a chance to oo and ah at the moon, especially if an event like a lunar eclipse happens.

So we seem to have lost the spiritual significance of the moon and sun both. Thoughts? Is this part of us losing touch with nature and our connection to the greater universe around us? What would it mean to have the solstices and equinoxes acknowledged and celebrated in our religious practices? Would that be "too pagan" for our "Christian" society?
 

Luce NDs

Well-Known Member
So we have the Spring Equinox looming in a couple weeks (11:33am on March 20 to be precise). Here in the mid-latitudes, these are fairly significant events in the calendar, marking as they do the seasons. At the equator, of course, they are less of a thing since the tropics (between the Tropic of Cancer at 23.5 degrees North and Tropic of Capricorn at 23.5 degrees South) don't experience the same seasonal cycle as mid-latitudes, both North and South, do.

As a consequence of this, many cultures in the mid-latitudes commemorate these solar events as important cultural or religious festivals. We see it in places like Stonehenge, where certain of the stones align to the solstices, and the medicine wheels of North America, which sometimes show similar alignments. Even today, modern pagans often keep these dates as important religious celebrations.

But Christianity, perhaps as part of trying to detach itself from pagan and other faiths, kind of lost that. Easter kind of follows the Spring Equinox (first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox) but also incorporates the full moon due to its association with Passover, which follows the Jewish lunisolar (moon and sun) calendar. Really, the only major, universal Christian festival that is really closely tied to one of these events is Christmas, which comes just after the Winter Solstice and has many cultural practices derived from Solstice festivals (e.g. Christmas trees and yule logs). There is really no Christian festival tied to the Summer Solstice and All Hallow's comes some time after the Fall Equinox and tied as much to the harvest as the equinox.

So are the equinoxes and solstices still important in a spiritual sense outside of the few traditions that still keep them? Do you have any spiritual associations with them, or are they just "oh cool, it's (insert season) finally"?

Of course, there's also the many cultural and faith festivals still tied to old lunar calendars. The Jewish and Islamic faiths still have their major festivals set according to lunar, or partly lunar, calendars. The Chinese New Year, aka Lunar New Year, and Moon Festival (harvest/Fall festival) similarly though the Chinese do also have events tied to the solar events, esp. in pre-modern times. But we don't really attach much importance to the moon phases at all. Our calendars often mark them, but it seems to me that most of us just use the full moon as a chance to oo and ah at the moon, especially if an event like a lunar eclipse happens.

So we seem to have lost the spiritual significance of the moon and sun both. Thoughts? Is this part of us losing touch with nature and our connection to the greater universe around us? What would it mean to have the solstices and equinoxes acknowledged and celebrated in our religious practices? Would that be "too pagan" for our "Christian" society?

Gives some souls solace to naught know such complex matters of psyche ... thus psyche departure! Some times you can sense it as it goes ... that sinking sensation ... on arrival expect nothing ... yet be prepared for everything to come back at Yah! It happens in the depth of eternity ... as one passes through that neglected space ... a point of burst? Very expansive and yet few accepted it ...

May resemble an OBI but the brutes cannot accept it as taxing and causing change ... egos as alter construct?

Abstract reflection ... (abstract being said to be a black shade)!
 

BetteTheRed

Resident Heretic
Pronouns
She/Her/Her
So we seem to have lost the spiritual significance of the moon and sun both. Thoughts? Is this part of us losing touch with nature and our connection to the greater universe around us? What would it mean to have the solstices and equinoxes acknowledged and celebrated in our religious practices? Would that be "too pagan" for our "Christian" society?

I don't think so. I think it would be a way of reclaiming our "earthy" roots, and perhaps nudge Christianity towards a more indigenous understanding of our place in the Universe.
 

Luce NDs

Well-Known Member
I don't think so. I think it would be a way of reclaiming our "earthy" roots, and perhaps nudge Christianity towards a more indigenous understanding of our place in the Universe.

Might be difficult to get this idea across to the crustier sorts of sol ... hard tack?
 

Waterfall

Well-Known Member
So we have the Spring Equinox looming in a couple weeks (11:33am on March 20 to be precise). Here in the mid-latitudes, these are fairly significant events in the calendar, marking as they do the seasons. At the equator, of course, they are less of a thing since the tropics (between the Tropic of Cancer at 23.5 degrees North and Tropic of Capricorn at 23.5 degrees South) don't experience the same seasonal cycle as mid-latitudes, both North and South, do.

As a consequence of this, many cultures in the mid-latitudes commemorate these solar events as important cultural or religious festivals. We see it in places like Stonehenge, where certain of the stones align to the solstices, and the medicine wheels of North America, which sometimes show similar alignments. Even today, modern pagans often keep these dates as important religious celebrations.

But Christianity, perhaps as part of trying to detach itself from pagan and other faiths, kind of lost that. Easter kind of follows the Spring Equinox (first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox) but also incorporates the full moon due to its association with Passover, which follows the Jewish lunisolar (moon and sun) calendar. Really, the only major, universal Christian festival that is really closely tied to one of these events is Christmas, which comes just after the Winter Solstice and has many cultural practices derived from Solstice festivals (e.g. Christmas trees and yule logs). There is really no Christian festival tied to the Summer Solstice and All Hallow's comes some time after the Fall Equinox and tied as much to the harvest as the equinox.

So are the equinoxes and solstices still important in a spiritual sense outside of the few traditions that still keep them? Do you have any spiritual associations with them, or are they just "oh cool, it's (insert season) finally"?

Of course, there's also the many cultural and faith festivals still tied to old lunar calendars. The Jewish and Islamic faiths still have their major festivals set according to lunar, or partly lunar, calendars. The Chinese New Year, aka Lunar New Year, and Moon Festival (harvest/Fall festival) similarly though the Chinese do also have events tied to the solar events, esp. in pre-modern times. But we don't really attach much importance to the moon phases at all. Our calendars often mark them, but it seems to me that most of us just use the full moon as a chance to oo and ah at the moon, especially if an event like a lunar eclipse happens.

So we seem to have lost the spiritual significance of the moon and sun both. Thoughts? Is this part of us losing touch with nature and our connection to the greater universe around us? What would it mean to have the solstices and equinoxes acknowledged and celebrated in our religious practices? Would that be "too pagan" for our "Christian" society?
Easter is determined by the full moon, the March equinox and the ecclesiastical dates rather than the astronomical dates.
 

Mendalla

All I wish is to dream again
Pronouns
He/Him/His
Easter is determined by the full moon, the March equinox and the ecclesiastical dates rather than the astronomical dates.
Right, which just goes further to my point that it is only loosely connected to the Equinox. Christianity does not have a true Spring Equinox celebration, even if a lot of the traditional imagery has been snuck into Easter. But the question is how spiritually meaningful is/should behe Equinox for you/us.
 

Waterfall

Well-Known Member
Right, which just goes further to my point that it is only loosely connected to the Equinox. Christianity does not have a true Spring Equinox celebration, even if a lot of the traditional imagery has been snuck into Easter. But the question is how spiritually meaningful is/should behe Equinox for you/us.
Well rather than New Years being a time for renewal, I tend to see the spring equinox as that time. Part of that is the new growth, young animals being born, the sounds, the crops, etc....its a world bursting with energy. Most seasons have a certain effect on my spiritual moods but I suppose the church itself isnt necessary for me for that to happen, but God is in it for me personally.
Is it pagan? Not really, just Is.
 

Mendalla

All I wish is to dream again
Pronouns
He/Him/His
Well rather than New Years being a time for renewal, I tend to see the spring equinox as that time. Part of that is the new growth, young animals being born, the sounds, the crops, etc....its a world bursting with energy. Most seasons have a certain effect on my spiritual moods but I suppose the church itself isnt necessary for me for that to happen, but God is in it for me personally.
Is it pagan? Not really, just Is.
Interestingly, there are societies where Spring is the New Year. The Chinese New Year is sometimes called the Spring Festival, though it falls rather early for that. And Nowruz, the Persian New Year, falls on the Equinox (not sure if it always does, but I think so).

One of the things I find attractive about pagan and indigenous religions is the importance of these cycles. Before the advent of clocks, calendars and such, the solar and lunar cycles were the main timekeeping apparatus. Day-Night, seasons, the moon's cycle from new to full and back, all defined the units of time. It was later that we began creating artificial subunits to track it more precisely. Arguably, things like hours, minutes, seconds are purely artificial creations (very old ones, admittedly, but artificial nonetheless) and have no real basis in nature. They are just humans performing division on the natural cycles. Fantastically useful, but definitely not natural. Even centuries and millennia are basically just grouping solar cycles (aka years) into convenient larger groups and there is no such cycle in nature. The time taken by the sun to orbit the center of the Milky Way would be the closest in nature to those larger units and that itself is impossible to measure absent modern technology and is so large as to be meaningless in human terms (225-250 million years, so we will probably be long since extinct by the time the sun is back to where it was when our species first appeared).

So measuring our world using things like "First new moon after the equinox" or "five days after the Solstice" and using that as the basis for spiritual and religious practice would, to my mind, be a kind of "back to nature", something I think we need more of in spirituality. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have really become religions of settled cultures less tied to nature and I think that underlies and promotes, to some degree, the separation of man and nature we see in modernism. Classical paganism is, to some degree, guilty of that as well.

I can't see Christianity or related even going down that road, but I wonder if it could be incorporated into something like UU'ism. Or is our modern society too wedded to its clocks and calendars to do the work of looking out the window to see the exact phase of the moon or where the sun is in the sky?

Just some spring musings more than a serious proposition, perhaps, but worth meditating on.
 

Luce NDs

Well-Known Member
Imagine solar powered time machines as something abstract ... perhaps mythical ... like in Orwell's diggings ... gone right to the head mon!

Deadly infection of thought in emotional bodies ... angels winging it in diabolical fashion ... some extract the immaterial, for reorganization, in the dark!

Solar winds tend to be intangible and incomprehensible to the masses ...

"Be still" is said by some visors and observe ... a spark may alight! Innate alternates? Guest Alt's ... mire blotches ... du meme!
 

jimkenney12

Well-Known Member
Interesting thoughts. Gardeners are influenced by these cycles, but they are by practice connected to nature. I wait until after the spring equinox to start seeds and am waiting before bringing our Dahlia out of the dark to get growing again for going outside in May.
 

Luce NDs

Well-Known Member
And in the dark lighter thoughts arise telling me to do nothing heavy until the valve job ... some of my acquaintances probably continue with the concept that I am physically useless ... and thus forced to reason ... a hated state of immateriality ...

Prime protocol: "don't think!" Thus has a following like ... "What deh elle were you doing?" Leaving us innocents ... for belittling!

Ever heard that ... "don't think"? Tis an emotional expression ... very much aus contrare ... spontaneous conflict? Especially if there was some prior information of alternate nature ...
 

jimkenney12

Well-Known Member
I have a cousin and maybe a couple of friends who celebrate the Spring Equinox. I would like to celebrate it as well, but not sure how I want to do that.
 

ninj

She/Her/They
I have seen beautiful altars created for each of the solstice and equinoxes (plus many other occasions). I think that's an old ritual that could be revived. It's natural to gather from walks, or in the garden. Each quarter has it's symbols, colours and correspondences. They can be stunning works of temporary art.
Lots of ideas for celebrations/activities online. Paganism is so much more mainstream now.
And there are books like this. Haven't read it.

 

jimkenney12

Well-Known Member
The spring equinox is now 5 days away. The full moon will be later today or tomorrow based on where I saw it this morning at 5 an real time, about an hour's travel above the horizon. Considering a personal Spring festival from Wednesday through Sunday. Spring cleaning, listening to Common Cup CDs, brining up the Dahlia to spur new growth, snowshoeing tomorrow if enough snow is left, checking all the trees and bushes for signs of buds swelling, hotdogs or hamburgers one day, toasted marshmallows at our fire pit. For the first time had a good sighting of a fox wandering on our lot from the creek back into the far area where I see occasional signs of mice. Quite large for a fox but had a very bushy tail. And the fog flowed down from the hill ad we were having breakfast.
 

Luce NDs

Well-Known Member
Time is a scared item ... some do not see it as critical when stuck in one point and not connecting to others ... autom-ism as related to autonomy? Perhaps even implanted autism as a social backfire! There are folk that believe nothing comes back to them ... that would be a haunting thought difficult for them to put to words as something previously denied ... and thus dun', gone!
 

Delightful Life

M&M, Cascadian Lovers
I don't think so. I think it would be a way of reclaiming our "earthy" roots, and perhaps nudge Christianity towards a more indigenous understanding of our place in the Universe.
Funny thing

Christianity is indiginous
The indiginous Jews (and b4 them)
The indiginous Greeks

And it has changed...


And as various people adopt it it evolves to be with them


The many different denominations are I see it as a feature :3

I suspect that there are even some Christian Animists (the world is full of people, only some of whom are human) oot there, tho I have never met one. Yet :3

And who knows what will happen once humanity becomes a spacefaring civ :3
 

jimkenney12

Well-Known Member
Christian Animists, I believe, are found in several places in Africa.

Our Christmas tree is sitting in our fire pit outside. Our plan is to burn it on Sunday and use it to toast some hotdogs and marshmallows on Sunday even though it is supposed to be cold here on Sunday.
 
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