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Celebrating the Seasons (Part 3)

To celebrate the seasonal changes of the year, therefore, is all about re-connecting.  We become re-connected to nature, since celebrating the seasons leads us to acknowledge the role that nature plays in our lives despite all the cultural developments that have allowed us to change our environment and surroundings for better and for worse.  We become re-connected to our selves and our lives, since in the cycles of nature we can see our own psychological experiences being reflected.  Finally we also become reconnected to our spirituality, especially by drawing on the vast reservoir of culutural imagery and mythological cycles that our ancestors have left us as their legacy.

Spring Equinox at Mnajdra, a 6000 year old temple in Malta
which is aligned with the Equinoxes and the Solstices.

A short disclaimer might be in place before going any further.  I do not intend this to be an exhaustive discussion of seasonal celebrations, but more of a personal digest of how I interpret and celebrate these annual cycles, and which elements of celebration I find particularly evocative.  I feel mostly drawn to the traditions that I consider to be the pillars of the spirituality of the West, namely the Celtic tradition, the classical myths and philosophy of Greece and Rome, and the spirituality of the Judeo-Christian paths.  By choosing to focus on these three strands, I do not want to imply that other strands are less valid, but only that those are the paths which I personally draw most on.  I also do not want to present this conception of the seasons as universal in any way. While the equinoxes and solstices have been celebrated in places as far apart as Europe and America, other cultures had different systems of reckoning time, such as the Egyptians, who never experienced much seasonal change and mostly used a sidereal (star-based) rather than solar (sun-based) calendar.

© Michael Deguara, - Last updated - 15 May 2003