I am lucky enough to live within driving distance of Castlerigg Stone Circle and Derwent Water, two places where I really connect with the earth and the gods and goddesses. I visit Castlerigg for the Summer Solstice (staying overnight) and the Winter Solstice (though only for the sunrise) whenever possible. In the summer the sun rises so early it is easy to get to work afterwards and though I am usually lucky enough not to be at work around the Winter Solstice (school holidays) if I am I go the nearest sunrise I can.
Sunrise 20th March 2009
So the solstices yeah but they start with S … what about the Equinoxes you ask 🙂
An Equinox (just in case you don’t know though I expect most readers will) happens twice a year when the hours of light and the hours of darkness are nearly equal everywhere in the world. The next Equinox is on March 20th, which, as I live in the Northern Hemisphere, will mark the beginning of Spring and so is called the Spring or Vernal Equinox. For those in the Southern Hemisphere it will mark the beginning of Autumn and so be the Autumn or Autumnal Equinox. Well I virtually always go to Castlerigg for the sunrise on the Equinoxes too. I am more likely to have to go at the weekend however that means I have more time to connect 😀
This year the Spring Equinox falls on a Tuesday, a work day for myself so I shall be getting up a ‘wee’ bit earlier than normal on the closest weekend day, Sunday 18th, and driving to Castlerigg to greet the dawn. When I’ve done my personal ritual and the sun has either risen or it’s become so light you can just declare it daytime (a common occurrence at Castlerigg!) I will then drive down to Derwent Water, the lake at Keswick, park up and go for a wander. I don’t walk that far but it takes me a couple of hours … sometimes a chocolate couple! I will take the time to really see what has changed, to listen and look for the birds, to enjoy the atmosphere. I love to watch the changing seasons, watch the clouds ease over the hills. It’s the Lake District after all, we usually have clouds to watch even when the sun does show his face.
Derwent Water - 27th March 2011
When I go for one of my walks at Derwent Water (if you know the area I just walk along to Friar’s Crag and back with that tiny loop at the end) I usually have a cereal bar or similar in my pocket and will scatter bits for the birds and other creatures. I started doing this when I realised that on every visit at least one robin came out to see me. In fact now the visit feels incomplete, painfully so, if a robin hasn’t chirped at me! In my heart those Robins are messengers from the goddess, just because I don’t speak Robin doesn’t mean my heart doesn’t understand and it felt impolite not to give the messenger a gift, what else but food 🙂
Are you listening Willow?
I don’t always get such a lovely photograph but Winter Solstice just gone this gentleman posed for me most beautifully 😀
And of course no visit is complete unless I spend time with the tree I belong to … but that’s another post 😉
As part of the journey I am on I mark the turning of the wheel. Living in towns it can be easy to miss the changes in the world as the seasons change but I as well as taking the time to get into the countryside, my places of power, at special times, at the changes, I try to see what is happening all around me. I am walking this path each and everyday, not just at the eight main points of the year. I do my best to notice the changes all around, the daffodils which are a few inches above the grass in the corner of grass near work, the changing colours of the sea, the way the clouds come down and isolate us from each other. The Equinox will soon be on us, can’t you tell!