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Posts Tagged ‘Winter Solstice’

Solstice - 20131220_205919

Winter Solstice Fire (What I Bring Into The Light), Droid Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2013, photo © 2013 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




Winter Solstice
darkness reigns

light turns a corner




She placed last year’s Yule branches into the ring, shook drifts of snow off the woodpile. Four boots, two drums, two rattles. No wind drifted off the cattails, stiff in the frozen pond. She watched for fox; maybe he would approach the chicken carcass and fatty skin, leftovers from soup stock made earlier that morning. The neighbors’ windows glowed—holiday lights, TV screens, reading lamps. The air was an eerie blue, foggy and wet.

She wanted to let go of the death of her father. She wanted to let go of all the the things she would never be able to ask. She wanted to let go of thinking it was her. Others let go, too, circles upon circles. Drums, rattles, chants.

Morning now. Her hair smells of smoked birch and charred cedar. Her dreams were deep and dark. Her heart is lighter.

Solstice 2 - 20131220_205933

Charred Dreams (What I Leave Behind), Droid Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2013, photo © 2013 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




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Tree  2012-12-01 14.47.11 auto

Yule Tree, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2012
by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


No snow buried the ground the day we cut the Winter Yule. Huffing and puffing, we took turns severing trunk from tangled roots. Last summer we had a landscaper install a French drain that streams into the concave hollow of a rain garden we will plant next spring. The energy company marked the lines before digging; that’s when we discovered the blue spruce growing over our gas line. It would have to be removed.

In mid-December, I said to Liz, “Let’s make the spruce our Yule tree.” The handsaw wasn’t far behind. The tree is almost 4 1/2  feet tall with a wide berth that tapers to a slight curve at the top. She grew from a seedling, probably dropped by a songbird that made a pit stop on the mature spruce nearby. Trunk rings indicate that it took six years for this tree to grow 52 inches with a one and 1/2 inch base. Trees are slow and deliberate. They are the slow walkers of the forest.


Rings - 2012-12-01 14.58.06 autoGrowth Rings, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2012 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Tree lovers like Liz and I will travel great distances to see hardwoods, softwoods, evergreens, and conifers in their prime. We have visited the oldest red and white pines in Itasca State Park in northern Minnesota, birthplace of the Mississippi River. We have sweated under live oaks near Flannery O’Connor’s childhood home in Savannah, photographed an old gingko at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska, and attended a community gathering celebrating the life and death of a 333-year-old Burr Oak near the Franklin Avenue bridge in Minneapolis. On a trip to New Mexico, I stood under the Lawrence tree painted by Georgia O’Keeffe at Kiowa Ranch. In Georgia, my mother and I talked family history under a ginkgo by the Old Government House that was planted in 1791 in commemoration of a visit by George Washington.


Saw 2012-12-01 14.48.26 auto

Saw, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2012 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Trees are important to the spiritual aspect of our lives. I can’t imagine a world without trees. Today we celebrate the longest night of the year, Winter Solstice. Tuesday we will celebrate Christmas. The blue spruce in our living room leaves an empty space in the garden. Though wistful when she fell, I am joyful that she gleams from our living room window at the darkest time of year. And that her summer-dried bark will be kindling for next winter‘s Solstice fire.


Home grown tree

Home Grown Tree, Droid Shots, Minneapolis,
Minnesota,photo © 2012 by Liz Schultz.
All rights reserved.


-posted on red Ravine, Winter Solstice, December 21st, 2012

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2011-12-09 16.42.39 auto

Celebrate The Moon, on the way home, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, December 2011, photo © 2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Snow is falling on red Ravine, and the temperature rises from zero to 25 degrees under the morning’s totally eclipsed Moon. It’s Saturday, December 10th and the total Lunar eclipse was exact at 6:36 am Pacific time. Last year the eclipse occurred right on Solstice (for more about the meaning of the Lunar Eclipse see Winter Solstice — Total Eclipse Of The Moon). According to Celestial Timings, one of the features of a total Lunar Eclipse is how it squeezes the 28 to 30 day Moon Phase into three to five hours. Time appears to speed up, accelerating the manifestation of the intentions we hold.

Tonight, we will attend an early Winter Solstice celebration with friends. By a blazing fire sparked by last year’s Yule tree, I will let go of what is no longer working and set new intentions that I hope to move from the dark of Winter into the light of Spring.

What are your intentions for the New Year? I seek more clarity with my creative goals. I have built a good practical infrastructure around my creative life, but the dream feels muddled. It will be good to redefine what is important to me and let the future unfold. In the silent spaces, I can let go of trying to control.

Coinciding with the Lunar Eclipse (and a subtle reminder that we are not in control), Mercury is in retrograde which I associate with breakdowns in interpersonal communication and technology. Here is an article that flips that notion on its head, redefining Mercury Retrograde as a time of increased right brain creative activity. It’s refreshing to view Mercury Retro with a positive spin!

Though my Cancer Sun sign keeps me tightly tethered to a love of history and the past, Winter Solstice is the time of year when I set strong intentions for the future. I look forward to the quiet hibernation of Winter, and the introspection of Bear. Happy Winter!


-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, December 10th, 2011

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Fire & Ice

Fire & Ice, Winter Solstice Celebration, BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2010, photos © 2010 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Sitting, staring out the window. The Hairy Woodpecker has found our suet feeder. This year we moved the deck feeders two feet South to protect them from the squirrels. The rodents can jump about 4 feet from the deck rail to the feeders if they put their minds to it. I love the woodpeckers and am happy they have found a safe place to feed for the Winter.

Last night we celebrated Winter Solstice. Holding On, Letting Go Letting go of what we want to leave in the Dark, making conscious choices about what to bring into the Light. I was quiet, more withdrawn than usual. Liz wore the Bear this year. I loved watching her dance down the path, calmly and playfully.

Ice Candle The night was cloudy, with a frigid West Wind blowing right into our faces. My fingers grew numb; I pulled them into my coat to keep warm. Homemade ice candles lit the path down to the fire ring. We didn’t hear the coyotes. Or the Great Horned Owl from last year. There were times when we stood by the fire in complete Silence. Other moments when drums and rattles were going full force. The drummer in me is happy at these rituals.

Morning finds me tired, sore, smelling like smoke from last year’s Yule tree. Solar Tree It’s 4 degrees as I type. A powerful Solstice is a day away. What makes it so potent is something that has not happened in 450 years — the combination of a Winter Solstice Blue Moon (the original meaning of a Blue Moon was Four Full Moons in one season) which coincides with a Total Lunar Eclipse.

According to NASA, an eclipse of the Moon can only take place at Full Moon, and only if the Moon passes through some portion of Earth’s Winter Solstice Fireshadow. Unlike a Solar Eclipse, it is safe to view with the naked eye. From a Shamanic perspective, the Total Lunar Eclipse collapses time and accelerates what’s already in motion. The rare Winter Solstice Full Moon Total Lunar Eclipse is a time that creates maximum synchronization of Solar and Lunar cycles, strengthening the power and intensity of the Sun and Moon together. When this happens the New Year brings increased understanding of a larger cycle of events at work in the world, and of lineage, the knowledge passed down from the Ancients.


Here are the times for Solstice & Eclipse events in Minnesota (CST):

Total Eclipse of the Moon — Tuesday, December 21st, 1:41am to 2:53am CST
Full Blue Moon in Gemini — Tuesday, December 21st, 2:13am CST
Winter Solstice 2010 — Tuesday, December 21st, at 5:38pm CST


Hours to view the reddish hues of the eclipsed December Moon vary, depending on where you live. In Europe and the eastern United States and Canada (time zones AST, Tiny Solstice MoonEST and CST), the entire eclipse occurs during the early morning hours of December 21, 2010. For the western United States and Canada (time zones MST and PST), the eclipse begins before midnight on the night of December 20, and ends sometime after midnight on the morning of December 21. In Alaska and Hawaii (time zones AKST and HST), most of the eclipse occurs on the night of December 20, but ends early on December 21.

You can find official times in your area at Mr. Eclipse and a detailed breakdown of the phases of this year’s Winter Solstice Total Lunar Eclipse. If you don’t feel like braving the elements, NASA is providing a live webcam at their site.


Another year is coming to a close. The frost on our windows tells me Winter is here to stay. We have had a cold December. One that finds pleasure in mimicking the sub-zero temps we usually see in January. And the snow! Almost three feet of it. Last weekend we were digging out. This weekend, back to the mundane chores of living. Chop wood, carry water. You can’t get away from it. Blue sky peeks over the oaks and ash. The woodpecker has flown from the feeder; a Lunar Eclipse is on the way.


2004 Lunar Eclipse Sequence, (c) 2004 Fred Espenak, courtesy Fred Espenak, Mr. Eclipse at http://www.mreclipse.com


-posted on red Ravine, Monday, December 20th, 2010 , partially based on a Sunday Writing Practice about Frost

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At The Labyrinth’s Center, BlackBerry Shots, Winter Solstice,
Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2009, photo © 2009
by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 
 
 
 

bright Winter Solstice
Our Lady of Guadalupe
burns at the center

 
 
 
 

Post Script: Last night we broke bread at a Winter Solstice celebration with friends. Bear made an appearance; we burned last year’s Yule Tree. At the end of the drumming, a Great Horned Owl called out from over the pond through the silence. Last night was the first time people walked the labyrinth our friends created in their front yard over this year’s Spring and Summer months. It was a beautiful Winter evening. In the days before Solstice, they shoveled snow from the path; the way through the cairns was clear. What we didn’t know until we arrived was that Our Lady of Guadalupe glowed at the center. I’ll write more about the creation of their labyrinth in future posts.

 

Winter Solstice Fire, Walking The Labyrinth Solstice Night, BlackBerry Shots, Winter Solstice, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 

-posted on red Ravine, Winter Solstice, Monday, December 21st, 2009. Happy Birthday Grandmama Della Elise. You walked through the circle with us last night.

-related to posts: Virgin Mary Sightings, Winter Solstice — Making Light Of The Dark, “K” Is For Kramarczuk’s, Runes, Oracles, & Alphabets, voyeur haiku, haiku 2 (one-a-day)

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“K” Is For Kramarczuk’s, BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2009, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


We stopped at Kramarczuk’s Deli last week to take a few photographs after Christmas shopping. Wasyl Kramarczuk and his wife Anna traveled from the Ukraine to the United States in the 1940′s carrying hope and a dream. In 1954, they combined Wasyl’s sausage making skills with Anna’s delicious cooking and baking to create Kramarczuk’s. Today it’s a Northeast Minneapolis landmark (read more at the Kramarczuk’s website).

Northeast Minneapolis is one area of the city that still cherishes the neighborhood deli. After moving to Minnesota in 1984, I settled in Nordeast where I quickly got to know Kramarczuk’s Deli. In fact, for 20 years I got my hair cut in the vintage East Gate Shopping Center nearby that was torn down a few years ago to make way for a grocery store and high-rise.

What’s your favorite deli food? Check out Kramarczukl’s mouthwatering menu. I’ve had the Polish Sausage, the SauerKraut Dish, and the Ukrainian Meatballs. I love the Varenyky dumplings and the Borscht. It is hearty, stick-to-your-ribs food, perfect for the -0 degree December weather we’ve been having in the Twin Cities. Liz and I were drawn to photograph the mural on the side of the building at night. The letters in the side-by-side alphabets reminded me of our recent post on Runes, Oracles, & Alphabets.

And the Runes remind me of the Holidays and Solstice. Today we’ll be putting up our tree. On Sunday, we’ll be celebrating Winter Solstice at the home of our friends. I’m excited because they recently created a labyrinth in their front yard. Walking from Winter darkness to the green of Spring. What do you want to let go of? What would you like to carry into the light.



Kramarczuk’s – Since 1954, Kramarczuk’s Sausage Co. Inc., Kramarczuk’s Walldog Mural, Northeast – Making History Again, East European Deli – Old Kramarczuk’s Sign, Writing On The Wall, Kramarczuk’s At Christmas, BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2009, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, December 19th, 2009

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RUNES, BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2009, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Yesterday we went to a book signing at Common Good Books. Jeff Hertzberg and Zöe Francois recently released their second book Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The bread was delicious, the authors serious about their work, down-to-earth, engaging and fun. In casual conversation, it came out that Zöe knows Latin. I remembered that I had taken two years of Latin in junior high, a curriculum requirement in the 1960′s. That got me to thinking about language and alphabets.

After the signing, Liz and I did a little Christmas shopping and later went to the studio. I was looking at this set of Runes I made from clay a number of years ago. For a period of time in my life, I consulted with different oracles on a daily basis: the I Ching, the Runes, Tarot, Medicine Cards. I have a passion for learning about symbols in different systems of mysticism.

Symbols are used to create structure within a system, to help us understand complicated ideas with a simple visual. Over time, color has been organized into systems like Goethe’s Triangle and subsequent Colour Wheel, while chakras are symbolized by certain colors. Logos and brands (like red Ravine or ybonesy’s new logo) take their lead from symbols of yore. Graphic designers are always trying to create  innovative new fonts with which to drape old symbols in more imaginative cloaks. (Yet people still like an old standby because Helvetica remains one of the most widely used fonts around.)

I couldn’t find my Runes book last night or I would have drawn the Runes. But I did find an odd book I’d snapped up at a sale, an old Readers Digest Book of Facts. According to the Languages section of the book, all the alphabets around the world can be traced to a North Semitic alphabet that emerged around 1700 B.C. at the eastern end of the Mediterranean. From the Semitic alphabet developed Hebrew, Arabic, and Phoenician. Then Phoenician alphabet was adopted and adapted by the Greeks who in 1000 B.C. introduced a modified form into Europe.

The Greeks standardized the reading of written lines from left to right, added symbols for vowels, and gave rise to the Roman alphabet (used for modern Western languages) and the Cyrillic alphabet (named after Saint Cyril and used in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union). The North Semitic alphabet spawned the Aramaic alphabet which eventually developed into Asian alphabets, such as Hindi.

The earliest forms of writing are picture writings found on clay tablets in parts of the Middle East and southeastern Europe. Some of the oldest found in Iraq and Iran recorded land sales and business deals.

Where do the Runes fit into all this? They are a mystery. The Runic alphabet is one of the oldest in northern Europe with early examples dating to the 3rd century A.D. They have been found in 4000 inscriptions in Britain, Scandinavia, and Iceland but nobody knows for sure where they originated.

For some reason, the Runes remind me of the ancient celebration of Winter Solstice. Some scholars believe the Runes were derived from the Etruscan alphabet of southern Europe and brought north by the Goths after their invasion of the Roman Empire. To me, they are an oracle of mystery. And that’s what draws me to them.


Post Script: The bread baked by Jeff Hertzberg and Zöe Francois was delicious. Their new book Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day looks like a winner with many whole wheat and gluten-free recipes. There’s a recipe for their whole wheat Christmas Stollen Bread in the post of their video interview at KARE 11. Or you can visit their website Artisan Bread In Five with fabulous photographs of mouthwatering baked goods. You will come away hungry for more!


-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, December 13th, 2009

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Bear At Sunset, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Winter Solstice, December 21st 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Got Your Back, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Winter Solstice, December 21st 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Circling, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Winter Solstice, December 21st 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Burning The Yule, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Winter Solstice, December 21st 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Fire & Snow, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Winter Solstice, December 21st 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Shadow Fire, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Winter Solstice, December 21st 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.






Bear circles Yule fire
drumming sunrise to sunset
gift of tobacco



cool blue snow cave hides
monks of the animal world
heartbeat disappears



long sleep of Winter
cubs born in hibernation
lean fat of the land



Winter Solstice past
contemplative Void lingers
the promise of Spring






American Spirit, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Winter Solstice, December 21st 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Bear Meat In Ritual, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Winter Solstice, December 21st 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Cool Drums, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Winter Solstice, December 21st 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Cool Drums, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Winter Solstice, December 21st 2008, all photos © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Promise Of Spring

New Year’s Eve approaches. Black-eyed peas are soaking in a pot on the stove, awaiting the bone of ham. Taking a much needed rest, I’m reminded of the hibernation of Bear. We learned on a wind chilled, -18 degree Winter Solstice that bear cubs are born during hibernation in the black cold of January.

After the Winter cave of silent dreams, we move into 2009 with the promise of rebirth — Spring.



The Bear Facts

To learn more about the winter habits of Bears and other hibernating animals such as squirrels, groundhogs, chipmunks, bats, rattlesnakes, and hedgehogs, visit these links:


-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, December 30th, 2008, with gratitude to my friends Carol, Susan, and Gail

-related to post:  haiku (one-a-day)

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Splash Fire, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Splash Fire (Dreamscape), Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Winter Solstice is peaking in the Great White North. The darkness of winter reflects off the cold blue snow. Yesterday we had blizzard conditions and the cottage sits behind a wall of white. I wanted to get up and write in the shadows, calling upon dreams I wish to bring into the light.

Mr. StripeyPants sits beside me on the couch, trying to keep warm. Kiev and Liz are still asleep. Chaco, bless his heart, is spending the weekend in an animal hospital. He declined quickly this week and, after two visits to our vet, we had to make the hard decision to put him in emergency care over the weekend.

The doctor called last night to say he is steadily improving. At 12 years old, he is experiencing the beginnings of kidney failure. We are not sure how long we’ll have with him. Quite a few tears were shed this week. Into the fire it all goes. I can release the grief and pain. I don’t have to carry the burden.

Winter Solstice in Minnesota hit her highpoint around 6 a.m CST. From that moment on, each day takes us more into the light. The Universal Time for Winter Solstice in 2008 is 12 21 12:03:34 UT. In the Midwest, we have to subtract 6 hours to arrive at the accurate time zone. (To learn more about Solstices and how to translate time for your part of the world visit the links and comments in Solstice Fire In Winter or Winter Solstice — Making Light Of The Dark.)

Around Noon we will head over to our friends’ home for a Winter Solstice celebration. They usually use the dried and cut Yule tree from last year’s season as kindling to start the fire. On the longest night of the year, we’ll draw on the cave-like energy of Bear, Spirit Guardian of the North.



Bear is feminine reflective energy. She is known across many cultures as a symbol for divinity and healing, and a powerful totem. According to the Animal Spirits cards, illustrated by Susan Seddon Boulet, the Ainu people of the northern islands of Japan believed the Bear was a mountain god. In India, bears are believed to prevent disease and the cave symbolizes the cave of  Brahma. And among the Finno-Ugric peoples, the bear was the god of heaven.

Many Native American peoples regard Bear as a Spirit helper. Here is an excerpt from the Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson:


The strength of Bear medicine is the power of introspection. It lies in the West on the great Medicine Wheel of Life. Bear seeks honey, or the sweetness of truth, within the hollow of an old tree. In the winter, when the Ice Queen reigns and the face of death is upon the Earth, Bear enters the womb-cave to hibernate, to digest the year’s experience. It is said that our goals reside in the West also. To accomplish the goals and dreams that we carry, the art of introspection is necessary.

To become like Bear and enter the safety of the womb-like cave, we must attune ourselves to the energies of the Eternal Mother, and receive nourishment from the placenta of the Great Void. The Great Void is the place where all solutions and answers live in harmony with the questions that fill our realities. If we choose to believe that there are many questions to life, we must also believe that the answers to these questions reside within us. Each and every being has the capacity to quiet the mind, enter the silence, and know.

     -from the Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams & David Carson

 

Bear is the West, the intuitive side, the right brain. Bear invites us to calm the chatter and enter the silence. To hibernate, Bear travels to the Cave, seeks answers while dreaming, and is reborn in the Spring. In the Dream World, our Ancestors sit in council and advise us about alternative pathways leading to our goals. They open doors to inner-knowing where “the death of the illusion of physical reality overlays the expansiveness of Eternity.”

My Grandmother Elise’s birthday is on Winter Solstice. And I often think of her this time of year and call her Spirit into the Circle; I can feel her looking down on us. Solstice is a time of release, a time to consider what to leave behind in the dark, what seeds we wish to plant that may mature with the light of Spring.


Happy Winter Solstice to all. The dark New Moon signifies the beginning of a new cycle that will come to fruition at the next Full Moon. May you celebrate with open hearts. Merry meet, Merry part, and Merry meet again.




     Bear Breathing Fire, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.    Bear Breathing Fire, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Bear Breathing Fire, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



-posted on red Ravine, Winter Solstice, Sunday, December 21st, 2008

-related to posts: 8 Minutes, and 10 Things I Learned Last Weekend (Solstice x Number)

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Venus In Red, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December  2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Venus In Red, Minneapolis, Minnesota, shot December 1st, 2008 with a point-and-shoot Canon, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 
 
 

On December 1st, the Moon aligned in a triad with the elusive beauty of Venus and the expansiveness of Jupiter. Born in the sign of Cancer, the Moon is my ruling planet. I was alerted that morning by my sister-in-law and brother in Pennsylvania. By the time night rolled around, the frigid winter sky offered a clear, firsthand view from my deck in Minnesota.

My sister-in-law also provided a link to an article in the comments on Frost Moon (Faux November) which gives an excellent synopsis of a night spectacle which will not be seen again until 2052. Here are a few more tidbits from Look to Sky for Spectacular Sight Monday by Joe Rao of Space.com:

 
 

  • the Moon was 15% illuminated in close proximity to the two brightest planets in our sky, Venus and Jupiter
  • Jupiter in this photograph is just above Venus and moving in the opposite direction. By the end of December, Jupiter will meet up with the planet Mercury, but will be descending deep into the glow of sunset.
  • Earth shines between 45 and 100 times more brightly than the Moon
  • the Moon is approximately 251,400 miles from Earth
  • Venus is nearly 371 times farther away than the Moon, 93.2 million miles from Earth
  • Jupiter is almost 2,150 times farther away than the Moon, 540.3 million miles from Earth
  • With the naked eye you could see the full globe of the Moon, with the darkened portion glowing bluish-gray between a sunlit crescent and not much darker sky. The vision is sometimes called “the Old Moon in the Young Moon’s arms.” Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was the first to recognize it as what we now call Earthshine.
  • Earthshine is sunlight which is reflected off Earth to the moon and then reflected back to Earth



Dancing On The Head Of A Pin, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December  2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Front & Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December  2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

The Moon Courts Venus & Jupiter, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December  2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Midrange, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Cradle, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



In addition to the December triangulation of the Moon, Venus, and Jupiter, last Friday, December 12th (12th month, 12th day, and the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe) was the Full December Cold Moon. It was the 13th Moon since Winter Solstice 2007 and a Blue Moon by the traditional definition. I had dinner with a friend and the night was again crystal clear for the Cold Moon with glowing rings illuminating nearby clouds.

There is a great article on the Blue Moon by Cayelin K Castell at Celestial Timings called Understanding the Blue Moon (with dates to 2040). In the article, she explains that although popular culture’s definition of Blue Moon is two full moons in a one-month period, Sky and Telescope Magazine states the original meaning of the Blue Moon is when there are four Full Moons in one season, creating 13 Full Moons from December Solstice to December Solstice.

It’s a rare event that only happens every two and half to three years. The New Moon Winter Solstice is this weekend. Bear awaits in the darkness.


-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

-related to posts: winter haiku trilogy, PRACTICE – Wolf Moon – 10min

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Solstice Fire In Winter, outside at the Winter Solstice celebration with friends, December 22nd, 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Solstice Fire In Winter, December 22, 2007, Winter Solstice in Minnesota, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


We celebrated with friends outside by the pond. It was frosty cold, hovering around 5 degrees. Frozen hands. Sparks fly. A light wind blew from the West. The brilliant sunset was undone only by a circle wreath of blazing fire.

We called in the ancestors, the grandmothers and fathers. We drummed and rattled and slipped paper and wood into the fire – the things we no longer wanted to carry.

Death of the old, let us bring into the light what is new.

Sunday morning it is snowy gray. Though we are socked in by a blizzard, darkness moves into light. Blowing snow howls from the North. But I face West.

I let go of whatever blocks me. I let go of fear. We let go in community. The circle is unbroken.


-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

-related to post, Winter Solstice – Making Light Of The Dark

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Winter Solstice, cropped linocut © 1991 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Midnight is Winter Solstice. I sit in the coming darkness alone, watching the sky. Snow melted and dripped off the roof. Puddles formed in the driveway. A storm will skirt the Twin Cities by morning. I am hoping for a wallop of snow. The more the merrier, a frosty covering for our friends’ pond at the Solstice celebration tomorrow night. There will be a Yule fire. And good friends. And food fit for a Queen.

A few weeks ago, Mom sent me a scan of this old Christmas card. It was after I made a comment on one of ybonesy’s pieces about the process of creating linocuts. I had no idea she had saved it, tucked away in a memory drawer.

There were two Christmases when I wrote long Holiday letters slipped into parchment envelopes with round string clamps; printed snapshots of a plank porch grin somewhere in the Bitterroots of Montana; hand made linocuts with a rectangle of 1/2 inch glass, cattail paper, printers ink, and a baren. Paint was smeared from faucet to jeans. I love getting art-messy.

I look at ybonesy’s detailed linocuts and wonder if people understand how labor intensive the process is. Measuring. Cutting the paper with a straight-line metal ruler. Inking the roller, the clean up, mess, drying period. But it’s all worth it. I want to go on record with that right now.

I’ve been looking at studio spaces again. I need a space to create. And write. I do love being at home. But there is something about getting out of the house that jolts the memory, burns the synapses, jumpstarts the body. And there is the element of community, a vital ingredient. You can’t create in a vacuum. No one can do that for long without losing some semblance of sanity.

I celebrate Winter Solstice this time every year. Honoring the darkness that sits sheltering and cavelike over the Northern climates of this country. It’s Bear energy. Hibernation. West. Introspection. Going into the cave pregnant with potential. Shooting out of the birth canal full of promise. Refilling the well. To create, I have to replenish the coffers. Hold a little bit back for me. Fire in the belly.

Liz will be home from work soon. And we’ll finish our baking. She made the double chocolate walnut fudge last night while I took care of some business items. And tonight, at the end of the darkest, shortest day of the year, we’ll razzle up the cherry oatmeal cookies, the maple glazed walnuts and pecans, and Mom’s family recipe for Southern Rocks. I wrote in a practice the other day, “When Liz bakes, the whole house smells like a Holiday.”

That’s what I want. For the whole house to smell like a Holiday. Scent is powerful. The succulent history of the senses. Connect smell to story. I could tell you a few tales.

One is of Santa, Old Saint Nick. And the other of the birth of a Saint. Don’t forget the celebration of seasons. Winter is delightful. Soulful. Quiet as snow. Dark as molasses.

But you have to make light of the dark. Go inside and write. Visit with the people you care the most about in the world. If that’s not possible, if you are alone, make arrangements to do community service. Give to others. It comes back a million.

Light up the world with blinking strings of dazzle, twittering tinsel, a Pooh tree topper. Of course, I believe in Santa Claus. Are you nuts? That bright red suit can light up these dreary gray Midwestern skies anytime now. I’m ready for Light.

And starting tomorrow, minute by minute, second by second, Spring is on the way.


-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, December 22st, 2007, exactly 12:08 a.m. CST, Winter Solstice in the North

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