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Living in Season Newsletter

Living in Season
The official newsletter of the School of the Seasons
Volume 4, Number 2
March 3, 2006
Happy Lent

Contents

  • Welcome
  • My Season: Still in Slow Motion
  • Updated: March Calendar
  • Living in Season: Winds of Change
  • New Offerings: Spring Courses
  • What I'm Reading: Red Haired Girl from the Bog
  • Holiday Packet: Eostre/Easter
  • Calendar Companion: Leaves from the Tree of Time
  • Lent Links
  • Signs of Spring
  • Copyright
  • Subscribe - Unsubscribe

Welcome
Welcome to my semi-monthly newsletter featuring ideas for bringing the beauty of the current season into your life. Please forward this newsletter if you enjoy it. 

If a friend send you this newsletter, welcome! You can subscribe for free at my website: www.schooloftheseasons.com or by sending an email to:
livinginseason-subscribe@schooloftheseasons.com
We never rent, sell or give away subscriber information.

My Season: Still in Slow Motion
IIf it seems like a long time since you've heard from me, that's true. I've written this newsletter three times — let's hope that's the charm. It disappeared the other two times (a warning to the wise: Mercury is retrograde).
 
I discovered while searching for my missing versions that I always take a break from the newsletter in January or February — I just never remember this from year to year. Apparently it's hard for me to get started.
 
And I'm still having trouble integrating my part-time job into the rhythm of my life. I have tried many things including changing my schedule (including having no schedule) and changing my attitude (the most useful seems to be the attitude that I have plenty of time) but I still feel like I'm slightly off the beat, an uncomfortable sensation for a dancer.
 
That's one reason I haven't written to you. The other is that I don't want to offer what I can't deliver so I'm being cautious in planning out my offerings for spring, but I think I've finally settled on some exciting options (described below).
 
One of the bad side effects of my day job has been an increased amount of TV watching. Apparently I think I deserve to decompress from the stress of my job by watching TV. (It used to be that I worked all the time but since I was always doing work I loved, I didn't mind.)
 
Well that's all over for at least six weeks. I've given up TV for Lent. I was fortunate that Lent coincided with the end of the Winter Olympics so I was able to fully indulge myself watching the ice skating for the week before.
 
I'm already cranky about the idea of foregoing Gray's Anatomy, my favorite TV show, but I look forward to having more space in my life for something new to flower.
 
May the winds of change bring new energy into your life,
Waverly Fitzgerald
 
Updated: March Calendar
The March calendar is bursting with opportunities to celebrate including Liberalia, St. Patrick's Day, Norooz, Spring Equinox, Lady Day, Holi and Purim, plus White Day, a new holiday I just discovered that's celebrated in Japan (the counterpart of Valentine's Day). Check it out along with other March holidays here.

Living in Season: Winds of Change

Hither winds, come to us
Come oh winds come
Now the winds come to us
Lo the winds round us sweep
Safe now we are
By the winds safe.
          — Pawnee Chant

March is noted for its winds, as in the saying, "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb." Farmers welcomed the winds as they dried out the soggy fields, permitting planting to begin. Shelley personified the winds in this line from Dirge for the Year, "March with grief doth howl and rave." Perhaps this saying from Herbert also refers to the winds of March: "February makes a bridge and March breaks it."
 
March winds are as essential as April showers. Apparently the full rhyme goes: March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers. March winds were depicted as a cleansing force in spring in the book The Education of Little Tree. The young boy is told by his Cherokee grandfather that the winds break off old and brittle limbs from the trees to make room for fresh growth.
 
According to Martha Stewart in the March 1999 issue of Living, wind is one of the most useful weather predictors. In most areas of the country, south and east winds bring precipitation while north or west winds bring fair weather.
 
I’ve always loved the names associated with winds: mistrals, siroccos, the horse latitudes, the doldrums.  According to Bill Thoen, in the Middle Ages, the names of the winds were commonly known throughout the Mediterranean countries as tramontana (N), greco (NE), levante (E), siroco (SE), ostro (S), libeccio (SW), ponente (W) and maestro (NW).
 
When I was growing up in Southern California, our most famous wind was the Santa Ana. In the Northwest, it's the Chinook, a warm wind that flows down the eastern side of the mountains, onto the plains, bringing a taste of spring in the depths of winter. Bill Casselman in his book on Canadian Words, describes other aspects of the Chinook winds. The Chinook arch is a patch of bright blue sky high over the western mountains, which heralds the arrival of the winds. Chinook clouds appear to be rolling and spinning as they encounter uneven air currents as they tumble over the mountains. And anyone who gets restless after a few balmy days in winter is said to be suffering from Chinook fever.
 
Here are some suggestions from the Spring Correspondence Course for working with the energy of the winds during March:
 
What are the names for the winds in your area?
You might find some on this list from Golden Gate Weather Services.
If the winds don’t already have names, make up your own.
 
Purchase or make a wind sock, weather vane, whirligig or other device for keeping track of which way the winds blow.
Notice what sorts of weather they bring. Here are some simple instructions from the Gander Academy, suitable for fifth graders:

Making a Wind Vane
(the simplest — requires only a feather, a straw, a pencil with an eraser and a pin) 

Making a Weather Vane
(more complicated — you need wood and a post on which to post it)

Making a Wind Sock
(requires wire, a wire hanger, fabric and a wooden spool)

References:
Carter, Forrest, The Education of Little Tree, University of New Mexico Press 2001 (25th anniversary issue)
Casselman, Bill, Canadian Words
Thoen, Bill, "The Origins of the Compass Rose"

Cool Links
Found this comprehensive website on wassailing while writing an article for my Twelve Days class. It has history, music, recipes, pictures of wassailing bowls and music.

Spring in the School of the Seasons
Last year, for the first time I offered an online version of the Spring correspondence course. It was a great success. I revised the spring materials (which hadn't been updated for ten years) and was inspired by the feedback of my students. This year I'm able to offer three different ways to experience the Spring course.
 
Spring Interactive Online Course
In this eight week class, we'll explore a different topic every week. Homework assignments will include tasks that help you interact with the natural world where you live, create a personal vision for the year, find your magical name, enjoy a spring feast, create magical Easter eggs and celebrate May Day. You will personalize the course so that it works for you and report on your activities every week in a private list serve.
 
The cost is $120 for eight weeks. The course begins March 6 and ends April 30. To enjoy all the benefits of the course, you should be able to devote at least three hours a week to your studies, which includes reading the weekly lesson, carrying out an activity and posting to the list serve. Enrollment is limited to ten students. To enroll, click here.
 
Spring Online Course: Independent Study Version
You receive the same materials as the interactive course, one lesson a week for six weeks. Instead of participating in the list serve you will have a chance to interact with Waverly directly, through one email a week, reporting on your ideas and experiences. $120. Also limited to ten participants. To enroll, click here.
 
Spring Course Email Version
Since I am still formatting the revised course (from a plain text version to an illustrated Word document), the various topics will be delivered one week at a time, through April 30. $66. To order this option, click here.

Spring Course Print Version
The traditional print version of the Spring course is not available at this time since the materials are being revised. It will be possible to order it after April 30th or next spring.

What I'm Reading
Red-Haired Girl from the Bog: The Landscape of Celtic Myth and Spirit by Patricia Monaghan, New World Library 2003
 
I don't know why I waited so long to read this magnificent book since Patricia Monaghan is the author of some of my favorite goddess-oriented books: The Book of Goddesses and Heroines (which she is currently updating) and O Mother Sun! (a book about the many sun goddesses in the world. In this book she artfully weaves together stories of her experiences during years of visiting Ireland, with thorough discussions of Irish literature, history, folklore and mythology, as she makes a magical tour through the Irish landscape, county by county. In Connemara, the focus is on the fairy folk; in Kildare, on Brigit. But wherever she goes, the stories are engaging and the language is magical and lyrical.

Calendar Companion: Leaves from the Tree of Time
================================================
I'm happy to announce that I'm offering a second year of the Calendar Companion. This is a graceful way to incorporate spirit and seasons into your life. Use it along with your usual planning tools and calendar to help you:
* Slow time down
* Consult your soul while creating your schedule
* Make time for what's truly important in your life
* Move in rhythm with the seasons and the moon
 
Every week for 52 weeks you will receive a brief email with a reflection on the qualities of the present time period and one suggestion, task or question that you can savor throughout the week.
 
Start whenever you like. When you order the Calendar Companion, you will receive the next week's calendar companion, along with an introductory email.
 
Round Two: If you've already been receiving the Calendar Companion, please note that I will be writing new material as well as repeating some of your favorites from last year.
 
$20 for a year's worth of gentle reminders to help you stay aligned with natural rhythms. To order or to see a sample reflection, go to:
http://schooloftheseasons.com/store.html#leaves
 
Lent Links
==========
If you are thinking of aligning with the purifying/cleansing force of spring by participating in that centuries-old spring ritual of Lent, you will find inspiration in my article on pagan lent:
http://www.schooloftheseasons.com/lent.html
 
I also really liked this article published by Beliefnet featuring Father Thomas Keating explaining how Lent can help you clear away those habits and thoughts that block you from God (Source).
http://www.beliefnet.com/story/100/story_10017_1.html
 
Holiday Packet: Spring Equinox/Eostre
It's time to order the Eostre packet if you want to receive it in time to celebrate the joyous mid-spring feast also known as Norooz, St. Joseph's Day or Spring Equinox. (You have a little more time to prepare for Easter and Passover (also included) as they fall in April this year.) This illustrated portfolio contains 50 pages of ideas for celebrating including how to:

  • Make tansy pies, hot cross buns and other traditional Eostre foods
  • Decorate eggs the Ukrainian way, using symbol and ritual
  • Use food items and plants to create natural dyes
  • Play traditional games like cracking eggs, egg rolling and pace egging
  • And much more.

I've reproduced the pages on the sacred meaning of dyed eggs, and on my Ukrainian egg decorating ritual from the Eostre packet as free samples on the website. You can download them here.
 
The print version is $14; please allow 10 days for delivery. An email version is also available for $9. It will be sent to you as an attached Word file within 24 hours. Order in our Store.

Signs of Spring
In Seattle, the cherry trees are flushed with pink and the daffodils are blooming. The rain releases the sweet scent of soil ready to be planted. And I know where the daphne odora blooms — I love its fragrance — as sweet as jasmine, as intense as lily of the valley.

Nancy who lives in Tucson, Arizona reports on February 16:

I have six trees on my property, three of them evergreen and three of them deciduous. Of the three deciduous trees the two mulberries are the first to leaf every spring; the pecan tree sleeps a couple more months. Of the two mulberry trees, the easternmost one by the driveway leafs first and on that tree, it is the southernmost branch, the one growing down to touch the ground, which buds first. So yesterday as I was leaving for work, I glanced at this easternmost mulberry in the dawn light and noticed the southernmost branch was budding! So now I know that spring is on the way!

And Michelle sent news from New York on February 7:

Here in the Hudson River Valley Spring seems to be arriving early. While my dog Magick and I would normally be trudging through snow (up to my knees and his chin), we are instead running through the grass out at Vasser Farm while the red tails circle above. The Majestic Hudson River, normally choked with ice, is meandering along heavy and gray.  And the trees are a little confused: sporting buds we wouldn't normally see for another two months. And the birds are sure singing like it's Spring. Yes, it is unseasonably warm and people are actually running around some days in shorts and tee shirts but I have no doubt that the Hudson River Valley has one or two more good snow storms to dump on us before we see true signs of Spring.

Send me your news of spring and I will post it on my web site under Signs of the Season.

Copyright
Copyright ©Waverly Fitzgerald 2006
All rights reserved. You may reprint material from Living in Season in other electronic or print publications as long as you credit me and provide a link to: http://www.schooloftheseasons.com. Please send me a copy of the publication.

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