Sun Mountain Spring celebrates the sacred cycle. The cycles of the sun, seasons, moon, a place, an individual, a group or partnership, and a community are to be marked for their sacred significance, to align us with the powers of the cycle within and around us. Some points along a cycle may be best marked only by the individual, while others are best marked in community. All can be marked by an individual only, but we are social creatures and our cycles are often best lived when compassionately witnessed, when we are supported and when our passages are acknowledged and celebrated.
Seasonal and Solar Cycles
Sun Mountain Spring marks the four Fire Festivals of Samhain, Lá Fhéile Bríde (Imbolc), Bealtaine, and Lughnasadh as markers of the changing seasons around us and the earth upon which we live, particular to our location. While the Celts did not leave any evidence of celebrating the solstices and equinoxes, many Indo-Europeans did, and many neopagans today mark these as well. As such, we often mark the solar festivals of the solstices and equinoxes, uniting with global events via the interplay of sun and earth and celebrating the solar cycle.
We mark the cycling of the moon as we work with the more personal cycles of our lives and also to remind us of our alignment with all other life on earth and with her waters. The moon’s cycles are visible everywhere and are not dependent upon any geographical features or seasonal changes, though her effect upon the place you live and her expression through the seasons may vary widely. Look for the ways in which the moon’s cycling is unique for your location. How do you know the tides? The moon paths on the water? The dip of the moon’s horns upon the peak of a mountain at a particular time of year? Go moon gazing, and know that the moon on that day looks the same for all moon-gazers on earth, but for you is unique in your place, in your perception, in the way it rises and falls upon the land.
Individual and Community Cycles
The cycle of an individual, partnership, group or community is also sacred and should be marked. Many individuals within secular cultures live with a stark lack of meaningful ceremonies and rites of passage. The ones that do exist often leave one feeling that something more should have happened or that something was done horribly wrong. Some rites seem empty or we do them without fully understanding why we do them. We need more and we need many. These need not always be complex, but they do need to hold power. We need them not only for ourselves, but we need them with others, to bear witness to the cycles of others and to be witnessed and acknowledged in our changing forms. We all need:
- To celebrate a mother full with child, to align her with the strength of all the powerful ones from before;
- To welcome and support that new babe and mother diad and stand in a circle of support around them, ensuring they and their primary support systems are strong and have what they need;
- To recognize and mark the child who is ready now to enter the halls of academia as one whose mind, whose body and whose spirit is ready for it;
- To mark the transition of a young adult whose voice or womb has announced their change;
- To celebrate and mark the transition of the new adult in our midst with more than a high school graduation or driving license,
- To mark the undertaking of a new path in life, a college degree or certificate, a spiritual endeavor, a new hobby, a new approach to life, and then to mark the attainment of goals along the path;
- To mark the joining of couples, partners, and groups who will now, as they so chose, walk the journey together.
- To mark the endings, the deaths for all those left behind and for the spirit of what or who has died. We need these not only for literal bodily deaths, but for endings of partnerships and periods of our personal cycles that have ended.
Within, Around and Beyond
We are not apart from nature, but a part of nature. When we align ourselves and our personal rhythms with the rhythms around us, we can gain a sense of our connection within these cycles and our places in the world and universe. We can also use these cycles, and their stories, to gain insight into our own struggles, our strengths, our influence upon the world and know that there is a time to take action, a time to watch and listen, a time to be alone, a time to celebrate, a time to break free from the cycle, and times when the rhythms stop and we must act to right things. We can learn from the stories of sun, moon, stars, and earth what might be done when the light has gone from our life, when the dark ones have taken hold, when our heart’s blood is lost or nothing in life is good enough, how to find wonder, how to find hope, how to find gratitude, how to go on and bring the sun back into the sky, how to find your way with nothing more than a morsel of food and a bottle of water.
We can learn as we watch the dances of sun and moon upon our bodies and our landscapes. Not only can we learn the dances around us, but we can become dancers, expressing the rhythms and patterns from the worlds within us and around us and beyond us, knowing we touch and are touched in our bodies, our minds, and our spirits. We recognize that we too can be harmonies driving the rhythm and song, breath to raise the fire, that we are upheld by the sun, the moon, the stars, the seasons, the community, and the spirits, spiraling and cycling within us, upon us, around us and far beyond our comprehension. We will learn and we will change, without losing ourselves, seeing our struggles and our strengths clearly mirrored in the death of winter and the growth of summer, in the waxing and waning of the moon, in the brightening and darkening of day. We can see, that like these cycles, ours are also beautiful. We can view our dance, our trips and our falls, our leaps and our graceful spins, our darkness and our light and all in between as parts of the whole.
Art: Season Mosaic by Susan Warlock. Gaia Dancing by Jonathan Day