Celestially Auspicious Occasions: Seasons, Cycles, & Celebrations: Seasons, Cycles, and Celebrations

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From ancient times to the present there have been special days that mark the passage of time, announce the arrival or retreat of the sun, moon, and stars, and signify holy days and holidays alike. Celestially Auspicious Occasions presents a fascinating cross-cultural exploration of the rites and rituals inspired by heavenly events, from Valentine's Day to the blue moon to connection between ancient Egyptian beliefs and Easter eggs. CHAPTER: INTRODUCTION.

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Overview

From ancient times to the present there have been special days that mark the passage of time, announce the arrival or retreat of the sun, moon, and stars, and signify holy days and holidays alike. Celestially Auspicious Occasions presents a fascinating cross-cultural exploration of the rites and rituals inspired by heavenly events, from Valentine's Day to the blue moon to connection between ancient Egyptian beliefs and Easter eggs. CHAPTER: INTRODUCTION.

Throughout human existence, people have plotted and marked the passing of time. The ability to correctly track the annual return of the cycles of nature gave the distinct advantage of being able to effectively plan and prepare for the future. Knowing with some certainty when the birds and herds migrated and when they could be expected back, when the fruits ripened and the grasses grew, when the nuts were ready for gathering, when the river rose and flooded, when the rains came, when it was likely to get cold again, simply meant survival.

From the earliest ice ages there are examples of crude calendrical reckonings, bone and stone renderings of the regularly occurring astronomical cycles: the phases of the moon, the ascendance and changing position of certain stars and constellations, as well as the daily and annual disappearance and reappearance of the sun. Incised, chipped, carved and painted, these symbols attest to the astute observation skills of our ancestors. .

The special days which announce the advance and retreat of the sun, moon and stars were not merely noted, they were celebrated — marked by ceremony as well as graven in stone. The recurrence of these Celestially Auspicious Occasions served as significant milestones with which people were able to measure the cycle of the seasons and the seasons of their lives. Ultimately, people kept track of time in order to live in tune with it. .

Living in attunement with the workings of the world means to consciously interact with it. To enjoy a visceral, sensual and spiritual engagement with it. To assume an active awareness of personal response-ability. For people who live in intimate association with the elements, who, indeed, identify themselves as integral partners with the forces of nature, celebration is a friendly act of faith. .

The continuous circling of the heavenly bodies is not taken for granted. Each dawn and each dusk, each rising and setting of the moon and stars, each cycle of the sun, the approach of each season, is met with reverence and awe. The planets are actively encouraged in their rounds by the practice of supplication, sacrifice, prayer, promise and thanksgiving. This ritual participation in the cosmic process both affirms and assures the continuation of the cyclical order of time.

Though few people in our crowded cacophonous urban world live anymore in such focused alignment with the earth, the holidays we celebrate are the living legacy of these oldest seasonal observances. In some cases, the days are still holy, the original intentions and primal power of the occasion still manifest. In most cases, however, the shell of the celebration has been maintained, while its soul has been modernized, sanitized, secularized and commercialized beyond recognition, their function forgotten. .

It is the indigenous peoples of the world, who, clinging tenaciously to the sanity and wisdom which they have inherited, persist in their perception of a passionate and participatory universe. A universe in which everything is intricately and inextricably interconnected. When Pueblo Indians run up the mountain at dawn on the Summer Solstice, they are not just greeting the Sun. They are, by their very participation, helping the sun to rise. Doing their small but important part. .

This sanctified collaboration with the cosmos creates a consciousness of a sacred reality which endures in many tribal communities throughout the world even today. During the course of the calendrical research for this book, I came to speak with Doris Leedercharge at the Lakota Sinte Glesko College on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. I told her that I was anxious to include as many Native American holy days as possible, and she replied, "According to our religion, every day is holy!" .

It is this transcendent recognition of the sacred, this transformation of vision, which allows the inherent, hidden divinity in all things to become apparent. We, alas, as a culture, have lost the ability, the facility, the talent for such crystal insight. It is our challenge as hectic, driven people to charge our common dailiness with that same transcendent clarity. Our reward is to see the ordinary as special and the special extraordinary.

It has been my great pleasure to gather and select some of the special days, holidays, holy days and Celestially Auspicious Occasions of many cultures and traditions. As numerous as they are, they represent but a small sampling of the richly diverse smorgasbord of ceremony celebrated around the globe. Their number is sufficient, however, to remind us that every day, somewhere, someone is celebrating something. That every day is most certainly holy.

And while it is this very diversity which makes our world such an endlessly interesting and deliciously exciting place, it is the underlining similarities, the strange and wonderful convergences of cross-cultural ritual practice, that point to the sameness of the human condition the world over. By celebrating these Celestially Auspicious Occasions we commit ourselves to that universal connection; we follow our own roots back to their common source, that primal spirit which connects us all at our cosmic center.TOC: PART I
Celestially Auspicious Occasions

The Great Round
The Winter Solstice
Midwinter
The Spring Equinox
Midspring
The Summer Solstice
Midsummer
The Autumn Equinox
Midfall
The Sun
The Moon
The Stars
Total Eclipse of the Sun
Lunar Eclipse

PART II
Telling Time

About Time
The Day
The Week
The Month
Once in a Blue Moon
Leap Year
The New Year
Birthdays AUTHORBIO: "Unofficial Commissioner of Public Spirit of NYC." - The New Yorker

"Part performance artist, part witch, part social director for planet earth." - Village Voice

Donna Henes is an internationally acclaimed spiritual teacher, popular speaker, and award-winning writer specializing in multi-cultural ritual celebrations of the cycles of the seasons and the seasons of our lives. Her joyful celebrations of celestial events have introduced ancient traditional rituals and contemporary ceremonies to millions of people in more than 100 cities for thirty-five years. She is the author of four books: the award-winning amazon.com best selling The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife, The Moon Watcher's Companion, Celestially Auspicious Occasions™: Seasons, Cycles, and Celebrations, and Dressing Our Wounds In Warm Clothes, as well as the CD, Reverence To Her: Mythology, the Matriarchy, & Me and the acclaimed quarterly journal, Always in Season: Living in Sync with the Cycles. She currently writes columns for The Huffington Post, Beliefnet and UPI Religion and Spirituality Forum, and publishes a monthly Ezine, The Queen's Chronicles. A respected ritual expert, she serves as a consultant for the television and film industry. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, USA Today, The Daily Beast, Martha Stewart Living, Japanese Vogue, Crain's New York Business, Variety, The Village Voice, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune and more than 200 radio programs, and national television in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. In addition to teaching and lecturing worldwide, Mama Donna, as she is affectionately called, maintains a ceremonial center, spirit shop, ritual practice, and spiritual consultancy where she works with individuals, groups, institutions, municipalities and corporations to create meaningful ceremonies for every imaginable occasion.

www.DonnaHenes.net END

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Humans have always observed the passage of time and the changes in the heavens. Moreover, we have marked these observations with customs, celebrations, and observances. In this delightful compilation, Henes, an artist, writer, lecturer, and author of the syndicated column, "Celestially Auspicious Occasions," provides a lively narrative on the solstices, the equinoxes, mid-seasonal celebrations, eclipses, birthdays, and leap year as well as days, months, weeks. Combining folklore, customs, and poetry, she covers many different cultures in this well-written, readable book. Recommended for public libraries, folklore collections, and where there is an interest in seasons and ceremonies.Gail Wood, SUNY Coll. of Technology Lib., Alfred, N.Y.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399522109
  • Publisher: Monarch Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/1996
  • Pages: 236
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

“Unofficial Commissioner of Public Spirit of NYC.” - The New Yorker

“Part performance artist, part witch, part social director for planet earth.” - Village Voice

Donna Henes is an internationally acclaimed spiritual teacher, popular speaker, and award-winning writer specializing in multi-cultural ritual celebrations of the cycles of the seasons and the seasons of our lives. Her joyful celebrations of celestial events have introduced ancient traditional rituals and contemporary ceremonies to millions of people in more than 100 cities for thirty-five years. She is the author of four books: the award-winning amazon.com best selling The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife, The Moon Watcher's Companion, Celestially Auspicious Occasions™: Seasons, Cycles, and Celebrations, and Dressing Our Wounds In Warm Clothes, as well as the CD, Reverence To Her: Mythology, the Matriarchy, & Me and the acclaimed quarterly journal, Always in Season: Living in Sync with the Cycles. She currently writes columns for The Huffington Post, Beliefnet and UPI Religion and Spirituality Forum, and publishes a monthly Ezine, The Queen's Chronicles. A respected ritual expert, she serves as a consultant for the television and film industry. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, USA Today, The Daily Beast, Martha Stewart Living, Japanese Vogue, Crain's New York Business, Variety, The Village Voice, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune and more than 200 radio programs, and national television in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. In addition to teaching and lecturing worldwide, Mama Donna, as she is affectionately called, maintains a ceremonial center, spirit shop, ritual practice, and spiritual consultancy where she works with individuals, groups, institutions, municipalities and corporations to create meaningful ceremonies for every imaginable occasion.

www.DonnaHenes.net

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

INTRODUCTION.

Throughout human existence, people have plotted and marked the passing of time. The ability to correctly track the annual return of the cycles of nature gave the distinct advantage of being able to effectively plan and prepare for the future. Knowing with some certainty when the birds and herds migrated and when they could be expected back, when the fruits ripened and the grasses grew, when the nuts were ready for gathering, when the river rose and flooded, when the rains came, when it was likely to get cold again, simply meant survival.

From the earliest ice ages there are examples of crude calendrical reckonings, bone and stone renderings of the regularly occurring astronomical cycles: the phases of the moon, the ascendance and changing position of certain stars and constellations, as well as the daily and annual disappearance and reappearance of the sun. Incised, chipped, carved and painted, these symbols attest to the astute observation skills of our ancestors. .

The special days which announce the advance and retreat of the sun, moon and stars were not merely noted, they were celebrated — marked by ceremony as well as graven in stone. The recurrence of these Celestially Auspicious Occasions served as significant milestones with which people were able to measure the cycle of the seasons and the seasons of their lives. Ultimately, people kept track of time in order to live in tune with it. .

Living in attunement with the workings of the world means to consciously interact with it. To enjoy a visceral, sensual and spiritual engagement with it. To assume an active awareness of personal response-ability. For people who live in intimate association with the elements, who, indeed, identify themselves as integral partners with the forces of nature, celebration is a friendly act of faith. .

The continuous circling of the heavenly bodies is not taken for granted. Each dawn and each dusk, each rising and setting of the moon and stars, each cycle of the sun, the approach of each season, is met with reverence and awe. The planets are actively encouraged in their rounds by the practice of supplication, sacrifice, prayer, promise and thanksgiving. This ritual participation in the cosmic process both affirms and assures the continuation of the cyclical order of time.

Though few people in our crowded cacophonous urban world live anymore in such focused alignment with the earth, the holidays we celebrate are the living legacy of these oldest seasonal observances. In some cases, the days are still holy, the original intentions and primal power of the occasion still manifest. In most cases, however, the shell of the celebration has been maintained, while its soul has been modernized, sanitized, secularized and commercialized beyond recognition, their function forgotten. .

It is the indigenous peoples of the world, who, clinging tenaciously to the sanity and wisdom which they have inherited, persist in their perception of a passionate and participatory universe. A universe in which everything is intricately and inextricably interconnected. When Pueblo Indians run up the mountain at dawn on the Summer Solstice, they are not just greeting the Sun. They are, by their very participation, helping the sun to rise. Doing their small but important part. .

This sanctified collaboration with the cosmos creates a consciousness of a sacred reality which endures in many tribal communities throughout the world even today. During the course of the calendrical research for this book, I came to speak with Doris Leedercharge at the Lakota Sinte Glesko College on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. I told her that I was anxious to include as many Native American holy days as possible, and she replied, "According to our religion, every day is holy!" .

It is this transcendent recognition of the sacred, this transformation of vision, which allows the inherent, hidden divinity in all things to become apparent. We, alas, as a culture, have lost the ability, the facility, the talent for such crystal insight. It is our challenge as hectic, driven people to charge our common dailiness with that same transcendent clarity. Our reward is to see the ordinary as special and the special extraordinary.

It has been my great pleasure to gather and select some of the special days, holidays, holy days and Celestially Auspicious Occasions of many cultures and traditions. As numerous as they are, they represent but a small sampling of the richly diverse smorgasbord of ceremony celebrated around the globe. Their number is sufficient, however, to remind us that every day, somewhere, someone is celebrating something. That every day is most certainly holy.

And while it is this very diversity which makes our world such an endlessly interesting and deliciously exciting place, it is the underlining similarities, the strange and wonderful convergences of cross-cultural ritual practice, that point to the sameness of the human condition the world over. By celebrating these Celestially Auspicious Occasions we commit ourselves to that universal connection; we follow our own roots back to their common source, that primal spirit which connects us all at our cosmic center.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

PART I Celestially Auspicious Occasions

The Great Round The Winter Solstice Midwinter The Spring Equinox Midspring The Summer Solstice Midsummer The Autumn Equinox Midfall The Sun The Moon The Stars Total Eclipse of the Sun Lunar Eclipse

PART II Telling Time

About Time The Day The Week The Month Once in a Blue Moon Leap Year The New Year Birthdays

Read More Show Less

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