Monday, October 3, 2011

Cycles

I'm someone who's always for as long as I can remember been attuned to natural cycles. I have very strong pattern recognition skills, and the strongest patterns I see around me are those occurring in nature: diurnal cycles, seasonal cycles, celestial cycles, circadian cycles.

And I'm particularly observant of the transition points from one cycle to another. Such as the meeting of day and night, night and day, also known as dusk and dawn, the setting and rising of the sun, the setting and rising of the moon and the stars, and the changes from one season to the next. I've always felt those times to be magical, having a special quality in the air that is only present at those times. I didn't have to read about these things to pay attention to them, to value them, it is something that has always intuitively come natural to me.

I've always tried to make an attempt to be outside during those times, to be present, watching, listening, soaking it in, acknowledging the change. I don't always succeed, but whenever I do I walk away feeling blessed by something special, a certain intangible quality, like a subtle inspiration that bathes over my whole being. I walk away feeling inspired, revitalized, in awe of a mystery. Perhaps this too is key to longevity. Making the time to greet the day and the night, to bear witness to the passing of the torch, the points of transition between seasonal and celestial change, and being thankful for its continuity.

Why do people not notice these things? Perhaps because they do not like their surroundings. Maybe they live in an ugly place, where the objects of man distract from the objects of nature, where it is unpleasant to be outside. Where the streets are loud, and the buildings are oppressively large, and people are physically too close together and mentally too far apart. Where there is a feeling of separation and animosity and alienation and apprehension, and the consequential feelings of frustration and boredom. Or maybe the objects of man are architectural wonders, objects d'art, that keep us enthralled, and distracted from nature's own magical moments of artistic wonder. Or maybe you are just really busy, and would rather be inside doing whatever it is you do, paying little attention to nature's holidays, these special moments during the day and night and on certain days of the year that mark changes in the landscape, that whether we notice them or not, subtly effect the quality of our lives, the quality of our moods and frames of mind.

If you've been reading for awhile you've probably noticed that I label each post according to whatever astrological sign it was in during the time it was written. This is an experiment of mine, to see if I notice patterns in my blog posts, to see if I write about certain topics more frequently during different signs. For instance, do all the posts written in Libra share something in common, that sets them apart from other months? Libra is a sign that begins in late September and occupies most of October, pretty much from September 23 to October 23. It's a sign that is closely aligned with the advent of Autumn. Virgo is the end of summer, and Libra is the beginning of fall.

There probably are noticeable changes in my posts at this time, primarily due to the cooler weather, which is especially apparent here in Arizona, where summer lasts much longer than other places, and we are just now finally reaching the end of a long cycle of approximately six months of temperatures in the hundreds. The hot weather puts me to sleep. I become lazier, not just physically but mentally, and I usually complain about the heat and how much I dislike Arizona. I do like warm weather, but when it is in the hundreds it pretty much puts a break on all outdoor physical activity. It is simply not safe to move around much in that kind of heat. You pretty much have to stay indoors for most of the time, or stay in the shade and not move around much. Six months is a long stretch of time to be indoors, especially for someone who is very physically active and who loves the outdoors, and who doesn't drive and must ride a bike or walk for my primary form of transportation. Which means I have to go outside when it is extremely uncomfortable to be outside and is actually dangerous to be outside. Fortunately that cycle is ending, and we are slowly entering a cool down.

The cooler air that correlates with the onset of Libra, is characterized by a more logical influence, my thinking becomes clearer, I'm less likely to complain about things, my sense of humor returns, and I have more of a propensity to post more frequently, to post more pictures, especially fine art, and more likely to explore themes concerning mythology and symbolism, and topics that require a deeper level of concentration and awareness. The writing seems to come more easily too, because it is easier to concentrate when I do not feel like my body is in a vise, and like I'm slowly suffocating to death as I'm being baked alive in this desert oven. That is my experience of six months of 100 degree temperatures. Despite my proclivity for exaggeration and melodrama, the comparison to hell is really not all that far fetched.

I would say that each astrological sign is a reflection of the seasonal changes present at different times of the year, changes that alter not just temperature, but also the qualities of moisture and light. Cool, Warm, Moist, Dry, Light, Dark. There are distinct patterns that are present in each month. The essence of Libra is the essence of October, and the essence of October is most noticeably shaped by the weather patterns, by the unique seasonal changes occurring at this time. But you could say, why not just label each post by its month...September, October, November, etc.? Well the beauty of the astrological signs is that they each contain the transitions between months, they each overlap months, containing the seeds of their opposite, the cusps between one month and the next. So that Libra begins in September and ends in October, and Scorpio begins in October and ends in November. It makes it kind of interesting, I think.

Anyway, the astrological signs mirror the changes of the seasons, embody the qualities of a particular time of the season, which may be warmer or cooler, wetter or dryer, or darker or lighter. The weather effects our mood. But of the course, the weather varies from place to place. A desert Libra will differ from a tropical Libra. A northern Libra will differ from a southern Libra. But the changes will be more similar than different for those living in the same hemisphere. For instance, although the Arizona desert is still warmer in Libra than it is in Wisconsin, there is still a noticeable cool down at this time effecting both places, which gives it its unique Libra "vibe".

If you get nothing else from this post, get this: Pay attention to nature's cycles. Be present to the transition from one natural cycle to the next, between day and night and night and day, sunrise and sunset, moon rise and moon set, star rise and star set, the changes between one month and one season and the next. And just to make it more interesting how about paying attention to the transition between zodiac signs, between Virgo and Libra, Libra and Scorpio, etc., or how about Chinese astrology, commemorating the twelve year intervals between the year of the snake, the year of the dragon, etc. If you don't like astrology, don't worry about it, but do pay attention to the natural cycles around you, and within you, that influence the rhythms of your life.

These are special times. I can feel it. They have special lessons to impart. I've been studying them all my life. They are lessons of transformation, wordless teachings that get etched into the tapestry of our experience as a sort of unspoken wisdom. I don't know why or how, but there is magic during these times of transition. They are good times to meditate with your eyes wide open, or to simply be outside, being mindful of the experience of being outside and aware of the natural landscape and aware of the subtle changes of light and moisture and heat that are especially visible during these times.

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