GUEST BLOG: The Southern Hemisphere is on the Same Planet and it's Autumn!
by Glenys Livingstone
Earth is perfectly poised in balance for a Moment – it is a Moment of Equinox @ EarthGaia. The light and dark parts of the day in the South and in the North of our planet, are of equal length at this time. In the Southern Hemisphere it is Autumn –yes! … and - no matter where you are - we all know what season it is in the Northern Hemisphere: Spring. In the Christian calendar, which dominates the consumer faith of the globe, Easter is being celebrated - no matter where you are – in Spring or in Autumn. Who cares? It seems sometimes not even Pagans – especially Pagans in the North of the Planet. Most Pagans in Australia do now celebrate the Autumn Equinox by the name of Mabon when it is actually Autumn, though there are still some recalcitrant ones that stick to the Northern Hemisphere dates regardless of what their Land is doing (I find it hard to believe but it is so!). However, for most Pagans in the North of the Planet, it is yet to dawn on them that the opposite Season is happening at the same time, on the same Planet. And even for those from the North who do know, who have been here to the South (the South is here not just there), and felt it, they have gone home glad to re-adjust their brains to the familiar half-Planet they inhabit. Southern Hemisphere Pagans continue to receive their unseasonal greetings in emails, on lists where one would think the author knows they are talking to a global community - authors who expect Southern Hemisphere people to simply comply to their unseasonal writings, or sit in their unseasonal virtual classroom unaddressed. I find this particularly bewildering (en-wilding) coming from feminist Goddess women who have a history and understanding of being “othered”, who blithely continue it in this form, despite attempts to alert them to the reality of the other half-Planet.
EarthGaia has a Solstice Moment twice a year - yet She actually does Winter twice and Summer twice within that. And there is a symmetry in their significance Poetically – which is quite lovely and profound to contemplate. EarthGaia has Equinox Moments twice a year – yet Autumn and Spring twice each within that: and there is an awesome symmetry in the Poetic significance that us humans may make of its simultaneous occurrence. Our ancestors had commonly connected them … the Greater and the Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries being an example. The cross-quarter Moments have a special relationship as they occur co-incidentally in the different hemispheres, when one understands that the one is reflected in the other … present deep within – one aspect manifest in the light part of the cycle and the other aspect manifesting in the dark part of the cycle, a reflection in the mirror. Then, one is comprehending a Wholeness of being that is actually true of every moment – a connection enabled by the Gestalt of a spherical whole Planet.
This issue is one of my “things”. I grew up under Southern skies – the Southern Cross constellation of the night sky in my childhood eyes. I was a country girl in Australia … of European descent and heritage, and as I say in the Introduction to my book, PaGaian Cosmology:
Most of the texts and graphics explaining the Cosmos to an Australian and white child were (and still often are) drawn from the Northern Hemisphere perspective. The Moon’s phases were “backwards”; Sun’s daily movement from East to West was described as being “clockwise” (and it wasn’t); the seasons in the stories were always at odds with real experience. This was never regarded as important enough to mention, yet deep within me from the beginning there was scribed the cosmic essence of disregarding one’s senses.Northern Hemispheric practitioners of the Old European Earth-based religious tradition, are generally less aware of the significance of the site of seasonal ritual – where we are in the Cosmos, than those of the South of the Planet. Yet in the times of global transformation and consciousness that we are entering, such an awareness seems a very positive attribute. Whereas in the past, for me personally and others, the fact of the context being thus – Southern Hemispheric, was initially a confusion, contributing to a deep internalised sense of being “Other”. It is now a clarity about the actual Planet and Cosmic situation. The PaGaian reality is that the whole Creative Dynamic happens all the time, all at once. The “Other”, the opposite, is always present – underneath and within the Moment: the Seasonal Moment, or indeed any moment. Practice of celebrating the Seasonal Wheel in the Southern Hemisphere seems to contribute certain identifiable qualities to one’s frame of perspective and flexibility of mind: we even joke about it “down” here. There is an identifiable rigidity of mind that is the usual fare of a “Northern” mind.
Like any “underdog”, us Southern Hemispheric PaGaians (Pagans with global perspective) can tend to be a bit smug about our larger perspective, or sometimes quite irrational and emotional. But in all truth, we must realize that the colonisation of the South of the Planet is a very recent event in the history of Gaia – our minds and our religious rituals are still catching up.
© Glenys Livingstone 2008
Australian Glenys Livingstone is author of Pagaian Cosmology and holds a Ph.D. in Social Ecology from the University of Western Sydney, Australia. For more about her and her work, visit http://pagaian.org/ For a taste of the "anti-clockwork" experience, visit Glenys' YouTube offerings celebrating the light part and the dark part of Earth's annual orbit around the Sun. Glenys and her partner hold sacred space for the celebration of Earth’s holy-days with a small open community, according to their place on the planet.
TAGS: life Southern Hemisphere Pagan holidays Goddess spirituality geography Gaia consciousness