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Living in Season Newsletter

Living in Season
The official newsletter of the School of the Seasons
Volume 2, Number 15
September 30, 2004


  • Welcome
  • My Season: Harvest Moon
  • October Calendar Up!
  • Warnings: Price Increases/Problem Link
  • Living in Season: By the Moon
  • In My Library: Books on Creativity
  • Holiday Packet: Halloween
  • Signs of the Season: Autumn
  • Autumn Correspondence Course
  • Copyright
  • Subscribe - Unsubscribe

Welcome to my periodical newsletter featuring ideas for bringing the beauty of the current season into your life. If you enjoy this newsletter, please forward 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:
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My Season: Harvest Moon
For the last few nights, the sky has been a deep blue far into the night, lit by the luminous Harvest Moon. It's certainly beautiful but I've found it makes it hard for me to sleep at night, a phenomena which has become more noticeable the older I get.

I celebrated the Harvest (Autumn Equinox) with my Artist's Way class, a group of six women who went through all twelve weeks of Julia Cameron's book with me during the summer. We each brought a creative potluck item and a creative project to share as a celebration of our time together, a satisfying harvest ritual I might continue in the future.

I hope your harvest was abundant.

October Calendar Up!
The October calendar is up. Check out the many interesting holidays featured.

Warnings: Price Increases & Problem Link
After many years without any changes, I've decided to raise prices slightly for all the items I sell through School of the Seasons. I have bad news and good news. The bad news is that I was wrong when I said the prices were going up by about a dollar; actually the price changes I worked out are in the range of $2 to $3. The good news is that I said the prices would change on October 1st but I haven't yet changed them on the site. If you order before October 11, you can still get all of the items at the old price.

On a more solemn note, a reader who ordered a Welsh Twirl from one of the wheat weaving websites I mentioned in my 7/31 newsletter did not receive the item she ordered or a response to the three emails she sent inquiring about it. She was able to cancel her purchase but wanted me to warn other readers about the site which is

I've taken it out of my links and posted a warning message in the archived version of the newsletter. If you did order from this site and were satisfied with the service, let me know.

Living in Season: Celebrating by the Moon
Thanks to the luminous presence of the full moon, I decided it was time to write about the cycle of the moon and how it relates to the seasonal holidays. Ancient people kept track of moon cycles long before they celebrated seasonal festivals. If you have ever been away from city lights on the night of a full moon, you know why. It's light enough outside to see the path or the road before you without a lantern or flashlight. It is a natural time to travel and gather with others for celebrations.

The light of the Harvest Moon, the full moon closest to Autumn Equinox, made it possible for the harvesters to work long into the night cutting down the grain; it also lent its wild energy to the post-Harvest feasting, carousing and frolicking. Z Budapest says of the Full Moon that it's good for three things: ceremonies, love-making and dancing.

Most religious holy days are geared to the lunar cycle rather than calendar dates. This was true for the Greeks and is still true for the Chinese, Islamic and Jewish calendars. In fact, only Roman, Japanese and Christian festivals fall on fixed dates (and Easter is still tied to the moon since it's celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox).

IN 46 BCE, the Romans adopted a fixed calendar (a concept first developed by the Egyptians) but they were adapting an earlier lunar calendar. The word for month comes from the same word as Moon and the months used to being with the new moon. The Kalends, Nones and Ides (which became fixed on the 1st, 7th and 15th of the month) originally corresponded with the New, First Quarter and Full moons. You can still see traces of the ancient Roman full moon festivals in holidays that fall on the 15th, like the frisky energy of Lupercalia (February 15) and the topsy-turvy chaos of Saturnalia (December 15).

The Jewish festival calendar is still based on the lunar cycle, and again the type of holiday is paired with the energy of the moon. So Rosh Hashana, the New Year, begins the day after the new moon of September, but Sukkoth, the joyous feast outside under the leafy roof of the sukkah (temporary shelter), takes place under the full moon. (For more on Sukkot, see last year's newsletter.)

The frisky festival of Purim takes place on a full moon but the lighting of the lights for Hanukkah takes place at the darkest time of the year, at the time of the new moon nearest the Winter Solstice.

Obviously, the lunar energy and the solar energy work together to influence the quality of the celebration. I've been tracking this for years in my articles on sun/moon patterns like the one for 2004. A full moon Halloween (like the one we will celebrate this year will probably be much more rowdy than last year's more somber Halloween close to the dark phase of the moon).

I also work with the lunar cycle in my personal life: it gives me a smaller cycle to work with than the grand cycle of the seasons and I use it for planning projects, everything from sending out a book proposal to cleaning the house. The time between the new moon and the full moon, when the moon is waxing, I begin new projects and prepare things to send out. After the full moon, I do the harvesting and composting work, filing away papers, updating names on the mailing list, going through my closets to find things to give away.

Budapest, Z,
Grandmother Moon: Lunar Magic in Our Lives, Harper San Francisco 1991
Waskow, Arthur,
Seasons of Our Joy: A Modern Guide to the Jewish Holidays, Beacon 1982
Sukkot links
Harvest Ritual from Herbal Rituals
I can't remember who recommended Judith Berger's book Herbal Rituals to me, but thank you, thank you! What a marvelous book, a book I wish I had written, except I don't have Berger's thorough knowledge of herbs.

This is a delightful book, organized by months, in which Berger writes beautifully about the changes of the natural world and particular herbs that evoke the themes of the season. There are recipes, rituals and other wonderful ideas for incorporating herbs into your life.

Berger suggests the following ritual for autumn equinox: Buy an organic fall squash, open it up and scoop out the seeds. Put the halves of the squash face down in a shallow pan, pour in about a quarter inch of water and bake in a 350 oven for about an hour. As the squash cooks, rinse the seeds and stir them with your fingers. Feel the place within you where the seeds of new life live. Pour off the pulp and slippery coating that once connected the seeds to the squash. When done, let them dry on a paper towel.

When the squash is done, drizzle butter and cinnamon and enjoy it. "Though its flesh has now become yours, its sweet potential lived in the seeds you have carefully preserved." After the seeds dry, peel them off the towel, put them in a pouch or envelope and keep them in a dark, warm place until spring. Berger suggests thinking about the seeds and their potential during the inward turning season, perhaps even taking them out and holding them in your hand, to remind yourself that the seeds of creativity and life live in you and will, in their time, emerge.

Berger, Judith, Herbal Rituals, St Martins Press 1998

In My Library: Books On Creativity
Perhaps it's the association of fall with school, but I always feel a renewed burst of energy at this time of the year, some of which is channeled into making/creating things. Here are some of my favorite books about creativity:

The Artist's Way
by Julia Cameron
Tarcher 1992
A classic. This workbook takes you through twelve weeks of exercises and even if you only do half of them (or the basic steps of writing morning pages and going on an Artist's date) your life will be transformed. I've watched many students and friends (including me) launch creative careers as a result of this book. It also opens up other avenues for experiencing joy.

Writing for Your Life by Deena Metzger
Harper San Francisco 1992
If I could recommend only one inspirational writing book, this would be it. Full of intimate and inspired essays and imaginative exercises focusing on creativity, story and the relationship of art to the spiritual world.

Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland
Image Continuum Press 1993
My new favorite: a small book that contains a huge message, about the challenges of the art-making process and the fears that hold us back. A book about having faith in the process.

Wild with a Glue Gun: Getting Together with Crafty Friends
by Kitty Harmon & Christine Stickler
North Light Books 2004
I took a workshop from Christine about book-making which was so inspirational that I went out and found her book which was even more delightful, if that's possible. She and Kitty both belong to groups of women who gather together to create. The book is fun to look at, fun to read and full of intriguing projects (including making books and shrines from mint tins) and great ideas for sponsoring your own artistic salons.

Creative Retreat with the Comfort Queen
Seems appropriate since I'm writing about creativity to feature once again this upcoming retreat from Jennifer Louden:

Where Your Great Passion Meets the World's Great Need
With Jennifer Louden and Camille Maurine
March 5 - 11, 2005
Laurel Springs Ranch, Santa Barbara, California

Feed your wellspring of gorgeous creativity, recharge your singular vitality, burnish (or discover for the first time) your blessed passion, and discover new ways to shine that passion out into the world with greater courage, ease and clarity. You will:

  • Articulate the next stage of your work or creative project
  • Mobilize your mojo and female power
  • Support your soul to sing out to new harmonies by learning and improvising with other passionate, creative, like-minded women
  • Be nurtured by natural beauty and organic food so you can nurture the
    world with your awesome gifts

Get the skinny and register at

Holiday Packet: Halloween
It's time to order your Halloween packet if you want to receive it in time for planning your celebration of Samhain, Halloween or Days of the Dead. This illustrated, 60 page portfolio includes:

  • A panoramic review of how Days of the Dead has been celebrated, including Guy Fawkes, I Morti, All Souls, Samhain & Martinmas
  • How this holiday evolved-a history of our alienation from the ancestors
  • The last of the autumnal transformation mysteries: making cider
  • Divinations for this particular crack between the worlds
  • Recipes for traditional foods like dead man's bones, sugar skulls, bread of the dead and soul cakes
  • Instructions for making skulls, masks and turnip lanterns
  • And much more.

$9 plus $2 shipping and handling. Please allow ten days for delivery.

An email version is also available for $8. It will be sent as an attached Word file within three days of receiving your order.

To order go to our Store!

Signs of Autumn
I love getting a glimpse of the season in so many different places. me the signs of autumn where you live and I will post them as well.

Autumn Correspondence Course
By the old British and Celtic reckoning of the seasons, Lammas is the start of Autumn but in the American calendar, Autumn begins at the Autumn Equinox.

The Autumn correspondence course is now available. (Of course, you can also order any season out of season, if you like). For a list of topics and the subjects covered, click here.

Copyright ©Waverly Fitzgerald 2004.
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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