Musings on Cross Quarter Day, the halfway point that occurs in every season, when we take the sacred turn from the promise of the season’s beginning toward fulfillment at its end.
The first birdsong is to the day what the first wheat harvest is to the year ~ a herald of the coming light. But while the birdsong heralds the outer light of the Sun, the first wheat harvest heralds the dawn of the inner light, known as “conscience.” For at this point in the cycle of the year, we can become aware that we are now beginning to reap what we have sown.
The ceremony of the dawning inner light is undertaken at Cross Quarter, August 1st, known as Lammas or loaf mass, which stands opposite the Winter Cross Quarter in February, known variously as Brigit’s Day, Ground Hog’s Day, and Candlemas. Whereas the Cross Quarter Days of Spring and Autumn (May Day and All Saint’s Day), have to do with the forces of life (fertility in the physical world and fecundity in the spiritual world), Candlemas and Lammas have to do with light: the outer light of the physical Sun that illuminates our days; and the inner light we have cultivated through our striving to live in harmony with the greater rhythms of the cosmos.
As the outer light wanes, the inner light is stirred to life, especially as witnessed in the meteor showers of the season, which become much more active now, beginning quietly in the northern hemisphere with the Delta Aquariids (peak July 29-30), then trumpeting through the night with the Perseids (peak August 11-12) followed by the Orionids in October, the Taurids and Leonids in November, the Geminids in December, and culminating with the Ursids at Winter Solstice. Aquarius hints at the human being standing upright with the forces of conscience, while Perseus is the hero of the human spirit that slays the ocean beast and frees the divine feminine (the human soul) to its happily ever after. The giant Orion marches into the season just ahead of the bull and the lion, which latter are linked through mystery wisdom with the Celtic god Hu (bull), the evangelist Luke (bull), and the evangelist Mark (lion). Gemini represents the twins, which can be associated with the double in the human being, which is overcome when the human being strives toward the higher nature, spreading one’s inner light into the dark of space and time at the Winter Solstice, when the meteor shower of the great bears rains down.
A ceremony of this time of the traditional first wheat harvest in August can be as simple as breaking bread together with loved ones, or baking the bread, ideally from wheat harvested locally and grown at the same angle of sunlight under which you have unfolded your days in this season. You could also take rose blossoms and place them on a cross of sticks or branches ~ each rose signifying what you are offering to the harvest, and the cross signifying the cross quarter cycle of the year. This rosey cross could be used as sacred seasonal display, or burned over a flame and rendered to ash, which symbolizes the transformation of the forces of destiny by the greater flame, our Sun.
You can hear about Spica, the star of abundance that heralds the Summer Cross Quarter on this week’s podcast at The Storyteller’s Night Sky
Cross Quarter Day Cruise along the Straits of Mackinac Saturday, August 1st, information here
Eve of Full Moon Cruise Sunday, August 2nd
The Tales of Perseus by the Light of the Lavender Moon at Lavender Hill Farm Monday, August 10th. Information here.
My two Perseid Meteor Shower Cruises are sold out, but you can join me online for more mysteries of the stars in this season with my presentation for the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House on Saturday, August 22nd. Registration information is at this link.
A closing imagination on the outer light giving way to the inner light in this season:
Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.~John 12:24