January 23rd, 2008

Constructing a Local Cosmology II: Local Cycles and Events

Last time we looked at how one might approach the aspects of time and annual cycles in the construction of local cosmology. I have been focusing on the underlying natural systems of the Helena Valley. However, the city of Helena is growing rapidly, as Helena has been "discovered" over the last ten years or so, much as has a lot of the rural West due to urban flight. When I was growing up, the population of Helena was about 23,000. The 2000 census figures put Helena's population at almost 26,000...but rapid growth in the valley, especially in the North Valley, put the population in 2000 at nearly 68,000. That was 8 years ago, and I believe the population is well over 70,000 and perhaps nearer 80,000, growth has been so rapid. This means that the urban aspects of Helena must be accounted for in any effective cosmology. This includes Helena's urban cycles as well. Helena and its local populace has several traditional local festivals and events that should be included. I was reminded of this by a post on the AODA list the other day by John Michael Greer, who stated that druidry was not only rural, but urban, and this is an issue that must be addressed:

Every Druid has a different Druidry, just as every environment -- urban
as well as any other -- has its own resources and possibilities to offer
the Druid. To my mind, in other words, there's no one answer to this
question. Some questions to get you started, though:

What are the natural cycles of the city where you live?
What living things thrive in your city?
What are the gods, spirits, and energies of your city?
How does your city relate to the elements of air, fire, water, and earth?
What might you invoke into your city, using the tools of Druid ritual?
What might you banish?


I will answer the first question here, to the best of my ability. Following is my initial run at the generalized natural (resources, meteorological, astronomical, etc.) and cultural cycles of Helena (secular events, local festivals, and Christian cycles -I am Catholic as well)...whew!

Fall: Sept.-Nov.

SEPTEMBER
Labor Day (noticeable end of the Helena cycle; end of outdoors living except for hunters)
School and football season starts (practical beginning of the Helena cycle)
Birth of the Virgin Mary
Grandparents Day
Our Lady of Sorrows
Fall Equinox/Alban Elued
Archangels Day/Michaelmas
First frost in the mountains; leaves turning yellow

OCTOBER
Feast of Guardian Angels
St. Francis of Assisi
Hunting season: bowhunting, then deer and elk rifle season
Elk begin bugling/rutting
All Hallows/Halloween/Samhuinn
First Snow

NOVEMBER
All Saints
All Souls
Veterans' Day
Geese are seen flying south
Deer rut
Christ the King
Thanksgiving
Gearing up for Christmas

Winter: Dec.-Feb.

DECEMBER
Advent (4 Sundays before Christmas)
Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Winter Solstice/Alban Arthuan
Christmastide (Christmas to Epiphany: 12 days of Christmas)
Holy Family
Holy Innocents
End of Tax Year

JANUARY
New Years Day
Mary. Mother of God
Feast of Epiphany
Baptism of the Lord
Dr. Martin Luther King Day
Septuagesima/Ordinary Time
Ice Fishing
Deepest Winter (much snow and ice)
Chinook winds can occur

FEBRUARY
Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord (Candlemas)/Groundhog Day/Imbolc
Chinook winds can occur; snow and ice
St. Valentines Day
Presidents' Day/ Washington's Birthday
Ash Wednesday/Lent begins (6 weeks before Easter)

Spring: March-May

MARCH
St. Patrick's Day
St. Joseph's Day
Barren month; Very windy and cold; brown grass and mud; good to fly kites
Spring Equinox/Alban Eiler
Annunciation of the Lord
First Greening; first sprouts late in the month or in April; trees budding/greening

APRIL
Palm Sunday/Passion Sunday/Passiontide (2 weeks before Easter)
Triduum (Holy Thursday/Good Friday/Holy Saturday/Easter Sunday)
Feast of Divine Mercy (Sunday after Easter)
Income Tax due
Robins return
Ordinary Time begins again
Gardening begins; tulips, crocus, and bulb plants emerge
Deer fawns and other births; Bears and cubs emerge from hibernation

MAY (Mary's Month)
May Day/Beltane/Belteinne
Mother's Day
School is Out for Summer
Things are growing, wildflowers in profusion
Ascension of the Lord (Helena has a Mount Ascension)
Pentecost Sunday (40 days after Easter)
Vigilante Day Parade (local parade by highschool students celebrating spring, local history and coming adulthood/freedom)
Memorial Day (outdoors life commences; camping)

Summer: June-Aug.

JUNE
End of School and Graduation; summer vacation begins
Most Holy Trinity Sunday
Corpus Christi (Body and Blood of Christ)
Fishing Season (Creeks and Streams)
First Thunderstorm
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Immaculate Heart of Mary
Father's Day
Summer Solstice/Midsummer/Alban Heruin
St. John the Baptist
Bitterroot Season
Strawberries
Everything is green and mild; Indian paintbrush and more; blue skies

JULY
Fourth of July; month of cookouts/BBQs; the lake and fishing
Camas Season
Huckleberries
Meteor showers (Perseids)
Last Chance Stampede (local rodeo)
Much lightning and thunder; very hot
Wildfires in the mountains; smoky skies
Sweetcorn ripe

AUGUST
Lughnasadh/Lammas (wheat harvest; first fruits of harvest and garden)
Feast of the Transfiguration
Last hot month
Chokecherries
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Labor Day (end of summer; end of cycle)