Friday, October 17, 2014

Coffee, Autumn & The Harvest Moon...

(A cup of hot coffee & blogging)
I think I can safely say that Autumn is definitely a strong presence here on the southern Georgia coast. A presence that is growing in strength. Cooler temperatures are overpowering hotter ones with each passing day. The crispness of the breath of Fall can be felt in the subtle breezes blowing lazily through and around the marsh. The equinox presented itself on September 23rd, and Autumn's official return had been declared. After that glorious day Autumn stepped closer, but Summer didn't appear to be ready to let go. Not right away. The heat and humidity of my least favorite season wasn't finished. Apparently. Now Summer's fingertips are slipping away. Buhbye, Summer. It's Autumn's turn now. 

There is a filter that Autumn brings with it on its yearly visit. A special autumnal gel that it slides into the holder of that massive Fresnel lamp known as the Sun. Shining on the stage of the northern hemisphere, the mood is changed. Actually, the change is 'mood'. Autumn is moodier...more ethereal. Colors become deeper, and the world begins it's renewal. For me Autumn is more thoughtful...more introspective...more creative. The natural world that I enjoy photographing so much shifts. The richness of color, and the revealing aspect of flora dropping leaves and going to seed make my world here on the marsh look like a painting. After all, Gaia is one of the great masters. Foggy days that seem to be much more plentiful during the Fall months, make sound more compressed like it's being pushed through cotton. The sounds of my neighbors going about their business becomes secondary to the hushed murmurings of the spirit of Autumn. Even though I know there is a vast world out there stretching in every direction, my world here on the marsh feels smaller, cozier, more isolated. There is a comforting energy that emanates from Autumn. One that makes me think of a warm fuzzy sweater and a hot mug of coffee (but then I usually think of coffee).
I am thrilled for Autumn's return for a number of reasons, a main one being the aforementioned creativity it brings. Creativity is important to me, mainly for my state of mind. Creativity is an essential element of my core. An extended period without engaging in creative activities is not a good thing. Not for me. Autumn will afford me the right atmosphere conducive to my creativity. 

Summer is always sticky and hot, so it doesn't really lend itself to a desire to make a big pot of soup or stew. Those are dishes best made during cooler weather. Weather like today. Tonight I have created my first big pot of cool weather fare, chili. I can smell it simmering in the kitchen. 

Another aroma hanging in the air is the scent of candles. 'Pine' (I stocked up on these when they went on clearance last Yule), and 'Pomander' (one of the Fall scents I picked up at work). The green musky-sweet scent of pine trees, and spicy orange-clove scent of pomanders, are so calming. Tree scents are always numero uno with me, and the clove-y spice of the other candles is a nice addition. I stuck a 'Pomander' candle in the Halloween themed holder pictured. Another item I picked up at work. I'm a big fan of vintage scene lamps, and this looked to be in that vein when I saw it on the shelf. I think it looks pretty cool. Another reason to love Autumn...Halloween.
(Darkness over the condos)
One of my regular rituals each month is to take pictures of the Full Moon, this months being the "Harvest" Full Moon. I have always loved the Moon. Do I always capture it in pictures as I see it with my eyes? Yes, and no. On the night of October 7th, the Moon was bright. Out here on the island where streetlights and most other forms of man-made lighting are few when out of doors at night, the Moon is even brighter. Couple that with the size of the Moon. Impressive it was. A huge shining orb. I first saw it during my drive home from the mine (work), and it was extremely distracting. My eyes kept get pulled towards it which isn't really a good thing while driving. I forced my gaze to the road, and focused on getting home to my camera.

I have stated many times in posts of my photos that I am in need of a new camera for more clarity and definition when taking night time photos. I have caught an image here and there where the dark areas covering the Moon's face are featured. Those pictures are usually attainable when there is a higher measure of cloud cover. On Harvest Moon night the sky was fairly clear. The size and brightness of the orb was also a factor in it appearing as a burning celestial spotlight.

There is my camera's "version" of the Moon as seen through one of the many trees here. The extremely bright nature of October's Moon appeared as a large amorphous ball of brilliance, any leaves or small branches in the way of its face causing its shape to morph a bit. At times I wish this camera would take clearer, truer shots of the Moon. There are times where I appreciate the abstract quality this camera's lens gives.

On the night of the 7th things were very quiet in terms of any encounters, meaning I didn't cross paths with any other people. Many times a car will pass by, or a resident of one of the neighboring buildings will venture out to walk their dog. No, that night was devoid of encounters. Until...I felt something bump up against my leg...

I was looking through my camera's lens in it's place on the tripod, and something bumped into my shin and rubbed slowly past. Now, this is kind of alarming here on the marsh. We have raccoons, opossums...wild creatures. They lurk around here all of the time once night falls. I had been standing fairly still framing up shots through some tree branches. I froze for a second, and slowly looked down. It took a minute for my eyes to adjust to the darkness at ground level...I had been looking at a very bright Luna up to that point. As my eyes adjusted, I could make out the form of a four legged creature swivel around and take a run at my other shin. It looked up at me with two shining eyes and I could make out the faint sound of purring. Hello, kitty. I scratched his back and he decided it would be worth his while to stick around. Slinking to the asphalt of the empty parking space next to my car, he sat for a second before flopping onto his side and cleaning his fur. Normally, I stay away from a camera's flash. Even when I photograph the Moon. With the unknown cat I decided to break tradition and use it. The results are the dark photos above. Rather eerie, they capture the initial feelings I had when he first made me aware of his presence. I scratched his head a bit more before he got bored with me and wandered off. Nice kitty.

In terms of timeline on the photos in this post of the Moon, these two (the one above and the one below) were taken before the others. The Moon was still rising over the marsh. The line of lights starting at the right edge of the pictures is the headlamps of cars crossing the causeway from Tybee Island, the only road to/from Tybee. My photos don't capture just how illuminated everything was under the Moon's beams. It was abundantly clear why this Moon is connected with the harvest, and farmer's being able to work later into the night under it's light. Beautiful.

As for the Lunar Eclipse, I really wanted to witness that. Alas, the large number of trees around here prevented me from being able to see to both horizon lines, and to see the presence of both the Moon and the Sun...which is celestially impossible, and only achievable via the world of illusion. I know it would have been magical.

In less than two weeks is the next stop on the 'Wheel of the Year'...Samhain...

The veil continues to thin...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Full Moon In Aries...October 8, 2014...

(Artist: Unknown)
The Full Moon of October 8th, 2014, is in the sign of Aries, and it peaks at 6:52 AM/EST. Typically known as the Harvest Moon, this particular Full Moon has an added bonus of the second full Lunar Eclipse of the year which gives it the moniker of Blood Moon. (More on this at the end of the post.)

There are some interesting positions for this lunation. With the energies presented via the eclipse there is focus on life lessons. Things could get a bit tumultuous. Conjoining the Aries Moon is Uranus who is opposing the Libran Sun. The sudden appearance of new events to be hashed out (thank you, Uranus) can get things jumping. Not a time to hold yourself back. The Sun is conjunct Venus with Pluto in Capricorn in a T-Square with both. Most of the planets here are flexing their muscles and being exceedingly disagreeable, even though Venus and the Sun are asking them to give peace a chance.
As with most lunations, there is potential for some difficulties when dealing with others. It might be hard to ‘catch someone’s drift’ if you can’t get them to ‘chill out’. Uranus conjoining the Moon could be the cause. Pushing beyond any negativity others are projecting could prove to be tough. Focus and make the effort to regroup and maintain your own mental and emotional well-being. Retrograde Mercury in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces are in a Trine that may act as a softening agent.

Both luminaries, Venus, and Uranus are in a Cardinal T-Square, which can bring tension to romantic relationships, and friendships. Decision making will not prove easy, and decisions may have to be made. Things may have to change no matter the possible outcome. Capricious Uranus could make things even more hectic, so tread lightly. Better yet pull from the Moon’s energy and seek Aries’ influence to boost your self-confidence. Try not to let things get too out of control. Try to stay grounded.
(Artist: David Paladini)
Both the Aries Moon and Libran Sun (Cardinal Fire and Cardinal Air, respectively) are in a Kite pattern with a Grand Trine of the Moon conjunct Uranus, Jupiter in Leo, and Mars in Sagittarius. This Grand Trine is full of fire. Locked wheels can begin to loosen allowing productive momentum. Jupiter throws in a dose of kindness. Add the Sun conjunct Venus, and you have the Kite. Aries’ and Libra’s combined energies come into play by influencing positive decision making. The boost will come in handy to keep head-butting out of a situation, and keep things on an even keel for a meeting of minds. No matter a situation’s difficulty, make that extra effort to view things from all perspectives. Keep your mind in the ‘open’ position.

During this lunation keep your head and your heart focused on the big picture. When a situation presents itself, it can prompt the need for decision making which can then effect change…for better or worse…in that moment. Even a negative outcome can effect positive change in the long run. Decisions are not always easy. Be kind, stay ‘open’, and feel the firm ground beneath your feet. We can be caring to others, but need to remember to be even more caring to ourselves. With the influences surrounding this Full Moon in Aries, you might just be in for a bumpy ride. Remember to keep centered and listen to ‘you’.

If there are terms in the above post that you aren't familiar with, the following is a link to a really good online Astrological dictionary:

The following excerpt is from the 'Farmer's Almanac':

  • Full Hunter's Moon or Full Harvest Moon ~ October: This Full Moon is often referred to as the Full Hunter's Moon, Blood Moon, or Sanguine Moon. Many moons ago, Native Americans named this bright moon for obvious reasons. The leaves are falling from trees, the deer are fattened, and it's time to begin storing up meat for the long winter ahead. Because the fields were traditionally reaped in late September or early October, hunters could easily see fox and other animals that come out to glean from the fallen grains. Probably because of the threat of winter looming close, the Hunter's Moon is generally accorded with special honor, historically serving as an important feast day in both Western Europe and among many Native American tribes. 

(Above chart is in Universal Time)
A Selenelion Eclipse is a phenomenon that can't happen, so celestial geometry says. Yet early on Wednesday morning that is exactly the type of rare eclipse we are going to see. During a Selenelion Eclipse it will be possible for some to see the eclipse of the Moon and the rising of the Sun simultaneously. A miraculous sight that...well...celestial geometry is correct about. It is impossible for that to happen.


The Sun and the Moon are in "syzgy", which means "perfect alignment". They are exactly 180 degrees apart in the sky. How is it possible for that fact to appear to change during this next eclipse? It centers on the Earth's atmosphere, and an effect known as "atmospheric refraction". Our planet's atmosphere "lifts" the images of both above the horizon line, allowing for several extra minutes of the Moon's visibility after it has set, and several minutes of the Sun's visibility before it has risen. Pretty cool, huh?

I plan to attempt to see the eclipse here on the marsh, but I don't know if I will be lucky enough to see the "selenelion" effect...we have a lot of trees around here that make seeing both horizon lines difficult. The eclipse will be visible from most of North America, Australia, and the Western Pacific Ocean. For more info on what causes the appearance of the Blood Moon, and this second Lunar Eclipse of 2014, I have shared the following video from the website. To hear the audio, just scroll down to the bottom of the blog page and you can pause my music player.

Enjoy the Eclipse...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Mabon Musings...2014...

("At The First Touch of Winter, Summer Fades Away",
Artist: Valentine Cameron Prinsep, c. 1897)

Finally. The return of Autumn. Every year as Autumn gives way to Winter I always feel a bit sad. I know it will come round again, but it is by far my favorite of the four seasons. If I had enough pull with Gaia I would put in a strong bid for it to be Autumn all year. The temperatures; the weather; the colors; most importantly the vibe...absolute perfection in my book.

It has been several weeks since I have gone for a photography walk, and I was not going to miss taking one for the equinox. The first official day of Fall. A cause for celebration. I took advantage of having the day off yesterday to venture out on the marsh. It was hot. I was shvitzing in no time. The usual marsh breeze was kicking up so it made things a bit more bearable at the expanses edge, but only just. Actually the heat didn't bother me too much as it felt so incredibly good to be outside. Breathing the fresh air; smelling the earthiness of the marsh; watching the cattails sway gently in the breeze...sublime.

As I am wont to do, I wandered around exploring. I waited for something to catch my eye...something always catches my eye. I encountered more mushrooms than usual. Mostly like the round off-white and mottled one above. I saw many of those in various sizes, either clumped together or on their own. At one point I thought I saw a fairy ring, but as I got closer it was just a large "colony" in a widespread pattern. Bummer. I Googled to see if I could find out what they are called and the closest thing I cold find was a member of the genus "Chlorophyllum molybdites". Not that I was planning on cooking them up for consumption, but they are said to not be poisonous but could make one very sick if ingested. The other mushrooms I encountered (below) were under one of the trees near the dock remains. Of the mushrooms pictured on Google I guess I would say they look closest to the Jack O'Lantern 'shrooms. They are said to be highly poisonous. 

Texture is something I am always drawn to whether it's palm fronds, pampas grass, or tree bark. There is a wooden 'tie' embedded in the ground not far from the dock remains that I have photographed sections of upon occasion. I assume it to have once been part of said dock. I was looking it over deciding if there was anything I wanted to snap a photo of and I noticed some movement inside the one hole that has obviously developed over time. I looked closer and saw one of the tiny Fidler crabs that live on the marsh dart to the side out of view. He...she...'it' slowly appeared and darted the other direction. It did it's little dance a couple of times before disappearing altogether. I tried to take its picture, but it was too skittish.

I continued down the marsh bank to the pond and back. No one was about, but I did pass a man who was sitting on his back porch. Reclined back with an open book resting across his stomach he was napping comfortably in the shade. I passed quietly allowing him his peace. Moving on I enjoyed mine. My period of zen. 

Today is the day after my walk, and it's the official first day of Fall, the Autumnal Equinox. I felt Autumn's approach when I walked out the front door early this morning to go to work. Considerably cooler than yesterday. So welcome. I'm tired of all of the heat we have had. I can't wait for jacket weather. To see the leaves change color. To feel the mood shift and make the sipping of a hot cup of cider comforting against the chill outside. 

Welcome back Autumn, my old friend. I missed you.