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Friday, July 31, 2015

Magic, Science and the Natural World


8" diameter Abundance and Prosperity hex sign, painted
since new moon here at http://www.dutchhexsign.com
I realize that my background in science -- and the "hard sciences" of physics, astronomy and of mathematics  and engineering as well -- likely give me a bit of a different perspective as a witch. Add to this that I see much of the alleged "common culture" in a different way (see previous post A Manifesto - I am not what you think you see. ) than most folks and I can easily understand when moments of disharmony crop up with other Pagans and witches.

Hence, this entry.

Many online sources have been making a big deal out of the full moon tonight, a so-called "blue moon." I have stated my opinion online that, " There are actually multiple definitions of "blue moon" and I prefer mine to be the least common of all -- when the moon ACTUALLY appears blue, because of particulate matter of a particular size, in the correct place in the air between me and it. THOSE happen "once in a blue moon" in my world. The other two varieties are far too common. http://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/moon/blue-moon.html" Research has shown me that even my take on the potential frequency of the "blue moon" is more often than the term originally was meant to express, as it was used in the same manner as "when pigs fly." Short of being launched by a hurricane (which could arguably be considered to not meet the criteria) visually appearing blue moons are, in my experience, at least possible. I have seen one, just one, in my 67 years. I have also seen a solar green flash but that is a topic for another day.

I, personally, do not consider having two full -- or for that matter, new, first quarter or last quarter -- moons in the artificial construct that we call a month to be of any particular significance.  Although the month (in Old English monaĆ°, related to the word for moon) was originally calculated from lunar cycles, the increasing importance of agriculture (both planting and animal husbandry), upon which the seasons have more effect than the phases of the moon, led to an almost universal use of a solar-based calendar. This calendar has been changed, adjusted and manipulated across the centuries, and continues to be, although nowadays the ongoing adjustments are in the range of "leap seconds" rather than "leap years." Since I farm, using a conventional yearly calendar does help me to keep track of planting schedules, frost dates (both in the spring and fall) and mundane events such as appointments with my health care provider. 
One pea harvest, just after new moon

For other things, such as many "witchey matters" I find a lunar calendar most appealing. I do, given that our solar calendar has given one day of the week to Frigga, Odin, Thor and Tyr, acknowledge them on "their" days. As I observe and acknowledge the moon cycles, however, I am less likely to work with the astrological correspondences (either tropical or sidereal, the type of astrology that I practiced, which works with the actual positions of the planets in the constellations their precessed and therefore current locations ) than I am to tie my working to what's going on in the natural world around me. I understand the various cultures' naming of the moons, though I can not accurately apply any one sequence of names to what I experience. And, if you have followed my writings for any time at all, you will know that my own experiences (also known as UPG) are the basis of my practice and my work. Last month was The Month of the Fireflies. This is The Month of Summer's Coming, which leads directly into the cross quarter coming up early next month: First Harvest. While we do not yet have local corn to celebrate, there are, or have been lettuce and spinach, peas and beans and asparagus, strawberries and blueberries. I can likely harvest some early potatoes soon. None of the poultry are mature enough for the table yet, but the freezer is full of unexpected spring pork and last fall's second turkey. 
Beans and peas harvested yesterday

In my world, there are logical, repeatable and proven scientific truths upon which I base much of my agriculture and my witchey work. This has always been the very foundation of my life and will continue to be so. However much the natural world around me obeys the laws of physics and thermodynamics, though, there are also always variations and surprises. Worlds beyond mine intersect, touch and impact my little world, be they the doings of the Asgardians or of the mundanes.
Helping them to grow: trellis for
pole beans (dried bean crop)

While at least some, if not many folks might find that magic and witchey doings incompatible with science and I find some pagan and witchey folks somewhat out of sync with the actual natural world around them, in my world they all work together for me. That does not imply that anyone else's world's rules are anything other than different than mine. We all, to a greater or lesser degree, create our own realities and I know many folks do share the "common culture" world which I occasionally visit. Your mileage will vary. 
4 chicks hatched by Lady Grey the
turkey since the new moon


6 turkey poults hatched by Lady Grey
since new moon
Ducklings at 5 weeks old
Turkeys from the first hatch!
And here at the sign of the Fussing Duck and Dutch Hex Sign, I will lift a glass tonight to Frigga, light a needfire and toast the abundances coming forth from my fields and flocks and hex work. In addition to the 10 new additions to the flocks shown here, there are 11 young ducklings happily putting on size and feathers out in the barnyard as well as three young turkeys from the first hatch. The summer temperatures have arrived and while they do not make for a very happy worker, I am thankful for the growth on the tomatoes, peppers and vine crops. Hopefully there will be squash and pickles this fall!