Mabon: Autumn Harvest

As a calendar publisher, we immerse ourselves in information about all kinds of holidays and their related traditions. Changes of the season are especially ripe with many celebrations around the world. Today is the Autumnal Equinox also known to some as Mabon. Here’s a bit more about Mabon:

Celtic Mandala

Image from our Celtic Mandala 2017 wall calendar featuring artwork by Jen Delyth. Click for more info.

Archaeological findings of prehistoric cultures in the British Isles reveal that important festivals observed the year’s equinoxes and solstices. In ancient history, Celtic peoples observed these days as the four Quarter Days: Ostara (Vernal Equinox), Litha (Summer Solstice), Yule (Winter Solstice), and Mabon (Autumnal Equinox). Today, Wiccans and Neo-pagans, who draw many traditions from Celtic culture, retain the Mabon tradition. Some communities refer to the day simply as “autumn harvest” or “autumn sabbat. ”

According to Welsh legend, Mabon was a magical youth renowned for his hunting skills. His mother held him captive in a cave, but the warrior Culhwch, with the aid of several animals of the forest, came to the boy’s rescue. For many present-day believers, Culhwch’s search for Mabon symbolizes everyone’s search for the inner child.

Typical Wiccan and Neo-pagan celebrations of Mabon, which take place throughout the world, are circle ceremonies that recognize various harvest themes. A ceremonial site— often an altar—will be decorated with items like corn, apples, wine, or black and white candles (the light and dark colors represent the equinox). Participants may tell stories, light candles, chant, dance, or recite invocations.

Excerpt from: Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, 5th Ed., published by Omnigraphics

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International Day of Peace

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on September 21 which is also the opening session of the UN General Assembly. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. The first official observance of the day was in September 1982.

At the United Nations the day is marked with a special message by the secretary-general, who then rings the Japanese Peace Bell and invites people throughout the world to reflect on the meaning of peace.

“Let us all work together to help all human beings achieve dignity and equality; to build a greener planet; and to make sure no one is left behind.” — UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, 2016

International Day of PeaceThe Day’s theme for 2016 is “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.”

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals were unanimously adopted by the 193 Member States of the United Nations at an historic summit of the world’s leaders in New York in September 2015. The new ambitious 2030 agenda calls on countries to begin efforts to achieve these goals over the next 15 years. It aims to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.

“The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are our shared vision of humanity and a social contract between the world’s leaders and the people,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “They are a to-do list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success.”

Sustainability addresses the fundamental needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Modern challenges of poverty, hunger, diminishing natural resources, water scarcity, social inequality, environmental degradation, diseases, corruption, racism and xenophobia, among others, pose challenges for peace and create fertile grounds for conflict. Sustainable development contributes decisively to dissipation and elimination of these causes of conflict and provides the foundation for a lasting peace. Peace, meanwhile, reinforces the conditions for sustainable development and liberates the resources needed for societies to develop and prosper.

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Equinox: Global Balance

Wanderlust 2017 calendar featuring photos by Chris Burkard

Image from our Wanderlust 2017 wall calendar featuring adventure photographs by Chris Burkard. Click image for more info.

I grew up in the southern hemisphere, in Australia, but I’ve lived in the northern hemisphere for the better part of the past 20 years. You’d think that would be enough time to have gotten used to the seasons being opposite, but the truth is it still strikes me as a curious novelty.

Firstly, there’s the fact that I grew up with a summer birthday (February), which was always celebrated with some sort of outdoor activity. Now that my birthday is in the dead of winter, well, it’s just not the same. Continue reading

Artist Spotlight — Kevin Horan: Goats as Philosophers

We’re excited to welcome Kevin Horan to our family of contributors for our 2017 line of calendars. Kevin’s goat portraits have been winning the hearts of many and have been featured in The Washington Post, Treehugger, and The Huffington Post. We love the thoughtful quality of these beautiful images. Weaving the portraits together with quotes from philosophers from the ages seemed like a natural fit to create the I am Goat 2017 wall calendar.

goat-blogHere’s an excerpt from Bleating Hearts Will Love These Soulful Portraits Of Goats by Maddie Crum of The Huffington Post:

A subject sits for the camera. His eyes are forlorn, his expression sorrowful. His long ears, covered in fur. A few milliseconds later, he’s run off to find food.

As an involved experiment testing the power of portraiture, photographer Kevin Horan decided to start taking pictures of farm animals ― namely, a crew of unruly goats.

“I thought I was going to photograph sheep,” Horan explained in an email with The Huffington Post. “I was originally inspired by the dozen sheep living across the lane from me when we moved to semi-rural Washington State. They greeted me with a whole range of voices, and I wondered if I might be able to make classic studio portraits of the different characters.”

But the sheep proved to be tough subjects. They wouldn’t sit still, and Horan was wary of letting them near his lighting equipment. So, he decided to search for a tamer lot and discovered a goat dairy farm nearby. His new animal subjects were used to sitting still; they were milked twice a day and had grown to be somewhat domesticated because of their frequent human interaction.

The result was a series of photos that revealed his goat subjects to be ― at least during their brief moments caught on camera ― expressive creatures. A heavily bearded goat looks contemplatively off into the distance. A stringy-haired goat faces the camera head-on, confrontationally.

“When people look at the pictures, they like to read a lot of human qualities into the goats. Whether that’s an accurate assessment or not, I can’t say,” Horan said. “The pictures do invite us in, however, to consider what’s going on in that other brain. Isn’t that what pet owners do almost constantly? When I had a dog, I would stare at her and ask, ‘Lulu, what are you thinking?’”

The act of photographing the goats was a tricky one for Horan. Bringing the goats to his studio proved impossible, so he set up equipment at farms and goat rescue sanctuaries to place his subjects in a makeshift studio. “Some will stay, some will not,” he said. Like photographing babies, he added, patience is key and coercion is useless. But, for Horan, the time investment is worth it.

“What I’m trying to do with this project is to look into these other creatures and see if I can find someone in there,” he said. “It’s not unlike human portraiture, where the goal is to capture gestures that lead us to some understanding. Yes, when treated seriously as portrait subjects, these animals definitely seem to have personalities.”

Kevin Horan is an artist based in Langley, Washington, USA. He is working on projects which look at animals as people, people as animals, and the planet as a very small place. His pictures are reality-based, and he enjoys finding the amazing hidden in the ordinary. His work from Chattel was selected for the Photolucida Critical Mass Top 50 in 2014.

A recovering photojournalist, Horan has published his work in The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian, LIFE, U.S. News & World Report, National Geographic,  and numerous other magazines and books.  Horan based himself in Chicago 1976-2006 and Whidbey Island since 2006, with assignments ranging from presidential campaigns to small-town life in Russia to development issues in the Amazon to following a dollar bill for a week for LIFE Magazine. He was Artist in Residence, Glacier National Park, September, 2004; staffphotographer for Chicago In The Year 2000; staffphotographer for the Chicago Daily News and the Chicago Sun-Times, 1977-1981. He received a degree in journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Midweek Mindfulness with Eckhart Tolle — September 14, 2016

Image from our Power of Now 2017 wall calendar. Blue Dacnis, La Selva, Costa Rica © David Tipling. Click image for more info.

Image from our Power of Now 2017 wall calendar. Blue Dacnis, La Selva, Costa Rica © David Tipling. Click image for more info.

The sooner you realize that your outer purpose cannot give you lasting fulfillment, the better. When you have seen the limitations of your outer purpose, you give up your unrealistic expectation that it should make you happy, and you make it subservient to your inner purpose.
Eckhart Tolle

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Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Midweek Mindfulness with Pema Chödrön — September 7, 2016

Image from our Pema Chödrön 2017 wall calendar. Red Cullin, Isle of Skye, Scotland © Jim Richardson. Click image for more info.

Image from our Pema Chödrön 2017 wall calendar. Red Cullin, Isle of Skye, Scotland © Jim Richardson. Click image for more info.

Awakening is not a process of building ourselves up but a process of letting go. It’s a process of relaxing in the middle – the paradoxical, ambiguous middle, full of potential, full of new ways of thinking and seeing – with absolutely no guarantee of what will happen next.
Pema Chödrön

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Pema Chödrön 2017 wall calendar —
a year of inspiration

Desktop Wallpaper Calendar — September 2016 — Free to Download

Welcome September! Oh… the last blush of summer is upon us. *sigh* We hope you savor the sweetness of the season!

Free Wallpaper for August 2016

Click thumbnail image above to see a preview of the downloadable graphic. See download tips and system instructions below.

Mac Users: Ctrl+click the image and select the command “Save Image As” in the pop-up menu to save the image to your computer. Some browsers allow you to click and drag the image to your desktop. Then use your System Preferences to change the desktop.

Windows Users: Right-click the image and select the command “Save Image As” in the pop-up menu to save the image to your computer. Some browsers allow you to click and drag the image to your desktop. Then use your Personalization Settings to change the desktop.

Note: Desktop wallpaper calendars are free for personal use only.

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Featuring Pema Chödrön, Mark Nepo, Chris Burkard, Kevin Horan, Geninne D Zlatkis, Kinuko Y. Craft, and more. 80+ titles from which to choose!

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Using Orange in Feng Shui Adjustments + Ceremonies

Photo by April Killingsworth

Photo by April Killingsworth

There’s nothing quite like the fresh, sweet and sparkling energy of an orange! As you peel, inhale and eat the fruit, you can literally feel the sheng chi (bright, auspicious and uplifting yang energy) harmonizing your energy and mood. You just feel HAPPY!

In Cantonese, the word for orange is kum which is also a homonym for “gold.” Oranges, as well as mandarins and kumquats, symbolize gold and abundance in Feng Shui and during the Chinese New Year, you’ll find an abundance of these in decor (such as placing red envelopes on kumquat trees), gift giving and ceremonies (such as rolling a cascade of oranges, coins and gold ingots through the front door). Continue reading