Winter is the time for festivals of light and the first one to appear on the calendar this year is Diwali, which is celebrated on the new moon (often called the dark moon) of the Hindu month of Kartika. Diwali is the name for the third day of a five-day holiday and falls on October 30 this year.
The name Diwali means “line of lights.” People set out lit oil-filled clay lamps (diya) on windowsills and in front of houses. Fireworks, bonfires, and electric and neon lights add to the illumination.
There is a sense of newness and renewal. Before the holiday, houses are cleaned and whitewashed. Women and children create rangoli—circular decorative designs, like small mandalas, made of colored rice flour or even flower petals on thresholds—in front of houses and in hallways to honor Lakshmi the goddess of wealth (although Kali is honored in some parts of India and Krishna in others). Continue reading →
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 →
We’re thrilled to introduce a new contributor to you this week! Feng Shui consultant Gwynne Warner shares her wealth of knowledge about mindfulness practices that help us embrace the change of season. ~ Amber Lotus
Image from our Present Moment 2016 wall calendar published in partnership with our friends at Sound True. Click image for more info.
Nature is once again turning and with it, our own internal energies.
Just as the trees are dropping their saffron and cinnabar colored leaves, we too can “drop” what blocks our life force-obstacles, heaviness, mindsets, habits, or relationships that no longer serve us.
Autumn is a yin season bringing a time of dwindling light, a mood of melancholy, self-reflection on the impermanent nature of our lives, and the beginning of inward contraction. Because the yang energies are weakening and the chi is now much more yin in nature, it’s the perfect time to slow down and gather your energies. Continue reading →
Painting by Nicholas Kirsten-Honshin from our Thich Nhat Hanh 2016 wall calendar. Click to see more.
The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival falls on the full moon of the eighth month of the Chinese lunar calendar (September 27 this year).
I’ve always loved this holiday that marks the beginning of the dark half of the year, the half that is correlated with the yin or feminine element. In some parts of China, it was celebrated only by women, who gathered in a courtyard and created an altar with a statue of the Jade Rabbit, who lives at the center of the moon. They drank tea and dined on moon cakes and fruits that symbolize fertility, like pomegranates, grapes, apples, melons, and peaches. I like to serve honeydew melon and lemon-balm tea (since lemon balm is an herb of the moon). Continue reading →
Image from our Simply Raw 2016 wall calendar featuring vegetable portraits by Lynn Karlin and raw food recipes by Matthew Kenney. Click image to see more.
There are two great feasts that mirror each other across the calendar at the times of the equinoxes. Around spring equinox (with its corresponding holidays of Easter, Passover, and Naw-Ruz), we enjoy the first fruits of the season: fresh greens, eggs, cheese, lamb. At the time of the autumn equinox (with its adjacent festivals of Sukkot and Michaelmas), we enjoy the fruits of the harvest.
This year’s autumn equinox will occur on September 23. Depending on where we live, we might be harvesting the last tomatoes or the first pumpkins, sweet corn or succulent apples, ripe grapes or ripe grain. This is also a time to celebrate the transformation mysteries as fruit, grain, and grapes are transformed into cider, bread, wine, and beer. Continue reading →
In The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, poet William Blake wrote, “Without contraries is no progression.” And in the profound teachings of Jewish mysticism is the statement, “The Book of Concealed Mystery is the book of the equilibrium of balance.” Our pagan fore-bearers celebrated the balance of opposites on the Equinox. This day, when the hours of light and dark are equal, was a sign, a teaching embedded within the mysterious yet comfortingly predictable time cycles. This ancient wisdom is marvelously illustrated in the yin-yang symbol. The image from Taoism teaches that light and dark — in fact, all pairs of opposites — are necessary. They are the Tao, the original and inherent way of all things. And growth — life itself — arises from their balance and equilibrium.
by Tim Campbell
VP Sales Director
Amber Lotus Publishing