Happy Northern Solstice

A time to reflect on the midpoint of the year.


Here are two visual images for the calendar. The Top image is for the Northern Hemisphere, the image below that is for the Southern Hemisphere.



Today puts us at Month 6, Day 13. That means we’re the last day of the first half of the Year, and it happens to fall on the solstice. Nice trick. Wish I’d thought of it… (trust me, I didn’t).

Why does it matter? Health!

Our current calendar isn’t aligned to the seasons, or any natural, observable phenomenon. There isn’t even a lunar component to it, despite that the moon phases are often printed on calendars. There seems to be something missing that we insist on.

The significance of the cycles of the day (night, dawn, day, dusk), the moon (new, first quarter, full, last quarter), and the year (winter solstice, equinox, summer solstice, equinox) are obvious – at least to me. Each cycles through degrees of light in the darkness in the course of changing position. We have been linked to this cycle since there was life on Earth. The days might be shorter now than they were billions of years ago, but the sun, moon, stars, and planets have been an inextricable part of our experience. We were as immersed in our sense of time as in our sense of place.

Note: these are very likely heavily biased to the Northern Hemisphere, which shows the depths to which the calendar escapes our understanding of the world. Nonetheless, for those in the Southern Hemisphere, think in terms of seasons instead of months.






Putting the Calendar to Work for You

We’ve given all that away in the name of Industry, Capitalism, Empire.  Only since 1752, when the British Empire adopted the Gregorian Calendar (there were riots) has it locked most of the globe under its influence. Since then, every other nation has signed up.

Isn’t it curious, how for nominally secular countries (such as Canada and the U.S.A.), where we make claims that church and state are separate, uses a Christian calendar by which to schedule its affairs.

However, being the open-minded, inclusive, diverse population of Settlers and Anishnaabeg, we have chosen not to accept this, and so we’ve made our own calendar that better suits us. We are not suggesting that Christians give up their calendar, only that they stop insisting everyone else use it as a primary means of timekeeping. And it is the absolute WORST CALENDAR ever hacked together. We deserve better.

13 months N

Here’s my experience of living by this Calendar for the past 10 years (although I had designed it well before then). I live in Asinabka/Outaouais/Ottawa in Canada, about 45 degrees North latitude. The image above is the relative amount of sunlight we get here over the year. 8 hours of daylight at the Winter Solstice, and 16 hours in the Summer.

Because the calendar is regular (each month is 28 days/4 weeks, each quarter 91 days/13 weeks, each year 364 +1 days/13 months/4 quarters), we can begin to feel the rhythm of the year. Because these regular beats of days/weeks/months/quarters fit within the year, every year has this same beat to it. As we live from day to day, year to year, we begin to link the calendar’s rhythm with the rhythm of the Sun throughout the year. When the sun and the calendar start working together, we begin to anticipate. When we begin to anticipate, we can plan better. When we can anticipate well enough to plan, and continue to fine-tune this process, the whole becomes intuitive. You won’t need to consult an external calendar (paper or digital) as often as without it.

The essence of this has to do with the New Year at the Southern Solstice. Last year, I discovered that I was struggling with complex PTSD. December 1st I was triggered while at work, and have been struggling to get out from under it since. Since the New Year, I have made a concerted effort to find health care for my condition. I’ve stopped counting how many times I’ve been turned away from treatment. 6 months worth, whatever that is.

The problem was exacerbated (without treatment – what a shock!!!), so I went about the business of educating myself, consulting with a particularly sympathetic social worker, and healing the physical embodiment of my historical emotional trauma.

I’m not out of the woods (I still get quite upset when people threaten to hit me with their cars (I don’t get how that’s my problem to deal with, but so it goes).  However, there was a remarkable delineation between yesterday and today. I feel stronger than ever. Better. My triggers are still sensitive, but I’ve managed to identify them, figure out how my behaviour had created these trigger points, and slowly but surely manage my over-reactions.

The calendar was not the reason for my recovery to date, however, it has been absolutely essential.

It’s about the New Year

On the New Year, try to set an intention for the year. Not a goal. Not a structured plan to accomplish something. An intention. By the end of the year, I would like to… It doesn’t required focused, intense attention, but it does require that the issue in question is central, and that you work on it – daily, every few days, regularly, irregularly, doesn’t matter. Whether it’s improving health and well being, expanding knowledge, discovering something new about yourself or whatever, reflect on it. Spend some time thinking on it, discussing it.

Then see how the year plays out.

There are a lot of regular structures within the Calendar that make checking in on progress easier. You don’t have to wait until the end of the month or the quarter. There are regular measures in abundance.

There is so much more here that we can take into account, but for now, let’s just start with this. In 182 days aka 26 weeks aka 6 1/2 months, we’ll be at the New Year, and the Southern Hemisphere will be enjoying all this sunshine we have now. It’s a good time to think of the future, and what from the past you wish to bring with you.



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