Ephemera: The month of March 2016: Rather than do several posts relating to some stellar and seasonal happenings this month as they occur, I thought I’d try an ‘up front’ approach, and list some awesome items for the whole month, now.
Look up! Even when I was ‘knee high to a grasshopper’, I loved to look up at the night sky and imagine what it must be like to roam amongst the stars, little realising that, ofcourse, we’re all on a ‘spaceship’, our home, called the Earth, and spinning through space at great speed. When you’re away from city lights and enveloped in darkness I still look up, and certainly feel that.
Over the next few days, if you don’t already do it periodically, do find time to stop, even just for a few minutes and look up at the starry sky and ponder. Imagine! Stop! Rest in wonder and awe! Take time to pause and take it all in. We live in an awesome universe, full of beauty and magic, or miracle – whatever you want to call it. But, looking up, points to That Which Is Larger Than Ourselves, and gives us the opportunity to express gratitude.
So, here’s some things, this month, to look forward to:
On March 9 there is a solar eclipse. It will begin at 23:19 UTC on March 8, 2016, and its maximum point will take place at 01:59 UTC on March 9, 2016. Totality will last for just 4 minutes and 9 seconds. It will be a total solar eclipse when seen from parts of Indonesia including Sumatra, Borneo, and Sulawesi, and from locations in the Pacific Ocean, but only a partial eclipse for observers in northern and eastern Australia, in South Asia, and in East Asia. Never look at the sun, but use the ‘projection’ method – even if it’s a pin-hole in card projecting an image onto paper.
‘It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.’ Charles Dickens
March 13 is when the Gamma Normids meteor shower reach their peak – a treat for southern hemisphere inhabitants. Look in the direction of Norma, a small constellation between Scorpius and Centaurus.
March 17 is St Patrick’s Day. Born about 385 AD, he is the patron saint of Ireland, but it is an often overlooked fact that he was born in England or Wales (and some are now saying Scotland) , but not Ireland.
‘The scent of Florida honeysuckle uplifted in a spring breeze reminds me of your love, and how fresh it was…’ Jarod Kintz
March 20 is the spring/vernal equinox and marks the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator. The website of The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids writes, ‘One of the inner mysteries of Druidry is the Druid’s egg. Life-giving, it is the egg protected by the hare, which is the symbol of Alban Eilir – still celebrated by the giving of Easter eggs by the Easter bunny.
Alban Eilir, a Welsh word which means ‘the Light of the Earth’, and is very apt as the days grow longer, and in the northern hemisphere spring heralds new growth and warmer days, and as we move towards Easter.
‘I enjoy the spring more than the autumn now. One does, I think, as one gets older.’ Virginia Woolf
March 23 is when the next full moon in the constellation of Virgo occurs. There will also be a penumbral lunar eclipse that day, which means the moon will only slightly darken as the Earth’s shadow partially, not fully, covers the moon. It will be seen from much of Asia, Australia, North America, Much of South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Arctic, and Antarctica.
‘Tonight the moon kisses the stars. Oh Beloved, be like that to me.’ Rumi
This full moon was known as the chaste moon in medieval England, the Lenten moon to the Church of old, and to ancient and some current Celts and Druids it is known as the moon of winds.
March 24, in the constellation of Virgo, sees the Virginids meteor shower, for those in the northern hemisphere. It’s likely that the moon will be still too full and bright to see them clearly, but you never know. Look up!
The heavens declare the glory of God. The Book
March 25 is Lady Day. This is the traditional name in some English speaking countries of the Feast of the Annunciation. Did you know that inn England, Lady Day was the new year’s day between 1155 and 1752. A vestige of this remains in the form of the United Kingdom’s tax year, which starts on 6 April.
More next month!