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Author Topic: Dislocation and getting to know your local environment  (Read 4128 times)
Finn
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« Topic Start: April 25, 2007, 10:44:47 pm »

I was actually reading Juni's blog--at http://conairancheo.blogspot.com/ (plug for Conair an Cheo! Whee!) when this thought came to me.


I have trying to become more in tune with my environment as it relates to my practice--noting when the leaves come out, when they fall, when the first snow comes, the first blistering hot day of summer and so on.  I would like to incorporate these things into my practice, and set up a more "localized" calendar that will help me feel more in tune with the earth.

The thing is, I'm a little displaced.  I am a student living in Philadelphia, PA who originally hails from (and returns to in the summer and winter breaks) San Antonio, Texas.  As might be inferred, the climate is quite different in Texas than Philly--for one thing, we have no fall, and summer lasts from April to November.  In Philly, there is such a thing as fall and such a thing as snow, and there is such a concept as "fall weather fashion."  Wink


My question is:  Are there others in my position, and how do you reconcile your displacement with the local seasons and changing climate?  Do you try to adapt to the environment you're temporarily in?  Or do you follow the seasons of where you feel "at home," even if that home is miles away?

To me, the latter seems a little like what Neo-Paganism does anyway--celebrating basically the climate and seasonal change of Ireland--which is quite a long way away, but convenient (and widespread) enough for use.

Since I am here in Philly nine months of the year, most of my "seasonal acknowledgements" would occur during my stay here.  But Texas... is where I truly feel at home, and truly feel connected, because my family and my "hearth" is there.  When I am in Philly, I never really shake off the student feeling--that I'm just here temporarily, I'm not here to stay.  How do I stay connected to a "home-y" pattern when I'm away from home for the majority of the year, and how do I still honor traditional seasonal changes like fall and winter (and important festivals like Imbolc) when I am at home where summer is the general rule of the year?

Any thoughts?
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« Reply #1: April 26, 2007, 06:41:52 am »

I was actually reading Juni's blog--at http://conairancheo.blogspot.com/ (plug for Conair an Cheo! Whee!) when this thought came to me.


I have trying to become more in tune with my environment as it relates to my practice--noting when the leaves come out, when they fall, when the first snow comes, the first blistering hot day of summer and so on.  I would like to incorporate these things into my practice, and set up a more "localized" calendar that will help me feel more in tune with the earth.

The thing is, I'm a little displaced.  I am a student living in Philadelphia, PA who originally hails from (and returns to in the summer and winter breaks) San Antonio, Texas.  As might be inferred, the climate is quite different in Texas than Philly--for one thing, we have no fall, and summer lasts from April to November.  In Philly, there is such a thing as fall and such a thing as snow, and there is such a concept as "fall weather fashion."  Wink


My question is:  Are there others in my position, and how do you reconcile your displacement with the local seasons and changing climate?  Do you try to adapt to the environment you're temporarily in?  Or do you follow the seasons of where you feel "at home," even if that home is miles away?

To me, the latter seems a little like what Neo-Paganism does anyway--celebrating basically the climate and seasonal change of Ireland--which is quite a long way away, but convenient (and widespread) enough for use.

Since I am here in Philly nine months of the year, most of my "seasonal acknowledgements" would occur during my stay here.  But Texas... is where I truly feel at home, and truly feel connected, because my family and my "hearth" is there.  When I am in Philly, I never really shake off the student feeling--that I'm just here temporarily, I'm not here to stay.  How do I stay connected to a "home-y" pattern when I'm away from home for the majority of the year, and how do I still honor traditional seasonal changes like fall and winter (and important festivals like Imbolc) when I am at home where summer is the general rule of the year?

Any thoughts?

I personally would honor the calendar of home, wherever that happens to be. You can stay connected by asking a friend or family member to occasionally (like every Sunday or something) take a picture and send it to you. Whether they're always photographing the same tree or spot in the backyard or whatever, it can help you feel closer to your roots.

Even in Ireland, Imbolc marked different things for different areas- in Ulster, the spring bit was more metaphorical, but on the southern end they were actually starting to plow. You can make it symbolic, or you can take spring out of the equation altogether (what I did for my calendar, as early February is really the beginning of winter weather in CT the past 10 years or so).

As for honoring traditional changes when you get home...I say that tradition is only good as long as it works. If it's not working, then it gets lost. If your climate doesn't fit the "traditional" four seasons model, then you need to adapt and figure out what traditional means for your locale. It may be that you don't have a spring or fall celebration, but you do have different stages of summer that you can celebrate- a first harvest and a fair season and something else maybe (I'm not really awake yet, plus I only see TX for a short time each year so I really don't know what summer means for TX).

Just my 2 cents. Wink
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« Reply #2: April 26, 2007, 08:17:11 am »

My question is:  Are there others in my position, and how do you reconcile your displacement with the local seasons and changing climate?  Do you try to adapt to the environment you're temporarily in?  Or do you follow the seasons of where you feel "at home," even if that home is miles away?

I really can't help you as the disconnect between the real seasons of South Texas and the Wiccan seasonal celebrations is one of the things that convinced me that Wiccan really was not for me. My advice, for what little it is worth in this case, is if you want to follow the Wiccan Wheel of the Year you need to just follow it as it is and not try to match it with the seasons where you are.
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« Reply #3: April 26, 2007, 09:25:15 am »

I was actually reading Juni's blog--at http://conairancheo.blogspot.com/ (plug for Conair an Cheo! Whee!) when this thought came to me.


I have trying to become more in tune with my environment as it relates to my practice--noting when the leaves come out, when they fall, when the first snow comes, the first blistering hot day of summer and so on.  I would like to incorporate these things into my practice, and set up a more "localized" calendar that will help me feel more in tune with the earth.

The thing is, I'm a little displaced.  I am a student living in Philadelphia, PA who originally hails from (and returns to in the summer and winter breaks) San Antonio, Texas.  As might be inferred, the climate is quite different in Texas than Philly--for one thing, we have no fall, and summer lasts from April to November.  In Philly, there is such a thing as fall and such a thing as snow, and there is such a concept as "fall weather fashion."  Wink


My question is:  Are there others in my position, and how do you reconcile your displacement with the local seasons and changing climate?  Do you try to adapt to the environment you're temporarily in?  Or do you follow the seasons of where you feel "at home," even if that home is miles away?

To me, the latter seems a little like what Neo-Paganism does anyway--celebrating basically the climate and seasonal change of Ireland--which is quite a long way away, but convenient (and widespread) enough for use.

Since I am here in Philly nine months of the year, most of my "seasonal acknowledgements" would occur during my stay here.  But Texas... is where I truly feel at home, and truly feel connected, because my family and my "hearth" is there.  When I am in Philly, I never really shake off the student feeling--that I'm just here temporarily, I'm not here to stay.  How do I stay connected to a "home-y" pattern when I'm away from home for the majority of the year, and how do I still honor traditional seasonal changes like fall and winter (and important festivals like Imbolc) when I am at home where summer is the general rule of the year?

Any thoughts?

Yay for Philly!  I lived in the Coatesville/Honeybrook area of Pa. (bout an hour away) for 14 years :-) Great place to be. 

I've moved roughly seven times in the last ten years.  One was cross country, Pa to Ca. where I bounced up and down the coast for a few years and then to Tx.

I guess what has come from it, is that expectation doesn't work.  Anticipating seasonal changes - even in Tx with all the odd weather patterns lately, doesn't seem to work.  We've been yo-yo ing between the Tx version of winter, spring and summer on a nearly daily basis.  My seasonal associations are getting whiplash from all the high speed directional changes.

So I go with what they day brings.    I guess what I'm trying to say is, you end up out of order if you were trying to keep a regular seasonal "clock" but so long as you're somewhat aligning with what is on the menu, then it sort of works. 

In time the feeling of bringing chopsticks to a barbecue wears off.
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« Reply #4: April 26, 2007, 12:10:07 pm »

I really can't help you as the disconnect between the real seasons of South Texas and the Wiccan seasonal celebrations is one of the things that convinced me that Wiccan really was not for me. My advice, for what little it is worth in this case, is if you want to follow the Wiccan Wheel of the Year you need to just follow it as it is and not try to match it with the seasons where you are.

Well, I'm not Wiccan, so the Wheel of the Year isn't what I'm trying to sync up.  In building my own seasonal system, I've been trying to pay attention to what happens out here in Philly so that it can inform my work.  But I always get a little discombobulated by the annual relocation to South Texas.  Thankfully, I'm there for mostly during the summer months, when it's easy to see the solstice happening, and high summer.  But I'm also there during the winter solstice, when it's not quite so easy for me to see what's going on around me.  Particularly when most of the leaves are still on the trees and won't fall off until, like, January.

Yay for Philly!  I lived in the Coatesville/Honeybrook area of Pa. (bout an hour away) for 14 years :-) Great place to be. 

I've moved roughly seven times in the last ten years.  One was cross country, Pa to Ca. where I bounced up and down the coast for a few years and then to Tx.

I guess what has come from it, is that expectation doesn't work.  Anticipating seasonal changes - even in Tx with all the odd weather patterns lately, doesn't seem to work.  We've been yo-yo ing between the Tx version of winter, spring and summer on a nearly daily basis.  My seasonal associations are getting whiplash from all the high speed directional changes.

So I go with what they day brings.    I guess what I'm trying to say is, you end up out of order if you were trying to keep a regular seasonal "clock" but so long as you're somewhat aligning with what is on the menu, then it sort of works. 

In time the feeling of bringing chopsticks to a barbecue wears off.


Hmm... I think you're probably right.  Maybe one day when I find myself in a more settled place, I can work on making a kind of "seasonal clock," but for now, I shouldn't worry too much, I guess.
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« Reply #5: April 26, 2007, 06:44:58 pm »

Hmm... I think you're probably right.  Maybe one day when I find myself in a more settled place, I can work on making a kind of "seasonal clock," but for now, I shouldn't worry too much, I guess.

That is probably the most logical solution. I'm just not sure how satisfying a solution it is.
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« Reply #6: May 04, 2007, 02:09:45 am »

My question is:  Are there others in my position, and how do you reconcile your displacement with the local seasons and changing climate?  Do you try to adapt to the environment you're temporarily in?  Or do you follow the seasons of where you feel "at home," even if that home is miles away?

To me, the latter seems a little like what Neo-Paganism does anyway--celebrating basically the climate and seasonal change of Ireland--which is quite a long way away, but convenient (and widespread) enough for use.

Since I am here in Philly nine months of the year, most of my "seasonal acknowledgements" would occur during my stay here.  But Texas... is where I truly feel at home, and truly feel connected, because my family and my "hearth" is there.  When I am in Philly, I never really shake off the student feeling--that I'm just here temporarily, I'm not here to stay.  How do I stay connected to a "home-y" pattern when I'm away from home for the majority of the year, and how do I still honor traditional seasonal changes like fall and winter (and important festivals like Imbolc) when I am at home where summer is the general rule of the year?

Any thoughts?

First off, I really feel your pain on this. I've moved a lot in the last few years and it's really something to acclimate to a new climate. I don't have the added problem of being in a different place for a whole summer, but I can share this feeling.

Personally, I don't try to honor the seasons for where I feel most at home. I wouldn't be able to pull it off. I never know how long I'll be in a certain place - it may be a year, it might be forever. I enjoy watching the seasons unfold for the first time in a new place and then, if I'm lucky, watching it happen again the next year.

It can be frustrating because I don't know what to expect. Will it ever stop snowing? Does the sun ever shine here? Just how hot is it going to get? And I miss the seasons that I came to expect in the place I feel most at home which is Arkansas. I sometimes even miss the oppressively muggy summer nights because while I hate mosquitoes, I love lightning bugs.

I may not feel completely at home in every place I live but as far as the seasons, I try to embrace them fully for what they are make the best of it. I know you are not Wiccan (and I am) but they way I view the seasons aren't just in a "seasonal" way. I see them also (among other things) in context of growing light and dark - If I'm bummed by the nature of a regions particular season (or lack thereof) I can still usually make it fit.

I don't just celebrate spring as the time when flowers bloom but also the concepts that go along with "spring". I've never lived in a place where there isn't some sign of spring, even if that sign is just less snow than last week or a new selection of veggies of the supermarket.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that for me, I have accepted that the seasons aren't always going to show me exactly what Imbolc or the Summer Solstice tells me it should and I've learned to look for other signs. And a spring afternoon in Denver is not going to feel like a spring afternoon in Arkansas.

Melanie
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« Reply #7: May 04, 2007, 08:19:20 am »

First off, I really feel your pain on this. I've moved a lot in the last few years and it's really something to acclimate to a new climate. I don't have the added problem of being in a different place for a whole summer, but I can share this feeling.

Personally, I don't try to honor the seasons for where I feel most at home. I wouldn't be able to pull it off. I never know how long I'll be in a certain place - it may be a year, it might be forever. I enjoy watching the seasons unfold for the first time in a new place and then, if I'm lucky, watching it happen again the next year.

It can be frustrating because I don't know what to expect. Will it ever stop snowing? Does the sun ever shine here? Just how hot is it going to get? And I miss the seasons that I came to expect in the place I feel most at home which is Arkansas. I sometimes even miss the oppressively muggy summer nights because while I hate mosquitoes, I love lightning bugs.

I may not feel completely at home in every place I live but as far as the seasons, I try to embrace them fully for what they are make the best of it. I know you are not Wiccan (and I am) but they way I view the seasons aren't just in a "seasonal" way. I see them also (among other things) in context of growing light and dark - If I'm bummed by the nature of a regions particular season (or lack thereof) I can still usually make it fit.

I don't just celebrate spring as the time when flowers bloom but also the concepts that go along with "spring". I've never lived in a place where there isn't some sign of spring, even if that sign is just less snow than last week or a new selection of veggies of the supermarket.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that for me, I have accepted that the seasons aren't always going to show me exactly what Imbolc or the Summer Solstice tells me it should and I've learned to look for other signs. And a spring afternoon in Denver is not going to feel like a spring afternoon in Arkansas.

Melanie

Thanks; your post helped me feel a little more satisfied with my decision to just keep on keepin' on, and just enjoy the seasons where I am.  It's true that "spring" comes in more ways than just the flowers--heck, just going to college you can tell when spring is here because we're all going crazy. Cheesy  The beauty of the natural world coming into bloom, and then very quickly leafing into full green, is just an experience that I haven't really...well... had before.  In Texas, all of the live oak are still green all throughout the year.  You can tell spring (and fall) have come when everyone is sneezing and dying of the pollen allergies.  Cheesy

But that has been spring to me.  And now I have spring in Philly (the more traditional, flowers blooming, leafing trees type) to add to my enjoyments. 

And a spring morning in Philadelphia only feels like a spring morning in San Antonio when the sun hasn't come up yet.  Wink
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« Reply #8: June 20, 2007, 12:30:51 pm »

...how do you reconcile your displacement with the local seasons and changing climate?  Do you try to adapt to the environment you're temporarily in?  Or do you follow the seasons of where you feel "at home," even if that home is miles away?

This could be your opportunity to experience the seasons so that you have experience from which to draw for the rest of your lifetime.  To me, each of the seasons are an analogy for a way that a specific sort of elemental energy feels.  But I didn't really get it until I moved from southern California to a place where the seasons are much more extreme.  Now that I've made the connections, I think I could take my system to any locale and figure out how to use it there.

Not everyone finds meaning in the seasons, but I have come to view the underlying energies as very important.  San Antonio has the seasons too, but they're not as noticeable.  I think I'd take the opportunity to experience the incredible contrasts while you have the chance, and I'd take full advantage of the magical implications.
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« Reply #9: June 20, 2007, 03:59:28 pm »

{snippage}

Any thoughts?

I'm in the opposite position: I grew up near Philly, and now live in Austin, TX.  I miss fall and spring!

Now that I live down here, I pay attention to what the weather is doing to guide my practice w/r/t what few seasonal rituals, etc I actually partake in.  It doesn't make sense to have cold-weather-related objects on my altar space when it's still getting into the 90s outside and I still need to use the A/C to keep from melting.  Cheesy  But I also pay attention to the more secular seasonal rituals that everyone partakes in (Halloween, Thanksgiving in the US, etc) for time-markers, to trigger that place in my brain that recognizes a need for that.

It can be discomfiting for those of us who've moved around a lot *after* spending a great portion of our lives in one climate.  Because the seasons (or lack thereof) really do become time markers and impact how we remember certain times of our lives.  How we respond to similar times now that we're older.

**stops babbling**

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« Reply #10: June 21, 2007, 08:56:06 pm »

And a spring afternoon in Denver is not going to feel like a spring afternoon in Arkansas.

Melanie

Ah yes, Arkansas, the place of 2 weeks to a month of winter, some years, and real winter other years, and very long springs, early summers, and late falls.  Even here, living in the same state all my life, the seasons are changing from what they used to be.  When I was a kid, we had real snow for long periods of time on the ground.  I can remember in the late 70's to mid 80's it was like that.  Somewhere along the way, much of the concept of winter seems to have left.  One thing remains true about Arkansas, it never stays the same  Cheesy 

This year we didnt have a real winter.  A few flakes of snow, and a late freeze when everything had already budded out, but that is about it.

Has anyone else noticed this in the last few years where you live, that things arent the same as to what they used to be, and how does it affect your sense of the seasons? 

Gina
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