Earth Wobble, Climate Change, Pole Shift … and the Changing Sky above Me
As I write this in early July, the heat index is 110 degrees but it feels like fall. Energetically, that is. Temperature-wise, itâ€™s hot as hell outside and the hottest weather is yet to come.
Autumn is my favorite season and maybe thatâ€™s why I noticed this first, before I noticed the changes in the sky. Where I live, the temperature does not begin to cool until late September, sometimes even early October, though I remember as a teenager in the late â€˜70s wearing stylish tweed suits to the first September football games and being quite comfortable on a nippy Friday night.
But the energy of fall is very different from the weather of fall.
Autumn, to me, has the energetic feel–for lack of a better term–of lushness and abundance. It is the time in my life when I have most often fallen in love. I grew up on a farm, attuned to the seasons and how each felt. Â Not just the weather but the life forceÂ of each season. I always laugh at Northerners who tell me that the South doesnâ€™t have real seasons. There may not beÂ snow and the trees mayÂ changeÂ color only during Thanksgiving week, but energetically there are most definitely four distinct seasons.
My spiritual path for the past twenty years has also been closely aligned to the seasons and the subtle pulse of the Earth. I have often wondered, on nights when I stared up at the sky or into the full moon, what will become of future generations, presumably living on other planets and not attuned to the Earth? Will they feel the seasons? Will they miss the moon without knowing what is missing from their lives? Â How will the lack of connection to this planet affect them–both on a psychological and spiritual basis? Are we not all connected to the sphere on whichÂ we spin on a core DNA level? All of us sharing common ancestors? Â Our bodies composed of and returning to the soil of this Earth?
When I first noticed the feel of autumn in scorching early August a few years ago, I was fortunate enough to have several friends who heard me mention it and agreed. They were a Wiccan, a Druid, a gardener, and a farmer. All of them had noted the same thing, the feeling that autumn had come early, very early, even though the weather was still brutally hot and humid. It was an odd thing for all of us to note independently, though none of us had paidÂ particular attention to it until we shared that moment. That was in 2011 and I felt the same in 2012, 2013, and 2014. This year, in 2015, Iâ€™m feeling it a full five weeks earlier than I have in the last several years, and so are my friends who are attuned to the cycles of the planet.
This past year, something more than the season has felt off. Even the days feel off. Other â€œsensitivesâ€ agree, although none of us can easily find the words to explain exactly what this â€œoffnessâ€ isâ€”only that we feel it.
A year ago, I began walking at sunrise every morning instead of during the day or evenings, partly to avoid the heat and partly to avoid certain people I donâ€™t want to run into on my usual daily miles. A year later, to the day, the sunrises and the sunrise walks feel different to me and, again, I canâ€™t quite put my finger on what it is.
Last week I had an epiphany, the kind that makes you wonder how you missed it before. I had just come from watching a lecture on climate change and how to use this particular knowledge in planning national policy, economic strategy, and military strategy–for the US and well as for other countries. This was not a lecture about politiciansâ€™ theories or tree-huggers. It was part of a course to help me understand how changes going on around the planet will have a long-term effect on my countryâ€™s responsibilities–both globally and to its own citizens.
Although I was familiar with many of the climate changeÂ events presented in the lecture, as documented through the major news networks, I also heard things I had not heard before, including how some of these events are connected and a timeline for dealing with them. Details about island nations that are sinking into extinction somehow reminded me of the number of times in the last year that Iâ€™ve looked at my yard after a thunderstorm and wondered how it is that it was flooding in places it never had before in the twenty years Iâ€™ve lived in this house. Then it struck me that it wasnâ€™t just my backyard that seemed different but the sky above as well. Only, again, I couldnâ€™t quite put my finger on it.
A few days later, in a small group gathering, a friend of mine asked, very tentatively, â€œSo, um, has anyone else noticed that the sun isnâ€™t in the same place anymore?â€ Her words hit me right between the eyes. She wasnâ€™t talking about the time of the year or where the sun is in the sky at the summer solstice versus the winter solstice, but where the sun is now versus where it was a year ago, or two years ago, or ten years ago. The same day, an almost identical discussion was fostered by Kelley Harrell of Soul Intent Arts.
Yes, sometimes the collective consciousness has to kick me in the butt–or between the eyes–to get me to pay attention.
Iâ€™ve not been as attuned to the sun as I am to other heavenly bodies and I think that’s partly because, with many of my days, Iâ€™ve been at work before sunrise and at work late after the sun has set. Â Iâ€™m not in the same place every day, let alone in the same place at the same time every year to mark its passing.
With the moon, I have had a few, again, odd notices of something different–and I hate to use the word odd but it fits better than any other I can think of. Â I’ve followed the movements of the moon for most of my life but especially over the last decade since I built my first backyard fire pit where I often spend at least a little time on full moon nights enjoying the solitude and connection with Nature. Â Due North of my fire circle is a flagstone where I usually stand when I stare up at the night sky in reverence for this magnificent creation above my head, around me, and beneath my feet. Â This is the stone I’ve stood on for over 10 years, so I know the differences in where the celestial bodies are Â at different times of the month and of the year. Â It’s so much a habit that I don’t pay much attention anymore. Â I’m not always out there at the same time of night but several times in the past year, the moon has not been where I expected it to be. Â I’ve always been able to find its arc easily in relation to particular trees in my yard, and it’s been behind different trees. Â I had noticed but then, not really noticed enough for the difference to hold my attention after I went back inside and resumed my busy life.
But what hit me so hard when I was asked if I had noticed changes in the sky was that I had noticed. It just hadnâ€™t registered. I hadnâ€™t noticed changes in the sun or moon so much Â as I had noticed changes in constellations. Iâ€™ve been an avid sky watcher since I was a little girl, but I moved around a bit in my young adulthood. Now that Iâ€™ve been in one place for over 22 years, I know the changing seasons and the weather, right down to which days of March will dip into that last “unexpected” freeze that will destroy any bedding plants Iâ€™ve put out in the first beautiful days of warm weather.
When my children were little and needed reassurance, I would take them out in the late fall and early winter and point out the constellation of Orion. I gave each of them stars when they were about four or five years old. BetelgeuseÂ for one and Rigel for the other, both in the constellation of Orion.
â€œSee those three stars?â€ I told them, pointing at Orionâ€™s belt. â€œThatâ€™s Mommy in the middle with my arms stretched open wide to you both.â€
And then Â I turned with my arms stretched wide from one to the other & then one to the other again and made them laugh. They both grew up thinking that they owned stars in a constellation. In those days, when I pointed out Orion, it was at the end of our driveway, at midnight in September. They understood what the constellation looked like and,Â if no other, they could point OrionÂ out among all the stars throughout the winter and name the red star and the blue one.
These are special Mother-Daughter moments, forever in my heart, so I am not unsure of the constellationâ€™s location in aspect to my family home in September through December.
On a particular night in September 2008, I stood at the end of that driveway looking up into the eyes of my then-boyfriend. It was after midnight. Not by much, but enough that he was dreading being late getting back to Ranger Camp, finishing a load of laundry, and then getting up for a hard three daysâ€™ stint of work before he could see me again. The day had been eventful in many ways and then it was ending with kisses on my driveway, the constellation of Orion rising behind him in the night skyâ€”at the corner of my drivewayâ€”and him professing his love for me a moment before he slid into his car and drove away.
Last year, on the same date in September, I had another eventful day. A very hard one, this time. And, somehow, there I was, at midnight, pushing the big garbage can out to the end of the driveway and realizing, suddenly, that it was the anniversary of a night that was very sweet. Â I paused there–in the same place I had stood with my arms around Army Boyâ€™s neck–no longer thinking either kindly or unkindly toward him, but really not thinking much about him at all. Instead, I was thinking about Orion rising in the eastern sky and wondering where it was. As I turned to go back inside, I found it in the skyâ€¦but above my neighborâ€™s drive, not mine. Still, it was late and I had a lot on my mindÂ about the hard day I’d had.
I had a lot of difficult things on my mind last fall, so I wasnâ€™t paying that much attention to the sky, but I did notice a few other times, when I was out in the evening looking at the night sky, that Orion seemed to be in a different place than it had been in prior years. I wasnâ€™t even sure when it had happened, this difference in where it was placed or at least my perception of it as being different. But, the first time I noticed for certain was in September of 2014.
In the last week, Iâ€™ve talked to a number of people who are either farmers, gardeners, amateur astronomers,Â or people who follow a spiritual path centered around the Earth. Those who have lived in one place for a decade or more and some who have lived there less report that there are changes that theyâ€™ve noticed but, like me, had not quite registered what the changes were or what they meant.
While taking a week off to be at home and work on a special project, Iâ€™ve had the luxury of watching sunrises and sunsets every day and, just in the last week, Iâ€™ve noticed a few things that I would not have noticed before, due to my busy life. In my home office, I can see the sunsetâ€”through my northern windowâ€”at the height of summer. Twenty years in the same house, ten years with my desk in the same spot, much of it in the same chair, and Iâ€™ve never until this summer been able to catch the sunset through this window.
The other thing that was new and different was walking around my house about an hour before sunset during what my photographer daughter calls â€œthe golden hour.â€ In the narrow side yard, between the southern end of my house and my neighborâ€™s fence, the light came through as though it were a golden hallway. It reminded me a bit of Stonehenge at summer solstice, with the light coming through the stones. It was a golden tunnel of light and beautiful, something I surely would have noticed at least once before, in all the years of living here. That passageway is at an unusual angle and the sun has to shine between several trees to hit it just right.
The last thing I noticed about the sunâ€™s placement is that, forÂ years, Iâ€™ve been able to tell if I was going to be late for work by whether or not a certain design appeared on the tile floor just inside my front door. The sun shines on the glass pane above the door and makes an unusual design on the floor that looks like a dragon. That design, the angle and the depth of it, has changed as well.
Iâ€™m not sure why all this has happened, or exactly when. Just that it is different now. The sky is different above me–the constellations, sun, and moon. We have no concept of where we are in the universe except by our connection to our planet and no way of telling where our planet is in connection to the universe without looking outward at the celestial bodies.
Yes, Iâ€™m sure we have scientists, astrophysicists, astronomers to tell us these things, but the average person doesnâ€™t know unless they are attuned to the Earth and the sky. Even NASA has said that earthquakes can affect the tilt of the Earth, but I donâ€™t believe anyone ever said exactly how that would look. I think, maybe, Iâ€™m beginning to understand that now.
Maybe this is why everything feels a little off in the day and in the seasons. Â Maybe this is why our world and the people who inhabit the planet with us seem a little out of balance these days. Â Because we are.Â