Tara Celebrations get-togethers are founded on 8 solar festivals. These mark an annual cycle through the year in the western European traditions - often, these days, talked of as the Celtic Year. Around the world others, either in community or individually, also celebrate the eight fold year and we draw on and gain inspiration from them and all cultures celebrating our lives on earth.

Looking at the eastern horizon we notice that each day the sun rises in a different place, slowly moving up and down from the extremes of the solstices...

.... and at mid-day the sun is low in the sky at winter solstice moving to be high and above us in the summer.

We are fortunate in this part of the world to experience a seasonal cycle of extended daylight and extended darkness. There are no seasons at the Equator as the sunlight arrives onto the earth at about the same angle every day. At the North and South Pole extremes rule the day - in the Northern summer there is all day sunlight and all is darkness in the winter. These differences are caused by the tilt of the earth.

And, of course, we are based in the Northern Hemisphere of earth. When the sun is low in the sky and rising in the south east, our winter time, those in the southern lands are basking in the hot days of the summer.

Thus the 8 celebrations focus on the effect of the sun's movement as changes in the landscape. We notice how the bare trees of winter sprout their vibrant spring foliage, become lush and green in summer, hiding bird's nests and providing shelter for hot sheep. Then, as the sun moves south, the land cools, shadows lengthen and fruits form from summer's abundant flowers. We gather a harvest, ready for the return to the bareness and bleak cold of winter.

Living in tune with our local natural world often leads to a better understanding of what is occuring in our own physical, emotional, mental and spiritual life. As we move through the seasons, experiencing their rhythms and qualities, we come to understand the challenges and joys of our own lives.

Time and again, as we celebrate these changes in our environment, we notice that our lives often reflect change happening in a cycle. As I mature I think, I have been in this situation before. I look back and see the pattern of my life. Humans love finding patterns.