Dry Season in Southwest Florida – pace yourself!

Hello Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans, welcome, finally, to Dry Season.

To catch you all up a bit, here in the Earthways Shamanic Path, I’m writing about the Seasons from a place-based point of view.  I encourage you to really get to know Mother Earth where you live, to learn what the Seasons are where you live, beyond the four known as “Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer.” 

Dry Season starts in Southwest Florida in mid-October, and runs till about mid-February.  The first obvious marker of Dry Season, is that it stops raining every day.  And, it gets markedly less humid in Dry Season.  So all the people say, “Ahhhhhh, it is such a nice day out!!!”  The light is shifting.  Different trees are blooming now, and different fruits and vegetables are growing now.  Birds are beginning to migrate here from other places.

Turner Road-Dry Season
Turner Road in Dry Season

And people are migrating here from all over the country.  Down here, we call them, Snowbirds.  (A Snowbird is different from a Tourist; Snowbirds tend to own property here, and stay for several months, whereas most Tourists rent and don’t stay as long.  A lot of people say there are only two seasons in Florida, Tourist Season and Rainy Season.  They are missing the nuances.)  There is a gradual influx of people until the crescendo in mid-February.  By then, our regional population about doubles.

Dry Season in Southwest Florida is marked by a surge in THINGS TO DO.   Suddenly, there are festivals all over Florida, every weekend.  There are art gallery openings and exhibits and contests.  There are plays and concerts.  There are fund raising events and college alumni get-togethers.  And, because it has stopped raining so much and the weather is more comfortable and less buggy, there are now all kinds of nature-oriented things to do too.  People go camping now, and there are swamp-walks and people go star-gazing and kayaking.

While most people were almost in hibernation-mode in their air-conditioned homes and offices during Hurricane Season, now in Dry Season, they can get out and about.

The primary Spiritual aspect of Dry Season is to pace yourself!  There is so much to enjoy, and most people can’t do everything.  You have to prioritize:  you have to decide what’s really important to you, and figure out how much time and other resources ($$$) you have, and do what you can.  And, you have to find your way to stay centered.  You need to carve out down-time for yourself, to restore your energetic reserves because if you try to do everything, you may tire yourself out.

Although the Earthways Shamanic Path is based in Florida, it can be celebrated anywhere.  You just need to explore the magic of your land.  What is it saying to you?   What are the seasons, where you live?  What do they mean to you?  How are they celebrated? 

And “Let’s Share Peace With Our Earth.”

Join Whale Maiden in the discussion at the Earthways Shamanic Path – Facebook Group

(c) 2015, Whale Maiden.  All Rights Reserved. 

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Changing Seasons, changing lives

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Rainy Season: Afternoon thunder shower forming over the Mid-point Bridge from Cape Coral to Fort Myers, FL. June 9, 2015

I think it is FINALLY Rainy Season here in Southwest Florida.  I have traditionally marked it as starting June 15th, plus or minus a day or two, since the Earth does wobble a bit on her axis.

It seems to me that this time of year, is the start of the new year, in Southwest Florida.  Many Pagans I know, start their year at Samhain (October 31st) when it is said that the the veil between the worlds is thin.

But the way I look at it, this is the start of the new year.  This is the time of year when school is out for the summer, and people are graduating, getting married, and moving away.  Some people do all of that in a whirlwind week of change.  The rest of us, go see them off:  we go to graduation ceremonies, to weddings and we help people pack up and move.

In Southwest Florida, all of that is happening as we slog into Rainy Season.  When I place an emphasis on “Rainy Season,”  I am talking about the Wheel of the Year, in accordance with the weather here in Southwest Florida.  (This concordance is in contrast to the Pagan Wheel of the Year celebrated by a lot of pagans:  Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Spring Equinox, Beltaine, Summer Solstice, Lunnasagh, and Mabon/Autumnal Equinox.)

Here in Southwest Florida, we have Rainy Season,  Hurricane Season, Autumnal Equinox, Dry Season, and, Fire Season.  The Solstices and Equinoxes are interspersed in this annual cycle, but I’ll talk about that more, in another post.

After we do all those family rituals and ceremonies, then it is a smart time to do a ceremony to honor the shift of what “was,” and recognize that everything that follows, is new now.  In Southwest Florida, the Rain is very cleansing.,  It usually hasn’t rained a whole lot since about mid-October.  The Earth is dry and everything is kind of dusty.  The Rains literally wash the dirt away.

Once the daily afternoon thunder showers start happening, here in Southwest Florida, then the accompanying element of Humidity, rears its head.  (Humidity is another face of Water.)

In Southwest Florida, our whole way of approaching daily life, changes in Rainy Season.  It must, because Rainy Season is characterized by Rain — usually daily afternoon thundershowers, high Humidity, and Heat.   We also have a high UV index, because we are so far South, we are in the Tropics.

This time of year, I tend to get up earlier, because I want to get a lot of things done before it gets too humid.  I want to sit on the lanai in the morning and bird watch and read Facebook, until it gets too hot to sit out there.  I need to do yard work, before it gets too hot.  I should run to the grocery store, before it gets too hot.  Hmmm, maybe I’ll go to the Beach, before it gets too hot.  So, I have to prioritize and decide, before it gets too hot.

This time of year, by about 10:00 AM, it is usually over 80 degrees and Humid.  If you can manage it, you don’t run errands from noon until after it has rained.  For one thing, it is too hot to be out, if you don’t have to.  For another thing, once it starts raining, seems like everybody forgets how to drive on wet/slippery roads.  This is a particular problem, because the daily afternoon thunder storms occur during rush hour.

On the other hand, there’s less traffic on the road this time of year because the Snowbirds left just before Easter, and, the Tourists haven’t all arrived yet.  {That’s a distinction I’ll save for another post.}  So, for a few weeks, the restaurants are less crowded, and so is everything else.  It is just hot, and everyone is exclaiming that to each other.

When Rainy Season starts, in Southwest Florida, we do a Water Ceremony.  After setting up sacred space, and after acknowledging the Great Spirit and Father Sky, the Big Water, and Mother Earth, and the Four Directions, then we thank the Rains for coming, for without it, we’d all go hungry.  We honor the aspect of High Humidity, because that’s about all you CAN do about Humidity.  We drink water, to honor the Rains and because this time of year, that’s just smart to stay hydrated.

After the daily afternoon thunder shower, the plants and the Mother Earth usually drink up all the water very quickly, and what wasn’t absorbed gets steamed off…

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After it Rains, June 2015.

The point of the Earthways Shamanic Path, is to learn what the natural rhythms are where you live, and then, honor those rhythms.  In doing so, you will Share Peace With Our Earth.

Fire Season and the explosion of riches

Let’s continue exploring what Fire Season is all about here in Southwest Florida.   This is the time of year when people are visiting us from the Northern United States and Canada.   People stay for a week or two or more, perhaps a couple of months.  To the visitors, it is warm here, compared to Michigan or Ohio, or Pennsylvania, where it is below freezing.  Consequently, January-February- and March is when we have every imaginable festival going on.  It is an explosion of riches.

There are:  Food festivals, arts festivals, medieval faires, music festivals; Concerts, Circuses, and Open Houses and parades of homes, and street parades, and more.  There are also all the fund-raisers events going on.  The charity balls, the galas, the silent auctions. Most of these events are held on the weekends.

And there is typically at least 3 different things you want to do each weekend, and people have to make decisions about what they will attend, and what they will have to skip this year.  (Of course, some events may migrate to the net town up the road, next weekend so if you want to catch it, you could go on a road trip.)  Most people have a limited allowance of money or time to spend on all this activity.  You have to budget accordingly.

But in a few months, all that activity will die down.  The Snowbirds will leave, and it will become too hot to have festivals outdoors every weekend.  (At least, too hot for most people.)  There will still be some events like boat races and the seafood festivals.

SO the yearly influx of people is like a fuel for the fire of the yearly smorgasbord of festivals.