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Alban Eiler – Light of the Earth

Alban Eiler – Light of the Earth

The Vernal or Spring Equinox was on March 21, 2019 appearing with a full moon designated the “Super Worm Moon.” This is the last Super Moon (appearing large and close to the earth) of 2019 and the last time a Super Moon will coincide with the Spring Equinox until 2030. “Worm” refers to the appearance of earth worms brought on by the warming sun. A notable day, indeed!

The “Wheel of the Year” in Celtic tradition is divided into the Dark Half and the Light Half. Samhain (Oct 31) is the beginning of the Dark Half and Beltane (May 1) begins the Light Half; between these thresholds fall Imbolc (Feb 1) and Lughnasa (Aug 1). These are the “sign posts” of the seasons. Dividing these quarters yet again are the Summer and Winter Solstices and the Autumn and Spring Equinoxes; known as the four “Albans.” Alban is “rock” in Gaelic, “white/light” in Latin; related to “Alba,” the Gaelic name for Scotland. Today is Alban Eiler meaning “Light of the Earth.”

To the Moon

Greeting to you, gem of the night!

Beauty of the skies, gem of the night!

Mother of the stars, gem of the night!

Foster-child of the sun, gem of the night!

Majesty of the stars, gem of the night!

(Scottish Gaelic; traditional folk prayer)

Today’s celestial activity is recognized as the beginning of summer, a genuine warming that confirms the Cailleach of Winter is moving on to make way for the Spring Maiden. The sun shines directly on the earth’s equator while the earth’s axis is pointing neither toward nor away from light’s source. Day time and Night time feel approximately equal. Today, eggs can be stood balancing on end! 

It’s an auspicious time for starting something new, bringing to fruition a project or dream that’s been dormant, to unleash the spring cleaning – literally and figuratively.

There are liminal times and liminal places; thin places where the veil between this world and the other world can be crossed with ease. A Super Worm Moon Equinox is certainly such a time and standing stones are such places.

Stone Circles are a feat of engineering, an astronomical wonder, and a tantalizing mystery for each generation to observe their silent witness across the British Isles. From Stone Henge in Wiltshire England to the unusually landscaped Kenmare Stone Circle in Ireland, there are dozens of formations large and small. Some of them have been designated as World Heritage Sites; others are inconspicuously keeping watch in back gardens or fields of sheep. I think it is a tremendous testimony to the locals and their relationship with the land that these features are accorded timeless respect. That’s why so many are still around for us to ponder and enjoy.

The Callanais Stones on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland may also spring to mind with the current popularity of Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series. At the Celtic Ranch, you can find a series of jewelry pieces inspired by the story. Among them are pendants and brooches featuring the Callanish Standing Stones depicted on a moonlit night. Whether you dream of time travel or travel across the pond, these are a lovely inspiration for the creative energy rising like sap in these gentle days of warming spring.

Lori McAlister,

Wrangler of Cultural Affairs

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