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By Emily Unsworth White

Heuldo'r Gaeaf, Winter Solstice

The darkness is deep on the shortest day of the year with no illumination from the New Moon. As the weak moon sets on the eve of Winter Solstice the Yew is symbolic of the death of the year and with the sunrise, rebirth. This sacred tree holds both medicine and poison, much like the Elder, named mother and witch. In the 16 hours of darkness between sunset and rise the Badger has the night, emerging from burrows deep in the earth.

Gwyl Ffraid, Imbolc

Small signs of life returning, the sap is rising with a slither of sun and a waxing crescent moon. The Hedgehog opens one lid from winter's rest. Rowan or Luisliu meaning Flame and delight of the eye, brings the promise of warmth. Although its bright berries will not appear until July, it is early to leaf and blossom in April.

Cyhydnos y Gwanwyn, Spring Equinox

The golden gorse is warmed by the sun as bloom and change is underway. The night and day are now at equilibrium, each 12 hours long. The Moon in the first quarter, brings light to the nights, the Frog leaps, bringing and movement. The Alder leaves unfurl along waterways, bringing medicine and building timber as the months of light and hard work begin.

Calan Mai, Beltane

Welcoming balmy days, the plentiful Hare leaps under the 13 hour sun which is almost at its full strength. The waxing Gibbous moon illuminates the shorter nights. The Willow dances as all life dances in this time of fertility and celebration. Willow's elegance inspires love and merriment.

Heuldro'r Haf, Summer Solstice

The sun beams on the longest day of the year. This day of light is followed by a night of light. A short 6 hours under the heavy full moon. The butterfly flourishes from the caterpillar, dancing along the blooming Heather in the height of its beauty. The strong and abundant Oak tree reigns on high for one last day.

Gwyl Awst, Lammas

Bats delight in the long and warm evenings which gently decrease. As the first bread of the Harvest is broken, the Waning Gibbous moon enters after a 15 hour day. Holly is the king of the waning half of the year, evergreen leaves bring delight on the darkest of night and sharp leaves warn us as we enter the cusp of harder times.

Cyhydnos yr Hydref, Autumn Equinox

Day and night are again at equilibrium as the night again closes in under the Third Quarter Moon. The Mouse is a creature of the Harvest time, there is enough for all. The blackberries reach their peak and begin to fade in colder nights. Aspen leaves tremble in the slightest breeze and mark the beginning of the fall.

Calan Gaeaf, Samhain

The Blackbird calls to mark the reign of darker months, transporting us on wing and song. Under the Waning Crescent, the night rules for 14 hours. Reed or March Elder was a valuable thatch to protect homes in the wet months which now approach. The Reed which grows in waterways holds tales of metamorphosis. Home to small birds, the sounds of which convey esoteric messages. And again the cycle continues.

About the Seasonal Connections Artist Residencies @Global Gardens

In 2022 Global Gardens Project was awarded funding by the Gwendoline and Margaret Davies sisters to facilitate two artist residencies. These residencies were centered around cyclic patterns within the garden, solar, lunar and the Celtic festivities which traditionally celebrated them. Cath Little, Welsh storyteller and singer and Emily Unsworth-White a visual artist were the two artists engaged in the Seasonal Connections residency program. This blog and the eight seasonal banners were created by Emily Unsworth White as part of her residency.


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