It’s kind of annoying that university students are gearing up (late August through early-December) when the solar year is gearing down and then the academic year is gearing down (January through early May) when the solar year is gearing up. That disconnect can be a little disconcerting for me at times, most especially in the fall semester (August to December) because my energy pattern does follow the solar calendar pretty closely! Consequently, the Fall semester is the hardest time in the calendar for me to try and force myself into the necessary head space for school. Autumn is when the air is growing chill, the leaves are changing, and a couple of my favorite Holy Days take place (Autumnal Equinox and Samhain). But during those beautiful introspective, family oriented months, I am stuck in classrooms, stuffy office buildings, and meetings, and I feel very removed from folks I care about and the changing seasons for the vast majority of each day. Also, because autumn is my favorite season (not too hot, not too cold, gorgeous, and aromatic) I especially resent having the least amount of time to venture into nature, when the world is at the height of its transition.
In Spring it is not so bad because for at least part of that semester, the solar year and the academic calendar sync up and for a brief moment the sun is on the rise along with classes, meetings, and the like. However, that’s really more the case in a technical sense rather than in reality because anyone living in the midwest knows that January and February, and oftentimes March as well, still look a lot like winter here and the sun’s rise to power is slow going.
I will say that it is nice to have the warm part of the year free so that I can partake in exciting outdoor activities but I still wonder if in the end it would not be better to shift the academic year so that it aligned to begin well into the waxing year which is in March (when the sun is in Aries, the sign of the Initiator) and ends when we are into the waning year which is in November (when the sun is in Scorpio, the sign of the Victor). With that schedule, we might even be able to slip a four week vacation in around June or July so that the summer is not spent completely cut off from the outdoors. A four-week break around that time would still allow us to capitalize on the synergy that would arise from having an academic year that is invigorated and animated by the sun’s journey across sky. There will be a lull in the academic year regardless of where we cut it because it covers about nine months. However, a March (Aries inspired) start would take advantage of the roar and forward momentum of the rising sun, and we could coast on that through August (time of Leo, the sign of the Shining One). Just when we would start to wind down, the solar year would also winding down, and the academic year would be 6 months over with only two or three more months to go. At that time, memories of the beginning would be bright and the end would be in sight.
Alas, a Pagan PhD student can dream.