Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Savings Time is one of those things that many people are frustrated by.  To many of us, myself included, it seems like an unnecessary hassle, and feels like it creates more trouble that it is worth.  There are many beliefs about DST, from how it came to be to why we continue to do it.  Some people are fans, and I have seen many different arguments for the benefits of keeping with the system.

Most of the time it is farmers that are attributed with the creation of DST, the idea being that farmers would want the extra daylight time.  However, many farmers throughout the years have actively opposed DST.  Shifting how we track time limits farmers in the morning, when many are working to bring their wares to market.  And since animals don't respond to DST, that further complicates things for them.

Two of the earliest people credited with suggesting daylight savings times did so because of their hobbies.  One collected insects as a hobby, and desired extra daylight hours after work in which to pursue his interests.  The other enjoyed morning rides and golfing, and was dismayed to see his countrymen sleeping through the early summer light and hated cutting his golf rounds short at dusk.

But one of the main reasons we observe DST today was because of WWI.  Germany led the way, adopting the practice as a way to conserve coal during wartime.  Many countries followed suit, and though the practice was abandoned during times of peace, it would be reinstated during times of war. 

Some countries have never used DST, and some have used it in the past but do not use it today.  Not all countries adjust their clocks at the same time.  This year, for example, Europe changed their clocks a week before the US.  And while the US changes clocks at 2am local time (so each time zone changes at a different time UTC), Europe changes at the same 'base' time (which means each time zone changes at a different local time).

This of course leads to a lot of confusion.  Not only does each individual need to remember to change their clocks (if they live in a place that observes DST), the time conversion globally fluctuations during this time of the year, making it way more complex to organize things with people who don't live near you.

But under it all, there exists the potential for a unique magical opportunity.  When I was first starting out, I was fascinated by the 'year and a day' concept of time.  It was one of those things that was often quoted in regards to a course of study.  The standard for a degree (back when everyone talked about the three degrees) was to study for a year and a day....and that was after spending a year and a day researching and learning to see if the path was right for you to begin with.

I wondered why the day was tacked on, and then I came across the 'time outside of time' concept.  One of the sources I read listed December 23, as a day of Time beyond Time...and the 'day' in the year and a day.  In some older calendar calculations (particularly Egyptian), in the desire to have months with regular and equal days, the extra days were considered special feast days and not counted as part of the regular year.

While we don't get a full day for DST, twice a year we end up with an hour that is not counted normally.  In the fall, when clocks 'fall back', this means we get an extra hour.  In the spring, when clocks 'spring forward' we loose an hour, skipping it entirely.  This creates a really interesting potential for using this time to do magical work.

In the fall, when we have our extra hour, this is a perfect time to do rituals or workings for increase.  It would be especially good for things that you want to do but never seem to find the time to do.  Another option is to use this extra time to call other bounty into your life....other luxuries or extras you would like to have more of!

In the spring, consider 'scheduling' things you dislike in this missing hour.  You can do this anytime before the time changes and the hours is lost.  You can create an entry in your calendar or datebook and write down the things you want to loose in that time slot.  Or you can make an appointment card or notice on a separate piece of paper, and list all the things you want to skip on it.  This is also a good time to work on things you would like to pass by quicker, as that hour will slip by in an instant!

You can also use the whole time between when DST starts in the spring and when it ends in the fall to honor blessings in your life that you are 'saving'.  Summer months are often quite busy, and we may not take time to notice all the wonderful things in our lives.  And, during the winter months, we may feel starved of all these 'light' things that feel very far away. 

Why not create a Light jar!  Take some kind of container and keep colorful scraps of paper nearby.  When you feel blessed by something, write it on a piece of paper and put it in your Light jar.  You can fill it with as many papers as you like!  If you aren't familiar with this kind of gratitude practice, you may want to set aside a time once a week (or more often!) to sit and think of everything that has made your life brighter and more joyous...and add those to the jar.  You can absolutely add more inbetween, but having those set times helps you stop and take notice and not let the time pass you by.

Then, when DST ends, you can spend the rest of the year, until it starts back up again, using your set aside day to spend time with your 'saved light', reflecting on it and soaking it up!  You could keep your light notes in the jar, or make a collage out of them.  They could become part of a piece of art you display or they may sit in a box on your altar, ready to be sifted through as you need.  You may want to draw one piece of light every day, or whenever you are feeling particularly down.

DST also gives us the opportunity to be closer or further away in time to other people we know.  I've lived in places that observe DST and places that maintain 'standard' time throughout the year.  So sometimes the time difference between me and my family or friends would be more or less than other times.  Or, in the case of DST occurring on different dates, that will give you time between changes when you may be closer or further away in time.  This can give us opportunities to connect with people we may feel distant to...or set up space from people we may feel smothered by.

One of the main times we think about time difference is when calling people in different time zones, so a phone is a perfect symbol to use when working with time and people.  You can take a picture of a phone and on the back of it, write down all the ways you would like to connect with a distant friend.  For someone you want to maintain distance from, use a picture of an answering machine or a missed call message. 

And finally, don't forget that you can do workings to help the actual change occur smoothly.  Plan a ritual for either the night before the change or the morning after (I like to observe the changes in the morning after), to acknowledge the change.  You can ask for a blessing to make your day go smoothly and not be slowed down by the time change, or by people who forgot!  You can also plan your ritual several days before the change, to help prepare.

DST may feel like a hassle, but it can be a very interesting and unusual tool.  We can harness this deliberate alteration of how we perceive time and make it work in our favor, instead of feeling frustrated by it's imposition on our lives.  And sometimes, it is helpful to just take a step back and notice how this thing we have created (time zones, DST, hours, days....time!) can create so much chaos....and ultimately is nothing more than an idea!

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