September 22, 2017 #AutumnEquinox #Thanksgiving #Magick
Summer ends. The death of a season doesn’t imply failure. It was full, it was everything (or it was an utter disaster, whatever), now it’s gone. Now it’s time for the next one. No matter how good or bad the season turned, you let it go, you do it again, and again.
But that’s easier when you stop for a minute, and today’s the Autumnal Equinox, perfect for a pause. Also called the “second harvest” (after the “first harvest” of early August), it’s a time of both gratitude and analysis. Solstices are extreme, celebrating the “most light” or the “most dark,” climatic moments of switching directions from one to the other. Equinoxes are the reverse – equal light and dark balance each other. It’s an otherworldly equilibrium that encourages a dynamic stillness, the time to collect what you’ve grown and to let go of what can’t feed you, to differentiate between the two. Today is the day to assess the magic journey from the bottom of winter up to the peak of summer and softly back down, to review what you’ve tried, to say “I’ll give it a seven out of ten, let’s take a break and start over.”
I never think about “last spring” or “last summer.” They’re forgotten as soon as they’re gone, and I anticipate future springs and summers, ever watchful of the goddess’s metamorphoses from graceful girl into blooming woman. It takes an early streetlight blinking on to remind me to stop and assess my gains and my hard lessons. This day that sits on the tipping point from summer into fall, that precise edge where longer light tips over into longer dark, is a day I hold myself to honor, a moment to thank the joyful invincibility, the fullness and pleasure, so natural as to seem a given. How unbelievably wonderful! And for the unpleasant surprises and spiky disappointment.
The goddess must continue her journey, and at 52, looking at the aging goddess feels to me like looking in a mirror. Can I bear what I see? I see experience and imperfection, journeys taken, some to hell and back. Spring always feels hopeful to me, and secretly, always begins for me the day after the Winter Solstice in deep December, when no matter how many blizzards rage, I see the days get gradually longer. Summer feels rich, and that richness so utterly convincing I can’t conceive of lack.
Fall is different, but I’ve always loved it too, and it’s always felt like home. Fall feels like the moment to touch down. The leaves fall with my fond hopes, and though I know by simple repetition that they’ll return, I feel called to take the cue of the trees and let go, to watch those lovely leaves turn surprising colors and gently come down to earth. It feels like a moment to accept the growing dark, the creeping coolness, to say yes, I’ll take that journey too, when I don’t know what’s where. When falling, soften and roll! I’ll make things to nourish and warm me, grateful for all the good I forgot I stored up, and I’ll abide until the light grows long again. The world is an illusion without the counterbalance of the underworld. Starting over is a regular practice, a kind of spiritual economy. But first we harvest what we’ve grown. That means we have to let go of what we wished for, and lay honest eyes on what actually came up. Then we skillfully coax it to nourish us. The spiral advances incrementally.
The seasons are poems. They don’t care about me, they don’t even know I exist, but I live inside them, and I give them the names of goddesses and gods, and listen for their secrets. The seasons are spiritual prompts, and when my psychic life mirrors the angle of light outside, life is whole. Rather than vanish into my own head, I feel myself extend outward, my inner journey mirrored in the hours of the day, the setting of the sun, the changing temperature, the food available to eat, what tastes good, firm realities that touch on everyone around me, however they choose to process it. When my body is nourished by the food that emerges from the ground here and now, I’m a part of it, whatever that means, and I don’t have to actually know what it means, I only have to show up. I only have to eat and drink and share, and let that last unusually warm day soak my skin, and love the goddess whatever her current age. Today I solemnly vow to fill a plate with every shape and color nature offers, and take notes for the seasons to come. Welcome, Fall.
Pay no attention to that shop-prompting, capitalist holiday coming up far too late in the season to evoke the harvest. Whether you call it the Autumnal Equinox, Mabon, Alben Elfred, the Second Harvest, Wine Harvest or Feast of Avalon, today is the real Thanksgiving, so feast! I crammed all this into one menu: meat, corn, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, onions, broccoli, squash, apples, beer and bread. Wishing a nourishing Equinox to you and yours!