Autumn Equinox

I will be celebrating quietly at home this equinox. Unfortunately the family is dealing with Covid: one is poorly, others are isolating. I am waiting for the results of my PCR test.

So I have been giving some thought as to how to recognise the occasion and make it special even with the adjustments we will have to make.

The equinoxes a rather magical time of year. The sun rises directly in the east, and sets directly in the west. The world is poised on the brink of change, as if holding its breath, ready to take the next step. Those things that have grown with the growing light of last equinox must now retreat with the fading of the light.

I will take some time in quiet reflection on the evening of the equinox. I like to take stock of the time that has passed since the last. Did the plans that I made then come to fruition? What has worked well that I would like to gain momentum? Did something not work well, do I need to hold on to it, or is it time to let go? When doing this, it is important not to be too harsh on yourself. Sometimes, no matter how much effort you put into something, external forces will stop you achieving it – health, work, Covid. Accept where it has been impossible to do something, and remember to give yourself a pat on the back for those things you have managed to do.

And when I have given this good thought, I make plans for the time to come. I write down the things that I want to do, then chuckle to myself as I know I can’t do it all. The list is then dramatically shortened to what I really want to do, and what I can realistically do. That said, I don’t remove all challenges. Just because it might be hard doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t give it a go.

As we head into the darker time of year, the changing weather can feel oppressive. Much as I love the crisp white of snow decorating the trees, the softness of it falling, it becomes more difficult to get out and about, ice underfoot making pavements treacherous, especially if  you aren’t that steady to begin with.

I am going to make a point of noting in my journal things I have to be grateful for, things that make me happy, make me smile, to counteract any negativity from the dreariness of dull winter weather. I shall make my first entry at the point of equinox –  Wednesday 22nd September at 20.20 in my local time.

I will make a meal using as far as possible seasonal foods – apple crumble sounds good, and probably vegetable soup. Of course, I will light candles. This seems a good time to use the traditionally dipped candles that I was gifted, made at Blists Hill Victorian Town in Ironbridge, Shropshire, not quite straight and soft and creamy.

So my equinox will mean personal reflection of the meaning of the equinox, goal setting and planning for the next few months, starting to routinely record happiness in my journal and enjoying a seasonal meal, all by candle light.

And knowing me, I will probably write something, possibly poetry. Here’s a poem I wrote back in 2009, while attending a weekend retreat.

Brightest blessings for the equinox. May you find the balance you need in your life, may you rejoice in the bounty of the harvest we see around us.

Autumn is coming

Spring eagerly brings the rush to grow,                                
the racing shoots, the grass to mow.                                      
The sun has returned to rule the sky                          
to warm the land, and we know why                         
we enjoy the summer, long and lazy,                        
with days of sun and mornings hazy                         
with mist that rolls across the fields                          
washed with rain that brings good yields                  
of crops to carefully put in store                                           
ready for times when there is no more.                                 
People are happy, glad to their hearts,                                  
that the world turns on, has done its part.                 
Here we fear no deprivation,
no risk of death from cruel starvation.                                  

The wheel has now turned, and autumn is here.                   
Days short with frost and snowfall are near.             
The last late flush of deep red cherries,                                
blackberry, rowan and elderberries                           
glisten so bright in pale golden rays,                         
a wistful reminder of warm summer days.                
The trees shake down their heads of gold                 
preserving their sap against the cold.                        
Time to look back at the work we have done
toiling away in the warm summer sun.                                 
A time to take stock of what we have gained            
to keep us on-going in days that have waned.                       
Cut back weak branches that failed to thrive.           
Give them a chance to grow and survive.                  
Reach down to the earth and draw her strength in    
to keep you on track through days that are thin.                   
Remember to feed your soul, body and mind.                      
Grow deeper your roots and then you will find                    
you’ll have the strength to survive the cold              
and send forth spring shoots of pure summer gold.  

Written by Portland Jones, Disability Liaison for Pagan Federation Midlands