I love this thanksgiving day that honors the balancing act between night and day. We are momentarily suspended before slowly slipping into the darkness of winter. At this time of year in the northern hemisphere, the land is full of bounty, the colours are warming, the stalks are crisping, and squirrels are madly scrambling for acorns and seeds – squeak! The mythical Mother figure transforms into the Crone. The apples on our tree are round and ripe, and will soon fall to the ground. We are fleetingly poised, before turning towards death; leaves will soon blanket the earth for the long sleep.
Firewood is stacked high, our cherries are dried or frozen, and winter clothes are pulled out of the attic. I take out my mending box to fix the down jackets I‘d hurriedly stuffed into a sack last spring, and think of how my grandmothers would have been finishing up the frantic canning season to settle into long evenings of embroidery, porcelain painting, and mending thick blankets.
Equinox honors balance in our world
Balancing mind with heart. Balancing outer work with inner sustenance. Questions percolate to the surface: “Are hand and heart in alignment?” It is a time to reflect on things that have come into being and that have nurtured us, inspired us, grown us, learned us. It is also a time to grieve our losses and to feel into what needs tending to – what aches for our love and attention – including our beloved Earth and its inhabitants, human and Other.
In the garden, we gather the last of the bounty, we give thanks, and we nurture the soil, spreading summer’s compost as a protective blanket that will nurture the fertile darkness of Earth. As the ground forces start to pull the plant and tree’s green sap into their roots, we can reflect on what keeps us rooted, what grounds us in this world. As we nurture the soil with compost, how do we nurture our own souls and keep the world alive with imagination, inspiration, love, care and beauty?
Thanksgiving amid global crisis
From viruses to forest fires, to wars and ecological unraveling, to a growing awareness of systemic layers of racism that structure our societies, we are experiencing multiple forms of global crisis that are bound to intensify in the years to come. As we make our dwelling in this human experience, fear increasingly becomes part of the furniture. And so we can ask, what other furniture do we need to bring into the home to make it a well-lived and warmly inhabited place? What qualities and resources do we need to nurture within ourselves to counteract the rising fear? At this time of thanksgiving for the abundance in our lives, gratitude feels like an essential piece of furniture to place in our heart’s abode. And… kindness, compassion, beauty, caring, joyousness, sensuality, amazement, wonder. Amid the crushing heartache and utter beauty of this turning Earth spinning through infinite galaxies, I wish you a beautiful day of poise and reflection, of joy and sorrow held caringly in your heart.
A few seeds of inspiration for Fall Equinox rituals:
Have a feast of local foods with mushrooms, herbs, nuts, fruit and vegetables!
Contribute to a local food bank.
Light beeswax candles at dinner time to symbolize the light turning inwardly. These days, I also like to have a bowl of water along with the flickering flame, in honor of water and the need for rain as part of our world rages with forest fires.
Make pumpkin delights – muffins, pies – to gift to neighbours.
Offer gratitude and thanks, in respect and deepening awareness of living on the unceded territories of First Nations people. Read a story from the people who have inhabited the lands you live on since deep time, learn about their language and their culture. Deepen your inquiry about how to take things forward, together.
Go for a walk in nature and collect rocks, moss, leaves that remind you of what you are grateful for (asking permission and offering thanks to our wild kin), and create a nature table or talisman of gratitude. You can also create an inner landscape of impressions (instead of collecting actual “material”) of your encounters – the gnarled bark, the moss bed, the singing brook, the flutter of Raven wings – and then remember them as you drift to sleep.
With wild blessings and love,
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Fire & Honey Ceremonies