Yesterday was the equinox, the time when day and night are of equal length, and the sun’s light shines evenly across the earth’s surface. In my hemisphere, the northern, it was the autumn equinox, which means that today we are on the path of decreasing light and warmth, the path towards winter.
Celebration… and dread
Although for a lot of Pagans the autumn equinox – or Mabon – is a time of celebration for the harvest of the past season’s work, the autumn equinox is often a time of mourning for me. I allow myself to feel the child-like fear and dread of the dark and the cold to come, and comfort that child part of myself, so that I can also celebrate the gifts and opportunities that have come my way, and assess my past year’s successes and failures.
Because each autumn equinox is not only a time to celebrate and assess our past year’s harvest, to prepare and store it to see us through the winter; it is also, like the spring equinox, a time of balance: balance between light and dark, between work and rest, balance between giving and receiving, between celebration and mourning. And balance is a dynamic thing.
Do you understand what I mean by that? If it’s comfortable and safe for you to do so, try standing on one leg, and being as still as you can. Once you’re balanced on the one foot that is now holding you up, pay attention to the muscles of your foot and your ankle. The rest of your body may be still, but those muscles are working hard, correcting for each little tilt and movement forward or backward, to one side or the other, by the rest of your body, to keep you balanced and upright.
Motion and adjustment
That is dynamic balance, and all of life is like that – constant motion, constant adjustment. So even though we are now entering the heart of autumn, there will still be sunny days; even though I may feel mournful, I will also feel joy; even though I may need more rest, that rest will still enable me to work.
As we move from the autumn equinox into winter, I invite you to look at the balance – or lack of it – in your own life. Are you working and resting? Are you giving and receiving? Are you celebrating joys and mourning losses? And if your life has tilted too far in one direction, what ‘muscles’ do you need to work to keep yourself in the flow of motion and adjustment, to stay in dynamic balance?