The Wheel turns and we with it. It is a core piece of my Practice to be aware of our World’s changes, to recognize the lessons in what Nature does with herself at different times of the year. Being observant is key.
“My Lady, it is time to take up your gathering basket;” speaks the Lord of the Hunt, “The apples are ripening on the tree, and the berries on the vine. Our children grow stronger with each day.” The Mother of All replies, “Yes, Beloved, in love and power they struggle to create their world. I am proud of them for the work they do. And now I hear the baying of Your hounds. Go to them. Find the prey.”
The next solar marking point on the Wheel is a celebration of fulfillment. Autumn Equinox is the time when the true harvest is in full swing. We are deep in the thick of the season of sacrifice. We are newly made aware of the necessity of letting go. This is the time of getting ready, not for growing, but for the end of the growth cycle. We know that all things stand for transformation. Each spirit upon this earth, and above and below, fulfills its cycle in its own time. At this time of year, the land around us shows us that it is a time for completion. The wheat must die to make the bread that sustains us, and to make way for the new planting.
In ancient times, this was a more critical time of year. Our ancestors’ lives depended on what was reaped, which was the direct result of their own labor, and the dictates of Nature. And we still see those truths around us. We may plant and tend with all our strength all year, only to find at the end of the season, that there has been too much sun or rain for our wishes to bear fruit. Or we may be admiring the just-ripened fruits of our labors one day, and the next day find that the gophers or the deer have eaten our harvest for themselves. There is only so much we can do to make our own dreams come true. Release, sacrifice, gather and store; pray that the energy we have taken in throughout the rest of the year will be enough to sustain us until the Spring returns.
“My Lord, I hear the sounds of the successful Hunt and I feel the rightness of Death. All things, all beings, must leave this life, and their falling is as glorious as their rising.” “Lady, you speak wisdom. Death feeds Life feeds Death, and so it shall always be. Now the days grow short, and there is still much to be done. I look forward to the time when I will rest in your arms.”The Equinox is a time of balance. We are at the point where day and night are of equal length. This is a good time to meditate on the principles of Light and Darkness, expansion and contraction. Soon it will be Winter, and we will be in our homes again, sitting by the hearth instead of around the fire circle outside. What does it mean to draw our tendrils back toward ourselves? To conserve our strength?
For those of us with gardens, we are (hopefully!) seeing an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, probably enough to share. Consider bringing this beauty to your table and inviting friends to create a communal dinner, each contributing part of their own harvest. Fill a box and donate your extras to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Exchange seeds from your gardens. Build the first fire of the season in the fireplace. Host a swap meet. Clean out your closet, and invite friends to do the same. Then gather with all your gleanings, and offer them to each other. It is a concrete way of observing how that which you release is taken up to become a treasure for someone else. Be sure to create a space for donations to “charity”. How better to give thanks for all we have than to make an offering to those who have less?
Know that you serve the Gods by caring for the entities with whom we share this physical reality. When you do charitable work, you honor the highest part of you. The spirit of release and sacrifice is something you already know well. Remember; you are also God, in and of all things. Open to that awareness this season and be healthy in your giving.
“My Lady, the darkness comes. We have little time left. The fields lie fallow; the gifts of life are gathered and stored.” “It is true, My Lord. The time of rest is nearly upon us. The bears search for their caves. I remember this… Soon you will go forth from Me, deep within Me, and await your rebirth. I will miss you…”
This article first appeared in a slightly different form in the Community Seed magazine Autumn 2004.