You know... as I sit here on my back porch looking out at my back garden and thinking about the last couple of weeks, it strikes me just how transformative and powerful such a short time has been... I sit in good company, watching while the Dryads gently whisper their want for Milk and Honey and the Fae play in my Rose and Hawthorn bushes, bringing with them all sorts of fiddly energies that are always fun... but apparently suck for everyone else.
Like many of you -I'm sure, the past couple weeks brought with them a great deal of turmoil for me in the form of release, acceptance and a need to trust that all the things erupting around me are for a reason. While it's easy to get caught up in the circus show of our lives, or try and pay closer and closer attention to Astrological movements in an effort to find some sense of order, we cannot forget to look to the very thing on which we walk to find some of the best answers to what is happening... the Land itself.
Even though the Autumn period traditionally began with the First Harvest in August, Astronomically speaking, it is tonight's Autumnal Equinox that heralds the start of the release toward Winter. Remembering that, the first thing I notice as I sit here writing is the beginning of that distinctive 'nip' in the air, the sun is still shining and it's about 11 degrees for now, but that unnerving sense of stillness has started to creep up... just like the storm clouds that are about to roll in here.
Naturally this can mean only one thing... I'm finally more than justified in sticking the kettle back on and getting a sh*t ton of blankets while I live out my moody writer fantasies listening to Dark Classical music playlists and the rain -oh no, I'm soheartbroken...
The thing is... not only are we right on time for all of this Astrologically, but all of this build up has a perfectly reasonable energetic explanation. As you read this right now, there are enormous Tides and cascades of energies building on the Astral that are about to be released as we transition from the Light half of the year to the Dark. The Tide of Summer has ended, and while its dying embers flicker on resiliently, energetically speaking, the energies of Winter are about to be released.
The Autumnal Equinox occurs around this time of the month every year (20th, 21st, 22nd), and much like the Spring Equinox back in March, it is a time of great change. In fact, it's arguably the most violent Astrally, as the energies that are being switched up are complete polar opposites. It marks a change from Light into Dark, which becomes manifest physically as the days themselves grow shorter and the nights get longer.
Like every other "Pagan" holiday, this time has acquired some very pseudo historical ideas and modern Pagan interpretations that I don't really care enough about to even explain why they didn't exist in the actual Ancient World. Instead, what I will say is that this time is one for solitude and personal work on a deep level, not one that should be spent celebrating or living it up with drinking horns and mead -much to my disappointment, I assure you!
Equinoxes mark the release and retraction of new energies on the Astral, which often puts the Inner Planes into a state of turmoil -something I'm sure some of you are sensing already. Where the Vernal Equinox released energies of Light, Warmth, Celebration and Passion, we are now at the other end of the year... so the incoming Tide brings with it energies of death, dissolution, release and decay. However, given what many of you shared in the Wisdom Moon on Monday, it seems you may already feel that!
While this stuff is being released now on the Astral, it's going to take a month or so to make its way down through the Planes and solidify, so it will ground around the time of Halloween, signalling the beginning of the Feast of All Hallows and a time of Remembrance of the Ancestors and Old Folk... but its influence will obviously be felt before then, as the leaves begin to fall off the trees more and more, the soil becomes colder as frost takes hold, the animals retreat into hibernation and the birds start to fly home to prepare for the coming months.
In terms of your spiritual practice, I'm not here to tell you what to do (that's what my course is for ;) but for me at least, keeping in line with the natural rhythm of the Land is essential to my practice as a Crafter. I'm using this time magickally to set the seeds for future long term projects that I want to see manifest by the Equinox next Spring.
However, given the influence of Libra, this is also a great time to work on your own internal equilibrium and balance, sitting in meditation to really consider what it is you want to carry with you into the Winter period and beyond and what things are better left in this year... and if you want a ritual for that, scroll down a little further!
For the more magickally inclined among you, there are some very concrete ways to go about getting a handle on this sense of release and internal equilibrium. Here's what I'm doing this evening at Sunset, so I encourage you all to try out this ritual and post results if you're called to!
I hope your tea stays warm... mine didn't 'cause I was writing this and forgot about it...
A word of warning before we get into it, if performed properly -with focus and intention, this ritual can and will stir up some pretty heavy stuff in you emotionally. Don't worry if you end up sitting in your ritual room in foetal position balling your eyes out, it's totally normal. Just stick with it and come out the other side. You'll thank yourself for it later!
As I said, this is best performed at Sunset, but you can do it whenever you like if you feel called. While I would always encourage you to work outdoors -maybe even go Skyclad if you're feeling extra magickal ;) the procedure works just as well indoors in your pjs.
As you step into your ritual room, prepare your place of working however you usually do, banishings, singing bowls, tarot readings, whatever. However, you'll want to bring two things:
You'll want to place the apple in the centre of your space in front of you before you begin. With the fruit as your centre point, Hallow your Compass (i.e cast your circle) around it in whatever way you usually do. Stand in the West, facing outwards and state your intention, probably something to the effect of achieving balance, gaining clarity on a situation, or wishing to undergo a journey to harmonise your internal energies so you can better purse the new things coming your way.
Tapping into the turbulent energies of death and release at this time will connect you to the natural process happening on the Astral and allow you to conduct your inner journey to gain fresh perspective.
Once you've made your declaration to the Spirits, turn to your left (I.e the South) and begin to walk around the edge of your circle Widdershins (counter-clockwise), gradually and slowly spiralling inwards, towards the centre. It should take you about 7 go arounds to reach the middle properly (7 also being numerologically significant).
You may close your eyes as you do this, internally bringing your awareness to the fact that -as you walk, you are going deeper and deeper into the Self. Focus on that intention of going on an internal journey, and really try to feel yourself descending deeper into your own internal caverns as you spiral round. Remember the intention, once you get to bottom you will readjust the focus of your energies and maybe get a glimpse at a future idea or purpose.
Once you intuitively feel you've reached the bottom/centre, sit down -facing West, and pick up your scrying tool. Metaphorically speaking, you've now made the journey into the Hill of Vision, your own internal Isle of Avalon and are sitting within your own Mysteries. This space within yourself -and on the Astral, is the traditional home of the Lady, the Weaver or the Fates, the spot where everything exists in potential and possibility.
You want to place yourself mentally in this space, use you intuition and visualisation to tune in to the area. Once you feel the energy there, pick up your scrying tool and gaze into it, acknowledging any internal friction you have and focusing on that point of balance between it all. You might see images, hear sounds or feel a shifting of energies inside you or in the room around you, whatever happens just flow with it until you reach your own sense of inner calm and stasis. Sit with this and explore yourself for as long you need.
It's at this point, when you're satisfied with what you've seen or felt that you pick up the apple and want to dedicate it to the Spirits or Guides that you work with, honouring them and yourself in communion. Eat half the apple and leave the rest as an offering.
When you feel ready, stand up and retrace your steps, spiralling outwards this time, clockwise until you reach the point you started. When you return, give thanks to everything in your usual way -even simply acknowledging them can suffice, and close down the working however you usually do.
Finally, go make a sandwich or watch TV or something to do some psychological retraction and allow your energy to stabilise and ground.
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