The arrival of the Autumn Equinox on Saturday, September 22nd, opens up a new season in our lives and within the Earth. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Equinox welcomes the newness of Autumn and the birth of Libra season. We witness the continued beautiful metamorphosis of nature shedding its summer layers and walking into its Fall. Our ancestors used this time to give thanks for the abundance from the year and gather the resources they needed to prepare for the darker and colder months This shedding process we witness in nature is a powerful keynote for us to listen to. A call to action to bring more awareness into the different layers of our lives and our communities. What will we choose to sustain? What will we choose to shed?
This is a ripe moment to uncover the patterns that make up our foundation and breath new light into them. Another opportunity to recalibrate and reflect back to ourselves what we are grateful for, what needs to shift and where we need to grow. Here we can find new compasses or fix old ones, with an intention to specify and affirm the direction we want our lives to move in. We can choose to act in ways that either accept or disrupt self depricating programming, either sourced from us or from the oppressive factors around us that beg to silence us.
Coming into this season, one of the things that I recognized about myself is that I subconsciously made a commitment to repress some of my feelings. Somehow I had fallen into my old pattern of holding onto my feelings for dear life, out of fear that they would freak someone else out or do more harm than good. Fortunately and unfortunately, my feelings found other creative ways to get my attention. Showing up in the pain in my womb, my shoulders, my lower back…….peeking out through random, sudden crying fits……saying hello through tiredness and over procrastination and blaming. Before my feelings took me over, I needed to have a conversation with them, listen to them and uncover what they needed to share.
Releasing this pattern is haaaaaaard!!. I feel sad. I panic. I get confused. Saying goodbye is a lot of work!!!! plus i have attachment issues, which makes it even harder. In a lot of ways I am releasing what Id known to be true of myself and that kind of identity separation can bring up a lot. Making this kind of commitment, this kind of shift, always feels threatening to my usual way of functioning, even though my usual way of existing wasn’t getting me to where I wanted to go.
I needed to check in with myself, see what I was holding on to and what I was allowing to hold on to me and make a healthier shift. A shift that encouraged me to do the shedding necessary to welcome a more healing space for me to bloom.
So lets take a moment to check in with ourselves and with our communities? Examine where we are putting your intentions and attention into and attempt to understand the reasons why. AND not in a judgmental-im-fucked-up-why-cant-i-fix-myself-type examine. But in a I-deserve-goodness-in-my-life,my-community-deserves-goodness-in-their-lives- what-might-be-getting-in-the-way-of-that-type-examine.
Lovingly pay attention to what is surfacing right now. What is life narrating back to you?. In what spaces does living, breathing, and loving authentically feel trapped and stifled? In what spaces does life feel alive and whole? Allow yourself to awaken to the power and ancient wisdom that resides in you. Our intuition is on point most of the time. When we pay attention to it, we can garner many answers.
You have the right to live a life you want, fashioned and swaged out in all that you desire. Listen to your fears and hear their lessons. Follow the map they present to you. Trace their roots to the past, see where they fall in the present and transform how they journey into the future. This kind of deep personal work is scary but always ends up being the place of deep discovery and reward. In committing to this practice, we become more responsible and loving toward ourselves and in turn better towards our communities.
How you choose to navigate this time is up to you. It might look like taking more deep breaths on a daily basis, it might look like breaking up with your partner, it might look like taking that dance class you’ve always wanted to take or cleansing your space or sleeping for one more hour than you usually would. It might look like asserting yourself more and giving yourself the permission to name your needs, desires and boundaries. It might encompass being more receptive and identifying how you can be more open to the needs of others. It might look like being more inclusive within your community spaces? It might look like challenging the non-profit industrial complex to do better..Whatever you decide, do what works best for you in the time and capacity that feels right for you and remember you are not alone as you do this important, hard, incredible, healing work. You are surrounded by people who love and support you. Don’t forget this truth!! Give yourself permission to reach out, ask, AND receive support. There are many ways and many moments available to embody the healing and transformation we seek in our lives. Opportunities for release, transformation and growth open their palms to us to receive their gifts.
In addition to the Fall Equinox, Libra’s presence in this time highlights our needs for balance and harmony, an extraordinary opportunity for us to examine how we express beauty and love harmonically in our lives. With Venus as Libra’s ruler, what we value and whom we relate to to express our value, and worth come to surface. Libra sparks up our desires around balance, connection and unity within our relationships. The things we need to pay attention to in our relationships might become more gloriously obvious. Doing away with what feels superficial, toxic, alienating, stifling is necessary right now in order to carve out space to welcome in that which is meaningful, healing, valuable and representative of the kind of relationship we want to be in . Feelings of confusion, fear and uncertainty might arise as we deal with the thoughts and actions surrounding all of this. The awareness we bring into this time will help us distinguish between that which oppresses us and that which liberates us. Healing can only take place when we open our hearts to our truths. This is a great time to check in with our truths and set intentions around love and partnerships of all kinds….friendships, loverships, workerships, family, relationships with community, relationships with the Earth, relationship with ancestors etc etc.
One of my favorite celebration, reflection and gratitude Autumn Equinox rituals comes from Starhawk…..
Starhawk’s Autumn Equinox Ritual
“Decorate the table with colorful autumn leaves in a basket. Display the fruits of the harvest – corn, gourds, nuts, grapes, apples – preferably in a cornucopia (a horn of plenty). Or decorate with wildflowers, acorns, nuts, berries, cocoons, anything that represents the harvest to you.
Plan a meal that uses seasonal and symbolic fruits and vegetables. You can serve bread, squash, corn, apples, cider and wine. Drawing on the imagery of the Eleusinian Mysteries, hold up an ear of corn in silence. Or cut open a pomegranate and feed each other the seeds.
The following poem (used by Starhawk in the equinox ritual in The Spiral Dance) comes from Mother Goose. Use this or make up your own variation as a grace. Have everyone at the feast repeat this, adding their own thanks:
We have sown, we have tended – We have grown, we have gathered – We have reaped a good harvest — Lady, we thank you for your gifts – Lord, we thank you for your bounty – I thank you for [fill in yourself].
Give thanks for the gifts you’ve received this year. You might want to make a list of your gifts or find objects to represent them. Consider how you can make your offering to her. You can represent your thanks symbolically (tying a ribbon on a tree branch or pouring some wine on the ground) or directly (by making a stronger commitment to recycling or scattering seed for the birds). If you buy (or make) a basket to use while shopping, you’ll be purchasing a symbol of Demeter and helping save the lives of her trees at the same time.
Use this time of balance, to look closely at the balance in our life. How do you balance your personal needs with your commitments to the outside world? How do you receive and how do you give? You might want to reflect on this in your journal or make it concrete by putting objects on a scale. For everything which represents one side of the scale to you (for instance, a book representing quiet time alone), place something on the other side which represents its opposite (a letter or phone for reaching out to friends).
Learning and Creating
For those of us who spend time in or around schools (as teachers, students or the parents of school-age children), this is not a time of ending but of beginning. We are just starting to get back into the rhythm of the school year. We may feel sad that the playfulness and freedom of summer are disappearing as we fall back into our fall routines and structures but we also have more focus and direction.
This is a good time to begin new projects. As the nights lengthen, you have more time to be alone, to concentrate, to nurture a seed which may not blossom until spring. Give yourself permissions to try something absolutely new. Take a class that teaches you how to do something you’ve always wanted to do–maybe basket-making Call your local college and ask about community education classes.
In Starhawk’s Autumn Equinox ritual, there is a time for weaving seed pods, shells, feathers and small pine cones into strands of yarn while thinking of what you want to create in your life. This or some variation of it would make a wonderful group activity or family project. You could also just set aside a certain amount of time (an evening, a Saturday) which is creative time, for you to make anything you want.
Source: Starhawk, The Spiral Dance, Harper San Francisco 1983
Here are some other recipes and rituals that you can use at this time!!!
If you are in the New York area Sunday, Sept 23rd, come honor the Equinox and the splendor that you are at our Femmes of Colour Skillshare!!!!!…a bodacious collaboration with SouLar Bliss and The BrownGrrlz Project. We will honour the equinox with singing and sound healing, henna, yoga, herbalism magik, altar making, natural hair care and skin care, group meditation and whatever else we femifest in the space. We will also be sharing and collecting resources and recipes for self care courtesy of SouLarbliss. If you want to share a skill or attend please send a message to website:http://thebrowngrrlzproject.wordpress.com/connect/ so we can honour and respect the gorgeous space and time.
Here are a few affirmations that I wrote in reflection of this season. Feel free to use and share them as you celebrate and walk into the power of this time. Ase to all our dreams and intentions. I celebrate you, us, and the power and beauty of this season!!!
I am limitlessly grateful for this new season upon us and all that the past season generously shared and taught me. I give thanks for my life and all the ways my mind, body and spirit continue to express life and love. I am infinitely grateful for yet another season to reflect my Divine purpose, to live passionately, to love courageously, to BE with community authentically, to appreciate the Earth powerfully, to be mindful and aware, to be intentional, to learn and to grow and to share.
I live balance, compassion, authenticity, care, ecstasy, healing, bliss and love in its healthiest, fullest, most authentic expression. I draw on my intuition to illuminate my steps. I integrate my relationship with the Divine into all aspects of my life. I embody my Divine identity, worth, power, and truths in all that I am. I honor all of my identities and call forth their expression in their right time, in their own voice, and in a capacity that is authentic, creative, and deeply rooted and connected. I listen with love to myself, to my family, to my Beloved, to my friends, to strangers, to my coworkers, to people I choose to love, to the Earth.
I step into my power. I am efficient and effective while dancing in magic and intuitive wisdom in all that I do. I walk with intention. I speak with intention. I love with intention. I work with intention. I practice discernment with every step. I commit to my healthiest life, body, mind and spirit. I am transparent, I am honest. I release, transform and heal the past that triggers me. I recognize discomfort as a gift and and opportunity to expand. I release the need to always know and be open to what arises. I move past judgement and perceived limitations. I love myself through mistakes. I dance in equilibrium with my desires.
I surround myself with creative, courageous, inspiring, uplifting, reciprocity-driven, kind, loving, caring friends, lovers, family, colleagues and community. We hold each other accountable. We have each other’s back. We affirm each other. We challenge each other to grow. We love each other hard. We go deep and get scared and go deeper. We stand tall in our dignity with expansive love in all of our relations and connections with each other and all living beings. We support each other in speaking our truths and standing in our fullest potential. We honor our journeys towards healing and wholeness. We thrive in these oppressive times and create new paradigms that shift and challenge how oppression functions in our relationships and in our communities. We embrace habits to love each other that are mutually healthy and sustainable. We co-exist with each other in ways that manifest our values in our daily actions.
I am infinitely infinitely grateful for all the ways that I’ve lived and will live these intentions in my life.!!!!