Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
You can scroll the shelf using ← and → keys
You can scroll the shelf using ← and → keys
The Fall Equinox is a time to reflect, budget, delete, and take stock of what we have. In modern times our personal harvest is less crucial to our survival than it was hundreds of years ago. We import and ship what we want all over the world. Because so much of our food costs are transportation related this might be a time to take stock of what we have in our local market or garden that can be a substitute for imported or processed foods. We like convenience, but may be able to find better priced locally made foods, goods, and services of superior quality. We like to be served, but can save money and enhance creativity by doing more of our own food preparation and preservation. It is time to create, prosper and appreciate. Do you have practices to note the day when the whole world has an equal amount of darkness and light? Normally the moon rises about 50 minutes later than the previous night. On the equinox it rises only about 10 minutes later, and the effect is that of almost standing still for a few days.
In ancient Greece this time of year was the time for grand rituals known as the Eleusian rites. From the equinox until the end of the month processions and rites to the goddess Demeter were performed. The elaborate rites involved bathing in the sea, building an altar around a tree, blessing the earth with wine and special potions, and a giant party to honor Demeter, goddess of the earth. Holy Night, on September 28, when the goddess Koré would turn from maiden to krone, and then into the young queen of the underworld. Some of the celebrants were granted the chance to see their own deaths on the Holy Night in order to free themselves from fear of the afterlife. The following day was a sports and games day before the final eighth day of the festival returns to solemn ritual to signify spiritual rebirth. This was very different from football season or American festivities for fall because everything was viewed as sacred. The rituals were believed to be an important spiritual gift to mankind. Can you find a way to honor that seasonal shift in your life this year? I would love to hear any ideas you have, gentle readers. I believe we have instinctive spiritual patterns that evolve, but are also part of historical beliefs and rites. We are still connected to Demeter even if we don’t know who she is.
Does the fall equinox have special meaning to you? Native people around the world have marked and celebrated the night that is equal in northern and southern hemispheres in spring and fall for centuries. The balance of darkness and light, the nature of shadow, the harvest of what has been sown are celebrated at this powerful change of seasons. To enter winter with excess overhead or an insufficient supply has been a recipe for disaster since the first fairy tale was created. In both short and long terms fall is a time for risk assessment. The harvest is in, or soon will be, and it must last until new crops can be grown and harvested. Failure can mean starvation. Useless baggage must be jettisoned now to keep the boat afloat.
Today our supplies come from abroad and we don’t even know when and how harvests are made. Coal, natural gas, and petroleum are harvested to process, transport and refrigerate our food. The cost of the supply chain far outweighs the cost of the food itself. Our electronic devices are similar. They are harvested elsewhere and imported to us. Globalization demands that goods and services be produced at the lowest price and sold for the highest possible price. International business must take advantage of the lowest wages and least demanding labor forces. I believe that these imperialistic practices have caused a spiritual equinox. Forces that seem to be out of our control darken the skies and freeze out those with the fewest resources. Persephone returns to her husband Hades in the underworld every year as winter approaches. Her symbolic return in the spring celebrates light over darkness. As the days grow shorter and nights grow longer what seeds will you purposely germinate? Do you believe the violence and darkness being proliferated will be reversed?
At the Equinox everyone on earth has about the same amout of darkness and light. The sun is close to the equator as it shines for about 12 hours on all parts of the earth for a day. This seasonal shift is of significance to most native cultures. It signals either a lengthening or a shortening of daylight in the months ahead. It creates the conditions for spring planting or fall harvest, depending on the hemisphere in which you live. For a single day, however, we all have the same amount of light and dark in our experience. The literal meaning of the word equinox is equal night. Many calendars begin around the vernal equinox. Romans began the new year on the Ides of March, Astrology uses 21 March as the first of the year, as the Sun moves into Aires. A new year celebration makes sense at this time, as do celebrations to honor rebirth.
The Roman goddess Cybele was associated with rebirth in one of the first Spring break resurrection parties ever held. Romans were all about blood, so they used real bull blood…no chalice of red wine for them. Hilaria was a celebration of resurrection and eternal life held in Rome on the vernal equinox to honor Cybele. She ruled dangerous animals, fertility, and rebirth. She protects civilization. The fact that she is resurrecting her son, Attis, who is also her lover is not a big deal in Roman terms. These things happen in pantheons all the time. After all was ceremonially brought safely back to life Hilaria commenced in a frenzy of joy and mirth. We do not have any evidence of chocolate bunnies, but they were festive in their own Roman way, with orgies, and chariots drawn by lions, castration, and other stuff they liked. Violets are the flower of the day, since the blood of Attis when he died the first time became the violet we pick in the spring. Do not hesitate to decorate your eggs with violets if you want to get down Roman style this year. Unlike our own Virgin Mary, this mother drives a lion chariot, while holding a pineapple, and is on the violent side, so, caveat emptor.