The Seasonal Moment of Equinox @ EarthGaia, as our Planet may be named,[i] will occur at 4.30 UT March 20th (that’s “Universal Time” as it is named – measured at Greenwich England).
At my Place in the Blue Mountains of Australia, it is the Season of the Autumn Equinox – the midpoint between Summer and Winter Solstices: and actual Moment occurs here at 2.30pm on the 20th March. It is the midpoint of the dark part of Earth’s annual Journey around Sun. In the Northern Hemisphere it will be Spring Equinox, the midpoint of the light part of the cycle. All global times for the actual Moment are here: http://www.archaeoastronomy.com/2016.html
It is a Moment of balance of dark and light for the Planet – the Southern Hemisphere about to tip onto increasing dark after dominance of light for six months, and the Northern Hemisphere about to tip into increasing light after dominance of dark for six months. We may celebrate the Sacred Balance which enables all of existence to come forth. I like to think of this Seasonal Moment[ii] of balance, as representing the delicate balance of the “curvature of space-time” that enables all to come forth: that is what I see in the ancient image of Demeter handing the wheat to Persephone.
And this awesome fine Thread of Creativity flowing through space-time may be celebrated in the Spring or the Autumn: it is the creative tension of resistance and expansion, the creative edge of grief and joy – they are never separate. I imagine this Curvature as a red thread or as the “wheat”/gift of life itself, that Demeter hands to any being in every moment. At the Autumn Equinox ceremony at our Place we tie red threads on each other, to signify our receiving of this Gift and the Vision of it, and in remembrance of the ancient initiates who wore red threads when they participated in the Eleusinian Mysteries celebrated at Autumn Equinox. The red thread may signify this sacred and delicate balance of life, that continues beneath the visible – in the dark of space-time, in the dark of Earth, in the eclipse of known ways. It may also be understood to be held within the Seed – any Seed, and its amazing emergence as GREEN life in the Spring. One cannot Be without the other … the Dark Journey and the Emergence into Light: this is the full story. Thus at the Spring Equinox ceremony at our Place we re-enact the Dark Journey and the Emergence from it; to enjoy the new beings that we are, and that the Spring brings, to enjoy this ever Creative Planet and Cosmos that we are in.
The Autumn Equinox, often known as “Mabon”, may be celebrated as the loss of the Beloved One, who may have many faces, many valencies. In the story of Demeter and Persephone, Persephone descends to the underworld to tend to the dead and for the gaining of knowledge of these realms … Poetry for the power of the Seed, and many other valencies of meaning. It is also metaphor for the experience of LOSS in our personal stories. Such sacred Moments may be ceremonially recognised at this time and connected to Larger Story – that of Earth Herself and Cosmos. Note that the version of the Persephone story that I tell in PaGaian Cosmology is one wherein Persephone descends of Her own volition (not the abduction version) – it is an interpretation of the story that enables Persephone’s integrity as a redemptive quality innate to the Cosmos and present in the Seed. This version is researched and told by Charlene Spretnak in her book Lost Goddesses of Early Greece, and also told by Carolyn McVickar Edwards in The Storyteller’s Goddess. I develop this story in this article: Female Metaphor, Science and Paganism: a Cosmic Eco-Trinity.
The Spring Equinox, often known as “Eostar” (from which “Easter” takes its name),[iii] may be celebrated as the return of the Beloved One from the depths, as in the story of Demeter-Persephone, or in the story of Inanna, or that of Dumuzi: it is Poetry, for the return of the GREEN, evident life-force surging through plants again, and lots of flowers that only appear at this time. It happens in our personal stories as well – and we hope for it – the Return of the Beloved One, however that may manifest and be understood at different times: such sacred Moments may be celebrated at this time, the remembering of them, and connecting of one’s small story to Earth’s Creativity, to Cosmic Creativity – to the Great (Universe) Story.
For Spring Equinox/Eostar Poetic video: PaGaian Eostar 2009
For Autumn Equinox/Mabon Poetic video: PaGaian Mabon 2009
At our Place the Autumn Equinox ceremony will be held at 7pm on the 19th March in MoonCourt. The invitation reads:
When Earth is poised in balance of dark and light, about to tip our hemisphere into the dark
You are invited to celebrate
… the season of thanksgiving for our harvest:
the abundance we have reaped,
that we enjoy daily.
And also, the season of grieving,
for all that has been lost – the Beloved One
descends: it may be a Journey to Wisdom.
We join Demeter the Mother in Her sorrow,
and await the unfolding
of the Mysterious, Wyrdly Creative Cosmos.
If you wish to attend, you may email me (Glenys) for an invitation and details
PaGaian Cosmology blogs for Autumn Equinox/Mabon
PaGaian Cosmology blogs for Spring Equinox/Eostar
You may enjoy the Autumn or Spring Equinox tracks on PaGaian Cosmology Meditations CDs – available individually and in digital format – to support and nurture your meditations and participation in this Seasonal transition – either just for yourself or for a group.
Autumn and Spring Equinox preparation e-notes, images and meditations are offered: Celebrating PaGaian Cosmology On-Line .
Some Autumn and Spring Equinox story may be found in Appendix F of PaGaian Cosmology, or if you have a paper version of the book there is an Index for references throughout. These Seasonal Moments in relationship to the whole Wheel of the Year may be found in Chapter 5, and ceremonial scripts are offered in Chapter 7, though they of course always evolve and adapt to personal and regional poetics. I try to keep the on-line versions up to date with changes to the sense of things here, so they are different from those in the paper copy of the book.
There is a PaGaian Cosmology Facebook group where all members may initiate discussion and/or respond, and also a Pagaian Cosmology Facebook Page … which you are welcome to “Like”.
To be on the invitation list, or for notice of events, please contact me.
[i] The name “Earth” is derived from a Nordic Goddess’ name, Erde, and is originally from the Greek ergaze which means to work the ground. Elisabet Sahtouris, Earthdance, p.5-6.
[ii] I have coined this term to speak of the “Sabbats”, the eight Earth holy days of the Old European calendar, based onThomas Berry’s naming of Earth-Sun transitions as ”moments of grace”.
[iii] Eostre is a Goddess name: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ēostre and may also be associated with Astarte, Ishtar. Christians named their resurrection festival “Easter” in the Middle Ages.
I especially like the idea of the equinoxes being times of “creative resistance and expansion” – at both equinoxes I experience that tension on a visceral level and for many years didn’t understand why I felt so ambivalent.
Glenys, I ordered your book today. I am consistently impressed with the quality of your writing. I am also glad you liked “Persephone Rises.” Coming from you this means a lot.
oh Sara I feel such a resonance with you … your experience as expressed often in your writing. I picked purple flowers yesterday for our Autumn Equinox ceremonial decorations, and felt tempted to pick some yellow ones that are currently about, but then I didn’t get around to it: then I read your Persephone Rises essay :0 Also I have a photo of a purple crocus and a white crocus in a pot together that I have used for Equinox story: and the manifestion of the purple one was a surprise as it came from a white crocus packet hehe
Glenys, I feel the same kind of resonance and I love the story of the flowers! If you read my post called “The Mountain Mother” you will understand what flowers mean to me. I used your words creative resistance and expansion in my ritual this morning.