Monday, October 15, 2012

The Autumn Equinox

Wheat, apples, acorns, seeds and orange pillar candles with leaf imprints make this yellow-clothed altar perfect for the Autumn Equinox.
I know I'm posting a little late on posting about the Autumn Equinox but life in general has made me a very busy woman.  Expect a couple blog posts within the next day or two as I play a little catch-up.

Typically speaking, I am a solitary practitioner.  I have been involved in other circles and, temporarily, covens but I celebrate the sabbats alone for the better part.  A lot of it has to do with a wide difference between my beliefs and the standard Wiccan beliefs, which has more recently leaned me towards generally calling myself eclectic pagan.  I celebrate the sabbats as more of a connection to the cyclic nature of the world than a devotion to the divine since my core belief revolves around energy, not deities.  That's the beautiful thing about Wicca - it can be so incredibly personal.  That's what's always drawn me to it.  And even if I eventually define myself as a pagan instead, Wicca will always be the foundation that led me there.

The Autumn Equinox marked a turning point in my witchy practices this year.  The group of friends I mentioned from "Stopping Negativity" back in June?  Turns out they're Wiccans as well.  Never doubt a negativity spell and the way the stars align!  And, for the first time, I found myself planning to spend not just a single sabbat, but all sabbats, with those closest to me.

One of the important points of the Autumn Equinox is the harvest.  While there are three harvest sabbats, two of which are fire festivals, I make the dinner an especially important part of the Autumn Equinox.  For August Eve (Lammas), I prefer to focus on breads and cooking magick, less so on dining.  For Samhain, I focus on life, death and rebirth with a small to no dinner that's connected.  For the Autumn Equinox, I focus on an almost Thanksgiving-like dinner with the works.  It becomes an essential part of the entire celebration.


Of course, it is an equinox.  Only twice a year do we have a 24-hour span where day and night are of equal length - the perfect balance.  That's pretty special to me and I emphasize that in my rituals.  After this equinox, all days leading up to the solstice will become longer in night than day.  I like to focus on letting go and preparing for the new.  After all, you're just a month away from the new year at this point!

So, in simple terms, my friends and I got together for a large dinner, held together with lots of love and laughter.  Afterwards, we opened up a circle and focused on balance, letting go and giving thanks.

But this isn't what you have to do.

As I mentioned above, Wicca is a personal religion.  Sometimes, opening up a simple circle and saying a few words is all you need.  Sometimes, you just light a candle and move on.  The sabbats aren't about how elaborate you celebrate or how many people you can shove into one room - it's about having a clear and focused connection with what you believe in.

I leave you with the closing poem I read during our ritual:

The wheel has turned and seasons change.
What will be already was.
What was will be again.
Every beginning has an end and every end a new
        beginning.
The memories of summer, I will not forget,
And with the coming of the cold months, I will not stop
        trying.
I will honor the earth, who tells me to listen.
Listen to the wind blowing through the dry leaves.
Hear the fallen ones crunch beneath my feet.
I will honor the earth, who tells me to feel.
Feel the crisp air at night.
Feel the gentle patter of the autumn rain.
I will honor the earth, who tells me to understand.
Understand myself.
Understand others.
Understand the earth.
Understand life.
For life is naught but passing and the planting of the
        seed.
In life. there is death, and in death – life.
Just as the leaf dies, the soil is fertilized.
The sacred dance continues.
From where we came, that way we will go,
And come again.
As I stand in this sacred place between worlds, all of
        time is here and now.
When I leave this circle, the season changes and I will
        change with it.
As the night outlasts the day, as the cold wind howls,
I will stand tall and learn.
Gaia, hear the words of your daughter.
I talked with your wisdom.

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