What is joy without sorrow? What is success without failure? What is a win without a loss? What is health without illness? You have to experience each if you are to appreciate the other. There is always going to be suffering. It is how you look at your suffering, how you deal with it that will define you.”~ Mark Twain
From September 21-23rd our pagan ancestors celebrated Autumn Equinox, the cross quarter festival of the Harvest. We reap what we have sown over the last year and for three days the sun remains balanced between light and dark, before the days become shorter and the nights longer.
This is the time when we celebrated the fruits of our labour, and our hard toiling in the field. It is a festival of thanksgiving for the abundance of food and grain that will help us survive the cold, barren, winter months. Even though we no longer have the same connection with the land the Autumn Equinox message still applies.
The balance between light and dark reminds us to acknowledge and accept the dualities of our personalities; our strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, loves and hates. Once we can accept the duality within us, we can more easily accept the duality in the external world.
There is never dark without the light, the balance is always there, whether we are aware of it or not. The Autumn Equinox reminds us to stop playing the blame game and begin to take personal responsibility for our own actions. Recognise the part you are playing in your drama and see why you have attracted it into your life.
We can change any negative situation when we find the light in our present situation, in other words, when we can see the blessings in the burden and the burden in the blessings. Only then are we more empowered to accept the situation. Focus on what is good and working, rather than what is falling apart and energetically send the situation love, light, forgiveness and compassion, which has a huge impact, as we are all connected by energy.
Our human brains are defaulted to negative, so we can automatically see all the negative implications, in any given situation. To overcome this basic mechanism we must retrain our brains to see all the potential positive outcomes. The attitude of gratitude really helps us with this, by focusing us on what we have, rather than for what we don’t. It will open your hearts to allow more wonderful things to come into your life. A good exercise is to start a gratitude diary every evening, recording all the things you are grateful for that happened, and all the things you are grateful for that are about to happen.. when we focus on the positive, life becomes a whole lot more positive. Try it and see for yourself!
This is also the perfect time to recognise, and enjoy our successes while we now ‘harvest’ the fruits of our projects and creative endeavours. If you are feeling that you haven’t achieved much on the material level acknowledge how much you have grown as a person and see this as an equally important success.
A nice way to honour the Autumn Equinox is to invite family and friends to gather and share the abundance of the harvest crop. Ask everyone to bring a dish to share made from seasonal food. Don’t forget to acknowledge, give gratitude, and celebrate Mother Earth, as you share her fruits.
It was also customary to decorate your alter with autumn leaves, seed and nuts and burn orange, green and brown candles, to both honour and represent the change in season, energy, and the acceptance that we are now heading into the winter…this is a lovely symbolic ritual that helps us remain balanced despite the change.