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Blessed Autumn Equinox / Beannachtaí Cónocht an Fhómhair daoibh

Today (23rd September 2022) is the Autumn Equinox in Ireland! We at Pagan Life Rites Ireland wish you a blessed (almost) end of the summer as we start to prepare for the time of the Great Sleep!

Autumn sunset in harvested field by Rev. Anna Coote

The word equinox is a Latin word meaning ‘equal night’. On the day of an equinox, the Earth is tilting neither toward nor away from the sun, and therefore receives almost an equal amount of daylight and darkness.

Traditionally, the Autumn Equinox marks the end of the harvest season, where we take stock of what we have grown, gathered and ‘harvested’. We can give thanks for what we have received and we can also start to get ready to ‘slow down’, go within and start the process of hibernation, either figuratively or literally (some of us are channelling our inner bears!).

This can be a VERY difficult thing to do in these modern times of artificial heating, artificial lighting, non-stop work, social media and go go go. But even if we can start to try to spend a bit more time outdoors marking the way the Earth is honouring the turning of the wheel as the year matures and the seasons slowly but irrivocably develop and mature.

We can watch the trees paint the forests, woods and hedges with a beautiful canvas of yellows, reds, oranges and browns and then gently start to release that which no longer serves, allowing it to wither, die and rot, sinking back into the earth to eventually feed and sustain the new life that will emerge in the Spring!

And of course take note of the preparations our animal and winged friends are making to gather, store and make ready for the cold winter days ahead.

‘Last Dandelion Puff’ by Rev. Anna Coote

This can be a great time to consider and invite balance into your life. However, the idea of balance may need to be redefined as we move from the light to the darker half of the year; indeed, what kept you balanced in the heat of summer may not at all in the cold bite of winter! Balance is a constantly shifting ‘equilibrium’, and our daily routines and rituals often need to also shift as we move and transition into a new season of the year or of our lives.

It is a time to conserve our physical energy outdoors but not to walk in the shadows, sleep and dream deeply, sit with our friends and neighbours around the fire, talk with our beloved Elders and sow the seeds of emotion, intellect and community.

It is too cold to hunt outdoors or tend to the farm (other than absolute necessity) but it is warm by the fire where there is space and light for all to do the essential repairs of body, mind, heart and soul; mend clothes and tools, carve wood and work metal, weave baskets and fabrics and spin wonders with magic and words!

We wish you balance in all you do and enough warmth, community and sustenance to see you through the dark and cold!

‘Acorns’ by Rev. Anna Coote

Balance is for wimps (Paul Brady)

Balance is death, Balance is decay,
Balance the dull thump of a weary grey day
Balance is watching – the films you’ve seen before
Balance is the droopey eyed somnolescent snore

Tedium with low clouds and misty drizzling rain
Too dull for sunlight too numb for pain
Balance is the bored stare at the same line on the page
Balance is the refuge of creeping old age

Balance is for dotards too dead to give a toss
Well stuff your balance darling – give me chaos
Give me mayhem give me passion tie me to the sheet
Come and ride me sideways while tickling at my feet

Blow me away my love, bounce my head up off the rocks
Turn me upside down and shag me wearing socks
Scare me dare me – come on make me fly
Thrill me – kill me – tease me till I cry

The only balance I want and only if you’re able
Is one leg on the kitchen sink and the other on the table
Bite me scratch me satisfy your lust
Show my soul the sunlight before it turns to dust.

Stretch me out, tie me up and leave me hanging limp
I’ll still raise a smile my love, and balance is for wimps.

The King Oak in the Autumn sun in Charleville Castle, Tullamore by Rev. Anna Coote

‘The Sleeping’ (Anna Ní Cút)

The summer nearly over, the winter almost begun
God and Goddess in balance and harmony as One
Light and the darkness, equal together make whole
The Wheel ever turning, life on a seasonal roll

We give great thanks for the light and the bounty She blessed
The Earth nurtures and sustains but now goes to Her rest
Ahead is a time to prepare, go deep and be still
The long dark, the shadows, the cold will have their fill

But for now we still dance and rejoice from the heart
Knowing that each time, and each turn plays it’s part
The summer sun will await, and the Earth will remain strong
So let us go peacefully to Sleeping with gratitude, prayers and song

*And of course, if you are in the Southern Hemisphere then we wish you a blessed Spring Equinox as you celebrate the return of the light!!*