Fall Equinox: Finding Balance and Blessing.


Happy Fall Equinox!

Like many folks in the Northern Hemisphere, I celebrate the turning of the Celtic Wheel.

These past seasons of Covid, with political polarization and now the Delta variant that brings with it, rising Covid numbers and ongoing uncertainty, I am drawn towards seeking stability, grounding and connection.

For over eighteen months, I have participated in the turning of the Wheel with The Hedge School, a virtual home school rooted in Ireland that invites people around the world on a collective learning experience to find our shared humanity through reclaiming old wisdom in emergent ways.


I find that by paying attention to the subtle and complex energies that accompany the turning of the wheel, I can be in alignment with whatever is showing up in each and every moment.
Currently, in our yard, the Shasta daisies and coneflowers have withered to brown stalks while the zinnias boldly continue to present their round magenta and orange blooms towards the sun.
Our sunflower tree at the corner of a busy urban intersection is surrounded by wildflowers from scattered seeds barely past the height of their bloom. Blossoms large and small of white, yellow, purple, and orange lean on long, late summer stems towards the grass.
In our yard in Moxham a city neighborhood, we have blooms from brave little snowdrops that burst through frozen ground to an early spring array of daffodils, hyacinths and tulips that usher in Irises of white, coral and purple, as well as the serene, vibrant purple Japanese Irises.
These blooms eventually yield to bright yellow evening of primrose blossom and an unknown vibrant purple flower all through the yard.
Next up comes the utterly simple beauty of daisies, the funky deep magenta strands of bee balm, elegant tiger lilies, confident day lilies and two giant butterfly bushes that remain in bloom with the aforementioned cone flowers and Shasta daisies inviting buzzing bees and many butterflies into our outdoor dwelling place.
The Fall Equinox finds us still harvesting late summer and early fall fruits of our labor in our urban homesteading adventure with ten raised beds. Green tomatoes slowly ripen on the vine. Kale, Swiss chard. eggplant and varieties of peppers, due to a long, warm summer are still promising fruit. Green Onions, acorn, Hubbard and Butternut squash start to up their garden game with deepening their color and growing in length and circumference.
We don’t buy produce except for locally grown fruit from May to October.
The equinox is a time in our garden where most things come to a completion and a pause. We turn over beds, blanch and freeze kale and chard, filling the freezer, pickle the last of the beets with eggs and make sauce with what is left of the tomatoes.
This time of the year, the time after Labor Day and before the first frost often seems like the beginning of the year to me. School begins and the rhythm of traffic, people’s schedules and the types of social engagements shift and change.
It feels to me like a time of both preparation for the winter and a completion of the time of harvest.
The leaves of the trees on the rolling Appalachian mountains have entered the fullness of this season. Hints of brown and splashes of color peer out from hillsides. Nature constantly demonstrates to us the beauty of release in a vibrant display that eventually ends in starkness.
We are held now, during the Equinox in the pause before release.
The Equinox is like the pause at the top of the inhale where there is a sense of fullness that eventually, on the exhale is released to empty.
This is a time of balancing light/dark, harvest/preparation, allowing/releasing.
In the Hedge School that I mentioned above, this paying deep attention to the natural world and integrating the complex and subtle energies that are the gifts of the various turns and stops on the Wheel is the recovering of ancient wisdom that allow us to live in harmony and balance with the natural world.
When I see myself as part of the natural world, as part of the diversity of species living amongst other species on this living, breathing organism we call Earth, I access a sense of wholeness and connection that is outside the systems and values of our culture that seeks to dominate and exploit the natural world.
In this turning, this season of the Wheel, I know I need to be clear about accessing the wellspring of joy that is my birthright and that of all Beings.
I know this.
I need to be well in an unwell world.
I am blessed to have great teachers, Joanna Macy and The Work That Reconnects, among many, that offer daily practices to reorient and shift our awareness to being relational rather than transactional in all things.
Paying attention to the natural world, even in urban settings, is the best and easiest access to start practice.
I often connect to the expansion and contraction in my breath as something shared with even single celled organisms in the pulse of life itself.
So, on this Autumn Equinox evening, as a soft, gentle rain soaks the trees, the Earth, the concrete, the remaining plants and flowers, I exhale, trusting in the Divine Order of Gaia.
May I remain present enough in this part of the Great Turning,  to know what to breathe life into, what to release and let go and what to sit with, simmer and digest.
I leave you with the words of Mary Oliver, who always knows what to say by paying deep attention to the natural world.
Rachel Allen (she/her/hers)
Merging Music, Yoga and Community
Trauma Informed Wellness Services
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