It is nearly the time of the Autumn Equinox (for those of us in the northern hemisphere). Infact, it is this Friday, 22 September 2017.
It’s the time when, for the second time this year, the length of day and night is equal, but thereafter night grows in length as winter approaches and the length of daylight diminishes, and as the circle turns. Autumn equinox approaches.
‘Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.’ George Eliot
Having considered the first harvest in early August of corn etc, this time marks the time of the second harvest, of hardier fruit, nuts and berries.
It’s a time of rejoicing, celebrating in large ways and small, a time of reflection and of taking stock, and a time to give thanks to the Source of All, however we express that gratitude. So, you have a couple of days to plan something – and whatever you can do I’m sure it will enhance your appreciation of the season. If you need some practical hints, do see an earlier article on this very theme (see here).
‘Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.’ William C Bryant.
For ancient and latter-day Celts and Druids, particularly of Welsh extraction, but not only, the Autumn Equinox is known as Alban Elfed – the Light of the Water. Very apt as the dominant compass point for Autumn Equinox is west (which you might consider facing if involved in a ceremony, ritual or reciting an appropriate poem or prayer for this time). West is also represented by one of the four physical elements, and this is water. Hence, Alban Elfed, is the Light of the Water.
Some weeks ago – and you know I love haiku – I wrote the following with Alban Elfed in mind, and the poem can be used as a poem to celebrate this time or as party your liturgy to honour the event:
Nature’s circle turns,
and night and day are balanced.
Time for heartfelt thanks.
Water, that gives life,
often taken for granted,
The earth’s provision
at this bless-ed harvest-time,
for all people, stored.
Easterly winds blow,
renew our spirit’s within.
Warming sun of all,
now, in this season balanced.
Sun of righteousness.
Nature’s circle turns,
and with gratitude given.
Source of All be praised.
This Alban Elfed I would encourage you to find time, maybe in the evening, to recollect the last year (and even make of list) and to give thanks. Expressing gratitude can done be in a number of ways, so choose one that you’re comfortable with: maybe lighting a candle and praying a gratitude prayer to the Source of All, inviting friends around for a harvest meal, meditating for a short while on the bounty of nature, reciting a relevant poem or expressing yourself in a simple ancient ritual, or in some other way.
‘Blessed be you Balance-Holder,
unafraid of the dark from which all newness must begin,
giver of light that draws us on and out into fullness.
Help me to balance my need for outgoing and restoring this day.
(With thankfulness for my going out, restore to me my rest this night).’
(Tess Ward, The Celtic Wheel Of The Year: Celtic And Christian Seasonal Prayers).
Blessings to you and yours at this time of Alban Elfed, Tadhg