Balancing at The Equinox: a transforming step in the Spiral Dance of the Year

wp-sidebar-graphicsThe September 22nd Equinox celebration is very special.

Several of us have banded together in support of YOUR Equinox Journey, offering new spreads; info on how to work with the Colours of Autumn; tips on working with your Inner Cauldron;  new additions for your Art Journal;  creative writing tips; working with Lilith; the journey of Persephone, Demeter and Hades, and much much more.

Click the image to see the full list of contributors and subjects, and to click on the LIVE LINKS for each article! We will also be sharing the links on Instagram.

At the end of my blog below, I’ve posted the link to the next step on your journey through the Tarot Hop.


The Magic of the Equinox

The Equinoxes of Spring and Autumn are magical times, turning points in the Spiral Dance in our Wheel of the Year, promises of things to come (Summer in the Southern Hemisphere, Winter in the Northern Hemisphere) and times of personal transformation as our energies shift from Summer’s peak through to Winter’s reflection, and vice-versa.

Embracing these shifting energies just as they are is key to our own harmony and balance. Energy is never static, and neither are we. Throughout the year, we dance with the opposites within us… waxing and waning, Yin and Yang, the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine, the light and dark, action and rest, expanding and contracting, abundance and lean times, breathing in and breathing out.

lughnasadh-blessingsWe need all of these opposites to create harmony and balance, to be whole. We are constantly transforming, rebalancing, and dancing between these opposites as we find our equilibrium. The awareness you bring at the focus points throughout the year — the Fire Feasts (Imbolc, Ostara, Beltaine, Samhain), the Equinoxes and Solstices — are an opportunity for self-reflection, for conscious transformation and to know your Self in all your energetic states. Yes, you are changing and transforming but always connecting to Self, to your Sacred Purpose and Sacred Contract.

And today I will share with you how I find balance and harmony at these times, including card layouts for both the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes.

But first, a reflection on the Equinox itself.

Spiral or Wheel?

wheel of the year 4We often look at the Wheel of the Year as just that… a wheel revolving throughout the seasons, coming back to its starting point with each New Year. But for me is it a spiral because we never really come back to the same place. We return with the wisdom and experience of the year before. We may have a different perspective. We might have new wounds or we may have healed old wounds. We may be coming from a deeper place, as we get closer to our knowing and connecting with our Wise Inner Self and understanding our Sacred Purpose and Sacred Contract even more.

SOUL QUESTION: What deeper wisdom awakens within you at this Equinox?

The Energy of the Equinox

The Equinox of September 22nd marks the “official” (astronomical) start of Autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere, and the first day of Spring in the Southern Hemisphere.

At the Spring and Autumn Equinox, the Earth is in perfect harmony: the days and nights are of equal length at this midpoint between the Summer and Winter Solstices. It is a time of balance and harmony, as the Sun enters Libra, the sign of Balance. But this is also a time of change and transformation, as nothing is static in our Universe. The energies continue to shift, to wax and wane depending on your location, towards the energetic and opposite peaks of the Solstice.

SOUL QUESTION: What energies shifted in you as we moved towards the Equinox?

pumpkins-1642249_1920I live in the Northern Hemisphere, and see daily changes in the Earth all around me… the days are starting to draw in, to shorten; the Sun’s warming powers are waning and the days are cooler; the deciduous trees are ablaze with vivid reds, purples and golds as they gently shed and turn in; many trees are ripe with fruits and berries and releasing them to the Earth; the fields are becoming bare again as we harvest the Earth’s bounty.

goat-1596880_1920In the Southern Hemisphere, the signs of the coming spring are seen in the longer brighter days, the greening of the grass, the birthing of lambs and calves, new leaves on the trees, the warming of the days and rituals like Spring Cleaning as we ceremonially move from the indoor life of Winter to the outdoor airy life of Summer.

These are all part of the Spiral Dance we celebrate through the Wheel of the Year, as we follow the energies of the Mother Earth, Father Sun and Grandmother Moon. Our ancestors wisely entrained themselves with the energetic cycles: active when those energies were rising, waxing; resting, nurturing and reflecting when those energies were turning inward, waning. They shifted from the outdoor world of farming and harvesting to the indoor world of preparing foods for winter, for prepping for the coming winter and the spring that follows.

But what of the changes in our Self? What happens with our energy?
How does the balance and harmony of the Equinox manifest in our lives?
How do we dance with the transforming and shifting energies?

Balancing at the Equinox

The Equinox is a perfect point in time for self-assessment and reflection, as we move from the abundance of summer to the reflective time of Winter (and vice-versa, of course, in the Southern Hemisphere). It is the perfect time to ask your Soul Questions as you ready for the coming changes.

I have a few tried and true rituals that support me in self-reflection and transformation:

  • a shamanic journey with my guides (and I would recommend this for any time of the year)
  • an oracle or tarot card spread, focusing on balance and transformation
  • a release ritual to release what no longer serves me, to help me move forward (you can also do this at any time of waning energy, such as between the Full Moon and the New Moon)

Soul Questions for your Shamanic Journey

SM 800 x 800-5I always prepare Soul Questions for my journeys… and sometimes I even get to ask them of my Guides! On some of my journeys, my guides have merely asked that I observe or listen. On other journeys, they are awaiting my questions, so it’s good to be prepared.

Create your own Soul Questions for your Journey, based on what you are currently experiencing and the guidance you need to move forward, and connecting with your heart… or use these basic questions:

1. What is beginning?
2. What is flourishing?
3. What is transforming?
4. What is the lesson?

TIP: Consider using the questions in the following Equinox Card Spread

Use your Tarot or Oracle Cards to balance

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The Seeds of Shakti Oracle Cards from The School of Gypsy Arts

I love working with both tarot and oracle cards, and find that sometimes I even use more than one deck for a reading. I might start with my Osho Zen Tarot deck but then call on my oracle cards to answer specific questions, such as Earth Magic, Soulflower Plant Spirit, The Enchanted Map or my new favourite, The Seeds of Shakti.

TIP: Work with the cards you LOVE, with what calls to you at this Equinox.

You may have a favourite layout that you use time and again. Keep in mind the energy of the Equinox and what questions you need to ask in order to reveal what is in balance (or not), how you can move forward, what you have learned this year and what you will be planning for next year.

You could start with a simple three-card layout, such as:
1. What is out of balance?
2. How can I restore balance?
3. What will help me moving forward?

Equinox Card Spread

If you’d like to try a new layout, try this new spread I created for this Equinox, using symbols associated with the Equinox such as the Sun, Moon, Libra (balance) and the Celtic Tree of Life representing the shifting energies throughout the year.

It includes questions/meanings for both Spring (Southern Hemisphere) and Autumn (Northern Hemisphere).

Feel free to create or rewrite the questions to make them uniquely your own, or even mix them up a little!

Click here to download your 2016 Spring & Autumn Equinox Card Spread

Celebrate!

And let’s not forget one of the most important aspects of the Equinox – celebration! Cultures all around the world celebrate the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes, and the pagan Earth-based spirituality of our ancestors has found its way into many contemporary and religious celebrations.

The Spring Equinox is associated with festivals of awakening, birth and new life such as Easter and Ostara; the Autumn Equinox is associated with harvest, with gratitude and thanksgiving such as Mabon, Michaelmas, Alban Elued, and more.

How will YOU celebrate this Equinox?

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Equinox Blessings !


Are you ready for your next step on The Equinox Tarot Hop?

Bree Ferguson (@nyms_divination) has created a beautiful new spread and meditation for the Equinox, The Cerridwen Cauldron Spread and Meditation.

Click here to read the next article in the Fall Equinox Tarot Hop,
The Cerridwen Cauldron Spread and Meditation

You can also see the list of contributors by clicking here.


 

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Celebrating and Honouring All The Stages In Our lives

Diana Nyad completing her 180km swim from Havana to Key West

Several friends and colleagues recently have had milestone birthdays, anywhere from 21 to 70 and everything in-between. Each approached their milestone differently — some with curiosity, some with trepidation, some with celebration… and some by planning their first cosmetic “tweak”!

At this point in my life, I have embraced my ageing process, the changes it has brought to my face, hair and body. I am grateful for the new parts (my new titanium knees, better than the originals!) and learning how to maintain and sustain my body differently than in my youth.

And I appreciate that this journey has also (hopefully) brought wisdom, an enhanced ability to let go of “stuff”, to connect with my Inner Self much more easily, to focus on what is truly meaningful in my life… and the opportunity to take my place amongst those who choose to share their experience and wisdom with others.

I know I am not alone in embracing this. I continue to meet those you might call Elders — or Crones, or Matriarchs, or Amazons (as Elizabeth Davis describes in her book “The Women’s Wheel of Life”) — who are also coming into their own as they age and are choosing to celebrate who they are NOW rather than just comparing themselves (favourably or unfavourably) to their younger versions, such as:

🌸 the “Ancient Amazons” I swim with at Range of Motion classes (average age 70+) who are vibrant and curious and fearless

🌸 the retired women and men in the Restorative Yoga classes I attend who are much more agile than I am (but I’m getting there with commitment and persistence!)

🌸 the 60-ish woman I met at Kitsilano Pool last week, who competed in several events at the Americas Masters Games in Vancouver (we swapped triathlon stories and tips!)

🌸 the vibrant colleagues, clients and participants with whom I work in Circles, workshops and other events

For me, all of these men and women have something in common… they recognize that as they move through the stages of life that each stage is as important as the one before – or after! — it, and that all those younger versions of the Self are still within them, still accessible…. the carefree spirit of the Maiden or Youth… the creativity of the Mother… the sharing of Wisdom of the Midwife and the Matriarch…

I am reminded of Diana Nyad, who was the first person to complete the 110 mile swim (53 hours) from Havana to Key West, Florida (without a shark cage), at the age of 64. That was in 2013, and it was her fifth attempt.

Upon completion, on the beach, she said:

‘I have three messages. One is, we should never, ever give up. Two is, you’re never too old to chase your dream. Three is, it looks like a solitary sport, but it is a team.’

How do you feel about Nyad’s message?

As you look at your journey through life, where might you have given up rather than push forward with conviction?

What dreams might you have put aside because you thought you might be too “old”… or even too young…. or because “it’s not the right time”?

And who is on YOUR team? Who gives you support with love or friendship, by holding space for you…. or is part of your team of spiritual allies (your guides and totems of all kinds)?

COMING SOON
In support of helping you create YOUR team of allies, I will soon be announcing two new private groups here on Facebook, and I hope you will join me in one or both.

One will be open to those who are (re)claiming their connection to Mama Earth and Grandmother Moon, aka Seanmháthair Gealach, and the Divine Feminine (and Divine Masculine!) within each of us, and will include Earth- and Moon-based rituals, practices and shamanic work in a private community setting. This group will be open to all, whether this is your first step on the journey or your thousandth.

The second will also be a private group, but for those who identify as a Woman and who feel the Crone wisdom is starting to emerge in their lives, no matter what their age… not exactly a Red Tent group, more of a Silver Tent or Purple Tent! We will connect within the Facebook group for the Full Moons, weekly tips and Soul Questions  and for special rites and celebrations throughout the year honouring our transitions through the Women’s Wheel of Life. We will also meet in a monthly virtual Circle which will likely be via Zoom or UberConference, and/or Facebook Live.

I’d love to hear your comments about these new groups… what interests you, what would support you, etc.

Please comment below.

More info to come over the next couple of weeks!!!!

You can also follow me Facebook now by clicking here.


 

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Dancing with the energy of our Souls

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As we approach the Equinox on September 22nd, the theme for our monthly journey with Grandmother Moon is Balance and Harmony.

Someone recently suggested to me that this was an impossible task. He asked, “How can we humans have perfect balance when the Earth itself achieves it only twice a year?”

That may be true… but are we looking for perfection? For absolutes?

Perhaps we are looking for agility… learning to dance with the energy of our Souls… to waltz and whirl with the energy of the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth as their (and our) energies flow from Yin and Yang, from Yang to Yin…

Nothing is static… everything changes, transforms…

These shifting energetic states teach us how to adapt, how to flow, how to experience the world in different ways…. and how to accept all of these as natural, neither good nor bad, just as they are.

Each allows us to delve into our Sacred Contract with our Self… to manifest it in light and shadow, rising and falling, Yin and Yang, Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine…

Know YOU, Be YOU, in all your varied energetic states… Expanding, contracting, at rest, in balance… changing and transforming but always connected to Self.

That, to me, is Harmony and Balance.

In the words of poet Nayyirah Waheed (from “Nejma”)

“the truth is
you were born for you.
you were wanted by you.
you came for you.
you are here for you.
your existence is yours.
yes.”

Yes 🌙


 

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Celebrating Lughnasadh, the first Celtic harvest

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Lughnasadh — also known as Lammas — is coming very soon. It is one of four cross-quarter days in the Celtic Wheel of the Year (the others are Samhain, Imbolc and Beltaine) and is normally celebrated on August 1st in the Northern Hemisphere. In Celtic traditions, the day starts at sunset so the festivities typically start the evening of July 31st.

Lughnasadh (pronounced LOO-nah-sah) is actually the first of three autumnal harvest celebrations in the Celtic year, followed by the second harvest Mabon on the Autumn Equinox in September and the third harvest Samhain cross-quarter day on October 31st.

Originally Lughnasadh was dedicated to the Celtic god Lugh (the Bright One or Flashing Light), but we celebrate all fertility and abundance at this time — the sun and light of Lugh and the fertility of the Mother goddess. It is a time to honour the abundance and harvest of the Earth, and to celebrate both the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine within us all.

What is a cross-quarter day?wheel of the year 4
There are four significant astronomical (and astrological!) days each year based on the Earth’s relationship with the Sun: the summer and winter solstices and the spring and autumn equinoxes. These are known as the quarter days, which are also recognized as the astrological start of the four seasons. The cross-quarter days fall at the midpoints of those events.

In astronomical terms, Lughnasadh falls at the midpoint between the Summer Solstice (aka Litha) and the Autumn Equinox (aka Mabon), which falls this year on August 6th at 18:54 Pacific Time (01:54 August 7th UT). Some still celebrate this day as “Old Lammas”. But celebrate whenever it feels right for you. Or celebrate both!

Celebrate with food, crafts, altars and ritual

Food
Traditionally Lughnasadh is celebrated with feasts based on the harvest — especially grains such as corn and wheat, often as a loaf in the shape of the god or goddess — but I like to celebrate with the foods made from fresh seasonal (and organic if possible!) veggies and gluten-free baking (and there is now so much to choose from)… and maybe even a decadent treat like homemade caramel corn!

Borrowing from pagan traditions, Christians also celebrated this festival by bringing a loaf made from the first grain harvest to church for blessing by the priest.In fact, the alternate name for this holiday — Lammas — comes to us as a contraction of loaf mass. And some followed the rather magical tradition of afterwards breaking the loaf into four pieces and placing them in the corners of their property, barn or silo to protect the grain.  This is a magical tradition you could incorporate into your celebration, creating your own ritual.

altar lammas food altar

Example of a Lammas altar from craftchickscuppacoffee.blogspot.ca

Crafts and Altars
If you keep an altar in your home, embellish it with traditional Lammas harvest elements and symbols — an ear of corn, a sheaf or stalk of wheat, a jar of honey, fresh vegetables and herbs, and something to represent the Mother goddess such as a corn doll.

Lugh was the craftsman of the Celtic gods, so any of your own craft projects would be an excellent addition to the altar or even craft tools (or bits of iron) to represent Lugh’s magical spear, along with candles in harvest colours such as red , orange and yellow. I might add a jar of my first wildcrafted blackberry jam of the summer!

Another great way to personalize your celebration is to create your own loose incense for use on your altar or in your bonfire. Check out our post here for a simple loose incense you can make with readily available components.

Rituals 
Many of us celebrate our earth-based spirituality as a solitary practitioner, and some in circle with others. In either case, it’s important for each of us to develop our own rituals and ceremonies that reflect who we are, where we live and the god or goddess connections that we have.

Tomorrow I will post some suggestions for a Lughnasadh ritual but ask that you consider creating your own ritual using the themes of harvest, abundance and renewal (bringing back that which was harvested or depleted), honouring the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine within you, or even new beginnings.

And I would love to hear how what you create! Post in the comments area below or post to our Inner Journey Events Facebook page. I will pin a post to the top for your input🌾🌾🌾

May your harvest be bountiful and sustain you through the cold winter months ahead. May the love of family, friends and the Goddess warm you always.

 


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Dreaming back my Sisters

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As part of my work and development in shamanism and other mysteries, I am journeying with my guides to reveal my magical or spiritual names… These are often secret, kept to our heart, but some people choose to use them publicly, especially in ritual or healing work, spellcraft, and journeys.

The names vary as much as the people choosing them but often are reflective of the gifts and skills we use in our work, and how we align with our spiritual allies such as Mama Moon, Father Sky and Mama Earth.

I came across this delightful poem by Maria Elena Gaspari about Dreaming back our Sisters…. and which happens to have wonderful magical names which may be an inspiration for some of you.

Some of these names are specific — or at least to the Divine Feminine within us — but many will appeal to the Divine Masculine — and the men — reading this 🌝🌕

I am dreaming back my sisters
Whisper-worn footfalls on the Temple steps
Skywalkers
Storm dwellers
Heavy-breasted cauldron keepers
…Songweavers
Snake sisters
… Darkmoon dancers

 

Labyrinth builders
Star bridgers
Fiery-eyed dragon-ryders
Wind seekers
Shape shifters
Corn daughters

 

Wolf women
Earth stewards
Gentle-handed womb sounders
Dream spinners
Flame keepers
Moon birthers
Come home sisters, come home

– Maria Elena Gaspari

 


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Celebrate your Fire Energy on Litha

I love flowers that look like the sun, especially as we prepare for Monday’s summer solstice, also known as Litha🌞

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This piece of sunshine is Hypericum calycinum aka Aaron’s Beard or Creeping St. John’s Wort.

This will be a very special Solstice as we will also be welcoming the Full Moon  — the Divine Feminine in all her glory!

The Solstice honours and celebrates the fire element, growth and self-empowerment and the Divine Masculine within us. Sounds like a third chakra connection to me!

On the Solstice, pay attention to your third chakra (aka solar plexus chakra or Manipura)  and align with your inner sun source:

☀️ embrace yellow, the colour of the Sun — wear it, create with it, decorate with it, eat it. There are lots of lovely yellow foods to choose from such as bananas, peppers, lemons, pineapple, squash, Yukon gold potatoes, beans, tomatoes and more

☀️ exercise your core with yoga or Pilates

☀️ meditate with yellow or golden-hued crystals such as amber, topaz and citrine, and yellow varieties of jasper, tourmaline or quartz

☀️ empower yourself through affirmations such as:

“I respect myself”

“I stand up for myself and what I believe in.”

“I honour and celebrate the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine within me.”


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Choosing your Journey for the Gemini New Moon

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Tonight at 7:59 PM Pacific Time, Grandmother Moon starts a new monthly cycle with the New Moon in Gemini.

I love the New Moon and all it brings — rebirth, new beginnings, new journeys, new insights. Each lunar month we are given a gift:  the opportunity to explore, change and transform in our own Hero’s or Heroine’s Journey.

The Gemini New Moon Influence
Gemini is an Air element sign, the element of insight from practicality through to vision, creativity, and inspiration. Tap into that energy to enhance your efforts and planning this month. Air governs the lungs and breath (inspiration once again!), so also supports communication. This will definitely help you find your voice and speak your truth.

Gemini — also known as The Twins — speaks to our inherent duality. We each have both Yin and Yang energies within us, the Divine Feminine AND the Divine Masculine. To have true balance and harmony in our Self, it is important to appreciate and manifest both elements. We can hold and express both, juggling the push-pull of these energies, living with contradiction and paradox… and being okay with that!

Soul Questions for the New Moon

I invite you to explore your own duality this month in your Soul Work or meditations — the paradox of living with and acting from both the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine within… and yet still living in balance and harmony. Or do you…?

When do you more naturally draw from one versus the other? Can you easily express both your Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine? And do you recognize the differences?

Yin, and the Divine Feminine,  is Earth, Water, Moon… receptive, inward, cool, contracting, descending, nurturing, flexible and intuitive.

Yang, and the Divine Masculine, is Fire, Air, Sun… active, outward, hot, expanding, rising, protecting, stable and rational.

In your New Moon ritual or meditation, consider these Soul Questions around duality:

  • When do you go with the flow, accepting the natural rhythms of life, and when do you try to control and influence conditions around you?
  • When do you act from intuition and when do you choose based on “just the facts” ?
  • How comfortable are you with your Divine Feminine qualities? Your Divine Masculine qualities?
  • When do you follow the Hero’s Journey (going out into the world and manifesting change there) and when do you pursue the Heroine’s Journey (going deep into one’s Self and transforming from within)?
  • Looking forward, what might you do differently this month to find or maintain harmony and balance. How might you honour both the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine?

And as you plan out your month and what you will manifest, consider which journey and process will help you accomplish your goals — the Hero’s Journey or the Heroine’s Journey. You have both in your spiritual tool box… use what will best support you this month.

The Hero’s Journey or the (S)hero’s Journey?

We are all likely familiar with the Hero’s Journey, as described by Joseph Campbell — a Call to Adventure, resulting in epic archetypal mythological quests such as those of Don Quixote, the Knights of the Round Table, Odysseus or even Luke Skywalker. The Hero leaves his home and searches in the outside word for that which has been lost or that which is necessary for his tribe to survive.

But what about the “(S)hero”? What is the Heroine’s Journey? Just as Yang is outward and Yin is inward, the Heroine’s journey is not to the outside world but is a journey inward, to the core of her Self… thereby changing her inner world and the world around her. Hmmm… to me, this does sound like a shamanic journey!

Maureen Murdock, author of the 1990 classic The Heroine’s Journey, was a student of Joseph Campbell and, per her website, wrote her book “as a response to Joseph Campbell’s book on the hero’s journey. Maureen, who was a student of Campbell’s work, felt his model did not address the specific psycho-spiritual journey of contemporary women.”

Murdock describes the differences this way:

“The hero’s journey is up and out — with a big splash — to the light, while the heroine’s journey is down and in — into the body, into the metaphorical cave, to the Black Madonna.”

The Hero saves the world…. the Heroine, the (S)hero, changes the world and her Self.

Which journey will you choose this month?

 


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