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Autumn Equinox

Each year, as the earth completes its annual journey around the sun, the balance between night and day shifts.

It is the time of the Autumn Equinox, a time for taking a few moments to honour the changing seasons and celebrate the Second Harvest.

In 2016 half of the celebration was before sunset while the other half played out in the darkness after sunset. And the elements conspired to acknowledge the time as well:

As we ceremoniously shared the harvest and shared Open Heart contributions from each person present, the first hour had passed, the hour before sunset and the last light of the day. For his contribution, John got us to scan the skies for 360°. Everywhere on the horizon there were clouds visible but above us, above Tara, there was a beautiful clear blue sky.
For the last part of this active hour we started drumming... Drumming the sun down. Many thanks to those present who drummed - it really added to the occasion. The rest of us stood silently, watching and reflecting. The fact that we were watching a massive cloud in the distance behind which was the sun was neither here nor there.

The underlying energy is one of balance; retreating within and building resources, planning ahead and thanks for what has been, actively harvesting in the outer world whilst slowing down to dream a new world on the inner.

We enjoy beautiful sunny days which will bring bright memories in the dark of winter.

The weather is noticeably getting colder and although not severe it is a firm reminder to prepare, that winter is on its way.

The traditional Second Harvest is of fruits - Lughnasadh, the First, is of grain, and Samhain, the Third, is of nuts.

While we harvest and store for the coming winter there is also the seasonal food celebration after the toil of the harvest, known as the Churn.

Autumnal Feast

A chattering bird sings in the wild thistle bed,
seeking seeds in each white, downy head.

Strong beaked and bright eyed, this little bird,
that across the red fuschias I've often heard,

enjoys a feast, as it pulls and heaves,
at the spiky plants with razor sharp leaves.

Harvesting the bounty of autumnal earth,
filling its belly, swelling its girth,
laying down stores for winter's dearth.

In 2018 Bernadette Mac led a gathering at the Labyrinth at An Tobar, Ardbraccan... She reported:

What a funny thing happened at the Ceremony! I asked them all to bring the rays of the evening sun as a grounding - to see the rays come over their body, down the top of the head, all around and down to the souls/soles of their feet - feel mother earth grounding you. You will not believe what happened! Tara Mines let off dynamite just as I said 'feel the earth beneath your feet'. Well, talk about laughing. So you could say the Autumn Equinox went off with a bang.