2019 - Balance - Loughcrew
The plan was to meet at the carpark and head up the hill.
Ceremony and a meditative walk around the cairn.
Pretty simple and pretty good.
Information as of 29th September 2019
Thanks to the OPW for this photo of Autumn Equinox sunrise 2019. In the 1980's Martin Brennan discovered that Cairn T receives light from the rising sun on the spring and autumnal equinox - a beam shining down the passageway and illuminating the rock art on the backstone.
Loughcrew near Oldcastle in Co. Meath, aka Sliabh na Cailleach, the Mountains of the Hag / Witch / Wisewoman / Crone.
A large complex of chambered cairns spread across the hilltops many up to 5000 years old.
The tombs are located on three different hills and Cairn T, one of the largest tombs in the complex, is situated on Cairnbane East. Inside this tomb lies a cruciform chamber, a corbelled roof and some of the most beautiful examples of Neolithic art in Ireland. During the Vernal and Autumn Equinox people gather at dawn in Cairn T to watch sunlight enter the chamber and illuminate the inside of the tomb. OPW information on the site managed by them at Loughcrew. Click here for opening times and information for visiting the site.
For those tuning into the seasonal energies, a non-denominational, universal lattice of spiritual inter-connecting love.
Bernadette Mac in Navan, Meath
Strangest thing - I have been clearing out the house all Saturday and Sunday, wardrobes, drawers, and cupboards. Filled bag of stuff ready to go. House feels so much lighter. Then I remembered it was the Autumn Equinox. Makes so much sense.
Molly Rice in Pacific North West
for allowing her artwork
of 23rd September to be shared
on the website
"Today's September Portals of Potential"
Feeling & sensing
Moving & flowing
Shifting & changing
Her work can be seen here the journey forward
Martin in Mayo
For the Equinox I decided to climb Croagh Patrick. Although associated with Lughnasadh pilgrimage dates, this landscape is full of Equinox, Samhain and Winter Solstice connections.
Croagh Patrick pictured below, image courtesy of Mulranny Park Hotel.
Considered by many to be the brow chakra point in Ireland, the mountain is largely made of quartzite with plenty of serpentine and veins of gold. The summit, which is an arduous 2500 foot climb, is full of archaeological remains including a Bronze Age summit enclosure and about thirty Bronze Age hut sites and some cairns.
Even before climbing, when the Reek first comes into distant view, there is a moment of awe where the heart is lifted in the chest. It's pyramidal shape so evocative of other worldliness and mystery. It is certainly a place apart and a daunting challenge. Ascent takes about two hours of arduous climbing over rough broken ground and loose scree. A challenging journey, but the views are wonderful.
Half way up, the mountain levels off for a bit and the mysterious Log na nDeamhan (Hollow of the Demons) is on the right. This is the spot where the saint banished the snakes from Ireland. According to a medieval legend Ireland was plagued by a pestilence of venomous snakes, demons and magicians. St. Patrick battled demons by throwing his bell after them and in other versions the staff of Christ. When they died he buried them under large boulders in the hollow.
To the far left is a small lake, Loch na Corra. This was where St Patrick restrained the demon called Corra (The fiery one and mother of the devil and wife of Crom Dubh), she was more powerful than the other demons but she eventually left the lake to go torment the pilgrims of Lough Derg!
Climbing in this mythological landscape and remembering the generations who have climbed it before does lend itself to an atmosphere of reverence.
Remembering Equinox as a time of balance I mused at how balance is synonymous with standing straight. However on the trek, at the half way point the wind from the south was strong enough to lift small stones and blow them up hill. I could lean into the wind without falling over. So I suppose balance is a relative thing depending on the situation.
- Croagh Patrick is on a sight line from Carrowkeel where one of the cairns has a distinctly Croagh Patrick shaped stone and on a good day it can be seen from the royal site of Rathcroghan.
- Equinox: Murphy and Moore, in their book entitled “Island of the Setting Sun: In Search of Ireland’s Ancient Astronomers” are convinced that the Reek is at the western end of an ‘Equinox Line’ that stretches 217 kilometres across Ireland from Inbher Colpa (now Drogheda), where Amergin, leader of the Milesians landed.
Tracing this straight line across the country – the authors noted that sunset occurs directly over the Hill of Slane – where Patrick lit the Easter fire - at the time of the full moon (now the indicator of Easter in the Christian calendar) a few days after the Vernal Equinox, and continues through the ancient dwelling of the High Kings of Connacht at Rathcroghan (or Cruachan Aí) and west to Croagh Patrick.
Murphy and Moore go on to state that this line crosses the summit of Croagh Patrick “with breathtaking accuracy”.
They also point out that the relatively unknown site of Rathcroghan is one of the largest archaeological complexes in the world, with over 200 monuments in a ten-mile radius. The theory is that Saint Patrick deliberately followed this line across the country to Croagh Patrick.
The authors state: “At the moment of the equinox sunset, we were looking in the direction of the Hill of Slane and also Croagh Patrick, following a sacred pathway to the stars. This
is breathtaking. It connects some of the most significant places associated with Ireland’s national Saint, and at the same time reflects an ancient cosmology which predates Patrick by three and a half millennia. There seems no limit to what the ancients were capable of. We are amazed.”
- Winter Solstice: When the mountain is viewed from the Bronze Age Annagh-Kiladangan stone row the sun sets into a notch on the mountain in line with the row.
- On the 18th April and 24th August, when viewed from the profusely decorated Boheh stone which was lavishly decorated with cup and ring marks in the Bronze Age, the sun sets on the peak. It is known also as St. Patricks chair.
- Fun Fact: St. Patrick's festivities are linked to a consort called Sheelah whose all but forgotten feast day is the 18th March.
Nora in Trim
Pre-Equinox meddy held on 16th September 2019. Notes for this meditation - click here....
This year - 2019 - Tara Celebrations Autumn Equinox get-together is at Loughcrew. Thinking about this my mind immediately went to the connections between Loughcrew and Tara. There must be many but two stood out for me.
- Standing in the Rath of the Synods on Tara, there is a gap, maybe an entranceway in the henge ridges and this faces the general direction of Loughcrew, which appear as low hills on the horizon.
- There is a myth / legend that the wind shared it's wisdom with the hag/witch/cailleach/feminine energy at Loughcrew and she flew from there to Tara to share it with the Ard Ri/chieftain/people.