The Equinox arrives today, on September 22nd at 1:02 PM Pacific Time / 20:02 UTC.
For those in the Northern Hemisphere, this Equinox marks the astronomical start of Autumn and is known by many in the Pagan or Wiccan communities as Mabon, as Alban Elfed (Light of the Water) in Druid communities, and as Cónacht Fómhair (or Meán Fómhair) in Irish Gaelic
For those in the Southern Hemisphere, this Equinox marks the astronomical start of Spring and is known by many in the Pagan or Wiccan Communities as Ostara, Alban Eilir (Light of the Earth) in Druid communities, and as Cónacht an Earraigh in Irish Gaelic.
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.
We 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?
We 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?
I live in the Northern Hemisphere, and see daily changes in the Earth all around me… the days are starting to draw in, to shorten; Grandfather 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.
In 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, GrandFather 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
I 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:
- How do I define balance?
- How do I know when I’m in balance… or out of balance?
- Is balance a short-term effect or a long-term dance?
- What aspect(s) of my life do I prioritize? What aspect of my life do I ignore, put on the back burner? How do I recognize when I take on too much?
- What can I do to maintain or restore balance in my life?
TIP: Consider using the questions in the following Equinox Card Spread
Use your Tarot or Oracle Cards to balance
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 The Wild Unknown Tarot or Animal Spirit Decks, but then call on additional decks to answer specific questions, such as Earth Magic, Soulflower Plant Spirit, The Enchanted Map or 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. What will support me in restoring balance?
3. What wisdom/medicine will help me moving forward?
Equinox Card Spread (& free Ebook)
If you’d like to try a new card layout, try this 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 for both the Spring (Southern Hemisphere) and Autumn (Northern Hemisphere). Feel free to create new questions or modify these to make them uniquely your own, or even mix them up a little!
This spread is part of our Equinox ebook — which also includes the Apple Ritual/Blessing for the Equinox, a simple Cacao ceremony, tips for your altar and more.
You can access this FREE eBook in a couple of ways:
- by subscribing to the Inner Journey Events mailing list. CLICK HERE
- by joining our (women only) Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle on Facebook
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, Ostara and Alban Eilir; the Autumn Equinox is associated with harvest, with gratitude and thanksgiving such as Mabon, Michaelmas, Alban Elfed, and more.
How will YOU celebrate this Equinox?