Autumn Equinox Small Ritual

Following on from our walk together, we decided to get together this evening for a meditation on the season (pics to follow, please). Here is the guiding text we used for this, and the music was from CDs by Alison Eve & Liturgia/ NChant.

Autumn Equinox Small Ritual

(part shamelessly pinched from Bruce Stanley at Forest Church)

 

WELCOME to this circle and to this meditation.

Begin by bringing your awareness to where you are … now.

Take a moment to become present and invite God’s Spirit to inspire us.

We’re all on different spiritual journeys … but

today we find ourselves together on this same

path for this meditation. May God’s Spirit be with you.

And also with you.

 

At Autumn Equinox we witness, and participate with, the convergence of four great stories …

The Sun’s Story

The great turning wheel of the heavens says that this is a very significant time of the year. It is one of the four solar festivals which are marked by the sun’s position and movement across the sky. At the equinox the sun will rise and set due east west and from now onwards the sun will rise to the north of east, eventually rising 23.5º north of east on the Winter solstice.

The Food story

In the food story, which is linked closely with the story of our lives and survival, it marks the end of the growing and harvesting season and the possibility of rest but also of the dark, lean half of the year. To mark this we will share together two different deserts, one more fitting from Summer, and the other decidedly Autumnal in flavour.

(cue time to tuck in to strawberries & cream and rhubarb, apple & blackberry crumbles, and also sup tea and chat more about our everyday lives and events)

God, who made a home among us,

knowing the comfort and the challenge

of routine and family. Inspire in us love

and peace, and light for this dark half,

by your Spirit’s dwelling with us.

Nature’s story

There is a lot changing around us in nature. What have you observed?

(We share our objects, photos & inspirtaions from our walk and experiences of the season)

The fourth story is our story

Food producing peoples especially mark this time as part of harvest. Druids call this time Alban Elfed which means Light of the Water or Light of Autumn, the time of fulfilment and achievement. On the circle of the year it is at the west, the place of the setting sun. Autumn can resonate with the onset of middle age in a person’s life.

Following this harvest theme we take time to meditate on the following questions:

What fruit can you give thanks for in your life?

What hasn’t grown as you wanted it to?

As you think about the next six months, what divine help do you need?

3000 years ago a Hebrew King wrote a line of a song,

‘Unless Adonai builds the house, the builders labour in vain.’

Great Spirit – Adonai, help us let go for a moment to recognise that we cannot make a masterpiece of our working lives without your blessing.

Some Christians celebrate Michaelmas near this time on the 29th. Saint Michael the Archangel is the most senior of angels and represents overcoming evil and chaos and protection from darkness and destruction. You may also be aware of other themes …

At the equinox the day and night, light and dark are balanced which suggests that for most of the year light and dark are normally unbalanced. Is being in balance, a rare thing? Perhaps it is a good idea to explore your balance; and an opportunity to let go of striving and enjoy the harvest and prepare for the dark half.

A Psalm which follows this theme of good overcoming despite much evil, and also this cycle of the heavens, is Psalm 74.

Forever holy men and women have heard the call and sought out wild, lonely and mountainous environments as unique places to be spiritually formed and to hear from the Divine – to be prepared to reenter the world carrying something new, rebalanced to bring light into darkness. God of the wild and untamed, the mountains and the valleys, keep us ever mindful of your call and ever open to your light.

Agnus Dei (music)

We take time now to remember Jesus Christ, whose sacrifice has won the ultimate harvest over sin, death and destruction.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

 

We share the bread and the wine in honour of his sacrifice, and in anticipation of celebrating a great harvest festival with him in glory.

(sharing of a cup made from the juice excesses from the crumbles & some bread

The blood of Christ; The body of Christ)

The changing of the seasons makes friends of us all.

May the circle be unbroken.

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Autumn Equinox Walk

This year, I’ve been celebrating the autumn equinox more purposefully & deliberately than other years, perhaps because with all the overtones of light and dark, and changing seasons, it resonates with my life at present. So I thought I’d share the guide that was given for our walk on the day of the equinox & some of the photos from our day.

Autumn Equinox (Multisensory) Walk

Autumn Equinox occurs when the axis of rotation of the earth (i.e. the line from the N to S poles) is exactly parallel to the direction of motion of the earth around the sun. This also then means that the length of the daylight and the length of the night-dark are approximately equal (The name is derived from the Latin aequus =equal and nox =night). After this point the nights become longer than the days, so it is a good marker for us of the move from summer into autumn.

People all over the world have marked out time passing and the circle of the year by movements of the sun like these, and a poet and musician from many hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth said this to God,

“The day is yours, and yours also the night;
you established the sun and moon.
 It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth;
you made both summer and winter.” (Psalm 74)

Another such poet encourages everything that exists to praise God with everything that they have (Psalm 148) – including us.

So… on this walk we’re going to use all our senses to find things which tell us about the summer which has been (albeit soggy!) and other things which tell us about autumn coming.

EYES – look – what things remind you of summer? Or autumn? Point them out to other people so we can see what you’re looking at. If you have cameras, take pictures to share these.

NOSE – what can you smell that reminds you of summer? What smells tell you about the coming autumn? What does autumn smell of?

EARS – What sounds can you hear? Are there any birds around that come in the summer and go at this time of year? Are there any other birds that come here in the autumn and winter?

MOUTHS – Can your parents help you find some things which people can eat at this time of year? [Nobody to eat anything without an adult checking it’s not poisonous many things look similar!]

HANDS – What can you find to touch that tells you about summer and autumn? Maybe you can find one thing for each to take home (but no picking wild flowers and plants without checking – some might be special and need protecting).