The Light and the Dark
Today is the autumnal equinox, the astronomical beginning of autumn. It's also Mabon, one of the modern pagan festivals honoring the boundary between the long, bright days of summer and the shorter, darker days at the close of the year.
I don't personally belong to any sort of organized religion. I do, however, loosely follow the modern pagan festival calendar, mostly because its meditative focus tends to be nature-centered, and nature is where I am at home focusing my spiritual energy. Inasmuch as I can feel the ineffable, I feel it most when I am beneath the trees, with grass beneath my feet, surrounded by the hum and energy of growing things. The forest is my cathedral, wildflowers my votive offerings. I pray, or meditate, or whatever you want to call it, with my hands deep in the warm, dark soil of the world that birthed me.
And so, I find the pagan wheel of the year a useful tool to mark spiritual time as well as earthly time. I pause on the quarter and cross-quarter festival days, sometimes only for the briefest of moments in this, my hectic life, and breathe deeply, taking a moment to appreciate the fact that I'm still here, grateful for the opportunity to live and love another day.
Today my thoughts centered on something I read the other day about how Mabon, being an equinox festival, celebrates both the light and the dark in the world, and in our lives. This year has been that way for me--tremendous highs followed by cavernous depths, sometimes in quick succession. At times one followed the other so quickly it was hard to keep up, hard to process one before the next hit me like a freight train. Some I'm still processing.
Lately, I'll admit, there's been a lot of dark, and it's gotten harder and harder to see the light sometimes.
Seeing that message, and waking this morning to a cool autumn breeze, was deeply uplifting for me. I went for a walk in the warm sunshine, breathed in the crisp air, talked to a preying mantis, and said good morning to a cypress tree. I needed that reminder, I think--that the wheel keeps turning, round and round and round again. The darkness comes, we rest, we heal, and then the light returns.
And with it, so do we.