Sunday, September 23, 2007

Happy Autumn Equinox!

While I may not practice astrology professionally anymore, I have integrated many aspects of it into my life for good. One of them is celebrating the change of seasons at the solstices and equinoxes. It was easy for me to appreciate those turning points: I was born on the cusp of autumn. Bet you can’t guess my favorite season.

You don’t have to be into astrology to know that the quarterly shifts in weather are a crossroads and sacred time. Many people don’t realize how much the earth religions have influenced other religions—the ones that revere nature and just such changes--including Christianity. There are many parallels between them, including the recognition that outer changes mirror inner growth. Most of us know the Bible quote popularized in the early ‘60s song by Pete Seeger, Turn, Turn, Turn:

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens. "

--Ecclesiastes 3:1

I have always been a seeker, and I have enjoyed a rich spiritual life since Day One, thanks to my family and my own Virgo tendencies toward perfection—my desire to live life to the best and fullest. Combine that with a lot of planets in Libra, the sign that craves balance and harmony, and it’s not surprising that my spirituality has been eclectic. It’s easy for me to see the best of many different traditions. After all, I want to find what we can agree on and appreciate about each other’s perspectives.

Now you have the context for how I started a group of women in the late ‘80s that celebrates the change of seasons. Many of us attended an annual candlelighting service at our local Unity Church. We loved it but wanted more. We were still in the afterglow of the
Harmonic Convergence, that August 1987 event where people went to various sacred sites on Earth to pray for peace and harmony. It was a time of ecumenical spirituality and oneness, and celebration of the Winter Solstice seemed the most all-inclusive to us; so, that’s where we started.

Soon, our circles once a year just weren’t enough, and we expanded them to the other quarterly solstices and equinoxes. As often as possible, we celebrate at the river, the outdoor cathedral of God/Goddess/All That Is. Our members have varied beliefs with a shared faith in open-mindedness. We borrow from every tradition you can think of—Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, pagan. Our rituals are nothing if they are not creative, and various women take turns putting them together. Even though it’s a circle of women, we owe our nickname, the Solsisters, to a man. (Thanks, Evan!) He was the boyfriend of my close friend and my primary partner in creating these events out of ordinary time. I don’t know if he feels it, but I think Evan gets a blessing every time we say the word.

Over the years, a backbone of liturgy has been borne out of our group efforts. Each celebration has the same basic sections, but the content is completely original. As originator and long-time leader, my Catholic roots could not help but shine through, especially in calling the sharing section communion. There is nothing like checking in on each other’s lives quarterly and watching how we grow.

As individuals and in community, those check-ins are so vital to seeing our own milestones as works in progress. We laugh, we cry, we go to dinner together afterwards (another communion) … but the most important thing is that we have created a support system, a community of spirited women who care about each other on the physical, emotional, and spiritual levels. You can have one, too! Just find a few kindred spirits to get the ball rolling. The Internet is oozing with ideas for rituals and celebrations. The Internet is our most important, silent Solsister.

I wanted to share this history early on, because the Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights phenomenon is more than a series of books and blog posts to me. It is an extension of what I started with the Solsisters, which would be nothing if it weren’t for the others who joined the party.

We have the power to create partnerships, circles, and to celebrate life however we want. We have tools literally at our fingertips.

My vision is to create a planetary shift where we join intentions to change outcomes, just like the original concept of the Harmonic Convergence. All the Earth is sacred. It doesn’t matter where you live. Start where you are.

The tarot deck I used to read from, the
Motherpeace, has a card that reflects my vision called The World. It shows lots of people dancing around a Pied Piper-like Earth Mom. Another image I love and recently purchased is from Shiloh Sophia McCloud, called Dancing Our Prayers. Let’s do the prayer dance of peace around the world!

Women are wired for peace as the birthers, nurturers, and ultimately, crones or wise women. Sally Field said it at the Emmys recently, whether or not she was bleeped for cursing the war.

Men, too, have these qualities—some more on the surface, some more deeply hidden. As they age, that side of men often emerges. This is true for women and qualities we regard as “masculine.” As we round out as human beings, we express the best of both complementary energies. That’s why boomers can do so much good. We have arrived at a time when our inner opposites are more in balance. We have made peace within ourselves. Now we can take on the world.

Let’s put peace on the wire, the Internet, and send it around the globe to create a circle of love, friendship, and practical problem solving.

Have a gorgeous autumn! It is, after all, the season of harvest and fulfillment. I hope you share my dream.


Jennifer said...

I love your posts and thank you for sharing this beautiful ritual you take part in with your special group. What a blessing to have a spirit-filled group of women to enjoy and embrace the bounty of the autumn equinox. Although I won't have a group with me, I will make time to honor the day on my own and will create a special ritual to celebrate -- I also loved your post on The Radical Virgo! Blessings to you and enjoy your Autumn Equinox celebration.

Joyce Mason said...

Thanks for taking the time to comment, Jennifer. I'll think of you when we celebrate! If you haven't already, catch the current autumn post on Hot Flashbacks, Autumn Equinox: Harvest Your Thanks.

A harvest of blessings!