Mother of Darkness, Mother of Light
Earth beneath us, soul in flight,
Songs of love and love of life,
Guide us to our home.
No matter who we are or where our people came from, our ancestors had many magical ways of honoring the autumn equinox, when the day and night are of equal length and the world finds balance for a breath of time. After this equinox the nights grow longer than the days, so it is traditionally a time to look inward, take stock, give thanks for the harvest, and prepare for the time of dreaming.
In a world that is often so terribly out of balance, it can be both healing and heartening to celebrate this special time. We offer many ideas: learn how to make a door blessing to celebrate your inner harvests, a dream pillow to deepen your dreaming, or a Native American corn necklace to honor the earth that feeds us. Or try the Find Your Balance Exercise–itís lots of fun, and itís all right here:
Taking time to honor your own inner harvests–all the things you have achieved and felt and learned from, over the past months–is a lovely way to connect with this time of year. Find out how to
Make an Inner Harvest Wreath.
Make a Dream Pillow
Autumn means longer nights and more opportunities to dream. How lovely! Help to deepen your dreams with these simple-to-make dream pillows:
Start with two seven-inch squares of fabric, natural, non-synthetic materials preferred (cotton or silk velvet is lovely and traditional). Pin the right sides together and stitch 1/2-inch from the edges on three sides. Turn right side out and fill with about 2 cups of any combination of the following dried herbs, each associated with sounder sleep, deeper dreams, or better dream-recall:
hops, lavender flowers, mugwort, rosemary, rose petals
Stitch the remaining side closed. To use, tuck the dream pillow underneath your regular sleeping pillow. At bedtime, turn your regular pillow over so you breathe in the fragrance of the herbs all night long.
To adorn yourself with the beautiful, jewel-like symbols of the autumn harvest, find out how to make a Native Corn necklace).
Find Your Balance
1. Stand quietly with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees flexed, and your eyes closed. What is your body doing? Is it still and rooted, or does it need to sway or adjust in order to be fully balanced? Give yourself a moment to come into balance.
2. Now raise your arms and try to hold them open, stretched out to the sides, for a few moments. Feel how difficult it is. Now begin a gentle movement, bringing your hands in toward your chest, then out again to the sides, a rhythmic motion of opening and closing like the beating of a birdís wings. Feel what a relief it is to have the balance of both motions, both open and closed. Now give some deep thought to the beauty of the balance between day and night, activity and rest. How can you honor your own need for balance?
Look inward, take stock, give thanks for the harvest, and prepare for the time of dreaming by celebrating the autumnal equinox.
By Cait Johnson, co-author of Celebrating the Great Mother (Inner Traditions, 1995).