By Mary Swanson
Dear, Steadfast and True Children of the Earth,
It’s time for the Autumnal Equinox! On Friday, September 22nd at 4:02 pm e.s.t., Day and Night are of equal length. We are turning toward the “darkening of the light” as days grow shorter and nights longer.
Throughout human history, this has been a time of sharing and thanksgiving. The harvest is in, our storehouses are full and it’s time to take a moment and reflect on what is asked of us.
Everywhere we look, we can see that the Earth is giving away her abundance. Apples and pumpkins are ripening, seed husks are falling open as the leaves turn brilliant colors and begin to fall. All of Nature seems to be giving itself away.
Mother Nature is showing us what to do when we face a darkening of the light. Whether that’s in the physical environmental sense or in our own, personal, emotional lives. When we face fear or uncertainty, the thing to do is connect with others and give what we have to give.
In this time of upheaval, the ancient ways are solid and reliable. Giving thanks for what we have and giving what we can is a path we can all walk. It will take us where we need to go.
I lived in the first century of world wars.
Most mornings I would be more or less insane.
The news would pour out of various devices
The newspapers would arrive with their careless stories,
Interrupted by attempts to sell products to the unseen.
I would call my friends on other devices;
They would be more or less mad for similar reasons.
Slowly I would get to pen and paper,
Make my poems for others unseen and unborn.
In the day I would be reminded of those men and women,
Brave, setting up signals across vast distances,
considering a nameless way of living, of almost unimagined values.
As the lights darkened, as the lights of night brightened,
We would try to imagine them, try to find each other,
to construct peace, to make love, to reconcile
Waking with sleeping, ourselves with each other,
Ourselves with ourselves. We would try by any means
To reach the limits of ourselves, to reach beyond ourselves,
To let go the means, to wake.
I lived in the first century of these wars.
- Muriel Rukeyser
Read on for announcements and more information about the Equinox
It's been a while since you've heard from me. During the interim I've moved from Vermont to Evanston, IL. ( I love it here so much I've started calling it Heavenston).
You can always find my current address and phone number under the "Contact" button on my website (maryswanson.net) and...
here are the new numbers:
718 Noyes St. #A-2
Evanston, IL 60201
My website has been rebuilt and I'm excited to let you know that you can now download classes directly from my site!
And speaking of classes... I'm so happy to announce a new, year-long class I've developed with my dear friends and amazing co-teachers, Jena Owen and Laura Tabet:
Sky Magic: http://www.inspiredinquiries
In this 12 month class we approach the cycle of the year through the astrological archetypes. Each month I introduce a new archetype through lecture and guided mediation, Laura takes us deeper into the psychological meanings and Jena shows us how to let our unconscious play through easy and fun journaling and art projects.
You can jump on the cycle at any time. You’ll have access to the whole year at any time. We start with the Autumnal Equinox and the archetype of Venus. Love, balance, and knowing what you’re in affinity with.
By Mary Swanson
Here we are again…Winter Solstice: the shortest day, the longest night of the year. Winter Solstice: a moment of stillness before the light of our Sun begins its long return. All life on this planet takes note of this unavoidable physical fact: the darkest time heralds the return of the light.
Everywhere in the northern hemisphere there are celebrations. Family and friends are coming together to express appreciation and love, to share what they have and to offer their wishes for peace and prosperity. As long as there have been people, there have been celebrations of the Sun’s return.
In the Pagan world, the longest night of the year is also a time to step out of our routines and acknowledge the Great Mystery: that we are held by something much bigger than we can ever understand.
It’s a time of letting go of Fear, a time of stepping into Trust. Faith. Belief.
It’s a Sacred time in the old sense of the word: Sacred has its roots in the idea of being set apart from the everyday. Every culture has a way to make this time of the year Sacred, of taking a break from the material world and renewing our Faith in what really does hold life together: Love, Compassion, Kindness.
If that’s not a reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is.
May your Solstice take you where you need to be.
The Peace of Wild Things
By Mary Swanson
The Autumnal Equinox is here! The first day of Fall is here! This is the time when Night and Day are of equal length. The long, hot summer is coming to an end. In the Northern hemisphere, we’re turning toward the longer nights and shorter days.
We feel this change strongly in our bodies at this time. We’re all aware the sun is setting a little earlier than it did a month ago, there’s a little nip in the air, leaves are beginning to change, apples are ripening and children are back in school.
This is the time of year when we take stock of what we have and make decisions about how we want to go forward. It’s a time or sorting, planning and preparing. But most of all, it’s a time of sharing.
In the Pagan tradition, we look at Nature to teach us. Right now, Nature is giving it all away. Everywhere you look, seed pods are breaking open, root crops have matured, the fruit is hanging off the vine. Every earthly thing is Sharing. It’s Harvest Time, a time of gratitude, thanks giving and sharing.
This Fall Equinox is followed quickly by the Harvest Moon. This year it will be Full on September 27-28th. It is a “Super Moon” which means it looks like it’s really big. (Giving us lots of light to bring in the Harvest)
This year the full harvest moon will also be a full Lunar Eclipse. (at 4 degrees 40 minutes of Aries) We’ll be able to see it in its entirety in the eastern half of the US.
In the language of Astrology, Lunar Eclipses signify an intensification of whatever’s happening. A lunar eclipse in Aries signifies an intensification of our own need to take right action.
I can’t look at the news reports of the refugees pouring into Europe or the refugees fleeing the fires up and down the west coast without remembering how important it is to share. Fear is a normal emotion…but so is the desire to share and take care of.
Whatever your circumstances, there’s always someone who’s living more precariously. Here’s an easy link to Unicef. https://www.unicefusa.org
Or, you can look up your state and country participation in refugee resettlement. People right near you need blankets, coats, anything you have too much of, there’s a need for.
Or, you can simply share your love.
Here is calm so deep, grasses cease waving.Everything in wild nature fits into us, as if truly part and parent of us.
The rivers flow not past, but through us, thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, Making them glide and sing.
The trees wave and the flowers bloom in our bodies as well as our souls,and every bird song, wind song, and tremendous storm song of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song,our very own, and sings our love…John Muir
Read on for more information about the Equinox:
By Mary Swanson
Summer Solstice 2015 Sunday June 21st at 12:38 pm edt
Dear, Adaptable and Ever-Changing Children of the Earth,
Summer Solstice is here! The longest day and shortest night of the year. The Great Wheel is turning and it’s the perfect time to step out of your routine. All work and no play does serious harm to your nervous system and this Solstice is perfect for creating some new neurological pathways. Expand your brain by looking at something you’ve never seen before. Cleanse your endocrine system by laughing at something silly. It’s Summer! Time to fill up with light!
For as long as we humans have been standing up on our own two feet, Summer Solstice has been a time of Celebration. Visiting friends, cooking outside, participating in large gatherings… all the fun activities of Summer take us out of our ordinary routine, relax us and allow us to make new connections.
There are thousands of ancient sites all over the globe that mark the Summer Solstice. Our ancestors created these Sacred Sites as places to connect to Deities, to God, to the Great Mystery. Sacred literally means “set apart for the worship of a deity.” Whatever your relationship with the Mystery is, or how you define God, this is a perfect time to offer your respect and gratitude for this marvelous thing we call Life.
This Solstice, the Cosmos is giving us a beautiful Jupiter (Benevolence) trine to Uranus (Change). Trine aspects are easy flowing and after our long, long Pluto square with Uranus, this can truly feel like a breath of fresh air. With this aspect there’s a kind of trust that starts to happen again, a little bit of hope and sense of possibility is dawning.
Take this time to notice the simple pleasure of being alive.
Namaste, you light-filled being,
Full round apple, peach, pear, blackberry.
Each speaks lie and death into the mouth.
Look at the face of a child eating them.
The tastes come from afar and slowly grow nameless on the tongue.
Where there were words, discoveries flow,released from within the fruit.
What we call apple–dare to say what it is,
this sweetness which first condensed itself so that, in the tasting, it may burst fort and be known in all its meanings of sun and earth and here. How immense, the act and the pleasure of it.
…Rainer Maria Rilke
Check out this link to find more about the SKY MAGIC class I’m teaching this Summer!
and check out these sites for more information about Summer Solstice:
Mystic Mama has some really great rituals
By Mary Swanson
Dear, Amazing and Resilient Children of the Earth,
Spring is here! The Vernal Equinox has arrived. At Equinox, Day and Night are of equal length. Winter is pulling back and from now until the Summer Solstice we’ll feel the warmth and strength of the sun increasing every day.
Just as the birds are sending out their songs again, we humans feel like doing a bit of crowing! Just as the little green shoots are breaking through the soil, we’re wanting to get outside, breathe deep and feel the sun on our skin. Life is coming up fresh and new at Equinox and each of us can participate in that.
Our ancestors celebrated the first day of Spring with feasts and bonfires, symbols of fertility and praise for the resurrection of life. In every culture on earth there is a celebration of rebirth at this time of year.
This has been a long winter in Vermont. Months of sub-zero temperatures have been wearing everybody down. Now, everywhere you look you can see life coming back to the trees and bushes, rivulets of water cascade down hillsides. Birdsong is nearly miraculous after the silence of deep snow.
In the language of Astrology, this is a time of great change. As we step through the portal of this Spring Equinox we’re being guided by a spectacular Pisces New Moon/Solar Eclipse about 13 hours before the exact moment of equinox.
The next time a solar eclipse happens on the same day as the Spring Equinox is on March 20, 2034. After that, this combination of events will occur only twice more in this century.
On March 16th, we came through the final Uranus/Pluto square. For the past three years we have all been experiencing a kind of revolution. In the macrocosm of world events and in the microcosm of our own lives, we have been experiencing the tumult & chaos of established power (Pluto) being challenged by the need for change and growth (Uranus).
As we celebrate this first day of Spring, we do so with a strong wind at our backs.
During these past three years of turmoil we have all gone through our own personal meat grinders– letting go of what we thought we needed to survive, in order to enter into our new lives. Solar eclipses tend to reveal things that have been hidden & signal deep and profound change. The completion of this Pluto/Uranus transit signals a new world order, whether we’re talking about the world out there or the world inside.
May you be experiencing a resurrection.
Blessed be the longing that brought you here
And quickens your soul with wonder.
May you have the courage to listen to the voice of desire
That disturbs you when you have settled for something safe.
May you have the wisdom to enter generously into your own unease.
To discover the new direction your longing wants you to take.
May the forms of your belonging- in love, creativity, and friendship
Be equal to the grandeur and the call of your soul.
May the one you long for long for you.
May your dreams gradually reveal the destination of your desire.
May a secret Providence guide your thought and nurture your feeling.
May your mind inhabit your life with the sureness with which your body inhabits the world.
May your heart never be haunted by ghost structures of old damage.
May you come to accept your longing as divine urgency.
May you know the urgency with which God longs for you.
John O’Donohue, from To Bless the Space Between Us~All rights reserved."
“Robin” oil on canvasboard by Mary Swanson
check out these links for more information about Equinox and the Solar Eclipse: