A short contemplation on the fall equinox
(First written in 2022 for the Blackthorne School’s social media)
This text is a very quick and spontaneous contemplation on the fall equinox; it merely reflects my ‘stream of consciousness’, merging rational thought, facts, emotion, mental images, and metaphor. I may elaborate on individual ideas and concepts elsewhere. For now, I hope it provides a tiny flicker of inspiration. — JG
Modern Hetaerism, the magical path and practice I teach here at the Blackthorne School, centers especially around eroticism and moving beyond stereotypes and clichés of the feminine in the occult. We may think these topics do not have much to do with the equinox. However, the Modern Hetaera is rooted in a pagan world experience. One of my course’s primary purposes is to lead us towards a more profound experience of living – to add the missing layer to our magical practice and day-to-day both, to build meaningful esoteric relations and companionship. Part of reenchanting life in this way is to connect to the rhythms of All-life, of the kosmos if you so will. And this is where the equinoxes come into play.
I am not into big equinox celebrations, much less into equinox greeting cards and social media posts. Which is what it all too often amounts to, doesn’t it? Posting on social media to sustain one’s carefully curated identity of “pagan” or “witch”. Call the autumnal equinox “Mabon,” and you are set. 😉 All joking aside, I certainly think everyone who holds a cyclical view of time should pay homage to significant moments in the year depending on their path, e.g. the equinoxes, solstices, sabbats, or moon cycles. Such practices are a part of reconnecting us to those life rhythms, after all. And if I could only celebrate one, I would likely choose the fall equinox as it comprises themes most important to my path but not well integrated into today’s Western culture: mortality, ageing, ‘dying’.
The autumnal equinox is commonly connected to the second harvest and thus symbolically to reaping what has been sown. It is about gratitude for what we achieved and preparing for another cycle, getting through the dark of winter. All this certainly calls for a festive celebration. And yet, I prefer to use the days around the fall equinox as a time of personal contemplation. Indeed to take stock of what I can be thankful for. But also to confront that part in me that might still be afraid of the darkness ahead. Most occultists etc., with an inclination towards the ‘darker’ aspects, share an almost stereotypical preference for fall and winter, for the darker days of the year. A time that in folklore and myth is for a good reason also habitat to entities deeply connected to human fears. Fears that modern-day practitioners of magic often deny – for if you summon demons regularly or are on first-name terms with the gods of death and the Underworld, you are a dweller in the dark yourself, are you not? The irony, in my view, is that it is partially true: we all are potentially dwellers in the dark, and it is also what we must actualize – dwelling in the dark, being comfortable with the night, for it awaits us, inevitably. But to get to that point, we must also experience the fear; surrender to the dark, again and again, and this is not done by simply declaring ourselves ‘fearless’.
The fall equinox represents one of the liminal spaces in time, that borderland between (your) life’s summer and winter, day and night. It is the best time to contemplate our fears, encounter uncomfortable truths, and acknowledge that we cannot control it all. And we must not. No matter our age or physical health, we will die. Metaphorically speaking, all of us will pass our own fall equinox at one point in time, likely unknown to us. Same with the people around us. So let us pay tribute to this fall equinox and remember what (and who) has gone before. Let us slow down, take note, and take care of all that gives us strength, our loved ones, our companions. Rekindle our relationship with the dead. But also the living. Look at our very own darkness and what it means to us; to become a dweller in the dark; to carry our flame into the evening. We all journey towards eternal night.