And so the Autumn Equinox arrives and judging by the weather forecast it will be silently slipping in on the afternoon at 14.30 GMT on the 22nd September and with it Autumn truly arrives and we say goodbye to summer. It is a time of change and of final gatherings and late harvests before berries spoil. I cannot help but reflect that our lives are somehow mirroring this, as we are once more fearful that new restrictions may mean we have a limited time to be with those we love and whose company we enjoy. Once more the virus reaps our human need to be together and spoils our lives.
But all is not lost as the equinox also symbolises balance in our lives as well as in the hours of daylight and evening. Surely this is what we all need to attain where we can have a measured amount of socialising with a measured amount of distancing, an equilibrium that means we can learn to live with the virus until such a day comes when it is eradicated.
As the wheel of the year continues to turn we begin to move into a time of greater nighttime and less daylight and so we need to begin to use our time fully to begin preparations for the winter that we know is coming. This is an opportunity to celebrate all the wonderful things we have in our lives and look forward with hope.
Jams and jellies, pickles and pies, chutneys and crumbles are now officially back on the seasonal menu and healing syrups and salves are made from the gleanings of the beautiful flowers, herbs and hedgerow harvesting. Whilst remembering that if every three things we can pick one should always be left to feed our wildlife.
Traditionally September was a time of fairs when all manner of things were on sale amongst locals to ensure people were fully stocked up on the essentials. But the fairs were also a time for merriment and marking a time of the year where the size of the harvest could literally mean life or death or at the very least if it was to be a lean winter that had to be endured.
As I write this a cacophony of crows serenades me and distant pheasants give tell tale squawks dangerously revealing roosting places.
Now is the time to collect protectorates, rowan and hawthorn berries and their twigs and branches - asking permission first, using no blade and telling them why you need to have a part of them. Make crosses, circlets, thread their berries to make strands to hang over thresholds.
Collect hops and the last lavender flowers and put them within your pillowcase to bring relaxing and a calm sleep.
We will be lighting a bonfire to raise the energy and will be channelling our thoughts for healing and peace to come to us all and projecting that we don’t undo all of the benefits to our climate and natural world that locking down humankind brings. We will enjoy some of the beautiful bounty of cooking apples from our old trees that we wassailed in January and drink a nice hoppy beer and will be giving thanks for a good harvest and for the special role Mother Nature has played in our lives particularly this year.
As I finish writing this the crows and pheasants have settled and now the Tawny owl calls in the night. Wishing you all a beautiful equinox and A wonderful welcome to Autumn and hoping you find balance in your lives and a pantry full to bursting with goodies for winter.