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The Equinox – A Balance of Light and Dark

September 21, 2012

Most of us seek to find more light in our lives but Nature – and the Spirits of Nature – know that the cycles of life require a balance of dark and light. Just as we humans need a period of sleep in order to replenish the energy necessary for our waking lives, Nature requires time to rest and renew as well.  The Autumnal Equinox is the point where the yearly cycle shifts from outward exuberance and growth to inward contemplation, dreaming, and recharging ourselves.

The transition rests on a point of balance – the Equinox. On the day the sun passes over the equator, hours of day and night are equal. Soon it will be time to turn our attention to harvest, saving seeds, and preparing for the cold times but on the day of the Equinox, the focus is on balance. We live in a world increasingly defined by duality – up/down, left/right, in/out, male/female, war/peace, day/night. We’ve been so conditioned to seeing everything as a tension between two linear extremes that we often forget that reality is actually spherical and infinitely variable. We also tend to forget that even duality lies on a continuum – which has a center, a point of balance.

Nature, in her infinite wisdom, reminds us of that balance point twice a year, on the Vernal (Spring) and Autumnal (Fall) Equinoxes. On the day when light and dark are in perfect symmetry, there is a natural peace. Day and night do not battle for dominance but stand in perfect alignment, allowing us and all living things to feel safely suspended for a brief moment. We can pause in our rush from one extreme to the other, take a deep breath, and just BE.

What does it mean to be in balance within ourselves and our own lives? And do we really want balance? If you’ve ever stood in the center of a teeter-totter, you have a visceral understanding of balance as a noun, where things are equal or in harmony. Such is the phenomenon of the Equinoxes. Much New Age and self-help literature has been written to offer guides on how to achieve such an equilibrium in our lives. Create a balance of work and play, action and contemplation, body and spirit, mind and emotions, we are told; halve the extremes, stand in the center, and find peace. That’s what the sun does on its arc of bringing light to the Earth at the Equinox.

The Earth/Sun dance only gives us this point of balance twice a year but Nature offers us symmetry, another kind of balance, everywhere we look. From a nautilus shell and veins in a leaf to honey combs in a beehive or the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland, symmetry abounds. The concepts of balance and symmetry are at the very heart of life, the core of mathematics, chemistry and biology. Mathematical equations dance on either side of an “=” sign while oxygen and hydrogen search for each other until their balance gives us water.

That version of “balance” evokes the verb or the act of bringing something into balance and, if you’ve ever tried standing in the center of a teeter-totter, you know what a challenge that can be. The ACT of seeking balance is what the Fairies most enjoy because it’s what keeps life moving. Although the peace of that static moment of balance brings us a welcome respite from the constant juggling act we do in our lives, the striving toward that balance is the dance of life. Endeavoring to find balance can be a process of joy and exuberance or chaos and overwhelm – or anything in between.

The gift we are offered at the Equinox is a day devoid of the tension striving for balance brings. The cosmic forces have arranged the opportunity to feel perfect balance in our lives, to let the peace of that state seep into our bones. I intend to begin my day with bare feet planted firmly on the Earth, one arm stretched to sunrise, the other to sunset, eyes closed, breath slow and easy.  I will feel myself at the center of my sphere of life, balanced between left/right, front/back, up/down, inside/outside. As the sun and earth offer me balance between light and dark, I will find the place of balance between my body and spirit, mind and heart. I will feel for the balance point between work and play, solitude and companionship, creative surges and healing rest. I am the fulcrum that balances the competing elements on the continuum of my life.

When I engaged in this ritual at the Vernal Equinox, light-hearted voices whispered a secret to me. When we seek balance, we assume duality – opposing poles of energy pulling us between them. When we know balance, the world becomes an all-inclusive sphere from which we choose the elements we need to create our heart’s desire. This Equinox, accept the gift of balance Grandmother Earth and Grandfather Sun offer and spend at least part of the day feeling how large and full your sphere of life is. If you can’t feel the center point to stand in, find a playground with a teeter-totter. Whether you stand on the center fulcrum until you balance the sides or find a child to teach you where to sit to hold it steady, you’ll be teaching your body the beauty of that precious moment of balance – before the child decides that’s boring and wants to go up and down again.

@Bridget Wolfe, September 21, 2012

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 18, 2012 8:06 am

    Truly amazing!!, Bridget wow, I am amazed by your story of The Equinox Balance of Light and Dark, Truley touched my heart.

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