So long Persephone, see you in the spring…

falconToday marks the autumn equinox (which means “equal night”), and while it depends on how far above or below the equator you are, the concept is of the time when there are just about twelve hours of day and twelve of night.  The equinox is also the halfway point between the summer solstice—the longest day of the year—and the winter solstice—the longest night of the year.  Thus today is the beginning of fall and a significant turning point in the circle of the year—a good time for contemplation of where we are, where we’ve been and where we’re going.

Given that Privilege of Parenting’s “a year of parenting mindfully” kicked off on the summer solstice, today also marks the quarter point on this particular journey.  If you have been reading since June, today is an excellent day to review the intention that you set, re-connecting with it or adjusting as you see fit.  If you are a new reader, please consider reading the June 21st post (http://tiny.cc/WFjj2) and setting an intention for you parenting and/or your life.  Either way, I offer gratitude for your readership, and for the many blessings we all share—and I give thanks for community and camaraderie in the face of life’s dark challenges.

The equinox has a number of cultural and mythical resonances.  For example, according to Jewish superstition (not the Torah, however) Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac at the autumnal equinox and blood appeared on the knife.  In Greek mythology the fall begins as the goddess Persephone returns to the underworld to live with Hades, her husband (spring conversely begins when she returns from the underworld).  Yet, as we come to live in one world, it might be that Persephone is born in Australia and New Zealand just as she dies in the U.S. and Europe—perpetually a force of spring and at the very same time living an unbroken harmony with Hades and darkness.  It is the confluence of opposites that mark individuation, or the true growing up process.  What better day to celebrate balance than the equinox?

In Japan, “Higan” (meaning “other shore”) marks a week of Buddhist observances where the spirits of the dead cross the river of existence and reach Nirvana, a spiritual shift from the world of suffering to the world of enlightenment.  In some areas Christians celebrate Michaelmas around this time where it is known as a “festival of strong will.”  In China the Moon Festival dates back 3,000 years and marks offerings to the moon (in contrast to offerings to the sun made in spring).  Animals associated with the equinox are dogs, wolves and birds of prey (hence the photo of the falcon I saw, along with its partner, I noticed on my street).

In this blog we try to give ample and conscious recognition to the Shadow, and the equinox marks the turning toward darkness.  The hope is that if we respect the dark while also appreciating the light (in equal balance at this sacred time of the year), we may find better balance within ourselves and enhance our ability to take optimal care of all our collective children.  The Sanskrit word, “Namaste,” is a part of yoga culture and means, “the light in me recognizes the light in you.”  And this is why I end each post with…

Namaste, Bruce

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2 Responses to “So long Persephone, see you in the spring…”

  1. Mwa Says:

    I wonder if there is also a word for “the dark in me recognizes the dark in you”, a feeling I’ve had often. I think that’s easier than “namaste” at times.

  2. privilegeofparenting Says:

    I’m still trying to come up with that one, but I think of Billy Wilder who said, “LIfe is terrible, but it’s not that serious.” I’m not sure what his word would be, but his films certainly used the dark in him to recognize the dark in us… and still make us laugh.

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