Sacred Journeys – April 2013Kim Elkington April 1, 2013
I recently celebrated with friends the arrival of spring equinox and the balance of light and dark that it signifies. We gathered, as is our habit, at a log cabin in the middle of a tree-lined field. One person brings everything needed for dinner. As there was lots of fresh snow this year, dinner’s hot pots arrived on a toboggan wrapped in blankets, nestled with wine and drums and delicious ‘spring’ water from the well. Inside, the fire was warming the room, and others who had arrived earlier had begun creating the space.
The lovely part about eating together, before we created the official ceremony, is that the ‘magic’ really begins as soon as we gather. By sharing food and talking openly about what has happened since last time we met, the flow of conversation feels unstructured and free of judgment. Hearts are open and we laugh or cry. I am always amazed at how the socializing beforehand reflects the teachings that will deepen later at the ceremony. What bubbles up from our spontaneous personal reflections often proves to be valuable insights that have brought us from our last point in the circle to this one. It is the experiences we all have in common during the intervening period which shed light on our shared path, and the larger significance life is offering us, that crystallize in those moments over a good meal.
We noticed how powerfully the energies had changed since the winter solstice. Each of us shared stories of old patterns resurfacing, inviting us to choose a new response. We agreed that it was as if our ‘higher selves’ had provided situations so that we could work through the question, “How can I experience this situation without feeling fear, loss, or judgment?” Perhaps a lesson for the world right now is to understand that we need to consciously choose to let love flow through our thoughts and actions at every opportunity.
Buoyed by our sharing, we prepared to move into the other room, to officially welcome the balancing energies of the spring equinox. Each of us began with a shift into our ‘still’ place, and at the gateway into the ceremonial space one of us offered a bowl of water for each to wash their hands, and then each was smudged with sage to clear and smooth our energy fields.
Each one of us resonated with one of the four directions and sat in that direction. Each direction had a chair draped in the colours chosen to represent that direction. In our case, yellow was the east, red the south, black the west and white the north. On the table in our centre we had a candle for each direction and then an additional altar for air in the east, fire in the south, water in the west and earth in the north. I was ether, for our gathering, and sat between north and east.
We began in the east and called in the energies of new beginnings, expectations, opportunities, renewal, optimism, fresh approaches. Then as we welcomed the energies, we lit the candle. The south represented primarily the place of action and of changing the world. The west represented a place of family and rest, and the north represented the place of wisdom and ancestors and winter snow.
For equinox we lit a black candle and a white one to represent the balance of duality, of day and night, masculine and feminine, stillness and movement. A candle burned in the centre representing all of us, and all of us in the world celebrating the solstice, be they birds or people or unseen guides, we were united in the light of intention represented by the flame.
To celebrate the coming of spring, we moved around and let each direction speak about what its insights were this season, from the perspective of where it sat on the wheel. It was beautiful to see how wise each of us had become over the years. Perhaps not so much smarter, as more confident in the value of our personal truth, and as a result each truly embodied the wisdom of the directions; each became a teacher. That was a part of the insights of the spring. We are the embodiment of our wisdom, and we can choose to speak from that place of authenticity and sovereignty. We experienced this as integration, and the sacred marriage of all of our ‘selves’, and wished the peacefulness and compassion that came from this marriage be experienced and shared by all of humanity in the coming years.
We named the beauty and strength we saw in each other. Feeling a little self conscious, we practised standing in our new sovereignty, by stating our own strengths and gifts out loud. We burnt old outmoded beliefs that kept us from shining brightly, and then closed by thanking each direction, as we snuffed out their candles. A lovely gathering – to celebrate and experience our own sap rise and meet the energy of the earth’s bounty.
Wishing that goodness of all kinds flows toward you.
Kim Elkington is the co-founder of The Algonquin Tea Co, a line of quality teas made from organic wildcrafted Canadian herbs. These days, Kim works with Local Sustainably Wild-picked Canadian herbs to make organic herbal, black, green and chai tea blends. Find these products online: www.wildcanadiantea.com, or www.algonquintea.com Email Kim at: firstname.lastname@example.org