We have entered into another season. In the west the air is cooling and the leaves are blazing a kaleidoscope of colourbefore falling into becoming the new ground cover. How wonderful to be in Canada for this stunning time.
During a morning Qigong this week, I was reflecting on the privilege to experience another Autumnal Equinox. When returning to the house from the garden I checked my phone and read a post from a friend in Ireland on the very subject. The writing expressed equinox through the lens of the Celtic Thanksgiving or High Harvest. It defined the Equinox as a time for grieving and gratitude. The message shot through me like a bolt of lightning that illuminated something that I rarely do, which is to grieve. In my mindfulness practice, my instinct is to allow my suffering to migrate into a place of belonging. It is indeed a practice. The Druidic embrace of grief also encompasses belonging, yet the release seems much more colourful. I found myself all of a sudden seeing an invitation to grieve as a beautiful and purposeful expression, even medicinal, especially for these times. This invitation I share with you.
The Celtic Thanksgiving is considered the Feast of Gratitude, the High Harvest. As the Harvest queen knows, the harvest is both gratitude for the abundance and grief for the loss. Gratitude and grief are the sacred partners of the high harvest and together open the gate to the High Heart.
The harvest is inherently a death ritual, the scythe cutting the grain, the hand plucking the apple from the tree. The sun descends into the tomb of the earth, the night claims more time than the day, the leaves turn and begin to lay the trees bare. This year when we wake up every day wondering what is next, is a year of great loss. We are in the grieving. At this high holy day in the Druid mysteries, we count our blessings, feast the abundance and give thanks.
This year, it may be hard for you to find the gratitude. The losses of 2020 are enormous. Loss of life, loss of security, loss of prosperity, loss of children, loss of hopes and dreams, businesses, ecosystems, whole communities going up in flames, loss of liberties, many great leaders, and so many other unnamed losses.
Grief is the sacred teacher underneath the harvest. Grief keeps us holy, hollow, and sealed safe in reverence for what was, which will never be again. Grief keeps our innocence, the pure holy power of the High Heart intact.
Grief is a sacred medicine, a potent elixir made of tears, rage, emptiness, despair, doubt and even sometimes numbness or overwhelm. It fertilizes the empty field of our dreams. Only when we fully grieve does the strength of our high heart open and guide the thriving future for Gaia.
For you and with you, I will grieve, mourn and dance with gratitude and reverence for all that has served us and left us. From the ashes of what was is the wink of a new garden awaiting.
Wishing you a glorious week, with inspiration, love, a bow and a smile,
P.S. Waking at 3:30 and unable to get back to sleep, I reached for my phone. Jack Kornfield recorded a video just a few hours prior, called Suffering is Not the End of the Story. This teaching was worth being called away from the dream world. I hope you find it as nourishing. Jack is a delightful dharma teacher and story teller. In the end he poses the question. What would love have me do today?