Spring Equinox - Journaling to Invite Balance
about a 5 minute read | 26th September, 2021
The Equinoxes mark the two points in the year round of the seasons where the number of hours of daylight and darkness are equal, and so they are a good time to invite balance into our lives. This post introduces the Wheel of the Year and shares my Journaling practice for the Spring Equinox, since I'm in the Southern Hemisphere. I've included a brief note for Northern Hemisphere readers too, who have just marked the Autumn Equinox.
Paying attention to the Cycle of Life and aligning myself with it is a discipline I've grown increasingly committed to.
I wrote about the Cycle of Life1 a little while ago, and in that post I mentioned it's most familiar, archetypal structure — the seasons of the year. Spring is the time of new beginnings; summer is the time of growth and action; autumn is the time of harvest and reckoning; winter is the time of rest and renewal, and it also holds the potential for the next new beginning of spring again.
Nature's seasons remind us of the impermanence of all things, the futility of trying to avoid change, and the wisdom of going with the flow.
The Wheel of the Year
Most of us are at least vaguely familiar with the Wheel of the Year, which in simple terms is a celebration of Nature's seasonal cycle of changes. Seasonal change is a response to sunlight, and the cycle of seasons is dictated by the sun.
Obviously this is more marked the further you get from the equator, and more subtle in tropical parts of the world. Not all cultures mark "four seasons." The lunisolar Hindu Calendar marks six seasons in the yearly round, and various Indigenous Australian Calendars mark from two to six different seasons. But the archetypal energies of birth, growth and expansion, full bloom, contraction, death, decay, and re-growth are universal.
The Wheel most commonly used today in traditions derived from Northern Europe is a circle divided by eight spokes spaced at approximately even intervals throughout the solar year. Four of the spokes mark a significant solar event; the other four mark the midway points between them.
The historical origins of the festivals that mark each of these 8 points around the Wheel of the Year go way back—at least two and a half thousand years back—to ancient Celtic, Germanic, and other peoples who were intimate with the Earth through their seasonal food-growing practices.
(The Southern Wheel is a website that offers a beautiful Wheel of the Year Calendar and information specifically for Australians wanting to adapt the Wheel of the Year to our particular part of the world, with respect and sensitivity for the Seasonal Traditions of the First Australians.)
There are many beautiful diagrams on the web illustrating the Wheel of the Year; this very simple one will get you started if you've never seen one before. On it, I've circled where we're at now in the Southern hemisphere. And, because I'm in the South, this wheel turns counterclockwise, not clockwise as it would if I were drawing it for the Northern Hemisphere.
In the Southern Hemisphere, the Spring Equinox falls around about the 23rd of September, so now, a few days later, we're just past the half way mark through the spring season.
The Equinoxes mark the two points in the year round of the seasons where the number of hours of daylight and darkness are equal. In Jane Hardwicke Collings' words:
"This is the time of equal day and equal night, the balance of light and dark, and so at this time we have the chance to invite balance into our lives.
Add this to the energy of Spring, and as we see in our gardens we also have the opportunity for new growth, fresh starts and new beginnings.
Think like the gardener and align with the Earth energy of now, contemplate the growth that has taken hold in your life and around you…"
Journaling - a tool for growth
I use my daily journaling practice to align myself with the seasons of all the big and little cycles within and around me. I use a series of prompting questions borrowed and adapted from many sources, but significantly from the work of Jane Hardwicke Collings and Alexandra Pope.
(Jane Hardwicke Collings, Alexandra Pope, and Jon Young2 are among many teachers sharing about how to re-align ourselves with the Cycle of Life and through that, with the Sacred Feminine that has been suppressed on Earth for thousands of years. The ways and wisdom of the Sacred Feminine support our work to heal what separates us from each other and from our Mother Earth.)
So, what follows is a glimpse into how I'm using what I'm learning from these teachers. In the boxes below are the questions I used a few days ago at the time of the Spring Equinox, to bring to light how I'm doing in creating balance in my life and in choosing consciously what to give my energy to.
I've shared them with you as they appear in my journal: the prompting question is in italics and my response follows immediately after each question.
What am I developing more of in my life right now? And is that what I want?
Commitment to my weekly publishing practice. Yes, that’s what I want.
I'm also working to develop more balance between all the areas of responsibility in my life:
- farm and animal work,
- writing and office work,
- kitchen work,
- home maintenance.
And yes, more balance between these areas is what I want.
What is growing now that needs some 'fertilizer'? What do I need to give more energy and attention to?
I need to 'fertilize' gardening and online workshop creation; those are the areas that have been getting neglected.
How do I do that?3
- Maybe have certain days of the week where my morning session is dedicated to writing, other/s for workshop creation, and other/s for other stuff
- Maybe ask [a super-organized friend] how she keeps it all in balance and get some coaching from her
Do I need to do any ‘weeding’?
I need to avoid slumping at the computer when I'm tired or directionless
What do I need to bring into my life to create more balance?
- More recreation with family
- Deliberately meditating, napping, or resting deeply in some other brief way when tired
- More efficiency in my computer work
Autumn Equinox, for Northern Hemisphere readers
The time around Spring Equinox, with its energy of new beginnings and growth, is a good time to "call in" or focus on what you need more of, what you need to grow, to create balance.
But what if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, and it's Autumn for you?
What happens in Autumn? The leaves fall, and things die back. There's a letting go of what is no longer needed. And that's just what you can do in your personal and professional life: use the energy of this time to examine what you need to let go of, in order to bring more balance into your life.
The questions I'd be asking in my journal at the Autumn Equinox would be "What 'harvest' (results, outcomes) do I see in my life right now that indicate what I might want to release at this letting go time? What do I need to let go of in order to bring more balance into my life?"
Please leave a comment!
Does this resonate with you? Do you pay attention to the seasons, the lunar cycle, where you are in your lifecycle, or your menstrual cycle to gain insight and guidance? (You can use any or all of these!) Please leave a comment below the Endnotes - thank you!
- I call it the "Cycle of Life," because in my understanding, it's the expression of what I might call "the Life Force." It contains the seasons of the year, the lunar cycle, women's menstrual cycles, our life cycles. It's always there, all around us, usually in the background. It has much to teach us. It can help guide us back "home," by which I mean back into interconnection with Nature.
- Read about Jon Young's work here and here
- It's amazing how often just reading the question brings up the answer, or an answer. But sometimes it doesn't, so then I simply respond to the prompting question with another question.
[…] (Two other posts that share tips for using journaling and free-writing for this sort of purpose are "5 Questions to Help You Learn from Last Year and Make the Most of This Year," and "Spring Equinox – Journaling to Invite Balance.") […]