Autumn Equinox : letting change have it's way with us

“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
― Joseph Campbell


The world feels different. Being alive feels different to me these days. It’s different from how it felt even a year ago and massively different from five years ago.

Suddenly we appear to have reached a tipping point, a collective waking up to the possibility that we humans are facing a self-terminating crisis which is demanding colossal change from all of us. Change is hard. With it comes instability and uncertainty. Suddenly we don’t have ground beneath us.

It’s also different because this crisis involves every single one of us on the planet. That has never happened before.

Crisis mostly comes to us because we have resisted nudges to evolve and change. I know this all too well because I went through a personal crisis exactly because I ignored the many prods and invitations to change. Back then I couldn’t look at my life. It was a mess. My drug of distraction was busyness. I couldn’t be with the pain. In the face of my denial the gentle nudges and invitations became demands as my life was deconstructed bit by bit.

Once I started to put the pieces back together I also got curious about change and crisis.

Crisis is a state of threat and chaos. It elicits different reactions from us.

Some of us get paralysed by the fear, feeling too small in the face of the threat. Some of us go into deeper denial in the hope we will re-establish the status quo and the stability, as we cling to the old ways. And then there are some of us who are willing to see it as an opportunity for something new to be born; willing to be in the discomfort, to listen to what the crisis is demanding and to change in response.   

In the face of the current world crisis, my sense is that most of us are experiencing all of the above to varying degrees. Like everything else, nothing feels stable. Deep inside we are all fragile vulnerable humans looking for stability and some piece of solid ground beneath us.

One of the most transformative teachings of the Celtic Wheel has been learning that there is an elegant way to work with change and crisis.

As we journey through the year we are invited to inhabit all eight seasons. Every 6-7 weeks a new season brings different energies to the season before. Each festival is a ritual threshold into a new season. At Samhain, we learn to work with loss and death, while Winter Solstice brings the energy of emerging possibilities and at Imbolc, we move into new beginnings.

If we get stuck in one season it will usually take a crisis that will force us into change. Take for example the Autumn Equinox, many of us resist the move from the warm expansive energies of summer into the cold long dark days of winter.

The Wheel teaches us that it’s not possible to stay in the exponential growth of summer. That would inevitably lead to drought and a scorched harvest. Exponential growth does not exist in nature but yet our dominant culture insists on bigger, brighter, faster, better at any cost. That’s a one dimensional linear way to live. It’s at odds with the natural rhythm.

That’s why the Celtic Wheel, like so many ancient wisdom teachings, is medicine for our time.

When I experienced that personal crisis many years ago the Celtic Wheel helped me to orient around the loss and change I was facing. It was a map that made sense of what was happening to me. It helped me turn my life around and take responsibility for how I was showing up.

I got back in touch with my soul and started living from a deeper place. I saw I had alway lived between Spring and Summer.  Through Celtic wisdom, I learned to welcome the darkness and my life became richer.

The Celtic mind aligns with the earth, honours polarity and change, the circulinear nature of our world and the interconnected of all things. One of the reasons we find ourselves in this current crisis is that we have forgotten the wisdom of our ancestors.

We are all wisdom keepers. It’s time to remember; to revisit and reignite the innate indigenous wisdom that lies within us and weave it into our contemporary lives. It will surely resource us to navigate the change these days are demanding.

Lughnasa - rite of harvest and a call to adventure

Lughnasa - rite of harvest and a call to adventure

It’s the time of Lughnasa, the festival of the harvest in the Celtic calendar and the final cross-quarter day in the cycle. Each of the eight festivals in the Celtic Wheel brings with it new energies rooted in the natural world. Each festival is a threshold that marks the change. This is the gift and the challenge of working with the cycle. At each festival, we are invited to let go of the old season and move into the new.

BEALTAINE: Warmth, risk-taking and comfort zones

BEALTAINE: Warmth, risk-taking and comfort zones

About 10 days ago the weather was glorious here in Dublin. The first real touch of the summer sun’s warmth on the skin.

As I strolled between meetings in the city I was suddenly aware of how my body felt more open in the warmth of the sunshine. I also noticed the faces of people on the street were more open and appeared softer than usual.  The buds on the trees lining the streets felt like they were smiling open.

And then I remembered things open in warmth. Buds open and we humans open. It’s nature and our nature.