Stones for the Season: Autumnal Equinox

by Sarah Lyn

Stone has a beautiful language. Anyone who has ever had a rock jump out at them has heard it. Pick me! Pick me! Before you know it, you have either slipped it into a pocket, or you find yourself holding it in your hand, uncertain of how long it has been there.

Deep stone sleeps but the closer to the surface it gets, the more connected it is to us and our life cycles. Some rocks just want to introduce themselves and have a conversation. Some rocks will bite and want to be left alone. And some rocks have been looking for you to take them on a quest to some unknown corner of the world they have only heard about in the whispers of the deepest bedrock (even if that’s just your front yard).

[ALWAYS respect places that ask you NOT to take their rocks.]

The Trio

Different stones I encounter have different energies to them. Each sabbat, I put together a trio of stones to focus on for the following six weeks. It’s divination to me. I reach out into the web and see where we are in the world, creating a recipe of stone allies, and then I send that energy back out into the web.

I don’t usually use the same grouping of stones every year, but a couple of times I have. I will work with the stones I choose in my night meditations until the next sabbat, sometimes individually and sometimes as a group.

It’s the Autumnal Equinox, one of my favorite times of the year. For those of us who live in seasonal climates, the leaves are starting to turn colors and drop to the earth. We’re bringing our harvests in even as we are laying some garden beds to rest for the winter. This is when we frequent our local orchards weekly, and pick apples and pears and pumpkins…

It’s the time of year when the days grown shorter and we begin our spiritual descent into the Labyrinth like Ariadne. Into the Underworld like Inanna. What we find in the center is what we bring in with us. This is the time of year to look inward, stand at the crossroads, and calibrate your way forward.

As you go deeper into the labyrinth, the hidden shadows you carry will be revealed.

Who travels with you in fellowship?

My stones for the Equinox are: Snowflake Obsidian, Tourmalinated Quartz, and Howlite.

Snowflake Obsidian is black, volcanic glass, with crystalized snowflake-like inclusions. It’s one of those stones I am drawn to, over and over again. It is a good stone for people who have trouble staying grounded and tend towards escapism, which makes it a great stone for bringing into the darkness, and facing the reality of what waits for you. It’s a friendly stone, too, and is almost impossible to misuse.

Let me be your shield, snowflake obsidian asks.

My second stone choice for the Equinox was another black and white mineral, Tourmalinated Quartz. Quartz is a power staple in spellcrafting and ritual work. Black Tourmaline is one of the most powerful defensive stones I have used, but it is assertive, not aggressive. It absorbs negative darkness and transforms it into positive energy, and transforming that within the quartz creates a battery of power you can both recharge yourself from and use to light your way forward.

Let us scout the way for you, tourmalinated quartz sings.

The last stone, Howlite, took me a while to find. It is accessible to everyone and has a quieter voice. It is milky white with grey veining and shading. It is often dyed as substitutions for other stones, most commonly for Turquoise. I prefer the natural stone (and have many of them strewn about my home). It connects strongly with the heart center, like a balming elixir, exuding tranquility. This stone is a great ally to have in times of stress and uncertainty.

I’m right beside you, howlite whispers.

These stones will both guide you and take your lead as you do your winter work within the dark shadows we all carry. And they will see you through to the other side of the wheel.

For Advanced Work

For those going on an intense internal journey, I picked out Labradorite as an advanced work companion. This is one of my absolute favorite stones. I have pieces in all colors of flash. Out of the sunlight it can appear a dull grey. But once it gets a taste of some light, it flares to life. This stone is a journey stone, growing and evolving along with your Work. It likes to bond to a person and holds immense power for shifting and transforming.

[Notes from Sarah Lyn: I never purchase rocks from people who do not know where they are sourced from. It’s important to know where your rocks come from so you can make informed decisions about where to put your money. For those of us buying tumbled stones at rock shows, we’re picking up the chips of what has already been cut from the earth, we are not part of the demand that influences the mining world. But know where your stones come from.]

All photographs © Sarah Lyn, 2023

Seasonal Celebrations 2022

At Lunasdal in early August, about 60 folks met for our annual ritual at the stone circle at Glenwood Farm. In September about 30 gathered for the Fall Equinox celebration, including some tending of the Trees in the Sacred Grove there.

The Green Man – a Lughnasad Tradition

by Juniper Talbot

The Green Man (photo by Andras Corban Arthen)

In our family tradition, Aidan and I use parts of our Yule Tree in different ways for the eight seasonal Celtic holidays – Yule, Spring Equinox, Beltaine, Summer Solstice, Lughnasad, Fall Equinox and Samhain.

 At the Summer Solstice, we create a Green Man out of branches from last year’s Yule Tree, woven together with vines. We then pick summer wildflowers and decorate him while we sing a song we wrote.

Green man, green man, formed of vines
In your body, flowers we entwine
Green Man, green man joined with the maid
Summer starts on your wedding day.

There is a secret hollow woven into his back, and as we approach Lughnasad, the Festival of the First Harvest, we ritually bake bread and tuck a small loaf inside this secret hollow. Since the First Harvest celebrates the reaping and cutting down of the growing things, we offer the Green Man to his Funeral Pyre and watch him burn, as we sing a song we wrote.

Tongues of flame, fire is burning
Ashes remain, the wheel keeps turning
Tongues of flame, old things burning
Ashes remain, feel peace returning

When the burning is complete, the small hidden loaf of bread is brought forth from the ashes, and we share in the nourishment of the Bread of Life, born from the Green Man’s sacrifice.

“John Barleycorn,” reenacted by the Bridges and Littles (photo by Andras Corban Arthen)

Fall Equinox

by Chris LaFond

In mid-September, about thirty members of EarthSpirit gathered at Glenwood Farm to celebrate the Fall Equinox, the coming cooler weather, the tipping of the seasons, and to tend the trees in the Sacred Grove. Of all our seasonal celebrations, this is the one that is a “working ritual.” Following the Sacred Land Walk, we process up the mountain to the Grove Shrine that EarthSpirit has been cultivating for many years. We spend time with each of the trees, and as part of our ritual, weed and mulch them, especially the smaller ones. We sing, dance, share food from our abundance, and socialize.

This year was a warm overcast day, perfect for doing a little gardening. Our Fall Equinox ritual is a good reminder that “celebrating” the Sacred Earth without giving back to her can sometimes be a somewhat empty gesture. The effects of climate change and global warming were obvious this year, in the condition of the trees and the amount of water available to them. But we adjust where we must, both in tending our groves and gardens, and in our own advocacy for the overall Web we are part of.

We plant and tend trees, often not for ourselves, but for the Earth and those who will come behind us. We are part of a Web of Life that has stretch from time immemorial, and will continue well beyond our own time here.

Fall Equinox 2022 (photo by Rowan Hawthorne)