March 21st marks the Autumn Equinox in Australia, where for one moment day and night will be of equal length before the scales tip forward and the darker nights prevail for the next 6 months until the Spring Equinox. With the sun positioned directly over the equator it is said that there is a reduction in the Earth’s magnetic field at the Equinox and an energetic gateway opens that is not ordinarily open. Whatever your beliefs, ritual and meditation at this time (and 24 hours either side of the exact point) offer a means to deeply connect to this natural phenomenon. Russ and I plan to be up in the early morning to head into Dorrigo to walk our community labyrinth with a few friends …
This seasonal point is also known as Mabon and marks the second of three harvest festivals. Reflecting on my own harvest at Ningendo I would say that lately I am aware of a deepening in my connection with the natural world. Put in a shamanic context I think it is fair to say that living in such close contact over the years has opened up doorways of conversation beyond previous lines of communication. Between the snakes and sparrowhawks, skinks and spiders, frogs and leaf-tailed geckos, I find I now catch myself with a mental keisaku* if I’m not present with these creatures; or when harvesting flowers or food, for I am now aware of a feeling of disrespect deep in my being when I do not acknowledge the relationships that sustain us with my presence. I am ever grateful that my life has had the space for me to notice these subtler happenings arise …
Some help with the dishes is always welcome. But this little fellow on the right lodged a protest (don’t know why?!)
On the building front we are drawing ever nearer to ‘completion’ (after that I think Russ, although moving into caretaker mode, will nonetheless be renovating for the rest of his days!). The foundations are well underway for our cob cottage, which will free up the cottage we currently live in for students to stay. The dojo and shiatsu room are in use daily, as is the archery target and, when we are in full swing, the zendo. We have added a deck to the kitchen that overlooks the river and vegie garden, (not a bad back yard!). I still work in town offering shiatsu two days a week and Russ takes on carpentry work as it arises.
We hope all are making a gentle transition as we turn inward in the move toward the shorter days.
Akhalita & Russ
* Flat wooden stick in meditation (Zen Buddhism) to remedy lapses in concentration/sleepiness.