It’s Libra season (happy birthday, Mom!) and this past week was the first week of fall, my favorite season. It’s always been my favorite season — I like the colors, the crunchiness, cranberry sauce, apples, candles, and of course, Halloween. This fall, though, like everything else this year, feels different. Somehow the whole world is changing, but my own life is stagnant. My roommates and I recently watched “I’m Thinking of Ending Things,” in which a poem by Eva H.D. is quoted multiple times.
“Nothing moves but the shifting tides of salt in your body,” she says.
Indeed, while it seems like the end of the world is raging outside my door, I’m just beep bopping away at online school, halfheartedly chugging toward a future that may or may not exist.
Anyway, plagued by such existential dread, I celebrated the fall equinox with my roommates on Tuesday night.
My one roommate, Sarah, is pagan and has celebrated the equinox in various capacities almost every year. I helped her drag a card table out into the yard, which she covered with a red tablecloth and adorned with a strand of paper stars. Each of us were asked to bring a sacred item to place on the altar. I brought a necklace and a satchel of dried herbs. My other roommate, Hailie, brought a handmade notebook. Our neighbor across the street brought a pumpkin with no stem.
We arranged these on the table, which then was spotted with tea candles, a bottle of salt water, a crystal, and a deck of tarot cards. Around a bonfire, we thanked the universal powers that had brought us here — earth, water, air, and fire. We drank apple cider and red wine from plastic goblets. We wore yellow, orange, and gold. Then we meditated.
I’ve been introduced to few religions. My grandfather attends a Southern Baptist church in Wisconsin, where I ate powdered donuts and drank coffee from styrofoam cups. Once, I went to a Unitarian Universalist service with my parents. Another time, my friend Tanner and I went to a guided group meditation at a Baha’i Temple.
But the fall equinox was a different experience entirely. First, it was a religious ceremony held in my own backyard. Second, paganism is an earthly religion, meaning that people who practice religion under this umbrella term find divinity and true sacredness in nature. We stood around in our bare feet with our eyes closed, trying to eliminate any bad energy we may have held onto throughout the day. We live on a busy street, so cars and people were buzzing around outside the fence. But inside our sacred pumpkin circle, it was only us and the sacred items we had brought. Beneath our feet was the cold, hard earth, and above us was the sky.
I guess what I mean to say about all of this is that it’s good to find something that reaches you during times like these, when nothing seems sacred anymore.
It’s good to share something that’s meaningful to you with your friends and loved ones. It’s good to place value on the earth, because honestly, I’m not quite sure what else is out there. It’s good to take time and notice what’s around you. And also, it’s good to meditate. Especially with people you trust.