Thursday, 17 September 2009

Drawing in of the dark

Tomorrow is my fathers birthday. Of course this has absolutely nothing to do with this posting, except that his birthday is almost at the time of the Autumn Equinox. So today I thought I'd prepare for this period in the year when day length and night are equal, as from now on night lengthens until the winter solstice.

I love this time of the year, when on fine days the warmth in the sun can remind us briefly of carefree summer days on the beach, or that glorious feeling when walking amongst buildings at night feeling the days heat being released back into the air. The above painting of mine was done at this time of year to remind me of the bright colours, light and contrast and the perpetual joy of never ending days by the sea.

But all too soon at the beginning of September the nights begin to draw in and before we know it it is dark before 8pm and the Equinox approaches. There is something special about equality, and on the 21st of September, or thereabouts, the world moves into it's winter phase, albeit by clinging onto autumn for a while yet.

If like me you are interested in old Celtic festivals, then you will know that at this time the Sun enters Libra, and with it brings about balance and harmony, a readjustment and therefore a time of change and transformation. In days of old, thanks were also given at this time for the safe deliverance of the harvest, hence the Harvest Festival.

But as another watercolour of mine hopefully portrayed, this time of year can also mean still settled days and misty cool nights when just being out and about in the British countryside is enough to restore any balance in life as we revel in the glories of autumnal colours.

So as we move towards the Equinox this week, I leave you with the notion of the double spiral, the symbol of the Autumn Equinox, in essence this endless cycle of change brings with it renewal and new opportunities, look back with thanks at what the spring brought and look forward to welcome the turning. Rest and recharge as the nights draw dark, look inwards and dream a new dream.

Finally one feature of many celebrations at this time is the making of a 'talking stick', a recently cut stick having thread wrapped around it, the idea being it facilitates discussion, thought and word. In a group setting, the stick is passed around, only the person holding the stick can speak, and can not be interrupted until he or she has finished, when the stick is passed on to the next person.

What better way to spend a dark evening, friends round, some cider maybe to celebrate the autumn, light the house with candles and allow some convivial conversation to occur.

There is a lot to be said for the drawing in of the dark.


  1. What beautiful paintings. The colours and atmosphere in them are gorgeous.

    I'm going to make myself a talking stick... maybe it will give me time to talk to myself properly and get all my ideas down on paper!

  2. Thanks for the comment re the paintings, but I have to say that's a slippery slope Jane if you begin talking to yourself. I know ;-)

  3. I echo Jane's remarks on your paintings, Andrew - highly evocative of the way through the dunes.

    If someone butts in while you are holding the stick, is it customary to clobber them with it?

  4. Hi Andrew,

    What a lovely blog. Yes it chimes with my poem. I enjoyed your account of the air ceremony on Quicksilber Birds as well. I do many similar things myself, as you may imagine since I am a druid.