2016 Autumn Equinox Festival
By: Minette Quick
AUTUMN EQUINOX FESTIVAL
FOUNDATION CENTRE - IRELAND
September 24th, 2016
Despite the rain, there still seemed to be a goodly flow of visitors to the Castle at this time of year. Our members and guests gathered in the tea rooms, and the possibility of processing through the grounds was debated but finally surrendered to making our way directly across the Yard singing then passing through the side gate to the gardens to gather round the portico at the rear of the Temple. There, as ever permission, protection and guidance was sought from Persephone to enter at this important time which signifies her annual return to the Underworld.
At Brigid’s Well we were asked to reflect upon the vital importance of water, blessed as we are in Ireland by more than abundant rainfall to meet our essential needs. We had welcome guests from far-away lands who know what it is to survive intense heat and somehow survive in drought ridden conditions. Olivia’s wise words from the Winged Isis reminded us of the need for transcendence and balanced spiritual growth of heart and mind in life. As the priesthood invoked the presence of the deities they hold dear, their energy and devotion was heartfelt and moving. Everyone present was blessed quietly and individually with water drawn from the Well, to the strains of some beautiful songs from our members and guests. We then moved peacefully to settle around the High Altar.
Here the Four Directions were first called in, then the Four Faery Cities of ancient Irish tradition, and finally the rocks of the Tuatha de Danaan which lie beneath the Castle and were referred to by one of our very popular guest speakers at our 40th Anniversary Celebrations at the Spring Equinox. The altars within the Temple honour and celebrate all sacred traditions, so naturally many of our Irish speaking members grew up in families steeped in the wonderful mythology strongly associated with the mystical land of Ireland. The devotional heart of the Fellowship undoubtedly sprang from the powerful connection our Co-Founders felt to the energy pouring forth within this special place. It is this connection which Olivia asked us to continue and offer to members of the Fellowship through the celebration of the eight annual festivals.
Into the unique energy of withdrawal and change on this occasion came the Oracle of the Goddess Astarte, recalling us gently but firmly to the present moment, to the beauty around us that feeds and restores us throughout the seasons. In response to her words we were drawn strongly into a space of deep quietness, the only place within which release from troubled lives in the war-torn world of today may be found. A short period of reflection followed, a few magical moments, during which the sound of an exquisite hand-held harp filled the air with a delicate web of dew-dropped notes.
This was followed by a timely poem from ‘The Dragon of Patience’ somehow expanding in a synchronistic way upon the essence of the Goddess Astarte’s Oracle – ‘giving a little insight into divine timing….and calmly taking in a wider view and glimpsing at things with a knowing heart.'
Our Mystery Play began with an introduction to the coming of the Tuatha to Ireland with their Four Hallows. Cloaked and hooded, the three Guardians of the Cauldron seated themselves behind a traditional Irish Cauldron. Representing Birth, Death and Rebirth, each offered a wise Oracle upon the significance of one of these rites of passage – followed by a period at the end of the ritual during which all had been invited to come forward to take a small piece of rock or stone from within the Cauldron as a keepsake, offering prayer and requests for healing for those known to us, and also for the land upon which Foundation Centre stands. Our thanks go to our priestess whose beautiful planning of this whole programme, together with her lovely singing, and that of others at various points made the day so perfect.
Notices were read. Thanks were given to Deity for their potent presence amongst us, and healing was offered before we repaired as ever to the village for convivial company and tea.
Sept. 26th, 2016
The Three Mothers by Olivia Robertson
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(Many thanks to Minette for sharing her reports!)
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