Autumn Equinox Festival - Foundation Centre - Ireland
21st September 2019
Report and photos by: Tom Joseph Swinburne
The Autumn Equinox prepares us to face the triumph of the darkness over the light. It is a time to settle back after the harvest and reflect on all that has happened to us. On this, the “World Day of Peace” it was apt that we meditate on our yearly journey during this special day. So, with hope in all our hearts we gathered in celebration of the seasonal change of equal day and night. On a most delightful morning our beautiful presiding Priestess welcomed all to the Foundation Centre, in the courtyard of Huntington Castle in Clonegal village. We set off to the Rose garden with the sound of singing and the beating of a drum.
On the way we passed by some apple trees whose bright red fruit had already began to fall on lush green grass. Being the season of Alban Elfed, we were blessed to witness the second harvest before our own eyes. In circle, we listened intently as Rosa Mundi, the eternal Rose of the World was invoked. Inspired by the presence of the Goddess, a dear Priestess asked us to strip layers away, to let go and release all that binds ourselves to the past and be free. Following a brief meditation under a bright blue sky, our guide invited all assembled to join her at the Sacred Grove. Once arrived, a member of the Druidic Clan of Danu opened a mystical gateway in order to gain access to this Holy site. After the Goddess Danu was invoked we were entertained by a song dedicated to the “little people”, the Fey folk. We also took time to honour the small birch tree planted in remembrance of Lady Olivia. It is fitting that such a noble tree holds her spiritual roots, close to such a wonderous place among the tall pine trees of the Grove.
In the Abbey, after the invocation of the Gods, we were once again reminded of the purpose of our Sister Society, the Noble Order of Tara. Founded to promote the upkeep and protection of our environment, all present were encouraged to engage with Nature and with our animal friends. On a World Day of Peace, very little had been said about Peace for creatures, surviving on the edge of extinction.
Our procession led us towards a door positioned at a lower level of Huntington Castle. It holds the entrance to the Foundation Temple and a secret gateway, which leads down and into the Underworld. With permission to enter and the protection of the Goddess Persephone granted, we respectfully crossed the threshold between the Worlds. Our presence was announced by the loud pealing of a bell.
At the Sacred Well, each of the assembled Priestesses/Priests invoked their Patron Goddesses. This was followed by a powerful reading from a book of Oracles delivered by Lady Olivia called “Sybil”. In the Oracle of Kore, we are told of how people of the earth have become tyrants. The gentle and the humble must learn to rule and defend the weak. The Goddess asks the we “stand forth and enact the Mothers Will”. Both guests and the Priesthood alike received a Blessing from water drawn from the Well. The soft voice of a noble Priestess brought forth a song entitled “Mabon”, written by Lisa Thiel. I believe everyone succumbed to this beautiful melody, as Spirit entered each heart and Soul while being Blessed.
A Priestess in trance lent her voice to deliver an Oracle on behalf of the Goddess Demeter. The Goddess quietly but passionately pleaded with the human world to change its direction. In sacrificing her stolen daughter Persephone to the Will of the Gods, she suffered in releasing her to a dark descent to the land of the Dead. In the times we live in, we must in all urgency stop the destruction of the Earth, our Mother. In the quiet peace of the Temple, we heard her voice begin to fade away pleading with us to let it go, let it go, let it go. A harpist drawing in on the emotion from the Oracle, delighted us with an enchanting adaptation of Turlough O Carolan’s tune, “Si More Si Beag”.
Bringing our awareness once more to our presiding Priestess, we were invited to join her on a magickal visualised journey. Her soothing voice dissolved our physical presence in the Temple and bid us to voyage to those non-ordinary realms, deep within our imaginative unconscious minds. Safely returned from our journey, our Steward for our celebrations introduced a Mystery Play. She had incorporated The World day of Peace into this presentation, to allow space for compassion in the face of anger and malice towards our Mother Earth.
On the High Altar before all assembled, stood Earth Goddess Gaia along with the Egyptian Goddess Nut and her consort the God Geb. Gaia spoke of how her children have changed her physical form. Their constant destruction of her living body is destroying the living habitat for all creatures. She pleads that they down their tools and dance, while living a more simple existence. Geb, the Egyptian God of the Earth and Father of Snakes stepped forward. We spoke of how we struggle against ourselves by taking the life Blood of Gaia. Geb told us we have forgotten so much and now humanity must strive to survive and save our species. The Goddess Nut, Mother of the Milky Way and Matrix moved close to her consort. She has been brought to tears. Her limbs have become tired holding creation together. The Sky Goddess strains, while her body acts as a canopy to protect her children on this Blue Planet. She sees the goodness in our mortal lives and asks that we begin to create and stop destroying.
We were next treated to a creative piece in the form of a poem. Entitled “Hope”, it was recited by the poet who the penned the words himself. A wise Druid and a distinguished Priest of the Fellowship, he spoke amid the silence of the Temple. Following this precious offering, all gathered joined hands to send Healing Light out from our Foundation Centre to wherever it is needed. Many compassionate prayers were spoken out loud and spoken from deep within. Indeed individual healing was offered in the Temple at two locations, at the end of our ceremony. Notices were read and the date was announced for our next gathering at Samhain.
To draw down the veil on our festivities, each of the assembled Priesthood offered love and appreciation to their Patron Deities and to the Goddess Herself.
Rev. Tom Joseph Swinburne