What does the equinox really mean? We typically think of it as the first day of fall (or spring).
A quick online search will tell you the ancients built sites like Stonehenge and Chichen Itza in alignment with the equinox (and solstice) so they could mark the seasons. But did they arrange Stonehenge just so because they wanted to know when it was fall?
That’s a lot of stone to move — surely the equinox had some larger meaning.
At the spring equinox, I listened to a talk given by Arkan Lushwala, a Peruvian ceremonial leader raised in both the Andean and North American Native traditions and the author of two books on indigenous wisdom teachings, Deer & Thunder and The Time of the Black Jaguar.
He spoke with such a mix of strength and tenderness about the equinox that I was sure he was saying something very important. I took notes the whole time, because I wanted to remember everything…
In the Native spiritual traditions, we’re all on our way to mastering the dualities of the material world. The summer and winter solstices represent the extremes: hot and cold, light and dark. And then the spring and fall equinoxes represent the balancing of those extremes. The goal for each of us is to learn to maintain a state of balance, or centering, while in the midst of the dualities of daily life.
The seasonal cycle is a gift that helps us master life, but only if we’re paying attention.
The major point Arkan emphasized in his talk was this aspect of the gift. These four times of the year are not simply changes of season, they are sacred days offered by what the Andean people call the Pachamama, or the universal energy that runs through all things.
On these days, through the alignment of the Earth and Sun, it’s as though the Pachamama arrives at our doorstep with a gift. But we have to be at home and listening for the doorbell in order to receive the gift. Most of us are not at home, because we have no idea a gift is on the way.
The equinox is the day the Pachamama aligns the Earth and Sun to create equal hours of day and night for the entire planet. Her gift is an enhanced atmosphere for balance and centering — the way that gift shows up is different for each of us.
To receive your gift, the most important thing you can do is stop your everyday routine and pay attention. Turn off all of your devices and remove yourself from your daily activities for some amount of time. If you can manage a whole day, do, but if you only have an hour, that’s okay too.
Find a quiet space and ask yourself, what is the gift? What has the Pachamama brought for me this day? And then listen for the answer. Notice what comes up for you.
You can meditate, journal, pray, or do any ceremonies you like to do. If you want to be outside on this day, that’s great, but it’s not necessary.
The Pachamama is everywhere — you cannot be away from her.