Living the Celtic Year – the autumn equinox

Living the Celtic Year Ceremonies

By Debbie and Steve Merritt

Druid prayer for peace

Deep within the still centre of our beings, may we find peace
Silently within the quiet of the Grove, may we share peace
Gently within the wide circle of humanity, may we radiate peace

Some people have asked if they have to have particular beliefs to join in with our ceremonies. The answer is simply, no. Our Druid Order (The Order of Bards. Ovates and Druids) is comprised of people of many faiths, who join together in celebrating the power and beauty of nature in our lives. Members work with spiritual teachings that combine the inspiration of the ancient druids and the old stories with contemporary scholarship and insights into the relationship between human beings and the world of plants and animals, stars and stones.
There is absolutely no requirement to join the Order, and we will only talk about it if someone asks us to.

For thousands of years the indigenous peoples around the world have lived their lives around the seasons. Many of these formed the spiritualities or religions of the people. As the seasons changed, the focus of their lives changed, such as resting and mending or making in the winter, and harvesting towards the end of summer. Our farmers and gardeners follow a modified year today, and more and more of us, as we turn to nature for solace and inspiration, mark the turning of the year with ceremonies and festivities.

Steve and I have started to hold seasonal ceremonies throughout the year, and workshops to support them, open to all who come in peace. Children are especially welcome (accompanied by an appropriate adult). We are grateful to Heather Lodge, who have welcomed us there. It is accessible to all, and is, of course, on the bus route!


Autumn Equinox, Alban Elfed, or Mabon 20th-23rd September

The Autumn Equinox falls as an astrological ‘fixed’ point. It is a festival of thanksgiving for the harvest, and of restored balance. Day and night are in perfect balance all over the world, and we begin to sense the change in energy as the wheel turns towards autumn and winter. Most of the produce that we may have grown will have been harvested by now, in theory there will be less work to be done outdoors, and although work still needs to be done, it is less time pressured.

At this moment, when we appreciate all that the Earth has provided for us, we ask ourselves what we can give back, to help the healing of the Earth, to undo the damage of our industrial/scientific age.

In many of our ceremonies there is an opportunity (no pressure!) for participants to say what their harvest has been and say what they hope to achieve going forward. It allows us to have a ‘New Year’s Resolution’ 8 times a year! We don’t write them down and hold you to them, honestly!

So when we have our ceremony, we will be giving thanks for our own personal harvest, which may be the produce from our gardens, new friends made, your pension (!), a new baby/grandchild, moving to a new home, a return to good health. You get the idea.
Like at other festivals we can celebrate in many ways. Some people make offerings of a little bread and wine/mead to the creatures (or deity’s) outdoors. Steve and I, as Druids, will celebrate with a ceremony with our friends, and some to be friends! After the ceremony there will be some music, storytelling, feasting and socialising.

We will be running a workshop about Alban Elfed, followed by a ceremony, on Sunday 19th September, you can find more information at Spiritual Arran Workshops on Facebook. Numbers will be limited depending on the relevant Covid restrictions.