In a year where cruel irony seems to be a constant theme, and the emphasis seems to be increasingly on the cruel part, the cycle of pagan holidays feels less like a wheel and more like one of those tilt-a-whirl carnival rides. The ones where you used to make sure you went on them *before* you had the funnel cake. Unless, of course, you wanted to ask your best friend to hold your hair back while you emptied your stomach with much greater speed than which you’d filled it.
And here we are at Mabon, the midway point between the height of summer and the depth of winter, the fall equinox. Among the things we traditionally celebrate at Mabon is that balance that comes with the equinox. Yes, it’s one of the egg holidays — when you should be able to balance an egg on its base and make it stand upright. The equinox is about balance, or so the conventional wisdom goes.
How the fuck do you do that when the world is literally burning up on one coast and being swamped by storms on another, and still fighting battles against racism and fascism? Oh, and there’s this little matter of a pandemic that is still not controlled that has taken more than 200,000 American lives. And don’t even get me started on RBG dying and the election. Balance? Are you fucking kidding me?
I promise it’s not hopeless. I know it feels that way right about now, but I promise it’s not.
That’s not because I know how any of all this turns out. Because I don’t.
I know it’s not hopeless because I trust the balancing act that is the Universe.
You see, staying in balance does not mean stillness. Far from it, in fact. Balance is actually perpetual motion. Balance is wobbly. It goes back and forth. It is constant work to stay in balance. It requires a level of vigilance that most of us don’t have the energy to maintain for a long time. Sooner or later, we slide into uncertainty, at least for a little while, until we can get our balance back again. What makes this time so hard, and makes us feel so hopeless, is because we have been using so much energy to stay in the same place. And still, the Universe keeps challenging our ability to keep afloat. Keeping up with the turbulence right now is literally exhausting us.
Okay, so that explains why we’re all so fed up with everything right now. But where do we get the hope?
The hope comes not because we know the outcome is assured. Hope does not live off of guarantees. Hope comes from a belief that nothing is written until we write it. Hope is the belief that we can still make a difference. Hope doesn’t know whether that difference will actually mean something. But hope wants to try. Because the alternative, despair, is too numbing and cold. Despair is what comes when we choose to stop dancing on the Wheel. Despair is the stillness that eventually drops us into the gears to get chewed up as they turn.
As long as the Universe is shifting, trying to balance itself, moving, even if it is at a breakneck pace and with jarring violence, there is still hope that it can right itself. And we humans thrive on hope. Hope is more than a thing with feathers. It is the blood that courses through our veins. It is the thing that keeps us in motion. It is the thing that fends off the still, cold hand of despair.
As long as the Wheel keeps turning, there is hope. As long as we choose to try and find balance, even if we’re wobbling and it doesn’t feel like we are succeeding, we still have a chance to make a difference. The point of recognizing the equinox isn’t peace and quiet, it’s to understand that all the motion, all the back and forth, all the wobbling and the being jerked around, it has a point. It has a reason. And we need to step up to meet it. We need to choose the rolling whipsaw of change. Because if we don’t, we drop into the stillness of despair.
The equinox is about that moment of decision. And the truth is, it doesn’t just happen on that one or two days a year when we can perfectly balance an egg on its end. We make that decision every day when we open our eyes and choose to move and act in the world. When we choose hope over despair. When we get out of bed and figure out what we’re going to do that day to make a difference. Every. Single. Day. What makes the equinox, Mabon, special is that we choose that moment to reflect on the choice — the necessity of it, the meaning of it, the wonder of it.
Because it is wonderful. The Universe hangs in the balance based on the actions we choose to take. Even the small actions, the small choices, are cause for hope. Because as long as you’re moving, there’s hope. And despair is held at bay. It is a small thing. A tiny point on which the whole of the Universe balances.
Yeah, I know, that’s a hell of a thing. We choose to change the course of the Universe every second of every day with every action we take. Right now it’s hard to believe we have that kind of power, because so much seems out of our control. And so many would love us to believe that we can’t change a goddamn thing. But you matter. Each of us matters. None of us is expendable. People who would convince you of your own insignificance never have your best interest at heart. You matter because the Universe turns and unfolds and hangs in the balance every time any of us acts.
And we need to recognize that for the amazing thing that it is, and honor it by making that small choice. We need to rise up and act from our hope. Every. Single. Day. And today we stop and realize that when the Universe is balancing on a knife’s edge, every thing we do matters. And doing itself matters.
It’s a small thing. But it’s enough to get us through.
Blessed Mabon, y’all.