Finding Balance in a Sea of Chaos

So, Harvest is coming up: the autumnal equinox, Sept. 21. And all the usual seasonal meanings apply, of rich harvests and abundant fruits and vegetables and celebration of all the wonderful things that have come to us in the passing year.

But there is a second meaning of Harvest. It is the moment at which the night and day are equally long: a moment of balance between darkness and light.

And at times like these, the idea of balance is hard to find. So much turmoil in the world, so much insanity in the political sphere, and the Earth’s climate itself spinning out of control.

And yet, we must.

I think of the “balance Sabbaths”, Harvest and High Spring, as times to calibrate the ways I’m spending my life. How much energy and time am I devoting to my relationship, to my job, to myself, to my spirituality, my creativity, my community? Is that formula feeding and energizing me, or is it depleting me?

This question is especially important to me because I live with the constant threat of falling out of remission into depression. If I’m being sucked dry by my investments of  time and energy, it’s time to change things.

Now, sometimes life demands heroic effort. Parents of young children, for example, have to just bear it, and hope that the happiness they receive from having them balances out the tremendous energy and time cost required to raise them. I’ve worked on organizing efforts and political campaigns that, for limited time spans, have required every drop of juice I had available.

But it is worth asking the questions: what is missing from my life? What is asking more of me than I feel I can give? And, to the degree possible, to make adjustments. Harvest is a great time to make that assessment.

The year will only stand in balance for an instant, but that moment gives us an opportunity to reflect and adjust. To live better.

A Warm, Relaxed Gathering for Harvest

Due to the low turnout for Moon Meet 2018, those of us in attendance at that event had a discussion about how best to make local Atheopagan in-person events more accessible and attractive. Some of our conjectures were that it was asking too much to expect people to come for a multiple-day event for their first gathering with us, and that the site for Moon Meet was too remote for some of the prospective attendees.

I mention these concerns because we are a far-flung community, distributed across the globe. Any lessons we learn can be used in creating your own events and gatherings*.

Accordingly, three of us planned a Harvest gathering on the autumnal equinox which was only a few hours long, required little commitment (a potluck dish), and was closer to a population center of group members than to where I happen to live.

The result was lovely! There were somewhere between 15 and 20 of us, and we had a nice Harvest potluck feast followed by a ritual to celebrate the season. Very eclectic group, including several folks I’d never met before, and a couple of charming kids.

We declared our individual personal “harvests” for the season, and the things we are grateful for. We celebrated community. And we enjoyed each other’s company with song, food and drink.

Success! We’ll be doing more of these gatherings going forward and look forward to meeting more of our local Atheopagans and friends to celebrate the seasons.

Thanks particularly to Kaigi-Ron and Joe for their help in organizing this event.

 


*And I do encourage you to create your own events and gatherings! For longer and more complex events, an Event Planning Guide with budget and planning timeline spreadsheets are available on the Resources page.

 

Join Us for a Harvest Celebration!

If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area in the United States, we welcome you to join us for a potluck Harvest celebration on Sept. 22! It will be held from 2 to 6 pm at the Orchard Picnic Area in Tilden Park, Berkeley. Bring a potluck dish to share and something to drink*, your own plates, cups and cutlery, and any items you would like to place on the group Focus to represent your harvested achievements for this year.

One of the lessons we learned from Moon Meet this year is to hold events that require less of a time and logistical commitment, so we’re doing Harvest this year in an area not far from where many of our Facebook group members live, and only lasting a few hours. Please RSVP in the comments if you are coming, so we can plan for numbers!

If you’re too far away to be able to attend this event, I hope you will hold your own! Harvest is a great time to introduce friends to Atheopaganism through a community feast and a simple celebration ritual, giving thanks for all the year has brought us, including our friends and community. Just holding hands and expressing our gratitudes can be a very powerful ritual for people who aren’t used to them.

Check out the linked articles on Harvest (link in the first paragraph) for ideas, and be sure to ask questions if you need help! I wish you the happiest and most abundant of Harvest celebrations with your friends and family.


*Beer, cider and wine are welcome, but no hard alcohol, please.