About the Equinoxes
The Equinoxes are the two days of the year where the sun crosses the equator. These dates in March and September (usually on the 20th-22nd day of the month) are key times for Novasutras celebrations.
Because the sun is angled directly over the equator, the daylight and darkness are equal length* everywhere in the world on the Equinoxes. Everywhere on Earth, the sun rises due East, and sets due West on these dates.
*The ‘day’ is actually always a few minutes longer than the ‘night’ on the Equinox, because our Sun appears to us as a large disc rather than just a point in Earth’s sky. The mid-point of the sun actually rises and sets twelve hours apart on the Equinox, give or take a minute for some local variation. So, we’re all a little on the bright side of perfect balance 😃
Equinoxes, the Equator, and Equatorial Rainforests
The Equinox is defined astronomically as the moment when the Sun will be directly overhead at the Equator. So the times of the Equinoxes are the times when the sun shines most directly on Earth’s Three Green Hearts. Appropriately, Novasutras is choosing to celebrate these equatorial forests in our Equinox festivities. They are the most verdant natural expression of agaya and ubuntu .
Equinoxes and the Seasons
Outside of the tropics, Equinoxes also mark seasonal transitions. Many animals are migrating at this time, following the sun and warmer temperatures. Others are preparing for the changing season where they are, storing abundant summer food for fall and winter, or emerging from winter burrows into the light of the coming spring.
Migration is beautiful!
The spring or vernal Equinox (March in the Northern Hemisphere, September in the Southern Hemisphere) is the transition to the warmer half of the year. The days will begin to be longer than nights. Things emerge from winter, with deciduous trees putting out new leaves, many plants flowering, and seeds beginning to sprout.
The fall or autumnal Equinox (September in the Northern Hemisphere, March in the Southern Hemisphere) is the transition to the cooler, darker half of the year. Days will soon become shorter than nights. Grains and fruits are ripening, and in some places leaves are changing colors as trees prepare themselves for the coming winter.
For celebrations of the Equinoxes, important themes are:
For the vernal equinox, Emergence and Pollination are also key themes to incorporate in your celebrations. For the autumnal equinox, Abundance and Protection are key themes.
Meditate for a world abiding in agaya and ubuntu
Participate in the global Novasutras Equinox meditation during the exact moment of the Equinox (whether meditating on your own or with an in-person group). There will be a guided meditation via Zoom or on the Novasutras YouTube channel, usually starting 15-30 minutes before the moment of the Equinox, and ending 5-15 minutes after the Equinox – check the Events page for details and registration. If you prefer, you could join by simply meditating on agaya and ubuntu at that time. Either way, we seek to join in simultaneous meditation at these precise moments (part of the Octal Meditations), to encourage global coherence.
More Ways to Celebrate
Here are a few ideas for things you may wish to do as part of Novasutras Equinox celebrations. Some of these can be done on your own, but many are better done in community. You may include a variety of personal observances and community celebrations in the days before and after the moment of the Equinox.
Equinox Flowers, Fruits and Foliage
Adorn yourself and your event-space with vegetation that honors the emerging season in your hemisphere: late summer flowers, gourds, corn, grains and fruits in celebration of the abundant harvest, along with leaves that are beginning to turn colors; early buds and flowers, and tender green foliage that welcome the coming spring.
Everywhere, plants must attune themselves to the seasons and make the best of the available sunlight – this holds important lessons for human communities also. By honoring their evolutionary genius and celebrating their sensual beauty, we become the partners of plants through ubuntu and agaya.
Create/Co-Create a Novasutras Symbol
Creation of the Novasutras symbol can be similar to casting a circle and calling the corners in neo-pagan and various indigenous rituals, as a way to open a sacred space for the gathered community. But while it should be done with reverence, in agaya and ubuntu, it need not be solemn. It’s easy to engage all event participants in the creation of a Novasutras symbol (see this video on creating the symbol as a personal ritual or meditation).
For community gatherings, you could create a symbol large enough for all participants to stand in. Perhaps you invite people to arrange themselves by color they’re wearing (or provide hats, masks, signs, etc. in green, blue, brown and white), then have everyone briefly meditate on agaya and ubuntu as represented by that portion of the symbol (green for beings above, white for beings below, brown for the tree beings that connect above and below, blue for beings nearby and far away or beings of the seas). On the beach, the symbol can be drawn by participants following each other and scuffing their feet in a kind of dance, or by one or more people drawing with sticks. On pavement, it could be drawn with sidewalk chalks or sand.
To produce something like a mandala (indoors or out), people could bring appropriate materials to co-create the symbol: leaves and flowers; feathers; seeds, grains, cornmeal (of different colors); chalk or sand; colored stones or beads; or just draw on newsprint or butcher paper with paints or markers. Weather permitting, you could even do a litter clean-up at a beach or park, sort the objects found by color, and array them in the symbol.
Please take pictures and share your creations – add them to our Facebook page, or use #Novasutras, #Equinox, #Agaya and #Ubuntu on other social media. Be sure to include ‘sweeping up’ in the closing of your celebration, making sure that any materials are taken for recycling, composted, or otherwise dealt with in ways that are respectful of agaya and ubuntu.
Song and Dance
One of the main ways that humans the world over celebrate in community is to make music and dance together. In the so-called “developed” world, we have grown accustomed to music as performed by professionals and merely enjoyed by spectators. While this is delightful and may be welcome as an addition to your celebration, it is insufficient to the natural process of community.
Find simple songs, and invite everyone to participate in singing them. Encourage those that have acoustic instruments to bring them and play along as they can (small drums, tambourines, shakers or rattles, harmonicas and ukuleles work well outdoors). Some traditional, folk, movement or spiritual songs feel appropriate to agaya and ubuntu (such as We Are the Rising Sun or We Are the Power in Everyone, kindly provided to the world by Campfire Chants, or many songs from the Rise for Climate Change songbook) — these simple songs and chants can remain unmodified. If you have a favorite sing-along or hymn with a title or lyrics that do not provide a good reflection of agaya and ubuntu, change the words to better suit the intentions of a Novasutras gathering. (Please share your creations!)
Similarly, keep ‘dancing’ simple and fun. The Spiral Dance developed by Starhawk is a wonderful option, but you could just have a simple ‘conga line’ that becomes a circle (or two concentric circles traveling in opposite directions). Even the ‘Hokey Pokey,’ can be easy and fun for participants of all ages (maybe “…and you shake it all about. Feel agaya and ubuntu, and you turn the world about. That’s what it’s all about!”).
Share Food and Drink
Whether it’s a full-meal potluck or just a small sacramental bite or sip of something meaningful, sharing food in community is a uniquely human way to strengthen ubuntu. Don’t neglect the importance of this aspect of celebratory gatherings. Novasutras cookies might be nice. If you are inviting participants to bring food, ask them to be respectful of agaya and ubuntu in their choice of what to bring — vegetarian or vegan items are preferable, as these are kinder to the climate and other beings. It also helps to ask people to avoid ‘disposable’ materials (particularly plastics) in both food packaging and serving materials (plates, cups, cutlery, napkins). Be sure to include ‘washing/packing up’ in the closing of your celebration, seeing that materials are taken for recycling, composted, or otherwise dealt with in ways that are respectful of agaya and ubuntu.
Other Ritual Activities
For outdoor celebrations, you may time them to include sunrise or sunset, taking that time to observe the cardinal directions. Some may choose to stack rocks for small markers of the East-West line (also a good reflection of the theme of ‘balance’ for the Equinox).
All could participate in pouring water into a shared bowl or pitcher, then anointing themselves and/or splashing the water, along with some kind of blessing or intention. If done with safe drinking water, the bowl or pitcher could instead be passed along a second time while everyone ladles out a sip of the water that they had communally added, representing sharing in the benefits of collective effort.
Participants could be encouraged to wear masks or costumes representing one or more of the themes of the Equinox (balance, unity, orientation, transition, migration, preparadness, and themes related to your local season). A longer event could include materials and opportunities to construct these.
Participants could bring small items to represent one or more of the themes of the Equinox celebration, decoratively adding them to a community altar toward the beginning of the celebration then deconstructing the altar at the end (perhaps with an invitation to take away something other than the thing you brought, so it becomes a kind of gift-exchange).
Invite Your Community
Perhaps you just want to have a small gathering with like-minded friends. But if you are willing, Equinox celebrations are a great opportunity to talk with new people about Novasutras. Let us know about your plans, and we’ll add them to our Events page.
Post a few fliers (template for fliers) to publicize your local event, directing people to the Novasutras website for more information about events. Contact us if you want our to help promote your local Novasutras Equinox event .