In this area, a collection of architectural wonders align with the rising sun on the spring and summer equinoxes. Inside these mounds of stones, (pictured above) are passageways, just tall enough for our diminutive ancestors to pass to the back. The passageways are lined with massive stones, covered top to bottom with petroglyphs of SPIRALS (these inspired my logo), swirls, flower or sun-like symbols, lozenges, and curves. It is believed that this area was the gathering place for sacred ceremonies, perhaps involving hallucinogens. The petroglyph symbols are commonly experienced while people are transitioning into another realm.
We found passage tombs scattered all over the Irish landscape. I joked to my partner that these were akin to the churches, synagogues, and temples that dot neighborhoods in modern times.
As agrarian cultures, humans from 5000+ years ago were keenly aware of the seasons. At Loughcrew, the rising sun on the spring and fall equinox aligns with the passageway in the tomb. Here is an amazing video of Cairn T at Loughcrew. You'll see the entire site and the video includes the moment the light travels across the back of the passage tomb.
This Saturday is the Fall Equinox, called Cónocht an fhómhair in Irish. This falls at mid-harvest but more importantly, is when night and day are equal. (Equi - equal). At mid-harvest, the Autumn equinox was a time of bounty, balance, and taking stock. It was also a time for grounding, celebration, and slowing down.
Druids held a ceremony named Mabon or Mea’n Fo’mhair at the equinox, when they paid homage to the Green Man, the God of the Forest, by pouring libations for the trees. Banbha is the Celtic goddess of the fall equinox. As an Earth Mother, she presides over the harvest and is the protector and nurturer of all living beings and the land that sustains them. Like trees that shed their leaves, autumn is the season of letting go and releasing what no longer serves us. Just as trees will bud anew in spring renewed and revitalized, so too will we be given the chance to shed our burdens and start anew.
The apple symbolizes the harvest. This fruit was revered as a symbol of life, healing, and regeneration. This Saturday we will have a bundle of apples and libations to pour over the roots of the Irish Oak that resides over the front of the shop, for all of our visitors.
Stop by for more equinox inspiration this weekend.