(Essay) Equinox @ EarthGaia by Glenys Livingstone Ph.D.

At 2:29 UT on September 23rd – as it is commonly measured – our planet Earth will arrive at the second point of balance of light and dark in Her annual orbit around our Star: and for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere it is Spring, the time often traditionally named as Eostar for Earth-based religious practices (which was adopted as Easter in Christian practice in the Northern Hemisphere in the Middle Ages).

Equinox - a celebration of Sacred Balance
Equinox – a celebration of the Sacred Balance that spins it all

The celebration of Equinox, whether it is Spring or Autumn, may be a celebration of the Sacred Balance, the creative tension in which Life is born, the delicate balance in which Creativity of the Universe is possible. It is a Moment of perfect Spin. Thus I understand Equinox as a moment of balance of the Creative Dynamic who unfolds the Cosmos, who may be expressed as three qualities of Goddess … whether the tip is about to be into the light (Spring) or into the dark (Autumn), the three qualities of Cosmogenesis are expressed for a moment in a fertile balance of tensions: and Spring Equinox in particular, expresses the manifestation of all that we enjoy here on planet Earth, as Life burst forth with new strength. And Earth Herself is an Eostar event: this epoch of teeming life on our Planet in Her sacred location in our solar system, is an Eostar in the greater scheme of things. I understand it expressed here by cosmologist Brian Swimme and cultural historian Thomas Berry (1992:54).

A cloud of elements hovered, floated … far from the centre of the Milky Way galaxy. …In our universe, the originating powers permeating every drop of existence drew forth ten thousand stars from this quiescent cloud. To varying degrees, these stellar beings manifested the universe’s urge toward differentiation, autopoiesis, and communion. And at least one of these, the Sun, managed to enter the deeper reaches of the universe creativity, a realm where the complexity, self-manifestation, and reciprocity at the very heart of the universe revealed themselves in a way transcending anything that had occurred for ten billion years – as an extravagant, magical, and living Earth burst into a new epoch of the universe story.[1]

Earth Herself is an Eostar event
Earth Herself is an Eostar event

Earth’s extant Creativity is the outcome of the balanced interaction of three qualities of Cosmogenesis – named here as differentiation/complexity, autopoiesis/self-manfestation, and communion/reciprocity: and I name them as three qualities of Her – as is Her threefold nature imagined in the ancient story of Persephone’s descent and return, where She is new young one emerging with power gained from the depths, returning to embrace the Mother, and enjoy the fruits of the dark journey (gained in the Autumnal descent).

Persephone’s emergence with new wisdom from the Deep, with new power to be, may also be understood as a collective experience of emergence into a new era – the Ecozoic Era as Swimme and Berry name it,[2] or “The Great Turning” as Joanna Macy names it.[3] We are part of a much Bigger ReTurn that is happening – “returning to the Mother of us all” as Jennifer Berezan sings it.[4]

The seed and the flower - the full story of Equinox
The seed and the flower – the full story of Equinox

The flower of Spring with bulb and roots exposed represents the full story of Spring Equinox – and may be celebrated poetically as in the Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries of old: the emergence is from the dark … they are intimate and inseparable. The joy of this blossoming is rooted in the journey through the dark. Both Equinoxes celebrate this sacred balance, and they are also both celebrations of the mystery of the seed. The seed is essentially the deep Creativity within – that is “lost” in the descent of Autumn, and manifests in the Spring as flower or green emerged One now certain of being. The flower is in the seed, the seed is in the flower. The lotus is present in the mud, the mud is present in the lotus – the lotus and the mud are present in each other. So it is for our personal journey, so it is for our collective journey, so it is for the human species, for the story of the Cosmos. The Beauty that we celebrate unfolds from the Underworld, from the dark.

The celebration as it is done at my place in PaGaian cosmological style is based on the gynocentric story of Demeter and Persephone as re-created by Charlene Spretnak initially in recent times,[5] and by others since,[6] where Persephone – the Beloved One – descends of Her own volition: and Her return from the Underworld is celebrated in the Spring. In the oldest stories we have, Persephone is a courageous seeker of wisdom, a compassionate receiver of the dead, a redeemer figure: She is the Seed of Life that never fades away. Spring Equinox is a celebration of Her return, the restoration of Beauty, Life’s continual return, and also our own personal emergences/returns. We may contemplate the collective emergence/return also – especially in our times.

Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme speak of our times as the ending of the 65 million year geological Era, the Cenozoic Era, and our possible emergence into an Ecozoic Era, which they describe as a time when “the curvature of the universe, the curvature of the earth, and the curvature of the human are once more in their proper relation”.[7] Collectively we have been away from the Mother for some time. In the Spring Equinox ritual, we each take the torch/lantern and the seed, and wander out of the circle into the “Underworld” for a time, before returning, coming to the “gate” of emergence: we each may contemplate not only our own individual lost wanderings, but also that of the human species. We may present ourselves as the Beloved Ones returning to the Mother.

Persephone returns
Persephone returns from the Deep

Swimme and Berry say that: “With the beginning of each new era of the universe, activity and its multiform possibilities undergo a creative transformation.”[8] This is true of ourselves as well. Something completely new is possible – new synergies can come into being with the stepping onto a new platform, into a new strength of being. Swimme speaks of this as “space-time binding”, where all the transformations of the past are held within the present moment, making a completely new leap possible[9] – into what, we can only guess at. But the creative track record is good.

Equinox is a fertile balance of tensions. Light and dark parts of the day are of equal length for a moment. Equinox is a celebration of the Creative Curve between the compost/mud and the lotus … the creative edge in which Life is born: it may signify the delicate balance that scientists know as “the curvature of space-time”. This delicate balance makes possible the Creativity that we witness, that we are part of, that enables this celebration of stepping into real power – Her power of growth and Being: it may be named as Gaian power, innate to all being.

© Glenys Livingstone 2014

Read Meet Mago Contributor Glenys Livingstone.


[1] Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry, The Universe Story, pp.78-79.

[2] Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry, The Universe Story, pp.253-261.

[3] Joanna Macy and Molly Young Brown, Coming Back to Life. p.77ff.

[4] Jennifer Berezan, ReTURNING CD

[5] Charlene Spretnak, Lost Goddesses of Early Greece, pp. 109-118.

[6] See Carolyn McVickar Edwards, The Storyteller’s Goddess, pp.178-183.

[7] Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry, The Universe Story, p.261.

[8] Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry, The Universe Story, p.63.

[9] Brian Swimme, Powers of the Universe, lecture 9.



Berezan, Jennifer. ReTURNING, music CD, Edge of Wonder Records.

Edwards, Carolyn McVickar. The Storyteller’s Goddess. NY: HarperCollins, 1991.

Macy, Joanna and Brown, Molly Young. Coming Back to Life. Gabriola Island, Canada: New Society Publishers, 1998.

Livingstone, Glenys. PaGaian Cosmology: Re-inventing Earth-based Goddess Religion. Lincoln NE: iUniverse, 2005.

Spretnak, Charlene. Lost Goddesses of Early Greece. Boston: Beacon Press, 1992 (1978).

Swimme, Brian. The Powers of the Universe. (DVD series). 2004.

Swimme, Brian and Berry, Thomas. The Universe Story. NY: HarperCollins, 1992.

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