Today marks a turn of the seasons from winter to spring. Here in the Bay Area orange blossoms of California Poppy sprinkle the landscape and the milky oats are ripe with nectar. The energy of the equinox is a potent time of transition between seasons and also a time of stillness. On the equinox the tilt of the earth’s axis is neither towards or away from the sun. The amount of daylight and the amount of nighttime are virtually equal on this day. The equinox is a time of balance here on the earth and it’s a powerful time to set intentions to call ourselves and our world back into balance.
This morning I woke to the realization that today is also the 16th Anniversary of the beginning of the second Iraq war. As I sat in front of my altar in my morning meditation, I was drawn to the question of what does it mean to be in balance in a world filled with violence and war?
Eleven years ago when the war was beginning, like thousands of others Americans, I laid down in the street in a protest in an act of organized civil disobedience. Before the war broke out, I had been involved with a student group that was organizing anti-war efforts in western Massachusetts. We knew the bombing was coming when the many of our friends in the service were shipped off to bases in Kuwait. When the war broke out, I helped to organize civil disobedience and was arrested in a “die in”. In the action, we simulated what it would be like if a bomb went off in Northampton, MA. As I lay on the pavement covered in fake blood, something inside me died and I became open to the spirit of peace and justice. The sound of the crowd faded away as I lay on the pavement praying.
Later that night as I listened to my 89 year old elder singing prayers for peace in the next cell, I looked around my jail cell at the dirty toilet bowl and felt my body cold against the pavement. As I raised my voice to join hers, I realized that this was a spiritual practice. And as the others joined in singing I felt the Divine, right there, in the space between our harmonies and pain. The connections between us when we work for justice and struggle for peace—these connections are sacred. These connections are foundational to calling ourselves and our world back into balance.
Sixteen years later and still so much violence. Today as the energy of the planet rests in the quiet balance of the Equinox, I invite you to reflect on the ways in which you can move towards balance both personally and collectively. What does the magic of the Equinox have to teach you about your commitment to peace and justice? What does the blossoming springtime inspire in you to offer in a world where healing is so desperately needed?
May your hands work for peace and justice. May your hands work to heal the land. May your hands be blessed.