Balancing Act(ion): Equinox


This week of the Autumnal Equinox, my thoughts, as usual, turn to those of balance. The sun has returned once more to the San Francisco Bay, vanquishing the fog to bring our usual days of heat before the winter rains begin. Everything basks in this golden gaze, including the homeless men and women sleeping on wooden benches under the potted roses yesterday as I swept the concrete free of cigarette butts and bits of paper napkin. Washing an industrial sized salad bowl, I asked myself what is it about balance that intrigues me. Being a child of autumn, who holds the scales, this question has been with me my whole life. Something deep inside my skin appreciates the equalization of night and day, and the way light changes on the leaves of trees this particular time of year. Seeking balance is my natural state.

Yet, through years of study, spiritual practice, and deepening, I have come to understand that balance is not a static thing. It includes movement, to and fro. I have to recognize that my current viewpoint is not necessarily an underlying reality.

750,000 Somalians are likely to starve to death this season. 750,000. That number has been with me a lot lately. They will starve for many reasons, but mostly because of the hubris and greed of local war lords who love the inflating sense of false power far more than they love humanity. When I look at this number, I can only think, “The world is out of balance.” It certainly seems so. Yet I have to recall that my view is small. I have to remember that my neighbor practices piano daily, and that animals find ways to adapt, and that people are not only bent upon killing one another, we are also going out of our ways to help, to heal, to stand for justice, and to stand for love. The state of Georgia is killing Troy Davis today. As a balancing act, thousands have marched, written, prayed, and cried out. Will he die? As of this writing, it seems likely. I mourn for a country who could kill a man with no evidence of his guilt, and I also feel the energy of all those who have worked so hard to save him, to save one person in a sea of many. We are trying to right the scales of justice.

Balance is a precarious thing. It cannot remain in one place, it shifts on more axes then we can even fathom. Working at the soup kitchen yesterday, I asked myself what helps me adjust the balance. The first part of the equation is of course my spiritual and religious practices. I must daily find the center of my soul and try to move from that place. But the next part of the equation feels just as important: for me, service is the act that rebalances the world. When we offer service, we say to the world, “We are here. We are present with you. We have something to give, just as sometimes we need to receive. We cannot help the starving millions, or stop a war in a distant land, but we can do this one thing. We are committed to doing this one thing. We will do this thing today.”

In Morningstar Mystery School, we have a ritual protocol that includes these words: “We remember. We practice. We serve.” These words come with no explanation. They are seeds within our consciousness that will grow and flower over time. It is my hope that as the seasons turn, they will teach us is how to rebalance our hearts, our actions, our lives, and our world.

Balancing requires a fulcrum, discernment, and some action. When I try to keep things too steady, the balance always turns in counterpoint. We get thrown off kilter, and we learn. At least, that is how it works for me.

May this equinox-tide bring you love, good harvest, a moment of balance, and a way through.


Troy Davis was executed and pronounced dead at 11:08pm EDT, Sept 21, 2011.
My sidewalk memorial.
What is remembered, lives.

7 Responses to “Balancing Act(ion): Equinox”

  1. Sandi Luck

    The base mantra I was raised with still serves here.

    To live is to serve, to serve is to live.

    What I have had to learn in my retraining is that I must also serve myself as a good steward if I am to be effective in my service to the World.

    May we all travel the path of service in the Light.

  2. Antara

    Testing Testing… 🙂

    I was really interested to read your take on the Equinox. As another child of the scales I have spent a lot of my life getting occasionally burned out at a sense of helplessness in the social justice causes I support. Despite being a little older and wiser now than when I attended my first CND demo I still don’t seem to get the balance right. The Student and other protests last Winter in the UK were another example where I got so emotionally involved in the struggle I ended up having to take a break to get some perspective.

    I hope I remember next time that situation looms to scale it back and concentrate on doing a couple of smaller things for a while – until I am refreshed enough to carry on.

    But I think in these moments it is good to check out own harvests. What fruit do we have in our lives now we didn’t have this time last year. Or rather, what difference did I make to the world this year – because we never leave the world untouched. I just don’t want to ever look back on my year and feel like I left the world a worse place than before. Because I do feel that as a pagan I have a duty and a responsibility not to simply just “harm none” but to answer the question “who did you celebrate, help or elevate today?”, and answer it well.

  3. JuJu

    Thank you, Thorn, for dependably provoking meaningful conversation. Thank you, Antara, for proposing that we make time to answer the question “who did you celebrate, help or elevate today?”. As small as that might seem, that reminder is huge! If each of us put that small list of compassionate behaviors on our daily To Do list, what a different world this would be. Even if it didn’t “begin with me”, let me contribute to the ongoing building of this tradition.
    Blessed be the sacrifice of Troy Davis. May he gain great merit for provoking a return to sane and ethical LEGAL processes. Rest in Peace and Glory, Troy!
    Namaste and Blessed Be!

    • Thorn

      Yes! Antara’s question is a really good one, I think. That one small thing is meaningful, and the small things add up. Then there are times when we can do something that feels larger than ourselves alone.

      blessed be

  4. The Wild Hunt » Happy Autumnal Equinox

    […] to recognize that my current viewpoint is not necessarily an underlying reality.” – T. Thorn Coyle, “Balancing Act(ion): Equinox”“Throughout history, the first day of autumn has been considered a good time to take stock of […]

  5. Elinor

    So much yes, to your post and to Antara and Sandi: dynamic balance, scale and service; doing what we can in our own purview, without ever forgetting what is outside of it; serving this God Self, as part of serving these Gods around me; regarding our harvest as what we give, as well as what we receive.

    That’s a great checklist for life.


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