When the movement of the sun comes around to the Fall Equinox, we experience another day when Light and Dark are once again balanced. This is a similar balance to the one struck in the Spring, but different in feeling and in meaning. This balance of Light and Darkness comes after the fullness of summer and of the Light. It is a balance achieved after the completion of a full life or a creative act. Now is the time of Harvest, when we gather in the fruits of our lives. We contemplate the Light and Life that we have created, just at the moment when we know that soon, that Light and that Life must be given up for one more turn of the Wheel. Now the Darkness will grow and the Light recede, until once again, the Light is born anew in the Darkness of the Winter Solstice. The Fall Equinox is therefore a moment of stillness, of contemplation; a balance struck in the midst of continual movement and flow.
He sat in the topmost branches of the great Tree, his hair blowing in the wind created by the whirling of the galaxies turning around his head. The Tree itself stretched through the center of a brightly glowing spiral of stars, with roots firmly grounded in the earth of many planets. Around him flowed the music of the dancing giants, and his hands kept time on one of the many drums hanging from the branches. Slowly a smile lit his eyes until they gleamed with the fires of heaven, and he stood up and stretched his arms above his head as he began to sing. He sang his name, Ikani, to the power that moved the dancers, and the power was himself, for he was the Lord of Time, and it was the moment in the dance when he was called upon to mark the turning, to make the Balance.
With the grace of a dancer, he leapt and swung down the branches of that wondrous Tree. Now this Tree is know by many names on many worlds, for it is the Cosmic Tree, the Tree of Life whose branches hold the blazing stars and whose roots descend to the waters which give birth to the dreams of the soul. Yet to Ikani it was truly and simply the Mother, who sheltered life within Her many layers and who gave form to the dreams of all Her children. Now the oldest of Her children was being called to his task: to turn the Wheel of Life and give judgment on that movement.
As Ikani descended to the lower branches, he sang his song which was his name and the power of Time drew near. His drumming slowed as the great change approached, for the uprush of life which his drumming had called forth not so long ago was approaching the point of Balance, soon to turn within. He descended to the lower world, and as he drew near, he gathered in the Light and he gathered in the Darkness, for these are the tools of the power of Time.
Ikani sat in the lowest branches of that great and mysterious Tree, his leg swinging to the beat of his drum, his eyes searching the horizon. With his descent, his song had taken on a depth and a longing that belonged to the heart of this particular world, and his name became a beseeching whisper carried on the back of the winds. The power of his song and the power of his drumming became the power of his loving as a figure appeared. As He was Lord of Time, so She was the Lady of Life, and he watched her dancing figure moving towards him with great delight. She came to him now, dark as night, dark as earth, moving like the cat-creature that paced at her side.
She stopped at the foot of the Tree, swaying to the rhythm of his music, and then, lifting her arms to him, the Lady began her own song, a song of fullness and depths, of mystery and emptiness. She sang her name - Mara. With her song, Ikani leapt to the ground with a shout of gladness. And so with voice and song, rhythm and flow, they came together again in love, the Lady Mara with her Lord, Ikani, and they held the Balance once again between them.
In that moment, there was a silence that shook the Tree from its crown to its roots, and the Balance of Time was achieved once again.
Then the Lord and Lady looked out to find that some of their children had gathered around the Tree. They were gathered with the fruits of their labor, for the Balance that was struck between the Light and the Darkness was the moment of Harvest, the gathering in of the fruits of the year; the silence only a moment of balance as the Light receded before the Dark in the intricacies of the rhythms Ikani played out on his drums.
Lady Mara looked upon her children with love and sorrow, for the ways of the world were secret and holy, and not all of her children had believed the senses which told them of the ways of the spirit. For her world was now in the dark times, the times when death and decay must be faced so that new life could be born. Of all her children gathered there, she could only hope that a few had gathered in a harvest worthy of the gifts which she and Ikani had bestowed upon them in the Springtime of the year. For although the Balance had been struck, the Dark was rising and the hope of the new year lay in the harvest gathered in now.
One by one, their children danced before their eyes to the rhythms of their names and the sounding of the drum. The first to come was a tall man, dignified and self-important, with empty eyes and babbling mouth. Around his neck hung the skulls of women and children, and the skulls cried out against him. His was a harvest of death and there were no seeds to be gotten from him. Ikani's hands flew over the drumhead and the dancer was forced to twirl and gyrate until the cries of the skulls were silenced as the figure exploded into dust.
Next came the figure of a woman, with wide-opened mouth and a hole where her heart should lodge. She was grabbing at the air, and out of the nothingness appeared an array of THINGS - clothes, food, jewels - which she immediately stuffed down her throat. The more she ate, the more frantically she grabbed, but the hole where her heart should be kept spitting everything out. Sorrowfully, Ikani played deeply and widely as the THINGS she desired overwhelmed her and she was eaten by their nothingness. No seeds there.
One after another, their children danced their harvests, and they were harvests of greed and destruction, unconsciousness and small-heartedness, and soon the tree was surrounded by corpses and bones dancing themselves to dust.
But just as sorrow had achieved its full measure, a woman appeared with a small child at her side. As they danced, Ikani and Mara heard the woman telling the girl child a story about a great Tree whose branches stretched to the very heavens and whose roots were nourished by the dreams of the world, and the child laughed for pure pleasure. And the hearts of the Lady and Lord lightened with laughter, for here at last was a bountiful harvest, with seeds for the future. As the woman and girl-child danced before their parents, the abundance of their harvest was made clear to them, and they accepted their blessings with grateful hearts.
Next came an older woman, weighed down with years, who bore the fruits of the earth in her hands, and it was good. With her were many others, women and children and men, bringing the healing herbs, beautiful songs and bright imaginings they had nurtured by their daylong toil, and all were accepted with great gladness as seeds for the future. Then a man appeared, broad of shoulder, with strong hands that were good at making and building. He carried the things which his heart had imagined and his hands had crafted - he brought with him beauty that he had made. And the Lord and Lady smiled with delight, for here was a true son, bearing the harvest of his soul. He laid the work of his hands at their feet, seeds of the future. With him were others, whose harvests were of the heart and the mind as well as of their hands, and their daylong labors were blessed. And these children danced on the bones and the dust of their brothers and sisters, and their seeds rested in the decay of the dead, to sleep their winter sleep.
And Ikani and Mara looked out over the harvest and saw that it was bountiful, and their hearts rejoiced, for in the silence of the Balance of Light and Darkness, the seeds of the future were singing their names.