The autumn equinox, September 21st, is the second day in the year when day and night are in equal balance. This day reminds us that, in the Wheel of the year, our days of sun will get shorter and shorter. The leaves are turning gold, red and brown and beginning to drop down on to the earth. It is a time when we become aware of turning slowly inwards, moving into a place of rest and reflection.
Macha is the goddess/archetype who holds the autumn equinox. She is an ancient horse goddess and shapeshifter. In our stories of Ireland every mythic people who came to Ireland had a Macha with them. So we know that Macha was a title, rather than an individual person.
There are two stories of Macha, one in which she died because silence was not kept, another in which she fought for what was hers and won! These two stories represent different parts of ourselves.
The autumn equinox, the place of Macha, is the point on the wheel where we have the indwelling cave, the place of our becoming or undoing. From early childhood, each one of us creates a cave within us. Our cave holds those aspects of ourselves that we do not like, or of which we are ashamed. It can hold experiences that were too difficult for us to cope with, maybe because of our age, or because of the circumstances at that time of our lives. We are taught, verbally and non-verbally, that some parts of our nature are not acceptable to our family or to society, so we hide those aspects of ourselves.
If we do not go into that cave and acknowledge or incorporate those parts of ourselves, they will always take from us. Life will never feed us because we are using so much creative energy to guard that cave, rather than drawing and attracting what we need in life.
Standing in the place of Macha, we are called to look at what we hold. We are asked to look at the programmes that were given to us when we were growing up and to revisit those aspects of ourselves that felt shameful or fearful to us. Can we go in there and recognise all that is? If we bring that into the light, there is nothing there to pull from us, to make us fearful or to take energy from us.
Macha is there to help us to go into our cave, to open to our power, to fight for our selves and to fight for what is right. Macha teaches us that we can do that by standing in our power.
Excerpts from The Way of the Seabhean, An Irish Shamanic Path, by Amantha Murphy (Irish shaman, healer and seer) with Orla O'Connell (scribe). The Way of the Seabhean will be published by Womancraft Publishing for Brigid's Day (February 1st) 2021.