When I was a new druid, many moons ago, I celebrated my first holiday with another person at the Fall Equinox. During that celebration, my friend had the idea that we could do a holiday craft, what we ended up calling a “balance mobile.” In the weeks leading up to the Equinox, we gathered up materials representing the four elements and then, at the Equinox, crafted them carefully into small mobiles. We took these mobiles to a river shore, where we did a ritual to bless and empower them.
In the years since, I have often made these little balance mobiles as gifts for druid friends as ways for us to remember to work to balance our lives. The mobile offers both a reminder for the need to balance our lives, a physical representation, and also a “gauge” for the ways we might be unbalanced. I think its a nice follow-up to my article last month about finding equilibrium in these difficult times.
So, as an equinox activity, I wanted to show you today how to make such a little mobile and share with you the simple ritual for empowering it. This is a wonderful equinox activity to do with friends, loved ones, or just by yourself to celebrate this powerful day. It doesn’t require artistic talent, and it can be done with really simple things, like printed out images or photographs. In fact, the mobile I started to design for this post will be finished with some friends next week as part of our own ceremony for a new group!
Three Versions of a Balance Mobile
The first decision you have to make is to the nature of what the mobile represents. It can represent either a balancing of the inner and outer realms (version 1) or a personally focused/inner work focused mobile that emphasizes the relationships between mind, body, spirit, and the creative arts (version 2). Or you can just work with the elements themselves! Choose one you like, or use these as a basis for your own interpretation.
Version 1: Balance of the Inner and Outer Realms
- East – Air – Balance of the Mind
- South – Fire – Balance in Work/Outside life/outside obligations
- West – Water – Balance in the Heart
- North – Earth – Balance in the Home and Hearth
- Center – Spirit – For centering and balance
In this version of the mobile, you are working to balance both external aspects (your work and/or community life and outside obligations; your home life/family) as well as your own inner mind and heart. This version works well for people who are feeling pulled in many directions, with little time for themselves and their own inner work. The energy of this particular mobile can help you balance all the many things going on in life.
Version 2: The Inner Work Mobile
The second version of this mobile is fully inner focused, with different representations at each of the directions/quarters.
- East – Air – The Mind, knowledge seeking and learning
- South – Fire – The Creative and bardic arts; expressing and exploring one’s gifts and purpose
- Water – West – The Heart, Intuition, and spiritual life; exploring the inner realms
- Earth – North – The Body, working on the physical vitality, rejuvenation, replenishment, and restoration of your physical home while on this plane
- Spirit – Center – The center of all things; connection to the divine
This second version is particularly good for people who are currently doing a lot of inner work or work on themselves in some way; its good for those who are inward focused, whether that is on working on themselves physically, mentally, or spiritually.
Version 3: The Elemental Mobile
If you want, you can keep it more abstract and just work with the elements themselves, allowing them to flow in your life. Here’s some simple correspondences, colors, and animals from the druid tradition for this version.
- East – Air -Yellow – Spring Equinox – The Hawk
- South – Fire -Red – Summer Solstice – The Stag
- Water – West – Blue – Fall Equinox – The Salmon
- Earth – North – Green – Winter Solstice – The Bear
- Spirit – Center – White/Silver – Time of No Time – (Interpretations vary, I use the soil web of all life for this)
Now that we have a sense of the mobiles themselves and what they represent. The next step is gathering up your supplies to create the mobile. I want to share what you’ll need:
- Representations of each of the five elements
- String, wire, ribbon, yarn to hang the five elements
- Sticks or strong wire (coat hanger, etc) to hold the mobile together
- Beads, feathers, and other embellishments for decoration
Representations of each of the five elements:
The entire mobile is based on the representations you will have at the for corners of the mobile, and if you choose, also at its center. You want some small objects, of about the same weight, that represent each of the elements as they are manifesting in your mobile (version 1, 2, 3 or some other version you create for yourself). For my original mobile, I created paintings, and then wrapped them around some air dry clay. I then sealed the whole thing. My friend created small sewn items that she hung. Other friends have shaped things of air dry clay, or painted images, or used small rounds of wood and printed out images–it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as they are clearly representative of the element and meaningful to you.
You can, for example, gather four smooth stones, paint them, wire them, and affix them to your mobile. You could paint and hang four used canning jar lids! You can print out images you really like and glue them to some cardboard. It doesn’t matter–what matters is that you have something that resonates with you and that is of equal weight. (If they are not equal weight, hanging extra beads to balance them out is also ok!).
For finding your items, I would really recommend repurposed items or found items for these as we all work to tread lightly on the earth.
String, wire, ribbon, yarn, etc. The look of your mobile is very much up to you. Some funyky and fun ribbon or yarn can add a lot to your mobile. But even simple string or wire will do! You can find ribbon, wire, yarn, etc most of these kinds of things at yard sales/thrift shops really cheaply (if you don’t already have a stash).
Sticks for the mobile itself. For my mobile, I created a hanging apparatus out of river sticks–I had gathered many of them along a river, and fashioned them into a small box-structure, and then my mobile pieces hung from the four corners (see photos). River sticks work well for this, as do any other fallen sticks or found sticks. Even Popsicle sticks are fine! An easy way to do this (which I demonstrate below in the photos) is to find two sticks of about equal length, and drill holes right through the center. Then you can add a simple string and a knot, and you are in business!
Start with two nice sticks (in my case, two pieces of bark gathered near a waterfall)
Drill a hole right through the center of both sticks. The more centered you are, the more it will hang centered (which matters!)
Put a string through both and let them hang. You can now drill more holes for the four edges. You can also put a knot below it, and then let the string hang down for something in the center!
If you want a more elaborate setup, you can construct a little stick box, like pictured below. I made this one with river sticks and wire. Apparently, I like to use sticks and things found by rivers in my mobiles!
Or, you can even use a circular item, like a coat hanger, or a wooden or plastic plate, or anything else. The key is to have something to hang all of your elemental representations on.
Embellishments. Beads, feathers, glitter, whatever it is you want to make your mobile a little more pretty. This is highly personal and is part of the fun. You can use things here that are personally meaningful to you, that you’ve gathered over the years, etc.
Putting your Mobile Together
I like to create a magical crafting space in which to work before I begin. Before I setup the space, I setup an elemental altar and make sure I have all of the supplies that I need at hand before I start the ritual.
Setting up a magical crafting space is easy–you can just use whatever typical sacred space opening you like (I use the AODA’s Solitary Grove opening, which includes the Sphere of Protection as my go-to magical crafting ritual).
I talked about creating such a space in this post a few years ago. In a nutshell, set the intention of setting aside a space in which to do spiritual work, in this case, crafting your mobile. At minimum, ground and clear your own energy, set your intentions for the space (creating and blessing a mobile), call in the elements that you will be working with, create some kind of protective barrier or shield energetically (or physically, with stones or candles).
Once you’ve created your sacred space, focus on the work at hand. As you put it together with string, glue, yarn, wire, and so on, think about the balance in your life. Consider, as each piece goes on, how that element/aspect manifests in your life, and envision balance in that area.
I find for this, some low key music is also nice. Magical crafting, at least for me, is very much a meditative activity and the music helps set the mood and tone.
If you are doing this with a group of people, you want to set some expectations and ground rules before you begin. Is this to be a solemn activity, in quietude, or a fun one? Talk through it and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Blessing your mobile
After you’ve completed your mobile, you can do a simple blessing. You don’t need a script, just representations of the four elements (in four small bowls: incense/feather; candle; water; and a bowl of salt and/or earth. Take the mobile to each of the elements (or bring them to the mobile) and speak about your own life. Talk through what is currently balanced in that domain, and what is unbalanced, and then empower each of the aspects of the mobile with that energy (you might, for example, move the representation of the element around the mobile 3x in a clockwise direction and envision the energy of that element going into the mobile). You can conclude your ritual with setting some goals for balance and a short period of meditation. Again, there is no right or wrong way to do this, but the importance of making it a ceremony, and taking the space to do that, is important.
Once you have your mobile made, you can work with it at the two equinoxes. Each year, at the fall equinox, I re-empower it at the Fall Equinox and think through the progress I have made. It has become an old friend, journeying with me through the wheel of the year, hanging there and reminding me of the lesson of balance in my life.
Hanging your mobile
The nice thing about this as an Equinox activity is that it gives you something to remember and something to keep with you as you move through the year. In this case, the magic very much “keeps on going” :).
One of the things you might notice, over time, is that the mobile can shift. Take note if it shifts–that might be a sign that one area of your life is particularly dominant (or needs attention) at the moment. I learned to “read” my mobile over the years and it has always helped me know where I might be a bit out of balance. For me, if the element is high, it means that element might be dominant in my life–too high and it is out of balance. If one goes high, one of the other three go low, and then I can see what is suffering. It has become an excellent little gauge as to how things are going.
I hope this Fall Equinox activity brings you joy this season! Blessings upon you during this upcoming fall equinox! Next week, we’ll return to the longer series on permaculture (maybe with a post on foraging as well!).