Ahhhh… the autumn equinox is upon us in the northern hemisphere + my soul is so very content. This is my time of year. This is the season that my soul settles into + finds her home. And there are so many things to think about + ponder on the equinox. I could just sit + write + think + dream + plan all day. But, in reality, all I need is that writing this post gives me in order to sift through all of the magic + beauty that comes with the day of the equinox.
There are tons of symbols + themes + meanings swirling around this moment of the year. It could be overwhelming or confusing. But, I’ve been spending a few moments for the past week meditating on the coming of the equinox + what it means, to me personally and to us, collectively. And, I’ve settled on three overarching, deeply powerful themes. Themes that can help us slow down for just a moment + bask in the mystery of the shifting of the seasons + what that actually can mean to our lives.
The word equinox literally means balance. Balance of light, to be exact. So, no matter where we are in the world, for just two cosmically powerful days a year, our earth is literally in complete balance with equal hours of light + dark. Once as we move from summer to autumn; and once as we move from winter to spring.
As we move from winter to spring, the days become longer. The light begins to take over, giving more hours of daylight. Symbolizing a time a waking up, of coming out of hibernation, of renewal + rebirth, of action + life.
As we move from summer to autumn, which we are experiencing right now in the northern hemisphere where I live, the days become shorter. Night becomes longer. And the darkness takes over the light, giving us more hours of darkness than daylight. Symbolically, it is time for turning inward, coming home, preparing for winter, resting + waiting, surrender + release, completion + death.
But, on the equinox, there is a perfect balance. Light + dark are equal. And that is a powerful reminder to us that, in order to live a full, complete life, we need both.
It’s the perfect time to take stock. To do an inventory of life. To think about what we need, don’t need, what can change, and what doesn’t need to change. How can we create a better balance in our own lives? What are we missing? What do we have too much of?
How can we align our life with our truth? Are we living our best, most authentic life? Do we need to be more assertive or take more time to be a bit more soft? Are we frenzied + hurried or do we live slowly? What is too slow? Can we find a balance between our masculinity + our femininity? What does our inner, spiritual life need? What does our outer, social life need?
Remember, though, as we ponder all of these things, as we seek to find balance, the purpose is not to be perfect. To live in some holy state of perfect balance day in + day out. We will only feel like miserable failures if we think we must achieve some perfect state of balance for ever and ever amen.
No, balance is learning to go with the flow. To swing back + forth. To constantly adjust + align. To be aware. And to tweak. What works today + what we need right now, may not be so in a few weeks or next year or in 10 years.
Balance means mindful alertness + openness to move back + forth, always at the guidance of our intuition + our soul.
I’ve already touched on the coming of darkness a little bit above. But, just to recap:
This the last shift in the wheel of life, in one annual cycle of the seasons of the year. It is the shift that takes us into the darkest season of the year. Now, you may be thinking that winter is darker than autumn. And you are right – and wrong – in that thought.
Autumn is the season of descent. Of turning from the light + drawing down in the the deep parts of the earth. It is the season of, well… falling. Surrendering. Releasing. Letting go. Sinking deeper + deeper into the darkness. It is a slow descent into the cold, dark, quiet stillness of winter.
Winter, while cold + dark, however, is also a sign of hope. While autumn is like the earth’s process of dying, winter is the quiet moments of pure possibility in the pure, deep dark. Nothing happens. We wait. And, yet, in that waiting, a crack of light appears at the winter solstice, as the days suddenly start to become one tiny little bit longer every day until the spring equinox, when light takes over (just as darkness has taken over now).
So, winter offers hope. But, autumn is a pure mysterious, mystical, slow descent into deep darkness.
Then, why do I love autumn so much? It sounds a bit morbid + depressing, right? Well, the only thing I can say is that it speaks to my soul. I thrive when I dwell in mystery. I am an old, contemplative, mystical soul meant to ponder all things, both light + dark. I am an introvert, basking in the cozy, warm glow of candlelight on quiet, dark nights + crisp, dark mornings. But, ultimately, I am a deep believer in the cycle of life. And we cannot evolve + grow, the earth cannot burst forth again + again, without going through the dark.
The descent is frightening, yes. But, it is also the place where we meet out soul. Where we find out who we are. Where we come face to face with truth. We need to descend so that we know who we are when we emerge back into the light. We need autumn to help us slow down. It is the perfect setting for a vision quest, to explore who we really are + who we are called to be.
We need to descend so that we know who we are when we emerge back into the light.
As I’ve said above, this is the season of completion. We are headed to the ending of the year, and while, the new year is great for looking forward, autumn is perfect for looking back.
So, why not use the slow, chilly, dark days + nights for reflection? Wrap up in a blanket. Light candles or a fire. Sip warm drinks. And write, reflect, journal.
With this season, we are harvesting what we have grown. Both literally + figuratively. And, after gathering it all in, then we give thanks for the abundance of our blessings. Of all we’ve experienced and seen this seen so far. Of all we have learned. Of all the ways in which we have grown. We take stock, take inventory, and prepare the fruits of our harvest for the winter. And, again, I’m talking both the food we have harvested + the lessons we have harvested. We will use them all as the darkness creeps in and in the deep, dark, cold winter. They will nourish us + inspire us as we wait for the coming of a new year with new possibilities.
So, this season is the perfect time to not only gather our own harvest, but to share our bounty + blessings with others. Autumns lends itself to being a cozy season for gathering around a candlelit table with rich, warm, comfort foods, red wine, soups, bread. Hearty food to keep us warm. And a perfect opportunity to share it all with loves ones. You know, Thanksgiving doesn’t have to just be for us Americans. Gathering with food + wine, with games + books, friends + family… we should all try to plan to squeeze in some slow, cozy, simple moments with each other.
All of autumn’s dark, balanced, cozy days of harvesting + gathering bring us three months of deep possibilities. A time of descending into our soul, reflecting on all we have gathered + grown this year, and offering us ways to continually seek to live a wild + sacred life of authentic balance.
How do you feel about this season? Is it tough for you? Or do you crave the mystery, like me? However you experience it, remember, everything is always in constant change. Nothing lasts, but it all continues to evolve. How will you allow autumn’s themes to change you?
balance • darkness • harvest
Wishing you the darkest, coziest, most warm autumn blessings, wild souls. xoxo. liz.