Autumn's Winds of Change
Day and night are once again equal on the Fall Equinox, which this year is celebrated September 22. After this point, the sun continues to fade and the days become shorter as we move towards the barren times of winter.
The equinoxes and solstices were of great importance in ancient times across many cultures. The physical significance of these events as signals of the seasons and their connection to planting and harvesting is one explanation for this importance.
But the solstices and equinoxes were not celebrated as purely physical events. They also held enormous ritual and spiritual meaning in many cultures.
For mystics, the cycles of the sun have their own significance. Going back in time, the various myths and rituals surrounding the solar journey are reflective of a universal process of spiritual change: the ascendency from the material to the spiritual, the struggle with death and inner darkness, and the victory of spiritual birth.
To me, the Autumn Equinox stands out as an event relating to the dance of darkness and light and the shedding of that which has served its time. The trees model this process for us with grace and ease as they surrender their leaves to autumn's winds of change.
The Fall Equinox is about descending into and befriending our own darkness and an inner death – to understand it, and to be reborn and make a decision to leave the light of the spiritual in its place.
Other common themes to be mindful of on this first day of fall are balance, grounding, gratitude, and celebration.
The Mother Goddess
The emphasis on death and letting go in ceremonies surrounding the Autumn Equinox resonates with me. I pulled Kali from my goddess deck a few days ago. This fierce Hindu Goddess of creation, preservation, and destruction is often mentioned at Fall Equinox. She is feared by those who don't understand the life, death, and rebirth cycles. Kali is the embodiment of Mother Earth who cleanses away the old with natural storms and fires to make the ground fertile once more. She has danced her way into your life to tell you it is time to face your fears. Are your fears rational or do they prevent you from living your authentic life? Kali will push you beyond your comfort zone to help you grow and reach your full potential. Work with her in ceremony involving the element of fire especially. Call your fear and when it comes, ask its name and it will tell you. What does it look like? Notice any feelings you are having and breathe through them. By naming and witnessing the fear, you are empowered and wholeness is created.
You may also visualize merging with a beautiful fall tree, gently dropping your burdens with each leaf, and allowing them to be absorbed and digested by Mother Earth.
New Seed Is Faithful...
So begins a quote by my favorite author Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Seasonally Fall represents death and letting go but it also symbolizes birth and new life. Many feel a quickening this time of year. You may feel the urge to give your dreams one last push before winter's rest.
Emptying ourselves and allowing the fire of destruction to burn away the old is helpful, as we have seen above. It is also of great importance that we tend to our new growth. The following is a beautiful exercise from the Mother Mary Oracle by Alana Fairchild.
Go outside in nature where you won't be disturbed. Find a place to be seated and close your eyes. Begin focusing on your breath. Wait until you feel relaxed and your mind is still. Place one hand on the earth and the other on your heart sending love and encouragement to your new growth. Listen with your heart and you will hear the sound of a seed beginning to break open so that it can grow into a beautiful manifestation. Stay with this moment, and when you are ready, complete your healing process with the following affirmation, repeating it aloud three times. "My spiritual success is my destiny and all is assured. I trust and have faith in divine timing and the Divine Mother's grace."
Before our transformation is complete, we must journey with great trust when we have no visible sign that our growth is happening. We must choose faith, no matter what.
Fall Equinox teaches us the art of preparation through the act of gathering. It heralds a time of abundance. The harvest is now full and ready for the gathering. Decide how much to enjoy, share, and store up for your future. You may need to gather knowledge, courage, or even rest for the road ahead. Important changes are coming your way. Welcome these changes with gratitude and great anticipation.