This Week’s Fall Equinox Is the Most Important Time of Year To Reflect on Growth—And Set New Intentions.
“We are the only true experts on our journey to enlightenment. Filter all information through your own heart.” – Unknown
Balance. More energy. Focus. Inner calm.
These are all things we crave in our fast-paced world. But, even when we consistently meditate or do our yoga practice, taking care of ourselves amidst the demands of daily life is challenging.
The ancient sages predicted that, in these times, we would face levels of intensity that our “internal operating systems” were not prepared for. Think about the amount of information you process or the number of things you do in a day, compared to what people did just 20 years ago. The increase in speed and quantity has risen exponentially, and it’s not slowing down.
As the sun begins to sink lower in the sky and the night becomes chilly and dark, before we even notice the changing of colours with our eyes, our senses tell us that the energy of summer has come to an end in the northern half of the world.
Fall equinox, in mid-to late September, is known as “mid-harvest.” It’s a time to reap what you’ve been putting your life force toward these past nine months. It’s a time when there is an equal amount of light and dark present in a day—it’s all about balance—so it’s a powerful time to rebalance, restore, and refocus your energy. Also, because the harvest is not over yet, it’s a time to pause and look forward, to see where to best flow your life force during the last three months of the year.
The Autumn Equinox is a meaningful time of year to honour the harvest. Whether that be a “real” harvest of the things planted in your garden or the harvest of efforts and intentions for your life path that you set earlier in the year. Both astrologically and spiritually, the meaning of the fall equinox hinges on practising gratitude for the bright spots of the year and clearing the way for a new beginning.
The changing seasons are key points in the cycle of life in nature, and within this cycle, many ancient cultures perceived a powerful deeper message for humanity.
The autumn equinox arrives on Wednesday, September 22, 2021. The exact time of the fall equinox varies by time zone in North America, those living in the eastern time zone will experience the equinox at 3:21 pm eastern daylight savings time and for those of us living in central Europe, the time will be 9:21 pm, officially marking the beginning of fall in the Northern Hemisphere and the start of spring in the Southern Hemisphere.
The word “equinox” comes from Latin and means “equal night,” referring to the roughly 12-hour day and 12-hour night that occurs only on the two equinox days of the year. On the equinox, we honour the balance and interaction of the light and the dark, and we may feel gratitude for the changes that come with the passing of time.
As we consciously link our awareness to the cycles of Nature, our understanding of our own cycles begins to deepen.
Spiritually speaking, fall represents the Harvest time of year, a time to acknowledge growth and expansion as a natural evolution of being. Our lives go through cycles of growth, harvest, death, and rebirth just as we see in nature.
Fall is the time of year that we set up our internal space and make room for what’s to come in the next year. We create room for our greater visions to grow, by allowing the empty space and silence to take hold of our internal spaces. When we clear our internal ground in the fall, we go into dormancy and then rest in the cold and darkness of Winter. We go into hibernation and become creative, but not by doing. By becoming quiet and listening to what is trying to emerge from within us.
This is the time of year to go within and empty out space, composting our old ideas and using the energy they hold to make new and fertile soil for new creativity and matured visions.
Winter is the time of year for rest when the cold and freezing becomes the healing that sets the soil for Spring and our rebirth.
The significance of the Autumnal Equinox for the person walking the spiritual path is the time of year where we activate our new cycle of growth. As we become silent and rest, we are allowing space for our greater vision to emerge.
As the days get shorter and the nights grow longer, we descend into the darkness of the night and face our own inner darkness—the darkness within, i.e. the ego and the subconscious—to prepare for the birth of the Light within, celebrated at the winter solstice.
The heart of the spiritual practice is internal and is usually invisible and unnoticed by everyone else. By enacting the spiritual with a physical ritual, we can both recognize and make concrete our spiritual process that is just as much a part of our reality as the material world.
We encourage you to take some time on September 22 this year to acknowledge your life cycle and spiritual path. In doing so, you are honouring, not only your own growth and light within but the ancient wisdom that has served our health and wellness for thousands of years.
“I honour the light in you that is the love of all things, without your existence the light of the Universe would dim and all of existence would miss you.”
How to practice gratitude for the old—and make space for the new—during the equinox:
Because the meaning of the fall equinox is centred around both gratitude for the year’s highlights and transitioning to a new phase, you can honour its energy with an out-with-the-old or in-with-the-new ritual. You may first prepare your surroundings, a space for your reflection.
Once you’ve created a space for gratitude, light a candle to honour the end of the light summer season, and write a list of things for which you’re giving thanks. Similarly, you can also write a list of things that feel heavy or that you’d like to release from your life. Then, tell them all aloud to symbolically move them into and then out of your consciousness.
Take the 15 minutes before and 15 minutes after the precise moment of the equinox to sit quietly on the ground in thoughtfulness and meditation and open my mind and my senses to the intelligence of nature all around. In this time spent in thoughtfulness around the moment of equal light and equal dark, you acknowledge the personal growth cycle and ask for harmony and balance to be the fertilizer in the soil of your life’s garden.
During the fall equinox, we invite you to pause and tap into the specific energy that is available to you, including these three acts of wisdom that will help guide how you spend the last part of the year:
1. Restore and rebalance.
Become conscious about what your body is telling you needs attention, so you don’t run yourself ragged and fall over in a heap on December 31. When you take a power pause and listen to your body, you get guidance about what to proactively adjust in your day-to-day life. This rebalancing will help you stay devoted to your well-being as you move into the fall and the holidays, so you can complete the year with a full tank.
2. Reflect and receive.
Look back at the year thus far and see all you have done and become. One of the biggest reasons we feel overwhelmed and continue to stay stuck in the patterns of overworking, overdoing, and burning out, is because we don’t pause long enough to really receive what has happened. When you don’t truly get what you have already done or become, you just keep pressuring yourself to do and be more. But when you pause to reflect on what has occurred, you stop making your choices from a place of stress.
Get clear on what matters and where to focus your life force for the remainder of the year. Just as in a field of vegetables, if you only have so many resources to give and you try to water everything, nothing really thrives. Yes, there are many things you could do during the last three months of the year, and many you want to do, but what really matters most? What will yield the highest returns, and the most nourishing harvest?
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