Autumn Equinox: Balance & Letting Go
For those of us living in the Northern hemisphere Autumn Equinox means we are entering the time when we see the hours of light growing shorter each day. We now have an opportunity to go within in order to strengthen our selves. For those in the Southern Hemisphere, you will be entering spring, welcoming the light stays with you longer each day.The perfect balance – light and darkness.
Autumn Equinox is the doorway to winter. Summer is over and a new phase will begin. Day and night are in perfect balance again all over the world. The Sun’s power is waning fast as the nights get longer and colder. As you can see from nature around you this is a time of ripening fruits, mushrooms and berries… a time to gather and store for the upcoming winter.
There is so much to appreciate now before the rain, cold weather, the decay of nature as the earth’s energy turns inward.
Can you feel it?
We can feel and see that the Wheel of the Year has turned. The energy is decending. You may even feel your own energy slowly descending- the call to be indoors more, the desire to start lighting candles, pulling out the snugly jumpers and thick scarves or creating a nest for the coming Winter.
There may be a part of you that is glad to see the end of the active energy of the Summer – glad to see the party coming to an end. Another part may be sad and have a sense of loss of the outward energy, the beauty and abundance of Summer. It’s normal for people to shrink from the Autumn energy as we are called to slow down, to gently begin to turn inward, to let go, to let things die and end as we enter the realms of ‘being’ and ‘non-doing’. Be gentle as we are not often taught how to let go with grace and ease. We are not often shown how to let things come to a natural end and die.
In order for growth in Spring, things must die in Autumn. It’s the cycle of life – death – rebirth. At each stage of the wheel of the year, we get the opportunity to see how we meet each stage of the cycle. So how are you meeting the stagnant energy of Autumn, the slowing down, the invitation to rest?
It’s time to take stock and reflect – what have you achieved, enjoyed, learned, experienced? What did you not enjoy, what would you change with hindsight? What have you outgrown or what habits have become outdated that they need to be released, like the leaves on a tree. How can you create space in yourself?
What do you need to let go of in order to make room for new growth and new life in yourself and your world?
Balance – The Constant Ebb & Flow
This balance of light and dark offers us the space to explore balance in ourselves and our lives.
When we talk about balance, it’s not just the popular work / life balance but all aspects of it – conscious and unconscious, what we show to the world and what we hide, body and mind, action and rest, heaven and earth, expansion and contraction etc
Balance isn’t static, it’s always fluctuating. It ebbs and flows depending on what is happening in our lives. It’s about becoming aware of how we are in relationship to balance. Are the scales tipped heavily in one direction over another?
In what ways have you created balance in my life?
Where can you cultivate more balance or support?
What or where do you need to grow in order to bring balance to your life?
What or where do you need to release / let go in order to bring balance to your life?
Balance is when all our bodies (mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, etheric) all work together. It is being grounded to Earth whilst also being able to stretch upwards to the higher realms / Heavens. It is being able to flow between life, birth and death. It’s about learning what does balance feels and looks like to you as an individual.
How do you know if you are in balance?
Awareness is always the first step. We become aware by slowing down and bring awareness to our thoughts and feelings.
How do you know when you are out of balance? Tired, stress, angry, short tempered, frustrated etc? How do you know when you are in balance? In the flow, feel part of something larger than yourself, connected, content, grounded, centered? Then the contradiction – to be in balance does not mean you eliminate the out of balance feelings. It’s becoming aware that everything is a part of you. Everything guides us to illuminate where we are open or closed to life.
Balance is recognising all the things we know we are as well as those aspects we tend to hide or ignore – our shadow. By becoming aware of where you feel closed, out of sync, out of balance can indicate areas within yourself or your life that are looking for release and transformation.
When you work with these aspects you can step more into balance with nature, life and yourself.
The season for enjoying the fullness of life — partaking of the harvest, sharing the harvest with others, and reinvesting and saving portions of the harvest for yet another season of growth.’ ~Denis Waitley
Autumn Equinox is a time to:
- Give thanks to the abundance of the earth
- Restore Balance
- Release the past and move forwards
- Be clear about what it is you want to do now and prepare for winter
- Strengthen your roots. As we move into Autumn, the sap in the trees and plants return to the roots. This supports the young trees and plants to become stronger through the winter months.
- Bring awareness to how we are in relation to death. Death leads to rebirth. Without the Autumn and Winter months of decay and work beneath the soil, we would not have the beauty of Spring. We die many times in our lives where cycles come to natural closes e.g. relationships end, jobs are complete, let go of habits, move country etc.
Journal Prompts for Autumn Equinox
- What types of ‘seeds’ will I incubate over the winter to be ready for spring?
- My favourite prompt: How can you best ensure that you are getting enough rest, sleep and time to reflect during the coming winter months?
- How do you experience of autumn? Is it with an underlying sense of dread toward the coming darkness or negative expectations of winter? If so, how can you reconcile with this?
- What is one habit or pattern that you would like to let go of this season?
- How can you shared your blessings with others?
- What people have supported and contributed to your ‘harvest’ / blessing and how can you thank or acknowledge them?
- Where does your life lack balance?
- What can you do to bring more balance into that area of your life?
- What did you learn from Autumn Equinox last year to this cycle? What did you learn from Lughnasadh this year to this cycle. How can you use this to approach this cycle differently?
Ways to honor Autumn Equinox
There are lots of ways to honor Autumn Equinox. Choose one (or more) of the below or come up with your own way. Your intention and the energy you bring to it is more important than what you are doing.
- Celebrate the abundance of the Earth: apples, elderberries, blackberries, the flowers, the fungi, and all the ripening seeds on the plants.
- Sit with your back against a favourite tree, tune into its descending energy. Feel the same energy within yourself. Tune into the strength in the roots, feel the rest of the completion cycle of growth that began in Imbolc.
- Plant some native bulbs in the ground where they will stay hidden until the first stirring of spring
- Visit the sacred sites that are aligned to Autumn Equinox. In Ireland we have Grianan of Aileach, Donegal; Cairn T Loughcrew, Meath; Knowth, Meath; the line from Millmount, Drogheda to Croagh Patrick. In Mexico you have Chichen Itza & Pyramid of the Sun @ Teotituacan.
- Get busy in the kitchen. Since I was little our kitchen in Donegal, Ireland is busy at this time of year. People give us fruit as they know my mum will transform it into jams and preserves. Apple tart season 🙂 You can also collect and dry mushrooms and seeds. As you gather and make the food, give thanks from your heart for all that you have.
- Connect with the element of water – Connect with cleansing power of Water, invite it to wash away the dust of summer, allow it to bring renewal. Acknowledge the beauty of water as it sustains life, replenishes the soil. It teaches us to connect with our emotions – tears of sadness and joy, the blood in our veins, the ebb & flow of life, the water of birth etc.
- Autumn Clearing: Just like a spring clean except for the transition to Winter. Clean out and clear your space ready for the coming new season. Recycle or give away unwanted things that are no longer relevant, or hold emotional
associations that may be holding you back. Start the season anew.
- Review your intentions for the year and see if they fill you with passion. If not, do some of them need weeded out to create space for new wishes? Or do you need to invite new energy to renew them?
- Cleanse your altar space for the new season and add images, statues, crystals, food, oils or herbs to it that represent Autumn Equinox: Display autumn colored leaves, nuts and seeds, fungi, fruits and berries. Think of colors red, orange, brown and yellow.