As the midday sun begins to sink lower in the sky and the night becomes chilly and darker, before we even notice the changing of colors with our eyes, our senses tell us that the reign of summer has come to an end in the northern half of the world.
The autumn equinox arrives at 4:02pm EST on Friday, September 22, 2017, 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.
The Autumn Equinox is a meaningful time of year to honor 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.
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.
Indigenous cultures recognized earth-based wisdom and understood that the four focal points of the year: the Winter Solstice, Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, and Autumn Equinox; illuminated stages of an inner spiritual journey – a spiritual cycle that the individual takes within themselves.
As we consciously link our awareness to nature's cycles, our understanding of our own cycles begin to deepen.
A favorite ritual of mine is to 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, I acknowledge my personal growth cycle and ask for harmony and balance to be the fertilizer in the soil of my life's garden.
Spiritually speaking, fall represents the Harvest time of year, a time to acknowledge abundance as our natural state of being. Our lives go through cycles of growth, harvest, death, and rebirth just as we see in nature.
On the Fall Equinox you may want to honor abundance and shift your consciousness from one of lack to one of abundance in some way through a small ritual or ceremony. Such as lighting a candle, giving thanks, and speaking your gratitude for all that you are and all that you have.
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 fertile soil for our greater visions to grow but not by doing.
By becoming quiet and listening to what is trying to emerge from within us.
When we take the time this time of year to go within and empty out space we are creating fertile soil for our creativity and greater visions. When we clear our internal ground in the fall, we go into dormancy and then rest in the cold and darkness of Winter.
Winter is the time of year of healing, 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 growth cycle. 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 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 part of our reality as a person on the spiritual path.
I encourage you to take sometime September 22 this year to acknowledge your life cycle and spiritual path. In doing so, you are honoring, not only your own growth and light within, but the ancient wisdom that has served our health and wellness for thousands of years.