On Friday September 22, 2017, the Sun will enter Libra, crossing the equator and marking the Autumnal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the Vernal Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere. The name ‘equinox’ comes from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night). On the equinox, day and night are equal in length, caused by Earth’s tilt on its axis and ceaseless orbit around the sun. We have an equinox twice a year – spring and fall – when the tilt of the Earth’s axis and Earth’s orbit around the sun combine in such a way that the axis is inclined neither away from nor toward the sun.
Here in Florida, when Autumn Equinox arrives, we observe in nature that the sun is rising later in the morning and darkness arrives earlier each evening. There is a slight hint of breeze as the sun sets, bringing anticipation of cooler days to come. While some may argue that the turn of the seasons in a tropical environment is less noticeable than in temperate environments that dazzle us with the colors of their changing forest leaves, as a gardener I beg to differ. Here is the season where I notice the fruiting of my winter squash and the last late tomatoes start ripening. It is the time when the shadows cast longer shade on my bed of annuals and certain plants start setting their seed in preparation for winter dormancy. Birds I have not seen for months start to arrive in my neighborhood. While the overt visual symbols may take a more keen or well-trained eye, the phenomena remains – a cycle turns, a season shifts, and changes commence.
Astronomical events in nature, like the turn of the seasons, provide us the opportunity to reflect on the environment around us, and how we in turn reflect its phenomena in our own lives. So as we observe nature’s balance on equinox, we can also invite reflection in our lives as to how we balance dark and light, dancing with our shadow and our radiance, integrating our own duality and dynamism into an expression and existence of unity.
A ‘balanced life’ means that one does not continually disregard the cyclic rhythms to which our body is subject or constantly try to swim against the stream. It means patiently hearkening to the rhythms of nature, the seasons and one’s own body, learning how to understand their signals, and adapting oneself harmoniously, like a good surf-rider to their continuous ups and downs. A priceless ability, if one wishes successfully to weather the storms that life has in store for all of us. – Paungger and Poppe, Moon Time
As I approach equinox each year, I create time to meditate in nature on the state of balance in my own life. Questions I may bring before my inner self in these times of reflection may include: How am I holding the responsibilities to my personal life in relation to those of my professional life? How am I tending to my needs as compared to how I tend to the needs of others? How am I embracing and honoring my shadow side, and how am I allowing my brilliant light within to radiate out into the world? By honoring myself with a time of pause as the day and night of the outer world come into balance, I am able to use these energies in nature to support the work towards balance in my inner life.
It is often said that the only thing constant is change. Creating the time to mark special nature events like Equinox allows us to stay in attunement and connection with the earth’s powerful energy during this time, and to catalyze this transitional energy as a means to harness the changes we want to see in our own lives. As Nature’s energy is pulling back to go within for winter, we too are invited to assess any outstanding business in our relationships and our inner spiritual life, to tend to those untied ends, so that we can be free and unfettered to dive deep during the darkness of winter and to our important work of the soul.
Consider supporting your work of transition with Walnut Flower Essence. Walnut supports allowing change to come into your life with graceful and gentle acceptance.
Treat yourself to a warm epsom salt bath this Equinox week. Shifts in the seasonal cycle are a perfect time to detox both our body and our mind. A warm bath, perhaps with a candle and a cup of tea, is a graceful and gentle way to let metabolic waste from your muscles soak out while relaxing and allowing your mind to roam and reflect.
See video Autumn Equinox reflections from Emily at Sage Mountain from Fall 2014