Right around the corner, despite our current high temps, Autumn Equinox arrives on September 22nd. We welcome Autumn equinox while those in the southern hemisphere are welcoming in their spring!
Equinox is the time when the sun crosses the celestial equator. It happens at the exact same moment across the world but is converted to our local time zone. On the exact moment of equinox, the sun shines directly on the equator before continuing on it’s journey southbound.
Derived from Latin, equinox is directly translated as “equal night”. This means the length of night and day are exactly the same! Equinox celebrates the balance of day and night.
What does equinox mean for us?
In the immediate sense, we begin to notice the signs of autumn appearing. The harvesting of this year’s crops, the changing of the temperature from the heat of the summer to the cooler and shorter days of fall, the shedding and letting go of the leaves. The buzzing insects slow and the birds fly south.
On a spiritual level, equinox day is the day of balance. Dark and light. Inner and outer. Masculine and Feminine. All in balance before we’re overtaken by the night. Before the darkness that comes with the winter. Before all of the growing things die.
Living things must die before being reborn—requiring a descent first before the ascent into spring and new growth.
Wow. For many of us, 2020 has truly been a year of descent and an untoward episode of darkness. We are all reeling from the energetic pulls of the global pandemic, stay at home orders, isolation from friends and loved ones, kids learning remotely. Our lives have experienced a loss of balance. A paradigm shift. It can feel bleak and overwhelming.
We are a reflection of the universe that surrounds us and what is taking place on the global level is also taking place inside each of us. We long for change, transformation, growth and light.
Despite the shift of balance and the descent toward darkness, as a birth doula I have continued to witness new life. Babies are arriving and with them the rebirth of families. Welcoming new babies home and watching the transformation of mamas and papas it is easy to see on the horizon the promise of light and life and hope. Birth and death, day and night, fear and peace, good and evil—Equinox is a time to feel and experience balance. To hold gratitude for the things which have brought you joy and peace, to grow as individuals and members of a community and to let go of everything else—that energy that doesn’t serve us or call us into our highest selves.
To celebrate, harvest your own inner learnings, fruits of growth and change, and to sow the seeds for the spring. Let’s sow seeds of change, love and light, and begin to see in our homes, in our community and outward into a world that our children and grandchildren can be proud of, and one where they can continue to thrive. Let us harvest our true potential and manifest the energy of equinox. Let us feel into “equal night”.
To celebrate the equinox with your families, consider one or more of the following:
- Have kids harvest your own gardens or go to a community garden or farmers market and host your own family feast from the harvest. Traditional autumn harvest foods include corn, squash, zucchini, apples, pumpkins etc.
- Take an orchard or pumpkin patch field trip.
- Take on a gratitude craft or activity
- heart painted rocks that you can leave around the neighborhood or hide in special places for people to find.
- Make a gratitude scavenger hunt — something that makes you happy, something to give to someone, something you love to smell, something you enjoy looking at, something that’s your favorite color etc etc)
- Start a gratitude journal
- Add autumn decorations to your home
- Practice yoga or spend time meditating on the equinox
- Read books about autumn and the fall-some of our family favorites are “Leaf Man” by Lois Ehlert, and “We Gather Together” by Wendy Pfeffer or “Hello, Harvest Moon” by Ralph Fletcher.
However you observe the equinox, by harvest celebrations, quiet meditation or family times of gratitude, may it bring you moments of peace, and help us come back to the cycle of the seasons. May you all appreciate the balance of day and night for this one day in anticipation of heading toward the darkness of winter. May we collectively look at equinox as time to reflect inward on how each of us, through going deep into darkness can help bring about the light of the sun and the spring to our homes, communities and light to a darkened world.