As the sun begins to sink lower in the sky and the night becomes chilly and dark, before we even notice the changing of colors with our eyes, our senses tell us that the energy of summer has come to an end in the northern half of the world.
The autumn equinox arrives at 3:30pm central Europe time on Tuesday, September 22, 2020. 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 9:31am eastern daylight saving time, 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.
On the Fall Equinox you may want to honor all that you have in your life and shift your consciousness from one of lack to one of prosperity and gratitude 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.
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 of 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 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 some time 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.