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8 Methods to Welcome the Autumnal Equinox

 

We just have to say, this is the best time of the year. 

Okay, maybe we are a little biased, but you have to admit, there is something just so cozy about the onslaught of the autumn. 

Summer brings a lot of bright, vibrant energy – from endless days at the pool, the hustle and bustle of family road-trips, and the residual ache we still feel in our stomachs from all of the laughter at summer family reunions. 

The energy of autumn, on the other hand, has a bit of a different nuance. As we retire our summer t-shirts for knitted sweaters, trade-in iced teas for hot cider and pumpkin spice lattes, days at the lake for apple orchards, and the air turns from hot and muggy to crisp and cool, this time of year brings a different kind of reflection. The beginning of this season calls for us to look inward, to be more present, and to slow down. 

We have compiled a list of ways in which you can celebrate and welcome this changing of seasons, and particularly the Autumnal Equinox. We invite you to explore these with us, and hope that you might find some of these activities enjoyable, and a means in which to better connect with the shifts that are occurring at this time. 

Photo by Annie Spratt

The Autumnal Equinox 

There are four distinct markers that divide up the seasons of the year. These are known as the solstices and equinoxes. 

The month of September (September 23rd this year, as a matter of fact) is where we experience the Autumnal Equinox. Like its counterpart in the spring, this phenomenon only occurs twice a year. During an equinox, the day is equal in daylight as it is at night, meaning there is the same amount of hours for each. 

A solstice however, is a little bit different. Instead, these consist of imbalances in the day and night. During the Summer Solstice, we experience the longest day of the year, or the day with the most amount of daylight before the night comes. The Winter Solstice on the other hand, is the opposite. It is during this time that we experience the shortest day of the year, meaning we spend more hours in darkness than in light. 

So what happens during the Autumnal Equinox, and what causes this to occur? It is not the actual distance of the Sun from the Earth we have to thank, but actually the tilt of the Earth’s axis, according to National Geographic. [Matter of factly,] when the Earth is closest to the Sun, is when we actually experience winter in the Northern Hemisphere. The tilt of the Earth’s axis is slight, measuring at about 23.5 degrees, and this causes rays of the Sun to not be distributed over the Earth evenly the majority of the time. When the Earth’s tilt is toward the Sun, that part of the Earth experiences more of the Sun’s energy, resulting in Summer for that particular hemisphere. Only two times per year is the Earth equally balanced in receiving the Sun’s light, which is when we experience an equinox. 

We invite you to check out this post from National Geographic, as it has a fantastic slideshow demonstrating how various cultures around the world celebrate and welcome the Autumnal Equinox. 

 

Photo by Andrew Neel

 

Holistically Speaking… What Does the Autumnal Equinox Mean for Us? 

The equinoxes are representative of complete balance and harmony. Where the Spring Equinox is a reminder of the awakening energy that is to come, the Autumnal Equinox reminds us more of the cycle that is life, and perhaps the more difficult things to come to terms with, such as loss. 

For example, within all of us there is darkness, just as there is light. If we do not come to terms with what is deemed dark within us (such as a fear that is restricting us from pursuing our goals), this becomes an anchor, holding us to the bottom of the sea. We are unable to move forward and will be held back from seeking that which serves us. 

Additionally, in order for there to be life, there must be death. It is during this time that we celebrate and honors that which must die for there to be rebirth. The vibrant plants release their fruits to be harvested and enjoyed, and the leaves wither away to the Earth to become nutrients utilized by the new growth of the year to come. Many cultures across the world use the energy of the fall season to celebrate their loved ones and ancestors who passed before them, using this time to acknowledge the memories and gifts they have passed down through the generations. 

Perhaps at this time of the year, you sense the slower, almost sleepy vibes of your environment. It is during this season that the Earth prepares for the deep slumber that is winter. This is the season that calls us to look inward, and as the trees shed their leaves, we shed what no longer serves us and prepare ourselves for the goals of the coming new year. 

 

“. . . It is so important to use this time of universal balance to hold gratitude in your heart for the life lessons that have helped you grow, and let go of everything else. 

For the soul, the autumnal equinox is also a time of harvest.”

Nell Ragan, Author of Rhythms of Play

 

8 Tips for Celebrating the Coming Autumn 

If you are looking to find a deeper sense of connection with the coming season, we invite you to explore the following tips and recommendations: 

  1. Journal. As we have mentioned throughout this post, the themes of the coming autumn include equal balance and shedding what no longer serves us to make room for the rebirth that is to come. Meditation may not be everybody’s cup of tea, and that is okay! Journaling can still bring about a meditative state, and allow one to look deeper within themselves.Here are a couple of journal prompts to nudge you in the right direction
    ~What can I release that no longer serves me?
    ~Where am I experiencing a sense of imbalance, and why do I feel this way?
    ~What goals do I have for the year that is to come?
    ~What are 20 things I am grateful for that have happened this year?
  2. Press reset. This is a great time of year to conduct your own shedding of leaves on the inside! Perhaps after all of the treats we indulge in over the summer months, our digestive systems and metabolism could use a bit of a reset. This can be done through adjustments in our nutrition. We invite you to connect with our in-house nutritionist and schedule a consultation to develop an individual and personal plan perfect for the fall.You can also lead yourself on a DIY cleanse, we love using the Whole Detox by Deanna Minich. It’s a whole foods based cleanse that also works through your chakras and is lovely, not a starvation diet, and dives deep into the mental and emotional aspects of cleanses as well.
  3. Meditate. For those who do enjoy meditation, or are looking to deepen their practice, this is a great way to honor the changing seasons. Take the time for quiet solitude, and observe the nuances of the season arriving around you. Does the air seem different? How does the energy around you seem to be changing?
  4. Conduct a Gratitude Practice. This time of year has historically aligned with the harvest season. It is a time to give thanks for the abundance that the spring and summer months have contributed to. At this time we reap the fruit of the growth that has occurred.This same concept can be done by you. Take the time to express your gratitude for any abundance you have experienced so far, and will continue to experience in the future. Perhaps you can do so in the form of a journal prompt, as suggested earlier in this list, or even start a “Gratitude Jar” with your family. This can be a special jar in which each member of the family writes something they are grateful for each day, and at the end of the year, you can read them together as a family!
  5. Connect with the herbs of this season: Nothing creates and solidifies memories quite like that of different smells. Fall is largely associated with cozy, comforting aromas. We’re betting that the minute you even hear the word fall, a certain number of scents come to mind. A great way to connect both with herbs of the season, and manifest some lovely fall aromas for your home is to create a herbal incense using herbs reflective of this season!
  6. Make pinecone pumpkins with your little ones. Here is a natural and sustainable craft idea from a fantastic blog titled Fireflies and Mudpies: Simple Crafts and Play for Kids, for you to enjoy with your kiddos!
  7. Restore balance in the home. Our environment has a profound impact on our overall wellness. If you find your home has collected a bit of clutter, or perhaps seems out of order in other ways, it can be hard to achieve the equivalency in balance that the equinox represents. Take the time to get organized and perhaps purge anything you no longer find useful (Marie Kondo anyone?).
  8. Support your local farmer. This list of tips to welcome fall would just not be complete without a little bit of cliche! We, of course, are going to suggest that you participate in apple-picking or hayrides, but not just because they are fall activities, but because it is important. Often these activities are organized and offered by small, family-owned farms who are members of our community. Supporting our local farmers is a way to support our community as a whole, and can be a great way to remind ourselves where the harvest we have come to enjoy comes from!

 

We wish you happiness as this summer comes to a close and we move into fall. May this time of year bring you wellness, and with an immense sense of release! We are excited to see the abundance the coming year brings for each and every one of you! 

 

Sources: 

  1. National Geographic. “What is an Equinox?” National Geographic. 19 March 2019. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/space/equinoxes/
  2. Regan, Nell. “Fall Autumnal Celebration Ideas.” Rhythms of Play: Raising Creative Nature-Loving Kids. 2018. https://rhythmsofplay.com/11-ways-to-celebrate-the-fall-autumnal-equinox/
  3. Schoettler, Lorrie. “Autumnal Equinox 2018: 8 Ways to Connect with the Fall Season.” Stony Ridge Farm. 20 September 2018. https://stonyridgefarm.blog/autumnal-equinox-2018-fall-celebrations/