"In Celtic lore this is the month of Cantlos - song time - when the Autumn Equinox marks the completion of the harvest which began as early as mid June with the hay cutting. Light and darkness stand in balance, with equal hours of night and day; but the darkness is gaining, and with it, barren winter. We must look to the storing up of the provisions and the bounty of the earth." - Anna Franklin, in Hearth Witch
The Autumnal Equinox comes to us on September 23, 2015 here in the Northern hemisphere. This is when night and day are nearly the same length and the Sun crosses the celestial equator moving southward. It also marks the first day of Fall.
The first day of Fall.
My mind is instantly flooded with so many of my favorite things: hot mugs of herbal tea, fingerless mittens, cozy sweaters, fire orange leaves that crunch when you walk on them, apples, wood stoves, more apples, cozy knitting, wild mushrooms, chai tea, and the harvest.
The Autumnal Equinox, like all the seasonal holidays, is a wonderful time to pause in gratitude and celebration. Mother earth has been generous all summer long and the harvest will sustain us through the cold winter months. Here in my neck of the woods, the weather alone is something to celebrate - with crisp cool mornings and warm days in the sun. The way the light filters in during the early morning hours and filters out in the evening takes my breath away.
Celebrating the Autumnal Equinox doesn't need to be elaborate and complicated - incorporating simple celebration and ritual into seasonal celebration allows the sacred to become part of our everyday lives. This is a busy time after all - with school starting for many and work schedules getting busier after the fun of summer.
Here are some simple ways to celebrate the autumnal equinox, which often starts with intention. Just by placing an intention on a simple act, we invite sacred spirit and energy to feed our souls.
:: go apple picking or make a recipe with apples, such as this delicious rustic apple tart. Even the most inexperienced baker will find this recipe a delight.
:: drink some wine - how simple is that? Better yet, try and find a local or organic wine to enjoy with your nightly meal. This is the "season of the vine" a time for wine making and wine celebrations. If you are feeling adventurous, try your hand at making your own.
:: go for a nature walk and look for signs of Fall - fallen leaves, acorns, nuts and seeds (which you can then put in a bowl if you keep a seasonal altar)
:: for families, make a group list of how you want to live your Fall season - from things you want to do to goals you each have for your own personal expression. I love this activity when I work with families, because from the littlest to the biggest member, each person always has something to contribute.
:: dance, sing a song, express your energy - personally, I am partial to dancing to Yo La Tengo's "Autumn Sweater".
:: if you are a yogi - incorporate some balancing poses into your practice. Have you heard the folklore about being able to balance an egg on its end during the Autumnal Equinox? With the light and dark in balance, let that energy help you with yours in Virabhadrasana III (Warrior III) pose.
:: read a poem. This is one of my favorites, which is a children's verse:
In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!
Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The gray smoke towers.
Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!
Happy Fall Equinox!