“A fallen leaf is nothing more than a summer’s wave goodbye…”
Summer is gone and the Sun is traveling to the South hemisphere taking the hot and big days with him… Fall is coming with the sweet yellow, orange and brown colors bringing a cool breeze as the trees are ready to let go of their dead leaves and the plants are throwing their seeds to sleep underground until they wake up again with the spring light… The birds are following the Sun to the South and energy is shifting from outwards to inwards. But there is just one moment, one transition point when everything pauses in complete balance! It is when the Sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is almost equal. It is the Autumnal Equinox or the Mabon in the Pagan calendar.
Why Is it Called “Equinox”?
The word equinox is derived from the Latin aequus meaning “equal” and nox meaning “night”. After this day the nights will grow bigger until the Winter Solstice when we meet the largest night of the year. Mythologically, the Autumn Equinox is the time when Persephone salutes her mother Demeter on earth, takes her pomegranate (which contains all of earth’s fertile seasonal Seeds) below ground, and spends the next six months with her husband in Hades.
As the Sun enters the sign of Libra, it is time for balancing opposites and see them as parts of the whole. The darkness and the light within, contraction and expansion, the Yin and the Yang, the old, and the new. Everything co-exists together and we need both sides in order to be balanced. This is the time to celebrate both sides and honor the changing season which brings a chance to start again, to reclaim the inner balance, and ask for guidance.
Also, this is a time for Thanksgiving, gratitude for the abundance of the Earth just by the end of the bountiful harvest of summer crops and fruits. Of course, the harvest is coming in many forms, the food that nourishes us, our family and friends, health, hope and beauty, spiritual growth. Pausing for a while and appreciating all the gifts and the help that we receive, will open our hearts and increase the flow of love and abundance in our life.
The symbol of the Autumnal Equinox is the double spiral. It illustrates the in-breath and out-breath, the point of balance between the worlds, the inner and outer journey. Also, the apples, the heather bush, the herbs fennel, marigold, hops, berries and mushrooms are in full power and ready to harvest. The rituals that accompany it are symbolizing the shift of energy and gratitude for the harvest. The intentions we set around this time will stay with us throughout the winter and carry us into the spring.
Rituals And Ceremonies
Here are some ways to honor the day:
◑ Clear Up Space: It is the time to clean your home, throw or give away unwanted things or emotional associations that hold you back. Burn sage to clear your space, wash your crystals and let them charge under the harvest full moon, ring some bells to clear out the psychic dust. Bring some flowers and incense and do whatever makes you feel nice and recharged!
◑ Set up a Mabon Altar: Collect autumn leaves in different colors and shapes, seeds, nuts and fruits in a basket. Put it in a corner of your house, add your crystals and some candles and use this space for meditation and for setting your intentions for the new season.
◑ Make a Gratitude List: Make a list of everything you are thankful for as a way of reaping your inner harvest. If you don’t know where to begin, start with the food you have to eat and the roof over your head. It will flow naturally from there.
◑ Go For a Walk in Nature: Enjoy the colors and the smells of the season. Gather herbs and fruits to dry for your winter herbal tea. Sit with your back against a favorite tree, tune into its descending energy. Bring back treasures from your walk to put on your equinox altar.
◑ Root Meditation: Plant your feet firmly on the ground, feet apart and let your mind relax and come to rest in your lower abdomen. Let any tensions flow down through your body and let your weight sink into the soles of your feet. Now begin to feel your roots reaching down into the Earth and spreading out like a tree’s roots. Visualize the deep dark world within yourself and feel the contact with the Earth’s energy as it flows through you bringing calmness, nourishment and a strong firm foundation.
◑ Prepare An Equinox Meal: Gather with your family and friends and prepare food which reflects the abundance of the season. As you cook, give thanks for the Earth’s abundance.
◑ Welcome the Gods of Wine: In Greece, grapes are everywhere, so it’s no surprise that the equinox season is a popular time to celebrate winemaking and the deities connected to the growth of the vine. Whether you see him as Bacchus, Dionysus, the Green Man, or some other vegetative god, the god of the vine is a key archetype in harvest celebrations. Take a tour of a local winery and see what it is they do this time of year. Better yet, try your hand at making your own wine! If you’re not into wine, that’s okay; you can still enjoy the bounty of grapes, and use their leaves and vines for recipes and craft projects. However you celebrate these deities of vine and vegetation, you may want to leave a small offering of thanks as you reap the benefits of the grape harvest.
As we honor the season and the circle of life, we gather once more in a circle to celebrate, sing and set our intentions for new actions towards the healing and the balance of the Earth and all beings! We plant the seeds of love and compassion deep in our heart and give thanks for the abundance and the community that surrounds us.