From a technical point of view, the Equinox is the point of the year where day and night are equal as the sun lines up directly with the equator.
We have one in Spring and one in Autumn and the day is not fixed but roughly happens around the 21st – 24th of Sept for the Autumn and June for the Spring.
From this point onwards in the Northern Hemisphere, there will be a little less daylight each day up until the Longest Night at the point of the Winter Solstice in December, and this reduction in sunlight signals the trees to change and then drop their leaves in preparation for winter.
Whilst the science of the seasons interests me, the symbology and cultural meaning is something that has a deeper hold on my imagination and love of ritual.
These points of the year often float by unobserved in our modern society that places more meaning on the commercial glitz of other holidays and high days that these ancient ones, but there is something special about quietly observing and connecting with these points of the year.
Modern pagans refer to this time of year as Mabon for the ancient Welsh god of the same name, but my ancient Irish Celtic ancestors would have treated the equinox and solstice points as Sun Festivals - the Autumn Equinox representing the mid point between Summers Height (Lugnasadha in August) and Summers End (Samhain in October).
The autumn equinox represents a gateway through which we pass from the light into the darkness. It’s the point of the year where the balance shifts, the pattern changes and the wheel of the year turns once more.
For me, Autumn represents a time of harvest, of gathering in; appreciating the bounty that comes from hard work and seeds planted many moons ago; reflecting on losses and hard lessons and giving thanks for what we have.
It is a time that corelates to the energy of twilight, like the dawn of Spring, it is a between time where change becomes more obvious and invites us to bring intention to our lives – an opportunity to pause and ask “and I am on the right path?”
My ancestors would have marked this point of the year with harvest festivals and feasts, giving thanks and sharing the bounty of the season with community. This would have helped re-establish bonds of friendship and family before heading into the darker, colder months of winter where communities depended on each other for survival.
I love the idea of community gathering round to share and celebrate; give thanks and make preparations together for the coming months.
The idea of walking the woodlands and hedgerows to gather nuts, seeds and berries; collecting and drying herbs; paying attention to and deeply connecting to nature really resonates with me as practices I find joy in myself now.
As well as a time of reflection and celebration, this is also a time of release and letting go. The trees begin to shed their leaves, birds begin to leave for warmer skies and all-around nature is settling in for the darkness to come.
This is also a time to take a look inward at the stories you carry and identify where is it time to let go of some of those burdens you no longer need to carry.
Remember, the Equinox is a point of balance – an invitation to look around and see where you feel out of balance and identify what action is needed to bring you back to feeling more in control and in harmony with your intentions.
Staying connected to nature by honouring these points of the year is a really beautiful way to stay connected to yourself also. Nature is cyclical, we are part of nature and therefore we too are cyclical beings.
Our own rhythms and cycles reflect those of the seasons and points of the year like equinox and solstice can be really poignant times to deepen your sense of self connection through ritual and intentional time and space for YOU.
Here are some ideas you can wave together to make your own Autumn Equinox practice of connection:
Go for a walk in the woods, the park or the beach – somewhere you can observe and connect to the change of the seasons. Pay attention to what you can see, hear, smell and touch. Take a moment to sit and simply be present with the energy of the season.
Gather up seed heads, leaves, nuts and other things that for you symbolise Autumn. Take a mindful moment to drink in what these items represent; the cycle of nature that they have gone through and the levels of meaning they represent. By the way, I love this post from Insta pal Jo who explores this practice further.
Create a ritual of self-connection and reflection. Light a candle, settle in somewhere comfy with a warm drink and a soothing playlist (LINK) for some intentional connection time. You can use the following prompts to journal on, or simply free write and see what comes through.
The blessings I have received this year are…
The lessons I have learned this year are…
I am ready to let go of…
Celebration, seeking balance, letting go – all symbolised by the energy of the Autumn Equinox and an invitation for you to look inwards for connection and direction.
If living with practical intention in tune with nature and your own cycles is something you would like to explore further, book in a free connection call today to discover how I can support you on that journey with short and long term 1-2-1 coaching.
For related self study courses and instant access workshops, why not visit the Curiosity Shop on your way out?