It’s also a time to get cozy and start embracing what the Danish people refer to as “hygge” (actually pronounced hyooga) which is the Danish concept of snuggling in and being cozy, comfortable, and content with your life. I can’t think of anything more important than that!
Psychologically, spiritually and symbolically, this balance of day and night represents an equal honoring of our darkness as well as our light. We take time on this day to celebrate our good qualities as well as our negative qualities or “issues.” If our days were filled only with light, many of nature’s cycles couldn’t happen. We need to embrace our darkness as not only important but as a source of strength as we move forward in our lives.
Taking this a step further, it makes sense that Autumn is not only a time to celebrate our harvest but also to grieve what has been lost.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, It is the season associated with grief and the lungs. If we locate grief in our own bodies, we often feel it in our lungs and chest areas.
Autumn is a time of year to focus on acknowledging our grief as well as all that we have accomplished this year.
We symbolically harvest our crops but also see the plants die and need to be cleared out before we go into the darker season of winter. The leaves die and fall off the trees. It’s a little sad. We grieve the loss. We let go of what is no longer useful and celebrate all that we have received.
In a lot of ways, the themes of autumn are the themes of midlife. We let our children go and grieve for them but also celebrate their accomplishments. We “ripen” as people and start to come into our own “harvest season.” We can begin to enjoy the fruits of our many years of labor leading up to this point. At least at some point, hopefully! But we also grieve our youth, our former roles as students, career women, wives, and moms, and then have to reinvent ourselves for the coming seasons.
We appreciate the aging of the trees and the fall splendor, but we often don’t give ourselves the same appreciation as we age. We also forget to honor our grief and all that we’ve lost in any given human life.
We simply don’t take the time to reflect on the seasons of our life.
Or if we do, it’s rushed and cursory.
If you want to dive a little deeper into this Equinox energy, here are a few suggestions:
- Celebrate the harvest in your personal and professional life. Make a list of all the things you’ve received or accomplished so far this year. Or if you’re really feeling froggy, how bout your LIFE up to this point??? This can be a powerful way of acknowledging how far you’ve come and can do wonders to help us see the positive in our lives. Our brains are literally pre-wired to focus on the stuff we HAVEN’T finished and HAVEN’T accomplished, so this exercise can be transformative in helping you shift your mindset and actually rewire your brain.
- Take time to grieve. Honor what you have lost this year and what you have needed to let go of. Grieving can be difficult, and our society doesn’t really tell us how to do it, so it often gets neglected. You can simply take time to journal, or you can put on some music that connects you with grief (For me, it’s Landslide by Fleetwood Mac, which I mentioned in a previous blog, or Sunrise Sunset from Fiddler on the Roof, LOL, I’d love to hear yours!) and allow yourself to feel it. If you’ve lost so much this year that grief feels overwhelming, you may need to reel it in during this time just to function. If this is where you’re at, you might want to (well, call me, of course, I can help, but if you want a quick tip) set aside an hour a day to focus wholeheartedly on grieving. The rest of the time, you say to yourself, “I’ll focus on that thought at my grief time.” This way, you don’t spend ALL your day grieving but do it in manageable chunks. Life is so hard sometimes. I’m sorry if you’re in this space.
- Be in Nature. It’s important as we harmonize our lives with nature to actually connect with it. You may want to go for a hike or visit your favorite body of water. Taking time to meditate and quietly observe the nature around you can help you to really feel a part of it.
- Balance your home. Taking time to clear the clutter that has accumulated over the busy summer season can be a way of creating a nurturing home environment for the coming months of shorter days and home-based celebrations like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Or it can help you relish the time at home that usually comes with the darker seasons. Letting go of things that no longer serve you creates more room for what you want to bring in.
- Decorate your home. Bringing in gourds, pumpkins, pinecones, sunflowers, and anything else that represents harvest to you can help you honor this transition and bring joy and light to the season of contrast. Even in our grief, the decorations remind us that we have all that we need. Bring in some scented candles to create an atmosphere of comfort and coziness. I have a friend actually who makes candles out of used wine bottles! The ultimate in upcycling! You can customize the scent and bring your own used bottle to make it even more special. You can find her here on Instagram. (I don’t get a kickback!!)
- Cleanse your body! I don’t mean just take a shower! Of course, you can take a nice long, ritual equinox bath for sure! That’s a great idea! But what I’m really talking about is to cleanse from the inside. Set aside time to cleanse the foods, drinks, and substances that aren’t serving you. There is a ton of research out there that demonstrates that even taking a week or two to cut out harmful foods and chemicals that infiltrate our lives on so many levels can really help your body in the long term. I try to do a cleanse of at least 10 days each season.
I have ANOTHER friend (yes! TWO!!) that is going to be starting a fall cleanse on Oct 10th. I have cleansed with her soooo many times I’ve lost count, and I have gotten so much out of every single one. It’s a gentle, holistic cleanse that can be customized to your particular dietary goals. It’s super fun to do it in the community, and I would love it if you joined! You can find out about that by clicking the button below (ALSO NO kickbacks!! I am just sharing resources I believe in. She doesn’t even know I’m posting this! I Hope she doesn’t mind!)
- Set aside time for an equinox ritual or meditation. This can be a space clearing with sage or essential oil, a ceremonial bath, or a journalling ritual where you put on soothing music and write your gratitude and grief lists. You can do meditation and light candles and get all witchy if you want! I won’t judge! We definitely don’t have enough rituals in our culture anymore, and taking time to do your own can really send a message to your unconscious that what you are doing is very important and sacred. It can make something small very memorable and rich.
I’m sure you can think of your own ideas from this list. I’d love to know what you end up doing!
Feel free to reply with any thoughts you might have about any of this.
May you have a blessed Equinox and a magical fall season!