A Beginner’s Guide to Autumn Equinox...

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...And so we are here again, the magical time in the Earth's calendar when darkness and light are in equal balance all over the world - Autumn Equinox September 23rd 03.29 (BST) 2014.  

The equinox occurs when the sun crosses the celestial equator from North to South.

This is one of my favourite times of the year, my body tingling with the anticipation of the season's change, of quiet retreat and open fires, the changing colours of the leaves, the shortening days, the cooler weather.

Whether we celebrate or even believe in the power of the equinoxes to impact our overall wellbeing or not, we cannot deny that in our very own beings we are nature. Just as the sea responds to the cycle of the moon - so do we. We are subtly and deeply affected by the equinoxes, the solstices, the moon, the sun and the changing seasons.  

Each and Everyone of Us.

A Time for Celebration and Reflection...

In many ancient cultures around the world, the Autumn Equinox was a time for celebration, gathering and feasting with family and friends. A time to give gratitude for the light and the abundance it creates and preparing for the impending darker months.

It recognises our deep connection to nature, that it is our beautiful Mother Earth that provides everything for us and that we are all part of a living, breathing cosmos…

Re-connecting with nature is re-connecting with the wildest part of ourselves, of having reverence for the Earth and all the living beings who inhabit it.

There is nothing new age, spooky or wishy washy about this. It just IS.

In our frenetic world of busy busy sometimes we forget to look up at the sky or at the changing colours of the leaves until they’re already on the ground. We miss the moments of extra-ordinary bliss that nature provides us with.

Getting back in rhythm with the earth’s natural cycles and rhythms can be profoundly healing and rejuvenating for our overall mental and emotional well-being. It’s an excuse to Stop, Breathe and BE.

A Time for Rest...

Autumn Equinox encourages us to rest and sleep, to allow our mindbodyspirit to renew.  It’s a time for incubating dreams and planting seeds for the future. It’s a recognition that for every outer journey there is an inner journey.  For me, it’s recognising that after an epic year of working and creativity that I now need time to BE STILL, enjoy my harvest and plant future seeds.

As the light wanes we are encouraged to meditate, tapping in to our intuition. We have the opportunity to reflect on what needs to change in our life and clarify our intentions for what is to come.

We all love a good celebration, so let’s add Autumn Equinox celebrations to our calendar - no excuses needed!  Take what fits or means something to you and leave the rest. You could host an equinox party or simply light a candle to mark this threshold and give thanks.

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A bit more about the Autumn Equinox:

The Overall Vibe…balancing the inner world with the outer world, harmony, change and transformation, releasing the past and moving forwards, clarifying intentions, gathering your harvest for the winter, gratitude.

Celebrating… Mother Earth, friendships, family, abundance of the earth, creation, achievements and personal harvest.

Simple Ways to Celebrate Autumn Equinox…

Have a party! Invite friends, family, your neighbours over to your house, your garden, your shed and share food, laughter and love. You can make it as simple or elaborate as you like. Make leaf bunting and light candles. You can prepare a feast or roast spuds on an outdoor fire followed by toasted marshmallows or ask everyone to bring a dish and share. Stare at the night sky. Concoct a brew. Sing songs.

LAUGH…a lot!  Just Laugh!

Go for a Walk in a forest or woodland, observe the seasonal changes, lean on a tree and let it support you fully, listen to the birds and the sound of the breeze through the trees. Give thanks for the gorgeous planet we inhabit. If you don’t have a local wood, find a park, a tree, a bench with some greenery. Any small space will do.

Solo Celebrations!  I just love solo celebrations and rituals. It gives me a concentrated time to focus, reflect and give thanks, often with a good glass of red wine. Some of my favourite solo activities include sitting in my garden with a blanket and lighting my little outdoor fire, toasting marshmallows.  Lighting my wood burner and toasting marshmallows.  Just eating…marshmallows! Journalling, reflecting and plotting future dreams. Giving thanks and prayers for everything that life has blessed me with. Lighting all my salt crystal lamps, meditating, journeying. A celebratory solo bogey like no-one’s watching - usually to Earth, Wind and Fire’s greatest hits (naturally!).

Being Grateful…it’s great to have an all round gratitude practice yet sometimes it gets lost in the frenetic world we inhabit. So Autumn Equinox reminds us all to acknowledge what we’re grateful for.  Hang gratitude flags from your favourite tree - use scraps of fabric or paper tags and write what you’re grateful for on the tags. Tie them to the tree. Give thanks to the tree and imagine the wind blowing your words of gratitude all over the world. Wow!

Letting Go Ritual…just like the leaves fall off the trees to allow for new growth so we too need to let go of our metaphorical leaves.  This is one of my favourite exercises for letting go of stuff that no longer serves me. Light a small fire (I light my wood burner or small outdoor fire), setting your intention for letting go in the lighting of the fire. When it looks good and settled (so glowing and and flowing…not raging!), take moment to gently concentrate on what you want to let go of, imagine blowing this energy in to a stick (a match or a twig will do) and throw it in to the fire. Imagine as the stick burns, the energy being transformed by the fire and being taken away in the smoke to the ethers.  Give thanks to the energy of the fire for helping you let go.  If you are able, allow the fire to go out naturally. This process works wonders for me. I always feel lighter and almost always I look back and notice how stuff has shifted.

(Please take maximum care when lighting/having fires to ensure your safety and the safety of others. Always make sure your fire is fully extinguished when you have finished.)

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Being Open to Changes in Life..the Autumn Equinox reminds us of the endless cycle of change, nothing stays the same - ever. As the seasons change, so do we. Yet we often resist or fear change.  Go outdoors, bring your hands to your heart and imagine breathing in and out from your heart until you feel a deepening in your breath and a sense of calm, your feet firmly planted to the ground.  Raise your arms up in to the air wide, put your face to the sky and declare yourself open to the changes in your life!  Have no expectations of this change. Just allow. Enjoy the wondrous feeling of the opening you’re creating in your life. Or just enjoy the big wonderful stretch to the sky!

Giving Back to the Earth…as Mother Nature gives to us, this a fab time to give back to nature. Plant the seeds of native trees in little pots, get your hands dirty in the earth, get involved with a local conservation group.

There are so many other ways you can mark this threshold. Meditate, camp out under the stars, go for an Equinox pint of real ale and good conversation with friends, make a vision board or space clear.

Or just a gentle nod to the sky to acknowledge this moment. Maybe a wink too.

I’d love to know how you celebrate the Autumn Equinox so please do leave a comment below…and one lucky commenter will receive Glennie Kindred’s Sacred Earth Celebrations through their letterbox with a virtual hug!

Some resources:

Happy Equinox! xxx