As we leave behind summer in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s a bittersweet time. The long, warm days are being ushered out as we move toward the Fall Equinox on September 23. It is the second day in 2023 when we experience equal amounts of day and night. As with the Spring Equinox, the Fall Equinox reminds us of balance and the interaction of the light and the dark. It is the momentary pause as we take in a big inhale and sit with this balance point before we exhale into the shorter days and longer nights ahead.
Not only is the upcoming season of fall a beautiful time of year when the deciduous trees give us the most brilliant displays of color and light, it is the season when we celebrate nature’s abundance. Fall has special meaning in nature’s cycle, as it represents the harvest time of year when we gather nature’s abundance, savor it, and prepare for it to nourish us in the dormant winter months ahead. In gathering the harvest, we also make preparations for the following year’s growth by clearing away and composting what is no longer needed. We prepare the ground and trim back trees and bushes to allow all to rest in the coming months, wrapped in wintertime’s blanket of deep sleep.
Just as we see in nature, our lives go through cycles of growth, harvest, death, and rebirth too. And fall is especially significant for us.
Season of Reflection and Gratitude
Fall represents the invitation to our internal harvest. It is the time when we acknowledge our individual growth and expansion that’s taken place during the previous months. Fall is our opportunity to experience the “harvest season” of our past year’s “fruits,” taking time to contemplate what we have grown and gathered in our lives and how we’ve evolved.
Fall is the time to honor and celebrate the abundance in our lives. It is also the time to acknowledge and honor the gift of being alive—for all we are as well as all we have.
As I consider this season in my life, I see the bounty provided through the many people who have touched me in the past months, bringing me gifts of friendship, of companionship, of support, of belief, trust, and assistance in the work I do. I see the gift of my family as they allow me to grow as a wife, mother, sister, and grandmother.
I also see the gift of my health and vitality and all that Mother Earth has provided to strengthen me. I recently had a health scare when I needed to return for further evaluation after a routine mammogram. I’m grateful to say that all turned out “clear.”
The fear I felt as I contemplated the “what ifs” was once again very real as I acknowledged what was possible. Yet, I was in a peaceful place on the day I returned for further diagnostics, knowing that whatever lie ahead, I was ready to face it with all the support that surrounds me. I also knew that I have so much more life to live. It brought me to a deep sense of gratitude for my present life as I awaited the radiologist’s assessment.
Because of my health scare, I moved from gratitude for all I have to contemplating what I want for myself and my life moving forward. In fall, we go through the same process.
Make Room for Growth
Just as we prepare the external ground for the following year’s growth, fall is the time when we set up our internal landscape and make room for what we will bring forth in our lives in the upcoming year. In honoring all we’ve birthed in the previous months, we create the space for our greater visions to grow in the future. After my recent medical event, I especially feel the significance of taking time to acknowledge and prepare.
When we clear our internal spaces in the fall through harvesting and preparing, we allow for a time of beingness as we move toward winter—the time to rest during the cold and darkness of winter. Just as certain animals and plants do, wintertime becomes our time to go into a period of hibernation and dreaming. It is the sacred time of being with ourselves—to nurture our life force and our essence, our soul, considering this lifetime and our life’s purpose.
In fall, we also enter a time of grieving—a place that many of us are not so comfortable with. As we release what is no longer needed, we also let go of what didn’t take root in the spring and summer. Maybe what we thought would come to fruition was just not meant to be. We also say goodbye to what has served us and is now complete, like the annuals that produced gorgeous blooms during the summer but will never return.
As we move further away from the Fall Equinox and move through fall toward winter, the days get shorter and the nights grow longer. They become the invitation to descend further into the darkness of the night to prepare for the birth of the Light within, which we will celebrate at the Winter Solstice. As we begin to go inward in fall, we gather the goodness we’ve manifested, using its energy to make fertile soil for new creativity and our maturing visions. Our creativity then comes from that quiet, from entering the dream state of wintertime, and from listening to what wants to emerge from within us in the future.
Honor & Acknowledge
So, what might you do this on this Fall Equinox and during the fall season to honor the sacredness of this season, to honor and acknowledge all that you have in your life and all you’ve become, and to prepare for the months ahead? Here are a few ideas:
- At the precise moment of the Fall Equinox, sit outside, inhaling the balance, the equal parts of light and darkness, before exhaling and moving into the time to acknowledge the abundance in your life and prepare your inner landscape. Spending time in thoughtfulness around the moment of equal light and dark, you have the opportunity to consider your personal growth cycle and ask that your life harmonize with this time of balance so that it becomes the impetus for your continued growth and expansion.
- During the fall months, go into nature and give thanks to Mother Earth for all she has provided during the previous months. Take walks and absorb through your senses the abundance of nature’s gifts that surround, infuse, and reflect you. Consider the gifts you’ve received as well as all you’ve created. Acknowledge the gift of your beautiful, sacred, unique life.
- Remember that before the deciduous trees drop their dead and dying leaves, having completed their life cycle, those trees provide us with the most brilliant displays of color. Take in the beauty with gratitude for nature’s blessings—for her sacrifice as well as the many gifts she provides.
- Find a place outdoors to sit quietly on the ground and be in quiet contemplation of nature’s intelligence that surrounds you. What does nature teach you about life and death, about light and darkness? Journal about your experience.
- As you consider your internal preparation in fall, look inwardly with curiosity and without judgment to see what you are ready to prune, release, compost, and till, preparing your inner landscape to create and receive in the coming spring and summer. In October, we will spend more time considering the grief that accompanies this process.
Nature’s seasons are a beautiful reflection of our internal cycles and the perfect invitation to sit in reflection. May the Fall Equinox be the jumping off point for your season of gratitude, release, and preparation.