Autumn Equinox is arriving;
Crops are now pulled from their fields.
It’s time to look at what we’ve harvest ―
And what comes next for us from these yields.
Autumnal Equinox: Celebrations Around the World
The September Equinox is upon us in the Northern Hemisphere. If you’re into personal development (as I most definitely am), aligning with the ebbs and flow of seasons can be a potent tool for you ― harnessing the power of the nature towards your individual goals is the easiest and most efficient method to achieve them. I did a cross-cultural analysis between Autumnal rites and rituals across time and peoples and, naturally, collected clear correlations spanning them all. I’ll explain what I found as well as some focal points & exercises you can use to take advantage of the strengths this season offers ― for personal growth and collective evolution.
I present to you a comprehensive guide to a few key activities you can use to harness the power of the Autumnal Equinox and Fall season for your highest personal and professional development.
Fall Equinox: Meaning, Rituals & Tradition
First, let’s consider the harvest — figuratively and literally — most, if not all, cultures with full seasons focus on celebrating the Autumn harvest in Fall. Consider the metaphor. We are now accumulating what we’ve sown, yes, we have riches beyond what we can use — but we also must plan for the winter, for the earth’s inward journey and slumber, and collect our seeds diligently for the next growing season.
Pagan Equinox: Mabon Rituals & Mabon Celebrations
As Nature-Worshippers, the Pagan Fall Equinox traditions were first on my research list. September Equinox is called “Mabon” and celebrated as a time of “plenty, of gratitude, and of sharing our abundance” in the pagan tradition.
The Mabon rituals focus a lot on gratitude for what we have at present (the harvest) but also acknowledgement of the balance between the inevitable ebbs and flow (the Equinox balance between day and night) of nature. Some Mabon rituals include honouring the shadowy aspect of ourselves (light always casts a shadow somewhere).
Mabon celebrations orbit around food and wine, yes, dancing and cheer, for sure, enjoying the abundant resources of the season, but also preparing for the winter ahead, planning to embrace the inner journey to come, and giving to those in need of provisions to embark on their own.
Native American Traditions: Autumn Equinox
We are as much a piece of nature as any plant, animal or rock you can find. This is clearly established in Native American traditions around the Equinox. Traditional First-Nations’ celebrations in Fall included a sense of gratitude to the earth, to natural power of growth, and in that abundance — gift-giving often plays a role alongside the enjoyment of effortless plenty.
Some typical Native American ceremonies around the Fall Equinox included smudging, or cleansing and purifying the vibe of your dwellings and person— to let go and create space for receiving the sweetness of the season to come (which was symbolized by burning sweet grass) (Conscious Companion). If we prepare accordingly for the dark nights ahead, this inner journey to winter can be very sweet indeed.
An element of gratitude is at play for the change to rest, the “sweetness” in the deluge of being able to pack up the gifts of the season and go inside to be still.
Like the Pagans, Native American culture honours the balance between work and rest (the equal parts day and night symbolized by the holiday). The Equinox ushers in a change from activity and growth to rest and healing. It offers us time to prepare for our inner journey — to purify — so as to enjoy the sweetest this time may offer.
Autumn Equinox in Astrology: Harvesting the Energy of Fall
According to astrology, the energy of Fall Equinox means welcoming a highly creative time where aesthetic beauty, joy and conversation are high on our priority lists (Libra). It’s a time of relationship, of confidence, of boldly balancing our lives as the day and night balance their influence.
Astrological forecasts for the September Equinox emphasize what traditional Pagan and Native American harvest celebrations do: the ritual of socializing and ruminating, joyful, over the season’s yields. Astrology also agrees with the potent effect meditating on balance will bring to those who fully embrace the shift to inward energy & longer nights.
Fall Fashion Style: Comfort, Confidence, Personal Space
Ever notice how fall fashion is the comfiest? Winter can get bulky, summer is skimpy, but autumn fashion trends bring out the wool sweaters, denim and booties that scream relaxation and comfort but also kickass style. Confidence comes with fall too — we’re safer in the layers, and people become easier to intellectualize with (conversation) in our protection.
Even autumn fashion is balanced and encourages us to socialize. Fall outfits make us comfortable — to move or chill — to be OK in our layers and make peace with the slow, bulky pace to come. The wardrobe shift reminds us to bundle up our goals and aspirations for the new year, blend them with the confidence from what we’ve achieved in our lives this year, celebrate our wins, and prepare for rest — just like the others.
September Equinox in China: Chinese Medicine & Fall Season
The elemental change to metal & air in Chinese Medicine make Autumn a prime time for organization, creating order, communication, thought, mindset, establishing limits, and protecting boundaries (Chinese Medicine Living). The September Equinox and Fall season is ripe for finishing projects you began earlier in the year, yes, but it’s also a very specifically powerful time to make very particular kinds of changes. Goals concerning the mind, personal limits and planning are highly advantageous to you now. Autumn energy turns Yin: restful, gentle, receptive. Fall is also a time of letting go in Chinese tradition, and of grief, which makes changing easier.
Chinese Equinox traditions align with all of the others above and adds a very special element: the seasonal focus on mental energy. This element is apparent if we look into the other traditions too. The focus on conversation (mental stimulus & sharing), and preparation for the shift in energy (organization & planning) we see demonstrated in the other traditions all align with the beliefs in Chinese medicine. The shift to “receptivity” is simply the move to “rest” discussed earlier. “Letting go” is a theme in every tradition, but Chinese philosophy helps us hone in on the strengths of the season by offering a more specific insight: Autumn is a time to release mental energy which no longer serves us and simultaneously empowers us to replace it with a positive mindset. Scarcity mindset can’t survive in this abundance — harvest celebration is a ripe time to replace any lack mentality with abundance mindset.
Equinox and Solstice: The Balance of Day and Night Comes for Everyone
Unlike a human-made event, dependant on clocks or dates, equinoxes are experienced by everyone, everywhere on the planet, at the same time. Every other natural event I can think of is topical (dependent on the place). Solstices are exactly opposite in North and South, sunrises and sunsets happen at different times everywhere, eclipses are so geographically specific you can only see them in certain places. Equinoxes happen for everyone at precisely the same time. It goes to show, these natural events are poignantly more powerful than any other event.
Using the energy, or vibe, of the Fall season & Equinox traditions, to direct your focus and energy towards your highest good, is an incredible way to set goals and achieve them.
Steps to Take Advantage of Fall Energy for Personal Growth
1. Complete the Growth Cycle
Finish up old tasks — embrace the blossoming of harvest — which includes letting go and healing influences you are done learning from. Pluck the seed from the situation. That seed is your resolution for the new year that begins in Spring. Receive the lesson learned, the experience gained, and the growth you’ve achieved through this spring and summer season, then resolve what all of this will germinate in the next cycle.
2. Celebrate the Harvest! Practice Gratitude! But Think!
Have conversations, enjoy dinner with friends, drink wine (my favourite Greek god Dionysus would heartily approve) and rest. As with all new goals, the ones you are incubating need warmth and attention, but also hiding and quiet. Contemplation in general is encouraged at this time. As is conversation. Talk over this time of change with loved ones. Your mind actually processes information easier as the year progresses into winter than it does in Summer (LiveScience).
3. Replace Scarcity with Abundance Mindset
This is an incredibly favourable time to replace any scarcity mentality within you with the natural, overflowing abundance of nature. You ability to store memory (ie. reprogram core beliefs) is enhanced at this time. It is easier now for you to make mindset shifts towards abundance than any other time of the year.
It is the season of abundance, when wealth is overflowing from nature all around us, and your mind is primed to store this information more efficiently than in summer.
4. Release Grief
Breathing exercises are a good way to release grief at this time. According to Chinese medicine, grief sits in the lungs. For anyone struggling with body negativity, this is a short breathing and mindset exercise, that uses sound therapy and experiential psychology, which clears pathways to better health:
5. Take a Forest Bath: Shinrin-Yoku for Healing
Walk outside; this may be your last chance at good weather! Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese medicinal practice translated as “forest bathing”. The scientific evidence for the many health benefits of nature is pretty extensive. This includes better mood, heightened awareness, reduced stress, increased energy & improved sleep (Nature and Forest Therapy).
Shinrin-yoku expands on the academically accredited benefits of forest bathing explaining that hiking in nature also enhances intuition, increases positive vibes and fosters deeper connections within. (Shinrin-Yoku.org) It enhances your overall wellbeing and generates positive emotions. Taking a hike with mindful awareness of the seasonal changes afoot can be an excellent way to carve out your mental seedpods, and fertilize the soil of your inner world by laying the groundwork of a nutrient-dense abundance mindset for them to germinate in.
“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”
― Lauren DeStefano, Wither
Autumn Equinox Meaning, Celebrations, & Rituals for your Fall Season: Conclusion
Every activity above will really help you align with the natural forces drawing you to personal development this season. From the collective cultural traditions I explored this Autumn Equinox, it’s clear that, regardless of time or heredity, the September Equinox brings us some incredible opportunities to make and achieve goals in acute ways: changing mindset is probably the most powerful one on this list. However, every activity above somehow feeds into the others anyhow — but that is especially true of inviting in abundance and positive thinking.
Complete tasks, take store of how you’ve grown, give thanks, release what didn’t go your way, and heal. Prepare those seeds, and yourself, for a new day — but first, prepare for rest.
Have a great Autumn everyone! I am in the tropics, (and on my way to the Southern Hemisphere) and I don’t get the woolies! Super jelly of you who get to put on your thick socks and light a fire. Enjoy it for me.
So much peace and, LL