Equinox: Autumn’s Bittersweet Turning Inward

Walking the streets, the air feels different; people’s expressions are growing starker, more reserved. The Autumn Equinox signals the time when our psyches prepare to go inward.  Whereas the dance of summer is an outward & external play of expression, like Matisse’s celebratory painting Dance, autumn’s portrait is the bittersweet mortality of life.

Steven Forrest links Last Quarter Moon phase people to Autumn Equinox’s Mabon. Mabon is the pagan ritual of thanksgiving; the last quarter is that pivotal point when the moon, once full, is leaving an old cycle but hasn’t yet begun anew.  Last Quarter Moon people have an acute awareness of change, the ephemeral nature of life. They are oriented towards release, endings. The poignancy of harvest in the face of decay certainly matches the primacy of feelings that arise in autumn.

I was born during the Moon’s last quarter. The dramatic changes that have happened in my life have created continual crisis in consciousness (which is what Demetra George calls this Moon phase). These crisis, were never outwardly visible, experienced only in the privacy of my soul. When I was younger, the many events that required an epic leap in consciousness terrified me, cracked me open, then eventually writing, art, archetypes and ritual became ways of facilitating ongoing catharsis. As a result, the stuff of life that bothers many – petty grievances and annoyances, the small stuff – don’t often get to me. As I grow older, I appreciate this small grace.

At this Equinox, let go of the small stuff. Take time to reflect on your harvest. Include the spiritual and soul gifts that endings have given you, endings of relationships, eras, jobs, homes. These gifts are invisible to the naked eye– the fruits of laborious work that you accomplished in your soul. After acknowledging what you have, offer something of your self. Give a few coins to a street person, pay it forward. The reason for a harvest feast was dual: to offer thanks -and- to acknowledge the role of Gods/Goddesses in that harvest.

Fall Equinox is always marked by the Sun’s entry into Libra, the sign of relationship. We can turn over a new leaf in our relationships by letting old feelings go, forgiving someone, or looking at our disappointments from a spiritual perspective. Here’s a few questions you can take with you into the upcoming Full Moon in Aries. At Equinox, we’re at a time of endings. In allowing that ending to fully occur it yields a new beginning.

Think about a relationship you’ve had in your life that still give rise to difficult feelings. Maybe it didn’t last or go the way you wanted it to, you haven’t forgiven them, or judged yourself as a failure. 

  • Did they overtly or serendipitously influence a major life decision you might not have made without them? 
  • Did they influence a big or small choice- to go back to school, start a business, move to another state, pick up a book, take a trip -that influenced another decision that absolutely changed your life? 
  • Did this person serve as a catalyst in your life, offering you their influential, dynamic or disruptive energy so that something else could take place? 
  • If you felt you shouldered an unfair burden in the relationship, what personal strength did you develop as a result of carrying that burden?  

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