Rites of Autumn Equinox
Sponsored Content from the Celebrant Foundation & Institute
“Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.”- David Whyte
Our lives have been seeded with meaning and purpose. The autumn equinox, a season of balance and of harvesting, will come to us in September. This is the time of year when the hours of light during the day and the hours of darkness at night are equal. For those of us living in the Northern hemisphere that means we are entering the time when the hours of light are growing shorter each day, and we are given an opportunity to regenerate and to go within in order to strengthen our creative selves. For those who live below the Equator, you will be entering spring, welcoming and expanding outward as the light stays with you longer each day.
Whether you are looking forward to the growing light in your days, or to snuggling around the fire in the dark winter hours, we are all affected by this annual shift as the sun makes it way around the earth. Early civilizations were in tune with the energies of the equinox, honoring the cycles of nature and the shift in season. Nowadays, we have to more consciously tune in to honor the natural rhythms of the season with mindful awareness.
The harvesting metaphor of the Autumn Equinox prompts us to engage in reflective contemplation, and answer these questions that help us examine the past year of our lives, clarify our intentions for the future, and reenergize our life goals:
- What seeds do I want to plant now that will take root in spring?
- How can I best ensure that I am getting enough rest, sleep and time to reflect during the coming winter months?
- What am I grateful for that I will harvest this fall and store over the winter?
- What seeds did not take hold and now can be discarded, rather than carried forward?
With our answers fresh in our minds and hearts, here are simple mini-rituals to help set intentions, and honor the processes of renewal, creativity and replenishment:
1. Plant some spring bulbs. All you need is a patch of ground to plant them, or you can use a few pots, and some potting soil along with several bulbs of spring flowers, such as tulips, jonquils, or other personal favorites. As you bury them in the soil and water them, you can say mentally, or out loud, what you specifically want to incubate, gather energy, and bring forth in the spring.
2. Clean a closet or a desk. Throw away or give away things you no longer need to hold onto or that hold negative memories for you. Discarding them will clear the space and rid you of what no longer serves you so that you can make room for the new. Allow fresh energy to enter by cleaning the area with soap and water, or you can use a smudge stick to purify the space. State your intentions for the new space you have created, and, gently sprinkling the area from a small bowl of salt water, bless it.
3. Sew a small dream pillow. Between two pieces of soft cloth (velvet, cotton flannel, or satin are my personal favorites) place some fragrant herbs and dried flowers, such as lavender or rose petals, and stitch it closed. Place it under your pillow, or pillowcase; mindfully bless it with your intentions stated out loud, and invite dreams to come that will help you open to your wisdom and deep knowing.
4. Create a miniature totem pole. A totem pole represents the harmony between nature and man. You’ll need a few simple tools to transform a small length of wood (choose from any of your favorites such as teak, maple, or pine) into a colorful totem pole, including a scout knife, small chisel, sandpaper, a small paintbrush and varnish (for guidance, click here). Create a ceremony to bless the pole, set your intentions, and honor it by standing it in a pot with some spring bulbs, or giving it in a special spot in your home.
The annual Autumn Equinox helps us honor the beauty of the balance between day and night, between activities and restful times, between productivity and contemplation, and it encourages us give thanks for our life’s bountiful harvest. I hope one of these simple mini-rituals inspires you to acknowledge and work with the energies of the Equinox, as did our ancestors, in this beautifully colored season of autumn harvest.
About the Celebrant Foundation & Institute
The Celebrant Foundation & Institute (CF&I) is the nation’s preeminent online educational institute that teaches and certifies people as modern day ritual and ceremony professionals called Life-Cycle Celebrants®. Founded in 2001, the educational nonprofit organization headquartered in Montclair, NJ, is a member of the International Federation of Celebrants. To date, the CF&I has graduated nearly 900 Life-Cycle Celebrants® who preside over 20,000 ceremonies each year throughout North America, Asia and Europe. To learn more about the CF&I, visit www.celebrantinstitute.org
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