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The voice of autumn speaks in a susurrus of leaves, its breath cool and dry and full of change. It is the winding down of the year, a time of both harvest and of death. More than any other season, people feel a spiritual connection to fall. They feel that they are closer, for a time, to something unnameable and immutable. And indeed, they are.
Each year, as the Earth completes its annual journey around the sun, the balance between night and day shifts. Because the Earth is tilted, and maintains that tilt, the sun’s light doesn’t hit the surface of the planet evenly—when the northern hemisphere is tilted toward the sun, summer’s heat reigns, and the days are longer. When the southern half of Earth is tilted away from the sun, catching its light at an angle, winter arrives, and the days become shorter. When the reverse is true, the seasons reverse as well. It is only twice a year that the Earth is evenly struck by sunlight. These moments are called the equinoxes.
The first equinox of the year is the Spring Equinox, after which the days begin to lengthen, culminating in the summer solstice—the longest day of the year. After this, the daylight hours begin to decline until, finally, we reach the autumnal equinox, which then leads into the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice.
But this is only the physical, the surface of what the autumnal equinox is—the outer, celestial journey mirrors an inner, universal, and very spiritual journey. To think of the Equinoxes and Solstices in terms of a life, the year is “born” on the winter solstice, matures at the spring equinox, and reaches the prime of life at the summer solstice. The autumnal equinox marks the descent into old age, and, finally, the moment of the winter solstice marks simultaneous death and rebirth, starting the cycle anew.
Autumn holds a spiritually unique place. Many mistake the mystery and decline that surrounds and follows the autumn equinox for darkness and evil, but in reality, it is about endings—a very natural thing. Every journey must find its end, and fall is the bittersweet embodiment of this.
The physical death and darkness experienced by the land as we approach winter represents something else, as well. It is the external embodiment of the darkness all people contain within themselves—everyone is a blend of day and night, good and evil.
Take the time to connect to the world around you this fall. Don’t let its significance pass you by. It’s easy, in our loud, busy world, to allow that to happen. By reconnecting with the seasons, you’ll find yourself renewed and reborn each year, better and better than you were before. So allow yourself to open to the spiritual possibilities of fall as you enjoy that crisp air, and listen to the whispering voice of the leaves. They may just have great wisdom to impart to you. Belief.net
Without darkness, there is no light. Without night, there can be no day. Despite a basic human need to overlook the dark, there are many positive aspects to embracing the dark side, if it’s just for a short time. After all, it was Demeter’s love for her daughter Persephone that led her to wander the world, mourning for six months at a time, bringing us the death of the soil each fall.
In some paths, Autumn Equinox is the time of year that celebrates the Crone aspect of a triune goddess. Celebrate a ritual that honors that aspect of the Goddess which we may not always find comforting or appealing, but which we must always be willing to acknowledge. Call upon the gods and goddesses of the dark night, and ask for their blessings this time of year. ThoughtCo