Celebrating the Autumn Equinox
Meaning ‘equal night’ in Latin, an Equinox is an astronomical event that happens twice each year, once in autumn and once in spring, when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is slanting neither away nor toward the Sun. This means an almost equal amount of daylight and darkness is experienced in both hemispheres at this time. In 2023 Australia will experience its Autumn Equinox on Tuesday March 21st at 08.25 AEDT. At this equinox the Sun’s direction switches from the southern to the northern hemisphere, resulting in gradually lengthening nights for us here and gradually lengthening days for those north of the equator. Interestingly, since the Earth takes about 365.24 days to orbit the sun, equinoxes happen around six hours later from year to year, before moving back a day on leap years.
Traditionally, the Autumn Equinox is celebrated with a harvest festival to give thanks for, and share in the fruits of, the summer season. Well-known equinox celebrations include the gatherings at the Mayan pyramid at Chicken Itza in Mexico, plus the rituals and celebrations at Stonehenge in the UK; whilst in Japan it is common for people to mark this time of year by visiting temples and ancestral sites.
In our own lives we may wish to acknowledge the Autumn Equinox with our own theme of gratitude, recognising what we have accomplished or achieved over the past six months and giving thanks for the gifts we have received. We may then pause to reflect on our intentions moving forward, taking advantage of the natural inclination for our energy to start moving inwards in the cooler months, to focus on what we would like to bring to fruition in our lives in the future.
Another theme of the Autumn Equinox is balance. Noticing the balance between light and the dark, the equinox is a perfect opportunity to reflect on how we can achieve greater balance in our own lives; balance between being and doing, balance between giving and receiving and general balance in the different aspects and commitments we have in our lives.
Drawing upon these ideas of gratitude and balance, some simple home celebrations, or rituals, you may wish to enjoy at this time are listed below:
- Create your own equinox mandala to help bring greater balance and harmony into your life. Start by drawing a large circle on a piece of paper then decorate and embellish this circle as you desire. Once completed hang it somewhere to admire and reflect on each day. An alternative is to create a garden mandala using leaves, twigs, flowers, or anything you have at hand. Upon completion of your garden mandala, you may wish to sit and absorb its healing energies.
- Sow some spring-flowering bulbs that will sit within the earth through the winter months, ready to bloom as the weather warms again.
- Set up a meditation or sacred space with seasonal elements, such as baskets of nuts and fruit, flowers, or grain, and sit with this in peace and balance.
- Write down a gratitude list of some of the wonderful things that have happened over the past twelve months. Celebrate and enjoy your achievements and blessings. Then if you wish, write intentions of what you would like to focus your energy on moving forward.
With the lengthening of the nights our energy naturally turns inwards, towards rest and reflection. Celebrating the Autumn Equinox is a wonderful way to pause, reflect and give thanks, connecting us with ourselves and others, as well as the rhythms of nature.
By Kerrie Clayton
Kerrie has been a member of the AHHCA for over 10 years and is currently part of its Committee of Management. She is a qualified Holistic Health Practitioner and Reiki Master. Kerrie may be contacted via www.wellnesswithkerrie.com