The last day of summer is fast approaching, and the autumn equinox is right around the corner, and will occur at exactly 4:02 E.S.T on Sept 22, 2017. Fall is a season for cuffing now, which is one of our last remaining animalistic urges to survive by staying warm. It is a time for infinity scarves, for sweatpants, for pumpkin spice lattes, orange colored everything, and Halloween-themed tube socks. But it used to be much more than all that. There's a lot to be said about the spiritual meaning behind the the fall equinox. In fact, fall being marked by the autumn equinox was known as the holiday of Mabon in the Pagan calendar. It marked a spiritual celebration to honor of the change of seasons, which used to pose a massive challenge to our survival as humans.
Today though, the fall equinox is simply one of the two days out of the year when the days and nights are equal in length; the other is on the spring equinox. The celebrations that accompany it, if you do celebrate it, are more symbolically spiritual than overtly religious, and there are a lot of ways to do that. The intentions you set around this time will stay with you throughout the winter and carry you into the spring. Here are a few ways you can still celebrate that don't involve dancing around a park with a leaf crown on.
Build An Altar
Pagans used to build altars to the change in season to celebrate the equinox, but since the phrase "building an altar" just feels a little too serious for some of us, you could always give a nod to the pagan ritual with a more modern kind of take on this practice, by placing some pumpkins on your doorstep, or simply hanging a wreath of autumn colors on your door. Anything that allows you to embrace the change of seasons and welcome the approaching winter by welcoming the shorter days and getting into the spirit of change.
Tune Into Your Own Rhythm
Pagan is a very flexible religion, in that it honors an individual's instincts, needs and desires. As the days grow shorter, you may find yourself tuning into yourself, going inward, and listening to your own inner voice. You could feel the need to slow down a little bit, to appreciate the moments outdoors while you still can, and to spend time in quiet reflection while you watch the seasons change.
You may get some messages about getting rid of old belongings, donating old coats and so forth to those who might be in need this winter. Follow your intuition on things like this. Getting rid of waste isn't only part of the equinox, it's also part of what we're driven to do while the sun is in Virgo. Reorganizing to prepare for winter is always a smart idea, since we tend to hoard supplies and collect new items in the colder months.
Harvest The Fruits Of Your Labor
Obviously, fall is a time of harvest. The leaves are falling, but a new crop is ready for harvesting and part of the Pagan celebration is honoring that. So, in another nod to the spiritual meaning behind the equinox, we could plant our own vegetables, herbs, etc for spring harvest, or we could sit back and reflect on the fruits of our own labor.
Think of where you were a year ago today, and how far you may have come in the time since then. You've most likely been working toward your own growth, so now is a good time to see how far you've come and to set goals to carry you through the winter months.
We all celebrate the fall in our own ways, but if you're like me and you dread the winter months, this is one way to embrace the inevitable changes coming your way and to think optimistically about everything a new season brings you. Happy autumn!