Every season has its magical correspondences, and the Fall, or Autumnal Equinox is no exception. Finding meanings of life in the seasons is what a lot of people do, and this particular season is all about spiritually living off nature in such a way that we reap the rewards of what we have done for the seasons to grow.
As we move towards the rest and spiritual reflection of wintertime, the Fall Equinox has us asking what is spiritual alignment, and how can we harness the power of the season in our own lives?
Russet colored leaves, cool, crisp days, somber sunlight, and pumpkin spiced everything characterize Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. The earth has changed with the shortening days, the temperature is dropping, and the harvest of delicious apples, pumpkins and other irresistible foods are underway. Energy fields around humans also change as many settle into a slower pace once the season shifts from summer love to fall’s more relaxing tone.
What is an Equinox?
An Equinox occurs once per year. The Northern Hemisphere has their Spring Equinox when the Southern Hemisphere has their Fall Equinox. These are the two times of year when the amount of daylight and darkness are almost completely equal. Immediately following Spring Equinox, the daylight increases, while at the Autumnal Equinox, the days grow shorter, and the darkness increases.
The Spring, or Vernal Equinox occurs around March 20 in the Northern Hemisphere and the Fall or Autumnal Equinox happens on September 22 or 23. At Equinoxes, the earth’s poles are in a perfectly straight line, and neither the South or North Poles are pointed towards or away from the sun.
Many cultures of people consider the Spring Equinox as their New Year, and celebrate new beginnings, and set goals for personal growth then. In contrast, many count the Autumnal Equinox as a time of thanksgiving where they reap the rewards of hard work and celebrate accomplishments. People count both Equinoxes as time when they can focus on the meaning of natural balance and they symbolize this by taking time keeping the candle burning, or the spiritual flame lit in their lives and work toward their goals.
The Fall Equinox
The Fall Equinox itself is celebrated as a type of thanksgiving celebration. It is the second harvest celebration of the Wheel of the Year. Many people celebrate with Lughnasadh being the first, Samhain being the third, and the Fall Equinox falling between the two of them.
The Equinox has been observed in Great Britain, the Slavic Nations, Japan, Korea, China, by Jewish people, Persians, the French, and many other people. It has been celebrated since as least as far back as the second century BCE, and people of many faiths celebrate it.
History of Fall Equinox Celebrations
Some celebrate The Fall Equinox as a seasonal celebration and they give thanks for the bounty of the earth, and others celebrate with family and venerate their ancestors. You can celebrate with feasts, gifts, and in honor of a high god. Three beautiful celebrations of the fall season are Alban Elfed, Mehrgan in Persia, and Chuseok in Korea.
Alban Elfed is celebrated by many modern-day Druids, and modern Wiccans call it Mabon. It is believed Pre-Christian Pagans in the British Isles would celebrate their Autumn harvest festivals the full moon closest to the equinox. The summer crops would be dwindling, and new crops would be ready to harvest, so there would be feasting, and thanks given to the gods and land for producing to feed the people. It is believed these very harvest celebrations and feasts influenced Thanksgiving which American colonists established, but modern-day American Thanksgiving takes place more than a month after traditional harvest thanksgivings would have around the Autumnal Equinox.
Mabon is celebrated by many modern Neo Pagans, giving thanks for all they have accomplished in their own lives. Wiccan myth says the father god dies on Mabon and will be reborn on the Winter Solstice. They have their harvest feast, giving offerings to their deities and pouring libations into the earth, giving food to wildlife, and fertilizing the earth in thanks. Alban Elfed is celebrated by some modern Druid organizations as a holiday of giving thanks to the earth “in her full abundance, as Mother and Giver, for the great harvest, as Autumn begins” according to The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. They bid farewell to Summertime, and ready themselves for the beginning of the dark months.
Mehregan honors the Persian Mithra, a god of love, light, covenants, the sun, oaths, and justice. He protects water and cattle, making sure pastureland gets plenty of water which leads to a healthy harvest. Another name for him is Mehr, and it means “kindness.” Although this holiday was established during Pagan times to a Pagan god, and today’s Persians, or Iranians are mostly Muslim, the holiday is still celebrated. People give one another gifts, and in ancient times, kings would be lavished with silver and gold from the wealthy, and less expensive gifts were given to the king from others who could not afford so much.
In both ancient times and modern times, people would give to those less fortunate than them, and kings would keep records of who gave how much in money in gifts, and if the giver needed money later in the year, the king would give them twice the amount of money they had originally gifted to him. The king would wear a ceremonial robe, and he gave all his summer clothing away.
Today, the festival falls in early October, rather than exactly on the Fall Equinox, being celebrated on exactly the one hundred ninety sixth day of the Iranian year. Feasting is done, and the emphasis is mostly on spending time with family. People gift new clothing to one another, and a great feast is prepared. The family gathers together and sets up an altar table complete with holy scriptures, incense, sacred mirrors and various foods. People bless one another for protection, throw seeds for blessings, make merry, and exchange gifts.
Also known as Hangawi, or “Autumn Eve,” Chuseok is celebrated for three days as The Mid-Autumn Festival. It is a feast of thanksgiving. Plus, it’s a time to spend with family members and to honor the dead. It is believed that the ancestors are active in the wellbeing of their living family members' lives, and thanks are given to them for all they have done to watch over and help their family. The graves of the ancestors are tended, with weeds being pulled, and general tidying up is done of the gravesites. The ancestors' favorite foods are prepared and offered to them as well.
Food is a big part of the holiday. Families gather together and eat special foods including gwajul cakes, various fresh fruits, soups, and delicious liquors. One of the special foods made for Chuseok is songpyeon, a rice cake. It can be made at home or bought at shops, and this video demonstrates how to make these from start to finish.
Symbols of the Fall Equinox
Worldwide, the Fall Equinox symbolizes many things, but a few things seem to be universal. The balancing of light and dark is a big part of Fall equinox symbolism, as is harvesting abundantly, the fruits of the season and being prosperous.
As the light and darkness are equal at the Equinox, they represent the perfect balance of all things. All that we do must be just enough but not too much, or things are thrown out of harmony. As rest is needed, so is activity. As night is needed, so is day. Winter is necessary so the earth can rest before beginning another growing season leading to another bountiful harvest. The perfect union of the opposites like newness and tradition, and action and rest are what combine to make the world as we know it. Without one, we could not have the other, and the opposites act together, making a perfectly unified whole, harmonizing seamlessly. Both are equally important and must be experienced fully.
The energy around a human being at harvest time is that of abundance and plenty. Fall Equinox is represented by overflowing cornucopias of fruits, with more than enough to feast upon, and plenty left to save for lean times.
We thrive in our strength to create our world, and we give back to our communities with our hard work. We accept the blessings of the bounty that we have created, sharing it with those we love, and we feel great pride in our accomplishments.
Fruits of the Season
Depending on where you are, the fruits of the harvest season will be different. In North America, apples, squashes, and pumpkins are harvested. In Persia, pomegranates and apples represent the Fall season, and in Korea, persimmons, jujubes, and pears represent the harvest.
Beyond what the earth has produced, the works of our hands are our personal fruits. Maybe you had an especially successful sales quarter and got a nice bonus you will take your family on vacation with. Maybe your fruits are you reconnecting with an old friend and you are enjoying the time you two spend together. Fruits of the earth and the fruits of our labors of love are both symbols of the Autumnal Equinox.
How to Celebrate the Fall Equinox
There is no one right way to celebrate the Autumnal Equinox, and if you have never celebrated it before, don’t belong to a tradition or a culture that has an Equinox celebration, and you want to do something special on your own, there are plenty of wonderful things you can do. You can have a thanksgiving celebration of your own with friends and loved ones. You can use the presence of equal light and equal darkness to find balance in your life, or you can focus on manifesting whatever you want to.
In a lot of families, a thanksgiving celebration consists of one prayer of thanks to the powers that be, and then a huge meal. While that is a wonderful way to give thanks and partake of the abundance you and your loved ones have created, that’s not the only way to give thanks. You can give thanks by reaching out to somebody who is not as fortunate as you and help them in some way. You can donate your time to a cause or you can make some form of sacrifice. For example, if you are thankful for the new home you have bought, you can donate to an animal shelter and if you can’t afford to give money, you can give some of your time to go volunteering.
To emulate the Chuseok tradition of honoring ancestors, you can do something an ancestor wanted you to. If a grandparent always wanted you to go back to school, sign up for classes. You can also cook foods a deceased loved one taught you and share it with loved ones to keep their memory alive.
The ancient Mehregan tradition of gifting their leaders wealth can be reinvented. You can give your feedback to local politicians, which will give them support and help in showing them how you want them to work for your community.
Like the light is balanced, we can balance ourselves. Take a look at your own life to what feels out of balance and set goals to correct that. Are you lacking in sleep? Are you on the go constantly and don’t have time to cook healthy food so you find yourself eating out of fast-food bags and vending machines? Have you been taking extra overtime at work, and you have missed out on spending quality time with loved ones? If we don’t take enough time to rest, take care of our health, and spend enough time with the people who we love, we can find ourselves out of balance emotionally and spiritually. Don’t let things in your life throw you off balance, taking time away from the most important things. Set goals to live a more balanced life.
As the season transforms from Summertime into the cooling weather of Fall, we can also transform and manifest our goals. For some, the dark months of the year give time for contemplation and going within spiritually to search our hearts and souls. This is a good time to ask ourselves what type of changes we are looking for in our lives and to do some meditation and research to find out how to make those changes happen.
One thing that the harvest season and the Fall Equinox brings is the opportunity to take stock of all you have done, as well as giving thanks for all you have been given. You should also assess what changes you want to make in order to manifest the life you want.
Maybe you don’t want to organize something for Fall Equinox, but you would like to combine your magic with the magic of the holiday. A simple prayer and spiritual attunement with the earth can do that for you.
Begin by lighting a candle and take a moment of silence to feel your connection to the earth. Feel the changing season, and the waning sun’s power still present, but that it is stepping aside to bring in the darkness and quiet of the fall, and soon to be winter.
Fall Equinox & You
No matter what life throws at you, manifesting your reality is still within your power. Knowing how to set intentions and manifest while living a balanced life and not letting obstacles stop you can be the way to move forward with being in the driver’s seat of your life. The Fall Equinox brings the perfect opportunity and energies to make things that will make you happy come into existence.
Life’s a journey, not a destination, and you can renew your life every day, but the Equinoxes are perfect times to get started. No matter how you celebrate the Fall Equinox, may the season bring balanced mystic spirituality, thanksgiving love with your soul kin, and may you manifest your intentions joyously. So Be It.
Guidance on Equinox Manifesting
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