September arrives, you wake up one morning and the light seems a little different. Slanted? Almost imperceptible and yet…the air feels crisper and days grow shorter. The unsettled feelings from the solar eclipse in August have begun to weaken. We have seen the beautiful full moon on the night of the 6th. The Corn Moon, the Wine Moon. When the moon is closest to the equator either in September or October-it’s called the Harvest Moon. This year, our Harvest Moon will appear in October-a giant yellow orb shining her light over farmer’s fields so they can harvest and work well into the night.
September marks beginnings…the start of school for many and the rest of us returning to our routines. It is also the month of preparation. We mulch and feed our gardens in preparation for the next planting season; plant bulbs for spring; prepare our homes and buildings for winter. Close the cottage and the pool; prepare to put our motorbikes and classic cars in storage; pull out the winter clothes and blankets for a good clean.
Not surprisingly, fall ranks as a favourite season for many who love big sweaters, fall colours, thanksgiving and pumpkin spice. Yes-pumpkin spice-it brought in almost 500 million in sales last year! http://www.businessinsider.com/how-pumpkin-spice-took-over-fall-2016-10 . And although pumpkin spice fills the air earlier and earlier each year, fall officially arrives on the autumnal equinox – the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator. At the equinox, the Sun shines upon the full face of the Earth creating equal day and night (not exactly…but really close).
This year, the autumnal equinox arrives precisely at 4:02 p.m. (EDT) on Friday, September 22 in Toronto. Equinoxes happen at the same moment all over the world. The Sun will rise precisely due East and will set precisely due West. By watching the sun as it travels this path on September 22, you can observe that precise east and west point on the horizon for your location, no matter where you are, (except if you are on the North or South Pole). “Pick a landmark, make a mental note, and enjoy the knowledge that while so much in this world is in flux, the sun is constant and will return to its perfect East and West on the days of equinox.” https://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/11-facts-about-autumnal-equinox.html
Spiritually, autumn begins our descent into darkness as days get shorter and shorter until they meet the winter solstice. ‘Darkness approaches’ it says, and although foreboding, it reminds us that we also have a dark side, a shadow side which we often try to cover up with our own autumn colours. The trees create a brilliant display-as if to help us forget that the cold and death of winter are near. We do the same-we cover up feelings we call ‘negative’-OUR darkness-and put on brilliant shows for the outside world to see. But as the beautifully coloured leaves must finally flutter to the ground so must the masks we wear. Some trees let go naturally and their leaves gently fill paths and lawns while others hang on tight only to have their leaves blown away in the wind and storms of November. Denial? Midlife crisis? Lack of self-love? Another lesson from nature-which tree will we be?
September also brings endings. Bittersweet endings perhaps, my loves…but endings always bring new beginnings. Is it time to “clean house”? Say goodbye to what no longer serves you and make room for something new? Say, thank you and let it go. Why do you keep old, broken things? Even old feelings-it happened so long ago-do you really feel the same as you did back then? Is it time to sort out your personal business? What promises did you make to yourself in January? You planted seeds for your dreams-where are they now? Have you dug and watered and pruned and encouraged your seeds? Your dreams. Or did you give up, tell yourself they were silly? Or impossible? Look at them again. You still have four months to get things done. What you develop now becomes part of the new you as we move towards a new beginning in January. Let’s look at our darkness. Why do you hate the darkness, fear the darkness? Dark and light must coexist as everything in this world has both of those elements in it. Can you at least be willing to accept that there may be some darkness in you?
Eventually we need to let go. Let it all go. Release our outer shell and expose our naked selves-gnarly trunks and all! We all have our darkness, our shadows, imperfections, flaws. But our scars are what make us beautiful, vibrant, interesting, real.
Don’t miss autumn’s spiritual importance for you. Plan a date with yourself. Your light, dark, beautiful, ugly, evil, good, mean, kind, self. Silence your cell phone and walk through the leaves. Just this once-Don’t take any photos. Live in the moment. Observe. Use all of your senses-stay present, mindful. What do you see, hear, smell, feel? Walk, do not think too much-just be. Be with yourself, accept yourself at this moment, just as you are.
Our stories are told in our darkness and our light. Embrace the darkness, walk through the mud, brave the storm, face the fear and do it anyway. The gift is rebirth.
Set an intention for your yoga practise: I am willing to accept my darkness and my light.
- Written by Pina Marino