Tonight at 3:22 am (or should I say, in the wee small hours of tomorrow morning, September 23) the Autumnal Equinox will occur once again.
This quarter—from the Fall Equinox to the Winter Solstice—is the most challenging time of year for me as the days grow shorter and colder and nature appears to go barren and die. It seems the older I get, the more weary I become of this ebbing of the tides of life. It takes a special effort for me to remain positive and thankful for what life provides. I must remind myself that without this season of diminishment, the growth of light and life would not seem so sweet and beautiful when it eventually happens.
This task is made easier because September-December brings a a constellation of holidays and holy days that are invested with significant meanings and social traditions. From the earliest days of our history, the Fall Equinox was a sign that the final harvest of crops was occurring. People would gather around to share and celebrate the abundance they had garnered. It is the time of year when we prepare for winter hibernation and stockpile extra supplies to withstand the adversity which will surely accompany the severe weather ahead.
This is a time of year where it is very important to “remain in the light” as much as possible, and therefore literally and figuratively invite light into our lives. We stoke the hearth, light candles, and turn up the heat. We bring illumination into our lives by inviting our friends and family over to share in our company and celebrate with food and drink.
It is the season when some cultures and spiritual traditions take time to remember those who have died and wish them well on their journey into the next world. There is a great stirring in our souls and we contemplate our own adulthood and mortality. As we gather to pay tribute to those who have gone, we give thanks for our memories and enduring ties.
We gather with those whom we love, we pause to reflect on who we are, where we are, and how we got here. After celebrating and showing our appreciation for others, we assess what we want to do differently from now on. We grow, even as the year seems to die.
Without this “death,” growth would be impossible.
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