“Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness” ~Keats
If I had to pick a favourite season, I think that Autumn would win hands down. The beautiful colours of the changing scenery and the gathering of the harvest has the power to take my breath away. Who can resist those lovely walks? Kicking through the fallen leaves as the weather brings a little chill to the air. The ultimate for me has to be utilising all those autumnal vegetables into a hearty stew.
As the days shorten and the summer comes to a close, the beginning of Autumn according to the astronomical calendar takes place today, Sunday 23rd September. This 2nd equinox of the year. Also known as Mabon, it happens when the north and south poles are aligned with the sun. This essentially means we get the same amount of daylight hours to those of darkness. Equinox is a Latin word meaning “Equal Night.” After this date, the nights draw in significantly and we can look forward to cosy nights by the fire.
Both the Spring and Autumn equinox along with the Summer and Winter solstices are steeped in tradition and customs.
Many cultures herald the start of this new season and is it widely seen as a time of thanksgiving and harvest. One of the more interesting rituals of Mabon, is the acknowledgement of “The God of the Vine.” This deity takes many names including “The Green Man” and also the “God of Harvest.” As Fall is the time for grapes, he is celebrated with….Yes, you have guessed it – wine!
Why not open a bottle of your favourite vino and toast the equinox?
You can embrace this tradition by throwing a dinner party for your family and friends. Create a menu using some of the yummy fruits and veggies from the harvest. Use squash, pumpkins, cabbages, cauliflower berries, nuts, apples and pears.
This season is the time of thanksgiving and balance, so here are some great tips to help you make the most those longer hours of darkness.
• A Personal Harvest – use this time to take stock and evaluate your year so far. Are you on track to reach your year-end goals? What do you have to be grateful for this year?
• Find Balance – Summer is normally a busy time with holidays and lots of outdoor entertaining. As equinox approaches, take some quiet time for yourself with activities such as Tai Chi, leisurely walks or bike rides to soak up the beauty of the season. Allow yourself to rest, recuperate and regroup before the hectic festive season descends.
• Get Creative – capture the season using your camera or your paints. How about getting busy in the kitchen and bottling up those autumn fruits by making preserves, pickles and sauces?
• Detox – Fall is a fab time to focus on your health and what better time to start a detox programme. Not too many BBQ’s to tip you off your wellness wagon. Restore balance to your body before the season of indulgence heads in. If you want suggestions for a great but gentle detox programme, follow this link.
• Yoga – Embrace the season through the power of Yoga. Include plenty of balancing postures into your practice. Tree pose (vrksasana) is a great one for grounding and reminding us that the falling leaves of a tree signify transition to the next season and that nothing stays the same.
• Sowing the seeds – Plant some bulbs in a planter and as you bury them beneath the soil, set an intention. What do you want to have achieved by the time the first sprouts appear? It may be that you want to let something go, so set that intention. As the time arrives for your bulbs to appear they will act as a lovely reminder of what you wanted to achieve at the time of the Autumn equinox 2018.
Whether you choose to mark the Autumn Equinox or not, it is a beautiful season.
Grab that scarf, put on your woolly hat and make the most of what this time has to offer. Take the time to balance your family and work time and make sure that you set aside plenty of “you” time in there too – enjoy!