The transition from summer into autumn is perhaps one of the most recognized of all the seasonal markers. We can see it in our communities; as children return to school, summer’s more leisurely pace seems to quicken, traffic patterns change, time demands and schedules shift, varieties of local produce being offered reflect seasonal changes and, almost instantaneously, beach towels and suntan lotion are replaced with shelves of items for upcoming holidays in the stores we frequent.
Relative to where we live, subtle (or for some, not so subtle) alterations of the land and surrounding environment can be observed, providing cues that herald the approaching transformation in the natural world. Previously established patterns begin to shift as mornings become cooler, daylight fades earlier and variations in barometric pressure and humidity levels can be felt as storm fronts move through. Changes in local flora and fauna are also occurring, providing an indication of what is forthcoming; observing my own space, I have only recently become aware of the decreasing presence of hummers at my feeder and roaches on my patio, the slowing of my garden’s growth and signs of its forthcoming demise, thickening of cat fur and an increase in allergens as grasses bloom, dry, and are harvested by the winds.
Just as our external world responds to the annual turning of the year’s celestial wheel, our internal environment—a microcosm of the greater world—echoes the alchemical calling of change and begins to stir as well. Research findings indicate that, in response to seasonal and geomagnetic alterations, biochemical and electromagnetic shifts take place to varying degrees within us. It is a dynamic relationship, a continual dance upon the Mobius-strip dancefloor that endlessly moves from the outer world to the inner and out once again.
Our homeodynamic relationship with the world around us impacts not only our physical form—our psyche and soul also feel the effects of these seasonal changes. As we gain a deeper understanding of the energetic potentials created by these age-old celestial events, we are afforded the opportunity to consciously share in the cycles of the natural world, utilizing the annual continuum of birth, growth, decay, death and rebirth to acknowledge and participate in the changes in our own lives.
The festival of Autumnal equinox ushers in a time of harvesting that which has grown, ripened and reached its full maturity during the previous season. Just as summer’s bounty is chosen, gathered in, and put aside for winter’s sustenance in the external world, the energies of Autumnal equinox create and support the opportunity for us, on all levels, to “thresh our fields” and perform our own harvesting. Recognizing that this moment of celestial equilibrium is a mirror of our own universe enables us to utilize the resources it offers, facilitating clarity and our ability to reflect upon, and make decisions about, what is necessary for our future nourishment and what can be left behind, no longer vital or appropriate for our continued sustenance.
This process of alignment of internal and external at this specific moment in time and space, and the actions that follow, impact us each in a unique fashion. For some, the choices are easily accessible, the decision clear and the act of “harvesting” flows in balance with our soul’s needs, consciously chosen, leaving no residual backpaddling. For others, those “harvesting” choices seem to be thrust upon us, unplanned, without conscious intent or decision, often based upon events seemingly out of our control and typically met with considerable angst; somehow, however, as we respond and move through the experience, we find, retrospectively, that the results coincide perfectly with, and are synchronistically attuned to, the spirit of the season and our soul’s needs.
In my case, as one who is appreciates stability, hates surprises, and apparently has to “live it to get it,” my mode of learning often comes from experiencing the latter situation. Indeed, I have found throughout my life, if I allow myself to approach events with some level of equanimity and trust, especially when they occur unexpectedly, I am given my greatest teachings. Now, as the wheel of the year turns once again, the opportunity for me to truly grasp the significance of autumnal equinox and the power of the harvest is no exception; since experiences of late have provided such a prime example of the transformative nature of sowing, reaping and relinquishing, I share with you a portion of my own personal bounty.
Briefly, on the 4th of July, someone in my neighborhood apparently decided to create their own “fireworks” by pointing their pistol to the heavens and sending off at least one celebratory shot. Being away from home, I was unaware of its occurrence at the time. The next evening, we had a summer monsoon deluge, complete with hail. The following day, after returning home from some early morning obligations, I walked in to find a waterfall coming from a gaping hole in my living room ceiling.
Long story short—damage spread from that room to several others, four total. Insurance was called; adjuster found the hole and the bullet, explained that the interior was partially covered but if, in the future, any further damage ensued due to the status of my roof, there would be no coverage. With this understanding, I decided to have the roof evaluated and, upon inspection was informed that all of the underlying plywood was totally rotted, the portion covering the family room was near collapse and installation of a new roof was necessary…and, of course, not a covered expense. The rest of July was spent first emptying out rooms and baring walls for restoration and painting and then replacing it all while, simultaneously, a new roof was laid.
Without intention, this unplanned activity provided me what I chose to call a “sideways gift.” After I spent time grieving the loss of time, money and sense of stability and control (of course, illusory), I released these habituated responses, along with my roof and opened up to re-creating and sanctifying my home. In doing so, I found that this process gave me the opportunity to relive years of memories as I fondly touched, cleaned, and re-situated precious objects and furniture, while making decisions on what to keep and what to pass on. It brought a new energy into my home and prompted me to continue my harvesting, sifting through years of paper piles and old journals, focusing on finally creating a long dreamed-for working library where I could actually write. And when the next storm came, I experienced gratitude, knowing there were to be no more buckets needed and my home was secure.
Additionally, while in the process of emptying boxes and tubs of notes and writing this blog, my phone suddenly broke, erasing all the conversations and many of the photos I’d accumulated for years. Exhausting all possibilities of retrieval, I reflected on the lost messages and photos—from loved ones and not so loved ones, from folks still living to those deceased, from material mundane and informational to profound and inspirational…mentally reviewing those I remembered and reliving a myriad of memories and emotions, as well as experiencing the anguish of the expenditure and time entailed in obtaining a new phone. But, once again, after experiencing the loss, I turned my vision forward and saw this experience, too, as an unscheduled opportunity—not only to release old connections and outmoded habits but to start with “a clean slate”—now open to receive new conversations, create new memories and, gratefully, possess an updated, more reliable communication instrument.
Truly, harvesting comes in many forms, and change does not always come easily; but, even with respect to what in reality were relatively minor issues, as I made the conscious choice to acknowledge and embrace these unanticipated changes, I became very clear about the teaching I had received as I approached this time of harvest:
- I always have choices
- Resistance to change merely create stagnation and stalls forward movement
- To stay stuck in the past denies the possibility of new opportunities
- No matter how seemingly trivial, it is always appropriate to grieve losses
- Gratitude from what is lost or being released brings freedom
- It is only through the act of emptying and releasing the old, we make room for what is to come next.
There may very well be more as the season progresses. Looking forward… dhp
Reflecting upon the symbolism of Autumnal equinox and the way in which this moment in time symbolically marks a balance point of past-present-future within the framework of reaping, harvesting and preparing for spring, I have become cognizant of another perspective on this season. It is the recognition and acknowledgement of the cyclic nature of life, exemplified with this season, as we mourn the loss of life, recollecting with gratitude what we were given, honor the transition of it as it is transformed in its harvesting, and opening with anticipation to the new life forthcoming with the spring. In the preparation of these blogs, I have been made aware, as never before, the interrelationship that exists between this season and the human life cycles of life, death and rebirth, poignantly recalling how three years ago, I personally witnessed its true significance and transformative power in a way I could never have anticipated. During the time of equinox 2016, within a mere five days, I celebrated first the 35th birth anniversary of my daughter, two days later, the death of my father and, within 48 hours, the birth of my first granddaughter. Initially I felt discomfort, realizing I was marking the years of my father’s passing with my granddaughter’s birthday and to what extent his death and her life were intertwined. Now, approaching the third year, I find myself in awe and feeling gratitude, for with each cycle I feel the bonds of love connecting the energies of all three, being held within the circle of this celestial place of balance—much like a Celtic knot—and understand the truth of the undying nature of soul-matter.