Can you feel it? The weather is still warm — warmer than usual, actually — but fall is near. Pumpkin spice, Halloween decorations on grocery store shelves, and the occasional red leaf peeking out from under the green all serve to alert us to the changing season. Nights are cooler and the hustle of summer visitors gives way to sweaters and cups of steaming chai.
This time of year provides a spiritual invitation to release what no longer serves us. As the trees shed their leaves and call their sap back into the roots in preparation for winter, we feel ourselves called to the inner contemplation of deeper subjects. The changing oranges and yellows of autumn signify a decline of light and nature’s extended darkness reminds us to rest a little more.
The Ancients honored this time of change as powerful and important. Benn Mac Stiofán is the founder of the Dún Mór Druid Order and has studied Druidry for over 20 years. This Pikes Peak native lives by the seasons and their qualities. He offers his students spiritual tools and practices that allow them to live connected to the planet and its cycles.
Benn Mac Stiofán: Like all the turning points in the year, whether the solstices, equinoxes, or the cross-quarter dates, our ancestors noticed a change in the relationship between the Earth and sky. Each of these turning points is a threshold, a threshold that eliminates what is no longer necessary. The light in the evening has a sharper angle, the air after sunset carries a colder bite. And in Colorado we are blessed with the best heralds of autumn, the golden leaves of aspens reminding us we are alive and living on the most beautiful landscape on Earth.
The Irish poet John O’Donohue said of thresholds: “This is one of the reasons such vital crossings were always clothed in ritual. It is wise in your own life to be able to recognize and acknowledge the key thresholds; to take your time; to feel all the varieties of presence that accrue there; to listen inward with complete attention until you hear the inner voice calling you forward.”
I could “archetypalize” the autumnal equinox as a time of harvest and reaping the fruits of the year. Or a time of consequences for previous actions. But I won’t.
Autumn for each of us will mean different things depending on our past. For some of us it reminds us of the death of a family member, or the birth of a child. While for others, with more youth and a little less life (and girth) under their belts, it’s a time to enjoy colors and take a hike on breathing mountains that will soon fall asleep.
The best way to use the energy of the autumnal equinox is to enjoy it fully. See, feel, walk, listen, and have gratitude for the perfect balance between night and day.
Let your eyes and bones soak in the unique feeling of autumn in a blessed landscape where the Great Plains touch the Rocky Mountains.
Fill your eyes with the gold of aspens, and your ears with the last dance of their leaves in the wind.
And remember that someday, you too, will have autumn.
Ever wanted straightforward answers to hard questions? Don’t we all?!
In Good Faith answers questions about spirituality, religion and the things that matter to us as human beings. Dr. Ahriana Platten is a speaker, author and business consultant who holds clergy credentials in several faith traditions. Send your questions to Ahriana@Ahriana.com.