Today at 4:44 pm, Autumn stakes her claim in this part of the world…
Mother Nature does her part, with the sun crossing the midline between summer & winter in the northern hemisphere. It’s a day of balance with the amount of sunlight & darkness being roughly equal. It’s a day to try balancing an egg on its end. And it’s a day to say the last “Good-Bye” to summer. (Whine)
But consider how you might view this day if you lived in China. For centuries they’ve believed that there are 5 seasons in a year:
- Spring – when things begin to grow
- Summer – when things bloom
- Late Summer – when things reach maturity
- Autumn – when things dry & wither
- Winter – when things rest
Embedded in this thinking is the understanding that the seasons repeat & continue in an unending cycle. In fact, it may be that the Chinese were actually the first to recognize the “Circle of Life”. These seasons are associated with specific things: colors, sounds, emotions, organs in the body, fundamental elements such as water or fire or metal, real or mythological beasts, & directions.
Autumn is associated with the color white, the sound of weeping, the emotions of both courage and sadness, the lung organ, the metal element, and a white tiger. Autumn is also connected with the direction west, which the direction of dreams & visions in China.
Here’s an example of how this Chinese thinking works…While summer is associated with joy, autumn is associated with courage & sadness. Sadness because in autumn, things are withering & dying. The light is “dying” because Earth’s orbit & tilt carry the northern hemisphere further away from the most direct ray’s of the sun which results in less daylight. Also, plants & trees are winding down their cycle of growth & dying. Sadness & courage are natural emotions as these changes are taking place. That’s part of what the Chinese philosophy of the seasons is trying to convey: sadness is just a part of autumn, not an emotion that must be avoided, but something that’s simply part of nature. Courage is what follows sadness & moves us into new directions.
To celebrate the autumn equinox as a Chinese philosopher might …
Light white candles or gather white flowers to balance the shorter days.
Allow yourself to weep for things you have lost. It’s a way to honor them.
Acknowledge the sadness in your life, it will allow you to find the courage to move into your future.
Breathe deeply with intention. It will ease the changes taking place.
Wear something metallic. It may help to ground you & give you strength.
I’m not sure how to honor the white tiger, you may have to get creative.
Stand facing west & consider your dreams & visions – the path of your life.
If Chinese philosophy doesn’t work for you, here are 7 alternative ways to celebrate the Equinox:
Change your toenail polish color – no more blue or neon green…time for reds, wines, or rust…better yet, just go au natural!
Get out there & pick some apples! You can’t drive far in any direction up here without passing an orchard filled with macintosh, honey crisps, zestars, courtlands & all your other favorites.
Find a kid & go get some pumpkins – taking a kid along guarantees that you will end up carving one soon, but you can get more for decoration.
Start putting your garden to bed – cut, trim, divide, mulch, rake, weed, & plan to your heart’s content.
Go find your fuzzy warm pajamas & slippers…you’ll be needing them soon!
Bake something with caramel…cookies, apple pie, brownies…doesn’t matter much what as long as you can drizzle caramel over it!
Go for a long walk…just breathe, walk & enjoy the day!