Happy autumn equinox! Well, technically the autumn equinox for those in the Toronto area was last night around 10pm, but close enough. As I learned in a law course several years ago, it’s important to pay attention to the spirit and intent of the law. So equinox on!
Every year, there are two equinoxes. One in March (the spring equinox) and one in September (the autumn equinox). The spring equinox marks the start of spring, and the autumn equinox the start of—you guessed it, autumn. An equinox occurs when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is perpendicular to the Sun’s rays, so the length of day and night is nearly equal.
Because the poles are on opposite seasons, it means that when the Northern Hemisphere is having its autumnal equinox, the Southern Hemisphere is having its start of spring. The same applies when the Northern Hemisphere is having its start of spring, the Southern Hemisphere has its start of autumn.
What does the changing of seasons have to do with empowerment tools?
The equinox doesn’t have to mean anything more to you than you want it to. Nothing has to, really. It’s all a choice.
This blog is all about tools for empowerment, and I love using external reminders like the moon cycle and solstices/equinoxes as opportunities for reflection and growth. It’s like the idea of New Year’s resolutions, except that instead of waiting for a full year to pass, there are multiple checkpoints throughout the year to work on smaller, more achievable goals, and to reflect on your life from different angles.
There are lots of ideas out there on how to meditate or reflect on the autumn equinox. Many ideas take a more religious tilt (which of course is totally cool if you’re into that); for those who prefer a more neutral ritual experience that still gleans all the benefit of the equinox, here’s what I suggest.
Set aside some time for unhurried reflection time. Make sure it’s at least half an hour, but would suggest setting aside more if you can.
Items you’ll need
Gather your tangible cues and whatever journaling materials you prefer (just remember that if you’re using a device, to turn it onto do not disturb), or if you’re feeling artistic, some art supplies (plain paper and pastels/crayons/coloured pencils/paint, etc).
Also grab a fireproof container in which you can safely burn small pieces of paper later.
A key part of considering balance during the equinox is to think of opposites. I recommend having some sort of tangible cue that you’ll keep in front of you while you do your reflection. Here are some ideas to get those wheels turning:
- A mug of hot water (don’t burn yourself) and a glass of ice water.
- Vinegar, and syrup (not mixed!).
- A dark coloured candle and a light coloured candle (be fire-safe).
- A bright coloured stone or bead and a muted coloured stone or bead.
- A feather and a heavy stone.
Set yourself up in a cozy spot where you won’t be disturbed for your reflection and where you can safely set yourself up with the fireproof container, your journaling materials and your tangible cues.
- Start by gently taking a few slow, deep breaths down into your pelvis, letting it all out as you exhale.
- If you’re using candles, light them safely.
- Think about something in your life that has recently been on your mind (or all up your face, for that matter!).
- This could be anything—a relationship, a work situation, your finances, a hobby, something specific in your personal growth, the list goes on.
- Pick the one that really stands out to you the most.
- Write it down as your topic.
- Now think about your role in the situation and journal about the following questions.
Step 1 (and iterative): Framing Your Mind for Reflection
As you think about the journaling questions that follow below, take a moment here and there to look at/appreciate the balance displayed in your tangible items.
- For example, if you’re using candles, take a moment here and there to look at them, observe, and think about how balance plays into them. Or if you have a shiny, smooth stone and a textured, rough stone, pick them up and think about the balance of those attributes.
Step 2: Journaling
Here are some some guiding questions for your journaling. Certainly feel free to add questions, but I suggest avoiding “why” questions or close-ended (i.e. yes/no) questions, since those are not very empowering.
As you work through the questions, set aside thoughts about what anyone else is doing in the situation (yes, even if it’s a relationship). Just focus on your specific interactions. After all, the purpose of this blog is to share tools on self-empowerment. You can only be empowered about your own choices, so focus on what you yourself can do.
- What is the situation/what happened?
- What aspects of myself that I really like have been highlighted by the situation?
- What aspects of myself that I’m less happy about were highlighted in the situation?
- How have my interactions with others/myself served me in the situation?
- How can I bring more balance into my interactions with others/myself in the situation?
- Based on these thoughts, what is one key intention for myself as I head into the autumn?
- What will I do to support myself in this intention?
Step 3: Release, gratitude, repeat
Now, think of one thing that is no longer serving you in the situation. Remember, this is something about yourself—a limiting belief, a coping mechanism, etc.—be specific. Write on a separate piece of paper (I suggest a relatively small slip of paper), and (safely) burn it in the fireproof container, releasing everything about that thing that is no longer serving you.
Next, write down at the bottom of your reflection something that you’re really grateful for about yourself.
Take a moment and re-read your whole reflection, your intentions, and your decisions of how you’ll support yourself in your intention. Leave the journal entry somewhere that you will be reminded to read it daily for the next few days.
Before you wrap up, take a moment to take a couple deep breaths to inhale gratitude for the time and space, and exhale out all that no longer serves you.
If you lit candles, remember to extinguish them safely.
That’s it for the ritual and reflection! Have fun with it, be genuine and compassionate with yourself and let me know how it goes! Happy autumnal equinox and much balance and harmony to you!