I must confess, fall has always been my favorite season. Even growing up in California where there really aren't four true seasons, I was excited about everything that autumn embodied -- the cooler weather (as I'm not a fan of the heat), the coming of my favorite holiday (Halloween), and yes, even the return to school (I was a nerd -- surprise.) I longed for the times that I could sit quietly reading my books, and wouldn't be forced by my mom daily to "go out and enjoy the sunshine." As an introvert, I longed for the quieter, more inward times signaled by the beginning of fall.
This change of season is an astrological event, defined by the Sun's entrance into Libra. The equinox can happen on slightly different dates each year, but it generally occurs around September 22nd. This year, it is at 1:45 PM PDT on that date. In the northern hemisphere, the nights become longer than the days. Depending upon your latitude, the rate varies at which the daylight hours diminish, and the difference between day and night hours is more extreme the further north you go. For example, here in the Northwest the days begin to get shorter very noticeably, and by December, we have sunsets around 4:30 PM. The change from summer’s long days down to winter’s darkness happens at a steeper climb than the southern part of the country. Fall is a movement from the heightened energy of summer down to the inward, quieter focus of winter. However, I've also found this time of year to be immensely creative, as I'm able to focus my energies more clearly and feel less distracted by the outer world (as long as I set my boundaries around the holidays!)
In the bigger picture, the change in seasons is an important time astrologically. This is especially true now, in light of the planetary currents we are riding. The signs that signify a change of seasons -- Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn -- are being activated by the ongoing Uranus-Pluto square (2012-2015) (Here is a related article by me about this aspect). Since the cardinal signs are activated by this revolutionary and explosive aspect, the Sun enters into contact with these energies during the first few weeks of a seasonal change. This brings the expression of the Uranus-Pluto square more into the spotlight, both on the world stage and in the collective. The beginning of this fall can be an important time to consider how this major astrological event has been working in your life so far. Where have you felt called, or even pushed, to make significant changes in your life? How has it manifested so far, internally or externally? How might you like to better harness these energies toward staying on your authentic path in the next two years or so?
Those are big questions, and the answers will be unfolding for another couple of years. But the seasonal change is a great opportunity period to take personal inventory. There are smaller things we can do on the physical level to mark this energetic shift. Even in the weeks leading up to the equinox on the 22nd, you might already be seeing the signs of fall, and you might be feeling it in your bones. Here are a few ways to honor the season:
-We often hear the term "spring cleaning," but I've found that fall is also an excellent time to clean house. I like to get things in order for the coming winter. Start getting rid of stuff you don't want to store, make some Goodwill runs, and fluff the nest. Beautification of your surroundings is also supported by the Sun’s presence in Libra -- a sign connected to aesthetics and beauty.
-Dietary change is supported as we move from summer foods to fall foods. Fill your cupboards with the things that you want to be eating this season, those things that will support your health through the winter. There is often more time and desire to cook as fall continues, so play with some new recipes, or experiment with a new way of eating.
-Start thinking about how you'd really like to celebrate the holidays so that you're not expending energy in dreading them. Write down some ideas, and if you have a partner, begin talking it over. Try to be proactive so that you can have a holiday season that brings you as little stress and anxiety as possible.
-Clearly outline those projects you'd like to complete this year (before the end of 2013), whether they be creative or professional. Set reasonable timelines for yourself, knowing that the ebb of energy may be lower, and time or resources may be less available as the holidays near. Schedule in more time for rest and down-time than you would in the summer.
Those are just a few ideas, but it is of course important to connect to your own guidance and see what comes to mind. Just having the awareness that there is a seasonal shift happening can bring you into closer connection with nature, with the wisdom of cycles, and with your own instincts. Enjoy the season!