It is the Autumn Equinox, here in the Northern hemisphere.
The sun lies briefly over the equator creating a moment of perfect balance where night and day are of equal length.
After today, the North Pole will tilt on its axis slightly forward, away from the sun, favouring the south pole for the better, warmer weather. Autumn will begin.
Today the astrological calendar moves from Virgo to Libra, the weighing scales, also representative of perfect balance.
If ever there was a period of time that could be represented with the image of Yin and Yang, it would be now. This time of year, also known as Mabon in the pagan calendar is a time of meloncholly and duality. There is perfect balance between positive and negative... The fields are bare, but the larders are stocked. Harvest festivities are tinged with the sadness of the coming winter. Animals are stocking up their food stores, ready for their big sleep, and many, like the female honey bee have reached the end of their life cycle and wither away.
In Greek mythology, this was the point where Persephone had to go down to the underworld for her three month stint with her husband Hades, much to her mother, Demeter`s dispair. Demeter was the Goddess of the harvest and crop growing and in her anguish, she refused to use her powers over the winter until Persephone was returned to her.
The image above shows Persephone and her pomegranate, for they were the food of the underworld. They are also in season right now and are so good for male health, especially prostate care. Unsweetened pomegranate juice makes a great tonic for keeping the prostate gland healthy.
Autumn comes with a noticeable energetic shift. Not only do we see the shadows changing around us as the sun`s position alters over the forthcoming weeks, but mentally, Autumn can be a challenge as we adjust to the amount of seratonin that we make in response to the altered light levels.
For this reason it is important to slow down and take care of ourselves.
It is a time to nourish ourselves not only with hearty soups and foods but mentally prepare and support ourselves with self care rituals that make us feel comforted.
It is a time to adopt the scandanavian way of life and take great pleasure in all things cosy... candles, blankets, cosy pyjamas, wood burning stoves, favourite jumpers or whatever makes you rub your feet together with contentment.
Physically, it is so important to start thinking about building and maintaining a healthy immune system. One of the best and most effective ways of doing this is to supplement with Vitamin D.
Here in the UK,our national health service recommends that every person supplements with Vitamin D, although this is not widely known.
During the winter, from around the 14th of October, the way that the earth tilts makes it physically impossible for the UVA rays to enter our skin in order to synthesise Vitamin D. Hence the reason that coughs and colds begin through this time. This period of lack of vitamin D will last until the spring solstice (roughly) so it is a long stretch.
Please look into supplementing with vitamin D, especially if you are a person of colour as you are more vulnerable to having lower vitamin D levels.
Other ways that you can really nourish your immune system are to look into reishi mushsrooms, which are available in capsule and tincture form as well as dried mushrooms. They are an amazing immunostimulating tonic and are well worth using over the winter months. Elderberry is also available in many forms and has an affinity for caring for the lungs in particular. Garlic is a go - to supplement for our family at this time of year and Vitamin C is now more important than ever.
Eating wholesome, home cooked foods and soups will nourish you and your families, as will tasty teas. I particularly like to use berries, citrus peel, thyme, calendula and ginger in my teas at this time of year.
There`s so much to enjoy during this first part of Autumn, that I call Libra Autumn, before the wet and windy Scorpio Autumn comes and knocks us sideways. The weather is generally still mild and mother nature really puts on a show in the hedgerows. Walk as much as you can and notice the small changes around you. I have a holly tree at the bottom of my garden and I have watched the tiny buds turn to white flowers, to green berries and now they are a lovely orange colour before their deep ruby display over winter. It is lovely to watch these small changes and really gives you a sense of belonging to the earth in a cyclical way.
Feasting with friends where everyone brings a dish is a great thing to do at this time of year and if you can do it outside before the weather turns, all the better... light a bonfire or a BBQ and enjoy these Libra evenings.
Planting bulbs is best at this time of year. Maybe you could plant some miniature iris or daffs and have them inside to monitor their progress. Hopefully they will bless you with a beautiful display over winter.
Eat pomegranates, make hedgerow jam, autumn wreaths and corn dollies. Drink apple cider, donate food and plant a tree or a bush.
Children can enjoy leaf rubbing, nature crowns and all sorts of autumnal activities.
I`ve just brought our Libra Autumn books down out of the loft for my little girl to enjoy tonight. Our particular favourites are:
Bramley Hedge - Autumn by Jill Barklem
Foggy Friday by Phyllis root
Harvest by Kris Waldherr
and my absolute favourite .... Wild Child by Lyn Plourde
So, a couple of questions for you to think about or journal over...
Is there anything that you would like to complete by the winter solstice?
How can you practice self care over the darker months?
Stay well and happy,
It`s late September in the UK and this week has been warm and sunny during the day, with azure blue skies and colder, crisper evenings. The leaves are beginning to change on the silver birch trees, but the other trees are still holding on to their green colours so far. There are ripening and already ripe berries everywhere I look. The blackberries have been pretty special this year. Some of them have been so big… absolute whoppers!
The blackberries are singing their swan song now, as they will be on the turn any day soon and destined to be eaten by the mice, birds and insects. The rosehips and hawthorn berries are ruby red and glistening their “come and pick me” skins in the sunshine.
It really is glorious.
I love this time of the year. I think it could well be my favourite… although I think I say that at the turn of every season.
There`s something about early Autumn where the land is so colourful and fruitful but the weather is still pleasant that makes it a treat to all the senses.
It gives a feeling of coming home to what we know… that the earth provides.
It reminds us that despite all the convenience of modern day living, not long ago in the grand scheme of things, people lived this way. Maybe a memory of a distant past stirs in us all as we feel nostalgia, wonder and awe and excitement at seeing all that the earth has to offer.
What I really love about this time of year is how it reminds us of life`s cyclical nature.
We all have cycles in our lives, regardless of gender. On the most obvious scale we can look at the seasons of our age -where we cycle through our childhood spring time years, our summer time early adulthood, our middle aged Autumn years and our old age in winter.
As a woman, we get to move through our own seasonal changes through our journey of menstruating. Our maiden years are represented by the spring time. We start our journey with menarche (our first bleed) and begin our fertile years. Our child bearing age of motherhood is like the ripening growth of Summer. Our menopause and next few decades are like the Autumn and our wise crone years like the winter.
On yet another layer, each monthly cycle can be akin to the seasons.
Our follicular phase- post bleeding is our spring time, our fertile ovulation phase- mid cycle is our summer, our luteal phase after ovulation – our Autumn and we bleed through our winter.
When we get outside and notice nature, there`s no wonder we feel connected to it. It has a pulse, a rhythm and an energy that we share.
As the seasons move through our house, as a family we tend to honour them and bring our attention to them. We decorate our home and pay attention to what is growing, or receding in the garden. We harvest what is ready and plant for the next part of the earth’s cycle. We have traditions that welcome the changes and bring love and comfort into our homes that will be remembered through generations.
The Autumn equinox is like the spring equinox. The amount of daylight and night is perfectly balanced. In the spring, we have anticipation for the summer at this point and look forward to the longer summer nights beginning. In Autumn, we begin to look inward, ready to rest, ready to explore the darker nights and what life holds over the winter.
It is a time of looking into our own lives and seeing what is out of balance and how we can address this to bring back our own equilibrium. A time to look at relationships, living conditions, our health, our life`s purpose… things come to the surface to be addressed as the Autumn nights lengthen.
It`s a time to prepare our house – our nest for winter. To bed down, to clean and organise it. To nest.
I thought that I would share some of the ways that we mark the week of the equinox in our house. The Autumn equinox is also known as Mabon. Take a look at my notes of what we will be doing and get some ideas of how you can welcome this new phase into your homes.
I encourage you to go and find some Autumn goodies and decorate with them. Put a few pinecones in a nice bowl on your table with a candle in the middle… or… make a display on your hall table with Autumn treasures. Maybe you could dry some berries on the stems and display them in a jam jar or put aside to make a wreath. Go out and gather and connect with who you really are.
Here`s a little corner of the world where I discuss life, our bodies, natural remedies and nature.
Clinical Nutrition and Naturopathic Health
BA hons. NT. FNTP. AMNNA. Soc Nat
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