Autumn has many gifts to bestow with three primary ones of balancing, releasing and harvesting. Since the word Equinox means equal light and dark, and represents a space between opposites, this season invites us to reflect on what needs balancing in our life, such as balancing screen time with more time in nature, or rest and activity, serious work with play time, or me with we and so on. Consider what might need balancing in your life? Spend some time journaling about this reflection.

As the bountiful exuberance of summer disappears and plants die back while trees start to drop their leaves, we’re also called to release and compost what is no longer useful, like old clothes and unhealthy habits. There can be a sweet melancholy at this time about letting go. It’s a good time to declutter our dwelling and minds. What are you willing to release of inner and outer clutter?

The ancient Celts called this time Mabon or Harvest End since the final harvests must be gathered and stored in preparation for winter. After the harvest was complete, feasts of gratitude were celebrated which are reflected in our Thanksgiving holidays. So the third question to ask yourself is what are you harvesting from the past year’s experiences? What will provide creative nourishment for the winter months?

Since fall begins the yin, inward darker time of year. Its arrival invites us to slow down and draw our energy inside and enter into our own reflective depths. By aligning with the inward pull of Mother Nature as her energy descends underground to nourish and repair root structures, we are called into the deep core of our being to rest, investigate and repair. Autumn teaches us that death and decay are a natural part of life’s cycles and necessary for gestating the renewal of growth in spring.

Working with our personal dark shadow energy is the challenging inner work of fall when we have the opportunity to explore, embrace and integrate hidden parts of ourself that may be wounded or exiled into our psyche’s shadow side. For Jung, facing our inner shadow self is the difficult and necessary task of becoming psychologically whole. Autumn’s descending, underground energy supports our journey into our internal dark domain. Can you give yourself permission to befriend your inner shadow side?

As the cold dark increases, it’s natural to long for warmth and creature comforts like soups and cozy blankets. I particularly love this contemplative season even though we don’t have wild leaf colors of deciduous trees in Southern California where I live. Here is a spontaneous poem of my favorite fall things.

Ode to Autumn —slowing down—drawing in—descent—deep reflections—restful darkness—shadow secrets—underground roots—dreamtime—morning mist meditations—sharp air chill—cozy blankets—steaming cups of tea—grateful harvests—squash and pumpkins—soups with crusty bread—picking apples—leaf piles—letting go—fermenting decay—Demeter myths—Ancestral spirits—early nights and mulled wine by candlelight.What are the things you enjoy most about this season?