"Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay."
- ROBERT FROST
The wheel of the year has turned, marked by the equinox on September 23rd where night and day become equal. In the northern hemisphere, the Sun’s light begins to fall, heralding the return of Autumn.
As the Sun falls into darkness, the bright, hot noise of Summer quiets down. All the pulsation and activity recedes and begins to curl inward. There may be a sigh of sadness at the loss of Summer, for nothing gold can stay.
But the gift hidden within the loss of light awakens you to the precious value of time.
In Autumn, the year is fading away and the end of the decade is approaching. At the end of any era, you want to savor every moment, to become fully immersed in the wisdom and beauty that surrounds.
The ambiance of Autumn is the mellow yellow of falling leaves. At long last, you feel invited to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labors, appreciating what your hard work and devotion has produced.
Autumn brings the Earth to its greatest climax of color and beauty, followed quickly by withering and death. The mood is paradoxically blissful and melancholy as the supreme richness and abundance of the harvest is always shadowed by the coming chill. But there is plenty to celebrate, for Autumn is nature’s testimony that there is something majestically beautiful even in death.
As the great German philosopher, Goethe, once said:
“Death is the stratagem nature employs in order to have as much life as possible.”
Autumn begins as a feast for the senses. Against its pale sky there’s a kaleidoscope of color with deeply blushed apples, purple flushed figs, and leaves all ablaze like a fiery sunset.
Every evening, the shadows grow longer and the wind shivers through the trees. In the encroaching darkness, a flickering warmth alights inside your heart. This inner glow draws you back inside, into the cozy warmth of fire and good conversation.
The inner world of dreams become illuminated and the ancient mysteries are remembered: the arcane myths of initiation into the nature of death and rebirth. You may know the stories of Inanna from Sumeria, Osiris from Egypt or Persephone from Greece.
These myths are very wise. But the mystery of death and rebirth can also be learned from the trees, whose Autumnal symphony of color is followed by wither and decay. The falling leaves are a sacrifice, enriching the soil for the coming of another Spring. Their death foreshadows new life.
In Autumn you become attuned to the primal power that lies beneath the Earth, the regenerative force that governs the flow of the seasons.
The wisdom of this season is found in surrender, for nothing gold can stay. But the falling Autumn leaves do carry the promise of return.
Like any great drama, the season will unfold in three distinct acts.
September 23rd - October 22nd
Then leaf subsides to leaf
Harvest season begins under the influence of the waning Moon, the days still trailing with the last of Summer’s flowers and fragrance. Autumn seems to fade in softly, like a mist that slowly diffuses the light.
You will feel fully awakened to the shift in ambiance at the New Moon on September 28th. At this time, you will feel called to enjoy elongated moments of stillness.
While the Earth is still warm, you’ll want to linger upon everything around you, observing how the light deepens into amber and how the leaves start to burn with red, yellow, and gold.
This is not a time for envisioning outcomes or formulating goals. Instead, let these weeks unfold as a meditation upon contentment. Your task is to find a way to appreciate each moment as it comes.
On October 13th, the Full Moon arrives overflowing with reasons for sincere gratitude. All the harvest scenes of pumpkins and fruit will inspire a warmth in your heart and you’ll feel called to spend more quality time with family and friends.
In the weeks following the Full Moon, you’ll understand the true meaning of wealth, which is to hold without clinging. This golden harvest will not last forever, but you can appreciate its pleasures while it lasts. True wealth is found in embracing the seasons, accepting the natural ebb and flow of abundance and loss.
October 23rd-November 21st
So Eden sank to grief
The journey through this season asks that you accept death as an integral part of life. And in the last week of October, your hidden fears about death will be confronted.
This confrontation begins at the New Moon on October 27th. This may be a difficult time, for nothing can be planted or developed during the season of death. Instead, you are asked to surrender to the forces of nature.
As the swirling winds scatter the dried leaves, your inner world will swirl with the decay of whatever must be released. There is nothing to do but yield, allowing for feelings of loss and uncertainty.
When the shadow of death falls upon the world, Halloween arrives to cheer things up. This ancient harvest ritual has the power to transform the fear of death into mischievous fun. So whatever arouses the holiday spirit should be allowed and enjoyed.
When the Full Moon arrives on November 12th, you will feel strengthened and encouraged. But the days to come will remain emotionally intense.
The darkness of this time summons an encounter with the unknown, arousing anxiety and curiosity in equal measure. When life feels chaotic, it is common to try to control things. But this only hardens you, preventing the necessary changes that are occuring.
Whatever the world may demand, remember that your peace of mind and physical health should remain your top priority. If you need more rest, by all means take more time to rest. Autumn’s wisdom is found in serenity and surrender.
November 22nd-December 21st
Nothing gold can stay
This is the darkest time of year with a lot for you to ponder. By now, the world has become chilled and bare. All the leaves are brown. And the sky is grey.
But the sparkling lights of the holiday season will arrive to uplift your spirits. Feel the warmth of love and generosity flickering within your heart.
At the New Moon on November 26th a sudden flash of optimism will ignite a new reason for being. And you will feel inspired to devote yourself more fully to the people and philosophies that are most worthy of your time.
Still, the last weeks of 2019 are made heavy by the need for serious contemplation. You will feel that this is the beginning of the end. As an era of your life is drawing to a close, you will begin to look deeply within, spending lots of time in quiet self-reflection.
When the Full Moon arrives on December 11th, the approaching holidays will make the art of giving feel like effortless joy. Gifts, small favors, and extra moments of your time will go a long way towards brightening the world.
The nights are at their longest in the weeks leading up to the winter solstice. But the holiday season glitters with anticipation of the Sun’s return. These last days of the season contain a revelation about what is most precious in life.
Stripped of pretensions and excesses, you’ll remember that the true value of life is not material. As the wisdom of Autumn demonstrates, all material things are destined to wither and fade. But the spiritual essence of beauty and love remain.
Putting your focus on the eternal grants you the power to hold without clinging, gracefully allowing things to fall.
Set the intention to begin the next year and the next decade full of gratitude and optimism. In the last days of autumn, open your heart to the brightest possible dreams of the future.
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