Balance and Harmony: Reflections on the Autumn Equinox

by Marianne in


Here we are, practically at the end of March. Is it just me, or is time moving at a more rapid clip than usual? I'm definitely experiencing that long days, short years feeling! Last time I checked in with our position on the Wheel of the Year, we were at Lammas down here in Sydney, and I must admit it was a challenging one for me to grapple with. Those cross-quarter days can be subtle, and I had difficulty connecting with Lammas this time around.

Not so for the Equinox! Just look at that gorgeous Autumnal light! This quarter day - the Autumn Equinox for us down here in the South, and the Spring, or Vernal Equinox for those folks up North - falls on Sunday, 20th of March, and I can definitely feel it. The days are growing shorter. It's darker when I wake up, and there's barely any twilight left when I return home from the bookshop during the week. After weeks and weeks of stifling humidity, the week leading up to the Equinox has been cooler - not cold, we're still in Sydney, after all! - and overcast with rain.

There is the sense of something being introduced back into the palette of the days. The mono-tonal heat and brightness of the warmer months has started to be tempered with cooler air and darker nights. The scales are tipping back into balance, as we're beginning to access a broader spectrum of shades, temperatures, ambience, and emotion. 

Perhaps I'll have to make it a full turn through the year before making any such pronouncements, but I'm discovering that my experiences often feel in opposition to where we are on the Wheel. As we're turning back towards the darkness, there's meant to be a feeling of drawing in, closing down, wrapping up, as the joys and labours of the hotter months and harvest season come to a close. It might be the extreme lethargy brought on by the heat of Summer in this part of the world, but rather than packing up as we move into the cooler, darker months, I feel like I'm gearing up! My year has finally started, energy once sapped by the long, steamy days of Summer is returning and bringing with it focus and productivity. 

The Equinox marks the day of the year when day and night are of approximately equal length. We find ourselves at these points of the year moving away from extremes and coming back into the middle path. Balance is often the theme, as these two opposites, darkness and light and their attendant correspondences, fall into alignment with each other. In the past when using this day for reflection, I've focused on the idea of balance and let that guide me. 

This year, I feel a subtle distinction is in order. The word "approximate" seems pertinent. On the equinox, day and night are the closest they come to being of equal length, but they're not precisely equal. Balance seems like a soothing and stable concept, where two parts - of life, of the psyche or self - receive equal energy, resources, air time. In reality and in nature, though, precise, 50-50 balance is not what we find. What feels balanced and stable for each of us in our individual circumstances is often a little more fluid.

I thought about choosing the Justice card to represent the Equinox. With its equally weighted scales and attitude of fairness and balance, it does seem on-theme. Something didn't feel quite right about that, though. Instead, enter my friend, Temperance. It's no secret, I love this card. Temperance is the alchemist of the tarot deck, the one who combines two opposites and blends them into something new. To me, this card symbolises not moderation, but creativity. This is not about restraining our extremes, but using them to fuel a new path. Rather than demanding that day and night sit in precise, minute-to-minute parallel (which they don't!), we have an invitation to throw them both into the pot, stir them around, feel those opposing essences combining, and see what comes out. 

So, instead of balance, let's talk harmony.

As we reintroduce shades of the new season - whether Spring or Autumn - into our days, let's consider how we might shift and embrace the palette of our lives as it deepens in complexity. How can we be alchemists, like Temperance, and blend these opposites into a new colour, a new creation? 

We have many opposites at our disposal - rest and work, intuition and action, receptivity and manifestation, solitude and companionship, spirituality and mundanity, Temperance's water and fire - and all the shades in between. The Equinox offers us an opportunity to work with these polarities, but not just to hold them apart. Let's not expect that all these facets of our experiences are binaries forever set apart. At this time on the Wheel, we have the chance to draw them closer together, to dwell in the twilight where they meet. 

That's what I'll be ruminating on in the coming days. How about you? How do you work with the energy of this time of year?

P. S. As ever, if you're looking for some support as you explore balance and harmony in your life, you can book a reading with me here.