The arrival of autumn signals the beginning of the annual season cycle. Autumn signifies the onset of the transition period from the warm and clear summer to that of the cold and dark winter. And while days used to be longer in summer with the sun rising at an earlier time in the morning and setting at a much later hour in the evening, autumn has equal hour lengths of days and nights. The autumn equinox, it is called.
Autumn is the most colorful part of the year when leaves turn from green to orange and red and cover the ground with beautiful hues.
Season and Life Cycles
For many people, autumn symbolizes change. Like the falling leaves from the trees, life must take a new course by shedding off the old to usher in the new. This part of the season’s cycle stretches out to winter which spiritual gurus say provides time for people to absorb and accept the ongoing change in one’s inner self. Toward the end of winter the spring of hope awaits. Leaves grow back in branches and flowers are set blooming again. Spring is the rebirth of life. Meanwhile summer sits on the bend to celebrate the full cycle with the sun glowing on a cloudless sky.
They are not popular practices, but a lot of people observe certain practices whenever autumn sets in. Some of these practices come in the form of overt manifestations such as rituals and ceremonies. Others are done inwardly in meditative and reflective manner.
Autumn is an ideal time for people to honor themselves by letting go of the past and welcoming the present. A lot of people attest that ritual practices do help in imbibing renewal of oneself. Positive minded individuals believe these to be helpful affirmations that improve the quality of life.
• Putting up yellow, gold, red and other autumn colors as added trimmings around the house.
• Setting up a lit candle on a table while the house lights are off. Meditation follows.
• Baking of a whole wheat bread and feasting on nuts, squash, corn or any produce fresh from the harvest.
• Listing down one’s harvests and counting the good things that came along in the past whole year.
• Saying a prayer of thanks after meditation. The candlelight is put off as one gets ready to retire for the day with a happy spirit.
For the spiritual side, book authors Gary Thorp (Caught in Fading Light) and Harold Kushner (The Lord is My Shepherd) share their spiritual thoughts.
• Letting go. According to Gary Thorp the autumn leaves falling on the ground remind people about the virtue of letting go. Autumn is a time to release the hurts of life and to embrace the beauty of being alive.
• Making choices. Thorp emphasizes the reality that someday, man might just find himself alone in life. In this case he is free to choose between the light and darkness. According to the author it is upon man’s initiative if he will stay in the dark or light a lantern to illumine his life.
• Accepting changes. The only thing that is permanent in this life is change. This is the essence of Harold Kushner’s book where he also points out the similarity of autumn to life’s changes. The bare branches, Kushner writes, are reminders of the passing and impermanence of things in this life.
Soon the colors of autumn will fade and be replaced by the bleak tone of chilly winter. Be that as it may, the world is always ready to welcome the changes and cycles of the season because these are the principles on which life basically rests.