Today, the Fall Equinox, is the day the Earth balances day and night. It is hard, in this culture of artificial light (think of that symbolism!) to be as aware as our ancestors were of this momentary pause, before the dark and the cold sweep in for half a year. Even living in a rural neighborhood, I find myself caught up in new projects, new groups -- the whole “back to school” mentality that contrasts deeply with the Harvest/ pulling-in energy of this season. Of course, in this “rural” neighborhood, apples and pears litter the road and verges, a nuisance rather than a harvest. What seems clear is that our culture has come so far out of balance that we don’t even know where the pivot point is. We attempt balance, but are too far away from center, and we wonder why it doesn’t work. And most people don’t even see why that’s a problem -- our technology allows us to ignore the seasons, the cycles and the environment. Even if we give lip service to them, or mentally acknowledge we are part of the ecology, we have lost the connection that would bring it home on a daily basis. Fall is when the pumpkin lattes are featured; and -- more and more -- when the first Christmas decorations are offered for sale. Merchants shift their products with the seasons, but placing a plastic/gypsum scarecrow on your porch does not alter the psyche. And that is what our environment -- and our psyches -- need desperately right now: a shift, an alteration that puts us back in balance.
But part of that shift is an acknowledgement of death, and that our culture is phobic about. Endings, partings, loss -- we cover it over, make it “go away” refuse to see the many deaths that create the products in our lives, the many deaths that happen all around us daily -- too busy, we say, with our own lives. Until, inevitably, the loss hits us. Even then, we are advised to stay busy, keep going -- rarely do we attempt the descent to the Underworld that is represented by the upcoming season. Those who do find little support or understanding in their neighbors and friends. We call it Seasonal Affective Disorder -- perhaps the problem is that we are resisting our own pull to hibernate, dream, renew? The “depression” could be the gap between how busy the culture wants us to be and our own bodies/psyches asking us to pull in, seed-like, until the next blooming time. Of course, thoughts of suicide are danger signs no matter when they come. But I do wonder if we were given the time to go inward, without feeling like failures, would the process feel as painful and “depressing” as it does now? And would we find hidden treasures in our own depths?
And therein lies the hidden blessing of the season -- if we can accept and reclaim our shadow sides, our darkness, we will find a ground of being that renews, restores and brings us back to the blooming time. We could learn that our lives are in fact a larger version of the same cycle, and therefore aging is akin to this Autumn/Winter but that there is another Spring beyond our perception.