Autumn Equinox Reflections Through Depression

Can you feel it?

The seasons are starting to move into their next phase, even if you haven’t noticed the changing of colours with your eyes, your senses are nudging you towards that deeper knowing that summer has come to an end (at least in the northern half of the world).

Last Autumn Equinox, I was preparing to leave Pittsburgh, USA, behind and the relationship that had brought me there. My heart was breaking, my soul was lost and my mind was a total mess. As nature was saying goodbye to the season of summer, I was saying my forever farewell to a part of my life that I had thought would be the beginning of a lifetime. It’s strange to reflect on that time now, as I sit here in Nottingham UK.

For years, I had made a point to celebrate the solstices and the equinoxes, mainly through offering specially curated workshops or movement practices (& yes, those that know me will know it included some magical music playlists too). Last year, I did not. And somehow it was the beginning of my disconnect with the cycles of nature and my own unravelling into a deep depression, which in truth, I am still learning to move with today. This year, in an ever-evolving world of covid, I am also sitting in stillness with my own thoughts reflecting back at me.

The Autumn Equinox is the time of year meant to honour the harvest - for both the material world and metaphysical world. While nature releases her bounty for us to enjoy, we are being invited to do the same in our own lives.

And yes, the word ‘equinox’ comes from Latin which means “equal nights”, and is nature’s reminder for balance. While the bountiful harvest speaks of abundance, mother nature is slowly preparing for a type of death. The leaves being to fall, the weather gets cooler, the time for new growth in the ground is ending.

Pause. Ponder.
Remember, this Autumn Equinox is about balance.

Are you feeling the call to reap the beautiful rewards of all your intentions, goals, desires and hopes? Is there a sense of celebration?

Or are you like I was last year, so consumed by the death, the loss and the end of ‘something’, that you cannot not see the beauty of this change in seasons?

No matter what you answered, no judgement, ok? Not from me, and not from yourself, deal?

Can you give yourself permission, even if it is just for this one day of the Autumn Equinox, to trust that everything is in balance?

Don’t worry if you can’t see it clearly yet, or feel it.

Our lives go through cycles of growth (summer), harvest (autumn), death (winter), and rebirth (spring), just like we see in nature. Hell, we even see a similar cycle with the moon phases and that cycle happens 13 times a year (give or take)!

Learning how to first acknowledge that your own life has cycles and phases (and yeah, this includes your body too), and then understanding how you can move with and through them is a lifelong journey. This won’t always be easy, as nature has both light and dark aspects, but guess what? So do you. And me, and everybody else in this world.

The Autumn Equinox represents a time to acknowledge your growth and expansion while also asking you, gently, to release your attachment to anything that needs to fall away. Like the earthly leaves that fall to the ground to nourish the next cycle of growth, much like compost does for the soil.

While the days are growing shorter, you may find yourself going inward, trying to listen to your own inner voice. Or you may find yourself reaching outward, trying to appreciate the moments outdoors while the sun is still offering the warmth in the sky.

There is not right or wrong, as each person is beautifully unique; just like each leaf on a tree. So don’t get caught up in over-analyzing. Trust me, I feel ya on this, and have to remind myself constantly to knock it off.

Let it be simple. Let it be yours. Let it evolve.

For this Autumn Equinox, I invite you to ponder the possibilities of how you can honour this cycle in your life:


  1. Grab some paper (or your journal), a pen, two candles and a match (or lighter), and a fire-proof dish (or safe place to burn something).
  2. Light the first candle. Pause.
  3. At the top of the page, write the words “ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE”. Start writing down everything you are grateful for having in your life. If you are unsure of where to begin, or like me, are feeling less than thriving, start with the food you ate today. The clothes you are wearing. Your eyes that opened this morning. The sun that rose in the sky. It will start to flow. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that gratitude opens the flow for abundance.
  4. Sit with your list. Smile. Let it feel good.
  5. Use the ‘gratitude’ candle to light your second candle. Call it the “surrender” candle.
  6. Look at the flame of the candle. Pause.
  7. At the top of the page, write the words “ATTITUDE OF SURRENDER”. Start writing down goals, ideas, dreams and visions of what you ‘wanted’ but don’t feel you have completed them, attained them or accomplished them. If you are unsure of where to being, or like me, are feeling hesitation because this sounds like it’s going to suck, it’s ok. Focus less on the feelings that come up and more on the specifics without the outcome, and take any emotionally loaded words out. For example, don’t write “I failed at my weightless goal of losing 10 pounds.” Instead, write’ Weight Loss Goal 10 pounds”.
  8. Sit with your list. Smile (yes, you heard me right). Smile.
  9. On a fresh piece of paper, take the goals, ideas, dreams and visions that you want to move forward with in your life but write them in new way. Think of it as composting an old idea to use as energy for the new. For example, change “Weight Loss Goal 10 pounds” into “Eat more fresh produce” or “Move my body every day from a place of love”. You get the idea, right?
  10. Tear out the “ATTITUDE OF SURRENDER” page, and hold it over the flame of your ‘surrender’ candle’.  Let it burn. Take the ashes and bury them in your garden, or a house plant.

With the energy of restoring balance, I encourage you to look around your home and get rid of anything you no longer need. Keep asking yourself how you can create space for the new season. If a deep cleaning is involved, I strongly encourage you to find chemical-free solutions where possible.

Other simple ways of embracing that Autumn Equinox vibes:

  • Eat an Autumn Harvest Meal by choosing local, seasonal and fresh foods. Where possible & COVID regulation permitting, share that meal with family or friends. Encourage everyone to share something they are grateful for around the table.
  • Meditation and Mindful Movement. Anything that helps you feel calm, balanced and in harmony with yourself.
  • Reclaim a daily rhythm. As the season changes, so may your daily routine and needs. Take the time you need to reflect on what may be transitioning for you and create a new framework for your day.
  • Get outside. Yes, it’s that simple. Get outside. Connect with nature in anyway you can. Even if you live in a big city with no nature parks nearby, just walking outside will have its benefits. The key ingredient for this one? Turn off your devices and just walk. No music. No distractions. Just you and your feet moving forward.
  • Decluttering. Getting rid of waste, or excess, is not only part of the equinox but it’s part of the Virgo season. Reorganize. Donate. Recycle. Find ways to clear space in eco-friendly ways where possible. If you’re not sure how, google it. Trust me. There is always a way.

The hardest part, for me anyways, is finding the balance in my life (AKA my thoughts) between the darkness and the light. Quite often, the darkness is feared, while the light is applauded. It is a shame that it sometimes brings with it, at least for those of us living with depression, a feeling of shame because we can’t seem to live in the light all the time. The Autumn Equinox brings a time for balance of the both within us, and is nature’s way of letting us know “this too shall pass”. It is a reminder of impermanence of everything. In a strange way, by showing us the harvest and the beginnings of winter (death), mother nature shows us that both can exist - side by side.

So, whether you celebrate the Autumn Equinox or not, learning to embrace the inevitable cycles of change coming our way with a renewed sense of gratitude and abundance could help your mental health, your overall wellness and perhaps, bring you closer to a thriving life.


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