Western Astrology

Autumn Equinox: The Balance of Light and Darkness

by Cathy Pagano September 19, 2008 01:33 AM EST

Today is the Autumn Equinox, when we arrive at another turning point in the cycle of the seasons. The Sun, having retreated from its northern-most position in the sky, now rises and sets over the equator for a day before continuing its journey south. Today is one of two days every year when light and dark, day and night are balanced.

Fall Equinox is the same balance of light and dark we experience at the Spring Equinox, but very different in feeling-tone and in meaning. This balance point of the light and dark comes after the fullness of summer and as the hours of sunlight decrease. It is a balance achieved after the completion of a full life or a creative act. Now is the time of harvest, when we gather in the fruits of the year and of our lives so we can envision the future.

Fall Equinox becomes a still moment in time, a balance point when all creation takes a deep breath and waits. We have the wonderful opportunity to contemplate the light and life we have created for ourselves this year at the very moment when we know that soon, that light and that life must be given up to the darkness for one more turn of the Wheel. We learn to humbly accept change if we want life to fruitfully go on. Activity and rest. Planting and harvest. Light and dark. Life and death. Human life on Earth must find a way to balance these oppositions.

The Autumn Equinox occurs when the Sun goes into the sign of Libra, the Scales. We often associate Libra with the ideas of relationship, balance, fairness, justice and diplomacy. But in ancient times the Scale, or Balance, had a different meaning. A scale was used to weigh things against a socially accepted standard weight. It was used to measure and evaluate the fundamental worth of something in terms of social value. It therefore implied a judgment. Libra's scales determine our social worth to the collective, as well as how our worth weighs in with the cosmic laws of Justice and Mercy.

The scale goes back to the Egyptian belief that at death, your heart (conscience) is put in the balance with a feather belonging to the goddess Maat (the goddess of natural law and cosmic justice), to discover the truth of your heart and if you have served your fellow human beings. Your life itself was weighed in the balance. We get a chance to put ourselves in that balance each Fall Equinox.

At the moment, our world is in upheaval, which is always the harbinger of change. In the midst of change, it's good to stop and take a breath, and go still, so you can sense your next step. This is a very creative way to meet the uncertainty of life, and it's much more relaxing than worrying. It is the feminine way to experience life, for feminine energy is open and receptive. Feminine energy knows how to listen in the silence for what's needed to create new possibilities and new life.

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Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards;
At the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest or movement.
And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered.
Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline.
Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
~ T.S. Elliot

On Monday, September 22, we need to take some time to quiet our minds and bodies, and feel ourselves and our world. This moment is a good time to meditate, to open the doors of perception and see our life. Hold it in the balance. We'll know what's important. This is a moment for stillness and contemplation, when we can strike a balance in the midst of continual movement and flow and see where we have been and where we really want to go. In the quiet, let us listen for the inner voice that can tell us the truth about what we've harvested this year.

At this equinox point of stillness, the energies at work in our cosmos can be consciously worked with and integrated into our lives. Listen for their wisdom.

With Pluto finishing up its stay in the sign of Sagittarius by the end of November, have we deepened our relationship to spirit and discovered our spiritual path, so that we see the spirit of life in this world? With Neptune and Chiron dancing on the north node of our collective destiny, can we heal our fear of differences and find ourselves unified in our collective responsibility to create a fairer, just world for everyone? With Uranus in Pisces showing us the collective horrors our society has tried to ignore, have we been inspired by a new vision that can serve the global community? In times of hardship, community pulls together. How will we strike the balance between our doing and our being and decide how we want to contribute to the collective welfare? And with Saturn in Virgo grounding us in our reality, can we still find our purpose even knowing in no uncertain terms what our limits are?

In the quiet, tune in to your soul for the answers. Only you can know who you are meant to be and what you are meant to do. It is your unique discovery. I can only quote Sting and say, 'Let your soul be your pilot.'

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