For all who love to walk the shifting boundary between water and land, Equinox seasons are for you!
Welcome to Autumn, the ebb-tide of the year! Welcome to the year’s Yin.
Equinoxes carry a shoreline sense of time and change. The Autumnal Equinox is, of all correspondences of time: the ebbing, the gloaming, the twilight, the sunset, the waning moon. Many people feel melancholy as energy suddenly reverts inward, all the arrows we had been sending outward suddenly driving in to pierce the heart.
In that slight space between day and night is a dream world, a world where gods walk out of the oceans, spirits cavort in the trees and breezes, and memories unfold before us in fables no storyteller can recount.
There is nothing that can stop the tide going out, or Summer turning to Autumn to Winter. So Autumn is a time of surrender, surrender that very colorfully in the process lays us bare.
Views are different, Summer to Winter, of landscapes, seascapes, selfscapes. We are able to see the structural truth of trees when they are not covered by rich and multiple layers of light-refracting leaves, just as we are able to see the shoreline, the shape of it, when it is not covered by water.
What is revealed when the tide goes out are critters hiding in tide pools, strewings of seaweed, bracken, shells, driftwood, sea glass and tumbled stones that have made their way down from great mountains. Treasures are left when the water leaves the beach, precious and vulnerable.
We show the treasure of our true heart and the shape of our tender self. To drop, like leaves, to let flow out, like tide, opinions, self-definitions, projects, assertions, to experiment with the loss of the protective veils of identity that we curate and patrol is a profound, yogic act of maturity and grace.
In Patañjali’s Yogasutra, the ultimate on the list of niyamas, conscientious yogic practices, is Īśvarapraṇidhāna, surrender of the will to G-d. The Yin time of the year that is Autumn is a time to relent from doing, to observe, to let your thoughts go deep to the heart of being and to the heart of mysteries.
The month of the Equinox, September, is the ninth month of the year. In sea-lore, wave trains come in series of nine. To go beyond the ninth wave, to go that far out, is to be beyond reach of help or civilization, where one is at the mercy of the gods.
Beyond the ninth wave is the place of exiles, of seekers, of Crazy-Janes and poets.
These are the tests of the sea:
The third wave is for courage,
The sixth wave is for perseverance,
The ninth wave is for surrender.
Sometimes I think of September as the ninth wave of the year. The Full Moon of September is the Moon When Salmon Return to Earth, the season when salmon are swimming home, upstream to the place they will breed and die. The splendor and majesty of their journey as they leap up ledges, powering their way against the mighty thrust of water against them is ultimately a story of surrender. Their action is no longer only about them and that is what makes them strong enough to do it.
After the assertive hard-working yang of Summer and Spring, autumn is yin, the acceptance of the yield. After a certain point, we can do nothing more than let nature take over. Yang and yin, dynamism and receptivity, sea and shore, high and low tide, are equally important for balance.
The sun is the moon, an amalgam.
Their gold and silver melt together.
This is the season when the dead branch
and the green branch are the same branch.
~ Jalaluddin Rumi, from ‘The Elusive Ones’
Autumn is the time of poets and seers. It is a time of walking the shoreline at twilight and dawn and finding treasures in tidepools. It is a time for walking the forests and seeing the beautiful trees dropping their leaves.
It is a time of Īśvarapraṇidhāna, in the seasons and in ourselves.
Not my will, but Thy will be done. Whatever this phrase means to you, it is the song all creatures sing in their season: of surrender, of vulnerability, of ebb-tide and Autumn.
Allow yourself to relent, to feel the tide going out, this part of the cycle, in yourself, in the natural world around you, the delicacy and tenderness of this action as shared with all living beings and all shapes of that world.
Let that feeling be part of your awareness. Let your actions express that feeling. Let yourself, like the salmon, anadromous, Equinoctial fish of both salt water and fresh, feel the presence in your heart of something beyond the last wave that bounds your ego.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
Where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.
~ Jalaluddin Rumi
Blessed be, Beautiful Autumn and Love!
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Ed: Bryonie Wise
Photography by Jeff Frazier Photographs