autumn equinox + chinese philosophy

Today marks the Autumn Equinox, the day when the northern and southern hemispheres are being exposed to the sun's rays equally. The day and the night are of almost equal length. I spent some time browsing my new favorite science site, EarthSky.org on the subject. Did you know that the sunset is always faster around an equinox, due to the angle at which the sun hits the horizon? See if you notice it tonight.

I found a beautiful article about Chinese philosophy regarding the seasons and wanted to share an excerpt.

In the Chinese tradition, the autumn season is associated with the color white, the sound of weeping, the emotions of both courage and sadness, the lung organ, the metal element, and a white tiger. Autumn is also connected in Chinese thought with the direction west, considered to be the direction of dreams and visions.

So to celebrate the autumn equinox as the Chinese philosophers did, you might …

Stand facing west, considered the direction of autumn in ancient Chinese philosophy. Just stand for a few moments and honor the ‘westness’ of autumn. Consider your dreams and visions, and the path on which you’re moving forward through your life.

Light white candles against the growing darkness of the season. Or place white flowers on your table. White is the color of autumn in the Chinese tradition.

Allow yourself to weep for things you have lost. Weeping is the sound of this season, according to Chinese philosophy.

Find the courage to face what’s ahead.

-- Deborah Byrd, Founder/President of EarthSky.org