The Sun entered the astrological sign of Libra at 10:46 a.m. Chicago time on Monday, 22 September, a shift that brought us the autumnal equinox and the official start of fall. Equinox comes from Latin and means “equal night”; twice each year, at the fall and spring equinox, we experience a 24-hour period when night and day are of equal length.
The equinoxes offer us potent points of stillness enabling us to reflect on the prior six months before we shift our attention and energy to operate in opposite ways. At the spring equinox, when the Sun enters Aries, we look back on autumn’s waning light and winter’s cold; at the same time, energy that has been building since the winter solstice finally breaks free and spurs us to the assertive—even aggressive—action Aries demands.
Autumn’s energy calls us to do the opposite. This equinox offers us a time to look back at six months of pushing and striving on all planes so we can evaluate our successes and failures and glean the wheat from the chaff in all areas of life. Libra provides the clues for focusing our attention most effectively: its symbol, the scales, calls us to balance Aries’s warrior energy with Libra’s peacemaking urges. Its pastel colors ask us to let go of Aries’s red intensity to embrace tranquility. Its ruling planet, Venus, shows us the wisdom of putting Mars’s masculine, action-oriented approach on hold to embrace feminine qualities such as receptivity and intuition.
On the physical plane, autumn pulls us back indoors because darkness falls much earlier and temperatures begin to drop. This emphasis continues for the next six months, because even though the days begin to grow longer with the solstice in December, they remain shorter than the nights until the spring equinox. As a result, daytime and the Sun step back to give center stage to nighttime and the Moon…the lack of outer light signals our need to turn toward the inner light.
Some people fear this darker half of the year, especially those who lack spiritual focus or who base their security on material assets such as money, awards, and possessions. Even those who acknowledge their spiritual nature may grow anxious as leaves fall and plants die and darkness brings them face to face with unknown parts of themselves. Libra symbolizes the way through any fears by reminding us that all aspects of life must work in balance. To have light, we must have darkness.
Autumn gives us the opportunity to embrace the dark to bring ourselves into perfect balance. To make the most of this time, we must make nighttime our priority by doing less, staying home more, and slowing down. We also must harmonize our lives with Nature by giving ourselves permission to sleep more; besides repairing our exhausted bodies, sleep allows us to tap into our inner selves through dreams. As we rest, our lives take on the quiet needed for reflection, and we can begin to hear the inner call to prayer and meditation.
This process teaches us that night and darkness are nothing to fear. Just as a baby must develop in the quiet darkness of the womb, so must we nourish our souls by letting the inner light guide us as we explore and make peace with the dark corners within us. Only then can we begin to fulfill Libra’s beautiful promise of harmony and wholeness.
On the outer plane, Libra brings out the diplomat and peacemaker, but on the inner plane, this sign brings us Peace Profound, “the peace that passes understanding.” In the quiet, as we allow ourselves to be receptive, we fulfill the call to “be still and know that I AM.” In that stillness, we enter into the Libran mystery to find our true peace and rest in the Divine.