Autumn: Summon Your Shadow Side

This is an excerpt from "Autumnal Equinox: Ritual Through Yoga" (author Laura Hand, September 14, 2016 at gaia.com, see the full article at https://www.gaia.com/article/autumnal-equinox-yoga-ritual)


"Occurring roughly in the middle of a 6-month period of waning light, the autumnal equinox represents a confluence of life and death. In agrarian societies, the equinox signals the completion of the harvest season, the fruits of which are gathered and stored for the barren winter months. The fullest expression of vibrant light and activity in summer gives way to the stillness of shadow in fall.

As a complement to the light, our shadow side often carries a negative weight when it is mistakenly interpreted as comprising the most troubling parts of ourselves and our experience. The truth is, however, the shadow side encompasses all things outside the light of consciousness, good and bad. Our collective unconscious harbors everything that is unseen or hidden from awareness, like the dark side of the moon. So, in the same way, we might conceal our least desirable qualities, we may also unconsciously hide our brightest attributes on account of shadow forces like shame or lack of self-esteem.

Shadow work is as important to revealing our light as it is to release our darkness and the time to begin this work is now, between the fall equinox and the winter solstice. This is a time to excavate anything that may be churning beneath the surface, a time to invite such thoughts and emotions to gently rise and dissolve. As a guide, you may consider the following contemplation questions either in meditation or in journaling to facilitate this inner exploration.

  • What has been my personal harvest this year, what has grown into full expression and brought me joy? Begin each sentence with I celebrate…

  • What seeds of insight will I collect and re-plant in the next season? I nourish…

  • Where am I holding back or ceding to doubt? What fears are stalling me? I am afraid of…

  • Where am I creating struggle or holding on? How can I conserve energy by releasing any unnecessary effort in this cycle? I release…

  • Am I housing any latent anger towards myself or others? How can I liberate myself from it? I forgive…

  • Do I presently feel ashamed or embarrassed by any behaviors or decisions I have made? How can I lay them to rest? I accept…

  • Do I feel guilty for any of my thoughts, words, or actions? How can I make a conscious change? I resolve…

  • If my body were to speak, what would it say to me? I hear…"

Yoga allows you to begin to explore not necessarily your "dark side," but your "non-light side" without fear, shame, or embarrassment. Cultivating an objective view of yourself invites the door to open and bring to light the part of yourself that might seem less pretty, less popular, and definitely less talked about. Go ahead, dare to look and explore in places below the surface. You might just dig up a buried treasure.




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Cynthia Haas

Founder/Owner of Balance Your Life Yoga

"Start where you are."

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