Coming Out of the Shadows Thanks to Animal Companions



“Ten years of shadows, but no longer. Light up the darkness, Majesty.”
― Sarah J. Maas, Queen of Shadows

Thank you for being here.  I am sincerely grateful to each of you who consciously chose to follow this blog.  I realize that there are many other ways for you to spend your time other than reading my posts. I am touched and truly appreciate that you care enough to want to be gently challenged and inspired, and that you want to learn from my musings and mistakes.

But if we are going to stay together and grow together, and if I am going to keep sharing with you, I have to be honest. I have to be really honest with myself and with you.

I have been hiding and pretending for a long time.  But I am not going to pretend anymore.  I have been living a life out there “on the screen” but I have been living another life off screen.  I can’t pretend anymore.  And I am not going to hide anymore.  So I will just say it and get it over with.

I am an Empath.  And an Intuitive. Oh, and an Indigo.

Holy Shizznit.  I finally freaking said it.   My heart is racing as I write this.   A flood of emotions are welling up inside of me right now.   I feel a bit scared.  I am grateful.  Relieved.  Liberated.  Free.  But there’s still a lot of fear.

So What the Heck Is An Indigo, and Empath, and an Intuitive??

For those of you who are not totally weirded out by what I admitted (and you’re still reading), I can try to explain what these two words mean. Maybe after reading this you will realize that your friend, a family member, or you, are an Empath or an Intuitive, too!

If you have been following this blog for some time, you already know that I am not a fan of labels – especially when it comes to our animal companions. This also goes for people; putting anyone into a “box” is never helpful for a number of reasons.  But today I will use words that are widely accepted in the our wee community.

An Intuitive is someone who experiences the world in a way that is not easy to understand. Their minds filter information in a way that cannot be explained sometimes. Their bodies are also filters of the world.  Intuition is their compass.  Intuitives also know things without knowing why.  They can’t prove how or why, they just know it to be true.  They are walking lie detectors.  They also receive information in a variety of ways.  It can be in their mind, their thoughts, or through their body – utilizing the five senses (sight, sound, smell, taste and touch).  Or it can be all of these senses at once. – We call these senses “The Clairs.”

The “clair” senses are abilities that correspond with the five senses of seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting.  Clairvoyance means clear seeing. Clairalience means clear smelling. Clairgustance means clear tasting. Clairsentience means clear feeling.  Claircognizance means clear knowing. Clairaudience means clear hearing.  Intuitives vary in what Clair is their strongest, and which cliars they use most. My strongest ones are the latter three.

Empaths feel. In fact, they feel profoundly on many levels. Empaths are highly sensitive to their surroundings; everything from what they see and hear, smell and taste. Empaths can experience sensory overload very easily. Empaths are born an empath; it’s passed down through a family’s lineage. My mother is one (but she is unaware of it). My younger brother is also an Empath and an Intuitive; but he is not aware of this yet.  Empaths feel everyone else’s emotions. Our body functions like a vibrational instrument.  Empaths can easily absorb other people’s thoughts and feelings.  It’s common to feel emotionally or physically drained after being in public, or having a conversation with someone in person, or via phone or Skype.

Both my brother and I are Indigo Children. Many Indigos are born in the 70’s or soon after. The terms “Indigo” was given to this generation because it most accurately describes their aura colors and energy patterns; Indigo Children have a lot of indigo blue in our auras. (It’s actually my favorite color.) This is also the color of the “third eye chakra,” which is an energy center inside the head located between the two eyebrows.  This chakra regulates clairvoyance.

I will briefly list some Indigo traits: Indigos tend to be trailblazers. Indigos abhor conformity. We are incapable of idly watching any kind of injustice and staying silent.  Indigos can sense dishonesty the way a bee can sense subtle scents in flight.  Indigos know when they’re being lied to, patronized, or manipulated.  We can hear it, feel it, and know it the second we are exposed to it, via reading or hearing it.  An Indigos’ inner lie detectors are integral to us a people.  Indigos also have a warrior spirit. Indigos are unable to conform to any type of dysfunctional situations at home, work, or school. So we often rebel, or speak out. Sometimes loudly and often unapologetically.  Indigos don’t have the ability to dissociate from our feelings and just pretend like everything’s okay;  unless we are medicated or sedated. We are completely and utterly incapable of faking or pretending anything. So we avoid people and situations all together at times.

Explaining all of the traits and facets of Empaths and Intuitives and Indigos would require at least three separate posts, so this is a very abbreviated version of each.


For as long as I can remember I have been super sensitive to my surroundings.  This sensitivity could be anything from how my dogs were feeling, how a room feels, to how my friends or family members were feeling.   I knew people’s intentions and motivations before they spoke.  I also knew other things I shouldn’t “just know. – I could just sense it.   I just knew!

I could feel how others were feeling, whether they were near me or far away.   I could always know if someone was speaking the truth, or if they were lying.    I have always known the true essence of an animal, and could see right past their pain and fear. I could knew who they really were.  Animals and nature have always been who and where I felt safest.   Animals and nature were my refuge from the world.

They still are.

That inner voice, our intuition is always there, always reading the situation, always trying to steer us the right way. But can we hear it? Are we paying attention? Are we living a life that keeps the pathway to our intuition unblocked? Feeding and nurturing our intuition, and living a life in which we can make use of its wisdom, is one key way to thrive, at work and in life.

Energy and Others

When it comes to empaths and intuition, our bodies and minds work in conjunction to “read” the information we receive.  For example, my hands know where to go when I am working on an animal or person.  I hear messages.  I see images.  I just know.  I can see someone coming from 50 feet away and I know if I should get out of their way.  I can feel subtle changes in the energy of animals, people, and places.  I know when an animal has disease often before a veterinarian gives an official diagnosis – not always, but I can feel an imbalance in their energy field.

Kids and Critters

Most children are like this.  Animals are like this. Every one of your animal companions is just like an Empath and an Intuitive. – That is one of the reasons I do this work!  They are like sponges!  And almost every child that is being born now is like this, too. They are highly sensitive and finely tuned beings. Many children that I work with in a client’s home, or meet at my workshops are obvious Empaths and full-blown cognitive Intuitives. Most of the children we work with through Make A Wish are Intuitive Empaths.

More than Sensitive

Being an empath is much more than being highly sensitive and it’s not just limited to emotions.  Empaths perceive physical and spiritual shifts in their body as they are observing or thinking about a person, place, idea, memory, or future event. Children and young kids who are empaths feel things way more deeply and on a much more intense level than their parents do. Their senses are heightened. They are very sensitive emotionally and physically.

Empaths process other people’s feelings and energy, and in many cases take on the emotions of others.  They are very sensitive to their surroundings and changes within their environments. They are literally energetic sponges.  Can you imagine the kinds of effects that has on a child?  Yeah.  It’s intense to say the least.  More on that later.

A Virtual Sponge

Empaths feel like you would not believe. That has been the hardest part for me – a gift and a curse you might say. For years I used alcohol and drugs to shield myself from feeling so much. Depression and anxiety  were the many cloaks I was enveloped in, and I used substances to numb myself  from feeling so much (although I had no idea that’s what I was doing.)

Thankfully Energy Medicine has taught me how to use other methods that are safe and natural to shield and manage my energy.  Sometimes I still shield myself before going into public places, or even with some family members, to ensure that I am not overwhelmed by other people’s energy.   But overall, life is much easier and healthier with these holistic and alternative healing tools and techniques to manage life as an Empath.


Why This Is Hard to Admit

If you are an empath, and an intuitive healer, or a transformational coach, you may think, This is great! How wonderful that you are embracing your true self!   But I don’t see it that way. -At least, not yet.  It may come to a surprise to most folks, but the animal behavior and scientific community are not the most accepting group of people when it comes to embracing beliefs or practices that are outside their circle of traditional science or “normal” practices.   In fact, concrete, proven science is the only medium with which most of the animal behavior community operates.

Hidden Ones

There are many behavior consultants in my field that are also intuitive empaths.  A few are very close friends, and highly respected members of the science-based community.  But none of these colleagues want to admit it yet publicly. Proof, facts, and hard core science are still the safe zones they choose to work in for now. Only one of my colleagues in the dog training community has formally “come out” as an Empath and an Animal Intuitive. She has been an inspiration to me.  I hope that others will follow our lead.

I believe in intuitions and inspirations…I sometimes FEEL that I am right. I do not KNOW that I am. 

― Albert Einstein

Safer To Be Silent?

I could list a countless examples of why it’s safer to not embrace your true self in the animal behavior and scientific community.  But that would take too much of your time.  To help you understand why it’s “safer” to be silent, I’ll briefly share just a few of my experiences:

  1. When you’re at an animal behavior conference and you mention the word sacral chakra, when referring to a dog or cat and people respond to you as if you were coughing up phlegm.
  2.  Telling a client that their parrot, iguana, cat, or dog would greatly benefit from Smudging their home, and balancing their own energy can be your one-way ticket straight to Crazy Town.
  3. Explaining to your veterinarian that you can feel / see / know where the pain or discomfort is in your cat’s body and they look at you as if you are high.
  4. Knowing that the negative prognosis that the vet just gave you about your animal was not accurate, because you felt and heard a solid “No” in your body and mind.
  5. Any discussion about ‘animal communication’ will immediately send one to the time out box, where you are soon to be dismissed and discarded.

So I stayed silent for many years. And I was safe. Really Safe. But being safe is not the way I want to live my life anymore.

The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are. 

― C.G. Jung

Willing to Be Vulnerable

This post is not easy to share. I am fully aware of the possible negative results of “coming out” in my scientific community, and with my family and friends.  But I trust enough to share my truth.  If being open, honest, and vulnerable can help one person and their animal companion to grow closer, to heal, to love more deeply, to laugh more, and to see life from a new and more enlightened perspective, it will all be worth it.  If I can inspire one person, any ridicule or rejection will be worth it.

Saying it out loud to you here, and to my friends and family (who will eventually see this) doesn’t make it any more “real” and easy.   In fact, it’s still just as scary.  And I feel just as vulnerable and exposed.  I have witnessed many friends and colleagues come out in other ways, and it was not easy for them. But they are living an authentic life now. I am so proud of all of them. They were no longer willing to hide who they really are. Now I am free of what I was hiding.  I am all out there, baby!😀

No more hiding or pretending.

But there is still some fear.  So I will take this fear and breathe into it and remember that fear is an illusion.  There is really nothing to be afraid of.  F. E. A. R. is really only False Evidence Appearing Real.

Fear is a passing emotion that has no real substance, arising when the ego-self is threatened, which makes you cling to the known and familiar.  Such fear creates untold worry, apprehension, nervousness, and anxiety.  The immediate effect of fear is to shut us down, and—in particular—to shut off the heart.

Cognitive Science

I do believe that the world will come to accept intuition and senses beyond our limited human perception as reality.  We are already starting to see this happening in the world of science.  Psychologists say that people use psychological preferences for Sensing and Intuition. Questions they will ask are, “Do you pay more attention to information that comes in through your five senses?” or “Do you pay more attention to the patterns and possibilities that you see in the information you receive?  Everyone utilizes Sensing and using Intuition.  The levels of each of these spectrum are wide and vast within each person. Science is now starting to recognize these levels.

There is now a field of study known as “Cognitive Science.” It is beginning to demystify the inexplicable presence of unconscious reasoning in our lives.  Often dismissed as unscientific because of its connections to the psychic and paranormal, intuition isn’t just a bunch of woo-woo.  The U.S. military is even investigating the power of intuition, which has helped our men and women of the military to make quick judgments during combat that ended up saving lives.

There is a growing body of anecdotal evidence, combined with solid research efforts, that suggests intuition is a critical aspect of how we humans interact with our environment and how, ultimately, we make many of our decisions.

– Ivy Estabrooke, Office of Naval Research

Beyond Science and “Proof”

Science is amazing. Science is what I have used for nearly 20 years to produce ground breaking results with multiple species of threatened and endangered species. Science is what I use with my clients’ aggressive dog, fearful feline, and traumatized iguana. Science is what I use with our animal companions at home, with everything from anxiety to obesity.

But there IS more to life with our animal companions than scientific facts and “evidence”. There is more we can learn from just the proven stats.  There is so much more that science has yet to discover.  There is an infinite amount that has not been studied, or even remotely explored in the scientific community.  There is more to learn and experience than most people could possibly imagine. I have lived this and learned this fact. And the beauty that I have learned in all of this is simple but profound:  Animals and nature can be two of the greatest teachers to facilitate this learning.   If we allow them to be.

No civilization, including Plato’s, has ever been destroyed because its citizens learned too much.

What About Science and Animal training?

Of course I will continue to share tips and techniques about training, behavior, and enrichment for pets at home and in shelters because those are part of our reality that enhance lives.  Training and enrichment are needed in our homes.  Period. (Ahem … like conditioning our canine to wear goofy snow boots, modifying a dog’s aggression toward foxes, teaching our tabby to “go to your place” to keep the peace, changing a fearful feline into a confident cat, conditioning a dog to a new baby, teaching a parrot to give voluntary injections, and preventing fights between species by eliminating anger, fear, and frustration.)  That’s where science is needed and where it works. That’s where Force Free techniques reign supreme.  Those are tools and techniques that I still love to teach and practice!  In fact, I just did a 1.5 hour webinar yesterday on a specialized topic that has never been presented before in the feline community; how exotic cat species in captivity can teach us how to manage and rehabilitate companion cats. It was attended by veterinarians and animal behaviorist from all over the world. And it’s going to be a game changer for the cat community.

So yeah, science is necessary. I use it and I love it.  Science, data, and measurable results are crucial when it comes to behavior modification and healing an animal companion’s emotional and behavioral issues.  Science, facts, and results continue to be much of what I share here.

But there are many other tools that I use as well. Those techniques are not the only path to healing and modifying behavior. There is much more out there. There are other tools and techniques that are not mainstream. But they are profound. And they work.

There is so much more to explore together:  Energy medicine, animal communication, removing negative emotions that contribute to health and behavioral issues, releasing stagnant blocked energy in our pets,  how to connect on a deeper, more meaningful level with your animal companions and how they can be mirrors for our issues.  We will talk about what it really means to live “Life with Your Animal Companion Improved.”

Come from the heart, the true heart, not the head. When in doubt, choose the heart. This does not mean to deny your own experiences and that which you have empirically learned through the years. It means to trust your self to integrate intuition and experience. There is a balance, a harmony to be nurtured, between the head and the heart. When the intuition rings clear and true, loving impulses are favored.

― Brian L. Weiss, Messages from the Masters: Tapping Into the Power of Love

Why I Am Sharing This Now

I wrote this over 6 months ago, but was too afraid to share it.  Alanis Morrissette’s song “Excuses” perfectly parallels this kind of fear. She is also and Empath and “came out” a few years ago. She. Is. Amazing.

Now I am coming out in my own way and being completely authentic because I have moved into a space where I am now a hundred percent authentically honest with everyone – clients, friends, family, and even strangers.  But the person I am most honest with now is myself; I have to be for my health and sanity.  I also have to be for the health and peace of mind of my animal companions.

This blog was created to discuss all-things-animal-and-nature. Since 2012, I have stayed within the “safe” spaces by discussing safe topics such as animal behavior, animal training, animal enrichment, and the latest science in all-things-pets.  Every so often I would venture out of my safe space and talk about death and dying, spiritual experiences, and bits about energy, but there is so much more that I want to share and discuss with you here!  I have decided to shift this blog to better reflect how I have shifted, and how nature and the animals in my life have facilitated this shift.

Now this blog will parallel how I live my life.  This blog will begin to better reflect what it means to be an intuitive and empath, living and working with animals, and how we can all learn from nature and our animal companions.  This blog will be a more honest reflection of what the animals and trees have taught me, and how you  and your animal companions can benefit, heal, and grow as well.

We so often think of ourselves, as the “dog owner” the “cat guardian”, the “parrot trainer”, or the “horse leader”. We see ourselves as the teacher, and we are!  But what if our animal companions have things to teach us? What if we were willing to be the student?  What if we are willing to look at them and say, “Teach me. I am willing to learn from you.” …. What might happen?

October is a month of balance. I discussed this before, yet I didn’t realize how much I was out of balance. This week it hit me; it’s time to balance everything, including what I share with you. I hope you will be willing to grow with me.

Hope and Love for Others

My hope is that if I can openly share my truth and experiences, others may realize that they can share theirs as well.  I hope that those who are also an Intuitive, or an Empath can learn to feel safe and supported.  I hope this will help others to understand their abilities and how they can dramatically improve their life with animals.  And on the other hand, if one is not an Empath, they will be open to learning what we can see, feel, know. Maybe people will be willing to learn how to tap into their senses so we can learn about each other, energy, animals, nature. Maybe others will be willing to learn the endless lessons that animals and nature have to teach all of us.  My hope is that you have the courage to be open to seeing things from another perspective. My hope is to learn, grow, and share together here.

The planet does not need more ‘successful people’. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds. It needs people to live well in their places.  It needs people with moral courage willing to join the struggle to make the world habitable and humane and these qualities have little to do with success as our culture is the set.
~H.H.The Dalai Lama


Thank you.

Thank you for listening. Thank you for  being here. And thank you to every soul who has ever braved the safety and comfort of what they were living, to finally be who they truly are.  Thank you for daring to live fearlessly. Thank you to every brave soul who dared to speak out.  Thank you to those who would not be silent.  Thank you to everyone who came out despite the results.  Thank you to every man, woman, and child who came out by sharing their truth with the world; no matter what that truth was. Thank you for holding space to allow everyone on this planet to be authentically who they are. Thank you to the animal companions who held a mirror up for me to see who I am. Thank you to the animals and trees who have been my greatest teachers. Thank you for inspiring me to “come out” today. Thank you to all of the brave souls who have come out in other ways, and who are sharing their stories today. I love you all.

And thanks for remembering to laugh and to not take ourselves too seriously.

Life is supposed to be fun and free.

Be you. Be fun. Be Free.

And if my words haven’t inspired you to be brave, free, and become your authentic self, check out a snippet of what my soul sister shared with me today when I told her that I didn’t think I could publicly share this post:

“People need us. And we need them. We don’t have to deny who we are.”

So If you need some motivation to come out with whatever you’ve been hiding, Diana can help.😉

I can’t let them down 
They’ll not understand me 
They’ll hate me …

These excuses how they served me so well 
They’ve kept me safe 
They’ve kept me small 
They’ve kept me locked inside my cell 

Bringing this into the light 
Shakes their foundation 
And it clears my side 

Now my imagination 
Is the only thing that limits 
The bar that is raised to the heights 

Alanis Morissette-Excuses


Lions, Tigers, Tabbies, and Pumpkins, Oh My!

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables


I am so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.

And in a world where there is food enrichment for felines😉

I hope that wherever you are in the world, you are enjoying October. And I hope you are faring well, despite hurricanes, fires, and crazy politicians. OH MY.  On a much more uplifting note, I wanted to share something fun with you while I had a couple minutes.

It involves cats and pumpkins.

I am a HUGE fan of October. I mean, like a total dork about October and Halloween.  I was married on Halloween. All of our cats are the colors of Halloween, and our dog’s name is Hocus Pocus. We absolutely Adore Fall and Halloween.  One of the best parts about Halloween is the plethora of beautiful gourds and pumpkins.  I also adore felines of all species. So what’s better than a cat or a pumpkin?

….. Cats AND pumpkins together!!!



Now that October has arrived, I took advantage of the readily available gourds that were ready to be adored … and gored.

Our cats enjoyed them as well…


On a related note, I wanted to let you know that tomorrow I will be doing an online webinar, “Foraging Felines: Providing House Cats with Necessary Mental and Physical Stimulation Through Fun with Their Food.” I will discuss some common myths about companion cats and how dietary enrichment can be one of the most powerful tools you use with your feline family members every day! I will be discussing the importance, science, and methods behind novel enrichment that you saw in that video.

Here are some common House Cat MYTHS we will be discussing tomorrow in our webinar:

  • Cats are nocturnal.
  •  Cats are aloof.
  •  Cats are lazy.
  •  Cats hunt in groups.
  •  Cats are unsocial.
  •  Cats are at the top of the “food chain”.
  •  Cats are fully domesticated.
  •  Cats are herbivores or omnivores.
  •  Cats are a lot like dogs.
  • Senior cats won’t play with food puzzles or hunt for food.

Super Senses

I will also be discussing Cat’s “Super Senses!”  These acute senses are unique to them as a species.  Many of these super senses are not unlike their exotic ancestors; African wildcats, panthers, lions, tigers, jaguars, and cougars.  Unlike their ancestors, companion cats possess extraordinary sensitivity as both a predator and prey.  These feline senses and abilities are evolutionary adaptations that are unique to felines. All of these senses come into play when it comes to providing species-appropriate dietary/foraging enrichment.

cat senses.jpg

House cats retain many of the instincts, traits, behavior, and needs of their wild kin and feline ancestors. Your cat may hang on the couch at home with you, but her mind and body are programmed to hunt, capture, kill and consume just as wild as the African lion on the savannah of sub-Saharan Africa, the Sumatran Tiger in the wetlands of Borneo and Sumatra, and the jaguar in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America.  These sensory adaptations are a huge piece of enrichment puzzle. These unique feline traits are at the heart of why we need to be using foraging enrichment for our companion felines.


Encouraging Cats to Forage

In the dog and cat community there are two very common myths currently circulating about senior and geriatric cats:  They don’t need daily exercise and they won’t play with puzzle feeders!  Both of these beliefs are untrue. Tomorrow our geriatric cats will show you why cats of all ages CAN and should be foraging for their food!


Food Foraging as a TOOL.

I will also talk about who, what, when, where, and why Foraging and Puzzle Feeders can be used a behavior modification tool for multiple species in the home.!  A lack of mental and physical stimulation is linked to a myriad of medical and behavioral issues in cats. But this can be reversed!  When properly utilized, foraging enrichment can enhance the lives of both cats and their guardians. Not only can puzzle feeders be a tool to help your tiny tiger to thrive, but puzzles can help with everything from obesity to fear. Here are some of the ways that Foraging has helped our felines:

  • Transitioning a feral cat indoors
  • Scarfing and barfing
  • Night nudging
  • Aggression
  • Destructive behavior
  • Obesity
  • Attention-seeking behaviors
  • Lethargy
  • Arthritis
  • Boredom
  • Fear
  • Cognitive decline
  • Begging/stealing food
  • Incompatible behavior
  • Emotional eating
  • Food competition /bullying others for their food
  • Boredom
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety

Wildcats and More

We will also look at house cats’ ancestors and how they relate to your modern day couch cat. We will discuss the 5 Categories of enrichment and how puzzle feeders and foraging play into those. We will discuss the Principles of Food Enrichment Planning and Individualized Enrichment Programs and why they are both crucial.  There will also be a special section on foraging enrichment for senior cats. yay!


I hope you can join me for the webinar tomorrow. It’s going to be FUN and informative! But if you can’t make it, don’t worry; once you sign up you will receive a recording of the webinar after it’s over.  You will also receive links to 18 videos I have created as supplements for the webinar, along with pdfs, referenced papers, and links to where you can purchase some of the puzzles I mention. These will all come to you from the Pet Professional Guild, who is hosting this event. Details here: Foraging Felines: Providing House Cats with Necessary Mental and Physical Stimulation Through Fun with Their Food. 

Happy Foraging with your felines!

October Blessings to you and yours!


“October’s Party
October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came –
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.”
― George Cooper


The Energy of Autumn

“Fall has always been my favorite season.  The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”
― Lauren DeStefano, Wither


Blessings! I hope this find you and yours well.

I am so very, very happy today.  The winds of change are blowing. The Autumn Equinox is finally here!

It. Is. Now. Fall.

Here on the west coast we are enjoying a crisp, cool breeze coming off the ocean, with sunny skies hovering around seventy degrees. Although there are no colorful changing leaves denoting Fall is here, I am in heaven.  Autumn is my season. Fall makes my heart sing and lights a spark inside of me. No matter where we are living I look forward to Autumn all year long.

If you have been following this blog since it began in 2012 then you know my focus usually surrounds nature and animal companions, but every so often I allow the energy of the season inspire me.  The current energy is Autumn, so this is is where we will let the winds blow us today.

Although most of us associate Autumn with cooler weather, dancing fires, cozy snuggles, seasonal drinks, squash, scarecrows, pumpkins, and spice in all slices of life, there is another side to Autumn. -One that permeates the world we live in.  It affects us all; plants, animals, and people.

The Energy of The Equinox Around the World

The Autumnal Equinox arrives precisely at 10:21 a.m. (EST) today (Thursday, September 22).  Unlike an event such as New Year’s midnight, a time that follows the clock around the time zones, equinoxes happen at the same moment everywhere all around the world!

“Equinox” comes from the Latin words “equi” meaning “equal” and “nox” meaning “night.” On the Equinox the hours of light and dark are equal. But because of atmospheric refraction the light is bent which makes it appear as if the sun is rising or setting earlier. Technically September 25 marks “equal day and night” -sunrise will be at 6:47 a.m. EDT and sunset at 6:47 p.m. This day is known as the Equilux  “Lux” is Latin for “light”.  During this time of year the light and dark are now in balance.   This time represents a shift in the seasons, and a time where the energy of the Sun and Moon are in complete balance.



The autumnal equinox happens the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator, which is an imaginary line in the sky that corresponds to Earth’s equator.  The Old Farmer’s Almanac describes it as a plane of Earth’s equator projected out onto the sphere. Every year this occurs on September 22, 23, or 24 in the northern hemisphere.

There are two equinoxes annually; vernal and autumnal, each marking the beginning of spring and fall.  Those in the Northern Hemisphere are now in the season of Autumn.  Those in the Southern Hemisphere are in the season of Spring.  In the Northern Hemisphere, many tree species are getting ready to shed their leaves; letting go of the old and unnecessary parts of themselves in order to prepare for winter.  In the Southern Hemisphere flower buds are beginning to bloom. Greenery is returning after the long winter.  Here in the northern hemisphere, from today onward, the days get shorter until the winter solstice arrives in December.


A Bit of Background About Autumn

Long before White Contact spread like wildfire across the “New World” my ancenative-american-autumn-fallstors had a huge celebration for Autumn. Cherokee and other first nations referred to it as Harvest Time.  During the height of harvesting and gathering there were great celebrations of thanks. This included music, song, dance, gifting, and feasting.  The celebrations lasted around a week. Sometimes longer.  The community had drumming sessions where they honored all walks of life:  water, birds, Mother Earth, snakes, wind (willow trees), and rabbits. All of these represent the Equinox.  It was a celebration of the “West” -The “direction” of Autumn.  They tribe would perform a smudging ceremony to cleanse and purify, and then use sweetgrass to bring in the “sweetness” of community and of the new season.

September also held the corn harvest, which was referred to as “Ripe Corn Festival”. It was customarily held in the early part of the Nut Moon (Duliidsdi) to acknowledge Selu, the spirit of the corn.  Selu is thought of as First Woman.   This festival respected Mother Earth and gave thanks for providing all foods during the growing season.  The “Brush Feast Festival” also customarily takes place in this season.  All the fruits and nuts of the bushes and trees of the forest were gathered as this time.  Hunting traditionally began in earnest at this time.   October was a time of traditional “Harvest Festival” (the Nowatequa) when Cherokee people give thanks to all the living things of the fields and earth that helped them live, and to the “Apportioner”, Unethlana.  The Cheno i-equa or “Great Moon” Festival is customarily held at this time.

native american celebrationl.jpg

Autumn Legends

There are many legends surrounding Autumn. I will share just a few with you.  the-spirit-of-the-corn_-selu_first-mother_cherokee_native-american_fall_autumnAs I mentioned above, Selu, the spirit of corn was honored at this time. She represents the harvest, weather, and growth. The legend states that this Native American corn Goddess planted her very heart so people wouldn’t go hungry. The legend tells that her spirit teaches us how to re-fertilize the earth to bring sustenance to all.

Another legend tells the story of how leaves turned red. A battle was fought by the Deer and the Bear in the land of the sky. The colors in the leaves are a result of the blood of the Bear thrown down from the sky upon the trees in the autumn.  You can read the fascinating Wyandot (Huron) Legend: “Why the Leaves Have Many Colors in Autumn” here.   Another legend of why the leaves turn red in Autumn can be found in the story, “Chasing the Great Bear.”


According to Greek legend, autumn beings when Persephone returns to Hades in the underworld. Heartbroken, her mother, the goddess of grain and harvest, allows the crops on Earth to die until her daughter returns in the spring.  The word “harvest” comes from the Old Norse word haust, which means “to gather or pluck.” As people moved to the cities, “harvest” fell out of use and city dwellers began to use “fall of the leaf,” which was shortened to “fall.”

Persephone, the goddess queen of the underworld, wife of the god Hades. She was worshiped alongside her mother Demeter, goddess of autumn harvest.


celtic-seasonsEtymologists are unsure of the origin of the word “autumn,” though they believe it comes from the ancient Etruscan root autu, which implies a change of season. In this scenario, the Romans then appropriated the term and formed the Latin word autumnus. Americans typically use the word “fall”. The British use the word “autumn”. Both terms date around the 16th century.  Before these terms this period was called “harvest.”

The Autumnal Equinox is also called the Fall Equinox, the Second Harvest Festival, Festival of Dionysus, Wine Harvest, Cornucopia, and Winter Finding.  Ancient people celebrated each change of the seasons, knowing that nature’s changes outside correspond to inner changes as well. Autumn is now associated with Halloween – a day greatly influenced by Samhain, a sacred Celtic autumn festival.




Autumn’s Effects on Plants and Animals

Humans are not the only ones affected as we shift from Summer to Autumn.  Animals and plants respond to the changes in light surrounding the season of autumn.  At this time, in response to cooler temperatures and less available light, leaves stop producing chlorophyll. This green pigment assists with  capturing sunlight to power photosynthesis. As the green fades the other pigments of the leaves shine through. This why we see orange and yellow carotenoids and vibrant red anthocyanin.

Plant cells produce compounds called phytochromes in response to different portions of the light spectrum. During late fall and early winter, when the sun remains low in the southern sky, the indirect light produces an increase in far-red phytochromes.  The ratio of these two compounds mediates the hormones involved in flowering, leaf drop, and bud development. Even seeds below the soil are affected. Even the amount of red and far-red light that penetrate the soil is sufficient to govern germination.

To the untrained eye Autumn appears to solely represent a season of leaves changing, but there is much more happening now.  In addition to the energy shift of the season, there are massive ecological changes occurring.  Thankfully, attention and enthusiasm for examining the ecological effects of climate change on autumn is rapidly increasing.

Each autumn, many animals experience gonadal recrudescence, or behavior in response to environmental cues (e.g., daylight). Specifically, in early fall, the amount of available daylight, or photoperiod, matches the photoperiod in spring, which triggers mating instincts in animals.


Each autumn, monarch butterflies migrate from the U.S. to Mexico and some parts of Southern California.  Monarch butterflies are the only insect that migrates to a warmer climate that is 2,500 miles away. Thanks to the milkweed I brought into our yard we have dozens of Monarchs hatching out of their chrysalises! You can view them in action here.

In autumn the male Siberian hamster’s testes swell up to 17 times bigger than normal to prepare for mating.  And every Fall the black-capped chickadee’s tiny hippocampus enlarges by 30%, which enables it to remember where it collected seeds in different spots in trees and on the ground.  How cool is that?!?

There is evidence that song birds living near sources of artificial light begin singing to attract mates, as well as laying eggs, earlier in the spring than their counterparts in places that remain dark at night.   Migratory birds are a great example.  Dark-eyed Junco nesting in northern Canada respond to the shortened days of summer with a series of physical changes: their reproductive organs become inactive. They shrink in size, and hormones stimulate the rapid growth of a new set of feathers (non-breeding plumage), and fat deposits develop to provide fuel for the long migratory flight ahead. So amazing!

Some even say that levels of testosterone in both men and women are at their highest in the fall.  Scientists speculate the surge may be a result of ancient mating instincts -the fall “rutting season” or that decreasing daylight somehow triggers it.  Who knows.  I am not sure we need any more testosterone in the world right now.  ;)

Regardless of whether you are a lover of nature, science, energy, or animals, we all have the opportunity to learn so much from Mother Nature as she is beautifully in sync with the natural rhythm of the energetic shifts of the changing seasons.

Autumn Energy

5element_webAncient Chinese medicine teaches the importance of elements within each season. The season of autumn is associated with the element of Metal, which governs organization, order, communication, the mind, setting limits, and protecting boundaries.  This time is a great time to finish projects you began in spring and summer – harvesting the bounty of your hard work!  Fall is a time of organizing your life for the winter season ahead and coming more inside your body and mind to reflect on your life.

The lung and large intestine are the internal organs related to Fall  and the element of Metal (or air) in both pets and people.  Lung is associated with the emotion of “letting go.” Sleep is another important aspect of staying healthy in the Fall. The ancients advised that people should retire early at night and rise with the crowing of the rooster during the autumn.  I might have a full-on freak out if I had to rise to the sound of a crowing cock, but you get the idea.  They are suggesting we do as many plants and animals do; rise and rest with the sun.

Now matter where we are, or what species we are, the equinox is symbolic of change.  We are all connected to each other and to Mother Earth. So when seasonal changes occur in nature, many can feel these changes resonating within.  These changes will be reflected in our own vibration and we may find that our energies begin syncing up with that of Mother Earth.

Energy of Autumn

falling-leavesThis Autumn equinox will bring about a number of changes around the world in both people and nature.  This time of year marks the annual beginning of a series of transformations that take place not only in nature, time, and space, but also within each of us, and our animal companions!  We will all experience the autumnal shift in both our conscious and subconscious. For some it will be monumental; for others it will be barely noticeable.

Regardless of how you experience them, the changes are here. libra_balanced-scales_art_equinox

The Equinox comes at a time when the Sun will shift into the energy of Libra. Libra represents a highly creative time where beauty, joy, and aesthetics are highlighted.  Libra is also all about partnerships and being able to balance energies. Libra is the sign of balanced scales. As we experience equal day and night there are “balanced scales in the sky” Heaven and Earth. Equality and Balance on many levels.

This Equinox is a reminder that we all change and that transformation is natural and a normal part of life.  If the trees resisted the shedding process, they would not be prepared for what is to come.  If the flower resisted to bloom, she would never know the fullness of heir own beauty. She would hide from the sun; the light that allows her to grow and bloom.

a rose in bloom at our home

The Symbolism of Seasons Changing

We have so much to learn from nature, and from the changing of seasons. Animals and nature know how to flow with these winds of change. It’s instinctual. But we humans tend to resist change. But we can learn how to learn from nature.

Release.   Clarity.  Creativity.  Balance.  These are the major themes of Autumn this year. This is a time when we can learn to trust that whatever we release is meant to go.  We will gain clarity.  Whatever we feel called to create will bloom. We are guided to balance all aspects within ourselves and in our lives.   As the light and darkness of  autumn days become in balance we can become attuned to the dark and the light within ourselves. We can create balance in every aspect of our life.

The winds of change are preparing us for what is ahead.  Allow the Autumn winds to lift and carry you forward.  Harvest what you want to reap. Release what no longer serves. -There is much to embrace and much to let go.  As the ancient poet Rumi said, “Life is a balance between holding on and letting go.”

This is Autumn.

May this season bring you and yours all that your heart desires. May the changing of the season inspire you.  May you find time to play in nature.  Dance with the wind.  Embrace the energy of autumn.  She has so much to offer us all.🍁🍂

“Is not this a true autumn day?  Just the still melancholy that I love – that makes life and nature harmonize.  The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit.  Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”  

[Letter to Miss Eliot, Oct. 1, 1841]”
― George Eliot