11/19/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Johnny Appleseder, What Rosh Hashanah and Autumn Equinox Have in Common

L'Shana Tova to all those taking time these waning days of September to celebrate and welcome another Jewish New Year! The pages are turning on the seasonal calendar as well as we offer expressions of joy and thanksgiving for the healthy harvest that the coming Autumnal Equinox portends.

Both of these yearly celebrations involve many different cultural and traditional rites and rituals that honor, observe and define the sacred that surrounds these high and holy days. And both extol praise and ceremony in the hopes of attracting the biggest blessings inherent. Interesting as well that they both use apples and honey to embrace and activate grace and gain, benefit and benediction. In fact, apples are at the core of some of those same ideals.

In the Jewish tradition of bringing abundance to the table, apples dipped in honey and eaten while intoning certain and specific prayers during the first New Year meal, promise only sweet and delicious days ahead. I find this tradition really quite simple and really quite beautiful. First you slice the apples, dip them in honey and recite the blessing for eating tree fruits. What, you don't know that blessing? Oy. Here it is:

"Blessed are you, Lord our God, king of the universe

who creates the fruit of the tree. Amen."

At this point, you eat a bit of the honey dipped apple and then say:

"May it be Your will, Lord our God and God of our ancestors

that you renew for us a good and sweet year."

Now who among us, no matter the faith or creed, couldn't use a little bountiful blessing like that?

We get a chance to bring on more of same as the Autumn Equinox heralds the second harvest a couple of days from now. This is a time that calls for meditation and introspection as the days become longer and darker. Seasonally, this is the time to go within as the Equinox offers each of us both permission and opportunity to explore those dark sides and facets of ourselves, our beings below, the ones we so rarely honor. Or even acknowledge for that matter. Who knows? The Shadow knows! And these are the days to where we can gather strength and sustenance not only seeing that shadow but also allowing it to heal. Simply by recognizing that it's even there. That's the gift that the changing season brings to us now. The promise and the premise that by embracing our shadow selves, by diving deeply into our own darkness, that then ew can reach the brilliance our own powerful light. The personally empowering juxtaposition of balancing the darkness and the light within.


And you thought it was only the first official day of fall. Oy. Again.

Celebrate your shadow and welcome the return of the light by sipping on something that uses, what else, apples and honey as the main event. Mix together six cups of apple cider with a quarter cup of honey and add six rinds each of orange and lemon peels. A teaspoon of powdered cinnamon added to six cloves and heated over medium heat in a pan until hot and you have a very tasty way to welcome, honor and appreciate another turning of the wheel of the year, no matter the calendar you're consulting.

Happy New Year. Happy Fall. Happy You!