As much as I’m in denial about Summer ending, and despite temperatures in the 80s in the Mid-Atlantic Region, there is no doubt that fall is starting to settle in. As soon as September arrived I could feel the change in the air. Fall is about reflection and letting go of that which does not serve us any longer. It's a chance to cleanse and prepare for new beginnings. Now is the time to address habits that are no longer serving you and make changes toward personal improvement. The changing seasons not only represent our move around the sun, but they also symbolize the internal growth our spirit experiences. Each new season ignites a transformation to the landscape around us, and coincides with an inner shift that marks the progression each of our spirit travels through.
Autumn is the season of preparation. It symbolizes looking to the future and taking stock of what we have within us to get there. The Autumn Equinox is the chance to celebrate a new season externally and internally. as we continue to move through the life-long seasoning of our souls.
The Autumn (or vernal, in the Southern Hemisphere) Equinox is the day where light and dark are balanced. Also known as Mabon, the mid-harvest festival, it is when we take a few moments to honor the changing seasons, and celebrate the second harvest. This time of year has been celebrated by all different spiritual paths all over the world for centuries, but there are simple ways you can celebrate regardless of your faith or background.
Clean your home/office/studio/car from top to bottom, and then do a smudging. Open the windows to clear out any stale air from circulated air conditioning. Decorate your home with symbols of the harvest season, or create a Mabon altar. Collect colorful autumn leaves, gourds, acorns, and fallen twigs and place them in decorative baskets in your house. Start preparing for winter by making your home a cozy and clean space. If you have any repairs that need to be done, do them now so you don’t have to worry about them over the winter. Reuse, recycle or give away anything that’s no longer of use.
It is also known as the “Witch’s Thanksgiving,” although you don’t need to identify in order to give thanks for all that we have reaped over the Spring and Summer. Make a gratitude list, or write one thing at a time that you’re thankful for on individual slips of paper and keep them in a jar. Be sure to be grateful for all that you have become and accomplished, nothing is too small to give yourself recognition and appreciation for.
With the Fall Equinox being a balanced day of equal light and dark, use this time to reflect on the balance in your life. How do you balance your personal needs with your commitments to the outside world? How do you receive and how do you give? You might want to reflect on this in your journal or make it concrete by putting objects on a scale. For everything which represents one side of the scale to you (for instance, a book representing quiet time alone), place something on the other side which represents its opposite (a letter or phone for reaching out to friends).
Share your harvest with others. You could hold a food drive, donate items you no longer need or use, volunteer, help someone out, be a friend. Regardless of how limited we sometimes feel our resources may be, we always have something we can give, even if it’s just lending your ear or giving your pet some extra love.
The Apple symbolizes knowledge and prosperity. Plucking apples from a tree with your own hands offers that you may also pluck knowledge and prosperity for yourself. It is a hopeful ritual that encourages us to take our fate into our own hands. Gather your little ones, family, and friends, and find a local apple farm that allows you to pick fresh apples right from the tree. Spend an afternoon scouring the apple fields for the best apples you can reach with your own hands, and then craft a few thoughtful recipes with your haul. As you pick the apples, give thanks to Pomona, goddess of fruit trees. Be sure to only pick what you’re going to use.
Have a Bonfire
Bonfires were a staple ritual in autumn celebrations and they served a very practical purpose. Once the animals were slaughtered at the end of the farming season, the bones were all tossed into a fire to burn over night. These bone-fires were an imperative step in preparing the meat for the upcoming year, and many gathered around these fires to give thanks to the animals. Personally, I don’t eat meat, but I love a bright, warm fire! Host a bonfire using wood and dried herbs, and encourage all your guests to gather in a circle and give thanks to all the things they felt benefited them over the year.
Start Something New
Fall is the time of school starting again, and a time of a new cycle. Enroll in a class, start a new project or re-visit something you never finished, learn something new, read, watch a documentary, or exchange ideas with peers. It’s also a good time for meditation and inner reflection to learn something new about yourself.