It has been a few weeks since we felt the first kiss of autumn settling over the land, bringing with it all the glories of the season: apples, crisp mornings, cozy sweaters, pumpkins, hot mugs of tea, hearty stews and, in New Mexico at least, the chile harvest. But autumn will officially be here tomorrow on the equinox--an event worthy of celebration. Like the harvest moon or other important dates on nature's calendar, the autumn equinox represents a time for us to be more aware of our connection to nature and the natural cycles of life. Every equinox and solstice, I like to pause and take the time to relish the bounty in my life and the importance of my connection to nature. This ritual helps to both ground me and give me wings, as I feel at once rooted to this earth and yet capable of continued growth.
Given the importance of the autumn equinox--historically and symbolically a time of harvest and turning inward as the coming months pull us indoors--it is important to celebrate this new season so we can transition gracefully into the colder, more contemplative months. I offer you five simple ways to celebrate this autumn equinox; you can do one or all of them or invent your own!
1. Sage burning. Traditional sage burning, best known from its Native American roots, is about cleansing a space using a smoking smudge stick (or densely packed bundle of sage). Sage has long been considered an important healing herb and, magically speaking, offers protection and wisdom to the user. Sage is also considered an important autumn herb because it thrives in this weather, symbolizing abundance for the next harvest cycle.
2.Celebrate your abundant harvest. Typically, when we think of the harvest, we picture farmers market stalls overflowing with squashes and pumpkins and apples, or gathering the last of our garden goodies before the first frost. This is an important part of celebrating abundance, true, but not the only one. It is equally important to reflect on your emotional, spiritual, personal harvest--what do you have in abundance in your life? What are you grateful for? By honoring these things, events, and people, you welcome future abundance and wellness into your life.
3. Feast! What better way to celebrate fall than with a lovely feast featuring the produce of the season? In older traditions, people would pour cider or wine on the roots of trees and plants to thank them for the food they bore. Think of feasting as another way of honoring the way nature nourishes us.
4. Spend time in nature. Go for a walk or hike; you might even be able to enjoy the turning leaves. Linger outside in your garden. Sit under a tree and just let your mind wander. Soon the cold will make it harder to venture outdoors, so take time now to relish nature.
5. Turn your home into a sanctuary. Since autumn ushers in winter, it signals a turning inward, both literally and metaphorically; it makes sense then to tend your home, preparing it for when you spend more time inside. Decorate it with autumn by collecting gourds and other signs of fall. Pull out your knitted blankets, roll out the autumnal table cloth. Give it a good cleaning. Create a cozy space that feels like a sanctuary you can retreat into for the coming months.
How do you celebrate the coming autumn?
Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational collection of musings touching on life’s simple pleasures, everyday enchantments, and delectable recipes that will guarantee to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe here.