My heat just kicked on in my home for the first time since last spring. This brings me to a great realization that summer is most definitely on it's way out and the crisp autumn air is bringing the changing of the leaves and the season of pumpkin spice with it. I'm totally okay with that! Although I love the summer sunshine and the cookouts (although in the Midwest we still cook out on the grill in full snow storms), I adore the crisp, cool air and the snuggling into a sweater or wrapping up in a blanket by the fire as well. During this time of year, in the Northern Hemisphere, we celebrate the changing of the season and all that goes with it. Some that follow traditions will celebrate Mabon. The rest of us will celebrate the changing of the season at the Autumn Equinox. Both begin on Sept. 21st.
Since the celebrations begin next week, I thought I'd give a few ways to celebrate this time of year as both approach so that we can 'be ready' for it. But first, what is so special about this time of year?
Well...Night and day are again of equal length and in perfect equilibrium - dark and light, masculine and feminine, inner and outer, in balance. But we are again on the cusp of transition and from now the year now begins to wane and from this moment darkness begins to defeat the light. The cycle of the natural world is moving towards completion, the Sun's power is waning and from now on the nights grow longer and the days are are shorter and cooler. The sap of trees returns back to their roots deep in the earth, changing the green of summer to the fire of autumn, to the flaming reds, oranges and golds. We are returning to the dark from whence we came.
So basically, we're headed into the dark half of the year. So we rejoice in what gained in the light half and prepare for the upcoming months of darkness. It is during the dark half of the year that we contemplate and prepare for the light half once again. We're always looking for the bright side! ;)
It is a celebration and also a time of rest after the labor of harvest. In terms of life path it is the moment of reaping what you have sown, time to look at the hopes and aspirations you set in the spring (Imbolc and Ostara) and reflect on how they have manifested. It is time to complete projects, to clear out and let go that which is no longer wanted or needed as we prepare for descent, so that the winter can offer a time for reflection and peace. And it is time to plant seeds of new ideas and hopes which will lie dormant but nourished in the dark, until the return of Spring.
Symbols of the Season
The Cornucopia, or Horn of Plenty, is a traditional symbol. It is a wonderful symbol for the wealth of harvest and is beautifully balanced symbol which is both male (phallic) and female (hollow and receptive).
The apple is the symbol of the Fruit Harvest. The apple figures significantly in many sacred traditions. It is a symbol for life and immortality, for healing, renewal, regeneration and wholeness. It is associated with beauty, long life and restored youth. For witches, the apple contains a 'secret'. Cut an apple width ways and it reveals a pentagram containing seeds.
From green to red, orange, yellow, brown and gold. Those bright, vibrant colors that are found in the changing of the leaves.
Your Altar or Sacred Space
Your altar or sacred space should be dressed in the very best produce you can find from field, forest and market, from garden and the wild. Apples, pears, rose hips, elderberries, blackberries, hawthorn berries, the possibilities are amazing. If you collect from the wild, don't be greedy - always leave plenty of fruit and berries for the birds and little creatures.
Make an outdoor shrine for the nature spirits in thanks for the bounty they help to provide. Leave one of each flower, fruit and vegetable that you have, as a gift.
It's the Witches' Thanksgiving!
Celebrate with a feast for friends and family using as much fruit & veg, locally grown, as you can.
Thing's You Can Do
Go for a walk and collect as much of nature's wild abundance as you can, while respecting the need to leave enough for everyone else including the nature spirits.
Clear Out and Complete.
We think of Spring as the time to clear out but now is the perfect time to complete unfinished projects and clear your home of unwanted stuff. Prepare to hibernate!
This is an excellent time to plant tree seeds and shrubs. They have all of winter in the darkness to establish and germinate. Plant bulbs which will hide in the earth until early Spring beckons. Make each one a hope, idea or aspiration for Spring and wait until their little green noses show above ground - to remind you!
There are so many ways to celebrate this upcoming change of season! Be sure to get out and enjoy a bit of it because before you know it the cold of winter will be keeping us from venturing out so much!
I wanted to share of of my favorite incense blends for the season with you. You can simply blend these together and place them on a charcoal disk to burn or sprinkle them onto an already burning piece of paper that you may have as a petition during ritual:
2 parts Frankincense
1 part Myrrh
1 part Juniper
1 part Pine
1 part Cedar
1 part Sage
1 part Juniper
1 part Rosemary
And lastly, a favorite decoration that I used to do with my kids when they were young and still do to this day. Wax dipped leaves! It's great to find those vibrant colors and use them in my magickal decor in my home. It's really easy too, but if you're doing this with children, I suggest you let them do the collection and prep work of laying out the wax paper while you do the dipping.
Paraffin can be found at most hobby and craft stores where candle making supplies are sold. Melt the paraffin according to the manufacturer's directions and quickly dip your chosen leaves in. Set them aside on wax paper to dry. Once they are dry, you can gently inscribe them with your names or special words and symbols of the season. Use them to decorate your home and altars.
I hope that you're able to enjoy the changing of the season, the turning of The Wheel, or simply the crisp, cool breezes and scents of pumpkin spice!
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