One of my favorite childhood autumn memories is diving into massive piles of brown leaves that had fallen from the trees in our neighborhood. My best friend and I made "snow angels" and happily buried ourselves with laughter and abandon.
Autumn is a magical time. As you decide how you'd like to celebrate it, remember that humans have a long history of crafting rituals during this season to celebrate thankfulness, gratitude, and harvest.
Whether you'd like to craft a highly ceremonial ritual, or prefer to stick with a heartwarming autumn party, here's my chart of correspondences to get you into the vibe of the season!
FALL COLORS FOR RITUAL
dark hunter's green
all shades of orange
Take a walk in your neighborhood and notice the colors of nature as the season progresses. The dark brown of rain soaked tree trunks, the lasting green of evergreens like spruce or pine, and the brilliant shades of red and orange and plant life begins to transform-- let these be your guide.
Let the natural textures of wood, burlap, canvas, and the other agricultural harvest materials inspire you.
Get a few yards of inspiring fabric at a thrift store of fabric shop. Some years I set my tables with the old family lace, and place my colorful autumn scarves down the center as a runner, along with tea lights in mason jars.
For ritual impact, choose just one or two colors and go very heavy. What colors call to you this season?
FOODS OF AUTUMN
In my yard, the granny smith apples are beginning to bend our apple tree, so this is the time for fresh apple cake and pie. In another month the pomegranates and persimmons will be ready, but right now it's also the season of the pumpkin!
Try autumn soups using pumpkin or garden vegetables. Or butternut squash soup with a little bit of bone broth, and some crusty homemade olive date bread.
If you like to bake, warm up your oven with fresh zucchini bread, banana nut bread, or roasted caramel apples.
In Sonoma County, the grape harvest has also begun. I like to celebrate by making grape jelly, or cracking open a bottle of local wine.
Make a list of your favorite autumn foods, and then plan to cook one!
EQUINOX ALTAR DECORATIONS & SYMBOLS
symbols of prosperity and abundance
This is the perfect time of year for incense blends and potpourri. Set your altar with a colorful base cloth. Add two candles to your altar for symmetry, or clump candles in sets of 3 or 5. Consider natural beeswax candles, or ones that really speak to your heart.
Choose one central item to anchor your concept: a cornucopia for prosperity, a deity statue, a fall pumpkin, or a lovely wreath and crystal grid with found objects from the outdoors.
Then add photos of loved ones, positive affirmations, and greeting cards or crafts.
Alternately, your candles, or a simple bouquet of flowers, might be your central item.
I'm a huge believer in working with the crystals that call to you. Some stones, like obsidian, just happen to pop up for me every year at this time. add crystals to a table place setting, or create a healing grid to anchor your season.
Rather than buying fancy crystals, take a walk in your neighborhood and see if any rocks or stones call to you. I love walking the creek and finding river stones at this time of year.
FALL EQUINOX HERBS FOR MAGIC
Learn to look outside for the herbs in your environment. In my hood, the milk thistle and the very last of the yarrow are asking to be harvested. Chamomile too! Mugwort may be more of a summer thing, but the roots can be harvested in fall... or you can pull out some of your dried leaves for a very relaxing self care tea.
Traditionally marigolds become very popular this time of year due to their big role in dia de los muertos celebrations and ancestral altars.
Protective herbs like rue, rosemary, and incenses like frankincense & myrrh are also highlighted this time of year, because the dramatic shift into the colder wetter season can be destabilizing to your energy.
Work protective herbal magic, or add food safe herbs to your meals to help your body maintain its equilibrium during the shifting season.
Working with deities through the energetic wheel of the year is a personal and rewarding endeavor. While many deities are multifaceted and can be celebrated anytime, Mabon is a Celtic deity and one of the namesakes for fall equinox.
I personally love to work with Maat or Thoth at this time of year as I reflect on dynamic balance within my life, and the personal values that will anchor me into the dark time of year.
Living in Sonoma county wine country, Dionysus and Bacchus also really appeal to me, as does Hestia who reminds us to tend to the hearth fires for the spiritual well being of our cities.
SPELLWORK / SPIRITUAL THEMES
protection during the changing season
community healing or activism
Each year brings different themes to light. Work with the equinox energy to find grounding, equilibrium, and balance in whatever theme speaks to you.
FALL EQUINOX RITUALS & TRADITIONS
final garden party harvest
lemon protective magic
You can plan a season of small weekly rituals, or do one large ritual. Food rituals are very powerful this time of year, as our bodies especially seek nourishment in preparation for the cold season.
One of my traditions with my son was to walk the corn maze, climb the hay pyramid, and choose pumpkins together for the season. We put these outside of the house for protection through the season.
He no longer walks the maze with me, but visiting a labyrinth for reflection and intention setting is still something I do. And we still choose pumpkins together!
Start to think about your special autumn rituals. Take something you already enjoy doing, and deepen the tradition each year.
When I make apple cake, I stir in blessings of love, luck, and good fortune for my entire family. I ask the sugar crystals to hold only the highest good for all.
Gather friends to make wreaths, or have a tea ceremony where you each share wisdom and set positive intentions for fall. In the past I've enjoyed a simple cacao ceremony for grounding, or a blue lotus tea ceremony for healing.
I also like to blend teas in the fall. For example, I'll mix dried herbs of hibiscus, rose petals, chamomile, cinnamon, and orange for an intentional drink. I add hot water, let steep, and sip gentle. Once the tea is almost done, I'll turn the cup onto its saucer for a tea leaf reading.
Okay, okay for some of you reading this I already know a PSL coffee ceremony is more likely.
I will add sections to this list (such as trees, animals, tarot cards, etc) as I feel inspired, but hopefully it gives you some ideas for working with the fall.
As energy healers, even if only for ourselves, we can tap into the channel of vital energy that is particularly active at these cross quarters of the year.
Returning to the rhythms of the season is incredibly healing for our bodies, and I hope you are able to enjoy this sacred time.
If you're not sure how to tap into the season's energy, or you need support deepening into your personal practices, please feel free to reach out to me directly.
Love and Reiki blessings,
DAILEY LITTLE is a healing practitioner, transformational life coach, ordained Priestess, and teacher who founded Healing Heart Reiki to help others navigate life with joy. She offers private sessions, and teaches classes in healing and mindset from a magical peaceful corner of the world in Northern California. For more info see: www.SantaRosaReiki.com