With the happy, chaotic vibes of summer coming to a close, we welcome in the more introspective part of the year. It is a time to withdraw, to cleanse, to give thanks for what we have grown in the year and prepare that which we are ready to discard on the Feast of Ashes in October.
Often this is a time to gather with those you care about, or simply revel in your love of self and reflect on the dropping temperatures and changing leaves. The bounty of the late summer garden gives way to roots and gourds and the last of the herb garden offerings.
Like the Spring Equinox, this period marks a time of equal day and night, making it a good time for magic that relates to reining in bad habits, finding peace in a busy lifestyle, or bringing harmony to a household in strife. Unlike the Spring Equinox, however, which focuses on bringing balance to restore energy and vigor for growth the Autumnal Equinox welcomes you to bring balance for a proper rest. It’s energy asks you to appreciate everything you have done, big or small, and prepare for the darker half of the year by gathering up all of your grief, fear, anxiety and exhaustion in bundles before you so you can be ready to let them go. For we cannot release what we do not need if you don’’t first examine what we have and who we are.
I will share with you some of my traditions for this time of year, to give you an idea of the kind of productive magical and mundane work you can do to prepare yourself for the waning light. As someone with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), I find that my transition into Fall is very important to my mental health as it reminds me to let go of what I cannot control.
Some good Autumnal Equinox traditions:
? Just like Spring Cleaning, you can do some Fall Cleaning and prepping your house for the colder months. Put out your cold weather clothes (if appropriate for the time) and go through your warm weather things to bag up what doesn’t fit anymore or is unwanted anymore to give to secondhand stores or repurpose into other things (old t-shirts make nice dusting clothes~!), check windows for drafts, clean the fireplace and chimney if you have one, polish up your kitchen and pantry, sweep and mop floors and reset any wards or protection magics you have on your space.
? If you are so inclined, the first day of Fall is a perfect day to decorate for Halloween and for the season! You can make a ritual out of it like I do by sipping hot apple cider and playing some spooky or seasonally associated music (I tend to gravitate toward richer, warmer folk music around this time of year!)
? This is the second harvest holiday, and I personally strongly link this time of year to apples, so you could go apple picking and afterwards make an apple ie charmed to bring peace and happiness to those who eat it! Or if you picked a lot of apples make a happiness applesauce! You can also slice up apples and cook them in the oven to make apple chips for teas or just to snack on.
? If you are looking to bring balance into some aspect of your life, consider setting up a white candle and a black candle on your altar (or perhaps a yellow/gold and blue/silver set would work too!) As you work your magic for the day, the candles will invoke the equinox spirit into your working! If you cannot have candles, you can use a sunstone and a moonstone, or you could use clay or paper colored with your desired hues depicting balance.
? If the weather is fair and you have one near you, I find that visiting a river or stream is particularly nice as they are a body of Water, which is linked to emotions and also to the properties of motion and overcoming obstacles. If you find that you are having trouble coming to terms with some aspect of yourself or an event in your life, spending time near a river or placing a river stone on your altar might help you.
These are just a few ideas of how to bring the Equinox energies into your home and to use them in your practice. Other popular activities include feasting, offering appropriate gifts to spirits of the land and home, having a bon fire, and tying natural strings to trees as a form of wish making.