The transition from Summer to Autumn is a happy time for me. Watching the trees change colors from green to red to brown to orange. Observing the geese as they gather in v-formation to head south—the feel of the crisp air on my skin—harvesting herbs and flowers and preparing my garden and side beds for colder weather. Opening windows to let a breeze in the house after months of air conditioning. All of it brings me deep satisfaction. Not to mention, the last three months of the year have a lot of holidays I enjoy. But, the transition from Summer to Autumn can also be a time to take stock. What is past and what is yet to come in the final months of the year? And for me, it is a time to honor the Earth as we move from the light half of the year toward the dark.
Transition Can Be Hard
My friend and I were sitting on her porch, sipping water and enjoying one another’s company. She has had an emotional struggle in recent days. A feeling I can understand even though our reasons are different. She needed a sounding board, and I am always happy to listen. Then we began talking about the end of Summer and the upcoming Autumn Equinox.
As mentioned, I love this time of year, what it represents, and the celebrations and holidays to come. But, while I do enjoy the heat and light of Summer, I am not so devoted that I cannot appreciate (and, in the case of Autumn, prefer) the other seasons as well. Each one has its high and low points—reasons for me to find joy in the transition. However, most people lamenting the end of August bring up missing days at the beach, sports, or other activities as the sunlight wanes. Not so, my friend.
For her, the move toward Autumn brings out a melancholy. She reports a sense of loss, spiritual or emotional heaviness, etc. But her experience is not a complete surprise as seasonal change also brings a thinning of the veil, in my experience, and she is a sensitive person. For some people, this isn’t easy. So, my friend had many questions about how I could find any reason to celebrate a time that felt sad to her.
Reflecting Life Through Natural Shifts
Perhaps the answer is found in my path? I am a Green Earth Witch. For me, the change of seasons is a natural time of celebration and a reflection of life. I am looking back and looking ahead. What went well in the previous months? What might be changed if needed or what new adventure awaits?
The change of seasons (however it looks, regardless of calendar, tradition, or location) reflects life as we have experienced, described, and ordered it throughout humanity’s creation of time. Beginnings. Endings. Growth. Loss. Abundance. Need. Want. Balance. Birth. Death. Rebirth. It is all there in these transitions of nature and within our celebrations, traditions, and rituals.
Is a seasonal change always easy? No. Can it be challenging to find a reason to celebrate when times are tough, there is loss, or circumstances are just wrong? You better believe it. But for me, the celebration of a seasonal transition can also be a balm of healing or personal restoration. Finding joy in the simplest of things is reason enough for me to observe a seasonal change (even if it comes after the fact). The festival does not need to be extensive, elaborate, expensive, or time-consuming. Just meaningful to you and those with whom you choose to celebrate.
Celebrate the Transition!
My favorite way to honor the Autumn Equinox (or any holiday, really) is to decorate. Sometimes, this is a simple addition to our family altar as well as my altars. Doing so can include adding colors or themes that correspond to whatever I am celebrating. And I keep it pretty straightforward, sometimes beginning at the start of the month to extend the celebration.
If I know the focus, I try to include items that will strengthen and correspond to my intention for the festival. For example, I choose various colors, flowers or plants, stones, shells, stones, candles, etc., that can reflect my beliefs or magickal intention. So, in the information below, let’s consider what types of things correspond with the energy of Autumn.
Red: Change. Courage. Energy. Health. Lust. Power. Romance. Sex. Strength. War.
Orange: Abundance. Attraction or Drawing Things To You. Creativity. Emotions. Protection. Renewal. Sun.
Gold: Abundance. Finances. Growth. Healing. Power. Protection. Sun.
Yellow: Action. Communication. Friendship. Inspiration. Intuition. Learning. Travel. Wisdom.
Brown: Animals. Balance. Endurance. Finding What Is Lost. Grounding. Material Wealth. Protection. Strength.
Acorns: Health. Longevity. Luck. Protection. Wisdom.
Apples: Abundance. Divination. Health. Intuition. Love. Protection. Strength. Underworld. Wisdom.
Corn: Abundance. Divination. Earth Deity Energy. Fertility. Protection. Stability.
Gourds (Squash): Baneful workings. Healing. Intention.
Grain(s) –Dependent on grains used: Fertility. Love. Money. Prosperity. Protection. Psychic Awareness. Spirituality.
Leaves Dependent on leaves used: Beginnings. Clairvoyance. Divination. Healing. Love. Moon Magick. Protection. Purification.
Pumpkins: Fertility. Happiness. Love. Prosperity. Protection. Wishes.
Sage (Garden or Common): Clarity. Cleansing. Grounding. Home blessing. Longevity. Love. Luck. Money. Wisdom.
Burdock: Cleansing. Protection. Wishes.
Goldenrod: Divination. Dowsing. Good Fortune. Intuition. Love.
Marigold: Business. Legal Matters. Sun. Visions.
Rose Hips: Cleansing. Friendship. Love. Peace. Psychic Ability. Romance.
While these lists are not extensive, my hope is they provide a starting place with which to plan this first of two Autumn holidays. There are many resources available that include rituals, spells, correspondences, etc., online and in books, or use your intuition as a guide.
You can do so many things (with children or not) to celebrate the transition from Summer to Autumn. Not to mention, your activities do not have to be magickal or focused on ritual to be a meaningful celebration. So, below I will mention a few ideas from which you can glean inspiration. But whatever you choose to do, I hope you will find what you need or desire to manifest in the coming Autumn months.
- Gather herbs, fruits, and vegetables that have not been harvested for canning, drying, or storage.
- Rake leaves in your yard into large piles and then jump into them.
- Find a local park and have a picnic or simply spend time connecting to the transitional energy between Summer and Autumn.
- Focus on finding or maintaining balance in your life (work-home, mundane-spiritual, etc).
- Donate to a local food bank or volunteer at a homeless shelter during mealtimes.
- Bake bread for yourself but include a few loaves to share with family, friends, coworkers.
- Make an offering of beer or mead to whatever deity you honor or to Mabon Ap Modren (for whom the Wiccan celebration is named).
- Have a bonfire, calling forth the Elements and deities to join you. Make offerings. Then, state your intention for the new season.
- Go to a local apple orchard. Drink cider. Make donuts. Enjoy a hayride.
- Perform divination with apples or whatever other method suits your fancy.
- Cook a feast with all your favorite foods that feature Autumn vegetables and fruits.
- Clean your home and reinforce protections and wards.
- Begin shadow work (if it is appropriate for you to do at this time).
- Focus on self-care in preparation for the dark half of the year.