Fall is always a crazy time for me. Since I’m still tied to an academic calendar with my work, this season has always felt like the beginning of the year. Caught up in the flurry of new ventures and old projects that continue to demand attention, as the year turns darker, I find myself drifting further away from my regular magical practice. Despite my best intentions, I rarely make it out to group rituals during the dark months of the year, and I’ve always felt a bit funny that my practice becomes distinctly solitary at the same time as magic is seeping into the rest of the world rapidly.
Still, in recent years, I have tried to nurture my need for quiet solitude in the fall, and I have (sort of) eased up on my feelings of guilt when I miss another fall gathering. It’s a paradox; I’m craving magic and community as the nights grow longer, but I find it harder to set foot outside my house, let alone to whip up the energy needed to offer a positive contribution to a circle.
I suppose I’m getting ready to hibernate, and my magic mirrors this state. The work I do in October and November is more about reflection, dreaming, and self-knowing, and less about raising energy or focusing intention. I know I need a balance of both active and passive magic, of solitary practice and group ritual to keep me fulfilled and steady, but the balance tips more to the slow, solitary end of things in this season, and I struggle with that.
How, then, do we make magic when our energy stores are depleted? How do we harness the energy of the harvest festivals to bolster us and usher us into the winter without succumbing to solitary gloom?
By giving into solitude and embracing down time. In my last post, I spoke about ways to find stillness, and today I wanted to add a few ways to self-nurture.
Indulge. Not in chocolate or wine (although those are nice, too), but in cozy; wrap yourself in fuzzy blankets, warm sweaters, and thick slippers. Spend an entire weekend on the couch in your cocoon, relishing the comfort and warmth.
Sleep. If you can spare a morning, sleep in without setting your alarm. If your days are too full for that, make a conscious effort to go to bed an hour or two early, and enjoy the extra rest. Or, the most decadent (and delicious) of all: take a nap.
Divine. This is a perfect time to explore the “darker” art of divination; read the cards, cast the ruins, and search your dreams for messages. Use the darkness of the season to help you slip beneath your conscious mind and seek for answers to your questions.
Be still. It’s perfectly okay to stay home tonight. Say no to a ritual, schedule a break, take a retreat; do whatever you need to do to pause, to breathe, to give yourself time to refuel before the coming winter. Magic will still be there waiting for you when you unplug, and chances are good that your community will understand your need for self-care.
I’m missing magic right now, and missing my circle, but at the same time, I know that I need this time to myself. Solitude is an important part of my practice, but one that’s all too easy to ignore in the summer. Now, as the weather turns wet and cold, I welcome this chance to stay home and descend into silence.
How will you refuel this fall?