The Autumn Equinox is almost upon us! This isn’t usually a big ritual holiday for me, but instead a quiet and simple observance of a powerful moment in the yearly cycle of the sun. If you’d like to keep your celebration simple, here’s a few ideas for connecting with this holiday.
1) Honor local spirits. A big part of Heathenry is connecting to your land and place. If you’ve never taken the time to explore what makes your geographical region unique, this is a great time to do so! In Nebraska, we have an annual apple harvest festival where my family loves to go and pick apples, and we always bring a few things to leave behind for the trees. Farmer’s Markets are great places to visit for ideas, as there will be lots of people local to you that know a great deal about local harvests and native plants and animals.
2) Give thanks for what you’ve been given. This ties in with the above; the gifting cycle is an important piece of my Heathenry. When good things are given to me, I am obligated to return that good. If you’re a gardener this comes naturally; you give the plants and the soil the care and attention they need, and in return you receive a good harvest. The next step in the cycle is another gift, perhaps a fall application of compost to keep the soil healthy.
3) Recognize the dark and the light. In this time of balance between day and night, we realize that much of life is a balancing act. We all go through times of hardship and times of joy, and it’s important to me to recognize the power of both these things. As the earth heads towards a time of rest, celebrate your happiness and mourn your losses; both are essential pieces of life.
4) Say a prayer to Freyr. God of Sunshine and Rain is my favorite epithet for Him. While the Vanir are not all about agriculture, fertility, and harvest-times, you can hardly go wrong honoring Freyr when the fields are ripe and bounty is coming in. Try this one for a simple start: “Hail Freyr, God of the World, Lord of the sunshine and the rain. As your golden fields ripple and glow, bring your bounty to my life.”
5) Prepare for the coming winter. There are lots of mundane things that need doing in the fall – disconnect and bring in the garden hoses, clear gutters of fallen leaves, cover windows with more insulation. These can also be spiritual activities. Caring for one’s home is almost always appreciated by house wights, and canning and preservation is a powerful way to connect with your agrarian ancestors.