Sometime during summer, I go a little dormant. The high heat and humidity where I live in the mid-Atlantic weighs heavily on me. I begin to drift, to slip into the doldrums. I tend to slide out of my patterns of practice and choose checking out rather than dialing in. I go through the motions but do not invest. Everything is sluggish – my spirituality, my creativity, and my energy levels.
And then, somehow, I start to wake up again. Early last week, I was crafting at the dining room table and noticed the sun had set. My thoughts shifted as I recognized that the action I was engaged in – making something beautiful in the warm quiet of my home – was an echo of things to come in autumn and winter. I could suddenly see the year spiraling out in front of me again and the slow, aimless mental drifting dissipated like clearing mist. Since that moment, I’ve been shaking off my summer slump. Some people love summer, and I am glad of their joy in it. As for me, I love the other three seasons we experience here in western Maryland. The first hint of autumn to come is like a breath of fresh air in a stuffy room. It clears my thoughts and ruffles my spirit, waking me back up to life.
If you experience a similar autumnal awakening, there are some wonderful ways to take advantage of the feeling of renewal. After all, we have the Season of the Witch ahead of us! It’s a good time to lay the groundwork for an abundant, nourishing autumn and winter.
Some of the lyrics to Three Dog Night’s ‘Mama Told Me Not To Come’ play across my mind when it’s time to shake off the summer: “Open up your window, let some air into this room!”
My mother taught me the power of ‘turning the air’ in a house when I was a little kid. Fresh air is a powerful rejuvenator, a reminder that one of the natural blessings of Elemental Air is change. In our homes, we fall into repetitive patterns. The air and the energy follow the same path over and over again. Without even realizing it, we end up with a buildup along the repeated pathways: the mundane dust and clutter, of course, but also the thoughts and emotions we shed. If the temperatures are clement in your region, open the windows and doors. Turn on the fans and give your home some fresh air. Welcoming the touch of Elemental Air into your room, apartment, or house helps release stuck, stale energy.
Consider adding some active purification to your space while the windows are open – they are creating an exit for thoughts, feelings, and energy that no longer serve. I like to smolder home-grown herb bundles (my preferred blend is lavender, broad leaf sage, and patchouli) and walk through the house, wafting cleansing smoke through each room. You can also use stick or cone incense for this. If smoke purification is not an option for you, sound is another powerful way to break up stuck energy. Grab a set of tingshas, a pure-toned bell, or even a little set of windchimes, and ring out your space. Don’t forget to purify yourself once you’ve purified your space – we all get a little energetically grungy at times.
For me, a large part of the dark season is Winter Work. If that’s a new concept for you, Winter Work is a focused course of study we take on for the inward spiral. This year, I’ve signed up for both a heathenry series with Trey Moonwood and a series on Ancestral Magick with The Temple of Witchcraft. I find that new information, perspectives, and ways to enhance my practice have a rejuvenating effect on my spirituality. Winter Work does not have to be specifically spiritual, either. Learning a new craft or picking up a needed skill can also be a great way to get your creative juices flowing again. Think about what you’d like to learn – are there areas of study that invite a deeper dive? Is there a craft or art you’d like to pick up? Look around for resources. Some of us thrive in class settings. Some of us do better with self-guided study. One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that so many courses are now available online for everything from Enochian Magick to crocheting.
Waking up to the realization that autumn is on the horizon also reminded me of all the things I love to do as the season shifts toward darkness – hiking, gardening, visiting parks, hitting a few pick-your-own produce farms, etc. Take a look at your calendar and block off some days for local adventures. You don’t even have to choose what the adventure will be in advance – just make some space for going outside. Sometimes putting together a ‘bucket list’ of fall activities can be useful. That way, when you hit an adventure day, you can easily choose from the activities you listed out previously.
The other thing I like to do as the season shifts is reset my house a little. Just as opening the windows and letting the breeze blow through can shift the energy in a space, so too can tidying up and doing a little purging. As I shook off the summer fog, I looked around and realized that it was time to clean up a bit – the windows are covered with dog-nose prints, the coffee table is cluttered, my closet is once again holding clothing I haven’t worn in over a year, and I can’t remember the last time I cleared the cobwebs from the corners of the ceiling….it’s time.
There’s a deep centering that comes when we enter a new part of the spiral with an energetically clean slate. We know that no matter what the outside world throws at us, our sanctum – our own safe, sacred space – is in order and ready to meet us with whatever we need. Take a moment to look around your space. Is there any way to make it more comfortable? Is there a way to make it more supportive of your life and patterns? Are there any things out of place or piling up? Consider doing a fall reset. If you struggle with cleaning, I can tell you the pattern that I use. I wrote an entire blog on resetting my home for fall last year – check it out here.
And, of course, one last one:
It is easier to put a new pattern in place by rewarding the behaviors we wish to see than by punishing those we do not. Did you open up the windows, or tidy up your space? Did you sign up for a course or pick up a new book? Reward yourself! Think about your favorite flavors this season and grab a snack. Or, head over to the thrift or secondhand store for some new altar décor or snuggly clothes for the cooler weather to come. Remember, ‘All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals.’ There is so much joy to be had when we open to the change of seasons and the blessings of the natural world.
So, are you shrugging off a summer slump as well? What are you excited about for the autumn ahead? Or, how are you supporting deeper connection as we move toward the inner spiral? Hit me up in the comments.