It’s pagan autumn time!
How can we best appreciate pagan autumn? What do I even mean by “pagan autumn”?
As pagans and polytheists, we have a fair number of holidays and celebrations which are either agricultural in nature and/or focus on the cycle of the seasons. Pagan autumn is a great time to contemplate our own spiritual mysteries. My own faith and traditions includes the tale of Persephone’s rise from and return to the underworld and the teachings it imports.
But what does it mean in our own lives?
Change is the only constant in life
In the autumn, leaves change. Things start to die. The winds get cold. We know that winter is coming. Here in New England, we get to experience these things. We also can take the time to appreciate the beauty around us. Life is beautiful, and it is beautiful because it is about to die.
Change can produce stress and friction. The seasonal changes can bring changes in mood, health, and circumstances.
As pagans, polytheists, witches, we need to embrace change in our lives. It’s often not comfortable but we have no choice. It’s our best opportunity for growth.
Autumn is also a time for transitions
Autumn is the passing of summer into winter. Pagan autumn is all about change and transitions.
Liminal gods associated with passage to other worlds are also good to honor during this time. Hekate and Hermes are obvious choices. Appreciating what it means in your life to go from one thing to another is good.
Change is stressful. Transitions are stressful. Take the time to be gentle with yourself but also recognize when it’s time to let go and move on.
All good (and bad) things must come to an end
Autumn is a fantastic time of year to get rid of things, not unlike a spring cleaning. Ditch old and/or bad habits. Clear out the crap. Prepare to let go of what you need to let go of, and enjoy the ride.
If you have a yard that you rake, spend time while raking contemplating what it means to let go and allow change to occur. The leaves and acorns fall as winter grows near. Autumn is the cooling period before we break out the mittens and snow shovels. Things are dying. Many flowers are no longer in bloom.
Celebrate change, for both life and death are good
Drink your pumpkin spice lattes, take out your lightweight fingerless gloves, find your fall scarves and coats. Go apple picking. Enjoy the beauty of the autumn leaves. Take a drive or a walk to where the foliage is especially lovely and colorful.
Appreciate your own personal harvests and what you’ve accomplished so far this year. Embrace changes as they occur, and work towards better and new beginnings. Take the time to be grateful for what you have in your life that gives you joy.
Life cannot exist without death and as pagans, polytheists, witches, we must embrace this and all that comes with it.
Sacrifice makes things sacred
Letting go of things is hard but is ultimately rewarding. This time of year is a good time to contemplate what sacrifice means to you. Think about what things are holding you back from achieving your true potentia.? What have you been putting off getting rid of in your own life? What must you give up in order to get what you both want and need?
In various legends and myths there are tales of the deaths of sacred gods, kings, and heroes. Adonis, Dionysos, Mithras, the Harvest Lord, all are such examples of those who died and/or were sacrificed but later came back in a renewed form. One of my own traditions has the provider cycle rituals which I’ve often described as the “Eleusinian Mysteries topside”.
Dionysos is one of the god I honor most in my own life, and is especially appropriate to honor during this time of year. One of Dionysos’ titles is “initiator” and he is associated with the mysteries. He also had his own mystery cults in ancient Greece dedicated to him.