The Autumn Equinox is akin to teetering on a precipice. We do a balancing act of clinging to the last bits of summer, while eagerly embracing all that Samhain brings. It’s an exciting time to be sure, but underneath runs a current. If you are very quiet and still, you can hear it. That current, that hum, that leads us on the way to Samhain. It’s not just decorations and witches’ balls (although that is fun as well) it’s also the deepening, the going within, the preparation of what’s to come.
In the midst of activities, take some time to mentally and spiritually prepare for Samhain. Truly connect with this season, before we head towards the cold and dark of winter.
Begin a daily ritual: Even if you already have a daily ritual, consider adding another element to it. Pull a tarot or oracle card a day, write in your journal, look up a spell a day, and really delve into your spiritual time. Get up a little bit earlier, and spend time at your altar, to center and ground yourself. Light candles to a deity, connect or reconnect with them. Spend time in meditation, and try to envision what you would like this season to look and feel like, not only in doing, but also in being.
Prepare your ancestor altar: The veil is thinnest at this time of year, so begin preparations for your ancestor altar. Perhaps honor one specific ancestor you feel connected to, a different branch of the family you’re not as familiar with, or focus on the qualities of the ancestors that dwell within you. For myself, I am honoring my grandmother more fully, as she continues to be such an incredible influence on my life. I owe her so much, so this year, I will not only have photos, but a daily fresh cup of coffee (her favorite beverage) a bit of her favorite cologne, and flowers. I will also cook more of the meals she taught me to make, as her nurturing spirit lives on within me.
Make plans for next year: It’s not too early to get next year’s calendar and try to get more organized. Envision what you would like to accomplish next year, and start making lists. Create a simple vision board of a few things you’d like to bring into your life. Want to move to a new place? Focus on what that would look like for you: a larger or smaller space? More trees? More urban? More rural? If you like to create, envision a new form of art you’d like to explore or learn. If you want to travel, then set a vision for the place you would like to visit, and set alerts on fares for that destination.
Get your apothecary ready: Gather a supply of Fire Cider, Four Thieves Vinegar, and Elderberry. If you don’t know how to make them, see if you know someone reliable who does. If there are teas you find useful for health reasons, get in a supply of those as well. For myself, I always remain well stocked in peppermint tea, which has so many uses. If this feels too much for you, then start learning about plants. Plan your garden if you have the space. Find seed and plant companies that you would like to use for next year’s harvesting. If you live in a smaller space, then plan your container garden, and explore different ways to create planters.
Go out in nature: The days are already getting darker earlier, so get on out into the forest and woods. If they are not nearby, plan at least one weekend of nature, whether it be a picnic at a local park, a trip to a lake nearby, or visit the ocean. Store up all the grounding energy by walking barefoot on the grass, and some vitamin D from the sun. If you are fortunate enough to have a garden or back deck, sit outside and really listen to the sounds of nature. I am relishing the sounds of the birds and the rustle of the tree leaves even as I write this.
Nourish friendships: Haven’t been in touch with your friends lately because you’ve been too busy? Make a plan to change that. If your friend is far away, then plan on sending weekly cards, or arrange to have a phone call while drinking your favorite beverages. Reconnect and strengthen those roots of friendships, as it will sustain you.
Books, books, books: You probably have a supply of books piled hither and yon. Go through them and create a pile you can really relish this winter. Put it in a special place, so you’ll have a pile ready for those snow days and cold days. Donate what books you’ve lost interest in to a local place, and the remaining pile can become the treasure you look forward to once the excitement of the holidays wears down.
Candles, candles, candles: Nothing is more beautiful than the glow of a lit candle. Already so many items are on sale, as the retailers move into the next holiday, and even the holiday after that. Stockpile some to keep, or some to give as gifts.
Prepare for Yule: No, I don’t mean rush into the next celebration. Keep an eye out for things to give or create for the special people in your life. Just keep it in the back of your mind as you move through this season and prepare for winter. Envision what you would like your Yule to look like: a fun gathering or simple, quiet celebration? A special meal, no presents? A book exchange? Gathering items for donations?
Being busy for the sake of being busy is one thing, but purposeful planning like the ideas above, can feel less overwhelming, and a steady pace that can help you feel more connected to the season. We are on the road to Samhain, so let this be an even more meaningful one for you. Take the ideas that appeal to you, even if it’s only one or two, and see if they make a difference. ‘Tis the Season of the Witch, so dig deep into your witchiness and see what happens.