The changing seasons not only represent our move around the sun, but they also symbolize the internal growth our spirit experiences. Each new season ignites a transformation to the landscape around us, and coincides with an inner shift that marks the progression each of our spirit travels through.
Autumn is the season of preparation. It symbolizes looking to the future and taking stock of what we have within us to get there.
Traditionally, communities gathered together to share, heal and help nourish one another through extravagant celebrations and feasts. After the hard work of reaping the harvest, balance was restored by thoughtful rest and appreciation. But as we diversified around the globe, many of our sacred traditions anchored in practicality fell away, and we succumbed to the busy ways of modern lifestyles.
The Autumn Equinox is your chance to celebrate a new season, and also celebrate a new internal season as we continue to move through the life-long seasoning of our souls. It’s customary to experience this seasonal celebration with ones you hold dear because it was traditionally a time to gather.
Here are eight in-season rituals to help inspire you to celebrate fall:
1. HOME-GROWN FALL SUPPER
Digging up potatoes, plucking sun-kissed apples and bundling the last of your garden herbs are all soothing autumn rituals that mark harvesting season. Host a home-grown fall supper with your nearest and dearest, and brew up a spicy batch of fresh apple cider, fire-roasted sweet potatoes and sage, and warm, hearty ancient grain bread to share.
2. APPLE PICKING
The Apple symbolizes knowledge and prosperity. Plucking apples from a tree with your own hands offers that you may also pluck knowledge and prosperity for yourself. It is a hopeful ritual that encourages us to take our fate into our own hands. Gather your little ones, family, and friends, and find a local apple farm that allows you to pick fresh apples right from the tree. Spend an afternoon scouring the apple fields for the best apples you can reach with your own hands, and then craft a few thoughtful recipes with your haul.
3. CORN MAZE
Corn was instrumental in survival during earlier times, and was used as food, a ceremonial tool and spiritual offering. It remains an important crop in large parts of the world, and is a very recognizable symbol for fall. Once the corn stalks have grown tall, many farms clear mazes and labyrinths that make for a fresh-air-filled, kid-friendly autumn ritual. Bundle everyone up, pour some warm tea in a thermos, and explore the open fields together.
4. AUTUMN WREATH
Just as we go through changing inner seasons, our homes do as well. Hanging an item or amulet on the front door of your home is a great practice to help you respect the spirit of your home. The front door is the space that each guest entering the home passes through, and it acts as the symbolic doorway for energy to enter. Hanging an in-season wreath helps emanate a warm, inviting energy through your entire space. If you’re looking for a fun ritual to do with a couple friends, gather everyone for a DIY wreath-making party. Have each guest harvest something, like a few spiky blades of wheat, fluffy cotton puffs, pinecones or even some tiny gourds.
5. AUTUMN SMOKE BUNDLES
Gather your herbs and bundle them together to dry to make autumn smoke bundles that can be later used for smoke cleansing. Smoke cleansing helps remove negativity from a person, object or environment, and using additional autumn herbs will help infuse a space with warmth and nourishment once the negativity has been smoked away. Herbs such as sage, rosemary and peppermint make for a great base herb to remove negativity. Tying in yarrow, cinnamon sticks, or thyme are great additions to fill a space with healing energy. Gather a handful of herbs together and wrap thin twin around the base; spiral up to the top and back down, and secure the twine at the base again. Tie the bundle tighter than you think because the herbs will shrink once dried. Store them in a dark cool place to dry.
6. WINE TASTING
Fall symbolizes the long arduous work we each complete throughout the year, and it pairs well with the long fermentation process needed to batch wine. The process of wine-making goes through many phases of growth before it is ready for consumption, making it a sweet accompaniment for autumn rituals. Gather a few close friends for a wine-making or wine-tasting adventure this Autumn Equinox to dial in to the intense and magical changes needed for growth and progression.
7. TEA BLENDS
As an alcohol-free alternative, gather with loved ones for a tea-blending party. Leading up to the equinox, harvest and dry the herbs in your garden, and pick up a few helpful supplies such as storage tins, tea bags, mixing bowls or a mortar and pestle. Boil some water and fetch your favorite tea pot, and play around with different blends of herbs, taking care to name your favorites so you can enjoy them later. Remember to share!
8. BONFIRE PARTY
Bonfires were a staple ritual in autumn celebrations and they served a very practical purpose. Once the animals were slaughtered at the end of the farming season, the bones were all tossed into a fire to burn over night. These bone-fires were an imperative step in preparing the meat for the upcoming year. Despite wrinkling our noses at such a thing in modern time, many gathered around these fires to give thanks to the animals. For a modern spin, host a bonfire using woods and dried herbs, and encourage all your guests to gather in a circle and give thanks to all the things they felt benefited them over the year.
What are your autumn rituals? Share in the comments below.
You may also enjoy these related articles: Autumn Cosmic Report Helping You Shift from Summer to Fall, 5 Tips for a Healthy Autumn, Poached Pears with Autumn Spices, and a DIY Flower Cleansing Stick.
VANESSA KUNDERMAN is an openhearted writer and storyteller who inspires others to discover their own paths and personal stories. She has a diploma in Creative Communications, and teaches at the University of Winnipeg. Her website, Rogue Wood Supply, is a large resource of modern spiritual practices centered around crystals, botanicals, and the moon. As an intuitive and crystal guide, she hosts sacred women’s workshops, offers crystal readings, and shares weekly moon phase oracles online. Vanessa and her work has been featured in Refinery29, The New Moon project, Cottage Life Magazine, and more. She is a mother and cancer survivor living in the Canadian Prairies.