I realize that the equinox was last week, but I’ve never been one to believe that each of our wheel of the year points were nothing more than a day- for me, I’ve always thought of things in terms of seasons. The days we celebrated were the liminal days, where one season ends and the next begins. While there is value in celebrating on the actual liminal day, in our modern times, it’s not always so practical.
Things like the solstices and the equinoxes are, of course, astrological events, and there is a set day and time. On those days, I try to honor them in spirit, and if I can with things like th baking of bread, a meditation, a drink, or if I’m really lucky, a feast and friends. Those days feel rare for me, and I’m guessing for a lot of modern day witches and pagans. We have work and school, and other obligations that are not as bending as it might’ve been for our ancestors. Where they fought for survival, they didn’t have defined “work days” or weekends- and they most likely had prearranged festivities, though I won’t pretend I know how they worked these things out with their community. I assume a spiritual leader, one trained to read the signs and calendar to be able to say “at this time, we should assemble and give thanks to the Gods and spirits as Winter is approaching and our harvests are at peak.”
Or something like that. I’m not an expert!
But usually, I will note the day, and give quiet thanks, and then celebrate when I’m able to dedicate some time. Or, I spread it out over the next few weeks- bake one day, decorate another, have a ritual another. It’s not just the Autumn equinox that I do that, but most of the wheel of year days except perhaps Samhain.
Many years back, it was the Autumn Equinox that I picked to rededicate myself to a pagan path. It was a beautiful solo ritual that looking back, was pretty detailed for me as a beginner. But even back then, I knew I was an intuitive type of witch and pagan, never one to go with what someone else told me I had to do, and instead, creating what I needed for myself on my own and based on what felt right.
This year for the Autumn Equinox, I haven’t done much. My partner and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary last week, and then our actual anniversary was spent apart- I homeschooled, and had a couple of online appointments, and he taught at his job, both during the day and an evening class. It was a long day for both of us. He came home with beautiful red chocolate/red cosmos, and cake. A cannoli cake which was delicious. Except for a moment of prayer, it was not really a ritual type of day for me.
And I still haven’t done much, and that’s ok. At some time this week, I plan to make some bread, some cinnamon rolls and maybe a batch of mead. I made some elderberry syrup, which is something that should be done in the Fall, as cold season is coming. Because I was feeling a bit “blah” over the weekend, I didn’t have a weekend fire (I know, right?) so I haven’t had a ritual fire either. But honestly, there’s time- The equinox was just the first day of Fall, and I have plenty of time to celebrate the season.
This is where the modern day pagan like myself blends modern days, every day and practice. Witch or not, I’ve always loved Fall and done “Fall” activities. You know those memes and Fall artwork Fall activities listed- that’s me. And that’s the magic of the season. We are blessed to be able to appreciate the beauty and fun of the season almost every day.
Enjoy some apples.
Pick some pumpkins.
Decorate for Fall and Halloween.
Take a walk where there are a lot of fallen leaves that crunch as you step.
Candy corn (Someone just said ew. That’s ok. Not everyone is perfect.)
Cinnamon. Nutmeg. Cloves. Allspice. Ginger. What’s that? That’s Pumpkin spice! And it’s magic!
Go on a hayride.
Go through a maze.
Warm apple cider. With those delicious spices listed above.
But Fall is also the approach of the darker time of the year, as we approach the shortest day of the year in Winter. For me, it’s when things start to go internal, almost as if I hibernate- just not literally, though that really would be enjoyable.
I go into my own cave. I dress warmly, in layers. Hats, scarves, sweaters, hoodies, coats, boots. I break out more blankets, for my bed, and for wherever I am in the house. Instead of going out into the garden, getting my fingers deep in the earth, and feeling the warm sun on my skin, I watch the leaves turn colors and fall.
I think more, planning for Spring. I face shadows, my shadows, and take stock of how I’ve changed, and what needs to be worked on.
I nourish my body with immunity boosting vitamins and nutrients, and make dishes that are warming and comforting.
I read more books, cuddled under blankets. Or I do more crafts, like knitting, crocheting, and painting. Autumn crafts are the best! I journal. Well, I journal more.
My house smells like Fall candles, and Fall Spices.
And of course, Halloween is on the way (And for me, I celebrate Halloween as a secular event, and Samhain is a spiritual event.) so there’s lots of fun with decorating. I’m not into the whole horror thing that goes on with Halloween, but I do enjoy a bit of a spooky look while decorating. I’ve been a bit obsessed with making my porch look like spiders took over…
Anyways, that’s what the Autumnal Equinox is for me, and how I go about celebrating it, and how I’ll continue to celebrate it for the weeks to come. It’s one of my favorite times of the year, though there is a hint of sadness to it. I’ll miss camping, and soon the snow will be here and that means no more fires. The focus becomes enduring- colds, the cold and snow, the dark, being indoors (which I mean, I can go outside, but I live somewhere that there are days it hurts my face to go outside…) and pain (oh to get old…).
But of course, focusing on the good stuff is what gets me through. The beauty of Autumn and later, Winter, and how it smells, the feeling of coziness both Autumn and Winter bring. Autumn foods are the best. Stews, chilis, and hearty casseroles. Apple crisp, and warm pies for dessert. Hot chocolate, mulled wine...warm drinks are the best! The joyous holidays- Thanksgiving (mmmm turkey and stuffing!) and Yule/Christmas- I celebrate both. And a new year.
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