It is that Special time of the year again: The Autumn Equinox! September 22nd is, in the Northern Hemisphere, the first day of Fall. (March 22nd for the Southern Hemisphere).
Since after this equinox the nights grow longer than the days, it is traditionally a time to look inward, take stock, give thanks for the harvest, and prepare for the time of retreating in winter. It can be both healing and heartening to celebrate this special time.
The Autumn Equinox is celebrated by many different cultures all around the world and has been since olden times. In some beliefs like Wicca it plays a more important role and is considered a major Holiday called Mabon. In many modern Pagan traditions this is known as the Second Harvest (the first being Lughnasadh, the third being Samhain). Many pagans celebrate Mabon as one of the eight Sabbats (a celebration based on the cycles of the sun). Mabon celebrates the start of winter preparations. It is the time to respect the impending dark while giving thanks to the sunlight.
Here’s a lists of 22 Ways in which you can Celebrate the Autumn Equinox:
1. Consider staying up during the night to welcome Autumn
Many people like to welcome in fall by remaining awake all night, to honor the equal length of day and night. Perhaps tie this in with a celebration with friends, by holding a small dinner party which features autumn dishes. If you’re not so keen on an all-nighter, you can stay up until midnight instead.
2. Make a list of your inner Harvest
Taking time to honor and journal about your own inner harvests–all the things you have achieved and felt and learned from, over the past months–is a lovely way to connect with this time of year.
3. Get Back to Crafting
During the Summer months, even the most avid of us crafters get behind on all of our projects preoccupied with outdoor activities and travel. The beggining of Fall is a great time to pick up these projects again and start new ones. Get the yarn, fabric scraps and beads out and get to crafting! It’s a great activity to get you in the mood for more indoor time and it’s a fun way to socialize with friends and family. Let yourself be inspired by all the colors and energy of the season, it’s the perfect time to get back to expressing your creativity and starting big projects that you will carry you through the winter.
4. Focus on your Health
This is a perfect time to restore healthy habits in your life. There are a great variety of delicious foods available from harvest so it’s easier to make healthy choices or to do cleanses. It’s the perfect time to start those lifestyle changes you’ve been thinking about all summer but putting off for the sake of enjoying yourself in the warmer and more social months. The Autumn Equinox is a perfect time to start prioritizing your Health again.
5. Decorate for Fall
Decorating for the Autumn Equinox will inmediately get you in the Festive Fall Spirit. You can take it as far as you may, like with any other holiday. It doesn’t have to be too complicated, a small centerpiece for your dining table using some pretty seasonable vegetables like corn, pumpkin or apples mixed with something you pick up from a walk outside like some pretty branches or pinecones could suffice. You could also decorate your doorway, your fireplace or add a little hint to a window. There are no rules, just make your home feel cozy and give it that Autumn feel by bringing nature inside.
6. Pamper your Home and Turn it into a Haven
As autumn rolls in, we know we’ll be spending more time indoors in just a few months. This is a good time to restore balance in the home, to give it a spruce up before the upcoming fall celebrations such as Halloween and Thanksgiving come and before winter arrives.
Take some time to do a fall version of spring cleaning. Clean your home from top to bottom, throw out or give away anything that’s no longer of use or have a garage sale. If you have any repairs that need to be done, right now is the perfect time to do them now so you don’t have to worry about them over the winter.
If you’re up to it you can also do a smudging ritual with sage to clear all the energy built up through the last months.
7. Put together a Nature Fall Spread
If you want to celebrate the arrival of the season, a great Autumn Equinox activity is putting together a Fall Arrangement in your house. Do it in a place where it will be visible to all so you can all enjoy it through out the season, much like the Christmas Tree in December. Use your creativity and utilize anything and everything that reminds you of Fall and everything you love about it to create a little altar honoring it. It will inmediately make you feel more homey + festive.
8. Give + Share + Donate
Many Pagans and Wiccans count the Autumn Equinox as a time of thanks and blessings — and because of that, it’s a good time to give to those less fortunate than ourselves. If you find yourself blessed with abundance at this time, why not give to those who aren’t? Join a volunteer program, share your time and resources and donate all those items you no longer need that you’ve been clearing out of your home (as suggested in #6) You could also make it the theme of one of your Autumn Gatherings. Ask friends and family to bring a canned food, dry goods, or other non-perishable items and donate the collected bounty to a local food bank or homeless shelter.
9. Get in your last bit gardening before Winter
After summer and after the harvests, your garden needs some tender loving care to ready it for winter. The autumnal equinox is a good day to jot down a plan for the following weeks of garden care ahead, to keep you organized and enthused about readying it for the colder months. It’s also the ideal time to plant some crops that will produce during fall or even into winter, such as cauliflower, lettuce, red beet, radishes and shallots. Plan for when spring bulbs should be planted too, as many must be dug into the ground during fall.
10. Honor your ancestors
No matter who we are or where our people came from, our ancestors had many magical ways of honoring the Autumn Equinox.
In Japan, it is traditional to visit the graves of ancestors around the time of the Autumn Equinox. It is a time to remember the dead by visiting, cleaning and decorating their graves.This is a thoughtful tradition to build on for your own life, as a way of reconnecting with the past of your family and to remind yourself of your valuable place in the family tree.
Look at old family photos, tell stories about those who are now gone and as my friend Rowen (check out her blog here, it’s amazing!) always says: “remember that you are the result of the love of thousands”.
11. Go Apple Crazy
Apples are the perfect symbol of the Fall season. Long connected to wisdom and magic, there are so many wonderful things you can do with an apple. You can make an outing out of it, find an orchard near you, and spend a day with your family picking apples and enjoying the weather. There are tons of delicious recipes you can make with apples and enjoy all through out the season. You can also use apples in rituals and for divination.
12. Honor the Darkness
Without darkness, there is no light. Without night, there can be no day. Despite a basic human need to overlook the dark, there are many positive aspects to embracing the dark side, if it’s just for a short time.
In the Summer months we tend to focus on the Bright and outgoing side of our personalities, and while that is really enjoyable and good for the heart, the beggining of Fall is a good time to look at those darker sides of ourselves and find ways to cherish, understand, heal and honor them.
13. Enjoy Nature
Fall is here, and that means the weather is bearable once more. For many of us it’s a great relief to finally be rid of the hot days of Summer. The nights are becoming crisp and cool, and there’s a chill in the air. It’s a perfect time for walks in nature, enjoying the changing colors and sounds of the outdoors. It’s the time of year to pick acorns, nuts, seed pods and pinecones. Perfect for exploring nature, as well as observing and interacting with the animals who are in full activity right now picking and storing food to hibarnate this winter.
14. Organize Gatherings
Traditionally, the Autumn Equinox was a Harvest Celebration. In many cultures, fall was a time of celebration and gathering. It was the season in which friends and relatives would come from far and near to get together and celebrate before the cold winter kept them apart for months at a time. People enjoy fall festivals and get togethers as a closure of the summer season. It’s a perfect time to organize and enjoy the last of the outdoor gatherings and events until spring.
15. Enjoy Bonfires & Storytelling
Another tradition from the olden days of the beggining of Fall was storytelling around the bonfires. A modern version of this tradition can be having plenty of get togethers with family and relatives, catching up, having indoor or outdoor bonfires, making s’mores, cuddling with your loved ones under blankets and watching Fall movies like: Autumn in New York, Good Will Hunting, You’ve Got Mail or Sweet November to get you in the mood of the season.
16. Create Balance in your Life
The Autumn Equinox is the day when both the daytime and nighttime are of the same length, which has been long interpreted to mean that the world is in balance. Once the autumnal equinox passes, the nights begin to get longer and the temperatures will start to fall. Autumn is a time of dual purpose––it is time to gather the main harvests and it is time to determine what is needed for the upcoming winter. This is also about balance and as such, fall is considered the season of balance, a time during which you can restore balance to your own life.
17. Cast Spells of Security & Protection
The best Spells to cast this time of year are Cleansing, Balancing, Security and Protection Spells.
18. Meditate + Reflect
This is a season when the buzzing activity of summer dies down and the excitement of life outdoors begins to relax into the more evenly paced, more predictable rhythm of fall. Think about the ways you have neglected your inner growth and how this might be remedied. It’s a great time for introspection and alone time. Take long walks by yourself, journal and get back into meditating.
19. Make Fall Food + Bake
Take advantage of the wonderful variety of fruits and vegetables available this time of year and get creative in the kitchen. It’s nice to start cooking warm and hearthier meals again. Start using spices that you might have forgotten about in the summer like cinnammon, nutmeg and cardamon. The colder climate and earlier nights also get us in the mood to start baking more again which is always fun.
20. Give Thanks + Count your Blessings
Traditionally Fall has been considered a time to Give Thanks and Count our Blessings, mainly because of the Harvest association. It’s a time to really cherish all the good in our lives and to truly enjoy all the luxuries we have that we may overlook sometimes or take for granted. Gratitude is also one of the Main Ingredients of Magic. When we focus our energy and attention on all the good things about our lives, they grow and we inevitably feel better and heal old wounds.The Autumn Equinox is a great time to deliberately get back into the regular practice of this most transformational outlook.
21. Get to Canning & Preserving
With the harvest of all the fruits and vegetables brought by the Summer comes the instict to preserve food for the cold Winter months. And with that has traditionally come the canning and making all sorts of jams and preserves. If you make it a family activity it can be great fun and you can all enjoy the results until next Fall. With canning the possibilities are endless and what you decide to do really depends on you and your family’s tastes. You can can salsa, make homemade ketchup, pickles, apple sauce….
22. Start Studies or Educational Programs
There is a reason why the school year begins around this time. The intensity of summer is ending and it is a good time to re-focus on our development & education. Even if you no longer are in school or involved with any learning program it’s a good time to pick up new interests, start new activities or establish new learning habits. You are never too old to keep learning so embrace this time to pursue any subject you’re interested in.