What a beautiful time of the year as we officially welcome Autumn and say goodbye to summer with so many names to describe this seasonal celebration. And yes we should celebrate and mark this seasonal transition and give thanks for the year we have harvested and look forward to what is yet to come. And it seems that the weather has finally begun to act as it should with misty mornings, watery sunlight, showers and a bit of a chill in the air unlike our rather poor excuse of a summer which was grey, dull, wet and didn’t give us our sufficient dose of vitamin D from our sun. This is another reason to get outside and get those rays while you can before winter is here and seeking our welcome.
The equinox is the time or date (twice each year) at which the sun crosses the celestial equator and when day and night are of equal length. It can also be a good time for seeing the Aurora, Northern Lights or Mirrie Dancers as there is often an increase in geomagnetic energy at the times of equinox and the tilt of the earth aligns to ‘receive’ the geomagnetic particles.
Balance visits for only a moment.
As Autumn colours, float so lightly,
That little difference is apparent.
It tips, nonetheless,
Change has begun
Hurried harvest is completed and stored
It’s no time to be caught out.
As the wise prepare
And then wait for our Sun’s return
From journeying to distant lands
Of which we can only dream.
It’s the time of preserves and pickles as a way to eek out the vegetables and fruits throughout the coming months. Not only can pickles and preserves add flavour to foods but often have the added benefit of providing vitamin C that could not be be attained when the fresh vegetables and fruits had finished. For sailors this was an important way to avoid scurvy . Rose hips are particularly full of Vitamin C and Rose hip syrup was made and taken to stave off seasonal sniffles.
This time of the year also marked the time to begin shutting down bee hives for winter. The Michaelmas daisy, the flower of the moment, was said to symbolise farewell, perhaps in recognition of saying our goodbyes to summer.
The 24th is St Bartholomew’s Day. If it is ‘fair and clear’ then a prosperous Autumn comes that year.
Although traditionally we decorate our trees with ‘clooties’ in summer now is a lovely time to gather nuts, hips, berries and changing colour leaves to make circlets or strings to feed wildlife and look beautiful adorning your home, hanging off trees and marking thresholds. You can usefully add Rowan to act as a protectorate if you are feeling under supernatural influences.
For our ancestors bringing the harvest home and preparing for the darker and colder part of the year was essential for survival. This is no longer the case for us. However the residue of preparing and shutting things down seems to still permeate our instincts which we try to fight off due to work/life demands. Perhaps we should listen to our instincts a little more.
Having just come back from a visit to Iceland it was very apparent that they are still very much dictated to by the arrival of winter and an acceptance that things change, places become inaccessible and that there is a need to bring light, warmth and cosy-ness into their lives. Fairy lights and candles were plentiful in all places we visited together with blankets, hot chocolate and cinnamon buns. Crafts of all kinds but particularly textile and wool based ones were occupying people already. A real sense of community, kindness and making the autumn and winter very positive and being welcomed was apparent.
Here in Britain we are lucky not to have such extremes between summer and winter but we do have our own lovely traditions and pastimes that can make this such a Magickal time. Storytelling and reading, playing board games, walks to kick leaves and collect conkers, apple pie making (served with custard), sloe gins made in readiness for Yuletide and jacket potatoes made crisp on bonfires.
So we welcome Autumn with its many guises and names and celebrate the change. We keep the light and warmth of summer alive in our actions and ways, we illuminate our homes and we get cosy.
May the colours and soft light of Autumn be with you as you celebrate this wonderful seasonal gentle transition as the year's wheel turns once more.