Autumn is a time of harvesting and letting go. In my latitude gardening is coming to an end and we are harvesting the last fruits. Not only literally, also metaphorically: the seeds that we sowed for our lives in spring are now ready to harvest, to bring to completion. Some we take with us, others don't serve us anymore. Like the trees letting go of their leaves, trusting that new ones will arise in spring, we may hear the call to let go of the things that no longer are of service to us.
As you know, I can already feel the energy of autumn in me and I'm filled with gratefulness. For all that has grown during summer in my physical, but also spiritual garden. Back in the days people used to celebrate harvest feasts to thank nature for its abundance before she prepares for the winter to come. From now on the nights are again longer than the days and I would like to take this opportunity to share some rituals with you to help go through this passage.
As always these are suggestions and inspirations. A ritual is something very personal and I'd like to encourage you to take from my ideas what resonates with you. However I recommend that you hold your autumn ritual in a quiet and undisturbed moment at a place you feel comfortable in. This might be somewhere in nature, on your yoga mat, lying down, sitting up, in your living room... Maybe you light a candle to open the space. Maybe you want music. Maybe you want something to smudge and maybe you don't need anything. There's no right or wrong. Just go with your needs.
Preparing an autumn altar
A possibility to thank the harvest is to build an altar. There are no limitations to what this may look like. I create altars everywhere, in my house, in the forest, at the river, in my garden. They support me in remembering to be still for an instant, to say thank you and to see the magic in the moment. Some of my altars are abundant, decorated with crystals, candles, flowers, figurines and feathers, others are "just" a beautiful stone I found on my walk.
To tune into the energy of autumn you can create your altar with the fruit of fall: rose hips, pumpkins, chestnuts, ...
By the way: it doesn't even have to be a typical altar. You might want to hang some autumn-y pictures or craft a wreath to hang on your door.
Journaling is a form of intuitive writing I absolutely love. It's not about producing perfect and grammatically correct sentences, but to just write what's on your mind in that moment. You might say that your hand is the extension of your heart and that's what journaling can feel like. Without thinking about it, you write what you feel.
Questions to ask this autumn:
What seeds did I sow in my life this year? And what is now ready to harvest?
What no longer serves me? What do I let go of now?
What do I need to go through this darker time well?
Creating an autumn mandala
Creating an autumn mandala is a wonderful act to welcome autumn and thank nature. You only need a space that seems fitting to you and a few nature materials you can pick from your garden or from nature. (A side note: please only pick as much as you really need and never take all the plants, but leave some flowers, herbs, grasses, ...)
And then you create as you please. I love the process of creating very much as it connects me to the present moment and I often don't know what will come of it, so that in the end I'm surprised by my own piece of art. As soon as I feel like I'm finished with my mandala, I take a moment of gratefulness towards the trees, the plants and the places in nature. I feel the abundance they gift me with everyday and I give something back to them.
Mandalas are not meant to last forever. If you laid one in nature with pure nature materials, you can leave it there. It will transform and disappear at some point. And that's ok, because it teaches us again to let go.
(Well, it's actually just hot cider, but magical cider sounds better, doesn't it? And besides magic is everywhere, why not in cider, too?)
1l natural apple juice
1 vanilla stem
2-3 cinnamon sticks
some cardamom capsules
optional: an untreated orange, in slices
optional: a few pieces of ginger
Bring the apple juice with all the spices and the water to boil. You can choose how much water you add. The more the less sweet your cider will be. Let it simmer for a few minutes. The longer you leave the spices in the cider, the more intense the taste will be. When your cider is ready, strain it through a sieve and enjoy.
You can enjoy the magic cider just like that or you can really infuse it with magic by setting an intention while brewing and stirring it. Drink it intentionally, perhaps while journaling or creating the mandala. Notice what comes to mind while you drink, what thoughts occur, what feelings. Maybe you see pictures in your mind's eye or you hear a song in your heart. Drinking this autumn drink can be a meditation.