It’s no wonder that a sort of wild joy descends upon us in the fall, whether or not we’re caught up in the back-to-school rush. Ancient lore and modern myth emphasize the autumn equinox as a moment of planetary equilibrium before the brilliance of summer tips into the sleeping world of winter: a time to take stock, bring in big harvests, and prepare to preserve yourself mentally and physically in the cold days ahead.
Whether you want to welcome in the new season with powerful witchy ritual, take the time get yourself in order, connect with others or look within, here are some modern mystic rituals to help you find balance and reclaim your power on the autumn equinox.
Japanese Buddhism: Send a letter to the spirit world
Falling between September 21 and 24 each year (in 2021, it’ll be on Sept. 22), the autumn equinox marks the moment in the Northern Hemisphere when day and night are equal length. Poised on the cusp between summer and winter, it’s an opportunity to reflect on the balance of life and death.
In Japan, some Buddhists observe the autumn and spring equinox with Higan. During this festival, practitioners return to their hometowns to visit and pay respect to the graves of their ancestors. Mark your own autumn equinox by paying homage to your own predecessors. Write them a letter (we love the gorgeous stationery from Cloth & Paper) to reflect on your year and thank them for their guidance.
If you’re far from home and unable to visit their graves, construct a DIY altar with the tools from earth magick supplier Magickal Provisions and the spiritually infused Box of Shadows. Take the opportunity, too, to send a note to loved ones still living and let them know you care – no matter the holiday, you can never put too much love out into the world.
Wicca: Connect to the spirit within
In neo-paganism, the September equinox is called Mabon – the cross-calendar twin of the Wiccan vernal equinox celebration Ostara (from which Easter gets its name and roots) and counterpart to the summer solstice, Litha, and winter solstice, Yule.
For the modern mystic, the balanced nature of Mabon indicates a powerful time to connect with the spirit world – but clear your energy first by connecting with the spirit within, and take this opportunity to introspect.
If you’re just getting started on your spiritual journey, rise gently with Awakening In a Box, featuring crystals and tools selected intuitively for you to guide you on your path. Deepen your soul-searching with their Oracle Box, containing oracle cards, high-vibration crystals, and everything else you need to guide your spirit journey in this new season.
Celtic: Host a harvest feast
The autumn equinox has long been associated with the harvest, so your colors and vibes here are all rich tones of russet, gold, and earth. The ancient druids traditionally held harvest festivals on the Sunday nearest the Harvest Moon –– the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox. These fall harvest festivals were the forbears of what became the Thanksgiving Day feast in America, and so the foods associated with them likely look familiar: squashes and gourds, corn, nuts, apples, and seeds.
Celebrate like the ancient Celts by bringing your loved ones together for a mouth-watering feast. Treat them like queens with the mouth-watering offerings from the quarterly Culinarie Kit, and top it off with something sweet from delectable baking kit supplier Red Velvet NYC (white chocolate cake with cranberries? Yes, please!) for a modern-mystic marvel they’ll never forget.
Contemporary astrology: Get your (spiritual) house in order
Astrologically, the autumnal equinox marks the sun entering Libra: a sign of balance, justice, and harmony. Spiritually, this can feel like a surge of inspiration to clear out the old and take stock of your energies to ensure you’re balanced before moving into the trying times of winter.
On the secular side, this is a great time to sit down with your planner (The Fabulous Planner) and look at the season ahead. Just as you’d need to clean out your storehouses before putting away the autumn harvest, take a hard look at your calendar and prune what’s not serving you: activities that are no longer fulfilling their purpose, relationships gone toxic, and more. Then stock your emotional storehouse by planning nourishing, fulfilling activities with loved ones in the coming months.
Contemporary astrology, cont’d: Throw a wild party
Libra may be a sign of balance, but it’s also one of the most social signs – which may explain why many of us experience a surge of energy and goodwill in the fall, and feel driven to connect or reconnect with those around us.