Today is the Autumn equinox – the official first day of Autumn for us in the Northern Hemisphere. From now on the days will start drawing in until the winter solstice on the 22 December (which seems so long away but will no doubt fly by). Pagans often use a further cycle called the Wheel Of The Year (though different traditions sometimes ascribe different dates to each phase) and many would call the festival held around this time ‘Mabon’. Whilst this festival represents a point of ‘balance’, when night and day are of equal length, it is also a gateway into transition and embracing the return to the dark. Before that cycle takes place and the days do become chillier and shorter however, this festival would be an opportunity to show gratitude for the abundance that has come before; a celebration and a time of rest after what would have been a long period of hard, agricultural work.
This is also traditionally a time to complete projects, to clear out and let go of what is no longer serving us, and to prepare to slow down and embrace the peace and reflection that Winter will bring. If you’re anything like me, the warm Summer weather has meant that the last few months have been incredibly busy as I’ve tried to embrace all of the sunshine, fresh air and energy of August (including celebrating my birthday!) The Autumn Equinox is the perfect point to start to switch gear, show gratitude for the season that has come before and begin the wind-down.
I couldn’t need this more – all the signals are there that I need to ‘slow down’ and let go. Whilst in the traditional seasonal calendar the summer’s abundance and hard work would have reflected all of the ‘fruits of your labour’, my house is fit to bursting not with grains and apples but with clutter and mess. And my Summer has also been punctuated with rich but processed foods, over-eating, not getting enough sleep and spreading myself all together too thin.
With this in mind, my intentions for the coming months are to slow down and let go. Slowing down means not cramming my diary with hundreds of plans and instead finding time for rest and reflection. I find that when I pre-plan everything weeks in advance it takes away the opportunity for more spontaneous plans in line with the weather, things going on locally – and my energy levels. I want to also take time to prioritise seasonal activities – visiting the pumpkin patch, baking and making soups, stews and jams, going for walks in the forest, planting bulbs ready for Spring and making the house as cosy and candle-filled as possible.
In order to create this cosy and peaceful feel at home however, I need to have a huge clear-out. I’m almost literally drowning in clutter at the moment and it makes me feel stressed and anxious. As well as letting go of ‘things’, I find it’s also a good time to let go of habits and even thoughts and emotions that aren’t serving me. My need for convenience and doing things ‘last-minute’ are meaning I’m reaching for pasta, crisps and chocolate daily rather than preparing meals in advance that are more nourishing and intentional. My need to control everything is meaning I’m not spending enough time truly in the present, and means I rarely ‘go with the flow’ (as well as impacting my stress levels as I can’t cope when things then don’t fit the picture I have in my head of what they’ll look like).
So, to sum things up, my Autumn will look like slowing down, going with the natural flow, living more seasonally, letting go and being more present. (And of course, burning lots of pumpkin candles and drinking lots of hot chocolate). What are your Autumn intentions?