It's also a period of invigoration and reflection. We get to take a break from the madness of summer vacation, family holidays, and scorching heat to enjoy crisp mornings and golden afternoons. Soon, we'll have to face the stress-filled craziness of the holiday season but, for now, we can take things a bit slower and really enjoy the magick happening all around us.
You don't have to call yourself a witch to appreciate the magick of autumn. This list is for everyone, from those just beginning their journeys, to those who walk other paths, and even those of us who've been at this a very long time. As the woman says, there's a little witch in all of us--and I'm here to help you wake them up!
If you feel like there's something... more, something in the air calling to you that you can't quite name, you're ready to embrace the magick of autumn. Here are ten tips to help you do just that:
10 Tips for a Witchy Autumn
1. Visit a Farm/Farmer's Market
Autumn is a time of abundance--thanks to the hard work of the people who go largely unnoticed and unappreciated. Farming is a thankless job, especially these days. Forgo the supermarket this autumn and visit your local farm or farmer's market instead. That's where the real magick happens.
We are able to feast this autumn because hardworking farmers have given so much of their time and energy to raise crops from seed to final produce. Every bite you take is infused with their energy, their passion, and their love. Every bite is full of magick.
Oh, and while you're at the farm or farmer's market, or where ever you can purchase locally grown items, be sure to thank the farmers for their hard work and sacrifice.
2. Pick Your Own
Hopefully, you live in an area that has a pick-your-own farm. Unfortunately, we don't (anymore,) which makes me sad because there's nothing more magickal than getting out there and collecting your own fruit and veg. It's more than just the ability to select the pieces that call to you--though it's that as well! (And food that you've had a hand in selecting personally always tastes better.) Visiting a pick-your-own farm is magickal because it creates bonds.
Whether you go with your children, besties, or significant others, a trip to a pick-your-own farm is special experience. It takes you away from the bustling, too crowded, over stimulated supermarkets and puts you in a relatively isolated patch of nature. Surrounded by growing things, hand-picking food that will feed your bodies, you'll be creating bonds that will last long past autumn.
Some pick-your-own ideas for the season: blackberries, apples, pears, pumpkins, and more!
3. Go for a walk
Time out. Get out of the house. Leave the technology behind. Go for a walk.
This isn't a grumpy old woman thing (I'm getting there, trust me.) but a call to experience, feel, and engage. Don't get me wrong, Pinterest is fun and all but looking at #autumn images isn't the same as being smack in the middle of them.
Go for a walk--by yourself or with someone you love--and open yourself up to the magick happening all around you. See the way the leaves are changing? Hear the scuttle of squirrels busily stocking up for winter? See the glint of sunlight across the tops of the fields? You're soaking up the magick of the season. Let it fill you so that when you get home and have to go back to your busy life, you'll have something to power your actions.
4. Gather Nuts
I should be more specific: gather nuts, cones, berries, seeds, etc. This is a great thing to do on your walk for so many reasons. First of all, Mother Nature has spend months busily making these amazing, beautiful, tasty creations and she wants you to notice! (Be sure to thank Her while you're at it. It's just polite.) Secondly, it's fun. The hubs and I went nutting just this week and had a laugh raining hazelnuts down on each other's heads. Also, do you have any idea how expensive these things are in the supermarket?!
Whether you're collecting to eat or decorate, getting out there and picking berries, nuts, and seeds yourself is the smart option. For poor people like us, it's also the cheap option. But be smart! Make sure you know exactly what you're picking and what is safe to eat.
Also, never completely strip any tree or bush. Be respectful to Mother Nature and Her other children. Don't be greedy. Always leave at least 1/3 for wildlife and so the plant can propagate for next season. You wouldn't want some gutsy guest to gobble up the last of your snacks, would you?
5. Play in the Leaves
This is where the most visible magick of the season is happening. The magick of transformation is out there for everyone to see. Even those who don't feel it can see it, right outside their windows. The world is exploding in a riotous fire of color. How can you be part of that magick, rather than just a spectator?
Go be part of it!
Walk through the leaves and listen to the noise they make when you kick them up or crunch them underfoot. Help your kids rake them into piles then invoke your own childhood by jumping into those piles. If you're not comfortable with calling yourself a witch, try some leaf art. Press them, dip them in wax, do rubbings. If you're not afraid to wear your witchiness like a badge of honor, why not try a leaf spell? Here's a very simple leaf spell to get you started.
6. Have a Bonfire
Autumn is a perfect time for gathering around a bonfire with friends. Go on, my little fire signs (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius) get out there and do your thing. Light it up.
(You know, in a safe way, being respectful of the awesome power of fire.)
Joking aside, now is a great time to work with this particular element. There's something undeniably primal about the roar of a bonfire; something in the way it chases off the growing darkness. And don't be mistaken: the darkness is growing. The nights are getting longer and longer. Soon, those who work 9-5s will start to feel like night is all there is.
Don't let the darkness bring you down. Gather your loved ones together and turn the long nights into celebrations with a bonfire as your beacon, your guide.
7. Have a Clear-Out
Many people save their big clear-outs for spring but autumn cleaning can be just as effective.
As I said before, autumn is a period of transformation. We're leaving behind one part of the year, one part of our lives, and entering a new one. To make room for all the good things the next season can bring and all the possibilities the new year holds (Samhain/Halloween marks the end of a witch's year,) we need to clear out all the things weighing us down and holding us back.
And, yes, I do mean physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
Pack up all the shit you don't need, chase away the cobwebs, and get ready to invite good things into your life. Maybe that means a pile of clothes need to go to Goodwill or maybe it means that person you've been seeing needs to take a hike. Do whatever clearing out your life needs right now.
8. Restock Your Herbs/Spices
Whether you use your herbs/spices for spellwork or cooking, now is the time to check them. Is it time to replace your stock? When it comes to cooking, your spices and herbs should be replaced every 1-4 years, depending on what they are. When it comes to spellwork, consider keeping to the lower end of that time frame. Why?
If you're using your herbs/spices for spells or other magickal workings, you want them to be as powerful as possible. The longer they've been locked away in jars and hidden away in trunks, drawers, and cabinets, the less powerful they will be. I like to ensure the effectiveness of my herbs/spices by replacing them each year if I'm able. (Obviously, you'll have to consider things like availability and cost.)
The best herbs & spices to utilize this autumn are: nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, sage, and mugwort.
9. Get Baking
I'm no kitchen witch (seriously, it's dangerous for the whole neighborhood when I try to cook) but if you are, this season belongs to you!
Cooking, baking, etc. are inherently witchy. I mean... you're essentially mixing up a potion to create this magickal thing that gives us life. Damn, that's impressive.
The bounty of autumn is best used in breads, crumbles, and pies. Take those apples, pears, blackberries, pumpkins, etc. that you collected and get baking!
Probably the best part about it is that you can share. Baking up some autumn deliciousness gives you the chance to connect with neighbors and even the larger community--something that's increasingly important as autumn slides into the darker, colder, winter.
10. Craft Like a Mother
There's nothing witchier than crafting. It is, at its heart, an act of creation. You put a tiny piece of yourself into every thing you make. That's magick.
Autumn is a great time for crafts like crochet and knitting because we all want to be a little warmer; to snuggle under warm blankets and bundle up inside thick sweaters. You can weave magick into every item you crochet or knit. Knot spells are some of the oldest there are and, really, that's all knitting and crochet are.
But you don't have to limit yourself to yarncraft. I already mentioned things like leaf art but there are a couple of seriously magickal things that we haven't touched on yet. One is possibly the most iconic images of the season: the scarecrow.
Instead of buying a scarecrow for your yard this year, why not make your own? Make it a family event. Name it. Charge it with guarding your home (whether or not you have any actual crops for the birds to gnaw on.) Teach your little ones the history of scarecrows while you work. Another great bonding opportunity brought to you by the magick of autumn.
There's no season quite so magickal as Autumn. These are just ten ways to embrace that magick. Do you have any favorite activities that make you feel witchy in the autumn? I'd love to hear them. Get in touch.