We are so excited that autumn is here! As the world begins to grow dark, we want to take some time to reflect on what the change of season means in our lives. Remember that all of life is cyclical, and endings and beginnings are always occurring around us. Over the next few days, we’ve got a list of some of our favorite rituals for autumn equinox to help you celebrate the end of summer.
What is the Autumn Equinox?
The autumnal equinox is a moment in the year when day and night are exactly equal. It is heralded by the Sun’s passage across the celestial equator, an event that occurs about September 22 or 23 in the Northern Hemisphere and about March 21 or 22 in the Southern Hemisphere. This event marks the beginning of autumn, which lasts until winter solstice.
The Autumn Equinox inspires us to reflect upon and feel gratitude for the abundance in our lives. It’s a beautiful time to share nature’s plenty with friends and loved ones, with dishes built around seasonal ingredients like apples, pumpkins, squash, grapes, and grains.
The autumn equinox, also known as Mabon is a mid-harvest festival also known as the second harvest that is celebrated with communal feasting, dancing, and rituals for autumn equinox to channel the new energy of the changing seasons.
Each season of our lives has its own wisdom, just as different energies flow through us at different times of the year. Celebrating each season of the Wheel of the Year will help nurture your growth physically, mentally and emotionally through the changing seasons of your life. And by aligning your activities with the cycles of nature, you’ll find a better balance in your life and be able to make time for yourself as well as others when it’s needed most.
The Wheel of the Year is a guide for living. It provides us with a framework to help us live our lives in balance. This circle of time allows us to honor and celebrate our spiritual heritage, as well as connect with nature’s cycles.
10 Rituals for Autumn Equinox
Below you’ll find my 10 favorite rituals for autumn equinox to mark the change from summer to autumn in your life.
1) Watch the Sunset
One of my favorite rituals for autumn equinox is to honor and welcome the transition of the seasons by sitting quietly on the evening of the equinox to watch the sunset. Be present to all your senses as you watch and feel gratitude for the sun’s life-giving energy as it sinks lower in the sky.
Pay close attention to what happens when night falls: what do you see, hear, or smell? Maybe it’s bugs singing or stars twinkling high in the sky or even smoky scents from backyard fire pits.
Speak words of love and praise aloud to the darkness. Share what you love about it. What you’re ready for. What calls to you about this time of year? If you feel called, leave an intuitive offering out for it — food, a poem, a painting, anything that feels good to you. Close your ritual with a few deep breaths and spend some time journaling after to process your experience.
2) Spend Time in Nature
Spending some time alone in nature can be one of the most sacred rituals for autumn equinox. Sitting in a quiet place and taking time to reflect on the seasons passing by is one of the best ways to reconnect with nature. You can use this time to meditate, pray or just be in silence. Paying attention to the subtle changes in nature is a great way to feel connected with it and notice how all things ebb and flow.
Being out among trees, birds and other wildlife can bring us back in touch with our own humanity. When we take the time to connect with nature, we’re reminded that life is more than just our own personal struggles. And by spending some time in the great outdoors, we can also help reduce stress and anxiety.
3) Cook a Nourishing Meal with Seasonal Vegetables
On the autumn equinox, we celebrate the harvest and honor our connection with the earth. Autumn is also a time to spend time with family and friends, to reconnect with your body and appreciate its rhythms. A great way to honor this season is by preparing a ritual meal with seasonal ingredients.
I like cooking healthful meals as a way to celebrate the seasons. This helps me feel grounded and connected with my body, my family and the earth. Cooking healthy food can also be a way to reduce stress as it requires focus and attention. It’s important to prepare the meal mindfully and with intention. When you take the time to cook a meal and share it with loved ones, you can feel more connected.
Here are some tips:
Prepare a space that feels special for the meal. If you are indoors, decorate your table with fall flowers or festive colored cloths. If you are outside, create an altar of stones or sticks in nature that will give you peace and space to gather your thoughts.
Set an intention before eating together as a family or group (if applicable). Discuss what it means to give thanks during this time of year—and how we can show gratitude going forward into winter months ahead.
Here are a few of my favorite fall treats to share:
4) Perform a Release Ritual
Perform a release ritual where you make a list of all the things you want to leave in the past. This can be a very powerful way to release the past and let go. The ritual could involve burning the paper or burying it in a box. This is a great way to let go of the things that aren’t serving you. It can also be very healing and empowering.
5) Bathe with Herbs
To celebrate the equinox, take a ritual bath using fresh herbs from your garden. This is a wonderful way to connect with the earth and the natural world (and maybe even celebrate something else that’s sacred to you).
You can make your own bath salts with added herbs from your garden. No salts? That’s okay, simply use some fresh or dried herbs you foraged or grew. This is a wonderful way to connect with the earth and the natural world, allowing you to align yourself with this autumnal energy.
Here are a few bath ideas:
6) Burn Herbal Incense Bundles
Burn herbal incense bundles as a ritual for autumn equinox. Using incense to purify the spirit and start fresh is a tradition as old as humankind. Incense invokes protection and peace, inviting us to open our hearts and minds. As we turn inward for fall and winter, we can look to incense to rejuvenate our energy field by letting go of patterns that no longer serve us.
Learn how to make your own herbal incense bundles: Make Your Own Herbal Incense Bundles in 6 Easy Steps.
7) Observe and Reflect on Seasonal Shifts
During the season of Autumn and especially during the Autumnal Equinox, make time to observe the natural phenomena that occur at the change of seasons. Use these observations as cues to reflect inward and discover bits of personal wisdom that aid you in navigating your own life.
In autumn, nature is aging gracefully and releasing its hold on summer’s bounty. Draw inspiration from this process to embrace your own aging, as well as aging within your relationships, and even your work. This way of observing nature helps us to reconnect with what matters most: ourselves, the Earth, and those around us.
Find a cozy spot to curl up, reflect on your personal harvests, and take stock of what you have nurtured this year. Notice how that area of your life has evolved since spring. Make some notes about intentions for fall, so you can reflect on them at the winter solstice.
Download a FREE Autumn Journal HERE.
8) Set Up an Autumn Equinox Altar
The Autumn Equinox is a magical time of year, when you can feel the earth slowly beginning to shift and prepare itself for winter. It’s a perfect opportunity to reflect on what you’ve accomplished this year, and set your intentions for what you’d like to accomplish in the coming months. To celebrate this beautiful time of year, create an altar that will help you connect with your inner wisdom during this period of introspection.
Look for items that represent your life, like photographs or drawings of loved ones, crystals you feel drawn to, or items that just feel sacred to you. You can collect natural items like acorns or apples, but also things that feel sacred to you or represent important things in your life.
9) Host a Seasonal Celebration
Host an outdoor autumn equinox celebration, complete with seasonal foods like corn, pumpkins, squash and wild rice. Seasonal gatherings shared with friends and family help us connect and strengthen our relationships while honoring the transition of summer into fall.
After the meal is served, gather friends and family around an outdoor bonfire on the night of the autumn equinox. As the fire dies down gaze at the stars as they appear in all their autumn glory. Then close your eyes and take a deep breath.
Feel the warmth of the fire on your face, the light of the stars above you, and the gratitude in your heart. As you open your eyes, look around at those gathered with you—and be thankful for all that they are and for their presence in your life.
10) Perform a Gratitude Ritual
Within the balance of light and dark, their inextricable link and the coming darkness of winter, rituals for autumn equinox are turned toward fire. Fire is a key element for autumn equinox ceremonies as it represents the transition from autumn, with flame-colored foliage, to the dark nights that grow longer each day until winter solstice.
One idea is to mark the start of the season with an equinox campfire. Invite your nearest and dearest to create a gratitude circle around the campfire and each share what gift of the season they’re most grateful for that has helped them find their own personal equilibrium. Have them write this on paper that can be tossed into the fire after sharing.
We hope these 10 rituals for autumn equinox help you reflect on the season we’re in and the transition it represents. Keep in mind that all of life is cyclical, so embrace the transition as it comes, and take some time to celebrate. You might even find yourself looking forward to winter too!
It’s important to remember that rituals are not the same thing as a daily routine. They are meant to be special occasions that help us reconnect with ourselves and the world around us. By creating a ritual for yourself, you can embrace the changing seasons and celebrate them in your own way.