Does autumn really begin in August?

According to the ancient Celtic calendar, August is the beginning of autumn. Hard to believe when many of us have been dealing with heatwaves lately, right? Still, the energy of August is like a long breath out. A kind of releasing, settling, and slowing down after the height of July’s carefree days. But, can we really say that August is the beginning of autumn? I mean, there are still summer vibes, we have those dog days of summer right about now, and that feeling of wanting to soak in the sun.

Still, I think we can say, like the Celts, that August is the ending of summer + the beginning of autumn. If we pay attention to the smallest things, we can feel the shift in the air. In the sky, Brother Sun begins to set earlier, making the days shorter, even if they are still hot. Nights are a teeny bit cooler, filled with twinkling stars + falling meteors. The bright greens of spring + summer start to give way to older, more muted greens as leaves begin the slow cycle of surrendering to autumn’s golden colors. Fields of wheat become dry + golden. Some fruits and vegetables ripen, hanging heavy and ready for harvesting. And, we all return home – to work and to school.

Even if August is a long, slow breath out, it is a very transitional, active month as we seek to squeeze out these very last moments of summer, while also trying to find our way back to the routines + rituals of daily life. It’s like a big jumble of a month where, in the beginning, we try to cram in everything – waking early, heading to work, being focused, dinners outside, festivals and concerts, last minute roadtrips, evening bbqs, the last swims of summer. Somewhere in the middle of August, it feels like trying to live a double life of focused responsibility and carefree spontaneity. And, as we head towards the end of the month, I find my own energy waning as August begins to come to a close. I’m not sure I can keep up this double life much longer. And that’s exactly as it’s supposed to be, I believe.

August began with 100% vacay vibes and I was all in, basking in the golden, last days of summer. But, now, I find myself feeling exhausted and unbalanced. I cannot keep up this pace of half summer, half autumn energy. I am ready to fully settle into those everyday routines and rituals. I’m ready to begin to prepare for the darkness and coziness that awaits us all in the northern hemisphere in the next few months. I’m ready for turning inward, for harvesting the lessons of the year, for the season of deep magic + mystery, for cool days + chilly nights, for candles + blankets.

I have a feeling, though, that after this coming week, about the time when September arrives, I’ll start to feel a bit more settled. The weather may still be warm, but I will have grounded myself back down into my work routines and into those daily life rituals. And a sense of balance will begin to return.

But, this is the beauty of the seasons. Everything is constant transition, always maintaining a sense of balance. I suppose that’s why I move with the rhythms + seasons of the year… they remind me that life, not only nature, is cyclical + in constant transition. Like the moon, we move through phases of waxing + waning. Like the sun, we rest and radiate. Like the day, there is both light + dark. Like the seasons, we surrender + release, but we are also reborn + thrive. For me, there is comfort in these rhythms + cycles. And, with each passing day, I try to find ways to understand the waxing + waning seasons of my own life. As I drop into this natural rhythm, I discover that I am more present in the moment than I have ever been. And that brings me a sense of calm hope in every situation.

The end of August ushers us into the time of the year when we begin to settle down. And, just as much as we need the light + sun + growth + action of summer, we also need the seasons that lie ahead. We need the routines, the preparations, the surrendering, the magic, the darkness, the inward focus, and the rest that will carry us from September into December. We need this all, so we can cycle back to rising with the light as the new year rolls around in January.

So, this week, my intention is to (as always) be present in the moment. To feel those last warm days, to gather up all of the sunlight I can so I have the memories and feelings of summer to draw upon when the winter darkness sets in. But, I also intend to begin to make my autumn preparations. To create lists and moodboards of how I envision autumn 2022 – from spiritual goals to Halloween movies to taking stock of my autumn wardrobe to seasonal food through the rest of the year.

For me, autumn does begin with August. And it encompasses September and October. By November, it is time to move into winter. So, beginning now, it is time for me to begin to really release summer. The chaotic transition has been occurring all month long, but my soul is ready to enter the heart of autumn over the next couple of weeks.

Here’s to settling down + getting cozy, y’all. xoxo. liz.

All photos are from the time we returned home from our roadtrip until today – ending of summer /beginning of autumn.

2 thoughts on “Does autumn really begin in August?

  1. I think I get this. I love summer — the hours of daylight, the green — but it sometimes feels like “Go Time” all the waking hours, whether I’m working or not. I definitely feel the pull of settling and balance this time of year that autumn brings. I’m pretty sure that I was designed to live at a higher latitude. 😉

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