I cannot believe that we have come to the last Mood of the Month post for September. But, it’s happened. That slow, shifting of the seasons is now coming to an end as we have now crossed over into the darkest half of the year. From now on, the nights will continue to be longer than the days until the equinox next spring. And the darkness that grows every day from now until the winter solstice in December, when we have the shortest amount of daylight all year. I know that for many of you out there we are approaching a difficult time of the year. So, with this final, farewell post to September, I want to share a few autumn rituals that just might help us through the dark season that lies ahead.
Remember that mood that we created together in the first two posts of September? That cozy, soft, slow, golden mood? Well, the first thing that I do all autumn long is to remind myself of the coziness that this season brings. It is the time of the year for embracing the return of thick blankets + hot mugs into my everyday life, living by candlelight every morning + every night, hunkering down to allow the shift of the seasons to occur naturally, coming home to my own center of balance.
But, now that balance takes on a wider perspective. It is important for me to remember + understand that, just as we need the long, bright, growing days of spring + summer, we also deeply need the dark, quiet, inward days of autumn + winter. It is all part of the beautiful, difficult rhythm of life.
Now, personally, I am one of the weird ones who thrives during this time of the year. My soul craves this time to turn downward and inward into the mystical moods of the months ahead. But, I still need some autumn rituals to help me through the dark season, when it rains day after day, when the sun peeks out for only a couple of hours a day, when it all starts to feel too long, too dark, too heavy.
Now, my favorite autumn rituals are not rocket science, y’all. In fact, they are not even anything new. But, I’m sharing them in this last post of September in order to remind myself (and you, perhaps) just how simple and important it is to engage our souls in meaningful rituals. Rituals that are simple, everyday moments that bring a sense of connected, meaningful purpose to life. And, hopefully you will see in this list that, for me, rituals are those things that speak to my soul. They are my individual habits, practices, and routines that keep me grounded.
To be honest, engaging in a ritual on a regular basis does not seem to make any difference from day to day. It feels like nothing is happening, like I’m just going through the motions. But, if I stick with it, if I simply show up day after day, then as times passes, when I look back over a few weeks or a season, then I see how my rituals have been the foundation on which my life is built. They are the anchors that get me through the tough days, the long nights, the difficult moments. They are the practices that keep my life slow + mindful. They remind me of the deep truth of the rhythm of it all.
Rituals give me roots, perspective, wisdom, and hope. And that is exactly what I find I need throughout the darkest months of the year.
So, here are those simple autumn rituals that I carry with me from the shifting of September and into the dark descent that waits for me in October.
As soon as the sun begins to set earlier + the leaves begin to change, I begin to light candles in the evening. Just the same, as the sun rises later + I wake in the dark mornings, I also light a candle to start my day. There is just something about the soft flicker of candlelight that makes everything more magical, more cozy, more soft. Especially in the early mornings when I am the first one up, I vow to use candles as my main source of light. It it a ritual that centers me and helps make the quiet chores of morning a sacred practice of greeting the day. I also light candles all day long, whenever I feel that I need a sense of quiet, comfort, and/or calm.
Every morning, I find a little bit of time to meditate. To just sit and connect with silence, my breath, and the wisdom within. Sometimes I just sit and gaze out the window. Other times I pull oracle cards + listen to my intuition. Sometimes I gather crystals + stones. Or I listen to a guided meditation or music. I often journal some to close out this quiet time of solitude. However I spend my time, it is very important to me to set aside some time each day for these soul activities. Most of the time it is in the morning, after lighting candles, preparing coffee, and sweeping the apartment. I’d like to begin to add some meditation to my evenings too this autumn. It’s something that I feel would be an amazing way to close out the day.
Coffee is a must throughout my day. From that first morning sip that helps me wake to a new day to that cup that sits beside me as I write to the late afternoon cup that warms me up, coffee equals a sacred mindful moment for me. In the autumn and winter, this ritual becomes even more important as I create new flavors, mix in seasonal spices, and enjoy the process of making the coffee as much as drinking it – ok. wait. Maybe it’s not quite as good as drinking it. Hehe.
While I am a homebody and I love soaking in all of the coziness at home, I also seek to connect with the season by being in nature. So, when the weather is right, I head out to gather with the trees. Now, this is not a daily ritual (yet!), but it is a seasonal one. I go to the woods when they call to me, when my soul hears the call of the wild. And I just keep it simple. Walking. Photographing. Listening. Feeling. Observing.
That’s it. Those are some of my rituals. Easy, simple, accessible, meaningful. If you follow me, then this list contains no surprises. These are the things that I regularly turn to in order to live a slow, spiritual life. These are the bits of magic that I try to bring into my daily life all year ’round. But, when it comes to these next few months, I find it even more important to dig deep down into these rituals. To find my way back to them, if they fell away during a carefree summer.
We’re moving into the most magical + mysterious time of the year, y’all. It may feel too hard, too scary, too dark, and never-ending. But, this is the time of the year where it all begins. And it is my experience that when I am committed to practices + rituals that speak to my soul, then I am much more centered, calm, and focused. And, more importantly, during the dark season, I am more grounded, hopeful, and trusting of the cycles of the season.
With that said, it’s time to begin to release September and turn toward October. But, we are ready. The shift has occurred and we’re now on our way down into the mystery of the dark, inward months. I’ll see you back here on October 1st to begin to sink into the mood of the month. Until then, what mood do you believe is waiting for us? Light a candle, make some coffee, sit ‘neath a tree, meditate a little… prepare your soul with your own rituals for the magical, dark season ahead.