Altar to Celebrate Autumn Equinox

The Magic of Childhood

Fall is my most favorite time of the year! I am excited to learn, to delve deep, to decorate for Halloween! I love Thanksgiving ~ both our American traditional Thanksgiving in November and the Witches Thanksgiving ~ Mabon ~ Autumn Equinox in September. I am filled with memories of childhood during this time of year.

When I see myself, it's from the perspective of looking down at my own feet as I walk through the brightly colored leaves on the city sidewalks. There are mounds of red, orange, yellow, fire- colored maple leaves in the gutters alongside the curb. I am making a path with my swooshing and have to be extra careful not to step on a crack, lest I break my mother's back; and to watch for the places where Mother Nature has pushed herself up through the concrete and made swells in the sidewalk where old beautiful tree roots burst through.

I can smell the magic and spookiness of Halloween. I can feel the cozy fabric of my new school clothes and see the castle walls of Prattville Park (the ones I loved to walk upon) covered with autumn leaves.

My thoughts revolved around what I wanted to be for Halloween. Should I be a witch (again) or a gypsy (again)? When I was a gypsy, I could treasure-hunt through my two, teen aged aunts jewelry boxes. They were filled to overflowing with 1970's wooden bead necklaces and bracelets and trinkle things in every color. I wore a bandanna around my head and an exotic mole on the left side of my chin. It was so exciting!

I vividly remember, in my body, walking up and down the streets of Prattville with my mother and sister. I only had one back then ~ I now have three! Did my father ever go trick-or-treating with us? I can't remember! There was nothing more exciting then the thrill of knocking on the doors of the houses that were decorated as haunted houses with scary music coming from the their windows! I can practically hear the cold October wind blowing, the leaves swirling and landing, the swish of our feet through the piles of them.

After trick-or-treating, we would go back to Jones Ave. the small, dead-end street where my Nana's house was. Into the front parlor we would dash with our pillow cases of candy! Onto the rug we would fall as quickly as possible to empty out, and count the candy bars. My favorite were the Sugar Daddy's! How I loved when my Mom or Nana asked for a piece of their favorite candy!

If I knew better back then I could have held a crystal ball with my child hands and seen the gypsy woman looking back at me. She would have said, "Look into my crystal ball Little Missie. You will grow up to be an adventuring woman after all. You will be very intuitive and magical. You will, in fact, get a crystal ball by default from an eccentric roommate you will have who will disappear without a trace one winter night from the haunted house you are renting with him in Nashua, NH...You will begin reading tarot cards and collect them all of your life! You will become the witch you always dress up to be at Halloween, but a good witch, a wise-woman witch with circles of other women witches around you....look into my crystal ball and see that all the things you love now as a child, you will become when you're a grownup, too!"

It's so funny that everything I always played as a child has come to pass in my life! I was forever playing teacher and school, writing poems and dreaming of keeping journals that would some day be published, dressing up as a witch and a gypsy (I've moved about fifty times in my life and Goddess knows I am a witch!) I always loved the Native Americans, called the "Indians" back then, in all the Western films and especially was heart broken by the commercial of the Native American man on the bank of a polluted waterway with a tear in his eyes. To this day I love Mother Nature (which is what they referred to her as in the Parkay margarine commercials!) (TV references fill my childhood memories!) and to this day I do whatever I can and whatever new things I learn about to help protect, honor and love my Mother Earth. It has all come to pass. The childhood seeds of the things I loved most in life are the blossoming flowers and trees of who I am and who I am becoming in my life today.

Feeling My Autumn Essence

When I was in my twenties, I began recording my dreams and the fall is when they became the most potent, magical and colorful. Beginning at the first harvest festival on the ancient wheel of the year on August 2 - called Lammas to the ancient Celtic peoples - my desire to write and journal and remember my dreams begins to fill my life with excitement. My connection to myself was always the deepest in the fall. I always say that fall is when I am in my "essence." Friends from all over and way back when suddenly call me in autumn because, "It's fall and I just thought of you, Missie," they say to me. I was conceived in the fall. I chose to enter the world during this most magical time. I always hope that when I die someday when I am very old and a grandmother and healthy in all ways except for the old-age part, it will be during the season of autumn. It would be the perfect time to release one's body, to offer it up to the blessed earth in time to transform, renew, and rebirth myself in the womb of some new mother in the springtime of the year.

Gratitude, Celebration and Deepening

This is a time of the beauty and abundance of the harvest season. It's a festive time of giving thanks, feasting, and gratitude for all we have ~ our family, our friends, the fullness of the earth around us, our dreams and our hopes. I hope that you all take the time you deserve to rest and evaluate what you have harvested this past year. Have a bonfire, a campfire, a wood stove or fireplace fire. If you can do none of these things, light an autumn colored candle and feel the warmth of the fire elemental in your heart of hearts.

Autumn Equinox celebrates the abundance of the harvest time, gratitude and the balance of light and dark. It is a traditional time to gather in community with others in gratitude for all we have received. In the spiritual sense, it's also a time to prepare for the coming dark & cold time of the year.

Autumn Equinox is the symbolic doorway that leads us into ourselves. In the fall we begin the journey down the double spiral pathway that leads to the inner realms. Deep inside our sacred self is the home we return to where, in autumn and in winter, we rest, renew and transform ourselves. We pull our energy deep down into our roots as the plants, animals and trees of our region have taught us to do.

It is also traditional in some cultures to have a Giveaway Ceremony. As the trees are releasing their beautiful, colored leaves and the ripe apples hang heavy on their boughs, we see all around us that Mother Earth is giving herself to us freely and fully. Look around your home and space. What is it time to let go of? This would be anything that comes from your heart, that you know you need to pass on, that you are ready to release. Wrap this gift up beautifully and gift it to a friend, gift it to a stranger, leave it on someones doorstep!

When I'm grateful for the blessings in my life, my heart is wide open with love, a feeling of joy, abundance, magic and well-being. Gratitude is the secret to living a life of true joy and meaning for me.

May you feel the love of the earth and spirit within your heart this day and always.

Blessed Be,