The Fall season is full of tradition, which is also seen as ritual in magical circles (pun not intended); we prepare for exciting autumn holidays such as Thanksgiving, and of course, many of us have great affection for Halloween, but about the time in between?
I would like to discuss how to create space and opportunity for our own personal care and growth, during the season when activity becomes almost frenetic with these traditions (and the stress that accompanies them) and other preparations we make each fall in anticipation of winter.
Due to COVID-19, the past year and a half has been tremendously challenging on many levels, and you may be hosting or attending family functions where your will and your temperament may be challenged further. In order to cope, we will need a little extra fortitude and could do well to set to work some small personal rituals to help keep peace and invite joy into our homes this fall.
The fall season is a time for celebration and invitation to balance and equality. At the Fall Equinox, the day and night become equalized by the tilt and rotation of Gaia Earth. We can use this as a starting point for our personal plan to increase aura shielding abilities and to initiate a process of transmuting negative energy into positive.
In the martial arts world, the discipline of Aikido uses the momentum of an attacker to dispel the attack – this accomplishes two important things. It defends from attack AND it uses as little energy as possible. This is the principle we will incorporate into the rituals below. They are designed to take negative energy (from conversations, from upset tummies, from becoming angry about sports, etc.) and effectively use it to create and correct the flow of energy to your preferred settings.
Feng Shui to Invite Lady Luck
The art of feng shui is to create a space so inviting, comfortable, and flowing with good energy that it invites luck to not only visit, but to stay. This can be a great starting point because fall is a time for clearing out clutter, dusting the blinds and washing the drapes. It is a time where we take the rugs out for a dose of sunlight and give them a good shake to rid them of dust and stagnant energy. This can be fun and inspiring and often will delight your family when they come to your home and are accustomed to seeing things in exactly the same place.
Over time, energy can gather in corners and in the less often used/cleaned areas and items in the home. Open the drapes, let the sunshine in and clear out those areas where dust and energy accumulate. Afterward smudge with sage, paying special attention to those corners, nooks and crannies. If you wish, you may chant this simple mantra, “With earth and fire now, circle round and purify my sacred ground”.
Sage has anti-microbial properties and can be used as a room spray for those of us who may be sensitive to smoke. Think of this as a space makeover, although only as dramatic as you want it to be, it can be a very powerful way to reclaim your space and create that flow you want. Change the word “fire” to “water” in the mantra if you wish to use room spray instead of burning sage.
Those of us who love to garden are aware of the virtue of planning for the next planting season. This is a practical tip that can be applied to many areas of life. Planning can be as simple as writing a list, or making a vision board, and is one of the best ways to ensure peace of mind during stressful or challenging times. Become routine about consulting your plan, review it regularly and update it when necessary. It can keep you on track and eliminate the need to juggle a hundred details in your head at any give time. When you have completed something on the list, erase it or cross it out. This will help you to keep your eye on the prize of a prepared, peaceful and joyful fall season.
Our room within our home is our sanctum and our retreat and we recommend some small changes here to encourage rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. This holiday we all want a break from divisive conversation over subjects we are all familiar with (any topic that makes you inwardly cringe fits in here). These are truly to be avoided at all costs, but when they do happen, we need a place to retreat, tend to our heart and deal with our stress.
Using feng shui methods applied to your sleep and bathing space can make a big difference. A small water fountain, or a guided meditation can help us off to restful sleep, but why not add an eye mask and ear plugs? If the home is filled with noises and guests, your rest may be interrupted. Set an alarm loud enough to wake you – and having avoided interrupted sleep, you are better able to cope with the day ahead.
Add a cup of oatmeal to your bathwater (using an old pantihose, cut just above the ankle and tied off) along with some lavender essential oils in a diffuser to create extra ambience, will also help to relax and restore after a day of stressful preparations. When you’re done dispose of the oatmeal in the trash, you don’t want that clogging up your drain at the holidays!
Boundaries to Chaos
During a time when we are hosting an event, we need to set and keep boundaries. These are to avoid our flow being interrupted during coordinating events to ensure safety, efficacy (the larger the gathering the more crucial boundaries become) and are usually born of practical needs and therefore easy to explain to our guests.
Host: “I will be closing access to the kitchen area between 9-12 this morning, a group of us are will be working very hard to bring you a delightful dinner, this creates a safe place for that to happen.”
Everybody else: “Got it!”
This is a simple example, but I encourage you to make a list of situations where boundaries would be very helpful. This could be as above, or could be related to requesting that children be supervised during certain times to avoid them being around a hot grill, or limiting the number of Old Fashioned cocktails that grandpa has access to, it is the equivalent to “a stitch in time, saves nine”. If we set our expectations early and be prepared to defend them (people will naturally push upon a boundary, to test it), the reward will be a safe and harmonious environment where everybody knows the role expected of them.
Don’t worry about people thinking “what a party pooper”. If it is in your home, you should direct things as you need them to go. At the end of the festivities, people will talk about how smoothly and wonderfully the event went and will likely not even remember the perceived inconvenience. After all, a swimming pool must have a fence, which is only inconvenient until we know how to open (and close) the gate.
Ground and Center
To ground yourself, simply go outside, plant your bare feet, or hands into the soil or grass and sit quietly, listening to the sounds around you. One could spend a few minutes doing gentle yoga stretches, or simple breath work. Here is a simple breathing exercise that is well known to magical practitioners, called the Fourfold Breath. Because we honor the season of Fall here, we will use the seasons as a visual in this exercise:
Find a quiet space to sit or stand (outside in the early morning or evening is ideal) where you can close your eyes and visualize your first inhale as the Spring, the season unfolds in your mind’s eye as you inhale for the count of four. At the top, hold the breath for four counts and see the splendid season of Summer unfold in your mind’s eye. Exhale for four counts, see the changing of the leaves and the gradual cooling of Fall time, and at the bottom, hold for four counts as Winter blankets the world around in snow. Then inhale for four counts, see Spring unfolding and so on.
Do this until you feel calm and centered. Set a boundary around this personal time, make sure you start the day with a grounding ritual, l and it will reward you richly. Being grounded and centered makes it possible to keep your cool, think things through and not become drawn into drama around you unless you want to be involved in it.
May your holidays be drama-free and festive-full!