Autumn rituals, spells and activities

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The autumnal equinox occurred on September 23rd. This is the season of Halloween, Dia de los Muertos, Autumn Dziady, All Saints' Day, Samhain and Thanksgiving. Many Pagans (those who hold religious beliefs outside of the major world religions), believe this is the time of year when the veil that separates the spirit world from the physical world grows thinner. It is a time when we are able to more easily connect with fairies, spirits and loved ones who have transitioned. The thinning of the veil is also a great time to perform manifesting rituals --- inviting the energy of our desires to cross over from the spirit realm and take form on the material plane where we exist. Here are some of our favorite seasonal activities to enrich and commemorate this time of year. These practices are not associated with a specific religion.

Host a candle chain

Invite friends, family and neighbors over for a candle chain. This can be really fun, and it's easy to do. Each guest or participant should bring their own candle. Only one candle is needed to represent each household. Candles can be of any variety -- tealight, handmade or store bought will suffice. It helps if each person's candle looks different so they can recognize their own.

Place all of the unlit candles on a table. The host/hostess lights his/her candle and says a short affirmation. The candle is then used to light another candle on the table. The owner of the newly lit candle states a short affirmation while lighting another candle. This continues until all the candles are lit. The last person to light a candle can close out the activity by offering words of gratitude and appreciation for the affirmed blessings received. Allow the candles to burn during the remainder of the gathering.

Adopt an ancestor

Grab a plastic grocery bag and work gloves and head over to a local cemetery. Arrange to meet a few others the entrance. Host a procession and strew flowers over the graves along the way (get permission from the cemetery). If you see graves that need tending, ask your intuition if it is the right thing to do. If you get confirmation, use the grocery bag to carry away debris and dead leaves.

Adopt a living ancestor

Cold weather can limit the mobility of elders, leaving them in need of assistance. Make this the time of year that you offer extra support to an aging parent, uncle, aunt or community member. Schedule regular visits when you can run an errand, help sort through and read mail, pay a bill or just talk and, even more important, listen. Interview them about how they used to celebrate this time of year.

Magical movies marathon

Daylight savings time has ended. Short days and cold nights drive us indoors for cozy evening activities. Put on a pot of hot cider and host a Magical Movies Marathon. Practical Magick (drama), The Gift (adult themed suspense/thriller), The Good Witch series (light-hearted), The Golden Compass (child- friendly fantasy), Hugo (child-friendly fantasy), and Bridge to Terabithia (child-friendly fantasy) all work well with this theme. Invite a few friends over and make it a potluck.

Grief-healing spell

The holiday season can be hard for those who have lost loved ones. Remembrance often gives way to deep-seated feelings of loss, leading to depression and emotional fatigue. To regain proper perspective, soak a rose quartz, amethyst and hematite in a clear glass of water overnight. Each morning when you awake, remove the stones one at a time, holding each over your head and allow a few drops of water to fall.  Each time (total of 3 each morning) recite: "Lovely gem to wounded souls, find and fill the aching holes. Set to right what grief has rent; further anguish please prevent." Repeat this exercise each morning until your feelings of sadness dissipate.