Making the Most of Autumn
Making the Most of Autumn
Every year I feel a little sad when the summer starts to fade away. But at the first sight of browning leaves or hint of bonfire in the air, my heart fills with excitement. Autumn brings some of my favourite sights, smells and things in the world. I adore summer, but autumn is by far my most beloved time of year. The time of year when the veil between this world and that of magic, of fantasy, of dreams and spirit seems to get thinner. The golden afternoon light fills the world with warmth, whilst the foggy and dark evenings allow the mind to wander and imagine what creatures may be lurking in the dark. It’s the most magical of all seasons. I wrote a blog post on making the most of summer back in June. And I enjoyed the process so much that I’ve decided to create blog posts to celebrate each of the seasons of the year. If you’ve been following my work for awhile, you’ll know how much I take joy in each time of year and try to make the most of it whilst it lasts. I love wild summer swims just as much as I enjoy a walk on a snowy winter afternoon. As a kid, I was taught to find beauty in every weather and celebrate the magic of nature every single day. And I continue to do so as an adult. Sure, I am always filled with a little bit of gloom at the approach of winter. But I get just as excited as any 4 year old when I get to decorate a Christmas Tree or see my neighbourhood light up with cosy fairy lights. I am however a little biased towards autumn. Perhaps because I was born on a beautifully sunny and crisp October morning after a long week of rain. And have since watched 25 years of that particular October day bring sunshine and the most beautiful displays of autumn into my life. Or perhaps I love autumn so much because the witch in me knows it’s the time to get that broomstick out of the closet…
I love autumn’s colourful foliage displays, flying cobwebs, the bounty of pumpkins, hot soups on Sunday afternoons and misty mornings. But whether you love autumn just as much as I do, or you wish you could put it off and extend summer into a long forever, I’m writing this for you. Because I too do get grumpy about the cold, the wind and how early the night falls. But I know that the cure is in being grateful for all the beauty and cosiness it has to offer. When the light begins to fade away, I decorate the room with candles, wear my wool socks, wrap up in a blanket and embrace the opportunity to stay indoors and watch witchy movies or listen to Stevie Nicks and draw. That’s a party in my books. Or read all those books I didn’t have time for on those long summer days spent outside. As the seasons change our energy naturally shifts too. Whilst spring fills me with energy to get outside, see friends and start tons of new projects, I find myself getting tired more quickly when the days are shorter and in more need of my own company. I try to embrace that by giving myself more time and space to rest, read, create, and go on walks in solitude. My energy for interacting with the outside world is limited and I choose more strictly when and why to engage. Coincidentally, I find my muses visit me the most in autumn, so those longer nights are perfect for enjoying the flow of creativity and pulling out my art supplies. But whether I feel like getting my boots on and going out for a muddy morning walk or spending a cosy evening by a fireplace, I have a bucket list of autumnal activities to remind me to make the most of this season each year & enjoy at least some of what it has to offer before its gone again.
The list of prompts for you to get inspired & encouraged to find some joy in the season can be found at the end of this post. But first, I want to take a moment to mention my favourite festivities of this season. We all know Halloween takes over the popular culture and supermarket shelves, but there are other, more quiet and thoughtful or even more loud and quirky festivals & traditions that people in various part of the world celebrate at this time of year. If you know of any interesting traditions specific to autumn that I don’t mention, I’d love to hear about them, so please do leave a comment below or get in touch on Instagram.
Mabon, Autumn Equinox, Witch’s Thanksgiving - 22nd to 23rd of September
It’s the day when night and day are equal, in complete balance. It’s the festival of harvest. We give thanks for this year’s harvest, the bounty of fruits, grains and vegetables. Traditionally the harvest is supposed to be shared if one is to receive the blessings of the Goddesses and the Gods. Excess fruit is preserved to provide sustenance for the rest of the year. In the Wiccan tradition it is the time to cast spells of balance and harmony and those of change.
Symbols & items of Autumn Equinox: apples, berries, calendula, pinecones, maroon & gold colours, rose quartz, amber crystals, cornucopia.
All Hollow’s Eve / Halloween / Samhain - 31st of October
Samhain is the first and the last of the Sabbats of the Witch’s Wheel of the Year. It is the beginning of the dark period of the year, the descent of winter. It is believed that the veil is thinner between this world and the spiritual realm, and communication with spirits is possible on this particular night. Whilst these days it’s heavily commercialised, in the pagan tradition this festival is a time for reflection and communing with your ancestral spirits. It is a perfect time to reflect on your year, express gratitude for all that you’ve gained & learnt, and cast away what you wish to let go of.
Symbols: acorn, broom, cauldron, rosemary, sage, bones, dark crystals, pumpkins, apples, seeds.
All Saint’s Night / Vėlinės - 1st of November
Being Lithuanian, I always like to share traditions specific to my culture too. Halloween is really not a big deal in Lithuanian. Nowadays it’s become more present in clubbing culture with costumes and halloween parties, but growing up there it was really only something I learnt about in my English classes or watched on TV. They did yearly re-runs of Hocus Pocus and all that, so that’s really what got me into the whole Halloween spirit. In Lithuania the 1st of November (Vėlinės) is a very solemn and respectful family celebration. On that day each year we make trips to visit graves of our loved ones to light candles for their souls. It’s really quite magical as cemeteries all around the country are bathed in the light of thousands of candles. We used to visit our local cemeteries at night too: to pay our respects, but also to enjoy the beauty of a candle-lit graveyard. Vėlinės is naturally always an opportunity for families to gather and enjoy a big warm home-cooked lunch as visits are often paid by close & extended family. The weather is usually very cold by then, the trees are bare and the warmth of candles and family is exactly what everyone needs. It’s a day that always leaves me feeling a little homesick.
Bonfire Night - 5th of November
5th of November & the failed attempt to take down King James I is marked all across England. But the biggest bonfire night happens here in this sleepy town I live in - Lewes. Lewesians celebrate bonfire like no one else. Bonfire night, or rather bonfire week, here is an immersive experience. There’s not a place in the whole town where you won’t be soaking in the atmosphere, the energy, the noise, the smells of this festival. It’s controversial at times, but absolutely fabulous and exciting always. When I first moved here I had no idea of what a big deal it was and everyone told me just how impressive the day is, as well as the lead-up to it. But it was only when I got to experience it first-hand that I realised just how impossible it is to express in words & how mad this town is when bonfire season is upon us. I can’t wait.
Fill your home with the essence of autumn…
baked cookies, cinnamon, pumpkins, fallen leaves, pinecones, dried flowers & foliage, autumn wreaths, knitwear, candles, log fire, fairy lights, spooky decorations, cobwebs, spiders, apples, palo santo, folk music, fresh autumn air, warm colours of reds and browns.
Autumnal Bucket List
Take plenty of Walks
Capture the golden light
collect YOUR autumn harvest
light a fire
Pickle & Preserve
decorate your home With AuTUmN FOLIAGE
Carve a pumpkin
Make spicy pumpking soup
Bake a pumpkin pie
watch witchy movies & tv shows: Practical Magic, Hocus Pocus, Witches of Eastwisck, etc
Watch Gilmore Girls
Go for a night-time walk on Halloween
spend time outside with friends & Family
breathe the fresh air
read a MYstery Novel
draw, craft, create at home when the light dwindles
put candles on graves of Your Loved Ones
Get out for a foggy morning walk
visit a farm
Participate in Inktober
Spend a day in the Forest
A tip from a photographer
The golden light of late autumn afternoons is like nothing else. Do not be put off by the increasingly chilly weather. Autumn is an ideal time for a photoshoot. The nature is beautiful, the weather is not as cold as it is in winter, there’s still plenty of sunshine and the fog can provide an incredible setting and atmosphere for your photoshoot. If you have an autumnal brand aesthetic, now is also the perfect time to plan for photoshoots for your business. The natural world is coloured in your palette and creates an ideal opportunity for the right look & feel. Think of nature as a free studio filled with the right kind of props! Autumn light is also wonderful for portraits, couple sessions & wedding celebrations, whether it’s cloudy or the sun is out and bathing the world in golden light. Autumnal landscapes are beautifully warm as well as moody and are a joy to explore. If you’d like to book your session & go for an autumnal adventure with me, I’d love to hear from you!