It is definitely autumn here in upstate NY. The trees are changing color, the garden is dying back, and we had our first frost the other morning. Days are shorter and colder, and I can feel the energy slowing from the hectic pace of summer.
Even if you don't live in a place where the change of seasons is quite so obvious, you will still notice the change in daylight hours and the differing energy of fall. It can be hard to stay in tune with the natural ebb and flow in these modern times, but I think we all feel better if we can do so, at least to some extent.
This doesn't have to mean complicated rituals, if you don't have the time or inclination for such things. The energy of autumn is all about settling in and preparing for winter, and harvesting whatever there is to harvest (literally and figuratively). One of my favorite ways to do this--something that is practical and useful, but to which you can easily add a magical or spiritual component--is fall cleaning.
I know; most people do a big clean in spring (and I try to do that too). But I'm more likely to do both cleansing and protection work around my house in the fall. It's my way of preparing my "nest" for the dark days of winter.
First I start with actual clearing: I put away any clothes that won't be worn until the warm days return, make sure the harvest is tucked away where I can get at it easily, sort through closets, drawers and surfaces to get rid of things I haven't really used in the last year, and don't need to hold on to.
I clean the house, getting into the nooks and corners that usually escape the more casual weekly cleanings. THEN the magical bit starts. I take my broom (thank you, Robert!) and sweep through the whole house, from top to bottom. Before I start, I may anoint the broom with cleansing oils, or dip it in a salt & water combo that also has a bit of lemon (cleansing) or rosemary (protection) essential oil in it.
When I've done the whole house, I end up at the front door, where I sweep out both the last of the season's energy and actual dust, saying this spell from The Witch's Broom
My broom sweeps clean this house and home
My broom sweeps clean this place
With my broom I cleanse and clear
And purify this space
Then I usually follow up with some major protection work, but that's a subject for another post.
I hope you are enjoying the fall changes wherever you are. What's it like in your part of the country? Does it look like this?