Harvesting the Magic of Autumn

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Grain in Autumn

This time of year is the harvest, when the fruit and grains that ripened in summer are gathered in. It is a time to give thanks and a time to take stock, a time to share the bounty we have been given and a time to consider the fruits of our labor. Here are several ways that we can align ourselves spiritually with the magic of harvest.

Count Your Blessings

In this season of bounty, it’s important to take time to acknowledge all the many gifts we’ve been given. Of course, for each of us, the exact nature of these blessings is different.

And for each of us, the best way to take stock of our gratitude is different. You may want to write down a list in your diary or magical journal. You may want to gather with some friends and community members in order to speak your reflections out loud. You may want to create some other form of expression, such as a song or a painting or a collage.

The point of this exercise is to survey your life. Allow yourself to become aware of all the things that bring you joy and contentment, whether those elements are relationships with other people, features of the natural landscape, physical objects, or freedoms that you enjoy.

Sometimes this exercise can bring up feelings of scarcity or lack for people. If nothing else, you can start with the eyes that you’re using to read these words and the mind that you’re using to understand them. You are alive, which is in itself a great and miraculous gift.

Once you begin to connect to your gratitude, you are likely to find more and more items to include in your count.

Remember Your Part in Creating the Feast

As you sit down to the harvest table, take some time to consider the food that’s in front of you. This food might be metaphorical or literal; it might be literally the fruits of your garden, the ripe apples of the trees you tended, the bright orange globes of the pumpkins you watered all summer. Or it might be the relationships you’ve deepened this year, the lessons you learned, the abundance you created for yourself, the projects you completed.

Whatever your harvest is, it’s something that you created. It’s the result of the seeds you planted in the spring and all the weeding and nurturing you did in the summer.

So after you thank the world for all the gifts you’ve received, thank yourself as well. Remember the part you played in manifesting this harvest feast.

If You Reap What You Sow…

And after you’ve expressed your gratitude, consider: does the food that’s before you truly nurture you? Is there something missing? Is there something that you wish wasn’t there?

If you do notice a desire for something to be different, be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself to simply be aware, without judgment or blame.

And imagine, if you can, that the difference that you’re craving is already present, that the difficult fruit is gone or the missing bounty is there, sitting on your table. And ask yourself, or ask the harvest, how did that nourishment come to be here? What seeds did I plant in order to invite this gift into my life? What did I sow in order to reap this bounty?

The answers you receive can serve as inspiration for next year’s garden.

Bigger than Human

These meditations, while beautiful and helpful, are very human. If you want to connect to something larger than yourself, something wilder and more ancient, harvest is also an excellent time to do so.

The easiest way to do so is simply to take nature walks as often as you can. This can be a little challenging, as the blissful heat of summer starts to give way to the cold and dark of winter. Personally, I have found that consciously spending time outdoors makes it easier for me to adjust to seasonal transitions, both in terms of physical comfort and in more emotional and esoteric ways.

As you walk, allow yourself to notice the changes that are taking place all around you. Let yourself feel whatever you feel about the colder winds and the dying leaves, whether that’s sorrow or excitement.

After you have acknowledged the arising feelings, say a small prayer of thanks. Thank the summer for the bright sun that feeds growth and abundance. Thank the autumn for being the time of harvest, the time of gathering, the time of change and preparation. Thank the winter that is coming for the deep rest and the sheltering dark.

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Dancing With Summer’s Light


This time of year, the days seem to stretch on forever. The afternoons, overflowing with golden sunlight, seem to go on and on.

Whatever age we are, we can’t help but remember the promise and delight of summer holiday: swimming and taking long walks in the woods, savouring ice cream cones and watermelon slices, bike rides and games of tag and epic water fights.

In the natural world, a celebration is happening as well.

The trees are gratefully soaking up the abundant energy of the sun, transforming insubstantial light into the solid substance of their sweet, swelling fruits. The fledgling birds and young animals who were born in the spring are leaving their nests and dens behind, venturing further and further out into the wide world.

Summer Magic and Fun


During summer, aligning ourselves with the rhythm of the seasons can seem easy and appealing. Now, the call is for us to expand, to drink in the wealth of inspiration and light and to use this abundance to nourish the fruits of the projects and intentions we planted earlier this year.

Summer is also an excellent time for us to reconnect with the beauty and simplicity of the wild world. Whether you’re drawn to going on hikes in the wilderness, to taking long walks in your neighbourhood or to sailing on local rivers and lakes, the long, warm days are the perfect opportunity to spend more time outside, to strengthen our bodies while simultaneously deepening our relationship with the living body of Gaia.

The increased presence and activity of animals makes this a great time to connect with animals allies, helpers and guides. If you already have an established relationship with an animal spirit, consider travelling to its natural habitat so you can further build your connection.

If you’re seeking new animal allies, there’s a couple of different strategies you might use. You could use techniques such as lucid dreaming and shamanic journeying to enter into the spirit world. However, in the summer months, the pull of the physical world is strong. You might have better luck if you physically travel into a green, untamed place.

Wherever you go, simply hold the clear intention of seeking an animal companion to guide and accompany you on your spiritual journey. The world will hear and respond to you. 

So Much Abundance  

Summer forest
Summer forest

The abundance of light in summer can reveal new possibilities. This makes the current season an excellent time for exploration, for trying out new activities, new ways of being in the world. Is there a new spiritual practise or healthy habit you’ve been considering trying for a while?

Now is an excellent time to start.  

Another way of working with summer abundance is by cultivating gratitude. To start with, try taking a little time each day, perhaps right after you wake up or right before you fall asleep, and listing some of the things in your life that you feel grateful for.

As you continue to work with gratitude, you may find yourself spontaneously saying a silent “thank you” to the universe when something beautiful happens.

The magic of gratitude is expansive and contagious; you will likely find that the more gratitude you feel, the more blessings and gifts will appear in your life.

Remembering the Balance  

Lughnasagh (25 Jul - 16 Aug) Pendant To Invoke Intuition
Lughnasagh (25 Jul – 16 Aug) Pendant To Invoke Intuition

While the summer might feel endless, we know that it is not. The solstice, so recently gone by, may be the height of the sun’s power and brilliance but this means that it also marks the time when the light begins to wane.

As suggested by the Taoist symbol of Yin and Yang, the moment of greatest light also contains within itself a seed of growing darkness.

In ancient Celtic lore, the summer solstice marked the day that Lugh, the Sun King, died. There is no need to dwell gloomily on this aspect of the season. But it is important to remember that summer, like all the seasons, is transitory. The wheel turns, and keeps on turning. The light and the heat and the wild sense of expansive possibility: these are precious because they are only here for a time.  

This pinprick of sadness, this reminder of winter’s chill, can help deepen and enrich our gratitude. We can seize the long day of summer and live our lives to the fullest, knowing that nothing lasts forever. At the same time, we can hold the paradox; the wheel turns, and will return once again to summer. In this way, the brilliance is both fleeting and eternal, too quickly gone and always present.

by River


StormJewel Says: Thanks River for your beautifully poetic article.  I love your recommendations for getting in to the summer mindset, and I really love going to woods and parks to connect with nature in the summer, especially this one which in the UK is wonderfully warm for once! 🙂

Have you any Summer or Lughnasagh tips to share with us? What do you like best about summer? How do you connect with nature at this time? Let us know! xx

Img Credits: All photos except the last are by talented photographer Andreas Krappweis

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How to Connect with Your Ancestor Spirits

How to talk to your ancestors
This reminds me of the funeral masks made by the Ancient Greeks and Romans to honour their ancestors

If you’ve been curious about working with your ancestor spirits, now is an excellent time of year to start, because the dark of the year is a great time to listen to otherworldly voices and connect with the shadow lands.

We’re nearing Samhain, which is the ancient Celtic holiday that Halloween is based on.

All the Halloween zombies and ghosts are half-remembered reminders of an ancient truth: around the end of October, the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead grows thin.

We now have a heightened opportunity to reach across the divide and communicate with all the spirits of those who have passed.

Here are some tips for developing relationships with your ancestors:

First, keep in mind that your ancestors are as diverse as your living family.  They might not all want to talk with you, especially in the context of a Pagan ritual.  While most ancestors interact with their descendants in a loving and encouraging manner, some are difficult or quarrelsome.

If you have an especially trying time interacting with your deceased family, keep in mind that there are multiple types of ancestors you can work with.


Who are my Ancestors?

Ancestors of spirit are all those who inspire you, whose work you carry on in the world, who built the tools and traditions you use in your life.

Your ancestors of spirit might include the Witches and Pagans of the past.  Your ancestors of spirit might include the writers and musicians and artists whose work has touched your heart, lifted your spirits, or inspired you to create yourself.  They might include activists who have fought for the rights and opportunities that you enjoy.  They might include the people who founded the field you work in, the people who started the hobbies that fill your life with joy.


Ancestors of place include all the beings who once lived in the area you live.

They extend beyond other human beings to include the animals who lived and died, the plants who flourished and decayed.  The ground you walk on is literally made out of the bodies of those plants and animals, those ancestors of place.  If you live in a city, your ancestors of place include all the human hands who planned and built and cared for the houses and streets that make up your world.


Ancestors of blood are the people you’re physically descended from.

Their bones are your bones; their blood flows through your veins.  You can imagine yourself as the bud on a branch of a great tree, with roots extending far into the past.  You are the child and the grandchild and the great-grandchild of people who survived, at least long enough to reproduce.  Whatever else your family might have done or failed to do, they brought you into this world.


How to build relationships with these Ancestor Spirits

All three types of ancestors have given us many gifts. 

An excellent way to begin developing relationships with them is by expressing your gratitude for the many gifts they’ve given you.  Your ancestors of blood gave you your body and your life.  All the other experiences you enjoy are based on this first gift.

Your ancestors of place give you solid ground to walk on, a home to shelter you, perhaps a lovely garden to enjoy.  Your ancestors of spirit give you inspiration, magical tools and ways to understand the world.

Building an Ancestor Altar

When we are trying to build a relationship with a living person, we might invite them to dinner.  In order to do something similar with ancestors, we can build an ancestor altar.  This creates a space for them in our homes. 

An ancestor altar can be as simple as a table with a candle and a few photos of loved ones who have passed, or as complex as a full spread of magical tools with a pentagram at the centre.

Try sitting with your ancestor altar once a day or once a week, as your schedule allows.  Thank you ancestors for what they’ve given you.  Tell them about your life.  Ask for their advice.  And simply allow yourself to listen.  Your ancestors may make specific requests from you.  They might want you to light a candle for them, or burn a certain kind of incense.  They might want to be served a small plate of the food you eat for dinner, or a glass of water.

Be patient and generous and your connection with your ancestors will flower.

By Allison Grey


StormJewel: Thanks for another fantastic article Allison!  There’s lots to learn and do from this.

I’d love to hear your ancestor experiences, or even just whether you think you will be trying this or not.  Let us know below!  Blessings!

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Samhain and Halloween – what does it mean?

English: Halloween pumpkin.
English: Halloween pumpkin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Halloween is one of the most popular holidays in whole world. This celebration in the West means pumpkins, witches and ghosts. In other countries where Christian and Catholic roots are prevalent, the Day of the Dead is celebrated, but what’s it really about and how can you celebrate it?.

As with many festivals that we celebrate today, such as Christmas and Easter, Halloween comes from Pagan times, and was (and is still by many Pagans) called Samhain, which can be pronounced Sow-een, Sow-in or Sav-ain and is usually celebrated from or somewhere between October 31st and November 11th..

Samhain is a time when the boundaries between the living and the dead become blurred and thin, and it is the time of the year when it is supposed to be easiest for the dead to come to the earthly realm.  This has perhaps lead to the idea that Halloween is a scary time – but it should be one of respect and celebration!

I went to a Catholic girls school many years ago (kind of funny when you become a Pagan, RE lessons were always a big debate!) and my head teacher explained at assembly that Halloween is a scary time, and the following day (Day of All Saints or All Hallows) is to get rid of this badness and let the ‘good’ in.

I politely explained afterwards that in fact Halloween (Hallows Eve) and All Saints Day were derived from the Pagan festival Samhain and is about honouring the dead, and to her credit she took it on board and asked me to do the assembly next year!

As most Pagans and Wiccans believe in reincarnation, or the spirit of a person or animal as continuing in some way, this time of year is special since it represents a celebration of continued life.

Many other cultures also have a time to honour their dead, for instance in Mexico they have Los Dias De Las Muertos or ‘The Day of the Dead.’ Samhain is also the last of the Harvest festivals, as for Pagans in the Northern Hemisphere, it coincides with the last harvest before winter.  This is where the pumpkins come into it as they represented food from the harvest!


How you can celebrate Samhain

Ceramic Mini Cauldron for burning Incense
Ceramic Mini Cauldron for burning Incense

Like any Pagan festival, the way is open for you to celebrate in whichever feels right.  However here are some traditional ways and guidelines that you may wish to follow.

A word of warning: If you are not an experienced Witch or Pagan to avoid such things as chanting or drumming to raise the dead, unless you are with experienced magick workers, as these are very strong energies! It is also wise to ask goddesses or whoever you like to invoke, for protection.


Decorating your altar

In keeping with the harvest theme, why not decorate your altar with pumpkins, corn or hay, gourds or conkers, or anything else relating to the season. (Just use what is around if you are from the southern hemisphere!) Offerings of cakes and ale are also appropriate.

Black candles are also ideal, especially ritually charged black candles, which help to provide protection.

The cauldron is also an important symbol for Halloween, you might wish to put a mini cauldron incense burner there, and burn something like frankincense or myrrh which are traditionally used to honour the dead.


Ritual ideas..

  • As mentioned, the cauldron is often important for Samhain rituals, so if you have a big one, this could be the focal point of your ritual.
  • You might wish to invite the Crone or Wise Woman to bring wisdom to you, or the story of the Goddess Cerridwen.
  • For honouring and contacting the dead, ritual drumming or chanting can be excellent. Why not place items of those you wish to honour on your altar?
  • Bobbing for apples is an ancient Pagan tradition, as apple magick was highly valued.  When you catch the apple in your teeth a little of your soul is supposed to creep into the apple and then you can either eat it for prosperity or bury it in your garden or a green space nearby to ensure abundance over the coming winter months.
  • You may wish to try crystal ball scrying or some other method of divination to contact those you wish to honour and communicate with.Isis for Magical Inspiration

Goddesses and Gods you can Invoke..

  • Hecate
  • Cerridwen
  • Morrigan
  • The Wise Woman (Crone)
  • Anubis
  • Isis
  • Ishtar
  • Cernunnos

Whichever way you choose to celebrate Samhain, it’s a great time to honour the dead, celebrate life and appreciate the changing of the seasons.




Have any good Samhain ritual tips or things you like to do? Let me know in the comment box!

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