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.

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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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