Ring In Fall With These 6 Rituals For Forgiveness & Joy
As we move into the autumn equinox, the time is right to meditate on how to forgive and move on from a place of acceptance and be compassionate when resistance comes up along the way.
Like the goddess Maat in Egyptian mythology, who teaches us that our hearts must be lighter than a feather, it is crucial to let go of the heaviness, guilt, shame, and regret we hold on to in order to claim our authentic joy and creative talents this season.
Why is the equinox such a powerful time to release anger and move on?
The equinoxes are the two days out of the whole year when the northern and southern hemispheres receive the same amount of sunlight and the days and nights are the same length. Traditionally, the autumn equinox has been a time for cultures around the world to celebrate the harvest of important crops like yams, corn, rice, and pumpkins. Their rituals are imbued with a reverence for nature, fueled by the belief that if we respect Mother Earth, she will gift us with abundance.
Now, in a world where we are encouraged to overextend ourselves and keep doing more and more, it's easy for an occasion like the equinox to get lost. But the universe is nudging us to reflect, to rest, and to simply be here now, at least for today. Here are a few of my favorite ways to do so:
1. Create a harvest altar.
Place some grains—a pumpkin, an ear of corn, some rice, apples, blackberries—out on display, and decorate your bounty with autumn-colored candles in orange, yellow, red, or brown hues. Add honey and cinnamon if you desire love, coins for prosperity, spices for strength, basil for clarity. Let the altar be a physical reminder of all that you will harvest in the season to come.
2. Read the story of Demeter and Persephone.
This myth of death and rebirth, change, and transformation is one of my favorites. Traditionally, fall is the time when Persephone, the daughter of the Earth Goddess Demeter, must return to Hades, the god of the Underworld. It's a reminder that nature's abundance is cyclical, and just because we're entering a time of less growth doesn't mean things are completely dormant.
3. Perform a forgiveness ritual.
Fill a bowl with water, adding a pinch of salt for anyone you want to forgive (especially yourself!) for any mistakes that you or they have made consciously or unconsciously by words, deeds, or actions. Sit quietly and center yourself, imagining the misdeeds dissolving like salt in the water.
4. Go outside and look at the stars.
Repeat the rhyme:
"Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight
I wish I may, I wish I might
Have this wish I wish tonight."
Now make a wish for the season ahead.
5. Make a dream pouch.
Create a talisman that will help you remember and work with your dreams. You can either sew a pouch or buy a ready-made one. Fill it with dried mugwort, lavender, and rose petals. Feel free to add a bay leaf or moonstone to increase psychic awareness, an amethyst stone for spiritual awareness, and a Herkimer diamond for recalling your dreams. (Don't panic when you hear "diamond"—they are fairly inexpensive!)
Place it under your pillow or next to your bed while you sleep
6. Conduct a "four-direction" meditation.
Finally, I like to journal on what I'm looking to call in this season with the following prompts:
- The Power of the North: What do you need to complete? What needs healing in the body?
- The Power of the West: How can you deepen your intuitive knowing? Are you taking time to reflect and quiet your mind?
- The Power of the East: How are you bringing joy and play into your life? Are you willing to be open to the new?
- The Power of the South: Are your relationships making you happy? What is your relationship to self-love?