An Autumn Equinox Ritual That Pulls Its Power From The Elements

mbg Contributor By Barbara Biziou
mbg Contributor
Barbara Biziou is a spiritual life coach and two-time author of The Joy of Ritual and The Joy of Family Rituals. She holds bachelor's degrees in both Art History and Psychology from NYU, and has been featured in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Oprah.com.
Young woman carrying a large bouquet of flowers

The wheel of the year is turning, and the autumn equinox is coming up on Tuesday, September 22. For this special time of year, thousands of people stand in awe at sacred sites around the world—from the pyramids at Chichen Itza in Yucatán to Machu Picchu in Peru. Autumnal festivals play a prominent role in Native American culture, Iranian tradition, and beyond.

Wherever in the world you're celebrating, now is the time to give thanks to the sun and creator.

Many cultures also celebrate a new year at this time. During the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, we give thanks for life, reflect on the year, and participate in the ritual of Tashlich, the symbolic throwing of your sins into moving water. Higan, in Japan, is a six-day festival where worshippers repent past deeds three days before and after the equinox, honoring ancestors and meditating on the qualities they wish for in the coming year.

The autumn equinox is the time between the expansion and activity of summer and the slowing down and hibernation of winter. Once again, we acknowledge a moment of balance when the northern and southern hemispheres receive the same amount of sunlight and the days and nights are the same length.

Spiritually, we are asked to celebrate our harvest and prepare for the long nights of winter. No, this is not about hoarding toilet paper—it's a sacred time to look at our blessings (no matter how challenging this year has been so far) and call in the resources we'll require in the new season using ritual.

A 4-elements meditation to propel you forward into fall:

1. Take out a journal, pen, and markers. You can write on a phone or computer, but I find handwriting more powerful.

2. The beginning of every season is an opportunity to clean out your old altars and create new ones. Create an altar for each element with some of the following suggested crystals, scents, and objects:

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Earth (body, physical resources)

Questions:

  • What do you need to complete?
  • What needs healing in the body?
  • What support do you require to move forward?

Crystals:

  • Malachite
  • Emerald
  • Turquoise

Scents:

  • Pine
  • Cedar
  • Vetiver
  • Spikenard
  • Honeysuckle

Objects:

  • Coins
  • Salt
  • Bread
  • Grains
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Water (intuition, cycles)

Questions:

  • How can you deepen your intuitive knowing?
  • Are you taking time to reflect and quiet your mind?
  • How are you managing your time?

Crystals:

  • Moonstone
  • Obsidian
  • Amethyst
  • Opal

Scents:

  • Sandalwood
  • Chamomile
  • Jasmine
  • Rose
  • Ylang-ylang

Objects:

  • Glass or bowl of water, wine, or juice
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Air (new beginnings, communication)

Questions:

  • How are you bringing joy and play into your life?
  • Are you willing to be open to the new?
  • Do you need to express yourself more powerfully?

Crystals:

  • Citrine
  • Amber
  • Topaz

Scents:

Objects:

  • Wind chimes
  • Feathers
  • Seeds
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Fire (relationships, passion)

Questions:

  • Are your relationships making you happy?
  • What is your relationship to self-love?
  • How are you with setting boundaries?

Scents:

  • Frankincense
  • Black pepper
  • Ginger
  • Clove

Crystals:

  • Ruby carnelian
  • Bloodstone garnet

Objects:

  • Peppers
  • Spices
  • Mangoes
  • Red wine

3. Element by element, light a candle, breathe in one of the suggested essential oil scents, and then place a few drops of them on your crystals. Grab your journal and answer that season's questions.

4. To complete the ritual, eat a piece of bread or something grounding like almonds or walnuts. Drink some water, juice, or wine. Clap your hands three times and say, "[Your name], I love you, and I open myself to receive the love and guidance of the Universe."

5. Place the crystals in a bowl or bag and keep on your altar to represent the new energy you have called in. Blow out the candles.

Take action on any guidance you received. Note what you can change yourself and what you may need help with as we wade into autumn yet again.

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