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Just Like That, Fall Is Here: Rituals For The 2021 Autumn Equinox

Barbara Biziou
Spiritual Coach & Ritual Researcher By Barbara Biziou
Spiritual Coach & Ritual Researcher
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.
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The autumn equinox is a time when day and night are in equal balance—though, in the Southern Hemisphere, it is a shift to spring and not fall. In either case, we are moving into a new season today and are being encouraged to stop, celebrate, and take stock of our lives. 

Many cultures welcome the autumn equinox with ceremonies expressing gratitude for the harvest. The Zoroastrian harvest festival of Mehregan gives thanks to the creator God of the sun. In parts of Japan, there is a six-day equinox festival for repenting for past transgressions and praying for wisdom and guidance. In China, the occasion can be celebrated with moon cakes and family reunions. And at sacred sites around the world, thousands of people continue to gather to honor the blessing of time and watch the sunrise on this special day.

No matter where you sit on the globe, here are six rituals to help you welcome this new season and all the opportunities it brings: 

1. Write to reflect on the past and plan for the future.

For a quick journaling ritual, take two pieces of paper. On the first one, write out a list of:

  • What you accomplished in this last season
  • What you have learned recently
  • Things that are about to bloom

On the second, write:

  • Where you have procrastinated recently
  • Where you got sidetracked recently
  • How you beat yourself up recently

Take the second list, and as you read it, know that you did the best you could. Maybe life just got in the way, and you do not yet have the tools you need to move forward. 

Say to yourself, "I love and appreciate you. I am now willing to easily and gently release the beliefs and habits that keep me stuck."

Consider safely burning this second list, and when the ashes have cooled, place them on the earth. Know that you can forgive yourself for not being perfect and move forward unencumbered.

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2. Give yourself a blue ribbon.

Although it may feel silly, this little craft can help you acknowledge your recent accomplishments, even if others did not. Draw your own blue ribbon or buy one in a craft store or online. Paste it onto the paper with your accomplishments, lessons, and goals. Keep this page somewhere you can see it throughout the fall. 

3. Step out of the box.

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The point of this quick visualization exercise is to let yourself expand and think bigger. Feel free to return to it at any point in the new season:

Close your eyes and imagine you are standing inside of a box. This box is one that you have created for yourself. It keeps you safe, but it limits you and keeps you from growing. Now, imagine yourself stepping out of the box and immediately knowing you have unlocked new possibilities. Open your arms and welcome in the new.

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4. Feast on fall foods from around the world.

Your feast might include baked apples, soups packed with root vegetables, roasted chestnuts (a French delicacy!) or Kreplach, small dough squares filled with meat or vegetables that originated in Israel.

5. Bring balance into your life.

Use the midpoint between night and day to consider where you could use more balance in your life. Consider how you could better prioritize your energy into the new season and release the need to control everything. Think about how you can rest more and stress less, and spend your time nurturing the relationships you most value. When you're done, give yourself some time off to just play. 

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6. Do something to bring balance into the world.

Once you've considered your own balance, do something to bring more balance to the world. Volunteer for a cause you care about, smile at strangers, or commit to an eco-friendly change like switching over to solar panels, growing your own food, or starting a plastic-free revolution in your neighborhood

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