Even though autumn on the west coast doesn't feel, smell or look the same as my childhood on the east coast, there is still a pulse and an energy to the season. Similar to who we are as a spiritual being is beyond our human, so are the seasons beyond the external ways they show up in our cities.
Autumn is a time to harvest, release and let go. Gathering herbs, harvesting vegetables, bundling and canning them for the winter was something that my neighbor did each year. As I grew up, went to college, entered young adulthood, I lost contact with the rituals and ceremonies underneath of the season. But my soul remembered and longed to reconnect with the pink sunsets and geese flying south for the winter, those leafless branches that looked like black skeleton bones against the dusk sky.
Over the past few years, since integrating Breathwork into my daily life, studying shamanism, that ancient, tribal, witchy part of me that had been in the closet, has a reborn affinity for herbs, rituals and ceremonies. A few years ago it started with opening to essential oils in the diffuser, to planting the herbs in the garden, to listening to how they want me to harvest and bundle. Bundling herbs with sage and palo santo for the moon circles and breathwork classes has ignited some primal part of me.
For thousands of years, cultures have been burning plants as incense, for energy clearing and used in medicinal healing. Cleansing our homes, our energetic field with smoke helps remove negativity, and autumn herbs infuse a space with warmth and nourishment once the negativity has been smoked away. Sage, rosemary and peppermint are wonderful herbs to use for removing negativity. Yarrow, cinnamon sticks, or thyme are healing herbs to use for building energy.
To bundle herbs, gather a handful and tie them with a string. Its best to hang them upside down in order to dry properly. Wait 1-2 weeks for the herbs to fully dry before using them to smoke cleanse, also known as smudging.
For the New Moon in Virgo:
The new moon is all about darkness, going within, being introspective, setting intentions for the two weeks leading up to the full moon. In the darkness of the night sky, as in the darkness of the soil, we plant seeds during the new moon and watch our plans come to fruition.
As modern women, living in a fast paced culture, we have lost touch with the sacredness of the lunar cycle and our menstrual cycle, and all of the wisdom both can provide for us. In ancient times women gathered at the new and full moons to learn more about their inner self, their menstrual cycle, bring the lunar energy into alignment with their human life.
The light of Virgo governs health, habits, routines, this new moon is an optimal time to implement practical health and wellbeing habits. Interestingly, our habits reflect the quality of our lives and how healed our unhealed our unconscious is. When we are fragmented, we reach for things that are not for our highest good. When we are healed, we create boundaries that reflect the self respect.
The shadow of Virgo is perfectionism. Being hyper focused on perfectionism can result in feeling out of control. When we feel out of control compulsive thinking and behaviors sneak in to help us feel in control. So if you notice yourself doing something to perfection, pause and ask yourself, what are you really afraid of?
Virgo asks us to clarify what is practical and viable. Virgo asks us to implement better systems. What do you want to intend and bring into this new moon that is grounded and sustainable?
For the Full Moon in Aries:
The full moon illuminates and reveals to us what was in the dark during the new moon. This is a time where we reap the results of the intentions that we set during the new moon, and it shows us the next moves, and with clear vision, what we need to let go of because it no longer serves us.
The full moon in Aries is also known as the Harvest Moon, Barley Moon, Full Corn Moon, and the Fruit Moon because it comes in the harvest of autumn. Full moon is about letting go of what no longer serves us. Fire sign Aries is all about initiative. This moon can bring about knee jerk reactions, so we have to bring in the power of pause. We can use the fire of Aries to release and also slow down and be mindful how we are doing. This full moon ritual around the equinox will integrate the full moon, fire, and the pause of water.
A favorite ritual for the fall Full Moon is to gather an assortment of herbs as noted above, a bowl of water, one candle (preferably a color associated with fall such as yellow, brown, orange, red), a crystal (any crystal will do, preferably one that you intuitively feel drawn to, not necessarily because of is color or suggested property), and a journal.
Block off 30-60 minutes of uninterrupted time in your calendar. Light your candle and allow it to burn next to your bowl of water. Hold your crystal and ask for the stone to clear and release your mind while breathing. I like inhaling for four second, holding for seven seconds and exhaling for eight seconds. Next place your herbs in the water and stir the herb water clockwise five times. Pick up your journal and write down what you are ready to release and let go of in your life. Rip out the paper and place it in the bowl. State what you are releasing out loud three times. Stir the herb water again seven times. Bring the bowl to your heart space, and then claim "I am releasing..." while dumping the water outside onto the earth. Throw away the paper or toss it into the compost. Allow your candle to burn as long as possible.