Here in the lowlands of Western Maryland, it’s finally beginning to feel like Autumn. The first evenings with a chill in the air are here and as a seasonal eater, I was excited to return soups and stews to my meal planning. As I contemplate the different shifts and changes of the coming cooler, darker season, my mind turns to magic as well as practicality. Along with pulling out the warmer clothing, there are seasonal magics that help make for a more comfortable autumn and winter. Getting a head start on these means that they’re already available and running when the shorter days get challenging.
Here are 5 of the spells/practices I’m working on over the next month or two.
One: Create your winter remedies. This is a mix of practicality and magic, one of my favorite approaches to metaphysics. I make a huge batch of honey fermented garlic cloves every year (think an entire quart jar for a family of two). Honey fermented garlic has a good track record with me in terms of preventing illness as well as shortening duration. Anytime I feel even slightly off, I eat three cloves (after they’re fermented they taste both sweet and savory). If I do manage to get sick, I eat three cloves with each meal until my symptoms pass. Having this remedy on hand has been a real lifesaver over the years. I use local ingredients for my own honey fermented garlic. Remember that farmer’s markets are a great resource for local garlic, honey, and sometimes even apple cider vinegar (I add a splash or two after fermentation). Here’s a video recipe for honey fermented garlic. Here’s a print recipe.
Another beloved friend makes a big batch of Fire Cider that our social circle then purchases from them. Fire Cider is another illness-prevention/duration-shortening remedy that includes a ton of beneficial roots, peppers, and more infused into apple cider vinegar. Here’s a link to the classic Rosemary Gladstar fire cider recipe. Please note that recipes for this vary by region and creator.
To add some magic to the science of your cold remedies, purify and dedicate the container and ingredients to the healing deities of your pantheon, or to Healing/Health in general. Use your correspondences to create your remedy at a day/time (and perhaps moon sign, planetary hour, etc) associated with health.Once you’ve created your remedy, visualize your desired outcome as clearly as you can: health, energy, and vitality all winter long. Then, raise energy in the way that works best for you – dancing, chanting, and breathing exercises are all good methods. Return to your visualization and send all that energy into your container of remedy. Using moon water, sacred oil (careful not to get this inside the container) or even paint, add a symbol or sigil for healing/health to the outside of the container. Artist, author, and teacher Laura Tempest Zakroff just released a fabulous new good health sigil that would be a great addition to your remedy.
If your remedy includes maintenance (both honey fermented garlic and fire cider take a little tending), reaffirm your visualization every time you tend the batch.
Two: Purify your home and self. Winter can be challenging enough without dragging some of the more uncomfortable moments and feelings of summer with you. The autumnal equinox was this past Saturday, and we’re still in a wonderful space where light and darkness are close to balanced. It’s the perfect time to purify yourself and where you live. I’ve written about purification several times before and don’t want to re-treat old ground here. The tl:dr is clean first, then smoke, sound (bells and tingshas), or sacred water. For a more in-depth read, here’s a good general introduction and here’s a blog that includes a full purification protocol for your home.
Three: Create and begin seasonal spells for your areas of challenge. The absolute best thing about a longer term or time-linked spell is that we can have them up and running when we need their particular influence the most. If you’re an adult reading this, you already know some of your problem areas during the dark season. For some of us, it’s Seasonal Affective Disorder and the depression and isolation that can accompany it. For some of us, staying calm and centered when we’re faced with family gatherings is our big challenge. For some of us, getting overextended in the run-up to the holiday season is the toughest part of the journey. For my own part, my grief tends to be really bad in December, and alleviating that is the focus of my own magical work right now. The good news is that for all of these situations and more, there are magical supports that can take the edge off. To create a challenge-reducing spell:
- Pick JUST ONE big area of challenge. I know that many of us deal with multiple slings and arrows over the dark season, but magical focus is important. Try to identify the challenge at the root of the most problems.
- Determine the best form for your spell. This varies by need. For a specific and fairly short window of time, you can enchant something you will wear during that time period. This option is great for managing stressful holiday family gatherings. This can be doubled up by enchanting something you will eat daily (shelf stable candy is a good fit here) during that short window of time. For a longer window of time (an entire month or the full run of your SAD), a spell that includes visual cues in your environment can be a good fit. This can take the form of an altar or large vision board – something that you will see every day. It can include candles or scents that you find uplifting that have also been enchanted. Consider a spell where the reminder of it, and of its work, is something you’ll encounter regularly.
- Identify correspondences. We have a little time here – choose your days/times/moon phases wisely. Correspondences aren’t required in order to make a spell work, but they grease the wheels. Think about colors, herbs, stones, scents, and more.
- Plan your spell. Remember that the best spells incorporate a well-visualized goal, a link to your target (you in this case), an action that generates energy, and a way to convey that energy into the link.
Four: Check, and potentially revise, your wards and protection practices. If it’s been a while since you revised/re-powered the shields on your home or property, it’s a great time to do so. For most of us, the holiday season just up the road will be all-consuming in its focus. Use the time we have now to ensure the safety and energetic health of your home. Winter can see folks get a little stir-crazy, or experience mood changes due to the lack of sunlight. Here in the United States, the overall vitriol concerning our social and political situation is ugly to say the least. Protecting our living spaces from both individual and miasma-level intrusion is one of the most magically useful things we can do. If Home Warding is new for you, or you could use a refresher, here’s an article about it. For some simple set-and-forget options for protecting your space, this blog is a good overview.
Five: Look for, and schedule, ways to refill your cup. I use a technique called calendar blocking to prevent me from overscheduling myself. Along with going through and putting giant NOTHING blocks on certain weekends, I also make a point to schedule some spirit-replenishing activities as I look at the schedule for the next few months. For me, that looks like setting up smaller gatherings with close friends, time spent outdoors (I follow the Icelandic concept of “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes”), and visits to places that refresh my spirit like botanical gardens and museums. Consider what helps lift your spirit and increase your sense of connection, then put it on the calendar. It’s entirely too easy in the midst of things to end up with a schedule heavy on activities but light on events that are beneficial for you.
So, those are my suggestions for five magical (and sometimes practical) things you can do right now to support a better autumn and winter. What did I miss? What are you working on that softens the edges in the dark season to come? Hit me up in the comments. You never know when your idea is exactly what another witch needs to read.
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