The bright green, overflowing, exploding abundance of summer passed some weeks ago. Growth slowed just a little bit – but the sun continued to burn brightly. And now, in the last week or so the smell in the air has changed, the rain lingers a little longer, and piercing greens have given way to flecks of gold and brown. The march forward into Autumn is now in full thrust, and the witch is changing direction too.
If there was any doubt last week, there is none this week. The wheel has turned. The energies which are ignited at the summer solstice have worked their way onto the physical plane and there is a clear shift of seasons happening all around us.
Of course its subtle. You have to look for it.
Just a few weeks ago it seemed like the long hot summer would never end – it was glorious, energising and inspiring. If British Witches really get naked for rituals outdoors, this would have been the time for it! Mill dances were explosive with energy and every bone in my body was pushing forward – new projects, growing, spreading and gaining momentum. With hardly the need for a magical helping hand on my part. So when I started to see the wilting brown leaves on my commute to work I immediately thought it was a result of the dry patch. The trees suffering from an unprecedented lack of rain here in Wales.
But this week I am in no doubt that the season is shifting into Autumn – at a pace faster than I expected. Perhaps its because I had become acclimatised to the sunshine, but the speed of change has knocked me off balance a little. It took me a day or so to settle and regroup.
Despite catching me off guard, its not actually that early for these changes – I know this because I keep records. I track the seasonal changes as I see them. I note down when I start to see the leaves changing, the corn being cut, the nights starting to draw in. I don’t follow the pagan calendar of celebrating the seasons on a set date, I celebrate the grain harvest when the farmers start cutting the corn. Similarly the end of spring is signalled by the explosion of the Hawthorn not the bank holiday! To do this I have to keep my eyes open – and all my other senses for that matter. And when I suddenly get jolted by a change I can look at what happened before.
Why does it matter? Why do I change my magic when the seasons change?
Because my magical path is one which works in harmony with the spirits of the natural world. I throw my magic into the rivers of nature and its much easier to go with the currents than it is to swim against the tides. Whilst abundance magic is still entirely possible – Im going to go about it slightly differently to get the easiest ride.
It also matters because I use natural materials in my craft. I use thistle down to light fires in my little hearth stove – and it wont be around to collect very soon. I use blackberry leaves, rosehips, sloes,mugwort and so on for herbal remedies and magical recipes. I need to time collection carefully. I use rowan berries in charms. You get the drift.
The wise witch works with these flows. If you work in alignment with earth’s energies your work now needs to shift a little.
By looking back at the notes I made in previous years I know that the seasonal change is happening at the normal time – but the first changes came over a bit of a shortened time frame this year. The same happened at the beginning of summer. The transitions are shorter, a little more intense. But that just means we are standing in a time of intense change – which can be used magically. Now is a great time for magic to bring about change – especially change which involves letting go of that which is no longer growing and flourishing.
Looking at it in more detail, where is my focus moving to right now?
Harvesting the fruits of my labours. Magical work from early spring and summer are paying huge dividends and now is the time to enjoy them.
Slowing down. Its time to ease back and take my foot off the pedal. To allow the momentum I’ve created these last few months to keep moving me forward, but to stop pushing outwards so much.
Clearing out. As things start to wither its time to clear them away – to sweep away the dead leaves before they begin to rot. To close down projects that are coming to the end of their life span, to tie up loose ends, to cut ties that are not healthy for me and wont sustain me through the winter to come. The tides are right for getting a little magical help with this, for cutting things out of your life you struggle to let go of.
Accepting the sacrifices needed to pay for my harvests. Whilst the fruits I have harvested are a result of my hard work – they are also the result of magical aid, of energies beyond me, efforts of other people. And now is the time to settle those debts – literally and metaphorically. I have to accept that some of the things I have to clear away will be painful – they are sacrifices. I must willingly give up some portion of my harvest. I make offerings of thanks – offerings that require effort not just buying something from the shop. I share some of my physical bounties too. A very topical way to do this could be to give to a charity or food bank. But remember its a sacrifice. Do it for the sacrifice not the praise you will get if you tell people what you have done.
Preparing for Winter. This is a big one. If you watch the animals around us they are not relaxing now – and we shouldn’t either. They are storing up the fruits of the harvest for the long cold winter which feels so far away but isn’t. The wise observe and imitate nature. What are you banking for winter?
What is happening right now in the natural world?
The squirrels in the woodland near me are gathering – and sometimes fighting very loudly over – the nuts which are ripening on the trees. Their sense of urgency is such that many of the nuts they throw to the floor are still a little green, but they know time is limited and the cold will soon be with us.
The swallows are migrating south for the winter. The numbers I see around the house are noticeably less.
The blackbirds are feasting on the blackberries – and beating me to the juiciest one
The woodland is quieter. There are less bird calls – fewer different ones. And the Woodland is changing colour. The easiest sign perhaps to spot. Just be careful, and make sure you look closely – are those speckled clouds of reddish brown in the distance turning leaves or the mass of hawthorne berries which have suddenly jumped out at us?
The sycamore trees are laden with winged seeds – their helicopters. A few are even starting to fall to the floor here and there.
The leaves of the lord and ladies have died back, revealing the very tempting stem of bright red berries daring me to pick them (Don’t. They’re poisonous!)
Soon the bats will become more numerous. I noticed a couple the other night – but that was mainly because I was up late! As the nights draw in we see them earlier and more easily. And their mating calls make them more noticeable.
Some birds are malting. They look a bit bedraggled. But its a passing stage. It makes me wonder about what I should be malting too.
Fungi season is not quite here yet. That distinctive amazing smell is not flooding the woodland. But I’m keeping my eyes on the silver birch trees where the first ones tend to show (and taking a little of its malting bark for my fire bag).
But some animals are bucking the trend. The wood pigeon is busy hatching its second batch of eggs this year. It reminds me that there are no definitives in witchcraft. You don’t always have to go with the flow.
You can be a wood pigeon.
The energies you need will always be there if you know where to look, and how to adapt to your surroundings.
I’ve learnt all this and switched my magical gears simply by looking, smelling, feeling and recording in my notebook. A habit I started 20 years ago in the park by where my parents live. And when I see something in nature I copy it in my magic.
When the leaves fall – I do magic to get rid of stuffWhen animals store food – I do magic to keep that which is precious close to meWhen animals fly to warmer places, its time to leave behind the places and people no longer filling your soul with warmth and joyWhen the blackberries are ready for picking I do magic to bring dreams and ventures to fruition
I look – and see the seasons changingI watch – and know how to move with the new energiesI listen – to hear the clues which are being whisperedI act – to take advantage of the magic!
And its a game changer. Everything is a little bit easier when its in step with the land. My elements of Witchcraft Course has been a labour of love to produce this summer – and there is a very good reason I timed its start for next week! Years of watching tell me that’s when everything comes to fruition. And its a full moon for bonus points.
I have one or two things I need to break my habits with. Its not quite time. I could do magic now, but I know I’ll resist giving them up, so I’ll wait a few more weeks to make sure the energies really give me a good kick!
And I’m planning what I will sacrifice to thank the spirits for help with this. Small things have been given already, but the bigger sacrifice will come towards the end of the season.
What next? How can you put this into action?
I hope this post has inspired you a tiny bit to look out of the window! If it has, then I have something to help you!
I have made you a printable workbook that you can track the changes with. Its based on the tracker I use – but updated for this century. Its not 2 decades old with crinkly corners!
You can download it absolutely free by clicking on the link below.
Remember though your magical journey is not a race! Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. (insert your personal favourite cliche here for a personalised blog).
Start exactly where you are, and take one small step today towards aligning yourself with the seasonal rhythms and tides. And let me know how it goes!
I AM CURRENTLY UPDATING MY WEBSITE AND LINKS DONT WORK! Email me at Breo@nectw.org and I will send you the tracker directly!