Autumn Equinox & Seasonal Rituals

Vanessa Lamorte

::: H E A R T H & H O M E   SE L F-G U I D E D R E T R E A T :::

Autumnal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, also referred to as Mabon in the Pagan tradition, is a sacred time when night and day are equal. The light of the year begins to wane as we approach Winter, turning that light inward. It signals us to slow down, to reflect, and to feel into the dark wells within our own being. What is dying? What wishes to fall away so that there may be growth? With all transitions between seasons, the threshold between worlds can be felt with greater heightening. 

As the weather begins to cool, we draw the warmth of the sun deeper into our Spirit and into our hearts and home. Your hearth is the heart of the home. Some think of this as the fireplace, but I like to think of the hearth as the central spirit of sacred space. Consider your own heart and your hearth during your self-guided retreat but also for this fall season. This is a time of transition. We are moving from the Summer season where life is full of celebration and social activities into a period of preparation before Winter, a natural letting go. If you think about farming and agriculture, during this season we are harvesting the hard work seeded in the Spring and we are preparing our crops and gardens for the frost of Winter. This preparation entails pruning and clipping. At this time we are getting rid of the old, harvesting the riches and securing our literal or internal gardens for the rich slumber of Winter, yet another part of our cycle to be expanded upon later. 


:: R E F L E C T ::

If you pause to feel into this for a moment, you may see how Autumn is an opportunity for deep, transformative work. With the balancing of shadow and light, the inner “pruning” and shedding of old layers, this season is a call for us to journey deeper into the shadows of our psyche and to get in touch with how we can better nourish ourselves as we prepare for the deep rest Winter offers.


Begin thinking about your individual spiritual practice. How do you currently connect to Spirit and yourself? What practices may be calling to support you this fall? Ask yourself what you would like to let go of this season. What are you surrendering to? What are you making space for? What is dying so that there may be growth? Take some time to write down your thoughts in a journal.


Then feel into what it is that you would like to welcome, grow or manifest for yourself. From the information here, if it calls, you can create your own ritual, ceremony or practice to help you r e t r e a t into fall. It can be as simple or as complex as you’d like. Just begin the thinking and feeling stages, asking Spirit to guide you…


:+: R E T R E A T :+:


To retreat means to draw inward and to immerse in the experience of being with ourselves. Here are a few ways to build your own at-home retreat, helping you to engage with the season and draw this light into the heart. Feel free to share this with your family and friends too.



Take a sacred bath or shower to honor your body and how it has held you and your light. You can add luxurious salts, essential oils, crystals such as rose quartz or amethyst and herbs to your bathing practice. Let your intuition lead you. Enjoy the peace you are cultivating in this moment.


Then, smudge yourself and home. The turning of the seasons is an opportune time to care for your sacred space in this way. Smudging is the sacred action of lighting dried plant matter such as sage to create smoke with the intention of working with the plant’s spirit and its properties. There are alternative ways to do this without smoke such as creating a salt and water spritzer. Thoroughly smudge your body and aura with sage, copal or cedar. You can follow these with palo santo or any other smudges.  Continue smudging with sage or cedar throughout your entire home. Open all closet doors and cabinets. Smudge all sinks, toilets, mirrors, windows and doors. Ask all the energies not serving you or your family’s highest and best good, to exit. Then, call in white light or smudge with palo santo, sweetgrass, rose or amber to seal in the fresh, new beautiful energy.

Solar Activation

Carve out time in your schedule to catch a sunset. If you can, gaze out at the sun while it is still on the horizon. Just observe what is happening within your body. Now, think back to your journal reflection. Is that all still true for you? Be still. Notice its warmth, its glow. By connecting with the sun, we align our circadian rhythm with the natural rhythm of the planet. As the sun sets, focus your intention on what you wish to release. Allow the sun to take your intentions of release below the horizon, into the underworld to be cleared, purified, and transmuted. 


If you can, try to wake up for the sunrise the next morning. You can also do this with just as much efficacy on another day. As the sun begins to spill light over the horizon, focus your awareness on what you wish to bring into your life. Feel your intentions magnetizing with the light into your heart. Welcome the newly transformed energy you put to rest with the sunset in this sunrise, symbolic for the new dawn or new beginning you are ready for.


Building a Fall Altar

Take a nature walk and collect any talismans that call out to you, asking permission to take them home before reaching for them. These can be pine cones, stones, leaves, fruits, feathers, shells…anything from the natural world that calls out to you.  Keeping the four elements-earth, air, water and fire plus your intentions in mind, build an altar to welcome Autumn. An altar can be a table to set sacred items that represent your visions, dreams, and intentions or it can be a small corner where you honor Spirit or that which is sacred to you. In essence, it is a space for you to honor what holds sanctity for you and anything that represents your deepest prayers. You can place pictures of loved ones, flowers, stones/crystals, plants, precious items, smudging tools, etc. here.   Get creative with colors you are drawn to. Keep things minimal and only include what feels most aligned for you. The talismans that you collected from your nature walk can be set here. Below I have included an index of fall plant guardians you may wish to include in your sacred space or altar.


More ways to honor Autumn

*Decorate the home with leaves, pumpkins, acorns and pine cones

*Create an elements bowl with small things to represent each element

*Take in a plant friend and care for them

*Home cooking! Simple yet powerful!

*Study herbalism/homeopathic remedies

*Candle magic or sacred intention candle work

*Make an indoor “gnome home” or “fairy cottage” to honor the elementals

*Make artwork involving the elements or with fall colors

*Make fall tea-chai is delicious or try this quick recipe: 

1 cinnamon stick, 1 nutmeg whole, 3 cloves whole and dried orange peel. Crush it all together with a mortar and pestle. Boil 6-8 ounces of water, pour over your mix and then let it steep for 5-7 minutes. Enjoy!


Index of Fall Plant Guardians


As the seed of the great Oak tree, the acorn symbolizes strength, potential and new beginnings.


The apple is a symbol of luck, love, immortality and magic. It encourages harmony, peace and serenity.


This spice is known for its protective, psychic-heightening and cleansing properties.


Clove is also protective but also is particularly useful in repelling negative energy in addition to manifesting abundance.


As a staple in the Americas, corn is a symbol for prosperity, longevity, abundance and nourishment.


This flower honors the light of the sun as well as passed loved ones and ancestors.


Nutmeg is used for luck, fidelity, legal matters and divination.


The sunflower possesses a special magic as it literally orients itself toward the sun. It is always facing the light. What is so moving about the sunflower is its unwavering devotion to its path; to its belief system.  In the Native American tradition, it is a symbol of abundance and harvest. The sunflower as a whole symbolizes the sun, fire, longevity, faith, fortune, magic, vitality, warmth and spirituality! Honor the sunflower in your home to draw in its magic. 


Wheat is worked with in money spells, conception/fertility and longevity.

There are many plants, herbs, spices and flowers to work with! These are just a few that are symbolic of this season.

Vanessa Lamorte Hartshorn, M.A. is a teacher, healer and ceremonialista, offering l i g h t through many modalities. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Transpersonal Psychology, from Sofia University, is trained in Reiki Mastery and Mysteries, Magical Awakenings-A Celtic Shamanism, and hatha, vinyasa and aerial yoga. She is an Ordained Priestess of the Temple of Goddess Spirituality, dedicated to Sekhmet located in Cactus Springs, Nevada and is the author of "Soul Seeds: Remembering Light Language."

Her work with sound healing, ancient water mysteries, light language-the way our soul speaks, the blessing of flowers and the Earth are the base of her offerings. She has led classes, workshops, retreats and ceremonies around the world from her home city Las Vegas, NV to the West and East Coasts of the U.S., Tulum, Mexico and Aegina, Greece.

For her book, sessions, courses and to request Vanessa for a special ceremony or celebration, you can visit her at

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