Developing Your Spiritual Practice in Autumn

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Your eye lids flutter softly, an you roll over. Your alarm is going off- a soft, natural melody- the least obnoxious you could find on your phone. Hitting the off button, you flop back, close your eyes, and begin to wake up.

The first rays of  honey-colored light dapple your curtains and you pull them aside. In the Northern Hemisphire,  it is now autumn. Richly colored leaves spiral in a chilly wind, which plasters them to your window, damp from last night’s rain.

You crack the window, and a gust of frigid air works it’s way through your room, leaving in it’s wake the smell of wood smoke and burning leaves, and a sense of gentle cleansing.

Autumn is here! Personally, it is my second favorite season. It feels to me almost as if the bright leaves are nature’s last blaze and surge of energy before going dormant for another year. Now s the time to reap what you have sown- that could mean harvesting the last of your garden and preparing for next years, or even looking back on your year and make plans for the next.

For many pagans, it is a time of celebration, and a time for feasting as well! Apples, root veggies such as potatoes and turnips, squash, and onions are all key players in the feasting. Hearty meat pies and vegetable stews are all wonderful ways to bring warmth into your home, as is burning heady, wood incenses and those based on resins, such as sandalwood, dragon’s blood, and frankincense.

Now is a nice time to pay homage to the your deities, spirits, guides, or whomever else has helped you this year. Depending on personal preference of said spirits and or deities, offerings of brightly colored leaves, spiced cakes, and the last fruit of the garden (be it an actual fruit or the last of an herb) are wonderful ways to connect to the cycle of death and rebirth.

Practicing your divination skills might be one on your list right now, as the thinning of this world and the next may heighten your ability to receive wisdom. Divination involving fire might be looked into, especially if you burn leaves from your yard. 

Now’s the time to get creative with cooking as well! Here are some wonderful, foraged-based recipes from Backyard Foraging by Ellen Zachos:

“Mushroom Ravioli
Packaged won ton wrappers simplify this recipe, but if homemade pasta is something you love to make, feel free to do so. I think the thin won ton wrappers provide the perfect ratio of noodle to filling.

1.Slice 2 cups of assorted mushrooms and sauté them in a half stick of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil along with 3 cloves of garlic, also sliced. Cook until softened, then add salt and pepper to taste and 1⁄4 cup mushroom broth. Cook over medium heat until the mixture cooks down and the liquid is mostly evaporated. Remove from the heat and let cool.

2.In a blender, combine 11⁄2 cups ricotta cheese with 2 tablespoons grated parmesan, then add the cooled mushroom mixture and blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more broth, then fold in an additional 1⁄2 cup of chopped mushrooms. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

3. Place 1 teaspoon of mushroom filling in the center of a won ton wrapper, then brush the edges of the wrapper with water and fold the wrapper in half diagonally, pressing the edges together to form a triangle. Make as many raviolis as you have filling for (any extra can be frozen for later use) and allow the stuffed pasta to air-dry for an hour.

4. Boil briefly, until pasta is cooked through; this may only take 2 or 3 minutes. This is a delicate ravioli and will break apart if overstuffed or overcooked. After draining the pasta, serve and top with a butter-and-sage sauce, or whatever else your little heart desires. Crazy good.”

“Rose Hip Soup (a.k.a. nyponsoppa)
There is no denying the elegance of a cold, smooth fruit soup. In Sweden, nyponsoppa is traditionally served for dessert; similar soups are popular throughout Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. This recipe highlights the sweet/tart flavor of rose hips and calls for no additional spices or flavors. It’s a great way to get acquainted with the pure taste of rose hips, which is difficult to describe: mostly fruity with a touch of the vegetal.

1.Combine 2 cups of rose hip purée, 2 cups of water, and 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 cup sugar over low heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. (I recommend starting with less sugar and adjusting it according to your taste as you cook.)

2. Separately, mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cold water to create a paste. Whisk the paste into the rose hip base and stir over medium heat until the soup begins to thicken. The soup may be allowed to simmer slightly, but be sure to keep stirring to avoid scorching it.

3. When the soup has reached the desired thickness, remove it from the heat and refrigerate to cool. To serve, swirl in whipped cream or pour it over vanilla ice cream. A few crunchy cookies, like gingersnaps or almond biscotti, are the perfect garnish for this richly colored and flavored soup.”

What are some things you do to welcome the energy of Autumn into your home?

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