Fall Transitions & Otherworld Magic

Listen! The wind is rising,
and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings,
now for October eves!
— Humbert Wolfe

It seemed as if summer would never end this year. And, oh, how I wish it would linger! But as it always does, Fall has arrived. The summer rains have come and gone, the edges of leaves fade into yellow and red, and the Goldenrod continues to grow up towards the heavens, pouring gold from its petals.

Now when I walk in the forest, my senses are surrounded by that all familiar, comforting aroma. The smell of transition – the scent of mushrooms, of the Earth tucking itself into the soil for the winter, the smell of a plant's life force diving deep down into its roots. Roots that will soon be harvested and transformed into winter medicines on apothecary shelves. It's almost a sweet scent, that smell of decay, like roasted over-ripe figs tinged with smoke from the first Fall fire. A smell that reflects that transitory nature of this season and the time when the veil between the worlds is its thinnest. 

  Photo: Goldenrod in the fields where we forage. Soon to be made into tincture and salves for the shop!

Photo: Goldenrod in the fields where we forage. Soon to be made into tincture and salves for the shop!

I have started to feel a shift in my own being as well – the change from my inner summer into introspective autumn. During this seasonal shift, we are moving from the external, expansive, and energetic nature of summer and into the internal, reflective energy of fall. 

We may often wish for summer to last forever, but if it did, we would surely regret it. It is easy to desire the intoxicating golden heat of summer afternoons and to feel despair as the the frost chills our bones in the depths of winter. But these cycles are necessary, both for the growth of the natural world and for our own development. Just as we must honor the departed plants of our summer gardens and turn the soil over to prepare for winter greens, we must also honor the passing of things from our own lives. It is these transitions that create space for our growth.

What is passing out of your life and into the otherworld at this time? What must you turn over into the soil so that new things can grow?

For the magically minded folks in the world, this season is leading us to the Witches New Year – Samhain, or to the muggles, Halloween. It is during this time that we reflect on the year behind us and prepare for a new cycle. It is a time to let go of that which did not come to fruition, to release what no longer serves us into the Samhain fires. But it is also a time to gather the seeds of our new intentions and safely carry them into the next year to be sown and harvested.

Every gardener, nature lover, or magic maker knows that the growing season does not truly end in Fall. Instead, this marks just another cycle to honor during Earth's turning of the wheel. There is still much work to do and much medicine to be made. There are bulbs to be planted, roots to be harvested, and winter vegetables to grow. Magic to be woven and fireside stories to share. But unlike summer, we don't have to be in the garden every day to gather our bounty...there is time to rest and stay inside. And as we sit by the firelight and enjoy winter feasts, we gaze outside the windows and dream of what we would like to grow or harvest next season.

Tune in to your dreams during this time – what messages are coming through? What transformations are you being invited into?

Fall always reminds me of the Death card in Tarot, not only because we see a literal death of the greenery of summertime, but because of the opportunity to transform and make changes that bring us into greater alignment with our highest good. This time of year has always been my favorite as it serves as a reminder that there is a season for all things, that spring will come again, and when it does, oh, how glorious it will be.

Fall encourages me to take time to tend to my spirit, to reconnect with my ancestors, to do that deep introspective work often forgotten in the heights of boisterous summertime. It offers me a much welcome reprieve from the intensity of summer, and permits me to shift my focus inward. All summer long we forage in the fields and pour our labor into the garden, but now it is time to focus to ourselves, to tend to our inner hearth fire.

In my life, I honor this seasonal shift in many ways. I work the soil and compost what has passed over, harvest the last of the summer herbs and fruits, and sow seeds for winter. I deep clean my home, pull out my sweaters and boots, and begin to fill my kitchen with nourishing root vegetables, broths, and warming spices. I sit with my Tarot cards and reflect on the passing season and commune with my ancestors over prayers and family recipes. And of course, I prepare for the colder months by making batches of winter medicines.

Perhaps the most quintessential Fall herbal preparation is Fire Cider – a traditional folk remedy for colds, flus, fevers, and preventative care in the colder months of the year.

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This immune-boosting tonic is essentially a sweet and spicy infused vinegar, packed with powerful immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and circulatory herbs. Fire Cider seems to preserve the heat and vitality of summertime with its late season peppers, roots, and herbs. This remedy quite literally stokes our inner fire – strengthening digestion, boosting our immune systems, and keeping us warm all winter long. To learn how to make your own Fire Cider, check out our last blog post.

On the Blog: A Recipe for Kitchen Witches: Fire Cider

Fire Cider is a very simple folk remedy that reminds us to use whatever is available and most potent in the season when we are making it. Allow your inner kitchen witch to guide you and make this recipe your own. Or, if you are already feeling the cold chill of winter and need some Fire Cider fast, head to the shop to get a bottle of our Fire Tonic Oxymel shipped right to your door while supplies last.

I wish you the most wonderful fall season. May your heart be full, your fire burn bright, and your soul filled with warmth during this time of magic and transition.

With love,
Sarah