Next Autumn Equinox: September 23, 2023 at 06:50 UTC
Autumn has always been one of my favorite times of the year. Where I grew up, we had four seasons. Autumn came in quietly, slowly cooling the world and bringing fog and fallen leaves with it. The crisp, cool air was a welcome break from the overbearing heat of summer. Even where I live right now in Florida, the Autumn season is preparing to descend. The weather is cooler in the morning, the monsoons are less frequent, and there are at least three potential hurricanes in the Atlantic at any given time.
Though I enjoy the seasonal shift, the Equinox is not a celebration that I usually focus on. I am much more connected to the Celtic Fire Festivals than the Equinoxes or Solstices, but I can still recognize the honor of balance during this time of year. It is also the halfway point between the beginning of the harvest, Lughnasadh, and the beginning of the dark half of the year at Samhain.
The Balance of the Equinox
Day and night will be as close to equal length as they can get during the Equinox. The Sun and Earth do a delicate dance through space all year long, coming to the Equinox when Earth’s axis is perpendicular to the Sun’s rays. This happens twice a year – the Autumn Equinox and the Spring Equinox.
Though the word Equinox translates to “equal night”, for the Latin word aequinoctium, the amount of day and night isn’t exactly equal. It gets fairly close, though, close enough to notice that day and night seem the same.
One of my favorite things to do as the Equinox approaches is watch the times of Sunrise and Sunset get closer and closer to 12 hours apart. This is one of the easiest ways to get in touch with your local area during the change of seasons, especially if you are new to an area.
The Magic of the Autumn Equinox
I don’t have any personal or religious ties to the equinox. There are no deities I associate with the season and no spirits I call on during this time. Instead, I choose to honor the seasonal change in a different way. Besides being a time of balance, the Equinox also happens during a time of harvest. This makes the connection with local food, feasting, and family more prevalent. It’s also a great time to get out my ingredients and bake some delicious bread!
The Equinox is a good time for magic, too. The theme of balance is prevalent, and the coming darkness is a time to prepare while the scales are still balanced. If you’re looking to cast spells this Equinox, consider spells for the following:
- home protection and blessings
- harvest spells for finishing projects
- healing magic for family and friends
- releasing rituals for letting go
- prosperity spells for the coming darkness
An Equinox Spell for Community Health
One of the major tenants of my practice is community service and hospitality. These can be difficult concepts to embody in our modern world when it’s rare to know your neighbors. However, your community can be your literal neighborhood, your friends, a group of coworkers, or something similar. Community doesn’t have to be your physical neighbors.
To help embrace the aspects of community, hospitality, and harvest, I have created a spell for a charmed loaf of bread to be baked and shared with your community. With ingredients that promote healing and prosperity, this baked spell is one that I keep and use regularly. Anyone who eats this bread and is open to the healing magic imbued within will benefit from the spell. This loaf of bread can be baked as one loaf to be shared with dinner, or you can create several smaller loaves to give away. Either way, it will work exactly the same. If you have a favorite bread recipe, feel free to substitute with that instead.
You will need the following:
- 4 cups of flour
- 1.5 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1.75 cups buttermilk
- for a vegan option, use 1.75 cup plant milk with 1.5 tbsp vinegar
- herbal mixture for community healing (please make substitutions that fit your practice)
- rosemary, calendula, bay leaf, and garlic
Before baking the bread, prepare your herbal mixture. These herbs are going to be added to the dough and baked together, so be sure the herbs are edible and taste good together. You may choose to create sacred space in your kitchen if you’d like.
My process for creating sacred space while cooking is simple. I gather all my tools and ingredients together first. Then, I light a candle and take three slow, deep breaths. This allows me to focus and center myself, readying my mind and spirit for what I’m doing. I don’t do this every time I’m in the kitchen working magic, but it does happen when working very specific spells.
Prepare your herbal mixture by placing all of the herbs and spices in a bowl, then set it to the side. It doesn’t take a lot of each herb, and I have no measurements to include. Use your best judgment and allow your intuition to guide you. You may choose to say a chant or prayer as you do this, asking for the help of the allies you have included. That choice is yours.
Now, it’s time to prepare the bread. As you move through this recipe and bake your bread, allow your mind to fill with images of the community you are protecting and healing. You may choose to bring their images to mind encircled in a healing white light. Keep your focus on the intention behind your baking – healing for a community in need, symbolic sustenance for the dark half of the year, and community bonding over baked bread.
*For the vegan version: Mix plant milk and vinegar together and set aside for 5-10 minutes until thick.
*If you are making multiple smaller loaves, you will need to adjust the bake time. Cover and cook the bread until it is done in the middle. Then, remove the cover and bake until the crust is golden brown.
- Preheat the oven to 450F (232C).
- Grease a round baking dish or cake pan.
- In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients, including your herbal mixture.
- Turn your dough onto a floured surface and knead gently a few times.
- Form the dough into a ball and then press it into the prepared pan so that the dough resembles a large disk. The dough should reach the edges of the pan, but may spring back slightly.
- Cut an X into the dough with a sharp knife, about 1/4 of an inch deep.
- Cover the pan of dough with another round cake pan turned upside down. Foil can be used instead.
- Cover and bake for 25-30 minutes. Then remove the top pan and bake uncovered for about 10 minutes more or until the crust is dark golden brown.
- Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool before cutting.
Share the bread with your community over a meal, or give each member their own loaf!
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