Do you have Autumn rituals? I do. It’s about accepting change in mind, body and soul. Nature changes with each new season. So must we. I believe that we all follow seasonal rituals whether conscious or unconscious that were passed down or learned along the way. I wonder what could be in an autumn ‘tool kit’? What do we need to do to open our hearts for this new season? What do you do to indulge your senses with sights, sounds, and scents of Autumn?
I usually start in my kitchen. I fill my home with spicy aromas that inspire warmth and memories. I enjoy everything pumpkin and squash, especially pumpkin spice lattes. I go crazy with apples. Hearty family recipes using beans, greens and root veggies are certainly finding action in my pots too. I am still gardening!
Sights: Autumn is my favorite season. As a New Yorker, going to ‘see’ the Fall colors in Brooklyn Botanical Garden @bklynbotanic, Central Park @CentralParkNYC, and Wave Hill @WaveHill are traditions. Vibrant green, pink, lavender, gold, orange, magenta, brown and purple New England memories are also sealed in my heart from my @smithcollege years. The melancholy vibration of autumn does not bother me. Going outside into nature is good therapy. I see signs of hope everywhere. I’m ready to face that summer is over. The leaves are falling and many of my flowers are gone. But my urban garden—simple containers on my roof— is still thriving. Wild grass, boxwoods, Japanese maples, evergreen bushes, collard greens, kale, herbs and flowers are still sprouting.
Mind, Body & Soul: Some of my Autumn rituals have ‘back to work—back to school’ elements. I have a new Fall reading list that includes real books, especially cook books, in addition to news articles and blogs. I moved my leftover summer reading list to another pile. My closet is getting scattered for color and pieces to be layered. Happily, I completed a recent bit of de-cluttering. And speaking of body, I re-started swimming class at the YMCA again!
Activism: I am re-focused on activism with my slavery healing group, Coming to the Table and Indigenous Remembrance Day (re-naming Columbus Day)
Scents of Autumn: Caribbean Mulling Spice
Try my easy Caribbean mulling spice recipe to fill your home with spicy aromas. Mulling is simply adding spices to your beverage and warming it up. Use whole spices instead of ground to keep down grittiness and cloudiness.
1 gallon Apple Cider or Cranberry Juice or 2 bottles of Red Wine (a fruity type like Zinfandel)
8 Cinnamon sticks
8 Whole cloves
*2Star anise (see note)
8 Allspice berries
2 Nutmeg whole
Ginger, about 3 pieces, fresh sliced on diagonal, 1/8th thick
1 Orange, use grated peels of 1 whole orange
1 Lemon, use grated peels of 1 lemon
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
*Options: Star Anise can be overpowering for some. Instead, add 8 Cardamom pods, delete Star Anise to create a lighter taste!
How to Mull
Pour liquid into a pot; add spices, ingredients, bring to gentle boil, simmer over low heat. It’s great for many hours. Add more liquid as you go.
Mulling Ways: You can also use mulled spices for Maple Syrup for your pancakes or waffles. Pour Maple Syrup into a pan, use half amount of mulling spices, bring to low boil. Simmer 30 minutes.
Traditional Autumn Rituals: My sister, a performance artist, combines Native American and traditional African, Asian ancestral rituals. She burns incense and sage bush to clear evil spirits. She sent me a video of her recent ‘home blessing’ gathering. Scented candles were lit to ‘intentionally’ mark and welcome the new season. We both practice Feng Shui. Before it was a designer trend, our mother incorporated this ancient Chinese art of balancing our home for health, wealth, happiness with colors and nature elements such as wood, water, earth, and metal. A focus on the ‘ancestor’ bagua or section of your home is particularly important during this season. Make sure you have an area of your home to honor your ancestors with photos, clothing, quilts, books or items passed down. For more on Feng Shui, click here.
Autumn Home Fragrance: To bring autumn fragrance into your home simply place the mulling spices into about a gallon of water in a big pot. Remember to adjust use of Star Anise. Allow the spices to come to a low boil. Keep it simmering all day in a pot or slow cooker on low. Add more liquid to keep going. Inhale. Exhale.
Autumn aroma gift bags: Make simple gifts for visitors. Shopping for spices is one of my passions. I love Mexican cinnamon, which has a larger, softer bark and a nice intense flavor. It can be found in many NYC ethnic neighborhoods. Put together a nice bunch of spices into a glass jar; tie with a colorful ribbon; or place spices in cheesecloth and tie with kitchen string.
Autumn Aromatherapy Bath:
1 1/2 cup of Epson Salt
10 drops Rosemary oil
10 drops Eucalyptus oil
4 drops Geranium oil
Baby bubble bath, (Lavender) as preferred
Bowl or container for mixing
Directions: This recipe will clear your lungs for deep breathing and provide calming too. Add Epson Salt to a bowl or container, add essential oils to the salts. Run hot water in the tub for bath. Pour oil-soaked Epsom salts and a few caps of bubble bath soap into hot bath water. Light a candle, dim lights. Play meditation music. Soak and breathe deep for at least 30 minutes. Welcome Autumn with serenity! For more aromatherapy bath ideas, click here. For a list of Autumn essential oils click here.
For information about meditations for accepting seasonal changes meditations click here.
What are your Autumn rituals?