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For a lot of Pagans, October 31st marked the end of the old year. The new one starts in dormancy, as the wheel of the year turns toward winter, rest, and enjoying the fruits of all we’ve harvested during the summer past.
While there’s a pleasant, restful, melancholy energy to this time of year for me, there’s also a freshness to everything. Trees shed their old leaves and make way for the new buds that will appear in spring, animals begin to seek warmer weather (or a warm place to hibernate!) until the long days come again. Even though autumn marks when everything winds down or dies off, there’s a newness that happens as the earth makes room for new growth.
Now is a great time for an autumn cleaning. While spring cleaning is a pretty widely-known practice, I like using this time of year to clear out old clutter, cobwebs, and the mysterious(ly messy) spaces in my closet and under my bed. Just like animals collect the things they need to survive winter’s chill and trees shed the leaves they no longer need during their dormancy, it feels good to clear away the things I no longer need and take renewed joy in the things that bring me happiness.
I’ve set up a simmer pot of clary sage, lavender, rosemary, and lemon peel, in lieu of some cleansing incense. They’re not really the warm, spicy scents most people associate with cool weather, but their freshness and cleanliness feels right. I’ve also put up some pomegranate peel to dry for herbal blends, oils, and incense. As always, I find myself lamenting the fact that I don’t have more jars– if you’re friends with a witch, there are few gifts that are easier, less expensive, or more appreciated than a nice jar or bottle now and then! (Seriously, how cool would one of these guys be for a protection bottle? Like a Bellarmine bottle, only creepier.)
Sometimes I wish I had a nice broom. I hate to admit it, but I do occasionally experience witch envy when I see handmade besoms festooned with ribbons and sprigs of dried herbs, right before I go back to clearing my space with a grocery-store-type aluminum and nylon jobby. Still, the tools don’t make the witch. My cheap broom sweeps well enough for me, and I’ve no need to make room for a new one yet.
I hope this year brings you peace and contentment.