Rites of Fall, by Molly Remer

Each year fall waltzes in,
slow and supple,
her golden light illuminating 
the pines, 
her slowed rhythm 
tugging at our hearts and bodies, 
her red and brown cloak 
settling over the land. 
We are invited 
to yield to grace,
offering up our gratitude 
and celebration, 
releasing our stored up 
worries and concerns 
into her capable hands, 
remembering how to let things go,
how to scatter our offerings 
and our troubles into the winds. 
Now is the time to sit in the stillpoint,
to call ourselves back home,
to accept her invitation 
to sit in the center 
of our very own lives 
and choose, 
to recall our strength and to be held.
Extend your hands into autumn. 

Hold your palms open. 
In one hand you give 
and in the other you receive. 
Trust in this balance,
the ongoing cycle 
of change and discovery 
in which you move. 
Feel her kiss your face 
and fill your heart. 
You are strong.
You are loved. 
You are needed.
Bring your hands together, 
one full of grace 
and one full of patience. 
Kiss your fingertips 
and lay your hands 
against your heart 
where wholeness resides 
and truth speaks.

It is after sunset on the autumn equinox when I call my family to gather. It has been a long and busy day in a series of long and busy days. My husband has broken a molar. My oldest son has been in his college classes all day. I have a migraine. It feels like we are hemorrhaging money into countless broken things. I know, though, that if we let this day slip by unobserved, I will feel it, the lack of something special that we could share. So, I light my candle in my clamshell. I nestle a stone acorn and some rose petals into the offering bowl on my little goddess. I slice an apple into six pieces. I set seven acorns on the worn gray boards of our back deck.

Spontaneously, after trying (and failing) to balance an egg on its end, we decide we will try to balance ourselves. We stand in various modifications of tree pose, swaying beneath a clouded sky with the sound of cicadas swelling around us. My kids are laughing. We stand closer together and extend our arms to one another’s shoulders as we balance and we sing: We are Circling.

I speak briefly about the equinox, how there are only two points of perfect balance in the year, but that we can find our own equilibrium, our own center, our own balance. The whole time as we speak and sing, we are standing on one leg, my oldest son—born at sunrise on the equinox 19 years ago—stooped over to rest his arm across the shoulders of my youngest son, born on Samhain 8 years ago. We switch legs and I remind us how we are each capable of finding our balance, holding our center even when things feel unsteady and uncertain, but that we can also reach out to one another for support, for steadiness, for help to hold one another up when things feel out of balance.

We stand then on both feet, still laughing, and choose an acorn from the center of our circle. We hold the acorns near our hearts and I remind us of the seed dreams we planted metaphorically at Imbolc, how we looked at tender shoots of possibility at Ostara, how we examined what was blooming and what was withering at the heat of summer, and how, at Lammas, we decided what to sacrifice and what to harvest.

Now, I say, we must choose. We have one quarter of the year remaining. It is time to recognize that we won’t do everything this year that we thought we might at the beginning of the year. To remember that it is okay to save some things for later. That is time to celebrate and savor what we have made and to make a promise, using our acorn as a symbol, to what we would like to finish before the year is over. Not to do everything, but to do something, to choose well and wisely. Each of us speaks, holding out our acorns. Then, we breathe our warm breath upon them and set them free, casting them into the shadowed trees where they might deepen, extend, and grow, just like us.

Next we take up the pieces of apple. This is the fruit of your life. Take it. Taste it. Savor it. It is good. It is sweet. We take juicy bites, saving one small bit each to also toss over the porch railing into the darkness: thank you, we are grateful.

We sing We are a Circle, holding hands and walking in a circle around the candle. My heart warms to see my tall sons, hand in hand, singing, knowing that these moments are short and sweet, that the joy of spontaneous family ritual is a privilege I’ve been granted and one that I may not always get to experience, not in this form with these people, with these boys-becoming-men before my eyes. We lift our hands together and call: Happy Fall! Then, standing in tree pose once more, hand in hand, we offer our closing blessing: may goddess bless and keep us, may wisdom dwell within us, may we create peace and then head back inside, still laughing.

These are our rites of fall, spontaneous and simple, heart-warming and reaffirming. This is a world-renewing magic, wrought of our own hands, joined together.

Sometimes there is space
for only simple ceremony
and that’s okay.
Sometimes there is wild rye
gathered as the equinox sun sets
and monarch butterflies dance
over the road.
Sometimes there are acorns
and hickory nuts
collected at dusk
while the kids call you
inside for dinner.
Sometimes there is small magic
and scraps of enchantment.
Sometimes we push for more
and sometimes we yield,
joining hands
to welcome the sweet what is
as we witness the wheel’s turn.

Molly Remer, MSW, D.Min, is a priestess, mystic, and poet facilitating sacred circles, seasonal rituals, and family ceremonies in central Missouri. Molly and her husband Mark co-create Story Goddesses at Brigid’s Grove. Molly is the author of nine books, including Walking with Persephone, Whole and HolyWomanrunes, and the Goddess Devotional. She is the creator of the devotional experience #30DaysofGoddess and she loves savoring small magic and everyday enchantment.

with my oldest (my equinox baby)

Categories: Earth-based spirituality, Family, Goddess Spirituality, Goddess Spirituality, Motherhood, Ritual, Seasons, Spirituality

6 replies

  1. Your posts always remind me of the importance of ritual in our lives. How it grounds us, helps us find our own equilibrium even when the world feels like it is spinning out of control – or maybe especially when . . .

    Very beautiful. Thank you.


  2. Molly, thank you for sharing the wondrous magick of your family! Season’s blessings in this turn of the Wheel.


  3. What a beautiful post and ritual. Thank you.


  4. Thank you for these words and the reminder I needed. Beautifully written.


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