How To Celebrate The Autumnal Equinox & Welcome Fall Like It Deserves To Be Welcomed

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The shelves may be overflowing with Pumpkin Spice products and the first few seasons of Gilmore Girls may be streaming from, like, 90 percent of our generation's Netflix accounts, but still — fall hasn't officially started. The weather may be chilly and the first few red and orange and yellow leaves may be dotting the tops of trees, but still, no, it is not yet fall. Maybe you already decorated for Halloween but listen you sweet autumnal angel, I am telling you, until Sept. 22 rolls around, it is decidedly, very officially not fall, because Sept. 22 is the 2017 Autumnal Equinox, aka the start of fall. Here's how to celebrate the Autumnal Equinox, aka the first day of fall, because I know you've been waiting for the first day of fall long enough. Just go easy on the cider. We've got, like, months ahead of us.

The Autumnal Equinox is the second equinox of the year (the first being the Spring Equinox), a day during which the daytime and nighttime periods are essentially the same length, around 12 hours. It's also traditionally the first day of fall.

A number of cultures and religious traditions have, over the centuries, cultivated their own forms of celebration around the Autumnal Equinox, and why wouldn't they? The fall, a respite from the summer, is the best season.

In Ancient Greece, where it was believed that Hades took Persephone into the underworld each year to trigger winter, the Autumnal Equinox was a time for reflection on the previous year's failures and successes, and the ideal point in which to enact rituals of security. The Moon Festival is still celebrated in China, a celebration of the summer harvest and featuring "mooncakes," a very A+ treat. For pagans, the Autumnal Equinox rings in Mabon. In addition to celebrating the harvest, it's a time to give thanks to the sunlight and pay respects to the impeding darkness.

Whatever your beliefs, here are a few ways to celebrate the Autumnal Equinox.

Meditate

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Begin your day early with a bit of meditation. Even five minutes a day, completely unplugged and away from screens, can center you for the many hours you have ahead.

Stretch

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A short yoga sequence — or even just loosening up your joints — can be particularly important during colder weather, a time when we hunch and curl and cuddle up and do our posture literally zero favors.

Take A Walk

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This is the first day of fall — get out there! Smell the air! Hunt for changing leaves! Remind yourself that life is a continual cycle and things are constantly evolving and moving forward, even if you feel stuck!

Write Out Your Intentions

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Think "To Do List," with a spiritual, self-care vibe. Write out how you want to live your life for the next six months. And to be clear: "self-care" doesn't always mean (in fact, it should almost never mean) laying on the floor eating ice cream. Sometimes it means getting out of bed, it means taking a shower and eating enough meals and going outside.

Purge Your Space of Clutter

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New you, new season. Clear out the clutter. I promise you'll feel better once it's done.

Smudge That New Clean Space

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Smudging, the practice of burning sacred herbs like sage and lavender, is a way to cleanse your space of shitty energy. Before you begin, develop a little mini-mantra to say to yourself. Open all the windows, light your smudge stick and walk slowly around the perimeter of the room. The smoke will carry the bad vibes outside and you'll be left with a more balanced space.

Take A Ritual Bath

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Light some candles, tell your roommates not to bother you and add some herbs associated with cleansing and purification to your bath, like peppermint, chamomile, sage, rosemary, or lavender.

Host A Clothing Swap

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Now that you've cleared the clutter, you no doubt have bags of clothes without a home. Host a clothing swap! Encourage friends to bring clothes, shoes and accessories they're no longer loving and stage what is essentially a giant sharing circle. Anything that's left over? Donate it.

Visit A Farmer's Market

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Uh, what better place to celebrate the beauty of harvest than a farmer's market?

Buy A Plant

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Plants purify the air in our homes, they're beautiful living things, and they're a great pal for the coming winter when it feels like nothing outside is alive.

Organize A Potluck

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A feast! A feast! A veritable feast! Remind friends that this is the best time of the year to be seasonal in their cooking! Also, maybe make sure 10 people don't all bring a bottle of wine!

Design Your Altar

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Choose a clean, quiet corner of your home and populate your altar with items that feel sacred to you. As fall and the winter marches on, visit your altar when lonely feelings, or feelings of fear, become overwhelming.

Light A Bonfire

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In the pagan tradition, Mabon, the autumnal equinox celebration, is a time to respect the coming darkness of winter. Without the darkness, there's no use for light. Without nighttime, the beauty of day diminishes. Remember that as you prepare for the bonfire.

Dance, Dance, Dance

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This, my little witchies, is a time for celebration.