The History of the Fall Ritual
In ancient times, priestesses were the ones who first discovered the relationship between seed and earth. and did so in the fall. Recognizing that the efforts she sustained through the summer of gathering her wild crops had been improved through observation of specific sites where the crops grew well. She decided to sacrifice part of her food supply so that the gods of the earth would produce a fruitful crop the following year. She therefore, I the fall, scattered the seeds upon the ground. This simple act of sacrifice and honoring the earth produced benefits, for in the spring she noted the incredible abundance of grain in these locations, for she had scattered the wild wheat seeds. Therefore in the most ancient of traditions, the planting rituals are conducted in the fall.
Modern agriculture or space age agriculture of course expects plantings to take place in the spring. But this aspect of agriculture was not learned until much later. After a particular hard winter, a group of Priestesses decided that an additional sacrifice in spring would produce the desired results, for they had noticed that the hard winter had reduced the sprouting of the grain. In other words, it had winterkill. But they sacrificed their remaining foodstuffs and were greatly pleased and rewarded by the rebirth of the fields in the later spring. It was then decided that this was the better practice.
Personal Ritual Experience
I usually take a mini trip to an earth energy center on a weekend close to the Fall equinox. I then engage in a little personal fall equinox ritual that helps me reconnect back to the earth. For these times of reconnection, I will bring something with me to represent the fall harvest, such as fruit, vegetables, or objects representing the Fall. I also bring something that I can plant to represent the cycle of growth and starting the life giving process over once again.
After I have found my little quiet spot in nature, I engage in a quiet meditation to help prepare my mind. After I feel that connection with the earth, I then begin my ritual. I share my appreciation for the earth's bounty and give thanks for the bounty and life she has provided to us. I then give back the gift of the harvest I brought, and give it to the earth. I then focus on a blessing, a spiritual gift, blessing, or desired change.
I next focus my thoughts and activity on the seeds or bulbs I have brought. This represents the desire for new and continued life and growth. This activity helps the mind and thoughts to connect to the future. I then bless the future and take the seeds and scatter them or take the bulbs and plant them. During this reseeding, my thoughts and blessings are on the life giving cycle.
The fall ritual is a way to reconnect to the earth and the cycles of life. It helps focus thoughts on the life giving process. It is not the physical situation of the ritual that is important but the mental processes the ritual and what it invokes that are what is important.