Autumn isn’t the most obvious season of fertility, but I find it to be one of the most sacred times of the year when trying to conceive. All around us are potent fertility symbols!
First, we have the abundance of the summer’s harvest- fruits and vegetables, especially ones linked with fertility magic like apples and pomegranates.
Second, this is the season of SEEDS. The season of tiny little energy packages just bursting with potential. Seeds have always been a symbol of fertility and of course, we know that some seeds are actually terrific fertility boosters!
If, like me, you are lucky enough to have oak trees nearby, you can just walk outside and see the acorns all over the ground. Every oak tree in the world started as a tiny acorn. If that doesn’t blow your mind, I don’t know what will.
Every fall I find myself holding an acorn in my palm and thinking of the incredible potential it has. And then, OF COURSE, I think about all the tiny, beautiful, potential filled eggs in my ovaries that I’ve had since I was in my mother’s womb. And I think of all the beautiful sperm being constantly created in my husband (sperm are on a 74 day cycle).
SUCH potential exists!!!
I’m writing about this because being mindful of the cycles of the earth was an important way I connected with my fertility while we were trying to conceive. Connecting the fertile cycles of my body with the cycles of the earth was a magical way for me to feel more fertile throughout the year.
In this blog post I’m going to talk about traditional links between the fall and fertility- specifically about the Autumnal Equinox (Mabon) and fertility, the symbols of fertility in the fall, and ways to celebrate your fertility in the fall!
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The Autumnal Equinox (Mabon)
All around the world traditional peoples celebrated Autumn in different ways. Generally, the celebrations were about the changes of the light and dark and of the harvest.
Mabon is the Celtic celebration of the Autumn Equinox, the day when the amount of day and night (light and dark) are of equal length. This solar festival marked the beginning of moving towards the dark of late fall and winter wasn’t only celebrated in Ireland.
This means that up until the equinox the hours of daylight outnumbered the hours of darkness. Now, we shift to more darkness and light.
Just sit with that for a moment. What does it mean to you? How does it feel? For me, it feels like the time to move from the slow, savor of the warmth of summer, and to start collecting the harvest for the winter. It feels like apples, warm soups, and pulling my fall clothes out of the closet. And, it feels like a great deal more!
The Autumn Equinox or Mabon, is also the second harvest celebration. The first harvest celebration is Lammas/Lughnasadh and it is usually celebrated at the height of summer harvest, on August 1st. Mabon is then on the Autumn Equinox, which falls around Sept. 21-24 depending on the year. And the final harvest celebration is Samhain, or Halloween.
Mabon, and Autumn in general, is a time for giving thanks for the abundance of the earth and to ask for blessings in the coming darker months.
Michaelmas and the Autumn Equinox
Of note, the early Christian holiday of Michaelmas is celebrated on September 29th, and has a link to the Autumn Equinox. This holiday celebrates when St. Michael expelled Lucifer from heaven. St. Michael gives us the courage to uphold what is right and true, and to face challenges in front of us.
We also can also think of St. George at this time, he was the human manifestation of St. Michael on Earth, and he is best known for taming the dragon. He also shows us that we need inner courage to face our human challenges. As the darkness grows longer, and the days are colder, we need to find our own inner light and warmth. And, dare I suggest, fertility?
Fertility and the Autumn Equinox
Okay, Anna, this is a cool holiday, but what does it have to do with fertility? Good question, dear reader :-).
Here is my take:
First, we have the obvious connection between the harvest and the harvest symbols and fertility. We can spend time meditating on the cycle of life. We can see and enjoy the riches of the summer the earth has given us. These beautiful fruits and vegetables have inside them the seeds that have the potential for new plants next year.
Let’s make the connection to ourselves in the longer view- our mother’s eggs created us, our mother grew us, we’ve grown and thrived (say it till you believe it!), and now WE are in our season to grow and produce.
Second, we have a chance to start being mindful of the change of light. We’ve gotten all that wonderful fertility-boosting Vitamin D in our systems from the summer, and we are at our peak fertility. That sunshine is still in our blood, circulating and making beautiful eggs.
And, quite seriously, the months after high doses of sunshine are our most fertile. Research shows that IVF is more successful the month after lots of sunshine, And, more amazingly, most human conceptions take place in the fall and winter!
Fall is the most Fertile Season
I know its weird. Spring is the season of fertility, right? And Summer is when we’re all sunshiney and bathing-suity and wanting to fool around? So then isn’t it crazy that fall and winter are actually when you are most likely to get pregnant? And, it all depends when you live.
The more northern regions of the United States see a peak birth rate in June or July, suggesting peak conceptions in September or October. The more southern regions of the United States see peak births in October-November, suggesting peak conceptions in January or February. These patterns are also seen across the world with different latitudes.
Why does this happen? The basic idea is that because we are mammals that have such long pregnancies, that we tend to get pregnant when the days are shorter. This allows us to carry through the darker, less abundant times, and give birth when food will be plentiful.
So, take heart. You may be entering the darkness of winter and fall, but that darkness is actually a sign to your body (and your husband’s), that it is the perfect time to make a baby!
Symbols of Fertility in the Fall
If you are like me, then you love to notice fertility symbols all around you, and you like to decorate your house with fertility symbols! Well, autumn turns out to be a perfect time for this! Here are some autumnal fertility symbols and ideas for how to incoporate them into your decor!
- Apples– Apples and everything made from them are traditional fall symbols, and they are also a powerful symbol of fertility and sexual desire (perhaps why it got Adam and Eve kicked out of the garden, eh?). In fact, some suggest that the tradition of bobbing for apples comes from an ancient fertility practice! Here is a sweet and simple apple necklace made of rose quartz if you want to wear this symbol all year! (And here is a fancier looking one!)
- Baskets and bowls- Baskets and bushel baskets are a lovely symbol of the gathering of crops, but can also be symbols of your own pelvic bowl and its inherent fecundity. Buy or make yourself some lovely baskets or bowls and fill them with symbols of the seasons! There are some lovely basket options on Etsy that will support a woman’s small business (totally better than something made in China and sold at Michaels or Walmart!
- Seeds, nuts, and seed pods- Grab some acorns from the yard and make some sweet little decorative fertility bowls around your house. This is a great time to start mindfully seed cycling, if you don’t already!
- Dragon– The dragon symbol comes from Michaelmas and in Feng Shui the dragon is considered a fertility symbol. If you feel a connection to dragons, incorporate them in your autumn decorations. A traditional Feng Shui practice for fertility is to place a dragon statue on the side table in the bedroom, next to the man’s site. Make sure it isn’t too big, you don’t want the male yang energy to overpower your feminine yin! Here is a sweet little one made of green aventurine (the ethical affordable to jade). Aventurine is a great stone for fertility, abundance, and luck. Or check out this sweet little guy holding an egg!!
- Pumpkins & Other gourds– Ahh the round, fertile shape of pumpkins, and the long, ahem, fertile shape of the zucchini. And don’t forget other veggies like eggplant, and the various squashes that all seem a little too reminiscent of parts of the male and female bodies! Decorate your house with these for sure! I like to grab real ones, but decorative ones are nice too. Don’t grab the toxic stuff from china, buy something handmade (like this sweet fabric garland) or make it yourself!
- Grapes and vines– These are a traditional fertility symbol and a symbol of the fertility of the earth in late summer and early fall. When I lived in Massachusetts around this time I would harvest the very tart Concord grapes and make a pie!
Celebrating Fertility in the Autumn and at Mabon (The Equinox)
There are many ways to celebrate the fertility in the fall. Here are some ideas to embrace and celebrate your fertility this autumn!
- Decorate your house for Autumn! Incorporate colored leaves, pumpkins, other gourds, apples, and other harvest and fertility symbols around your house and especially your table! Get some inspiration on Etsy!
- Schedule fun outdoor activities that require a little strength, courage, and bravery. Maybe a hike that is a little more challenging, or with scenery a little more breathtaking.
- Roast a chicken, duck, or goose. Traditionally, Michaelmas was also known as “Goose Day.” Give thanks for the amazing, nutrient dense food you are receiving.
- Take the time to practice gratitude for the blessings of the summer. Sit down and write them out. Take a walk with your partner and talk about them. Talk about the vacations, the sun, the fun. Talk about the blessings of your fertility journey. Acknowledge all the goodness the sun and warmth has brought to your journey. Remember to continue your gratitude practice throughout the year
- Host a feast. Invite people over for a harvest party! Call it an Octoberfest party, or whatever you want! Make some gorgeous fertility friendly food, and enjoy good times with friends.
- Plant fall veggies. If you are able, dive into some fertility-friendly fall vegetable planting! Great fertility friendly foods that thrive in the cool, autumn weather are brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, kolrabi, and lettuce!
- Plant flower bulbs for spring. It’s also a lovely time to mindfully plant spring-blooming bulb flowers. What a lovely fertility practice it is to lovingly plant bulbs in the ground, knowing you will have to wait half a year to see them come up!
- Start a gratitude practice. If you don’t already have a gratitude practice, start one now. This is the perfect mind-body work to carry you through the darkness of the winter!
- Go apple picking. Yes, I want you to operate restraint when you eat apples so you can watch your fertility macros, but get outside and fill a basket with apples!
- Do a Mabon ritual. If your spirituality embraces this, consider a Mabon ritual. Make a bonfire and burn some herbs. Maybe right down what parts of your summer you’d like to leave behind and burn it in the fire!