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Indian Summer

I’ve been busier than planned in mundania for the last few weeks—hence the lag in my blog posts. I’m going to try and make it up to you by posting a couple more times during November, in hopes of restoring my blogger cred.

RedHere in Oregon (that’s Ory-Gun to you non-US-west-coasters), autumn has arrived for real, with the trees dropping leaves and nighttime temps creeping toward freezing. We’ve had some wind and rain, but we’ve had glorious weather, too—including a recent handful of days near 70 degrees.

Every year, when we have these postcard-perfect fall days, I hear people start talking about “Indian summer” this and “Indian summer” that, and I grimace a bit, because their use of the term isn’t quite right. Indian summer—the real deal—is something very special, and it’s more than simply a nice autumn day.

Indian summer is defined by the weather folks as a period of unexpectedly and unusually warm dry weather occurring in autumn after a hard “killing” frost. No one is certain when the term was first used, but weather records show it’s been around for at least a couple hundred years. A few locations have created regional adaptations. For instance, here in the Pacific Northwest, some people use the term “Indian summer” to describe a warm dry period occurring after the hard autumn rains have begun. That said, our climate in the Pacific Northwest has changed so much over the past two or three decades, I think it’s safest to cleave to the meteorological definition.

What does Indian summer do for us, magickally? It’s a reminder to treasure and appreciate the warmth and light, knowing that winter’s dark cold waits just around the corner. It’s a last chance to recharge, with bare toes wiggling in the grass and sun-kissed skin building vitamin D stores deep within. It’s a heads-up to stock the larder, literally and metaphorically, preparing for the long sleep of the winter months. Perhaps because of its proximity to our Thanksgiving holiday, I view Indian summer as a tangible emblem of gratitude, a reminder to be thankful for life’s riches and our ability to prepare, to stand against the coming barren, cold season.

For you, I wish that Indian summer blesses your hearth and home. And if it does, for goodness sake: get out there and enjoy it! Breathe deep of the warm air. Toss a handful of leaves into the air. Listen, listen, for the coming sounds of winter. Offer thanks…. Celebrate!




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Susan “Moonwriter” Pesznecker is a writer, college English teacher, and hearth Pagan/Druid living in northwestern Oregon. Her magickal roots include Pictish Scot and eastern European medicine traditions. Sue holds a Masters degree in nonfiction writing and loves to read, stargaze, camp with her wonder poodle, and play in her biodynamic garden. She’s co-founder of the Druid Grove of Two Coasts and the Ars Viarum Magicarum Magical Conservatory (school of magic). Sue has authored Crafting Magick with Pen and Ink and The Magickal Retreat (Llewellyn, 2009-2012) and regularly contributes to the Llewellyn Annuals. Visit her at on Facebook.


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