This ceremony can be used as a template for any autumn equinox celebration. A ceremony could be as simple as a quiet reflection at home, to a large event with a group of people, depending upon how you want to celebrate.
It is based upon ancient ceremonies that were actually practiced at the autumn equinox and upon the universal principles of esoteric knowledge, which have a rich symbolism found throughout the world in sites like Chichen Itza, The Pyramid of the Sun, The Great Pyramid in Egypt, and Easter Island, as well as in the mythology of Jesus and John the Baptist (esoteric Christianity), of the Mayans of Central America, the Minoans of ancient Greece, and in many portrayals of the Mother Goddess, such as the goddesses Kali (India), Coatlicue (Aztec), Sekhmet (Egypt), Persephone (Greece), Inanna (Summeria), and Senge Dongma (Tibet) etc. You can read about the symbolic spiritual meaning behind this ceremony in the articles The Spiritual Meaning of the Autumn Equinox and Ancient Sacred Sites Aligned to the Autumn Equinox.
Start by Reading the Step-by-Step Guide
Before getting into the ritual itself, the best place to start is by reading A Guide to Celebrating the Solstice and Equinox to get a background to creating your own celebration and sacred space, with a deeper understanding of what these times of year mean.
Mantras for the Autumn Equinox
The following mantras can be used during the ceremony as they are particularly relevant to the celebration of the autumn equinox. They are mantras to the Mother (her aspect Kali), pleading that she destroys the egos at this time of descent into the underworld. She descends with the initiate at this stage in the spiritual work, into the underworld, to destroy the egos in alchemical fire.
Like Coatlicue of the Aztecs, Sekhemet of Egypt, Senge Dongma of the Buddhists, and Hecate and Persephone of Greece, Kali is the fierce warrior aspect of the Mother who has the role of destroying the egos within us, and thus liberating our consciousness so that we can awaken.
According to Indian traditions, Kali’s seed mantra is Krim. Seed mantras (called Bija mantras) in Indian traditions are thought, like a seed, to contain whole spiritual principles and do not have an easily definable literal meaning. The mantra Krim symbolizes all the work of alchemy. This mantra is used to destroy the egos.
The meanings given for the mantras below are sourced from Indian texts, but they have many levels of meaning and depth.
The Mantra of Durga
Mantra: Om Aim Hrim Klim Chamundaye Vichche
Pronunciation: OHM eye-m hreem kleem chah-moon-dah-yai veech-chay
Meaning: In Indian traditions it is said that the mantra Om represents the primordial sound. Aim is the syllable of knowledge. Hrim is the syllable of purification and transformation, and dispels illusion and ignorance. It is the great mantra of the spiritual heart. It is said that through this mantra alone one can enter into the spiritual heart and the small space within its lotus in which the entire universe is held. Klim is a seed mantra that attracts spiritual energies from the sun god for protection. Chamundaye is another name given to Kali. It refers to a form of the goddess Paravati which is the destroyer of ignorance and evil. Vichche means cut, as in cutting one’s egos.
The Dakshine Kali Beej Mantra
Mantra: Krim Krim Krim Hum Hum Hrim Hrim Daksine Kalike Krim Krim Krim Hum Hum Hrim Hrim Swaha
Pronunciation: kreem kreem kreem hoom hoom hreem hreem dahk-shin-ay ka-li-kay kreem kreem kreem hoom hoom hreem hreem swa-ha
Meaning: According to Indian traditions this mantra is especially 22 syllables long – mantras of this length are thought to be some of the more powerful. It also contains Kali’s threefold Bija mantra of Krim, Hum, and Hrim.
Daksine Kalike is referring to Kali in a particular aspect, which is when she has her right foot forward as a protector. Daksine can be taken to mean “South” as Kali is traditionally seen as facing South in the same direction as the souls who are heading South towards hell, so that she can rescue them. The word Daksine also has connections to the transit of the sun as it travels South after crossing the equator at the autumn equinox. The Southern transit of the sun is also connected to the “night of the gods,” so she may also be said to be facing the night.
The mantra Krim symbolizes all the work of alchemy. Hum is also used in alchemy, and in Buddhist traditions in this context Hum refers to one consciousness. It terms of the seed syllables, Hum refers to the immovable, the unfluctuating, and that which cannot be disturbed by anything. Hrim purifies and transforms, dispelling illusion. And at the end, Swaha is an offering and surrender of oneself to inner awareness, or a consecration into the light.
The instructions for this ceremony can be found in the book The Path of the Spiritual Sun.