It is easy to appreciate the beauty of an Autumn day, when the gentle sun is shining on the colourful leaves of the trees, or the grass is crisp underfoot with a dusting of frost. When the morning is drear and misty with a fine drizzle which seems light, but soaks into and through your clothes in no time, there is little beauty to be seen, and it is harder to appreciate the day.
But actually it is these days, the dreary, misty days, when the dark magic is starting stir.
Mist and fog are almost the embodiment of that rising magical current. Things look different through the mist. Colours and sounds are muted and familiar places can take on a different shape and character.
The thicker the mist or fog grows, the more cautious you become, even walking a well known route. Was that lamp post always there? Why does this garden hedge seem to go on forever?
Walking through the countryside it is easy to understand how we could step through into an alternate world without realising - or creatures from other worlds could slip into ours.
I have seen strange manifestations of mist while growing up in the country.
One of the fields behind our cottage was small and enclosed with high hedges and a small pond. On rare occasions it would fill with dense mist that stayed at knee height, rising gradually at the hedges.
You could lie on the ground and be totally hidden from anyone only a few feet away.
I have also seen mist confined to dips and hollows in the landscape, and some nights mist that looked like puffy wisps of cloud, hanging around head height. The ground and road beneath them would be totally clear, but if your headlights shone up at all, the light reflected off these strange and spooky misty clouds.
Fairy encounters are often associated with mists and fog, and one of the horror movie cliches is strange mist or fog, perhaps with a dog howling in the distance.
Perhaps because things look different in fog, it is thought of as having transformative properties.
Mist is a manifestation of elemental Water. It rises from the water and may just hang over the surface of a pond or bog. It is a place where spirits can be encountered. The mist itself can take on the shape on an ancestor, or another spirit creature.
Mist can also be used for concealment, to hide our doings or our movements, and to encourage shapeshifting. The mist can help us transform into a totem animal, or take on our magical persona.
Mist can be 'the breath of the Dragon', as it was known in Celtic times, and it can be the touch of the sorcerer.
If you can learn to use the powers of mist, you have access to a wonderful magical resource.
And this is just the time of year to try it.