We are all now stepping together through autumn and gradually moving closer to the deeper, darker winter months. It’s quite normal to find ourselves feeling depleted in autumn, as we transition both physically and emotionally with the changing seasons, leaving us even more susceptible to those circulating colds. It’s a time to really nourish ourselves physically and emotionally and to permit ourselves to rest, in order to build up our natural resilience.
This time of year has long been considered particularly powerful, as a period of deep transition. Traditionally, the 31st of October is recognised as the Celtic New Year, celebrated with the Festival of Samhain to mark the end of the harvest and the beginning of the darker/colder half of the year. Transitioning from a period of abundance to a time of scarcity and stillness. Now is when death and darkness is celebrated and valued as being as important as life and light. Death is honoured and valued as being essential for paving the way for the new, rather than feared.
In a society where light is so celebrated, embracing darkness can feel unfamiliar for many. It can feel uncomfortable to sit with and explore your own darkness, to feel out your depths and to sit with others in theirs. Autumn is when you may feel more of a pull to that space within yourself and that makes this time of year especially potent, but also particularly challenging. If you can or would like to, then reflect, dream and drift into this inner world and connect to your wisdom. Perhaps with a journal to hand. Just make sure you do so gently and safely.
For those of you who wish to step into your inner world and need a place to get started, then here are some journaling prompts/suggestions:
- Give thanks for the lighter half of the year that is now drawing to a close. What have you learned and gained? What challenges were there?
- Imagine a tree letting go of its leaves so that it can turn its energy inwards and down to its roots. What do you wish to let go of?
- Are there any feelings and emotions that you are keeping below the surface? Can you observe and explore these?
- Who is no longer in your life that you wish to remember? Name them, write down a story about them and/or speak it out-loud to somebody. Bring them into this moment and time.
As a society we are becoming increasingly distant from these natural rhythms. The end of year harvest perhaps feels less significant to us in a world where we are able to pop to the shop and buy tomatoes all year-round. Consciously or not, however, the wheel keeps on turning and the ancient rhythms of nature keep on weaving their way into our lives, our inner matrix.
Nature has perfectly timed the autumn harvest as a way of providing a beautiful array of fruit and veg, for nourishing yourself and supporting yourself physically through the colder, dormant half of the year. Whipping together some speedy vegetable stews and hotpots are a perfect way of quickly and easily getting plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants into your system. Rosehips are super rich in vitamin C and bioflavonoids, so although making a syrup can be somewhat arduous, it’s excellent to take alongside the first signs of a cold. For a cold and flu tea blend see my previous blog. This blend supports your body as the cold moves through, rather than suppressing the symptoms.
Autumn is also a time for slowing down and getting cosy. Permitting ourselves to rest when we get ill will enable a more thorough recovery in the long-run. Have you tuned in to what your body is wanting or needing right now? Allow yourself to listen. Allow yourself the space to not only ask yourself what your needs are, but to create a space for doing it.
Last week I went to a communal Fall Fig Burial. This is where you literally tuck your fig tree into the ground to keep it warm in order to protect it from a harsh winter. Our wonderful host suggested we also say some soothing words to our tree, to carry it through the lonlier months, until the sun returns. So I’d like to carry this forward and suggest that we all think of some gentle words for ourselves.
And finally, enjoy this beautiful season. Surround yourself with the fallen leaves, curl up on the sofa with a hearty soup, wrapped in a cosy blanket and bask in the evening sunsets. And more than anything, just let yourself simply Be.
A small extra note: when you carve your pumpkins, try to use the goodness. Here are some ideas:
And if you really don’t want to eat it yourself (or quite simply do not have the time for cooking) then stick it outside for the squirrels to munch on!
Words by Heather.
Connecting people to nature.