“We have lost touch with the sense which our ancestors had of being a part of the natural world, of living in our bodies, embracing the cycles of the seasons, fully present in time… Something essential has vanished from our consciousness … we are caught in a wasteland of the heart and spirit.”- From ‘If Women Rose Rooted: The Power of the Celtic Woman’ by Sharon Blackie
In the beautiful Riebeek Valley, my new home for almost a year, I have watched the seasons cycling, the landscape changing colour, bringing me full circle to the gentle turning to Autumn. There is a subtle chill in the air, bringing some relief to the intense summer heat of the past few months, and the balmy nights have become more bearable. All over the Valley, the harvest is being gathered: the table grapes have been cut from the vines and brought in, the wine grapes next in line, and the vineyards await the next cycle.
Living in the countryside these seasonal rhythms are more visible, but whether we see the changes or not, we are affected by nature’s cycles. Inescapably, we live in a rhythmic Universe – the times of day, the seasons, the cycles of the moon – all have a different energy and effect. We feel these subtle shifts, and our bodies respond almost despite ourselves, but so often we have become disconnected from nature and our own inner compass. It is no longer an instinctive, visceral connection. And so, as Sharon Blackie says, something essential has vanished from our consciousness, depleting our hearts and spirits.
Synching with the cycles of nature
With the Autumn Equinox on 20th March (in the southern hemisphere), we are moving into the next three-month cycle until the Winter Solstice in June. It is a powerful time to consciously work with the energies of Autumn and our own corresponding rhythms.
Each season has a unique rhythm, which connects to a different aspect of the human psyche:
• Autumn is the time of harvest and of shedding what is not needed.
• Winter is the time of hibernating, giving space for reflection and introspection
• Spring is the time of emergence, of giving birth to new life, new beginnings
• Summer is the time of growth and abundance.
If we tune into these natural rhythms – and align our beings with the cycles of the seasons – we can use these energies to enhance our own movement forward. This is a way to root more deeply, to belong to the Earth, to connect to our inner life and to reclaim the instinctive parts of ourselves.
The spiritual significance of Autumn
In the Native American medicine wheel, which uses the four directions to understand the cosmos, Autumn is in the West. This is a transitional place – the edge between day and night; the place of the setting sun, of fiery colours, calling forth the energies of change, of shedding, of transmutation. Not surprisingly, Autumn is associated with the element of Fire, which is a powerful force for transmuting and purifying.
How can we apply this indigenous cosmology to our modern lives? If we look to nature, we are given a spiritual roadmap:
• Early Autumn is a time of harvest – reaping the growth from the summer months and stockpiling for winter. There is much to be grateful for as we take stock of our growth over the summer months.
• Late Autumn is a time of change and shedding – this is when the leaves start changing colour and falling to the ground. It is time to let go what is no longer needed and prepare – psychically and physically – for the more introspective winter months.
Be your own alchemist
Autumn is an auspicious time to work with these energies of harvesting, change, shedding and transmutation. It is an opportunity to gain a different perspective and expand your awareness.
As you move through this three-month cycle, become aware of what is calling for attention in your inner world. What is being brought in focus? What do you need to take stock of? What is changing colour in your spiritual sight? What needs to change within you? How can you make these changes? Pay attention to the whisperings of your soul!
Look to nature for clues along the way and attune to its messengers: the air changing in quality, the landscape changing colour; look to the animals, the winged creatures, the reptiles – how are they behaving as the seasons change? What messages does nature bring you?
By paying attention to your inner life, you can co-create your path, rather than just treading the well-worn tracks that are handed to us by a society that has, broadly speaking, lost its way.
When you move forward with conscious intention, you become an active participant in co-creating your reality (rather than a victim of circumstance). This co-creation is amplified when you move in synch with the seasonal cycles. This is how you can be supported by the Universe and the unseen energies that nourish your heart and soul.
Four steps to working with the energies of Autumn
You can mark the entry into the Autumn months with a process of reflection, thanksgiving and release. It is also an opportunity to set your sails to navigate the next three-month cycle until the Winter Solstice in June.
1. Reflect on your growth through the summer months – What is your personal harvest? What have you achieved? What have you learned? You might want to reflect on the collective harvest as well. Is there anything in your community or in the world that has shifted or progressed?
2. Gratitude for the harvest – Whatever it is that you’ve personally harvested, now is the time to give thanks for this growth and all the abundance in your life. Count your blessings!
3. Shedding old energy – Like the leaves that change colour and fall from the trees in late autumn, what changes are happening in your life? What do you want to shake off and release? Call on the element of Fire to transmute these old energies and alchemise your inner being.
4. Intentions for the next cycle – Having shed the debris, now is the time to set your intentions for the next three-month cycle. What do you want to create? What do you need to call forth within yourself to walk your path? You may want to make a conscious choice to focus on gratitude, love and joy. In this way you recalibrate your consciousness to the higher frequencies.
© Heather Linn, March 2019