For people who look to nature for spiritual insight, Autumn brings a time of drawing in what we have grown and gathered through the summer, then letting go of the rest. Autumn, with the changing temperatures, the darkening days and the releasing of leaves from trees, takes us inward.
For those who follow the Wheel of the Year, Autumn brings us to the holiday of Samhain. Samhain is a time of final harvest and of honoring our ancestors and those who have gone before us. It’s a time of reflection that shows us ways to release over the coming days before the winter Solstice comes and the days grow longer again, bringing the first stirrings of new life and growth. This season these energies and themes have seemed more intense for many. Many of us have had to face not only the difficult process of letting go of things that no longer serve us in our inner and outer lives but also having to say goodbye to those who have passed on, often suddenly.
Just a few days before Samhain, I learned of the passing of a friend who had been very close and dear to me for many years. Though we had only causally been in contact for the past several years, when we lived closer together our friendship was a very precious and strong one. I could go on and on about what that friendship meant to me and how deeply that woman had touched my life. When I learned of her passing I went into physical shock and then was hit by some of the strongest emotions I have experienced in many years. I sobbed and sobbed. I was bent in double with the intensity of the pain I felt as it moved through my body. I was amazed at how hard it was hitting me. I’ve lost those close to me before, and not had quite this response. The intensity of my grief was overwhelming. As I moved through it, I began to wonder what was happening inside of me. Why this particular response? It wasn’t a usual one for me. So I knew it was hinting at something deeper. I delved into that deepness and came away with some incredible insight about myself and my relationship with others, my openness or lack there of to friendship and so much more. This loss, took me deep and it revealed things to me I had not known about myself.
When Samhain came my husband and I held a quiet ritual, just the two of us, to honor our ancestors and to celebrate the final harvest. We each took time to Journey and meet with our guides. During my time of journeying, I was surprised to find my guides in a very playful mood, being downright silly with me. Then the mood shifted a little and my closest guide led me to a cave. In that cave, was a campfire and sitting at the campfire was my recently passed friend. Tears began to stream down my face as I looked at her. She sat by the fire and beckoned me to join her. She smiled and then she handed me brightly colored ribbons. “Keep on singing”, she said to me. And I knew what she meant. Keep singing, keep dancing, keep celebrating life and adding beauty to it in my own unique way. She gave me a hug and I said goodbye, leaving the cave with my guide at my side. What a gift she gave me even in her death. What advise!
So, with that in mind I wish to share a bit of the brighter more festive parts of Autumn. To remind those who, like me, have found themselves going deep and letting go of more than they bargained for this season, that Autumn is also full of beauty. Autumn sings, as the wind moves through the trees. Autumn dances as the leaves waft to the ground and swirl at our feet. Autumn plays as the squirrels chase each other round and round the trunks of trees and leap through the branches. We too, should remember to sing and dance and play in the midst of it all. It is a gift we have while we are here on this earth and one I am sure that those who have passed before us, our ancestors and loved ones, would want to see us doing.
So go outside. Notice the beauty of what ever Autumn is where you are. If you have leaves to play in, do so! If there are critters to watch, watch them. Dance and sing with the wind and the leaves and be grateful that you can.