One of the most challenging times on our journey can be when we begin to leave one season and enter the next. During these in-between passages our internal and external landscapes are changing. There are periods of adjustment. In the natural world the days are growing longer (or shorter). The plants and trees are changing. The air smells different. Internally we are changing too. It may seem as though we have a foot in two worlds or that we have no solid footing at all.
Currently in the U. S. we are in the season of fall. Here in Northwest Florida, we are just beginning to feel Fall’s effects. The cooler weather has been a welcome relief from the humid, 90 degree days we’ve been having up to now. It feels good to leave our windows open and our air conditioners off. In Northern Wisconsin, where I was born and raised and, where my children and grandchildren still live, they’ve already enjoyed their first snowfall.
As I work to finish the revisions of my book Soul of the Seasons so I can send it off to my talented editor to do her magic, I too, feel a new season ahead for me. I’m excited with the thoughts of finally seeing my six-year labor of love delivered into the material world, an instrument that I can finally hold in my hands and share with others. I look forward to teaching again, to have book signings and conduct workshops on the valuable wisdom I have gleaned from working deeply with the seasons.
Five Element medicine, the impetus for my book, teaches us that the seasons are not static passage of time. Though the seasonal equinoxes may be marked on our calendars, the seasons themselves are fluid and over-lapping. It may have seemed that a particular season has arrived abruptly and without warning. But if we are paying attention , we can probably admit we have already sensed the coming shifts. It is no different in our inner world.
Leaving Harvest, the season of abundance and gratitude for all we have been given, we enter Fall, the season great letting go. Fall is where we find value, where we respect those things that are precious to us, and, where we let go of anything that no longer serves. It is a time to acknowledge our grief over the loss of something or something that was dear to us. It is a time to prepare for the quiet rest of Winter.
One of the most challenging times on our journey can be when we begin to leave one season and enter the next. During these in-between passages our internal and external landscapes may seem unstable. There are periods of adjustment. In the natural world the days are grow longer (or shorter). The plants and trees are changing. The air smells different. Internally we are changing too. It may seem for a while as though we have a foot in two worlds, or that we have no solid footing at all. In the natural world, anything that does not serve toward surviving the winter months is released.
During these seasonal transitions it’s more important than ever to maintain balance, to give extra care to our emotional and physical bodies. To look ahead and prepare. This may be one of the reasons many people react to seasonal changes by becoming ill.
We often go along in life as if the next season is not approaching. We might allow ourselves to be lulled by warm weather, unwilling to turn our minds and bodies toward the coming cold and darkness of Winter. We might even become grumpy and morose knowing that the warm days of summer are behind us, that we will have to change our way of moving about in the world, that we will have to drag our our heavy clothes and slow down.
Our ancestors could not afford the luxury of ignoring the coming seasons, often their very existence relied on well-timed readiness. Many cultures engaged in ceremonies and rituals to celebrate the coming seasons. Rituals are conscious action intended to remind us of something we value.
So, what if instead of ignoring the coming winter, we prepared for the coming passages in both our inner and outer worlds through contemplation and preparation? Hygge is one such a tradition. Pronounced “hoo-ga,” hygge is a Danish concept. It cannot be translated to one single word but encompasses a feeling of cozy contentment and well-being through enjoying the simple things in life. Or, ask your elders what family traditions might have been kept at this time of year.
The following are a few suggestions on how one might celebrate Fall and welcome in the coming season of Winter:
Prepare your body for Winter. Start by including some of your favorite cold weather foods and beverages. Include warming herbs and spices into the mix like ginger, cayenne, and cinnamon.
Begin now to slow your pace. Go for a relaxing walk in nature. Take naps. Go to bed a little earlier. Reserve more time for contemplation. Ask your body what it needs.
Examine your inner and outer landscapes for what is truly of value and, for anything that needs to be released. Whether it is a pair of old socks or a friendship that has run its course, release it with a heartfelt gratitude for all you have received by their presence.
Create a ritual for welcoming in Winter. Share a beer or two with friends at your favorite pub or make a big pot of chili for the family. Whether you hold a ceremony and dance by the moonlight or have a cup of cocoa by the fireplace, honor, respect, and value all you have been given.
Take care of any unfinished business from Fall. We often prepare in our outer world by winterizing our homes and your cars. What need to be attended to in your inner world? Is there any unfinished grieving to be done? Are you honoring and respecting all that you are and all that you will become? Do you have someone to forgive? Make your burdens as light as possible in order that your passage through Winter might be more bearable.
Share your abundance with others. We can help to build strength and resilience in the world, whether it’s through giving our excess winter clothes to the homeless or sharing our heart of compassion with another in need. By giving to others out of our bounty we build strong communities and they, in turn, also strengthen and nourish us.
I wish you a rich and contented Fall and a cozy Winter.
Melody A Scout is an author and Intuitive Spiritual Advisor. Her deep connection to the natural world has influenced her work as a Sacred Landscape Consultant and Plant Spirit Medicine practitioner. She is currently writing a book called Soul of the Seasons which explores the wisdom embedded within the seasonal cycles of the natural world and how to find balance and joy in both our inner and outer landscapes.