Learning from the Wheel of the Year

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Mabon Blessings to everyone on this beautiful early autumnal morning!

The air today is ever so slightly chilly and I wholeheartedly welcome it. It speaks to me of the time we start  our slow descent into the misty, chilly and dark. Land, weather and personal transformations are beginning. I love the darker part of the year and my functioning is the most optimum between October and April, however, this year things have been different in a way of transforming the last remaining sticking points as far as summer is concerned. I feel I did well and managed to extract a multitude of useful lessons about myself, the world at large, the idea of life-purpose and where and how things fit in.

The Wheel has turned once again and today is Mabon, the time for harvesting, re-evaluating and giving thanks for all the blessings we have experienced this summer. The summer has been hot, prolonged, dry and often trying. It taught me about withstanding hardships and remaining centred on the heart and present in my life more. I was faced with a quality of tolerance within, which had been invaluable. Just as we wait patiently for the seed to germinate, push through and grow towards its most potential, the summer reflected that to me and I was rewarded with early harvest. Planting happened later this year due to snow and frost in early and late spring, yet things caught up and the heat accelerated growth and made me face things sooner rather than later. I didn’t plant much either consciously, as this year for me is about simplifying and focusing on a few things only, clearing the space for emotional, cognitive and spiritual processing. Bounty came in the summer in small quantities and it felt so good. The message of ‘just enough’ re-enforced the work I start doing back in winter. Another aspect of having enough and sharing with those around you in pleasure and gratitude has always been a blessing. The heat burnt my potatoes, however, earlier in the summer and very quickly dry plants disappeared amidst the blanket of thick weeds, so I had to go on a hunt for produce. That taught me about challenges and things often changing very quickly and being ok with what is presented right in front of us. It is ok to just observe and continue with what we have without necessarily spiralling into judgement, regret and giving up. That clear representation of the quality of observation with tolerance and potential hardship taught me ‘to be with’ yet again and be completely grateful for what we do have rather than focusing on what we think we don’t have. Sensation of that I found very pleasant, releasing and freeing.

I suffered with pain in my legs and back from early spring and found it challenging, however, I also knew that in order for new transformations to occur this year I had to have something to work with and this was one of those things where I had to look at living with physical pain. I wrote about it earlier this year. Through the summer pain continued and so did my life and that was the lesson of things continuing, moving on, changing, the Wheel turning no matter what and we can either fight and resist it or accept and move with it. The release of my associations with pain transformed hugely this summer and just as looking at dead and not ‘very healthy’ crops amidst the summer heat and as I begin to dig them out with love and attention I began giving myself the same. I aimed to understand, accept things as they are without judgement and wanting anything to be different.

At the end my harvest was complete pretty much at beginning of August in terms of produce or so I thought… On my return to the plot in September I discovered a few more gems waiting for me and my heart delighted in it. Seeds were hanging ripe on dry stalks representing bounty and potential in the future and underneath dry and covered with weeds stalks there were plump bulbs of goodness. Again, the idea of ‘just enough’ was clearly present and again it felt profoundly satisfying.

I am yet to dig all my small, but perfectly clean and tasty potatoes out of a patch of land covered with all sorts (treasure hunt-like) and I am taking my time with it applying patience and joy when working on the land. I appreciate everything about it and tend to continue nourishing and nurturing it for years to come. It holds immense lessons for me as seasons change and the Wheel turns every time. Things come and go, start and end and start again and so does our life with all its highs and lows and everything in between. I very much look forward to what the season brings.

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Magic awakens

autumn magic, Samhain

The wind is tangled in my hair and my bones are injected with the last sap of warm sunny days. I buzz with energy once again as we go deeper into autumn and Samhain gets nearer. I can feel myself touching other realms with my senses and ancient talk fills my ears. Communication with ancestors is made easier through a very sharp and clear mind and vision that allows me to see past the veil. I am surrounded by whispering energies and tingling sensations in my hands tell me magic is back. Magic is waking up from within me and ready to express itself in wild musings, deep ritual and spell work that makes everything in my life alive with energy and knowing. I cook, I walk, I dance and sing and read into the late hours of the morning. I am hungry for living and content with what it and who I am. This time of year is always grounding, safe, protective and wise. Autumn is an Earth element season for me and an open invitation to go deeper into my roots and into the layers of the underworld where darkness holds gold for me to treasure.

Image: Waterhouse, The Magic circle (one of my favourite paintings) 

Addiction is a way of holding on

autumn and addiction

We are in autumn, a season perfectly aligned with the energies of taking stock, harvesting our gifts, desires, throwing away what is no longer needed and releasing through letting things go. It is reflected through trees unrobing their delicate bodies off foliage and exposing to the elements for better or for worse. It is a state of surrender and an act of acceptance in nature that always touches me deeply. What a perfect example of vulnerability and strength – a combination I admire so much.

Addiction, as a condition, is a way of holding on, keeping ourselves safe and hidden, partaking in activities that fill the void we feel inside, but scared to expose. It is a safe place and a defensive position against overwhelming feelings, life, connection to ourselves and others. It is an escape into seemingly blissful abyss, yet temporary. The pay-off is often high for that hiding that we adapt as a way to survive, a way to cope with what otherwise would feel unbearable. The price we pay for this way of trying to keep ourselves safe is always high and we pay with our bodies, minds and lives. Recovery requires tremendous courage. It asks us to wake up not just to becoming aware of our patterns of behaviour, but to our wounds that we are protecting with an addiction of our choice.

When is that time to wake up?

This year’s signature, as a goal for our growth, includes facing and dealing with our addictions. The year began with a clear sense that old ways no longer work. Our comfort zone is no longer comfortable, things don’t fit as they used to and patterns that we adopted started to show cracks in how we executed them. On one hand, one could panic and despair and begin searching for new replacements. On the other hand, it felt like an opportunity, a ‘no choice, but’ to start thinking of a potential change. What would that look like and feel like? The year progressed with addictions’ patterns and behaviour manifesting not just within us, but around us through people we care about, our loved ones. It began to open old wounds. Those behaviours that we had been in denial of in ourselves and others came in and slapped many into a full view of not just how ugly and unconscious it had become, but a fear of a potential outcome also hit hard.

Now, as autumn is at our door, I feel there is a chance to look at it again and become curious and open to the opportunity of release. I find vibrations of early autumn is similar to those in early spring, as with the new planting there is hope for potential, with dropping the old there is also a potential for something new coming. Purification (another signature for this year) is deeper in autumn though, because as we throw off our protective layers, surrender to the elements in our own way we are challenged to go through the ‘cold’ of winter and the bare state of the earth. We are challenged to withstand hardships to come out stronger on the other side.

Addiction recovery is no easy matter and very often a life-long process. What we are faced with this season is an opportunity to begin and this year’s signature for dropping the old, as something that no longer works. To give an example of that manifestation I would like to use the body. With addiction often it is the body that would have taken on years of abuse. The sign that addiction is, perhaps, has gone into dangerous territory and it is time to wake up would be body not coping with it, e.g. with smoking lungs become affected in a way of developing severe difficulties with breathing and your cough becoming chronic with discharge. The body begins to bark at us literary to stop. With food addiction a point to wake up would be when there is a degree of awareness that one can no longer ‘eat themselves better’, as the body has grown so much in size it is no longer functioning. We become hidden under flesh so much we no longer feel in touch with ourselves. We might as well be dead.

I feel deeply saddened writing about this, but I feel it is necessary to make that call to be brave, to be present and conscious and I understand that it is no easy task to ‘stand in the cold of winter with no clothes on’, just as we no longer rely on drugs or food for comfort. Exposing, painful and a lonely place to be, yet one must not forget that there is a fire that burns within each of us. That fire is called spirit. We are stronger than we think most of the time and trying to save yourself is an honourable task. Loving ourselves the way that we are, broken, is an act of heroism and immense growth. Imagine if you can do this, you can do anything. Imagine the potential life you can have if only we decide to stop hiding, escaping and facing that wintery wind with your bare skin, vulnerable yet so heroic.

What lies on the other side is freedom and it is always worth fighting for.

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Autumn’s breath

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Air fills with chilling promise of glorious explosion of moist spider webs in the morning and vibrant colours of the land. Its breath is fresh, slightly biting to the skin, similar to that in early spring, the time my soul also adores. Autumn is an Earth element season for me. It is the time when I feel profoundly grateful for all the bounty and abundance the earth provided us with. Its delicious produce carries a reminiscent flavour of hot summer days, in which fruit, berries and vegetables busked in ripening to their fullest. It reminds me that we sowed and we reaped, we sorted through the waste and abundance and took stock of what we are to carry forward with us into the darker part of the year. I feel autumn is the beginning of an introspection journey, incubation and cooking in the cauldron of psychic material and shadow work. I look forward to darkness, to me it is comforting. Cold air is not just refreshing to my senses it puts me in touch with my body and how freely and much more easily it can breathe with less sun.

I begin to burn oils carrying scents of cinnamon, frankincense and orange. It is woody, smoky and rich scents that take my preference at this time of the year. Candles are lit more frequently and my time at my altar increases, as my enthusiasm for life returns to my soul and body.

Shedding with the season 

 As I pull out remaining weeds and dried out reminder of flowers and vegetables once blooming on my allotment I reflect on the play between holding on and letting go.

Weeds are still green with roots deep in the soil resist my pull and I find pleasure in clearing space for the next year’s growth.

I am brutal with weeds, but over the last few years I became more mindful and reflective on the process of wanting to stay and needing to go. 

It explains why I love autumn and winter even more. My thinking becomes clearer. My goals become crystallised and the path in front of me stretches ahead. In summer when woods are overgrown and taken over by brambles and ferns I feel confused. I feel enclosed and my thinking and creativity are not sharp. In the second part of the year I can breathe once again and start the process of deciding what to keep and what to let go off. The emptiness is inviting and exciting to me.

I sweep, clean and dust ‘the old’ and create space within and around me for the season of reflection and new beginnings. 

What are you holding on to at this point? What are you not wanting to let go off? 

The season of transitions

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Autumn is the time when summer lingers still not wanting to let go, but carrying a deep knowing that it must surrender its hot days and green armor at the same time. As winter often fearful of leaving, like an ice princess it perseveres with its bitter bite and powerful winds, like spring that brings rain to a land in an attempt to overflow arrival of heat and steady sunshine, summer is too is holding on with its green leaves and surprisingly hot sunny days.

I go through transitions during Autumn when it is the time to take stock of the harvest and think about what to keep and what to let go off, what will serve us well and what is no longer needed. It is the waning part of the year with clearing space for the next stage, next season of our journey.

I walked to the woods this morning to witness the process of transition mirrored back to me. There is sadness, fear present and also surrender at the same time. Just like death it can feel final, lonely and utterly terrifying. I came across a dying hare lying on the path. I leaned down witnessing its struggle to stand up and run into the field, it couldn’t. I felt hopeless and helpless. Distress was so hard to watch and I felt its fear deep within me. I picked it up and moved it to the hedge on the side of the main path and sat with it stroking its long ears. It felt calmer, more surrendered and comfortable. I spoke gently to it. I then walked on leaving the hare to transition in its own time, giving it some privacy. The balance of involvement and allowing is so important.

In nature everything is always just as it should be. Trees stand in their patient postures rooted in the knowledge of things always changing and transitioning, yet there is also a degree of resistance, anticipation, and uncertainty of what’s to come. Nature walks through the cycles with confidence, as it is in the very core of life with all relationships, beginnings and endings, flourishing times and periods of famine and scarcity. Nature knows, yet trees are hesitant to drop its green lush foliage and insects are all around taking in the last warm air. The sun is shining, but it no longer burns, it knows it must die, but only to return again. There is such peace in nature’s presence, deep knowing and surrender and with every transition it teaches us to just be with what is, allow for things to flow, change and when time comes die.

I walked back. The hare lay dead on the path where I moved it from. It looked serene, peaceful and perfectly still. It left this world, the struggle was over and it looked beautiful with its beady black eyes staring into another space. I am filled with sadness, but also a relief that one journey ended and another will begin shortly and so it goes again and again with each turn of the nature’s wheel.

Blessed Mabon!

 

Manifesting completion 

 
With the time of manifestation here another wave of clearing comes in and it makes sense as for something truly new to be born we must create an empty space.

Early autumn is like a Full moon. It is the time when things come to a ripe conclusion or they begin to fall away. It is the time for harvesting, clearing and evaluation. I love the energy of ‘stripping’ away and just like trees begin to lose their foliage I enjoy the feeling of bare freshness of a completed cycle.

I have come to like this naked ’emptiness’, which also seems to bring a distinct clarity of mind and vision. It feels similar to a state of fasting when all senses sharpen and eyes seem to see further. Lies get exposed, ugliness tastes bitter and apparent. At this time I want to exhale with all my might and move towards peace with no attachments to outcomes, to a space of flow and allowing. I feel like clearing spaces and tidying things away to welcome even more bareness to come with the air getting colder and skies darker. It feels cosy and comforting to me this chilly openness and freshness of colder air.