To most of us, Fall is a time of ripened abundance, crisp nights and warm days, heart warming meals, and cozy nights by a fireplace. In days past, larders would be stocked, fields emptied, and granaries filled. That is the Gratitude part of Fall. But the real gift of Fall is the gradual turning inward that occurs. This turning inward is not solely physical where our pace declines. It can be felt emotionally and spiritually. The darkness beckons and thus begins a period of ensuing quiet. We may retire early. Or for some, we reach out to others and endeavor to stay busy in an effort in stave off the darkness.
There are many ways in which darkness is deemed frightening. One way specifically is Halloween. Halloween was born out of pagan cultures that recognized with a Fall season, there is a natural thinning of the veil that separates us from Source. On October 31 that veil is the thinnest. This is why Halloween is promoted as such a ghoulish affair. Monsters, ghosts, and ghouls all represent the darkness that we fear, inside ourselves and in other worlds. The separation now, between death and Source is very thin indeed. This is the time where we are more able to connect with realms outside our daily norm. Patients often tell me their dreams of loved ones long passed happen much more frequently during this season.
Most of us fear or try to avoid this upcoming darkness. We associate it with death, rather than the substrate in which light and growth are created. Fall is about entropy, where a descent into darkness begins. Our culture resists the word decline, but it is a beautiful part of our journey, where we are better able to prioritize our values. We are able to let go of the chaff , or what no longer serves us. We simplify. We streamline. And we ease into a gentler pace, a pace that is the balance to a busy summer. And real healing is always about finding the fulcrum of balance.
Fall means something specific to each of us. For some, it means nothing, and life continues on with all the seasons unnoticed. For others it is a very special and unique time.
So what does Fall mean to me? It is a time of “preparation”, with a conscious slowing down. And a time of getting ready for winter, the ultimate darkness. That means days of riding my little tractor and mowing the pasture after work. At dawn before work, it is the torching of weeds, or on weekends the cleaning of barn gutters. It can be the cutting back of summer flowers and then laying a bed of straw around my plants so that they will return next Spring. (Even my plants need their blankets!). It means canning jars of quinces, blackberries, blueberries, apples and the creation of a spicy chutney from an endless supply of garden zucchini this year. Or the feeding of my bees and then taking the most precious of all, their honey. Just a small amount, so they too will have enough for winter. All these things require patience and time which helps me to slow down and be more present. A stag comes at dusk to water at the pond. The light changes now and is like honey with it’s golden tint poured over all the land and trees. And the crisp smell of pine changing to something deeper and intoxicating as the day warms up. All of these things I savor. The land is cared for , and in doing so I am cared for. I have created an act of beauty. That is what Fall means to me. There is space and time to slow down, to reap and to go within.
You don’t have to live in the country to experience the magic of Fall. It is a feeling or a state of being that this season invites. No matter where you live, most of us can feel that there is something much greater than our day to day busy lives, enveloping us. Now is the time our meditations can be deeper. Our dreams more profound. Or our intuition heightened. This is one of the special gifts of Fall. It can be a retreat into ourselves instead of being so outward in the world, so frenetic. Now is a gentle welcoming time that invites introspection and revelation. It is not solely a decline but rather a gateway to a time of sweetness with profound beauty, care and re-acquaintance. With ourselves.