It’s that time of year when the green leaves are starting to yellow on their journey to brown. But also when the skies are still often pure blue.
It’s when the night’s darkness lengthens, but the sun still shines warmly.
And although the refreshing chill in the air intensifies, it feels welcome to choose warmer foods and layering clothes as we gladly ease into cosiness.
Overall, there is a sense of stillness, and yet one of impending, incremental change.
It is also often at this time of year when we can feel something stirring deep inside ourselves, too.
New internal changes that correlate with the academic year – all coinciding with the changeable winds that blow around us.
The in-between is often a place of great transformation. It is exciting. But, more often than not, it feels unnerving. Children often naturally respond to this as they adjust fitting into a new year at school. They are also keen observers of the changes in the natural world.
Adults are too. But, perhaps, a lot less sentimentally. Manifesting instead in digestive problems (picked up from bad summer habits: drinking alcohol, eating spices, BBQs etc…), emotional problems, insomnia, inflammation, skin disorders, irritability… all of which can be attributed to an excess of summer energy.
As we move from summer to autumn, it can be worth bearing in mind that in eastern cultures, especially, this phase is respected as a transitioning phase; one that should be honoured with our acute awareness.
Not so much in modern western society, however, which appears to expect us all to charge on like robotic machines; oblivious to the cyclical element of the natural world that we are a part of.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, this time is known as ‘Dojo’. Linked to the coming out of yang and leaning-in toward yin – with a more earthly elemental force drawing us to stillness.
In Ayurveda, this transitional phase is known as ‘Ritu Sandhi’. It is a time when we move out of Pitta energy, which is hot, toward the cooler energy of Vata.
In one ancient way of life that is repeatedly overlooked, and is also a little more close to home to us here in the U.K., is the Celtic Calendar.
Interestingly, Lughnasadh (August 1st) marks the start of this transitioning phase; it’s traditionally a time to reap the rewards of the year (starting on Samhain, a.k.a Halloween).
The point is to stop and breathe, as we prepare for the new season to come.
So, in effect, it’s the end of the Celtic year, and it deserves time to pause and reflect.
As Dolores Whelan, a respected expert on the Celtic Calendar, has written in her book Ever Changing, Ever New, the trick to navigating this sometimes tricky time of year is for us is to start slowing down, to let-go of the summer and get ready for when: “action must be muted and light must yield to the darkness.”
Whichever ancient philosophies that you lean toward most, they all agree that embracing nature and the cyclical elements of our lives is the key to harnessing all of the energies that are provided to us at this time.
Committing to being more present in our lives, day-to-day; observing our thoughts and feelings, and noting what we can let-go of in the new season to come, helps us to feel revitalised, instead of drained.
Being more in touch with nature, too, helps to clear any blockages. As we are there to participate and acknowledge the immense beauty in the way that the earth moves from one season to another.
Then, meditating on the seasons and how they apply to our lives, too.
After all, we too are ever changing. We are moving forward – with change an ever present reality of life.
By reflecting on the seasons of our lives, we can try to be mindful of the things that we need to manifest within ourselves and what we can let-go of when autumn is finally here.
So, hit the pause button. Check-in with yourself. Enjoy this stillness; this gentle retreat into the internal.
Gather up the increasing female energy, as we move away from masculine summer energy, and notice the need to love and mother yourself.
Scoop yourself up and give yourself whatever it is that you need: Eat how it feels good to; Listen to what your body is saying; Move towards people that recharge and protect you; Try to get outside in the morning light and do what feels right with the time that you have to play.
Above all, enjoy.
What else do you like to do as the seasons change to autumn?
We’d love to know.