Someone once asked me what my favorite smell is, and without skipping a beat I replied, “October.” Fall has always been my favorite season — the radiant glow of leaves ablaze in the trees and the lulling sound of the wind rustling through them, the way the light softens in the afternoon, the cool, crisp air, and the powdery frost cloaking the grass in the morning. But it is more than that, and more than pumpkins and warm apple cider and cozy sweaters; There is something enchantingly intangible about this time of year, something ethereal and mysterious that inspires contemplative repose. Autumn symbolizes change and transition — light to dark, hot to cold, life to death. And by attuning to the wisdom of Autumn, we can learn how to navigate life transitions with beauty and grace.
SEASONS OF BEING
My “Seasons of Being” series explores the cycles in nature and how we can look to the changing seasons for guidance as we move through different life phases and soul sates in our own personal spiritual evolution.
Winter offers an invitation to go inward and reflect — like a seed quietly germinating in the soil, in Winter’s stillness we attune to what is real and true in the heart. As we move into Spring, we are called to actively embrace that truth — to take root in it and push ourselves out into the light where we can bloom and blossom. By the Summer we are fully in our prime, and we can honor ourselves for our progress and celebrate the magic we have manifested. And when we reach Autumn, we are asked to start slowing down again, to take a step back and asses where we are, and what we will need as we move forward.
We can experience a soul season at any point during the year — we may seek solitude for inner work during the Summer or thrive in the Winter for example. But as Autumn is upon us now, let us explore this season of change.
THE AUTUMN SOUL STATE
The Autumn soul state is one of transition — of evaluating, taking stock, making big decisions, and letting go of that which no longer serves our greatest good. This is a time of significant life changes. We may begin to feel that we are outgrowing a job or even a career. We may begin to hunger for a change of pace or scenery from the city we live in. We may begin to sense a relationship or marriage coming to an end. It could be an accident or medical condition, or the loss of a loved one.
In one form or another, there is a shift. What was once familiar feels different. We find ourselves questioning our values, our needs, and though we may not yet know what these new needs are, we can feel in our bones that they are not what they used to be. Often we go through a period of resistance or denial as this can be quite unsettling, frightening or painful, but it is important to remember that in this unfamiliar space, this looming darkness, is where new opportunities are born — some that we may have never even thought of, some that we could never have imagined.
During the Fall Equinox, day and night are of equal length. Balance, then, is another theme for this season and soul state. When we are in Autumn, we are being called on to find balance in ourselves, to check in with ourselves and do some inventory. We are being asked to be open and honest with ourselves, to consider how we have grown and what we have learned, to give gratitude to that which has been valuable, and to give permission to ourselves to let go of and release what has not or no longer is.
Autumn is governed by the grounding Earth element which symbolizes stability and permanence. This reminds us that even as we can sense that shift in the familiar, as we approach the unfamiliar and unknown, all endings naturally lead to new beginnings. As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus so aptly put it, the only constant is change.
Earth is also symbolic of nurturing and wisdom. We can see this expressed exquisitely when we meditate on the leaves that wither and fall to the ground below in their graceful death, for as they decompose they leave behind nutrients in the soil to fortify and support new life in the Spring ahead. Likewise, we can meditate on the lessons that have been taught to us and the wisdom that has been imparted unto us, whether from a job we have quit, a partner we have left, or a loved one who has passed on.
Finally, Earth symbolizes protection and preservation. When we look to animals in the wild, we can observe an instinct to gather and store food for the winter. When we meditate on this, again we find a call to take stock and determine what can be reaped that will be beneficial and will support our continued growth. Keep in mind that part of self preservation is recognizing what is harmful, and again, whether it is a negative thought form, an unhealthy habit or a toxic relationship, we find a call to let go and release.
HOW TO CONNECT WITH AUTUMN ENERGY
- Spend time in nature! Go for a hike, forest bathe, or try Earthing.
- Create a memento box and fill it with things that are meaningful and uplifting to you — photographs, letters, trinkets, etc. If you prefer, you can simply write on pieces of paper lessons that you have learned and all that you are grateful for. Then, fill another box with things that you are ready to let go of. Throw this second box out, bury it, burn it (safely and mindfully!), or, if there are things in it that would benefit someone else, give them away.
- Start a gratitude list.
- Find a creative outlet to explore and channel your feelings — painting, sculpture, dancing, singing, music, writing, photography, etc.
- Make your home space warm and cozy and calm.
- If you are feeling anxiety about the shift in your life, try practicing a grounding meditation.
- Honor loved ones who have passed on and meditate on how their lessons continue to keep them alive within you.
JOURNAL PROMPTS FOR LIFE TRANSITIONS
- What has been feeling off lately? When did it start feeling off? What changed?
- In what areas of my life am I feeling unfulfilled? What would I like to see change?
- What big changes am I facing right now? What am I learning from these changes?
- What are my values right now? Am I living in alignment with those values? If not, why not?
- What in my life is supporting my growth? What is stifling it?
- Is there something or someone I need to let go of? What is holding me back?
- When was the last time I experienced a big change? What did I learn from it? How did I grow?
- What am I most afraid of right now? What is the best thing that could happen if I am willing to face that fear?
- Write about a loved one who has passed on; What did I admire most about this person? What wisdom did they share with me that I would like to share with someone else?
- How do I feel about death?
- If this change is happening for a reason, what might that reason be? What is the Universe trying to show me or teach me?