Nothing teaches you the patience life requires better than life itself. A basic axiom that even kicking and fighting each of us are tasked to learn: Letting go. That is the medicine I am finding myself practicing this week, as we enter the stillness of the lunar reset, the void chaos-rest space of the balsamic moon. I don’t know about you guys but my energy is sure on that wane. Being reminded of the power and the struggle: accepting that over other people, and over the variety of possible manifestations of the future in the right now, I have no control.
Ohhh life!! And how I’ve learned and relearned! That in letting go, space is always created. And spaciousness allows softness, tenderness, the capacity to move, to relax, to receive. To grow…
This is the medicine of right now on the year’s wane. This week’s new moon is the gnostic entry into the Underworld, the third and final harvest rite. The women’s wisdom or celtic earth path calls this Lunar Samhain and the women in my women’s circle seemed all to resonate to the same theme: Finally, We Enter Darkness. Sacred Invitation to Rest.
First, however, the pitch and UnRest! Of Lunar Samhain.
Traditional Samhain, known also as the more mundane Halloween, is about the relationship between peak fruition of fertility into the lean of life force completing its whole potentiality by decreasing and dying. We hate death and dying, ward off the dark by dressing up as the creatures and monsters we fear at Halloween. But what of the wisdom? What of the medicine of the dark? Letting go and surrendering is a process of absorbing and reflecting all at once, holding all the growth and reintegrating all of the different aspects this year of “Us”. Accepting, no judgment, no shame. All of the experiences that lived through you and who and how you’ve been shaped. This is now a distilling process, clarification by review of all this, and release…
And that can feel tense, flat. Still. Exhausting. Remember, it is the dark moon motion to hold us in a entropy feel. The moon cycle that will come after will increase the length of nighttime darkness more and more until winter is ushered in. For me, with a small gentle sigh and lean, it has felt like the active alchemy of opening my heart even though I don’t want to because it’s getting dark!! but trust is an action word, so allowing what I am carrying this year, all that I have fed and tended and grown, to fulfill its course with or without my control.
Patience, acceptance, letting go. Lunar Samhain: trusting the process of dark, of what we can not see. Of the passive power of energy wane, of decrease… and renewal.
Harvest season exists the world around and is one of the most ancient of all rites. Every person every place has a place that raised her and as long as there’s been life on MaMa Earth, this holds true. Her seasons move in increase and decrease, and so at Samhain we allow this letting go. It is time too of the religious holidays of All Saints and All Souls Days and Sukkoth, as well as the reverence for ancestors and death as a divine power of life during Los Dias De Los Muertes, and is also connected to a variety of both ancient goddess venerations and modern agricultural festivals. The weather changes, it is reflected in the length and depth of dark shadows, the steady motion of wind whisper in the tops of trees, the burnish bronze of late season light in the leaves and colors. We go on hayrides, drink hot cider, pick pumpkins and other seasonal gourds.
I like the earth path because our custom as American’s is the Harvest tradition of Thanksgiving, but gently tending blessings and harvests now, and letting go and space-making through out the Fall usually helps me walk into the holidays mindfully and with minimal chaos. This week especially we mind mind, note tensions and what is living, what is lost. What makes us feel uncomfortable if we have to hold still! We note life’s living/letting go wisdom, the transient power of bittersweet joy/pain over getting to experience without always being able to control. When we consider the station of Fall and the West on the medicine wheel, we think of sunset, of that precious moment of last light on the horizon. We recall that ultimately, all things pass.
And the new day will come again.
And so it is often my practice at Samhain tide to revere, among my blessings of the year and what must be let go, my ancestors. When I remember those that are no longer here, I see the ways in which I am a living growing example of their seeds. What a miracle this is, how I get to be tilling the ground for my own life’s accumulations and legacies tomorrow, and how none of that could’ve happened without my own ancestral and community webs.
From what and where do we seek our values, and how? How do we practice this, and how do our energies align? What is our legacy, what will we leave? How do we repay the gifts our elders have bestowed upon us, and how do we practice accountability and responsibility to any ruptures, injuries, or wounds? To whom are we connected, and how? Am I accountable?
How are my relations? There is not a more powerful time in our history, as far as the four short decades I have been here that is, to ask questions like these.
The power of consciousness: choosing to witness and be mindful in your own life. To say thanks, to tend your tides of growth and release, of the season’s fruits being turned back to the earth. Marking with reverence the accompanying cycles of letting go, rest, renewal, death, rebirth. Knowing that all we can do is be true to our own self right now, and take whatever small actions we can just for today, allowing the heart to soften into the knowing of right now is plenty, is enough, embodying such wisdom… These, the lessons of reflection put into practice as the natural season ushers in the Underworld this week with Lunar Samhain. How that can burn, to open the heart in such a posture of releasing and allowing, how it can feel so counter to life’s frenzy, to pause right now. Be still. Be still with the wane. The release. Acknowledge the power of the season of the dark.
…tomorrow night, last harvest moon, sheath of layered lace and bounty coming up over the sea. Harvest moon peaks full this eve~
There is harvest wisdom right now in your every day. In practical ways, in the actions and reactions, the many details of the life you are presently living. The invitation right now is to look upon your world metaphorically, a wee bit deeper perhaps, and ask yourself how the details of right now, this week, fit the theme of your year.
You can color this in by considering how to look at those themes with an open heart and grateful eyes…The final Harvest season full moon comes early this year which marks for me the time I mindfully slow down, tune in to my conscious living day by day, get outside as much as possible and live in the luminescent sweetness of this transient seasonal middle ground, and soften my daily attitude to fixate upon the world with gratitude-eyes.
What is the bounty in this season of your life?
Harvest blessings dears. May the gifts of this and your life be dancing conscious blessings alive in your own two hands.
I walk a lot on empty beaches. It helps me breathe from muscly places in my belly that otherwise I can’t feel because they’re so deep. So last Monday I guess it was, walking along the roiled and wilen coast, beholding the brown and black and steel greys of Hurricane Maria’s deeps, there came this fleeting thought. You could go camping Thursday, if so and so falls into place…there’s a window you could squeeze it in and camp until work Friday at noon.
I went camping because I could and because it meant forcing myself, because it’s lofty camping on your own, the reality of it, and takes work to follow it through.
I set my tent on the bayside of one of our barrier islands that is also a national park. Basic. Satisfied. There was a natural arbor of wild grape vines behind my little dome that opened into a wooded purple stained path leading to the water. I cruised to the beach. It was a gorgeous day, windy still from the passing of Maria, a storm whose effect was surged and shuddered oceans, thankfully no impact on our lil mid-Atlantic spits of swampy forest and farm lands. It was 17 mph that day and the sea stacked her sets, breaking two and even three peaks one on top the other, crossing and cursing currents also ripped by longshore tides. I got to the beach and no one was in and barely anyone was there. Far out were two surfers catching nothing. I used my fins to swim and the lifeguard watched from a truck for 10 minutes before leaving me to my whim.
By the end of the swim I was restless. I went camping because care for my soul life and nurturing it is, at the end of the day, up to only me. It is not a pill I can take, it comes down to how I choose to feed the parts I feel but cannot see. I went back to camp, then walked out to the Bay. I wrote just to write, the other sure fire practice that personally illumines my life, helps me feel like I’m living my hours in a way that’s more filled in.
Now, it is harvest week, the last full moon of the growing season. Growth: concept of momentum, of stored energy completing its cycles of motion, of sugared sun translating from storage to fruit. The moon peaks full Thursday. From there on the cycles wheel us deeper and deeper underground.
I spent yesterday’s quiet practice reflecting on all the experiences of the year. It’s been a hard one. A flippen lot of pain, death and illnesses and other loss. It has also been rich with celebration and good relations: women’s medicine, and being close to the earth, to family joy, to art, to nurtured time with dear friends.
And in all, deep-tilling the ground from which I’ll grow my dreams.
Back at camp, over the bay the sun dropped. For a half hour or so I beheld the experience, did nothing other than witness just to see how that would go.
Walking back to my tent was twinkly twilight glee, an energy pouring into and out of me like a child. The fire I built was from kindling I hatcheted myself!! I ate fish cooked over the grate and these two experiences alone fulfilled me like nothing else I can really say…
Then the stars, how every one that appeared signaled some new part of myself that showed up and I want it to be clear, how the glee passed and how uncomfortable that was, sitting still with the funked out shit of my personal experiences this year. I sat and sat, unplugged 100% and decompressing from that, because I know unquestionably that while it isn’t always immediate: Nature heals the soul.
Eventually, many hours into the night, came peace, and the sweetness of being inwardly still, a being among beingness, with the burnt down embers of my fire and the marvel of all those specs of sparkle stars.
Nature restores my inward settings, it has yet again helped me process which is how I keep moving. Of that knowing, and the reality for me this year that writing and creative downtime are not only non-negotiables but that this has zero to do with production for commodity value, I am proud to say my Harvest this year is part of my day to day.
I emerge this Harvest week sure of the same ol medicine. The soul life is up to only me to tend for me, and its absence manifests in all ways physical and mental, of that it’s a guarantee.
That’s a lot of bounty I’d say, and so it was that Poetry came through to reflect it for me the next morning at camp over hot coffee and stunning late September blue, as Poetry expressing the Wild Nature does oh yes, oh yes it does!!
There is a deeper fact in the soul than compensation, to wit, its own nature. The soul is not a compensation, but a life. The soul is. Under all this running sea of circumstance, whose waters ebb and flow with perfect balance, lies the aboriginal abyss of real Being. Essence, or God, is not a relation or a part, but the whole.
From “Compensation”, in Essays and Poems, Ralph Waldo Emerson
…why does that matter? Because as the sun throws itself way out to that far ol corner of the sky, and its light comes down no longer orange cast or even yellow but that sheer white color of September and long shadows–so too does the moon, who keeps us in soul time, remind that this is the last cycle of growth before we begin to turn under, drop seeds from the fruit of year, compost, rest…prepare again to regrow. So comes, almost, the season of dark. But not first before her huge–and hella emotional if I DO SAY SO WHICH YOU KNOWWW I DO~
last hurrah, of the last two weeks. Peaking tonight, into tomorrow, for us all to feel or go out and see xoxo
And grow…and be…
Happy Harvest Moon. Be blessed, (cuz you already are.)
Full Moon over Doheny Harbor
Moon tonight over Laguna Canyon
One of the roots for the term harvest moon comes from old european peasant ways. The season of agriculture and of grazing animals–who lived and feasted in the pastures–followed the growing cycles of the earth. Now is the time the final harvest is cut and hung, the last of the animals brought down.
Women’s mysteries have at the core these earth tides as well. It is said that the pineal gland, coined by Descartes as the seat of our soul or our third eye, is stimulated by moonlight. This gland regulates the endocrine system, which secretes melatonin (the happy chemical) and which dictates our hormonal and other rythmic cycles like sleep patterns. Dr. Christiane Northrup sites several scientific studies that draw links between the moons influence on these rhythms.
Depth psychology teaches that yin or anima energy, what some call the inner feminine, can be symbolized by the moon in our unconscious. Yang, or animus, is the sun. We learn from this resource of inner wisdom, the unconscious, by studying such symbols. The moon teaches us about nature as it passes through times of birth and death, light and dark. This is the inner anima function, what neuroscience tells us lives in the right hemisphere of the brain. It is a cyclical, process-oriented part of ourselves, like a web or a spiral instead of a checkerboard or bar graph. This right hemisphere dictates creativity, intuition, and other non-rational instincts, and when well-developed aids interhemishpere nueronal pathways. Basically, strengthening the creative, “inner” side of you contributes to a stronger, more-resourced logical function or left hemisphere, too! Picture a figure eight when you think of how you want your brain’s communication with itself to go.
The moon is also a sign of the Goddess or the divine feminine, and here we speak again of the women’s mysteries that value how life wisdom comes in cycles, the growing and dying of different versions of our selves again and again through out our life. The Goddess or divine feminine, the Holy Mother Mary for example, exemplifies the anima. We each need this function for full human development, to feel embodied and think in well-rounded, matured ways.
The Full Harvest Moon is especially active this week, and especially powerful in harnessing the depth of the dark anima, our inner soul or life power unmanifested in our unconscious. It draws this anima in to light, whatever shadow part or part of yourself you truly don’t want to look at (we all have these parts, it is a normal experience for all humans to hide pieces of themselves deep inside that they don’t want anyone to see). This is a truly transformative time, a time that can feel like your blood is cooking or bubbling up and it’s sort of true. The moon who regulates all fluids, like how she makes the ocean tides rise and fall, is cooking up your body rhythms too, right now. She’s cooking up your soul. Psyche is very active right now, that just means that in all of life there is a quickening. People are intrinsically connected to nature and the natural world, and the passing of this moon prepares us all now on our biological level for hibernation. There is a rush of life we can feel, like squirrels scattering for nuts, running just under our surface.
What part of you is aching to change? Let that big ol glory moon shine like a flash light in to the depths of who you are. Call those shadow parts that scare your psyche back to yourself while you can still see them as separate, prepare to transform them into assets as we near the darkest time of the year and winter. Ask yourself what you’re afraid of, hiding from, who your upset with, why? Ask yourself what’s going on. Take the time. Listen. Listen for the true response. The upcoming winter is a deep period meant for rejuvination and growth in our most unconscious but intimate levels, where the anima lives.
Our next new moon in the beginning of November is considered the lunar new year or Lunar Samhain in Celtic tradition, a time I hold as dear and holy. This tradition teaches that now is the time we honor the ancestors, and for me I have begun this with an ancestor candle on my alter tonight, in honor of the last peak of the growing or harvest season tomorrow night. I light it in reverence of the wisdom of life, which is what ancestors to me symbolize, the cyclical wisdom of all things moving on. I will keep these fires going, several candles with several meanings personal to just me, as signs of transformation in my own inner dark. Fire is light, the light of my own consciousness in my own dark. I will likely light them every night until the Lunar Samhain moon when those intentions, like seeds, are let go, cast into our deepest dark, in our psyche, where they will sleep and later take root, and grow.
This is the wisdom of the feminine. How all of life, from the deepest, darkest, most inner still-point and chaos, to the edge of the sun and the tops of the stars which will become someday grains of sand, it is all connected. What we do to one we do to the whole. We hold this awareness in gentle reverence and joy, and give homage all our moments by honoring life in all its forms, best we can.
We begin within.
We are socked in this month, almost every morning a blank fog sits til 12 like this were San Fransisco. Maybe in the night my dreams of mountains and ebony-green came true? In the dull moments of morning I am held by something meangingful, strung together in pre-cellphone reach scraps, if I were north again...Northern land rushes to encompass, smells of conifer trees. This of course is not the case. I get on here to chart my truth: I itch, I am itching. Always the next great escape…
I am Southern Californian, transplant, maker of new home. This is the risk I guess. An adventrurer’s spirit always has so much to gain. In equal parts there is moderation, the psyche’s covert need to comb over all there has been to lose.
Just one brief moment. Surfacing, is that the surface I near? I raise my head: school grants a grace period of a month but this is fallacy. We actually have two papers due and three online courses so this is not a break. There’s just one quiet month, silent with the freedom of not needing to travel to Montecito for class. For the first time in 25 years I return to Catholic Mass. Peace settles over me from some long-touched requisite. It seeps and spreads through my body. It is a long stretch. It is a sigh in hot beach sand. It feels dangerous and I want to stop it. I think then of how the end of yoga used to feel and instead grab for my moment: Breath.
The Priest is round in robes of kelly-green and I project all over him how I imagine he will be. Cruel, cold. Deliver of what is harsh. I also forget this is how the ritual starts, with the alter boys in white coming down the aisle, in the lead. There is no inscence and the only kneelers are in the front row. It is several moments before I realize the tinkling sound of the fountain in the baptismal pool. I ache to be up front in supposition. We sing Come, now is the time to worship and I am embarrassed. On the other side of my breath are tears.
On Saturday Sepi prepared an Iranian feast and held an ancestor ritual for me. We sat in a circle, there is a traditional Persian word for this, on her floor. Me, Chris, a space for my aunt dead now a year, and Sep. I was stunned by the amount of tears. The wordless, rattling, wicked grief. I almost moved home. Back to Maryland, the Eastern Shore. I would have had the position at the shelter, the women’s group where I felt so called, not fallen through.
It is the work of the soul to which I always respond. So it is in my most dust-filled moments, in the middle of a taskless fog, I go to and struggle with, circle the gate round and round again, only to finally, finally, take up the pen.
The full moon is in Leo, second harvest moon, a quickening as Beth pointed out Thursday. Our intuition is heightenend on a mass level as the powerful Leo fixed fire smolders almost to a purified point one no longer deniable from within. Virgo will bring the changing quality of earth, of what we are here to manifest by making subtle changes to what already is–changes that began to be made obvious to us during this time since the last new moon. Life is never black and white, even if during this month that is how it has felt. But I also feel the move, I open my hands. It is fluid, not the in breath, not the out breath, not even the still point of sacred in-between.
I feel the seeds in this harvest moon. Seeds that fall from the palm, born from that which, even at its peak, has already begun to let go of what it no longer is. Seeds that yearn towards what next…what could be.