November has arrived, and with it, storms and wind and rain. Winter is not far away now, and in the last days of autumn, in the darkest part of the year it can be hard to let ourselves sink into the season. But, channeling autumn’s slower energy can herald another beautiful revolution in your ever-changing year…
And, yet, late autumn is a potent, powerful time to reframe and develop your relationship with the natural world. To help you move with the energies of the earth, bringing rest and rejuvenation when you need them.
Autumn reminds us that we are not meant to bloom all year, and that change and loss – as much as life – are part of our existence.
‘We were meant to slow down and bleed and howl and then get silent and internal, and all this happens as our bodies and energy levels are shifting and changing,’ writes Becca Piastrelli in her beautiful book Root & Ritual. ‘Though we live in a modern era, our bodies’ processes are ancient and deserve our respect.’
Autumn is the season of the water element. This represents giving thanks and letting go, the ebb and flow of life through us all, and the changing yet constant nature of water. This is the time to root ourselves deeper into the earth. Just as trees begin to focus their attention below ground, their sap levels falling, directed from branches to soil and roots, so we can turn our focus downwards and inwards.
Here are a few simple ways to reconnect with earth and the season:
1) Daily Grounding - in the morning, spend just ten minutes with your bare feet on the earth in your garden. Feel the changing temperature on your skin, the shift of the seasons. Perhaps the ground feels wetter underfoot, and the air crisper, with each morning. Listen to the change of the birds’ calls; the way the light is different at the same time each day. And, with this shift, allow your body to reset too.
2) Weekly Water Connection - conjure the energy of the water element with wild swimming, dipping your toes in a stream, or simply mindfully taking a bath and connecting with the feeling of water on and around your body. Feel the way it moves, its weight and warmth, its softness and its strength.
3) Morning Ritual - ‘Morning pages’ are a wonderful way to gently awaken to a new day. This daily practice of writing three longhand pages of thoughts, without design or agenda, allows what’s in your heart to flow onto the page. Undertaken first thing in the morning, they are less about writing and more about bringing a sense of flow and movement to your consciousness. ‘They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind – and they are for your eyes only,’ explains Julia Cameron, who created the concept in her landmark book /The Artist’s Way/. ‘Morning pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritise and synchronise the day at hand. Do not overthink morning pages: just put three pages of anything on the page… and then do three more pages tomorrow.’
4) Welcome in the Light - as the nights lengthen, set aside a small window in your bedtime ritual to channel autumn’s slower energy by creating a moment of light-filled reflection. A simple five-minute meditation can be a beautiful way to ground and centre you before sleep, thinking about the day that has been and the rest ahead. Take this opportunity to release the day, just as trees release leaves. Reconnect with the element of water: imagine a waterfall gently washing your body from head to toe, sending the day back to the earth.
As November shifts towards winter, another sacred pause is ahead of us: the winter solstice. Allow yourself the space to look back over the past three months. Read through your morning pages, add to or change your routine to reflect the changing light, continue your grounding practice and reflect on how the ground beneath your feet has changed from day to day, week to week.
‘The seasons have become such internal experiences,’ observes Piastrelli, ‘perhaps giving me a glimpse of what my ancestors felt long ago.’
Winter will come, and it will make way for spring. But, for now, channeling autumn’s slower energy allows us to hold ourselves in the pause, and remind us of the balance of light and dark, love and loss. It comes to bring space for reflection and the deep inner work that we can always do; the continual journey through the year, and through our lives.
This is the season of surrender and slowness, of feeling the wisdom of nature, and all she has to teach us. ‘Nature does not rush and I am learning not to rush either,’ says Piastrelli. ‘So much anxiety can come from resisting whatever is occurring in the now, however challenging it may be. I breathe with it. I rest my body. I trust that we are never stuck and that the wheel is always turning.’