I absolutely love the Autumn, perhaps it is my Northern heritage or the return to school after spending 24 years of my life in school, but when the sun’s intensity diminishes and the leaves begin to change and I feel that urge to pull out my sweater and scarves my whole being feels nourished in a way that no other season provides.
In Chinese Medicine the fall begins with the earth element which rules the stomach and spleen and helps to nourish us and bring us together in celebration of the harvest and the memories of the delights of summer. A healthy transition into the earth aspects of our being allow for an easier transition in to the metal element and the season of the lungs and large intestine, grief and letting go. This year with Covid, loss of livelihoods and recognition of lost BIPOC lives and the fires on the west coast of the US the grief we all hold is almost more than many can bare and it is extra important to build up a strong earth foundation that will transform into pure luminous metal. In Shamanism, the fall is also associated with letting go and beginning to dream a new dream and it is the best time to call upon your ancestors and spirit guides for help. So let’s dive into how to support yourself through this seasonal change.
We will begin with the earth element which rules our digestion, our four limbs, our sense of taste and our ability to manifest our dreams into reality just as we turn our food into amino acids, lipids, carbohydrates and qi to build and repair our bodies. The earth element is supported by eating regular meals without distraction, avoiding damp, greasy, overly sweet and processed foods while emphasizing warm, gently spiced whole foods, especially root vegetables which feed us the essence of the earth itself, time spent with loved ones and in communion with the earth and mindfulness practices that help prevent us from ruminating on worries. One of my current daily practices that is deeply supportive of the earth element is to go for a morning walking meditation along the water. This moves my qi and my four limbs, allows me to let go of my worries and spend time tapped into the earth. Here is one of my favourite guided walking meditations if you want to try. Another thing I am getting back into is making Chai, you will find a recipe here that will help warm the body, soothe the mind and nourish the soul.
The Earth’s transition into Autumn varies depending on where you are located but here on the West Coast of Canada it is around thanksgiving. It is the time when the tree’s leaves have fully turned and begun to fall and the final harvests of the land have been completed. This marks the turning inwards of the earth and all her children. In the modern Western world we don’t tend to turn inwards at this point and we can pay for it with colds and flus, exhaustion and grief. The metal element rules the lungs and large intestine, the skin, nose and the somatic experiences of our bodies. It is most closely tied to grief and the loss of our dreams, our loved ones and ourselves. In a world fixated on being more productive, doing more and pushing through, we are not customed to stopping to let go of what no longer serves us and honour what we have lost in our lives. This year especially many have lost so much and it is especially important to stop and take the time to let go. I will share a ritual below to help with this. Letting go allows our dreams, our old beliefs, and patterns fall and become the fertile soil that will nourish our new dreams, just as the trees drop their leaves to nourish the new growth of the spring. In order to support your lungs and large intestine, it is important to breath, breath deeply and exhale fully, taking up a breathwork practice can be incredibly beneficial, Making sure we get lots of fibre and water to ensure regular bowel movements supports the large intestine, eating white pungent foods will also nourish the metal element, getting lots of rest, going to bed earlier and waking later and of course keeping bundled up with a scarf around your neck will help prevent wind cold attacks.
Along with Diet, seasonal living and of course Acupuncture, my other favourite way to work with the elements is to create rituals to honour the transition that I am going through and so for the fall I like to work with the concepts of letting go, creating a new dream and connecting to my ancestors and guides who are especially strong in the fall as we move inwards and into our own dream time.
What you will need:
- a candle
- some paper
- a pen
- something that represents a dream you have
- pictures or objects connected to your ancestors and/or guides
- Begin by finding a quiet space and clearing it with a broom, smoke or flame.
- Take a few deep breaths to center yourself
- Create sacred space by visualizing a circle around you or call in the four directions
- light your candle and ask for the support of great spirit
- Call in your ancestors and guides one by one first honouring them for what they do for you and then asking for their support this season, placing their objects around the candle
- write down what no longer serves you and ask for this to be released and then hold it over the flame letting it go
- feel the space that has opened up in your life and body
- now begin to dream about what you wish to call into this space. visualize it and feel into what your life will be like with it.
- When you are done, thank your ancestors and guides and asking for their continued support
- Thank great spirit and blow out the candle
- release the directions or unwind your circle
- go about your day as if this future is already here
May this fall be deeply nourishing to you and yours. Please feel free to reach out if you need any support and if you wish to learn to connect with your ancestors and clear deeper patterns in your life my new course Transforming Ancestral Trauma: Understanding where you come from so you can remember who you are begins on Tuesday Sept 2020.