((Reading from bottom to top.))
I love Autumn! A season full of changing possibilities – weather, colors, festivities, treats – all varied and wonderful!
Unfortunately, it is also a season of closure, completion, death. For many people, Autumn is a sad time, watching everything turn from vibrant and alive to withered and dry. If you have ever read Mike Royko’s November Farewell, you know exactly the feeling of loss. (If not, you may read it at http://michaelsherwood.com/RoykoNovember.html.)
This year, let us honor the Hunter’s Moon with understanding; Autumn is both beautiful and bittersweet. We enjoy the crisp apples, hot cider, and falling leave but we are also slightly saddened by the understanding of coming winter. This duality of feeling is not weakness but rather a softness in our hearts for all of the birth, death and rebirth that came before as well as those that will surely follow us. That softness is an understanding of the impermanence of all things, a reminder to love and to enjoy while you can because you have no way to know when the opportunity will be suddenly lost.
I know what you are thinking: Sheesh!!! Maudlin alert!!! How am I supposed to enjoy my pumpkin spice latte while thinking about death?!?!?!?
Take another look at the cards above; beware the traps of drama, wallowing and melancholia (Moon, Three of Swords, Five of Cups). Remember, there is a big difference between the emotional release of a good cry, and the relentless slipping down of self-serving (and self-defeating) woe-is-me-sadness honoring nothing and no one. Do not allow a touch of Autumn Ennui to turn into a Winter’s Dark Night of the Soul.
I hear you saying: Yes, you say that but you don’t tell me how!!!
For a little seasonal self-care that increases enjoyment and appreciation but does not encourage martyrdom, I enjoy and recommend the following:
Tell your favorite stories. Everyone has favorite stories – family stories, friend stories, sad stories, happy stories – and those stories keep our loves alive. Share those stories; tell them as much as you like – start a blog! – and honor those memories.
Light a bonfire. Gather with friends and enjoy the warmth and glow of the fire and each other. Celebrate the changing season by recapping the joys of summers past, and making plans for the upcoming holidays. In honor of those no longer with us, throw some herbs or flowers into the fire; lavender, rosemary and sage are good for remembrance as well as energy boosts.
Heat up the kitchen. Cook or bake well-established family recipes. Dad’s Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies, Grandma’s Best Tuna Casserole, Auntie’s Award-Winning Sunshine Layer Cake. Make the family recipes and share them with family and friends. It does not need to be an occasion and you can share as little or as much of the recipe’s story as you like.
Have a chat. Every once in a while, I would miss someone so much, I would start to cry and talk to them until I felt better. And then one day it occurred to me – I could just talk to them any time I wanted, I did not need to wait until I was nearly overcome with their loss. Now, if I’m thinking about my dad and I want to talk to him, I do; inevitably, I feel better for our chats.
The Hunter’s Moon approaches, and it will usher in Halloween (Samhain, if you prefer) and the Day of All Souls. Love yourself, past, present and future, and honor your losses, feelings and memories; never forget they are a part of you.
((All Steampunk Tarot images courtesy of Google images.))