I was clicking around online, researching rituals for Autumn. I'm big into rituals these days. As someone who needs to remember how to create more space and pause, rituals offer a meditative activity and bring me back to center. And I'm often teetering off center, folks. I figured there had to be an event in the Bay area for the Autumn Equinox, so I looked on Eventbrite, Meetup, etc.
There was, but not as many as you'd think. In fact, I only found one real celebration of Mabon (the ancient Harvest Festival) and it was a small group of people gathering via meetup.com in the outer Richmond district in San Francisco. Long story short, the event was wonderful, the people were kind and so warm. We had a very special circle that night and made way for this season of gratitude and loss. We danced, shared stories, then parted ways.
The delicate rituals insisted I think about how I want to approach this season, and with all the changes in my job and living situation lately, it was quite meaningful. I was up early this morning, having slept only 5 hours, refreshed but still very contemplative (not a bad thing, I think!)
I thought back to my yoga teacher training this last Summer, and a few concepts floated to the top. Autumn's voice was loud and clear. I can see her message in the leaves, in my garden, in my heart, and in the collective yearnings. Apadigraha, she says. Saucha, she insists. Santosha, she states.
"Being content with what is". I feel like this Niyama is the true practice of gratefulness. To look around you and be satisfied, in fact, even ecstatic, is a rich way to live. The earth gives us everything. Food, resources, shelter, water, beauty... and the planet is not really asking anything of us. We're the one's who made money. But the earth don't care. She gives and nourishes. And especially this time of year, we can literally see the gold around us. The abundance of apples, berries, squash, nuts.
My favorite Yama, although I feel like of dirty saying that in front of the other Yamas. Apadigraha means, "Non- grasping". I was thinking about the bold autumn leaves that are starting to fall- these dead things that the trees don't need anymore. they release them into the wind and they compost back to the earth. During this season, I am deeply reminded that I have lots to let go of and that it inevitable for growth. The leaves comfort me when I feel uneasy about this process, because I turn my attention to spring, when new, supple leaves grow, and I see the beauty in this death because it is followed by rebirth.
Another Niyama meaning, "Purity". Autumn is a cleansing season. No doubt about this. When you let go and focus on the abundance you have around you, you make space for light matter, pure matter, things that fill up your soul. I like the practice of Saucha, most of all, although all the darn pumpkin bread and PSLs are making my cry inside a bit right now. They hurt so good. Still, physically clearing my studio and creative space has made a big impact on how I feel when I work/paint. And physically clearing my body is bringing clarity to my mind. Meditation tops them all in my book, and all three have made it into my morning routine for the past month.
I'm letting some leaves go- it's time. I invite you to do the same. One ritual we did for Mabon was to write something we want to release onto a leaf. We then flung it into the wind!
I wish you all a wonderful Autumn! Peace.