ACH Blog

The Spirit of Approaching Winter

Isobel Cosgrove - Sunday, November 01, 2020

Hallow’een has just been celebrated. This is the moment in the year, according to Chinese medical beliefs, when the heavens reach down to touch the earth. Physically, there are mists, so that clouds, which are usually way out of reach, are swirling around us as we walk. This is when we can feel more in touch with “Spirit”, more in touch with our internal world, with our essence.

gourds piled up on board

The harvest has been picked and stored for use in Winter months. As the leaves fall in the Autumn winds and rain, the shapes of the trees emerge from their Spring and Summer foliage. Eventually we can see each unique form, its trunk and branches, the essence of each tree.

And as we find what lies beneath the greenery of the year, we can contact the spirit of each tree, bush and perennial unadorned, laid bare.

leafless trees

So where are we in this process of the year turning? The hour has gone back as British Summertime ends. It is dark by 5 o’clock, the evenings are longer, the days shorter. We have to change how we live without the long sunny days. We need to contain and carefully measure our output to honour the slower pacing of oncoming Winter, and the quieter energy levels which it brings with it. Winter is about stripping back, like the trees, to the bare essentials.

The end of Autumn, and the beginning of Winter, is an ending. It is the death of the reproductive year. Seeding, sprouting, blossoming, ripening and gathering in have all ended. What is next? The energy of the tree descends to its lower trunk and into its roots. It enters a period of rest and recovery from the work of the year’s growth. Northern animals follow a similar path, gathering food for the Winter, and then hunkering down for a period of hibernation or much less activity. Like trees they enter into a different rhythm in the later days of Autumn. Their life is more internal, often underground, darker, quieter, less active and engaged with the outside world.

brown squirrel on green grass during daytime

For us all the wind is blowing, the rain falling, the mists hanging in the valleys and over the green spaces. We need to quieten down, like the natural world, as we prepare for the arrival of Winter at the end of this year. We can find ways to be more in touch with our internal world. We can engage less with outside demands and stimulation. Instead we can connect with the spirit of who we are, our essential natures. We can write, play music, paint, draw, cook, reflect on the last 12 months, and start visioning what we want to bring into our lives in the next year.

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