Despite being a July-baby, Autumn has always been my favorite season. Up in the far north, where I grew up, Autumn meant a change in the light. There was a crispness in the air that could sharpen your senses or even cut your skin. As the leaves changed color and began to carpet the ground, naked tree branches altered the view of our reality and shifted familiar landscapes.
I didn't recognize it then, but I know now: We were beginning to sink into sacred space.
When I enter into scared space for journey or healing work, it looks much the same way. I take my ordinary room and alter the lighting. Off with the overheard lights. Out with the candles. The air becomes electrified with the scent of incense or essential oils-- sharpening my senses and anchoring me in the present. Deep breathing, deep listening and calling in ancestral and spiritual support helps shift my view of reality. This reality is always there, always supporting the ordinary reality, but you have to clear away some of the leaves to see it.
Autumn does this for us naturally.
First there's the ritual of going back to school. New clothes. New gear. New and old friends. Then, as the weather changes, there's the anticipation of Halloween. Samhain. The Day of the Dead. The excitement of a new school year gives way to the thought and preparation of Fall and the Halloween costumes that come with it. You may even begin decorating your house-- altering your ordinary reality a bit, creating sacred temporary space.
What am I afraid of? What needs my attention before winter? How are my Dead?
After an evening of slipping into a different character (or consciousness if you will), or of remembering our Dead and the cycle of life, we move onto the preparations of Thanksgiving. We spend an evening with family and loved ones, remembering that it's good to be alive and be together (well. mostly). Stories are told. Memories are created. Gratitude is given.
The ancient alchemy of cooking. Pilgrimage.
You know what comes next.
The weather doubles down on our senses: making it colder and brisker. As Christmas approaches we alter our reality again: Christmas lights. Christmas smells. Christmas decor. Our thoughts turn to what we need and want to manifest in our lives: both as holiday gifts and as a reality for the fast-approaching new year. We also begin thinking about how to help others manifest what they need and want in their lives as holiday gifts.
What do I want to attract? What do I want to ask for? What can I help someone else receive?
So much magic is created around the holidays and it's not by accident. By the time the clock strikes midnight on the New Year, we've likely spent three if not four months cultivating sacred space in our homes. Did you realize you were doing this?
This sacred space is the container responsible for holding the magic of the holidays. As adults we often forget to drop in and be present within the container. Children live in the container 24/7. It's part of the reason they look forward to the holiday season so passionately. They thrive in the sacred space. They don't miss a moment of magic's presence and they're thrilled that the magic is finally being reflected by their outward surroundings and acknowledged by the adults.
This holiday season, be aware of the sacred space you are creating. Put some extra intention in it. Take the opportunity each day to sit in it and be present with the magic. If you have children, delight in their delight and try to remember how the sacred space of the holidays made you feel as a child. Can you reach that place now? As an adult?
If you're not sure where to begin, my rule of thumb is to incorporate at least one element for each of the senses:
Sight: Add some simple holiday decor and/or dim the lights more often and bring out candles.
Smell: Burn seasonal candles, incense or even keep a pot of bubbling cider or mulled wine on the stove.
Taste: Revel in the seasonal harvest. Go apple picking. Learn a new autumn recipe. Create a favorite food from your childhood holiday memories.
Listen: Play music more often that shifts your consciousness. Turn off the music and the television and listen to the Autumn wind howl. Take a few deep breaths, turn inwards and listen to your ancestors.
Touch: Bring new textures into your wardrobe or home. Wool. Flannel. Cashmere. Comfy and cozy is the language of the season whether it's a new table runner, new pillow throws or a new skirt.
If you'd like more ideas on bringing intention into creating the sacred space of the holidays, make sure you are signed up for my e-mail updates. Next week I am releasing a seasonal product that will help you do just that.
With love and cider spices,